ADHD Makes Adulting Harder Than It Should Be!

I’m juggling so many thoughts right now I don’t even know where to start, so I’m just going to start writing and see what happens.

I have ADHD. Almost everyone knows that this means I have trouble paying attention, but to say this is an oversimplification is an understatement. If I’m interested in something, not only do I have no trouble paying attention, I become hyper-focused. This can come in handy and help me get things done. Providing nothing breaks my focus.

That’s where it can be a problem. I’m rather easily distracted. Sometimes, I can provide myself with a controlled distraction. Like a fidget toy or a movie playing in the background. Something that can occupy my hyperactive mind without taking too much focus from my primary goal. It doesn’t always work though. Especially if I wasn’t particularly interested in the task to begin with.

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That’s the other not-so-fun part. I have no control over my hyper-focus. Sometimes something I’ve been really into before, doesn’t interest me at all another time. It can be really confusing. A good example of this is self-improvement books and books about living with ADHD. I will go through periods of reading books and listening to audiobooks to better myself and I’ll eagerly absorb every word they say, then suddenly I’ll pick up a book, or press play, and nothing will go in. This can be very frustrating. How can I control my ADHD when my ADHD won’t let me learn how?

Jobs are the hardest though. When I first start any new job, I’m generally fairly eager to learn everything there is to know about the job. Except when I tried car sales. I couldn’t get any product product info to stick because I just don’t care about cars. However, for the most part, I learned quickly and voraciously about how to do the job. I do well, and often hit my targets in the first couple of months. Then I get bored, because I know how to do it and I’m not interested anymore.

I have a few tricks to get around this. I fold origami at my desk, or fiddle with magnet puzzles, or Transformers (the ones with lots of steps). Most managers will consider these activities distracting and assume that they’re to blame for my low-productivity, when in fact it’s the only thing keeping me working at all.

That’s why I thought a writing career would be better. No bosses telling me how to do a job I already know how to do in my sleep. No trying to sell products that I don’t believe in. No boring. Or so I thought. It turns out that writing a story can get really boring. Especially if it’s a formulaic narrative that a client wants you to write because it hits all the bullet points that the marketing tells them it should.

Even the stories I’m writing for myself. If I already know how it ends, then trying to put it into detailed words that allow other people to see the direction the story takes can be a little tedious. Admittedly, I often find that the characters add interesting details to the narrative that I hadn’t originally anticipated, but getting to those ‘wow’ moments can be a slog. Then there’s re-writes! Sometimes I don’t want to write another word simply because, once I’ve finished, I need to rewrite the whole fucking thing to check for errors and tighten up the plot. Boring!!

I had these big ambitions of writing everyday, like it was my full-time job (because it would be). Being the next J. K. Rowling and living in luxury. In reality I sometime go for days without writing anything, and even then it’s only because of ‘The City of Gate‘ and ‘The N-Viron Network‘.

Speaking of which, I love writing those stories and if I could somehow make a living running those RP groups, I think I’d be in heaven. I’ve had the idea of selling merch, but I don’t think my audience much cares about ‘The City of Gate’ t-shirts and miniatures. The minis will be a particularly hard sell, just because they’re so expensive. Particularly if I want to make a profit selling them. More on that later.

At the moment I don’t make a lot of money. None, in fact, from the writing. I can, however, make up to about £120 per week doing odd-jobs. I like doing the odd-jobs. I get to help people, do something physical, get some fresh air, meet new people, and make a little money. Since I’m not a fully licensed and insured handyman, I only charge £10 per hour and generally only work in two hour shifts for each client. If I can work my way up to two clients per day, Monday thru Friday, I could make £800 per month.

This would be fine if the plan was still to stay with my parents for as long as I could, save up £1000 of ‘oh shit’ money, and then start working on getting a car and a place of my own. However, I now have a girlfriend. My parents house has no soundproofing whatsoever. If my parents are in the living room (directly above my room) I can hear everything they say and every footstep they take. There are occasions when my gf and I would like some privacy.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been looking into the cost of renting a flat. I’m pricing it up as if it was just me since, understandably, my gf doesn’t want to commit to moving in with me just yet. We’ve only been a couple for just over a month. Kidwelly, the town I live and work in, doesn’t have any one-bedroom flats available at the moment, according to my Google search results. However, the nearby city of Carmarthen has a few places available in the £300 – £400 per month range.

On top of that I’d need to pay council tax (about £60), utilities (included with some places but up to £120 on top otherwise), a monthly bus card so I can still do my odd-job gigs in Kidwelly and get around in general (£21, I think), handyman insurance so I can take gigs from the council or businesses (a little under £100), and food (both to cook at home and to grab on the go, about £280 per month). Altogether that’s £980 per month, which is way more than I can afford right now.

If I also take into account that there’s going to be additional surprise expenses, like new tools, dates, the occasional gift, a sudden pet, and it’s clear that I have to modify my plan. Hence why I’ve been seriously thinking about other ways I could make money, such as selling ‘The City of Gate’ merchandise.

I’ve designed some pretty awesome miniatures through a website called HeroForge. The ‘premium plastic’ versions of each mini cost £29.99 to 3D print (about £20), which is fairly reasonable for a custom-made miniature. The bit that makes me nervous is marking up the price so that I can make a profit.

Most of the books I’ve read on starting up a business point of that the biggest mistake new businesses make is undervaluing their product. They set the price too low, and end up making a loss when people ask for a discount. At least on of them recommended an 800% markup. That way you can offer them a 50% discount, it looks like they’re getting and amazing deal, and you’re still in profit.

If I did that then each mini would be $239.92, marked down to $119.96. In GBP that’s £159.95 marked down to £79.97 (roughly). Tell me honestly, as awesome as these minis are, would you pay nearly 80 quid for it, even if the ‘full price’ was £160?

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If so, that’s awesome, but I’m thinking that a $15 (£10) profit per mini is more reasonable. This would make the premium plastic versions $44.99 (about £30) and the standard plastic $34.99 (about 20). The difference being that the premium plastic is design to be paintable. People are still welcome to cut out the middleman and design their own HeroForge minis, but if they want the characters designed by me and the players of ‘The City of Gate’ then they can pay the extra.

I’m open to other ideas though. I’m even willing to consider going back to working full time if a) I can find full-time work in Carmarthen so I don’t have to commute so much and b) I can find a role that won’t bore me stupid within three months. I’d also still like to become a full-time writer, but I may have to get a better handle on my ADHD before I can seriously consider that a career.

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I have (finally) registered with a local doctor’s office. So soon I will get to see if a British Doctor will agree with my American Doctor about it being ADHD, or if it’s something else (I’ve noticed a few autistic behaviours, particularly when I’m stressed). Maybe there’s even some sort of benefit I’m eligible for.

I’m going to the Job Centre in Carmarthen tomorrow anyway for the next step in the process of Job-Seekers allowance. I looked into it because my Mother suggested it and found out that if I drop below 16 hours work a week, I can get a little help. It won’t be anywhere near enough to reach my monthly target, but it will help when the gardening gigs drop off and I’m begging people to let me hang shelves or organise their junk room.

I think that covers everything I’m stressing out about at the moment. Oh, wait! There’s also the fact that I have recently started a Games and Geekery group in Kidwelly, and that most of my friends and odd-job clients are in Kidwelly, so even if I did have a place of my own in Carmarthen, I’d still be spending most of my time in Kidwelly anyway!

I may need to think this through some more. Any suggestions and advice would be appreciated. I know there was something else I wanted to bring up, but it’s gone.

Have a great day 🙂

 

 

So Much to Do!

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Not just here, but on the Patreon page also. I’m trying to get into a regular writing routine, but it’s been difficult while I’ve been distracted by various worries.

My chief recurring worry seems to be money, and I know I’m not alone in this. Most of my followers and fans are fellow writers and bloggers. Every single one on you reading this article is struggling to generate a stable income also. I’d like to think that if this were not the case, my own writing skills would have convinced at least some of you that I’m worth the investment by now.

Instead of begging then, I’m going to try and help you, anyway I can, and hope that karma takes care of me. I’ve been trying to build an audience the way I’ve been told works by other successful authors. Posting my writing publicly to get the word out and promote my talents, an sharing those posts via social media to reach an even wider audience.

I know that this method will take about 2-3 years to generate a decent income this way, and the first time I tried it with the Hermes925 story I focused mostly on Facebook and didn’t really give it time to germinate before getting distracted and switched the Patreon campaign to an anthology project.

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Do you ever feel like something is watching?

 

This time around I’m trying to stick to my guns and continue to update the Patreon page as I work on The Haunted Story, and to share those posts on multiple sites, including Reddit. I’m still trying to figure Reddit out, but I’m hoping that if I keep sharing the content, someone will see it and share it. If any of you successfully use Reddit and know some good horror/crime genre subreddits I can get some traction on, I’d appreciate it.

In the meantime I’m also doing things the hard way. Participating in writers groups on Facebook and keeping a particularly watchful eye out for people looking for writers. Doing this has gotten me a few gigs. A couple of them were ghostwriting gigs. In each case I try to do a good job hoping that they will give me more work and/or recommend me to others.

Currently I’m working on a psycho-killer investigation story for a client. He’s asked for a script for a podcast show. He wants three episodes and each episode is supposed to be 45 minutes long, but he’s only paid me enough for 3000 words, which will probably take all of 30 minutes to perform. I’m hoping he’ll like what I write, but that I’ll also be able to convince him that the story has a lot of room for development and is worth putting more money into.

I need to keep up on this blog, the facebook groups, the Patreon page, and curate the posts on the other social media pages too if I’m going to successfully build my audience and continue to generate short-term freelance work and long-term passion projects. Part of the marketing has to be face-to-face. Word of mouth is still the best way to get yourself known, and a personal conversation is still the best way to get people to like you.

I’ve also been trying to make some friends in the area for the sake of my own mental health, and I’m doing so fully aware that I’m not only looking for people that I can hang out with, I’m also looking for people that would appreciate my writing style and either help me find a wider audience, or become patrons themselves. If my friends are also fans, they’re more likely me to encourage me to write more, rather than distract me from it.

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I should probably update the Games and Geekery blog too!!

I’ve increased my chances of finding both by organising a monthly meeting for local geeks and gamers. The first meeting took place earlier this month, and it was very successful. We had a lot of fun together and they’re already asking me to make it bi-weekly instead of monthly! One of my new friends has already helped me edit The Haunted Story: Investigation!

So I’ll have to keep ‘Games & Geekery in Kidwelly‘ going, along with making time to spend with my new friends. My hope is that I’ll end up with so much to do that I’ll end up with a solid schedule. It’s a lot easier to let a project drag on unfinished if you have all the time in the world to write it and nothing else going on all week. I’ll be more motivated to get writing if I only have set times slots available for each project.

As you may know, I’m also doing odd-jobs to help supplement my writing income. So far it’s mostly been gardening jobs, though I did get to help someone with their computer this week! Doing a little physical work helps to keep me fit, gets me out of the house, lets me help people in the local community, and I get paid for it. It doesn’t help with my writing goals directly, but it does help me to eat while I work on the writing.

Tomorrow night I have a trial shift at a local pub. The hourly rate would be less than I make from the odd-jobs, but it would give me the opportunity to meet more locals who may be interested in hiring me for odd-jobs! Some of them might even be readers! I’m also going to bring a notebook so that if it’s dead, I can get some more writing done!

The really funny thing is though, if I could get paid for running my Facebook RP groups, The City of Gate and The N-Viron Network, I probably wouldn’t bother with the rest! I love running those games. I get to tell my stories to an audience eager for the next part, and they respond by commenting as a character in the story! They often come up with solutions to scenarios I didn’t expect, and make the ongoing story more interesting. It’s awesome!

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Designed by Heather Montgomery, aka Ann Snizek. She also design the Dead Letter cover.

One of my new friends has suggested I create premium versions, subscription only. It’s a thought that might be worth exploring. Especially if I get more players. If any of you know of any suitable sites for hosting such a thing, I’d love to hear it. I’d also need to know how to find an audience, or it’ll be a total ghost town. I can just ‘Field of Dreams’ it. People need to know it exists and how to find it, and I need to be targeting the people that would care about fantasy roleplay gaming.

If I had mastered social media marketing already, I wouldn’t still be struggling though. I know how it works in theory, but I have trouble putting it into practice. Especially when it come to videos. I’m something of an introvert and I don’t actually like doing videos, plus the quality is crappy because I don’t have good lighting, a decent webcam, or a good microphone. My crappy videos are unlikely to get any traction among the the thousands of beautifully edited masterpieces on YouTube.

Something will happen if I keep working at it. I’ll just keep putting myself out there and eventually I’ll catch the attention of someone who likes my work and has the means, knowledge and resources to help me make my dreams a reality. I just hope it’s soon. I really don’t like that my Dad is having to support my Mum and I. My sister is bringing in an income at least, but she’s moving out soon. I’d love to be able to catch Dad if he falls. Right now I can’t

I realise that what I intended to be helpful suggestions didn’t end up as such. If you did find any of this useful please let me know. If you have any suggestions that would help me get more patrons, freelance gigs, or game players please let me know.

Thank you for reading my babble.

Have a great day 🙂

 

Is Anyone Listening?

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?

If I’m being ignored, does that mean I’m not good enough?

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.

Thank you.

Have a great day 🙂

Grateful Gardening

I’ve been nursing a bruised ego for nearly a week now. I’ve been telling myself that I just need to immerse myself in my writing, use the emotions I’m experiencing to give my characters more realism. It’s the same advice I’d give anyone else, but I can’t seem to focus.

I would try to read, but my thoughts were too distracting to be able to see the marks on the page as words. I’d try to write an article for Creative Writers and end up writing about the pointlessness of existence instead.

Yesterday, I had every intention of writing some more of my short story for Monolith and found myself turning on the Xbox and playing Diablo 3 all day instead.

This morning something rather wonderful happened. My Grandad asked me to help him paint the deck in the garden. At first, the thoughts of hopelessness and failure were still trying to get my attention, but soon the work took over.

It helped a lot that Grandad and I were chatting as we worked. He’d noticed all the Amazon packages that had been arriving lately, and I told him I was researching police procedures. He told me about two relatives that would be able to help with my research, and I hadn’t known either of them had been involved in police work.

It was also great to be out in the garden, feeling useful, instead of being shut up in my room feeling sorry for myself and punishing myself for not writing.

I started to form a better idea for my Creative Writers article too. I may go back to the other topic when I can trust myself to be less existential about it. It’s hard to feel motivated to do anything right now, but the story submissions for Monolith are piling up. Luckily I’m not the only one working on it. I’ve got a great team and we’ve just added another admin who’s very enthusiastic about the project.

Since I’m currently lacking any enthusiasm to do anything, this couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’m forcing myself to write this so I can work through this funk brought on by a compounding list of minor disappointments and listening too much to a self-proclaimed nihilist.

I’ve been trying to listen to self-empowering music, soliciting pep-talks from friends, and anything else that usually helps me ignore the very thing that this man seemed intent on reminding me. Even if I do succeed in becoming a successful author, helping many others to become successful in the process, and leave a small library of books after I’m gone, it won’t matter.

I’m going to die. The people I’ve helped are all going to die. My family, friends, exes and enemies, and anyone else who knew me, at least in passing, are going to die. The books themselves will fade, decompose, burn, or otherwise be deleted from existence. The entire planet could be destroyed, and the rest of the universe would keep spinning regardless until it doesn’t anymore.

 

It’s almost enough to make me adopt a religion, or become a flat-earther, but I’m aware that it would be just a desperate attempt to pretend my life had real meaning. Which it doesn’t. Don’t worry though, I’m aware that even dying is a futile gesture. At least while you’re alive you can enjoy the ride. Live for the small stuff. Make the most of it.

That thought hadn’t occurred to me until after I was outside painting. I was in full no-hope mope. I’m very grateful to my Grandad for giving me something practical to do, getting me out in the sun, and just talking to me. He even got me chicken and chips from the local chippy.

I’m still not all the way out of my slump. I want to sleep until it’s all over and the bad feelings go away, but I can’t. On the plus side, I had been aware, prior to being hit with an emotional building, that I was spending way too much time engaging with people in the Creative Writers group, and not enough time actually writing. I’ve been forced to take a step back, let the other admins take the wheel for a bit because I just couldn’t be bothered.

It’s a great group, but as an admin, you have to deal with complaints, fights, and intolerant behaviour and do it all with a smile. I couldn’t face it. I’ve still had to respond to a could of issues that I was tagged in, but I haven’t been looking for more. I need to make more time to write.

Working in the garden today reminded me that some of the best ideas come to you when you’re doing physical work. I need to do more. I also need to follow up on the research leads Grandad gave me, and find some others, to help me do the ideas justice.

I need to regain my defiance. I can already feel it returning. The next time a voice in my head tells me “It’s all pointless. You’re going to die alone and be forgotten.” I’ll be able to say, with conviction “Oh yeah? Watch this!” instead of my current “So?”.

I’m tempted to scrap this article and start over. As I’m looking over it to do editing, links, images, etc. I find that I’m not really upset about the recent stuff. My brain is still replaying the day I let everyone down. The day my life fell apart. The day the doctor told me I couldn’t have kids.

In that moment the fantasy died. Up until then, the marriage had had some hiccups, but we’d always worked through it. An absolute certainty that the two of you are meant to be together and have a family together (a girl and two boys, we named them) can help keep you motivated. In that one moment, it was all gone.

I’ve been painting her as the villain in all this, but honestly, I think I started pushing her away after that. Outwardly, I kept trying to make the best of it, but inside it, all seemed so pointless. Maybe if I’d talked to her about this, instead of trying to put a brave face on things, we’d still together. Yep, that’s definitely the button. I’m bawling my eyes out as I’m writing this.

I’d still have the big house, and a garden, and my cats (and probably a few more animals), and my wife if I hadn’t given up. We might even have adopted. Obviously, there’s nothing I could have done about being infertile, or even the likely complications if she ever got pregnant (she has scoliosis). We might have been happy if I hadn’t let my disappointment poison the relationship.

I’ve been my own worst enemy for a long time. I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m worried that if I don’t overcome this habit, everything I attempt will likely fail due to my own sabotage. If I have to exist I may as well enjoy it, but that’s not going to happen if I keep pushing everything that’s good away from me.

I need to get back on track and finish writing Hermes925. Stepping back from Monolith and allowing more experienced writers to take over the project may provide me with the perfect opportunity to do so, and reduce the risk of me sabotaging it. In the meantime, Grandad hinted that he might have something else that needs doing. I’m looking forward to it.

The Power Of Negative Thinking

I was beginning to worry about my writing. I’ve been doing a lot of talking about writing in my rapidly growing(“, he said smugly, “) Facebook group called ‘Creative Writers‘. I haven’t been doing a lot of creative writing myself though. I haven’t been able to delve into my stories lately, and it was beginning to worry me.

At first I tried telling myself little pep talks. ‘It’s okay, you’ve got the day off tomorrow, you can catch up then’ only to do nothing productive that day, except perhaps talking about writing online to other writers. The advice I’ve been giving seems to be popular. The Creative Writers group only had 32 members when I took over as admin, and now membership is up to 805!

As you can see I still have a tendency to default to looking on the bright side even when I’m trying to describe how ineffective positive thinking was! 🙂 Lately I’ve been getting too easily distracted and sidetracked. Again, my internal Mr Brightside is telling me that some of my ‘sidetracks’ are actually good ideas. Monolith, for example, has a lot of potential. As do the half a dozen or more new story ideas I’ve had (I may tell you about them in upcoming articles).

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I came up with a new profile pic and banner combo for my author page. Like it?

My point was that I was beginning to feel depressed because I was spending too much time working at the hotel, sleeping (or laying awake waiting for my gf to get up), having tickle fights and talking about writing. I was even beginning to wonder if I would have to give up my girlfriend (whom I love) to find the time to write.

I was even trying to think positively about the prospect ‘You won’t be as happy, but you can use that misery to make your characters more believably tragic and pathetic’ I’d say to myself. Then I’d realise how crazy that sounded and was left with only was positive sounding resolution. ‘You got this. You can find a way to be happy and become a successful writer. You just have to try harder’.

I thought maybe that I should try to limit my writing time to when I can write uninterrupted. It didn’t take me long to figure out that there’s no such thing. Even if there’s nothing else happening I distract myself. It’s only today when I was talking about this with my girlfriend that it occurred to me that I could pay her more attention and submerse myself in the story I’m writing by talking to her about my ideas.

I seem to recall I used to do this, and she would listen intently as I told her about the part of the story I was stuck on. Most of the time I’d then come up with what happens next anyway without any input from her, then I’d start writing and she’d go back to her game. I think maybe it’s because she just listened and didn’t have to say much that I began to think she didn’t need to be bothered with my writing process. I thought maybe she wasn’t interested, but it turns out she’s happy to be my sounding board.

I also had this hair-brained idea of becoming an online live storyteller. Perhaps using Twitch.

Maybe I should try it with the stories I’m editing too. I know that you catch more mistakes when you read a story aloud. Maybe I should read Hermes925 from the beginning to her. See if we can catch any continuity errors and other mistakes. It could work! I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion if I hadn’t been prepared to explore my negativity, and think through the thoughts I didn’t want to have.

When I was living in America I didn’t think much of myself. My shitty opinion of myself drove me to read countless books on sales, marketing, entrepeneurship, coping with adhd, anxiety, depression, and other self-help books like “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Magic of Thinking BIG!” I haven’t had the motivation to do that since moving back to the UK. There’s still lots of unread self-improvement books on my Kindle, but I’m happier here.

Part of me wishes I was still so desperate to be proud of myself that I read anything and everything that could help me. On the positive side though, it worked. I gained the self-confidence I needed to improve my situation and make a better life for myself. Now’s not the time to rest though. I’m still a long way from becoming the literary success I want to be.

I have to remember that when I’m feeling low, it may not be just a random imbalance of chemicals. It may actually be an indicator that something is wrong, and worth exploring. If nothing else it will give me an insight into my feelings that would be invaluable. Both from a writing perspective, and just getting to understand myself better and know how to make myself happy. At best I may actually figure out a way to correct the cause of negative emotions, and actually improve my life.

I know that for some people Depression really is just an uncontrollable chemical imbalance that leaves you the victim of your moods. I’m not content with this diagnosis personally. I don’t like being the victim. It feels like willingly locking a pair of hobbles around your ankles and saying it’s because you can’t run.

I know I could make myself happier artificially with drugs, exercise, and positive thinking (sometimes I wonder if love should be counted on this list), but I’m much rather be happy for achieving my goals, and pay attention to my sadness to find out what my next goal should be. If it turns out I’m sad because I’m not writing enough, my goal is to make more time to write. If I’m sad because my desk it so cluttered I can’t find anything, I need to clear it.

I’m sad about my Grandma’s health too, but I don’t have any control over that. All I can do is keep working on me. If I somehow manage to become wealthy beyond my wildest dreams, receive a kind and generous offer from a wealthy patron, or I suddenly became a super-genius, maybe I could find a way to make her better. Maybe I can challenge the grim reaper to a game of Exploding Kittens and make him restore her and Grandad to full health and vigour (providing I win)?

Anyway, I need to get ready for my hotel job soon, so I have to wrap this up. My point was that bad moods have been misrepresented. When you’re upset, there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe we shouldn’t all be trying to avoid, cover-up, or chemically alter our negative emotions. Maybe we should be trying to figure out why we’re feeling sad, really, underneath all the bullshit you’ve told yourself. Really dig in until you find the answer that makes your mood lift.

If you do actually try this yourself, let me know how it goes. Even if you don’t and you think I’m wrong because depression is a chemical imbalance that can only be treated with prescription medication, I’d like to hear your opinion too, though I admit I will probably take you more seriously if you at least try to find out what your sadness might be really trying to tell you.

Maybe we could write a book on the subject?

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Feeling Down, Finding Goals.

I actually managed to get the first draft of the story I had been working on for the UbiquiCity project right on the deadline. The conversation I had with the team that day (despite technical issues) was awesome. I’m also pleased to have a chance to include a character I originally created for Hermes925 in the rewrite, Mr Waddle. Yay.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like writing Hermes925. I was even beginning to write the story, and get into the mind of the ratkin character that’s telling this part of the story. Formulate the details as write. That lovely feeling of ‘flow’ when the story takes form as the pen zips across the page. Then it stalled as another feeling I’ve been battling with (again) began tapping on the inside of my skull for attention.

I’m writing this out because I don’t want to. I’m not sure it will help, but holding it all in certainly doesn’t. I haven’t really held it in. Some of my friends know already and I talked about some of it in a previous article.

I found out when I was married that I could never have kids. I think this may have had a lot to do with the decline of the relationship. When you know you can’t have children, sex begins to seem pointless. It’s fun, but that’s all. I still got horny, but when I saw my wife I just felt guilty, and oddly dishonest. I couldn’t deliver on the implied promise. Sex is a vital part of the biological imperative to reproduce, but I can’t reproduce.

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These feelings are a boner killer. It’s hard to stay aroused when you just want to apologise repeatedly for not being able to continue the bloodline. That no matter how hard you try, you’ll never see a child that shares your DNA. The entire relationship began to feel like a waste of time. There were other elements too but my inability to perform was a huge factor. Especially since I hadn’t fully processed why it was I was losing interest and looked for reasons in her.

I didn’t deal with it as well as I could have. When we broke up I had a series of relationships that all started great, and reassured me that I could actually perform, which also exaggerated my misbelief that it had been my ex’s fault that I couldn’t before. However, in each relationship, there came a point when I would start to lose interest again. Each time I came up with an ego-friendly reason why the relationship failed, though I think now that it was just me and my stupid fucking complex.

I think it’s happening again, but this time I can’t find a fault with my girlfriend. She’s lovely, and she makes me smile and feel appreciated. She deserves much better than a man who can’t even keep it up.  Especially since I know she wants children one day. I don’t know what to do. I’ve already told her some of this. She even knew about my fickle libido going into the relationship.

She’s good at helping me take my mind off it, cheering me up, and making me giggle. Sadly, cheering up doesn’t make the issue go away. It would be easy to blame depression, but the more I explore my downs, the more I learn about myself. In most cases, I can resolve the issue fairly simply (such as when I quit the previous bar job), however, I’m at a loss with this one.

The obvious, and cold, heartless answer, would be to break up with my girlfriend and quit wasting her time. Let her go while she’s young enough to find happiness with someone else. After all, I promised myself that the writing comes first, and I do spend a lot of time with her. The problem is that I really enjoy spending time with her. I love her.

I know from experience that love isn’t enough. There was to be more to a relationship than having a good time in each other’s company. I’m not sure what I bring to the table, besides it being cheaper to rent a place together and easier to save up with two of you working. I suppose I do have that writer thing going for me, but that’s not making me much money yet. I am far from the fame I’m aiming for.

Am I willing to sacrifice a beautiful, loving friend to do it? Do I really have a choice when keeping her around would be condemning her to a life with me? A life in which I was willing to risk everything to achieve the dream of being a world-famous author? Will I make fewer risks when someone I care about could get hurt? Will I be forever remembered as an absolute asshole if I choose to be alone for the sake of my writing?

How will I ever achieve my dream if I’m not willing to give up everything to do it? How can I give up her when she makes me so happy? How can I keep her though when I can’t give her what she wants most? She says we can adopt but it’s not the same. Especially when raising someone else’s children will give me even less time and energy to commit to my writing.

But maybe, and this is a brand new thought. Just occurring to me right now as I’m typing. Maybe if I raise adopted kids well, and encourage them to follow their passions, they will be able to achieve the dream I’m seeking. Perhaps that will be my legacy. Not to be a success myself, but to see others I care about succeed? Be truly willing to sacrifice everything, even my own dream, to leave a much better legacy? To make the lives of others better. It doesn’t matter that they’re not blood.

It doesn’t matter that they won’t be my blood. My readers and fans wouldn’t be either. I’d be giving people, at least two but maybe two boys and a girl (just like my ex-wife said I would have one day), a chance to improve their lives the way my parents did for me. I’m going to need my girlfriend’s help for that.

I would also like to live in Wales. Close to my parents. Close to my sister. Close to my nieces so I can see them more often, spend time with them and share what I’ve learned with them. As I sit here crying at my desk I think I’ve hit upon what’s really making me sad. I think my loss of interest in sex might me a symptom of something deeper.

 

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Kidwelly Castle in the town my parents, sister and nieces live.

 

I miss those girls and I don’t want to miss out on being a part of their lives. Part of me thinks maybe I’m running away. Grandma and Grandad are getting older before my eyes it seems. I don’t think I can help them. They’re hurting on many levels and I don’t know what I can do to make it go away. Make it all better. And…I’m crying again.

So ideally. Grandma and Grandad will be all better. I’d suddenly get about £3-5k to be able to move to Wales, with my darling girlfriend if she’ll still have me after what I’ve just written. Rent a place, get a very cheap vehicle and keep us going while we get jobs. Even better, since I may as well dream big, I could have enough money coming in from writing to make it a full-time job capable of supporting us both and possibly even my sister and her kids!

I can’t do it yet, and certainly not all of it, but life is a negotiation. If you start with a realistic goal, you always end up settling for less. If we aim for perfect, which would have to include a miracle cure for old-age, then when we compromise it’s still going to be pretty good. If none of it works out, at least it will give me experiences I can write about, I’ll have other chances, and I will have led an interesting life by the end.

I am thinking of making a GoFundMe campaign for the move, I think. I’m going to talk it over with my other half first, and see if she’d be willing to make the move with me. It would mean leaving her own family behind. That wouldn’t be fair to her. I think I better think it out again.

 

 

Last day in the USA.

I am practically desperate for Fish & Chips right now!

Thanks to everyone who helped me get the money together, either by donating or buying some of my stuff. I truly appreciate it. I feel confident now that I can find a cheap flight and deal with any insurmountable complications. Any further donations will go toward helping me stay afloat until I’m legally allowed to work.

To all my friends, especially those who didn’t get a chance to say goodbye in person, I’m going to miss you. Even those whose first instinct was to tell me how badly things will go wrong, I’ll miss you. Most of you (now) completely understand why I have to go, and I’m glad to know that you’ll all stay in touch.

I had originally planned to be at Minneapolis-St Paul airport 6am Thursday (tomorrow) morning, but I think the desks don’t open until 8am. Then I can go desk to desk looking for a last minute cancellation or any other cheap flight home. It should be quite the adventure.

Then I get to be with my family again, after 12 years of living apart. I’m so excited! Can you imagine how much I’ve missed them? I couldn’t! I’ve been telling myself for years that I love them but we can’t possibly co-exist. Rubbish. I was so stubbornly determined to prove that I could adult on my own that I didn’t appreciate the advantage of having my family close when I needed them. I was in denial that I needed them at all.Now that I’ve finally admitted it too myself I feel so relieved.

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Do I need to change the logo background?

Dear Family, please forgive me while I transition back to life in the UK. I expect there’ll be an adjustment period while I catch up on the cultural differences and their implications since I left in 2003, and just get used to being back. I’ll probably be a little moody. I might even miss America. I’ll get over it, or I’ll stick it on my to-do list and work towards building a vacation fund as part of my larger action plan.

Dear Friends, you had damned well better stay in touch, or no room in the party mansion! Tell me what’s going on in your lives, send me pictures, and keep me updated on your projects. Bumble, I need updates on Laughing Giraffe Studios latest podcasts. Alex, tell me how your line of paracord accessories is doing. Jitters, if you get that story published, or a new band started I want to hear about it. Sensei, let me know when you get into seminary school. I want to hear all of it. Let’s take over the internet!

Last minute decisions. Do I take my D&D books and dice? If I want to keep up the D&D campaign we’ve been playing via Skype (tony.copeland3) or Google+ I probably should! I’m still hoping we can squeeze one last epic session in tonight. Speaking of which, I should probably try to catch a nap while I can. I expect tonight will run late, and I’ts about 2.5 – 3 hour drive from La Crosse to MSP airport, so we’ll be leaving at 5am to get there by 8 as long as we don’t run into any bandits or highwaymen. Bed sounds like a great plan.

One more important question before I finish my last post from this address. Will I still be ‘The Brit’ when I’m back in  Britain?