Time to Commit

I think it’s time to take the stories down. I need to make this website all about the handyman work. The fiction distracts and detracts from the new direction I’ve taken. So, to that end, I’ll be taking it all down. From now on every page will be related to the Odd-Job business. I won’t take down the old blog posts, they show my journey if anyone is interested, but future blog posts will mostly be about how the business is doing.

It won’t all be business. Sometimes I just want to write about something that’s on my mind. I’ll try to avoid anything controversial, but hopefully these random musings will get people to know me better as a person. I’m a firm believer that people tend to work with people they like. You could be the most talented, experienced and professional handyman in the area, but if people don’t like you they won’t hire you again.

I don’t put on a show though. Part of the reason I prefer working for myself instead of any other job I’ve ever had, is that I can just be myself. I don’t need to conform to what some manager with no training thinks the customer wants. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very nice to people, but not because I’m being told to. I’m nice because I like to be nice. It feels good to smile. It feels even better to make others smile.

I won’t tell you I can do something if I don’t think I can or I’ve never tried. I will tell you up front if I have no access to the resources necessary for the job. If I haven’t done something before, but I have a good idea how to do it and I’d like to give it a shot, I’ll tell you that too. I prefer honesty to making promises I can’t deliver on. I do like doing new things though. It’s how I get more experienced, after all. Plus, it’s way more fun doing something new than doing the same boring old things all the time!

Things I really can’t do at the moment includes anything that involves driving anywhere or transporting stuff (I don’t have a van yet), going up to a second storey on a ladder (I really don’t want to die or be severely injured for £10 per hour), or raise an army of the dead (I could never find any decent necromancy classes). I’ll try my hand at almost anything else, but please bear in mind that I’m an enthusiastic and helpful amateur, and not a tradesman of any kind. Most of my experience before I started has been from helping out friends and family, and maintaining my own house and garden when I lived in the US.

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening for people, including mowing lawns, strimming, pruning, weeding, trimming, planting, and even burning the garden waste. That season is drawing to a close though. Luckily I’m also getting a lot more DIY jobs like hanging shelves and curtain rails, painting fences, sheds and staircases, building furniture (from flat pack and from scratch), disassembling furniture carefully for re-assembly elsewhere, and I’ve also helped clear out a junk room and walked dogs (though that’s not really DIY).

I’d love to get more jobs that involve making something. It could be anything from helping to make toys and clothing (did I mention I can sew?) to a new partition wall in your house. Anything I don’t know how to do, I can learn. If the client knows how something is done, and just needs an extra pair of hands to do it, I’ll be happy to learn from them. If not I can do the research and get back to them. I’ll show them what I plan to do, making certain it matches their vision and figuring out together what needs to be changed.

Since my overheads are low (I’m living with my parents rent free and I don’t have a vehicle to maintain), and I’m not a certified tradesman, I can keeps my rates low too, though I do appreciate it when a client feels that my work and my time is worth a bit more. One client that did so without any prompting from me said, ‘If I pay you a decent wage then you’ll keep coming back to me’. He’s absolutely right. If I have a scheduling conflict and I have to chose between client that only pays my base rate and him, I’m going to pick him!

It’s getting so I’m busy every week now, which is great. With luck and kindness, I’ll be able to start saving up for my own place, or a cheap vehicle, soon. It’s been slow going at the moment while I invest in more tools for the business, work clothes, bus travel (I have a client I visit twice a week that lives out of town), but I’m trying to cut back on these expenses so that I can begin making some real head way.

I’ll keep you up to date on my progress when I can. I’ve been so busy that writing this post has taken over a week to write! To be fair, it’s not just the Odd-Job business. I’ve also got a Games & Geekery club started in Kidwelly that’s branched into Family Games Day and a Warhammer group too, plus there’s my personal life. I won’t talk about that here though. Local geeks and gamers are welcome to join the Facebook Group. I also have a WordPress site for anyone to enjoy.

If you want to know the more personal stuff, you’ll have to know me better 😉

I’d best wrap this up and get this out, or it’ll be another week before I do. Before I go though, I have a few easy questions. Just to see if you’ve been paying attention.

  1. What’s my basic hourly rate for any odd-job work?
  2. What did I think I could make a career out of before I started Odd-Jobbing?
  3. What else have I been up to in the community that’s been keeping me busy?
  4. Why are my rates so low?

Can you find all the answers? (Hint: they’re in bold!)

Thanks for following, and have a great day! 🙂

 

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Better than Fiction

This website is going to undergo some changes soon. It was originally intended to be a way to showcase my writing, build my fanbase, and maybe get some freelance writing clients. It didn’t work out though. Every time I tried to get serious about my writing career and get organised and disciplined, it stopped being fun, and I would find myself putting it off.

In the process of putting it off I found myself making friends, starting a local handyman business, and actually having a life away from my computer desk! I was surprised to discover I love the work, and that I’m beginning to like my life.

It’s unlikely that I’ll stop writing. I’ll just stop trying to force my creativity to clock in to a 9 to 5 schedule. I’ll write when I want to. When it’s fun. I know that the writing market is hard to break in to. I know that to get in requires discipline, and I just can’t do it. Yeah, yeah. I know there’s no such thing as can’t if you really want to do something, and apparently I don’t wanna ‘get serious’ about writing and taking all the fun out of it.

I’ve written articles talking about my determination to succeed, but it started to seem like a poor investment of time and effort. Especially since I’ve been able to make money faster by actually getting out into the real world and talking to people. With writing, I would have to spend years writing a book that might not even sell, and then try again, and again. By helping real people (instead of fictional characters) I’m getting instant feedback that people like my work, and it feels great!

I think I’m getting to the point where I’d rather live my own real-life adventure than create fake ones. There are exceptions of course. I love running my roleplay games with cool people. Again, I think it might be the real-time social feedback I get. I love it. I want more interaction. More friends. More real life please!

So, this website may get a makeover at some point. When I feel like it. To change it from being all about me trying to be a professional writer, to be being about whatever the fuck I want to write about that day. Perhaps even run an exclusive rp story-game similar to The City of Gate or The N-Viron Network. Both of which continue to be fun.

I want to get people talking too. Maybe make this our own little social media clubhouse. I want to know what you want this website to be. I hope you want to interact here and make it our little home away from Facebook. I could create pages about topics you want to discuss, or for a game as I previously suggested.

I dunno. I suppose it’s okay if I just continue to use it just to blog mutely into the ether, but the way I’m going, I’m likely to abandon this website altogether if I don’t get to use it to make myself a few more friends. You can challenge me to write about specific subjects, ask me anything about anything you want, and suggest other things I can do to make this page a fun place to be.

I really want to change the name. I’m trying to tone down the self-aggrandisement, and just be myself. Hopefully this will also reduce the number of self-pitying posts too. Failing isn’t something to lament. It’s a lesson. Sometimes it just means you’ve found a better path to walk. Or at least a more fun one anyway. 😉

Sincerely, have a great day. 🙂

 

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.

Dead Letter Eyes
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 🙂

Real Magic

If you’ve been following me for a while you may already know that I believe in magic. For those that think I’m crazy, please let me explain.

Let’s start with the concepts that are the easiest to swallow. Helping others makes you feel better. Now, this could be explained as simple biochemistry. Helping others is beneficial to the mutual survival of our species, and our bodies reward us with a hit of dopamine for doing it.

It isn’t just other people though. It makes us feel good when we help animals, plants and we even get attached to objects. Why do we feel good when we get the old toaster working again? I think it’s because everything has a life of it’s own and, as a result, is affected by our positive or negative treatment of it. There’s even been experiments done that back up this belief.

I found this video in a short article that concludes that ’emanating positives vibes’ is the way to making the world a better place. That’s where my beliefs differ. I don’t think it’s enough to simply think happy thoughts. I think action is required to really make a positive change, however those actions go a lot more smoothly with a positive radiant attitude.

Basically, I believe that if you help people, people will help you. Not necessarily the same people though. There are plenty of people that will take everything you offer and give nothing back, and those people are not the kind of people that will help you achieve your life goals. However, there will be others that want to help you, and expect nothing in return. At least, they will if you’re a genuinely nice and helpful person. A smile can go a long way. It can do magic.

This feels like hogwash to a lot of people because sometimes it feels like no matter how hard we try nothing ever seems to go right for us. I believe that’s because the magic doesn’t just work for you, but also for people that don’t believe in it. Your positivity needs to be strong enough to counter not only other’s negativity, but those whose positive actions interfere with your own.

The more people we have in our lives telling us we can’t do what we’ve set out to accomplish, the harder it is to reach our goals because we fighting against their negative opinion. In some cases the best thing to do is to cut them out of your life entirely and find a new group of people to associate with. Preferably those who are already doing what you wish to do so that you can learn from them how it can be done.

Finding those people and being accepted by them takes a little magic. Not just positive thinking, but positive and helpful action. Be willing to do something for them and expect nothing in return. Ask their opinions and listen to their answers, and let them help you if they want to. Things will start going your way.

Magic hand by ambitiousstudio454

So far I’m just covering the basics. Things that a lot of people, at some level at least, already know. What’s less obvious is that positive and negative energies aren’t the only forces that influence us and the people around us. Various emotions and feelings can be used to change our environment. Maybe you’ve already noticed this too if you’ve ever had a friend or loved one that uses emotional manipulation to get their own way.

You can choose to express calmness and reason to encourage those around you to also calm down and be reasonable. You can also make people stressed by snapping at people and raising your voice. Words, and the emotions they express, have power. Being aware of this helps you to recognise when your own feelings are being affected by the words and actions or others and allows you to regulate and control those feelings, and perhaps exert some of your own influence to bring their feelings inline with your own.

This is much easier on a one-to-one basis. Calming a group of angry and upset people can take a lot out of you, and may even seem impossible, but if you can talk one of them around, then they can help you influence the others. If you can use the opportunity to demonstrate how their emotional expression can affect the emotions of others, they will be better able to work together without any outbursts spiraling out of control.

You’ll see some people, particularly online where people are afforded a certain level of anonymity, say ‘Your reaction is not my responsibility’ after they’ve upset somebody. This is only true if that person is aware that their emotions can be influenced by the words, actions and other emotional expressions of others, and realises that what they’re feeling is a result of the manipulative and emotive word choices of the speaker. Most of the time people just react exactly as the speaker intended, and if they refuse to take responsibility for it then they’re lying to themselves.

Feelings can also be influenced by images, music and smells. That’s why a work of visual art, or a piece of music can make us feel moved. It’s also why aromatherapy can be helpful, and why the smell of certain foods can trigger an emotional response. All of these emotional triggers can be used to influence people and to make their lives better where you can, they can also be used to manipulate, control and bully people too, but that path is going to make you more enemies than it does allies.

Magic is real. It can turn an enemy into a friend. A hobby into a full time job. A hopeless existence into a dream come true. It takes work, persistence and a lot of luck, but I believe that once you start to realise the magic of influence and use it to the advantage of yourself and your loved ones, the luckier you’ll become. It’ll be drawn to you, like magic!

Feel free to discuss this in the comments below, and have a great day 🙂

If you’ve been following me for a while you may already know that I believe in magic. For those that think I’m crazy, please let me explain.

Let’s start with the concepts that are the easiest to swallow. Helping others makes you feel better. Now, this could be explained as simple biochemistry. Helping others is beneficial to the mutual survival of our species, and our bodies reward us with a hit of dopamine for doing it.

It isn’t just other people though. It makes us feel good when we help animals, plants and we even get attached to objects. Why do we feel good when we get the old toaster working again? I think it’s because everything has a life of it’s own and, as a result, is affected by our positive or negative treatment of it. There’s even been experiments done that back up this belief.

I found this video in a short article that concludes that ’emanating positives vibes’ is the way to making the world a better place. That’s where my beliefs differ. I don’t think it’s enough to simply think happy thoughts. I think action is required to really make a positive change, however those actions go a lot more smoothly with a positive radiant attitude.

Basically, I believe that if you help people, people will help you. Not necessarily the same people though. There are plenty of people that will take everything you offer and give nothing back, and those people are not the kind of people that will help you achieve your life goals. However, there will be others that want to help you, and expect nothing in return. At least, they will if you’re a genuinely nice and helpful person. A smile can go a long way. It can do magic.

This feels like hogwash to a lot of people because sometimes it feels like no matter how hard we try nothing ever seems to go right for us. I believe that’s because the magic doesn’t just work for you, but also for people that don’t believe in it. Your positivity needs to be strong enough to counter not only other’s negativity, but those whose positive actions interfere with your own.

The more people we have in our lives telling us we can’t do what we’ve set out to accomplish, the harder it is to reach our goals because we fighting against their negative opinion. In some cases the best thing to do is to cut them out of your life entirely and find a new group of people to associate with. Preferably those who are already doing what you wish to do so that you can learn from them how it can be done.

Finding those people and being accepted by them takes a little magic. Not just positive thinking, but positive and helpful action. Be willing to do something for them and expect nothing in return. Ask their opinions and listen to their answers, and let them help you if they want to. Things will start going your way.

Magic hand by ambitiousstudio454

So far I’m just covering the basics. Things that a lot of people, at some level at least, already know. What’s less obvious is that positive and negative energies aren’t the only forces that influence us and the people around us. Various emotions and feelings can be used to change our environment. Maybe you’ve already noticed this too if you’ve ever had a friend or loved one that uses emotional manipulation to get their own way.

You can choose to express calmness and reason to encourage those around you to also calm down and be reasonable. You can also make people stressed by snapping at people and raising your voice. Words, and the emotions they express, have power. Being aware of this helps you to recognise when your own feelings are being affected by the words and actions or others and allows you to regulate and control those feelings, and perhaps exert some of your own influence to bring their feelings inline with your own.

This is much easier on a one-to-one basis. Calming a group of angry and upset people can take a lot out of you, and may even seem impossible, but if you can talk one of them around, then they can help you influence the others. If you can use the opportunity to demonstrate how their emotional expression can affect the emotions of others, they will be better able to work together without any outbursts spiraling out of control.

You’ll see some people, particularly online where people are afforded a certain level of anonymity, say ‘Your reaction is not my responsibility’ after they’ve upset somebody. This is only true if that person is aware that their emotions can be influenced by the words, actions and other emotional expressions of others, and realises that what they’re feeling is a result of the manipulative and emotive word choices of the speaker. Most of the time people just react exactly as the speaker intended, and if they refuse to take responsibility for it then they’re lying to themselves.

Feelings can also be influenced by images, music and smells. That’s why a work of visual art, or a piece of music can make us feel moved. It’s also why aromatherapy can be helpful, and why the smell of certain foods can trigger an emotional response. All of these emotional triggers can be used to influence people and to make their lives better where you can, they can also be used to manipulate, control and bully people too, but that path is going to make you more enemies than it does allies.

Magic is real. It can turn an enemy into a friend. A hobby into a full time job. A hopeless existence into a dream come true. It takes work, persistence and a lot of luck, but I believe that once you start to realise the magic of influence and use it to the advantage of yourself and your loved ones, the luckier you’ll become. It’ll be drawn to you, like magic!

Feel free to discuss this in the comments below, and have a great day 🙂

Finding the Upside

It’s been a week full of ups and downs. At the beginning of the week it dawned on me that the freelancer site, UpWork.com, needed my banking information so that I could receive any income I make through it. Then I realised that I hadn’t notified the bank of my change of address.

The bank allowed me to fill in the change of address online, but required me to print them out and hand-deliver them to my local branch. The nearest branch is in Carmarthen, about 10 miles away from Kidwelly. Luckily my parents had some errands to run there anyway. so I could just tag along.

After the banker had typed everything on the paper form into the computer and thrown the printed forms away (yep, that happened), we discovered that GAME was hiring. For those who don’t know, GAME is a store that sells new and used video games, gaming consoles, gaming accessories, merch and used mobile devices. It’s similar to GameStop in America.

I’ve worked for GAME in the past, in fact my first ever job was working for Electronics Boutique which later became GAME. I have fond memories of working there. I was delighted to discover that the position being offered was full-time. This meant that I wouldn’t have to worry about money. I could afford to move into the flat that I’ve had my eye on, and focus on writing my own stories instead of freelancing!

I applied for the job that night (Monday), and was offered an interview on Wednesday that would take place on Friday! It was all moving so quickly, I didn’t even print the extra ‘Odd-Job Antony‘ flyers that I had been planning on posting around town. It felt like everything was falling into place.

Then the day of the interview came. Everything was going well. I looked great. Dad and I got into Carmarthen early. We even had time to chat with a chap called Constantine who was selling ‘Big Issue’ magazines. He says he’ll email me about ghost-writing a book for him. We’ll see if it happens.

The interview did not go as well as I hoped. I think I sounded nervous. I should have done more research into upcoming games. However, the biggest disappointment was discovering that the job posting on the official GAME recruitment page was wrong. It wasn’t a full time position, just an eight hour contract. Nevertheless, some money coming in would be better than no money, so I still expressed an interest in the job. I may have been too eager. They said they would let me know yesterday. They didn’t.

Oh well, I’ll keep trying to find work. I have also applied for a full time position waiting tables at a local cafe, and a part-time job at Kidwelly Castle. I’m not going to give up there’s always more opportunities. On the plus side, not being able to find work means I get to spend more time with my family. I missed them a lot when I was in America and it’s been great being around them again.

I should probably just go with it. Accept and enjoy the fact that I’m living with my parents and use the time to write every day an work on my books. I have a roof over my head and food in my belly, there’s no better time to focus on my writing. They’re not putting any pressure on me to provide an income and help them pay the bills or to move out, in fact they’ve told me the opposite. I can stay as long as I need to. After all, they’ve missed me too.

Dad gave me a model kit earlier in the week, so I built it yesterday. It’s a hydraulic arm and it was really fun to build. It was just as much fun to play with when it was done. Dad had it to give him something to do other than church stuff, but he’s so busy that he’s never gotten around to building it.

robot-arm.jpg
Pretty cool isn’t it?

When I was putting it together I dropped a piece or two. As anyone knows that has ever made anything from a kit, the bits that go flying off the sprue and go bouncing across the floor are the tiny bits that are really hard to find. When I found the bits I was very pleased with myself, and it occurred to me that at one time I would have continued to beat myself up for losing the item in the first place rather than enjoying the little victory.

In a way, not being able to get a job, any freelance work, or any odd-jobs either is also a good thing. It means I have no choice but to stay with my family and heal a little longer. It’s been a rough few years emotionally, and the unconditional love has been good for me. I should accept it as a gift.

In which case I should stop worrying about finding a job or finding my own place, and just write. That’s what I wanted to do anyway when I first moved back to the UK, but circumstances required me to earn an income. However those circumstances have changed. I don’t have to push myself so hard.

I think I’m still tying to prove that I’m capable of looking after myself. I’m not sure who I’m trying to prove it to, or why it’s so important. I do know that living with my parents and letting them take care of me is the opposite of being independent. However, being independent and successful is only really important if you’re trying to find a romantic partner. I’m in no hurry to get my heart stomped on again, so that’s out.

The main reason I’d still like to be successful though is to give something back. My sister and her fiance would like to have a home together, which they can’t until he manages to sell off his one bedroom farmhouse that isn’t big enough for my sister and her two daughters to live in. It would be nice to be able to throw money at the problem and fix it. My Dad is working way to hard and doesn’t feel like he’s doing what he set out to accomplish. Again, I’d love to throw money at the problem and fix it.

So maybe I should stop distracting myself trying to find a job that pays me now, and finish writing my stories so I can start building a fan base and earning royalties? If I remove the pressure to make money, maybe writing will become fun again and it’ll stop feeling like something I have to do.

Yep. I think that’ll be good.

Speaking of fun, I have a City of Gate update to write! Have a great day 🙂