I’ve never been a particularly organised person. My ex-wife was very organised, but try as she might she could never get any of the systems to stick. Everything goes on my desk in a jumbled pile. Looking at it now I have several notepads, a letter about self-assessment, a wireless keyboard that I don’t use (but might), notes for an FAQ article for Creative Writers that I never got around to writing, a top hat, grooming cream, pens, a string of lights that look like spiders, my razor, several hair-ties, my laptop, and my wallet. This is not the full list, I just wanted to give you an impression!
Several of the items don’t need to be there and should be put away, but then as soon as I need them again they end up back on the desk. It must have been infuriating to live with. I realized today, while trying to sleep off a stomach book, that my thoughts are just as messy. When I think about writing, I often end up with a confusing traffic jam of thoughts. Oddly enough this doesn’t seem to happen when I’m actually writing.
I keep saying I want to write for a living, but I will often sit procrastinated, thinking my conflicting ideas. It’s hard to express what goes on, because these thoughts often occur simultaneously, but it’s like this. An event requires a date, and a location and people that all have their own plans and conflicting appointments. My brain will think of multiple dates, situation, and personality types all at once, which is rather overwhelming.
The prospect of writing become horrible. Yet, as I said before, when I start writing it’s different. Especially when I’m writing this blog. The words just flow. Stories are harder, but I think I may spend too much time over thinking each part of the story instead of writing it. I’ll look at the last sentence I wrote and get lost in my conflicting and overlapping thoughts.
There’s no reason why I can’t stay on top of everything though if I just ignored the brain mess and just wrote. There’s this blog, ‘Hermes925’, the Games n Geekery blog, ‘The Haunted Story’, and my pseudonym project (trying my hand at a genre that doesn’t fit the Antony M. Copeland brand)! That’s it!. I could do a bit more on each, every day and make a bigger impact on my future career.
I need to get more books out, and sell them. If I can get into a routine, I may be able to add ‘The War on Magic’ back into the mix, and possibly rewrite ‘The City of Gate’ as a fantasy novel. Of course, establishing a routine has never been my strong suit, but I have to at least try.
I’ve considered trying to get a job as a content writer or copywriter, but it doesn’t sound fun. Writing for White Dwarf magazine would have been fun, but they turned down my application (to be fair, I rushed it it my excitement). Most of these jobs would be elsewhere. There’s a lot of content writer jobs in London, and Games Workshop is in Nottingham. If I took a job like that it would have to pay well enough to afford a place to live, which is unlikely.
I have a pretty good set-up here until I can make enough from books to quit the hotel job and rent somewhere much cheaper than I could find in a large city. It took Candace three years to get her income up to five figures. It’s doable. I’d rather not spend anymore of my life than I have to at the hotel, but if I manage my time correctly, the time should fly by.
I’m just not looking forward to the meeting with the owner. However she’s yet to actually schedule anything, and she may not take the opportunity to yell at me like everyone says she will. If she does, I need to take it with a large dose of salt. The main part of the hotel is actually the house she grew up in. This is her pride and joy. She’s bound to be protective of it. I’m still not going to appreciate being yelled at though.
Maybe I should get the Patreon going again, but this time really use it. Post updates to the stories and links to the blogs. It may help me become an independent writer a little faster.
I’ve mentioned something about the benefits of thinking negatively put I handed put a couple of important pieces together until this week. I hit a low, like you do, and was beginning to contemplate an exit strategy. There were a couple of people, and a couple of events, that helped me begin to climb out again.
Let’s start on a high note before I drag you into the sea of dispair I had been night-swimming in. Just a day or so ago, the UbiquiCity anthology was published! I still need to figure out how to get it to come up on my Author page, but if you search for ‘Antony Copeland’ (remember to leave out the ‘h’!) two results come up instead of just one!
For those that haven’t heard me mention UbiquiCity before, it’s a role-playing game sourcebook (that part isn’t out yet) and a collection of short stories, including one written by me! It’s based in the future and will probably be perfect for anyone who has played CyberPunk or ShadowRun and feel like the tech is out-dated. The consulting writers all help to create a society to play with that was utterly infused with computer-based intelligence. If you’re a proud RPG geek with a love of well-written fluff, buy it! 🙂
In addition to this great news, I also recently learned that the e-zine, Diversions from Drudgery, is still on track! So Hermes925 is still going to get published. I can put my concerns regarding continuity and plot holes to once side. It’s already going out as is, I’ll have to create a revised edition later if I still feel it’s necessary. Which means I can focus more on The Haunted Story project!
So that’s helping. Another thing that was a huge help was actually talking to some of my friends about my depression. One of whom had an amazing revelation about her own depression. She admitted publicly (on Facebook), that she is suicidal, but that it doesn’t mean that she’s going to kill herself, or at least not yet. It means that she’s acknowledging that she may, one day, kill herself if her life doesn’t get better. She’s using that as motivation to make her life better, or (quite literally) die trying.
The worst possible consequence of anything is death. Especially if you’re a chronic over-thinker like me (the downside of a good imagination I suppose). I don’t go out much because that stranger walking towards me could kill me. I especially tend to avoid bars and pubs because a drunken person is far more likely to turn aggressive. That’s why Facebook is so appealing to me. People may threaten to kill one another, but the risk of them actually doing so is minimal! Just in case though, I always try to be nice.
This actually connects to something else I’ve done that I’m not sure I want to talk about much. However, it came up, so out it comes! I’ve had a working theory for a while now that part of the reason I get depressed is because I always feel like I have to be nice. To get ahead in life, and to stay alive. Happy people have no reason to reason to kill you, especially if you’re the one that made them happy. I’ve had this theory since childhood. Make everyone happy = everyone is safe! It doesn’t matter that lots of my fellow schoolchildren didn’t respond well to my attempts to cheer them up, the concept was solidly integrated into my core programming.
I wanted to be good and make my parents happy, and the best way to make sure they would be happy all the time, would be to save the world. In hindsight it was a supremely arrogant, and condescending way to treat people. Anyway, having to be good all the time so that you can save-the-world/not-get-killed would sometimes get tiresome. Especially when people couldn’t see that you were just trying to help. It made me sad when I saw people doing something incorrectly (and even sadder when they argued).
I was absolutely convinced that I was better than them, and every time this concept was challenged I felt bullied and victimized. I know other people don’t think this way, because they didn’t understand. I got labelled a cry-baby, because whenever anyone challenged what I knew was true, I’d cry and an adult would come running to save me. In my mind this meant I was right. ‘See? The grown-up is on my side!’
Of course, this didn’t work so well once I was a teenager. When I was fifteen, one of my teachers suggested I keep a logbook of every time someone picks on me. I thought it was a great idea, until I discovered that the stuff I was getting upset about sounded so ridiculous on paper that I stopped writing stuff down. I felt like I could no longer justify crying to an adult over everything. I was forced to have to use my wits!
My wits weren’t as sharp as I had led myself to believe, and I was faced with the possibility that I may not be as smart as I thought. I’m still a little embarrassed by my final grades. The more frustrated I got, the more I found I wanted to say things that weren’t nice. However, it still had a strong self-identity as a good boy. No smoking, no swearing, and no intimacy with girls until you’re married. The idea of voices these ideas and questions made me very uncomfortable.
Then one day I snapped. It didn’t make much sense why I did. I’d failed to make an omelette in cooking class (the school called it ‘Food Technology’) I kept adding more eggs, sure that it would bind the sloppy mixture together. It was an embarrassing, and personally confusing, disaster. I realize now the reason why it upset me so much because it challenged my self-identity. I can make an omelette. I’d done it before. It wasn’t going according to plan, but it was okay because I knew how to fix it. Then the fix made it worse, and worse! It simply didn’t compute that it was happening.
Later that day, some else happened that wasn’t right. I was in the smart kid class for science (physics and biology were fun). It bothered me I wasn’t in the top tier for Maths too but that’s another story that also ended in me realizing my self-image was wrong. Good boys were supposed to be smart, be great at Science and Mathematics and go to university! Anyway, the Science teacher was off sick, so our class was to join one of the regular classes, and that teacher hadn’t arrived yet. The class contained several people that liked to pick on me. I lashed out with a fountain pen (fountain pens are better than other pens, therefore I had a fountain pen) at a (very stocky) girl that was curious about my odd-looking ‘rolling ruler’ an quickly left the room in search of an adult.
I told the first adult I could find that I didn’t know what happened. People were picking on me, then the next thing I knew I was leaving. To acknowledge that I know exactly what I did would contradict my self-identity. I had had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, so mu mum thought maybe it was an ‘absent’ seizure.
I should point out that I no longer think they were picking on me or bullying me. I think they were trying to figure me out. They found my answers entertaining because, to them, they were weird. I’m on fairly good terms with my weirdness, but I was never good with depression. Partly because (I think) I still have the ‘good boy’ persona dominant. How can a good boy have depression? That makes no sense! How can I be my father’s ‘Sunshine’ (his nickname) and simultaneously be able to acknowledge the anger and pain? Especially when so many have it much harder.
Telling myself that others are worse off is part of the same arrogant ‘I’m better than they are’ mindset that I’m trying to shed. Though shedding may not be the write idea. I know that bottling up doesn’t work. There have been some previous occasions when I’ve tried turning the feelings I represent as a secondary personality. The idea being that by allowing ‘him’ to express himself, I can prevent myself from having ‘outbursts’ (the one in Science class wasn’t the only time).
The ‘good boy’ and this alter-ego do seem to agree on a few things though. Including that multiple personalities, talking to yourself, etc. is nuts! I’d soon suppress it all again. I still find myself wanting to say things I can’t if I want to be seen as professional and have readers like me, so I push it down. So I’m trying the experiment again, and justifying the potential insanity by pointing out that I’m a writer. Writers have conversations with and as their characters all the time while writing their stories.
I’ve also read several times that the books that make the most money are romance and erotica. Both genres aren’t my thing. It doesn’t fit my dominant self-image to enjoy or write about love and sex, but If I write the stories as my rebellious alter-ego, I’m not compromising my online brand, an I give those thoughts I normally suppress an outlet that actually helps the cause!
Anyway. Long segue. It sort of ties back though because this permission I’ve given myself to explore ideas that don’t fit my personality allows me to learn things about myself that I have previously never allowed myself too, including being able to admit that, I too, am suicidal. I still believe though, based on looking at every angle I can think of, that it’s symptomatic, or at least the optimistic side does.
The pessimist likes to point out that this is biological disorder, but he also doesn’t trust that disorders are real. He thinks they’re either part of a deliberate conspiracy to undermine us and put ourselves in limited boxes so we don’t actually analyse ourselves to closely and figure out what we can do with our unique differences, or that people prefer being dumb, it takes less effort, so they slap a label on themselves and each other to they don’t have to think too hard.
Since I know these thoughts are upsetting, I tend not to agree with them in public. I still have the thoughts, I just can’t express them. However, that’s not really wanted to talk about. Admitting that feeling suicidal is, at least in my current situation, a fact, actually offers me a freedom I didn’t have before. If I might kill myself, the the worst that can happen is inevitable.
I may as well start taking risks as if I have a terminal disease. As if I could die tomorrow, at my own hand. Hiding from the world in my room is no longer a safe place. Suddenly my chances of survival in the outside world increases dramatically in comparison to the absolute certainty that, if I don’t make some changes in my life, I am going to kill myself.
I’ve believed the idea that ‘live for today, because you could die tomorrow’ for some time, but I’ve never put that additional piece ‘by your own hand’ before now. It makes the motivation far more immediate. A sudden heart-attack seems hard to imagine when compared to being hit by a bus, and of the two the heart-attack seems less painful, so my brain found a loop-hole and stayed indoors!
I can’t handle it anymore. I’ve got to make more contacts. Get myself out of the rat-race, or at least get myself a job that allows me to use my brain. Make more friends and hang out more with the ones I have. Perhaps even track down and meet up with some of the online ones! I think I may even be ready to risk a girlfriend! I miss having someone to cuddle and cry with, laugh and play with. The other guy has some ideas too that a good boy should never have.
It may hurt to open my heart again, but I’m hurting anyway. Maybe there’s even a chance that ‘the one’ is still out there, and not just a myth designed to keep us in line as ‘someone’ keeps telling me! It’s unlikely that anyone that reads this and the rest of my blog would be even remotely interested in dating me, but at least if they do, they’ll be somewhat forewarned!
If I start putting myself in situations that may make me happy, I may discover I don’t have to feel so sad. We’ll see if I’m brave enough, or if this new perspective will truly help.
I’m not saying I’m a ‘Jerry’, but if I was writing ‘Rick and Morty’, after separating from Beth, Jerry would’ve started wearing black eyeliner and writing bad sci-fi based on the adventures he never got to have!
For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, ‘Rick and Morty‘ is a cartoon in which an alcoholic mad scientist (Rick) takes his insecure grandson (Morty) with him to parallel dimensions and alien worlds. The results are hilarious and often disturbing, and Jerry (Morty’s father and Rick’s son-in-law) never gets to come along.
Jerry loves Beth (Rick’s daughter/ Morty’s mother) more than anything, but he’s rather spineless. As a result, his attempts to be the man of the house are more than a little desperate. Beth clearly wears the pants in the relationship. Even after they break up, Jerry still defines himself by the relationship he’s lost.
He’d clearly be better off moving on and finding someone who appreciates him for who he is. After of course, he’s taken the time to truly discover who he is as an individual, and not as a clingy parasite, but he’s Jerry, and he’ll continue to self-sabotage and aim to fail because that’s what Jerry’s do across multiple parallel dimensions.
It occurred to me last night at work while humming ‘Everything I do‘ from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack (I made the mistake of watching it again recently) that there are some definite similarities between the relationship Jerry has with Beth, and the one I had/have with my ex-wife. Unlike Jerry, I don’t see my ‘Beth’ anymore, but I still find myself thinking about what I’ve lost even though I know that what we had was unhealthy.
I even had a somewhat Rick-like father-in-law!
However, the point of this article wasn’t to mope down memory lane, wondering for the infinite-th time what I could have done to make her happy and berate myself for the promises I didn’t keep. It was to realise that I can use this parallel to my advantage! Most writers are familiar with the advice ‘write what you know’ (interestingly enough, the writer I recently interviewed recommended the opposite) but doing so often leaves me bogged down in emotions that halt my progress.
I’m working on a story right now in which the main character is intimidated by his more intelligent and successful spouse, and it occurs to me that, instead of reopening old wounds to bare my own soul on the page, I could just base the character on Jerry! Hopefully, the trick works and I can finish the short story without spiralling into self-pitying depression in the process!
If only I could also find a character with a similar childhood to mine so that I can tackle my The Science Of Magic rewrite too! I’m hoping to get part one of both stories out on Kindle soon so that I have more on my Amazon author page than just the first book of The Haunted Story series. 🙂
In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to work at all. I could just write at my own pace and people would be so impressed that they’d throw money at me like confetti!
Sadly, getting paid to write isn’t as easy as it sounds. For one, there are no office jobs where you can sit in a cubicle and produce fiction while taking home a base wage, benefits and a bonus each time a book sells that you wrote or contributed to. I would be applying to that job in a heartbeat. Particularly if there were on-site proofreaders and editors!
The opportunities available often take advantage of writers that are so desperate to get their name out there that the writers often end up paying for the privilege of being published, or getting paid so little for each story that it would be impossible to sustain a living wage even if you were to write 24/7.
The best I could manage, when I was able to get by without a ‘proper’ job, was about 35 hours per week. 9am-4pm Mon-Fri. I would update this blog on Mondays, write the next part of Hermes925 every Thursday, and the other days were dedicated to other WIP, updating the Games and Geekery blog or searching for writing opportunities.
Disheartened by the lack of opportunities that favoured the writer, I wanted to do something better. That’s when I took over as admin for the Creative Writers group and started bringing people together to help me make the Monolith project a reality.
For those that are new to this blog, Monolith is a series of anthologies (short story collections) containing a variety of fiction written by members of the Creative Writers group. Despite my passion for the project and my education/ background in business management and marketing, it all started to get too much for me to handle and I feel like I’ve had no time to actually write!
Thankfully one of the newer admins has taken it upon himself to organise the project and is doing a far better job than I did at keeping everyone on task. I’m still the heart of Creative Writers, but Greg is the head. Some people might have trouble handing over the reins like this, but it’s not about me and my ego. It’s about doing what’s best for the group, especially the Monolith writers.
I feel like I can finally write again! Especially since my current job as a night porter typically gives me a good few hours to kill between re-laying the breakfast and dinner tables at the start of my shift, and setting up the breakfast buffet right before my shift ends. I may not be able to do seven hours a day, like I used to, but I should at least be able to write something every day again.
I’ve already begun drafting the next part of the story following on from Hermes925: 13/17 Data Not Found. Written a blog entry or two, and added my Monolith story to this page (so readers can get a sneak peek, and to prove I wrote it first if it leaks). I haven’t quite managed to write every day yet, but perhaps that will change as of now.
The reason I started Monolith is so that I could sell my writing, and help other authors to sell their writing too. If I’m so wrapped up in the process that I don’t do any writing then it’s has failed to serve it’s purpose. I’m excited that the team has reached a point where it barely needs me, and that I’m able to get back to writing.
Things are going fairly well at the moment. The new job as a night-porter is just what the doctor ordered. I get time to write, I only have to deal with a few customers, I don’t have to work with an ex-girlfriend, and the other new night porter is awesome. Of course, now that we’re both trained up we’ll be on opposite shifts most of the time.
The potential romance issue has been resolved also. We talked. She recognises that I’m in no emotional (or financial) state to up sticks and move to Italy. We’re still friends, and maybe, when I have my shit together, it will still become something more. Who knows?
The Monolith project is going well too. I’ve got some great admins helping me to regain order and sanity. Each admin has been assigned specific tasks, taking a lot of the weight off my shoulders and allowing me to get back to doing what I’ve always done best. engaging with the Creative Writers group members and building interest in the group projects.
Thanks to the lack of stress I’ve even begun working on Hermes925 again. I haven’t even needed to smoke. I’ve been completely weed free for a week and have no compulsion to acquire any more. I’ve been wanting to quit for a while, but every previous attempt has left me feeling anxious and resulted in a relapse. I haven’t even written about it because I didn’t want any family that still read this to worry about me (and when I last described my ‘recovery‘ I was ridiculed for it).
However, a new job means new people, and new people (especially when they hear the slight American twang to my accent) means having to tell my story again. It’s not just co-workers and customers either. There’s a woman in the Creative Writers group that is going through some trouble with her partner remarkably similar to my relationship with my ex-wife. Helping her get through it and telling my story to others has inevitably stirred up some less than pleasant emotions.
The reason why I’m writing this article instead of working on the Creative Writers group FAQ, like I intended, is because it occurred to me that maybe the real reason I’m trying to become successful as an author, as a boss, and as a man, is to feel like I’m worth something. To give my life value and meaning. If I don’t produce something of lasting value, I’m just a waste of good oxygen.
I’m not writing this so that people will feel sorry for me and try to help. I know everyone that reads this is going through their own drama, trauma and pain. I also know we’re all broke, so I’ve given up asking for financial assistance either. I think I’ve removed every reference to asking for money from the website, including the ‘Tip Jars’ page I recently created, but if you find any I’ve missed let me know.
Realistically, I know that success won’t result in the permanent state of happiness that most of us aspire for, hoping that if they’re ambitious and determined enough they’ll be able to relax and bask in the glory of victory. Being the best invites challenge and conflict. We know from reading stories, playing games, and the lives of our cultural and literary heroes, that the better we become, the larger the challenges we face are.
However, that’s not what’s putting me off. Life is hard, but conflict and hardship make it interesting. However, it occurs to me that I haven’t stopped trying to prove myself worthy of love. Despite telling myself I don’t believe in love anymore, I still find myself wanting it. Though I feel like I’d have nothing to give. I can’t offer children or wealth, or even a place to stay until I can afford to move out of the back room of my Grandparents house.
Relationships would just complicate things anyway. Even the idea of socialising seems pointless. I sometimes crave company, but not enough to be worth the risk of becoming emotionally attached. Maybe love will find me when the time is right. When my assets are greater than my awkwardness and social anxiety. When my life is stable enough to know that I’m with someone because I truly love them, and not because of some selfish emotional need to feel loved and desired.
Any affection I receive would be charity on their part at this point in my life. If I work hard at becoming a success, I may eventually become worthy of love. Though no matter how hard I work I’ll still never be able to produce a family, so the whole thing seems like a waste of time. Why bother working so hard to become an attractive prospect when I’d be trapping any woman interested in a life of changeable moods, intermittent attention, and childlessness?
I like to write, but the pressure I’m putting on myself to accomplish ‘success’ is taking all the fun out of it. If it’s truly not worth the effort, then why am I even trying?
Please don’t worry. This is not a cry for help. Just processing some feelings I’ve long been suppressing.
Today I was working a breakfast shift at the Whitewater Hotel. I grumble about having to work here from time to time, but I still like it. There are much worse places I could be working. We were waiting for the last of the guests to finish when one of them called me over.
“Young man? (instant ego boost) Do you have any toothpicks?” she asked
“I’m sure I can find you some,” I say, already knowing there are cocktail sticks in the kitchen. I’ve been working in customer service for most of my adult life, and read quite a bit too, to actively try and excel at it. I habitually under promise and over deliver now.
I returned with three cocktail sticks and asked: “Will these do?”
She accepted them gratefully, and I said, “I’m terrible, I always use the corner of a business card.” She replied that she refuses to admit to doing the same. I took the opening and pulled out one of my business cards saying, “I have one if you need it”.
She looked at it. Read my name, and that it says ‘Author’, and asked me what I was writing. So, of course, I told her all about Hermes925, the Creative Writers group and the Monolith project. She held my gaze as she asked if I was published, so I told her excitedly,
“That’s part of the reason I’m doing the anthology. It will allow me to figure out how self-publishing works without risking my baby”. My ‘baby’ being Hermes925. She came up with a great idea.
“Then afterwards you could write about how to become self-published. There’s a huge market for that right now.” It turns out she’s retired from a corporate position in which she specialised in attitude-focused motivation. I’m sure my eyes lit up as I mentioned a project currently on the back-burner called “Levelling Up! A gamer’s guide to success“.
The book would compare gaining XP (experience points) to gain new skills in both tabletop and video RPGs to gaining real life experience and applying them to your life to develop real skills.
She seemed very interested in the idea of applying game experience to real life and encouraging people to be more with what they already know. I loaded my tray with dirty plates and used breakfast items such as the jam tree and sugar bowl as we talked. We soon realised that we’d spent a long time talking and she promised to keep my card and email me. I went back to the.kitchen with the tray, invigorated and hopeful.
I was a little disappointed that she left my card behind, but not terribly surprised. If I bump into her again over the next couple of days, I’ll hand her another card as if she forgot. I may have been deliberate, and if it was it wouldn’t be the first time that someone in the corporate world promised me a great opportunity that never materialised.
It also reminded me that the only people I can rely on are my family. They’ve given so much to help me become a successful author. I want to return the favour and help them live they way they want to live. If I want to do that I need to work harder to make Creative Writers Press a reality, and put rest to the idea that some mysterious benefactor will simply give me what I want.
I’ll learn a lot more figuring this all out myself. I’ll be more than just someone who got lucky. I’ll be an expert, and I can use that expertise to compound that experience into more stories, projects and self-help books! I feel more confident in my ability to pull this off than ever.
I’ve been trying to crowdfund to support giving the administrators of the Creative Writers group a salary, so they have more time to work on this. There’s already a Patreon site, and I’m working on a Kickstarter site too. If that doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. I just pointed out to someone today that my part-time job gives me a break from all the work I’m putting into this. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
However, I think I might be able to get myself a better income if I do this right. I can schedule breaks for myself. I can keep a standard work day again instead of fitting time in around my Whitewater shifts. Even if I’ll fail, I’ll be gaining experience and I’ll learn. When I try again I can use what I’ve learned and I’ll find a whole new set of hurdles, and I’ll learn from those too. I’ll keep practising what works until I have a whole new set of skills.
Those of you who play RPGs will know that at this point things start to get easier, but then you level up. This gives you new recognition, more renown, and tougher challenges. I can’t wait 🙂
Sometimes I’m kind of an idiot. There are several stories I should be working on, but I just can’t find the motivation. I actually have the next part of Hermes925 drafted and ready to go, but instead of typing it up I spent most of the day playing Oblivion (in my defence, it was on sale).
I’m tempted to blame it on feeling too tired to write, which would launch me into another rant in which I whine about having to work at a hotel part-time when I’d rather just be writing for a living. It’s necessary for now though. I’m living in a room that’s about 8′ by 10′ at my grandparent’s house. I really need to get a place of my own.
When I moved in I didn’t plan on having a girlfriend, but I do, and I’m grateful. I think the lack of room for her stuff is upsetting her. She needs some territory she can claim as her own beyond a pull-out bed, a drawer and part of a shelf!
I think it’s also frustrating to her how much time she has to spend at work. She works more hours than I do and seems to spend most of the time she’s not at work napping. She’d much rather have the time and energy to enjoy her time off, as would I.
I tell myself that I need to buckle down and get writing, or I’ll never be able to give her the freedom she deserves. Instead, I find myself procrastinating. I’ll be checking Facebook to see if any members of the Creative Writers group have a problem I can help with or playing a game instead.
I’ve often advised others to start freewriting when they get into a funk like this. Just pick up a pen and paper (or in this case open a new blog post) and start writing. I tell them, quite sagely, that doing so might help them figure out what it is that’s really holding them back. Yet, I didn’t think of it myself. Hence the self-abuse at the beginning of this post.
I’m still no clearer to understanding why I can’t seem to be bothered. I’ve maybe written five lines all day on an actual story, which is more than I’ve done the last four days. To be a little fairer on myself I was working at the hotel 3 of those days.
I like working at the hotel. I get along with my co-workers, the view from the bar is fantastic, and sometimes I can get a free meal. I just wish I wasn’t so tired all the time. My feet still hurt. I can’t imagine how much worse I’d be feeling if I worked five days a week instead of only three!
I know everyone hates going to work. I should just man up. One of my colleagues has had surgery lately and still manages to work a full week. I feel like a whiny brat in comparison. There are lots of others too, willing to work their fingers to the bone for a steady paycheck. I still feel I’d be much happier getting by on what little money I can make from writing, but I have much more to worry about now than my own wellbeing.
Before I had to start taking a second job, I had a system that seemed to be working. Get up when I like, but start writing at 10 am. Keep writing (which would also include research, editing, re-writing, and sharing my latest updates online) until I can’t concentrate on anything anymore. This system would often give me about 6 hours of writing and writing-related work each day, and I would give myself weekends off.
Things got more complicated now. For one, I needed to be able to buy my own food instead of raiding my Grandparents all the time, so day-job. I can’t even stick to my old plan on the days I’m not at the hotel. One or both of us will have to over-sleep to recover from a hard shift at work, so no strict 10am start. I also can’t, in good conscience, ignore my girlfriend as she’s sitting on the bed right next to my desk.
Something has to go. It’s not going to be the writing. The very idea makes every cell in my body rebel. It had better not be my girlfriend or I’m going to be very upset. It has to be the job that gets sacrificed, but with the job also goes our main source of income. Even if I could secure income enough to support us both, I still wouldn’t have the time to write. Unless I can either find a way to include her in the writing process or hope she finds a passion of her own to pursue.
I also realise that all of this is a complete waste of time. The fact is I have chosen this life and I’m the only one who can make it work. It’s my responsibility. Yet I still have this childish, almost girly, dream that some day a famous author (Neil Gaiman) is going to see my work, tell me that my ideas are awesome but they could be better expressed, and then take me under their wing as their apprentice.
Even that isn’t going to happen unless I have my work out there to be found. I need to stop wasting my time whining, overthinking, sleeping, etc. I need to create the future I want to have. That’s not going to happen while staring at a screen and feeling sorry for myself.
I really should be working on my Monolith submission. Maybe I’ll sleep on it and try again tomorrow. Maybe when I wake up, I’ll discover that I have a hundred new paid subscribers each paying £10 a month, which would be more than enough for me to make writing my only job. I’ll keep dreaming until I do.