Every so often I write another post declaring that I’m going to get organised and start writing like it’s my full time job, and yet I still find myself procrastinating. Even my attempts to identify and eliminate whatever it is holding me back has just become another way to procrastinate.
I can’t blame relationship stress, because I’m not in one. I can’t blame trying to find time to time write while working a full-time job, because I don’t have a job right now except writing. I can’t even use the fact that I don’t have a steady income as an excuse, because I’m living with family who support my desire to write full time. I can’t blame loneliness or homesickness either, because I’m home with my family.
I really have no excuse. I just need to develop the discipline. What I’d like ideally is for people who like my stories to let me know they like them, and pester me for more. I know this sounds egotistical, but I also know it works. My parents have read The Haunted Story: Dead Letter and they want to know what happens next, but they also don’t want to read it until it’s finished.
As a result, I’ve been making myself write more of The Haunted Story: Investigation every day. Sometimes I miss a day or two, but for the most part I’m making progress.
Would you be willing to help me?
I used to do weekly updates to Hermes925. I’d be willing to do something similar for The Haunted Story, and perhaps even start doing Hermes925 updates again, if I was getting some encouragement from my audience. Some reassurance that people want what I’m writing. While it’s true that I’m writing these stories for me, I’d also like to know that I’m not wasting my time.
Everyone likes to feel good about what they’ve chosen to do with their lives, or at least know that people are listening when they speak.
Do you ever feel like no-one is listening?
Despite feeling happier than I have in years, I can feel the depression still lingering beneath the surface. Telling me that all of this is futile. That whining about it won’t help. That I’m deluding myself.
However, I’m also running an RP group on Facebook called The City of Gate that’s been going for years because the players are genuinely interested in what happens next. I know I’m never going to get the same level of participation and feedback from my stories as I do from my roleplay games, but a little would be nice!
I also know I won’t get any feedback if I don’t post anything, so I’m going to start posting my work-in-progress again. If you like the story, please tell me, so I don’t have to rely purely on empty hope and my own unreliable discipline. Talk to me. Please.
When I was a pre-teen, while I was in hospital awaiting an operation, my Dad told me that being brave was being scared and doing it anyway. My Uncle Nick said something similar just the other day. Along with other conversations I’ve been having since my decision to seek therapeutic help, it’s reminded me of something I realised years ago. If I want to make my life better I need to step out of my comfort zone and actively make it better.
Life doesn’t just give you things because it feels sorry for you. If you want something you have to order it, pay for it, and arrange delivery. Of course, this is easier said than done. It requires a certain drive and confidence that I don’t currently feel. However, I also know that confidence doesn’t necessarily come naturally. It’s a performance, a show, to assure people that you are strong and capable. After all, the ‘con’ in ‘con-artist’ is short for ‘confidence’.
That’s the part that makes me particularly uncomfortable though. It’s not just talking to strangers with a smile and deliberately making eye contact, it’s the dishonesty of it that makes me uncomfortable. I’ve been able to use the various tricks of body language, vocal intonation and word choices to assure, calm and up-sell to people for decades, but the friends I had made that way don’t feel real.
The real me is shy, and yet sure that I’m capable of accomplishing great things. I’m not sure how I’m going to get there without feeling like a con-artist though, or leaving myself exposed by showing them the real me. I feel like the boy I was at school. Looking at the ground and trying to avoid upsetting anyone. I miss the personality I cultivated when I was in college. Arrogant and naive. Apparently unconcerned with the opinions of others, looking everyone I met boldly in the eyes.
To be honest this affect crumbled when I moved to America. I felt lost, but somehow I still felt more confident than I do now. I think it’s because I believed it was destiny. The woman I had moved to the states to be with was ‘the one’, or so I thought at the time. I don’t think she ever really knew me. Even when we broke up, what came out was much angrier than I truly am. Maybe if she’d known the real me, we would never had made the mistake, but then I would never have lived in America.
As you can see, I know that I can’t continue to hide myself away in my room sleeping and procrastinating during the day and working in an empty hotel at night, but I don’t want to be the sleazy car salesman con-artist personality either. Nor do I want to be the ever caring, never complaining version of me that I frequently find myself becoming in relationships. In my last relationship I actively fought against falling into that pattern, and messed it up.
I keep pushing the world away worried it will hurt me, but I also know that some degree of pain is necessary to grow, and I so dearly want to grow. I want to be a success, I want to be proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I want to be happy. To accomplish this I need to enter the big scary world and make it work for me, and that requires confidence.
After talking it over with a very smart friend I’ve decided to offer blog articles for £100 each, and £50 each for short ones.
I’m offering Ghostwriting and Co-Author services too. If you have a great story idea but don’t think that you could do it justice, then I can help. You may even have started writing it yourself and got stuck. You can hire me as a Ghostwriter, in which case the book has your name on it, and you get to keep the royalties, but you pay me for my time upfront. Or, you can let me take a Co-Author credit, both names are on the cover, we split the royalties 50-50, and it costs you nothing.
I’m hoping to build up a client list as quickly as possible. I need to be a full-time writer. I’m going nuts. I’ve been trying to build my profile, and my reputation. Take my time. Do this right. Work wherever I can to survive while I make myself look great online. The problem is that the job I’m doing for money is taking all my time, energy and motivation.
I didn’t realize when I started working nights how lonely and depressing it would get. I needed some time to think, but now I’m ready to rejoin the world. I could just get another shitty job doing bar-work, retail or call centre customer service, but I really don’t want to have to. I want to write. It’s all I want to do, and I’m good at it.
I got my start as a blogger writing geek-culture articles for a WordPress-based website. The articles I’ve written for them seem to have gone, but I saved a few of my favourites and re-blogged them on Games ‘n’ Geekery. A geeky website of my own I created using all the skills I learned while working for them, and a few tricks I’ve picked up since.
They didn’t pay me anything, but the experience was invaluable. I learned how to use WordPress, how to make a good-looking blog article, and that I could churn out an original 500-1000 word article, including research, links, pictures and video, every single day.
I used what they taught me to create this blog, and others. The Hermes925 serialized story that I’ve been posting to this website attracted the attention of Tod Foley, who recruited me for the UbiquiCity project. The writer team would video conference online to talk about our ideas and world-build together, then we each wrote a short story that fit into the world we created. My short story, and the others, are now available on Amazon as part of the UbiquiCity anthology. The accompanying RPG sourcebook will be out soon. It was a fun project. 🙂
I got the opportunity to ghost-write a story for someone, and that was fun too, but the client put the project on hold before I saw a penny for the work I did. I definitely learned a lesson there, but it put me off the idea of ghost-writing for a while.
I submitted a short story or two to contests and publications that offered a cash prize or payment if you were accepted, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that writing short stories for submission, especially if they don’t get accepted. Too much time and effort, for not enough guaranteed reward. If I write a good short story, I want some guarantee I’m going to get paid for it, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone to publish it.
It’s about that time I got distracted by the Creative Writers group. It had only 32 members left, no admin at all. It occurred to me that I could test some of the things I’d learned about social media management and audience building, and also create the kind of supportive community I wanted to find. The group now has over seventeen thousand members.
I even created an opportunity for group members. I’ve always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. I learn best when it’s a necessary means to accomplish a desired outcome. In hindsight the Monolith project was probably a little too ambitious, but that was kind of the idea. Set the bar high and see if I could pull it off. I didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way.
The idea was to create a series of large anthologies, containing well-written stories, all conforming to the same theme. There would be no charge to submit and we would review the stories as they were submitted. That way we wouldn’t have to try and deal with a huge pile all at once after the submission deadline, and the writers would get feedback right away instead of having to wait. This also gave them an opportunity to try and improve their submission and try again.
We ended up with a lot of great stories, and a lot that could have been good if the writers had been willing to improve them. The project became a logistical nightmare, even with help from other admins in the group, and so the project was abandoned. However, I decided to test self-publishing anyway with one of the short-stories I had written. It sold pretty well for a short story, and I’m currently writing a longer story, hopefully a novel, inspired by the short story. It’s called The Haunted Story.
It’s taking longer to write than I wanted though. I enjoy writing stories, but they’re harder than blog articles. I have several work-in-progress story-lines that I will to turn into books. A few of the ideas have already been mentioned in this blog. I know I can manage my time better, and be able to spend more time and energy writing my stories, if I can write full-time. The night porter job is an inefficient use of my time and wastes my creativity.
I could replace the hotel job by securing enough clients to write an article a day, just like I used to do. I’m a good writer, as you can see from this blog and my published stories. I’m more than happy to negotiate, especially if I can gain something else besides money, like cover-art, editing, or marketing.
I can do blogging, and it comes easily to me, but I’d prefer to write a book with you. I know from the previous experience that I write better and faster when I’m working for someone, and it gives me something to look forward to each day. Unlike my current job. At this point I’d welcome any opportunity to write for a living really.
So, want to write a book with me? If you don’t have any ideas, I can help with that too. I’m aware that some people just want to see a book on the shelves with their name on the cover. I can arrange that. I can also go to the opposite extreme and help you polish up and revise a story that you’ve mostly written already (and that wouldn’t cost as much). It’d be much more fun to bounce ideas off each other and come up with a great story together, but I’m flexible.
Please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a comment if you have any questions, advice for new freelancers, or a project for me. Whether you’re a fellow writer with too much on your plate, a website manager that needs more content, or just someone that wants their name on a book, I look forward to hearing from you.
I’ve actually been thinking about quitting writing quite a lot. Writing is hard work and takes up a lot of my time. I told myself that I needed to do this, for me, that no matter what. However, I’m beginning to worry that my friends and family see me as selfish and foolish, and would prefer that I give up this dream of being as well known an Author as Neil Gaiman, George R R Martin or Anne Rice.
My close family. My parents and my sister, are being very supportive. My Sister has even challenged me to finish Hermes925 by the summer, and I wouldn’t be able to muddle by at all if it wasn’t for the monthly financial assistance from my Mum and Dad. The rest of my family, however, have not become subscribers or shown much interest in my writing whatsoever.
I currently live with my Grandparents. I don’t expect them to become patrons, they are already doing more than enough by giving me a roof over my head and a place to sleep until I get back on my feet. They used to feed me too, but they can no longer afford too and I worry that I continue to be a drain on their budget. Their electricity and water bills must have gotten higher since I got here, especially with my girlfriend spending all her time here too.
That’s partly why I took the part-time job. I want to help out while I’m here, contribute to the bills and groceries. I’d still rather pay for it by writing, but the income from my Patreon.com page is only up to $15 (£11.95) per month. I also want to save up to get a better place for me and my girlfriend. I’ve seen gaming tables bigger than this room. I’m only working 2-3 days per week, but it’s already put a strain on my writing time.
I’ve been asked by several members of the family to help Grandma and Grandad with dishes, dusting, and other little cleaning jobs. This is completely reasonable and the least I can do for the generosity they’ve shown me. One family member has asked me to also begin taking over the larger jobs. Typically Grandad likes to do these jobs himself and has never asked me to help. However, I don’t want to further alienate my family.
I know some people manage to write entire novels in just 2-4 hours per week, but I honestly don’t know how. This blog is about the only thing I freewrite in one draft. Hermes925 always gets at least two drafts. The rough draft is written on paper first, purposefully forcing me to rewrite it when I transpose it to the computer. The second draft is always much better than the first. I usually rewrite it again when I transpose earlier entries for publication elsewhere. I’m currently behind on the story, but you can read the most recent entry here.
As you probably know, Hermes925 also drew the attention of Project UbiquiCity, and I have a story I’m writing for them. The current draft is due at the end of this month. It’s not going to happen. It would be logical, of course, to be working on that right now instead of writing this rant, but the writing process is seldom logical. I often find that a story I need to get written just isn’t coming to me, but another story, or an article, is screaming to get written instead.
I don’t mind much that the science-fantasy story (the one about a physicist that can see faeries) has been put on a back burner for now since I’m stuck. I haven’t had any idea how to proceed with the rough draft for weeks. I do feel like I need to start the second draft. Perhaps something will change in the rewrite that will solve the impasse. I don’t have time right now.
I’d also like to begin re-writing my ghost story. The original was a short story in the form of a single letter written by a man who has was so obsessed with ghosts that he researched how to become one, and then killed himself with the intention of haunting the story itself. I hoped to send chills down the spine of the reader. It didn’t work and it got rejected by the magazine I submitted it to. So I now plan to write a longer story about the investigators that find his mutilated corpse, and show the reader what it’s like to be haunted by this ghost instead of relying on their imagination. I don’t have time right now.
I need to prioritise UbiquiCity and Hermes925, and also make time to help my Grandparents more, and continue to work the part-time job at the Whitewater Hotel. There are som many ideas swimming around. Sequels for stories I haven’t written yet. Projects that would allow people who can’t, or don’t, read to experience my stories. So many wild fantasies, including the idea that one day I’ll be able to afford a big house with rooms aplenty that family and friends are welcome to stay in.
It might be time to “grow up” and quit writing. I’d be letting down the patrons I already have for Hermes925, the Distractions from Drudgery e-zine that has agreed to serialise Hermes925, and the team of writers I’m working with on Project UbiquiCity. However, I’d also have the time to take care of my Grandparents like I’ve been asked too, to the best of my ability.
I feel guilty for even debating this. I have to take the selfless path don’t I? If I don’t sacrifice my own happiness for others, then I’m just a selfish jerk. I want nothing more than to be a writer, but I simply can’t afford too. I used to tell myself that if I focussed on my writing now, treated it like my full-time occupation, that I’d soon be able to afford to pay for a professional carer for my Grandparents, and give generously to other friends and family also. It’s not happening yet.
I am making progress. It seems like a waste, and a terrible shame to give it all up now. It’s become such a habit to get up and write, I’d feel lost without it. I imagine myself on the couch with the grandparents, watching their tv shows and silently screaming to myself that I’m not writing. It’s true that I could be scribbling away in a notebook during this, but I really really don’t want the shows they watch to influence my writing. I suppose I could try it.
I also don’t really feel qualified to do my Grandparents housework. I’m terrible at it. I always have been. It’s a bad excuse for not wanting to help my grandparents, but it’s nevertheless true. My room is, I’m told, typical of those who are creatively minded. It’s messy. Grandma and Grandad do a better job of keeping the house clean than I ever could.
Then there’s my girlfriend, who is often content to watch a movie, play a video game, or nap while I’m writing. What do I expect her to do while I’m sitting with Grandma and Grandad or doing their housework? If I change my habits like I’m suggesting and spend more time keeping my Grandparents company instead of being holed up in my room scribbling down ideas or typing, do I ask her to help me keep an eye on the Grandparents?
It seems that the logical thing since she has time to nap and play games would be to ask her to do my Grandparents housework. After all, if we were living together and I was supporting us both with my writing as I would like, then it would be her doing the majority of the housework. It seems like a shitty thing to ask, even if it would be a logical solution.
I could still sit with the grandparents, scribble down ideas or even type them up on my laptop. I could use an earbud in one ear (leaving the other ear able to hear) to listen to music on my phone, or even use my tablet to play a better background movie or tv show than the one they’re watching. I’d also be available to help with the cleaning if need be. Particularly if I want a break from writing for a few minutes.
I might be able to make this work after all, simply by moving my ‘office’ from my desk in my room to the living room couch. It just wouldn’t be very fun for my girlfriend. It would be far more sensible and hurt fewer people, to just put writing on hold for a few years. I fear though that if I do that, I’ll be trapped. Unable to ever afford to do more than working my arse off at job I get paid as little as possible for, only to see all the money disappear into credit card debts, and expensive (but much needed) trips and hobbies to break up the tedium of life.
All I want to do is write, but it can’t be all about me or what kind of man would I be? On the other hand, what opportunities would I be giving up on if I stopped now? Would successfully balancing my writing, my job, my relationship and my grandparent’s chores finally earn the respect of the family and friends who have yet to become patrons, or even read my work?
I was challenged by the rising Facebook star Chris Forbush to write a blog article about success. In fact, the challenge was open to anyone who read the post. What he actually said was:
As you can see I told him my life isn’t a success story yet, which isn’t entirely accurate. I’ve succeeded at quite a few things in life. I’ve survived school and several different jobs. During my not-so-successful marriage in the US, I learned that I was holding myself back and putting my own desires on hold. By the time I’d come back to the UK after my marriage crumbled, it didn’t take me long to realise that I wasn’t going to find success following a traditional career path.
When I was a child I couldn’t make my mind up what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote about being a fireman, or a spaceman, a robot, or a wizard, a pirate, or a palaeontologist, an inventor, a scientist, or a knight. Even as an adult I would agonise over my life choices and write about ways I could achieve my goals and find happiness. It was only in the last few years that I realised I’d been a writer all along.
Even then I didn’t take the plunge to becoming a full-time writer until this year. I came back broke so I moved in with my Grandparents. I was trying to hold down a part-time job to bring in some money while I wrote, but I found the work and the people I worked with to be exhausting. I didn’t come home motivated or inspired. My mind was occupied with gossip and criticism. It wasn’t worth it.
I’m lucky to have family that are able to support me while I make a real go of this. I can write and look for additional opportunities to get paid for my writing without having to worry too much about keeping a roof over my head. I can’t just kick back and relax, they’re not made of money. I know that their budget has gotten a lot tighter because of me. My next ‘success’ will be when I start to receive paychecks for the stories I have submitted and will yet submit.
It would also be nice if I had a few more paying subscribers to my blog, but so far my attempts to encourage followers to pay even £1 per month have fallen flat, but I’m still determined to make this work. So in addition to writing and looking for publications that pay for submissions, I’ve created a version of my WordPress website in Blogger and I’m also going to share my work on Patreon, Wattpad and CoPromote to try and increase my exposure. This should dramatically increase the chance that clients and patrons will find me.
I will, of course, continue to share every article I write on Facebook and Twitter also. Including every future entry of the Sci-Fi story I’m writing, Hermes925. If you like Sci-Fi (with a little fantasy and dystopia thrown in), feel free to read the story from the beginning via the Wattpad page or the WordPress Page. If anyone can tell me how to add ‘next page’ and ‘prev page’ on WordPress, I’d love to hear from you.
In addition to spreading myself across the internet as far as I can think of right now, I’ve also submitted a short Ghost Story to a publication which won’t want it published elsewhere if they accept it (so read it while you can), an ezine called Diversions from Drudgery is going to serialise Hermes925, and I’m working with a team of writers to produce short stories to include in the sourcebook for a futuristic roleplay game.
I have quite a few irons in the fire, and I honestly feel that success is just a matter of persistence and time. Though, for the sake of my family and my girlfriend, I hope it’s sooner rather than later. If you’d like to help us, you can either subscribe via small monthly payments, make a single larger donation, commission me to write you a story, impart your expert advice, or share my work with those you think would appreciate it. I’d be very grateful no matter which of the option(s) you choose.
In the meantime, I’m going to keep working toward my goal every day. I hope to begin reaping the fruits of my labour soon, but I expect there’ll be plenty of anxiety and disappointment on the way. I’ll try to avoid them by talking to readers, publishers and other writers to learn the secrets of success. I’m looking forward to hearing from you, for any reason you like, but particularly if you can help me achieve my goals.
I’m in a bit of a dilemma. My book needs a rewrite to incorporate a new character. What I’m trying to decide is whether I should finish writing the current version of the story first, or scrap the story so far and start over.
So far I’ve been writing Hermes925 as a journal. It’s based in the future. Keeping journal is an archaic practice, so it never really made much sense. Even if Jaime were choosing to write the journal on paper so that there’d be no digital record, the N•Viron system still sees everything. Jaime’s audience needs to be different. Needs to be real.
·In the original draft, Jaime was writing the journal in the Hermes spacecraft. The connection to the N•Viron system (spoilers) had already been lost. This would make a little more sense since he has no other form of expression or communication. Maybe I’ll back to that. Maybe he’s not writing it at all, perhaps he’s talking to the Hermes925 artificial intelligence. I always intended for it to be revealed that the AI is the narrator, recounting and reviewing Jaime’s entries after he throws his journal into the on-board reclaimer. If he’s having a conversation with the ship instead it may make more sense.
I also came up with the character “Rook” though. It might help make the character’s more relatable if at least some of it took the form of a conversation between Jaime and Rook. Jaime could be trying to explain the value and purpose of several aspects of their society, including Arpies, conviction by consensus, reclaimers, and even the portal gates. Rook could provide a counter argument that it’s all part of an elaborate conspiracy to control us and manipulate us, and thusly reveal the Orwellian undertones of society to the reader, while making it seem ridiculous enough to be ignored by Jaime.
However, can I really just stop the current version dead and start over? The new version will be better, but I already have people who follow the story each time I publish a new entry. Don’t I owe it to them to finish it? Perhaps on the way I’ll identify other plot holes and imperfections and be able to address them all in one rewrite instead of having to rewrite again when they come up. However, I think when the story changes I’ll find that some of the problems with this plot aren’t an issue, and that the rewrite has all new issues.
So I’m asking for your opinion. Keep writing a story that doesn’t quite work so you can see how it ends? Or go back to the drawing board and start the story over, making it a more traditional story including conversation with other characters, and not just a series of journal entries?
Comment either here on the blog or on the Facebook page, or via email or messenger if you prefer. I’m leaning toward starting over, so if you’d rather I keep working on the current version instead, please speak up.
I decided to spend half my day looking for a job, and the other half working on Hermes925. I feel rather accomplished since I have managed to do just that. There were times when I was living in America that I would set myself a goal, and find the day disappear into the aether of distractions. Facebook, friends, my girlfriend at that time, the Xbox360, and the worst culprit of all, my cat.
I loved Scotty. He was my buddy, but when he wanted petting, there was very little you could do to dissuade him. I’d be typing away, and suddenly a cat would be leaping into my arms. If I didn’t lean back and fold my arms under his arse, then his claws would raked painfully down my chest as he scrambled to climb up to my shoulder. I’d just have to stop writing until he’d had enough, or I was determined enough to withstand the claws I’d get when I removed him.
In the house in Wales I still had distractions, and again the main culprit was an animal. Toby is a fun little dog, full of energy, and he’d like nothing more than to play fetch with me. I’d work with the french windows open to avoid getting too hot as I worked, and Toby would trot in from the yard and drop a ball at my feet. If I ignored him, he would pick up the ball and drop it again, and again, and wouldn’t stop until I threw the ball for him until he collapsed.
So now there’s no animals and I can type in peace! I got a bunch of applications filed, and even received an interview time already from one employer.A few of the jobs I applied for were writing jobs. If I end up hearing from one of them I wouldn’t mind having to give up my writing time to do it, because I’d still be writing! 🙂 The follow up wasn’t from one of the content writing positions though. At this point though I just need to get some cash in my pocket, whatever the opportunity might be.
My Grandad has been reading my rough notes for Hermes925. He made some interesting points after finishing it. I clearly need to give what I’d written so far a read through to make sure that some of the ideas I wrote in later (as I thought of them) are incorporated into the story from the beginning. In particular he wanted the orwellian overtones to be clearer.
He also mentioned that it needed a timeframe. I’ve been avoiding this deliberately, mostly because I find that putting a date on a work of science fiction limits the amount of time in which the fantastic technology is believable. Of course eventually our technological advancement will surpass that which is described in the story anyway, so maybe he has a point. It may help anchor the story somewhat.
When I started this most recent version of Hermes925 I also intended to explore the character of Psy•Man a little so that I understood his motivation and personality a little better. I’d actually come to a conflict in the previous version that involved Psy•Man, an I wasn’t sure what he’d do in the situation. It has also become generally confusing and I didn’t like the way it was going.
However, Jaime hasn’t met Psy•Man until the exact same point he did in the last version. I may have to write a separate set of writing from his perspective. They would be more analytical, coldly manipulative and reveal his talent for software engineering. I’m also thinking they would be short charming status updates, samples of chats with various unsuspecting victims of his cruel intelligence, and perhaps some gloating private notes.
I’ve not gotten myself into the right mindset yet, perhaps I need to read some Dean Koontz, Thomas Harris or Jeff Lindsay and come back to it. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on the narrative track I’m on and see if the appropriate time for Psy•Man’s story comes up organically. Some of you who’ve read the older Hermes sample, might recognise the next entry. Here’s the latest entry for now: 11/26 First Day! Enjoy.