The Monolith Crumbles!

It’s been a dramatic week. It seems almost ironic now that I called my last post about Monolith was called Plot Twist! My disappointment over my own short story not making the cut is nothing compared to what I felt when I learned, on the 15th, that the anthology project’s future was in dispute.

I wish I could tell you the details of what happened, but I don’t know them all. Even the admins who left the group in the aftermath would agree that there was a lack of communication involved. I also promised to take full responsibility for Monolith’s failure, which is fair enough since it was my project. They were just helping to realise m dream after all, and I was the one who chose them to help me.

It doesn’t matter at the end of the day what others say about me or the project. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, which was one of the main reasons I began the Monolith project in the first place. If it was successful, it would have helped a lot of new authors that don’t feel comfortable with the self-promotion aspect to get their work out there and to receive a fair reward for their work. However, the initial trigger was far less altruistic.

I’d been working on Hermes925 for quite some time, and I was becoming increasingly distracted from actually writing it by the fact that at some point, I would need to publish it. I had very little idea how publishing actually worked, particularly self-publishing, and I didn’t want to risk Hermes925 by doing it badly. An anthology of short stories seemed the ideal solution.

Again, I’d never done anything like this before, but I was sure I could either figure it out as we went or get help from people that either had experience with similar projects or at least had some idea how we might be able to pull it off. What I did know how to do, with all the reading I been doing on social media marketing, combined with the soft skills I’d acquired during nearly 20 years of customer service and sales jobs, was how to get people excited about an idea.

I admit that I avoided proof-reading. I had set a high bar for the quality of work that we would accept. Since I have no experience in editing and proof-reading and hate editing my own work even, it made sense to delegate the task to those whose opinions I held in high regard. If I do anything this again, I need to check that the stories being flagged for acceptance actually clear the bar I’d set.

I doubted my ability to do a good job, not because I have poor self-esteem (I don’t), but because I’m self-aware enough to be aware that stories outside my preferred genre tend to bore me. If I rejected every story that didn’t hold my attention, the book would have contained nothing but fantasy, sci-fi and ghost stories! I wanted the book to have more diversity than that.

Because of my lack of oversight, some stories got accepted that didn’t reach the high standards I was hoping for, so I recruited a few more people to help us clean up the mess we’d made. There was one person in particular that dove right into organising and directing the project with such fervour that I felt like I could finally take a breather and refocus on the parts of running Creative Writers I was best at. Engaging with people.

Sadly, my stepping back and leaving them too it was misconstrued and led some of the team to believe I no longer cared about the project. At least, that’s what I’ve gathered. To a certain extent, they were right. The further along in the project we got, the more it seemed like another set of hurdles for new writers to jump, instead of being any real help. However, I still felt we could stand out from the other writing opportunities out there and provide people with a real shot of getting known and building a sustainable income.

Sadly, I didn’t get an opportunity to reassure them of this before I was asked to pull the plug on the Monolith project. I made a series of bad calls, including taking a back seat right when I should have been making sure that the plans being made fit with my original mission statement. Perhaps I could have controlled the outcome and kept the project on track.

On the other hand, perhaps this is for the best. Now that the Monolith project isn’t demanding my attention every day, I have more time to write. Theoretically at least! I still have the Creative Writers group to run, along with the associated blog, a story I’m proof-reading and another waiting for my attention when it’s finished, four works-in-progress that all want some of my time, this blog, the games and geekery blog (which I don’t think I’ll have time for anytime soon), and my night-porter job!

I’m choosing to see the demise of Monolith as a good thing. A burden lifted from my shoulders. I’m still disappointed that I couldn’t make it work, but who knows what the future may bring.

 

 

 

Getting Back to Writing

In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to work at all. I could just write at my own pace and people would be so impressed that they’d throw money at me like confetti!

Sadly, getting paid to write isn’t as easy as it sounds. For one, there are no office jobs where you can sit in a cubicle and produce fiction while taking home a base wage, benefits and a bonus each time a book sells that you wrote or contributed to. I would be applying to that job in a heartbeat. Particularly if there were on-site proofreaders and editors!

The opportunities available often take advantage of writers that are so desperate to get their name out there that the writers often end up paying for the privilege of being published, or getting paid so little for each story that it would be impossible to sustain a living wage even if you were to write 24/7.

The best I could manage, when I was able to get by without a ‘proper’ job, was about 35 hours per week. 9am-4pm Mon-Fri. I would update this blog on Mondays, write the next part of Hermes925 every Thursday, and the other days were dedicated to other WIP, updating the Games and Geekery blog or searching for writing opportunities.

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Disheartened by the lack of opportunities that favoured the writer, I wanted to do something better. That’s when I took over as admin for the Creative Writers group and started bringing people together to help me make the Monolith project a reality.

For those that are new to this blog, Monolith is a series of anthologies (short story collections) containing a variety of fiction written by members of the Creative Writers group. Despite my passion for the project and my education/ background in business management and marketing, it all started to get too much for me to handle and I feel like I’ve had no time to actually write!

Thankfully one of the newer admins has taken it upon himself to organise the project and is doing a far better job than I did at keeping everyone on task. I’m still the heart of Creative Writers, but Greg is the head. Some people might have trouble handing over the reins like this, but it’s not about me and my ego. It’s about doing what’s best for the group, especially the Monolith writers.

I feel like I can finally write again! Especially since my current job as a night porter typically gives me a good few hours to kill between re-laying the breakfast and dinner tables at the start of my shift, and setting up the breakfast buffet right before my shift ends. I may not be able to do seven hours a day, like I used to, but I should at least be able to write something every day again.

I’ve already begun drafting the next part of the story following on from Hermes925: 13/17 Data Not Found. Written a blog entry or two, and added my Monolith story to this page (so readers can get a sneak peek, and to prove I wrote it first if it leaks). I haven’t quite managed to write every day yet, but perhaps that will change as of now.

The reason I started Monolith is so that I could sell my writing, and help other authors to sell their writing too. If I’m so wrapped up in the process that I don’t do any writing then it’s has failed to serve it’s purpose. I’m excited that the team has reached a point where it barely needs me, and that I’m able to get back to writing.

Kick Start

My fancy upgrade on this page was up for renewal in July, but I decided to cancel it since this website hasn’t been my primary focus lately. That doesn’t mean the blog is disappearing. It’s just getting a downgrade to the free version. This will allow me to focus my marketing budget on getting Monolith of the ground.

Speaking of which, with the help of Sydnie Beaupre, and several other Creative Writers, I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the marketing and production costs for Monolith. We’re up to £59 so far. Here’s the link, I’d be very grateful if you sent some potential backers for this project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/creativewriters/monolith-the-creative-writers-anthology-series/

If you haven’t been following along and don’t know what Monolith is yet, I’d be happy to bring you up to speed. I’ve been rather thoroughly involved in running a Facebook group called ‘Creative Writers‘. I got a notification back in February that the group was about to be closed down because it had no admin and only 32 members. Something in my gut told me to run with it, so I did.

By promoting collaboration, support, and offering them the Monolith opportunity, the admins and I have been able to grow the group to 8,745 members. Monolith volume one: New Beginnings, will be the first in a new series of anthologies. Each short story collected within are written by members of the Creative Writers group.

Since I want the Monolith collection to be impressive, my fellow admins and I read every story submitted to make sure they’re nothing less than excellent. Even my own story will have to meet our high standards. Every story we reject receives feedback and help to improve the story, and we tell them in plenty of time to re-write and re-submit.

At least we are right now. The sooner we get the story, the more time you’ll have to re-write. However, you could also use the time to write it really well, and then you won’t need our feedback. 🙂 If you’d like to know more about the Monolith project as a writer, join the Creative Writers group and ask. If it sounds like a project you’d like to support, then please become a backer on Kickstarter.

So far we’ve had about 30 submissions and accepted 12 of them, and the deadline isn’t until August 31st. This is going to be a big book, of impressive stories, and it’s going to priced high to reflect the high quality of the writing. This also means we’ll be able to pay the writers better than most other small publishers. We’re Independently Traditional.

At the moment we’re not a registered business so the money we raise on Kickstarter will be used to jump all the hurdles necessary to make this legit. We have members from all over the world, so there’s going to be a lot to figure out and overcome. It’ll be a great experience though and the more obstacles in our path the more we’ll learn. So far though, the development of the idea into a real anthology series is going pretty smoothly.

There have been a few issues in the group. Minor squabbles and trolling, but far less than I’ve observed in other writing groups. I think the questions we designed for member requests help with that, and the atmosphere of community and support. I also couldn’t do it with my admin team. Irene, Jessica, Prawal, Sydnie and Anya. They share the responsibility of keeping people talking, putting out fires, decided who gets to join, and reading through the story submissions, and they do an amazing job.

Sydnie also made us this:

If you’re a bookseller and want to skip the middle-man, I’m also selling pre-orders of the Monolith anthology. TheRRP for the finished paperback will be £29.99. You can pre-order copies of the Monolith anthology in bulk for £10 each, with a minimum order of £100.

The price is set high to reflect the quality of the writing and the value of the book. Feel free to sell it at a discount, £10 off, 50% off, and still make a profit. 🙂

In other news, since I’m spending so much time on the Monolith project, my girlfriend has decided to move out. We’re still friends, but she’s feeling neglected. Understandable really since I’ve been fairly obsessed. Not many women are going to tolerate being put second to my writing career unless they have something to be obsessed about themselves.

I’m in no hurry to get into another relationship. Anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know that I agonised over the writing or dating debate, sure that I would spend all my time maintaining the relationship and I’d be forced to sacrifice my writing. At the time I had no idea that the Creative Writers group and the Monolith project would demand so much of my time that my partner would be neglected.

Now I know that I would sacrifice romantic love for my love of writing, it would be unfair and unreasonable to attempt a relationship again until Creative Writers’ Press has matured to self-sufficiency. I have no intention of retreating from the world though. The best way to write believable characters is to observe and interact with real people. I’m actually going to try and get out more. I can write anywhere.

She’s already collected all her stuff. It stings a little to look at the room without any trace of her left in it, but at least we’re breaking up on good terms.

I’m going to wrap this up because I’ve just had an idea for writing prompt generator cards that I need to play around with. Maybe I’ll ask the group to help. 🙂 I do this while realising that it’s exactly this tendency to be thinking about the writing business by default now that drove Laura away. This is who I am and I like it.

Have a great day. 🙂

 

 

Opportunities for Growth

For those who read the previous blog entry, Unexpected Hope, yes I did bump into that lady again. I gave her another one of my business cards the very next day and I even saw and spoke to her again the day after that. She promises to email me. If you happen to be reading this, I’m still waiting 😉

In other news, the Creative Writers group is going extremely well. We had had a few fires to put out because too many people were joining that didn’t really belong there. I had wondered for a while how I might be able to make sure that everyone understands the ‘spirit of the group’ when I know that only a fraction of the members will ever read the group description or the pinned post, and join based on the name of the group alone.

I don’t remember now which of the other group administrators reminded me that you can set three questions for new members to answer. I’ve seen too many groups misuse this feature. They’ll ask a confusing question such as ‘Do you promise to follow the group rules?’, when the rules are only accessible after you’ve been accepted. I didn’t want to make this same mistake.

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I had posted a rant to the group after I had kicked out the trouble-makers to try and make sure we didn’t have similar trouble again:

“Creative Writers is a community of writers, wordsmiths and storytellers. We know the power of words. Some words can cause discomfort, and some writers are skilled at deploying these words for maximum effect.
If you plan to drop a verbal bomb in the group, please include a trigger warning out of respect for your fellow writers.

“If you happen to see a word or phrase that offends you, please remember we’re writers. We use words to illicit an emotional response. By all means, correct their grammar and punctuation, but demanding censorship goes against the spirit of the group.

“Having said that this is not the place to discuss religion or politics. You can submit any piece of writing for critique but bear in mind that we deal mainly in fiction and your opinion may be analysed as such.

“We are here to become better writers. To help each other, support one another and learn from each other. Competitiveness and attention seeking behaviours disrupt the spirit of the group and will not be tolerated.”

I boiled this rant down to the following three questions (I copied this from a membership request, so it also includes the answers I’m looking for):

  • Do you understand that this is a place for fiction, and not religion or politics?

    Yes 🙂

  • If you post anything that could be deemed offensive, are you willing to include a trigger warning?

    Yes.

  • Are you looking for a supportive group of fellow writers, willing to help others grow and develop your own craft?

    Yes!

As long as the member answers ‘Yes’ (or some synonym of it) for all three questions, they’re in. If they only answer one or two of the questions, or they reply ‘no’ (or some equivalent response), they are declined. People who still haven’t even answered the questions are declined after a six-hour window of opportunity.  Despite this hurdle, membership continues to increase at a rapid pace.

It seems like we’ve regained the ‘spirit of the group’ I had established when I took over. Finding a way to quit the day job and do this full-time isn’t so pressing anymore. We’re still creating a Kickstarter page, but the focus has been switched from payroll to our product. Which is only right. We’re asking for £3,000 to cover production and marketing of the Monolith Anthology.

 

Plant Cover with Biondi font
We’ve gone back to this cover

 

My original plan, after all, had been to produce Monolith for as cheaply as possible so that all the writers and other contributors can get a fair share of the profit. If I could do it without putting any money in, I would, but my team tell me that this is just as unrealistic as hoping to raise enough cash to pay each administrator $5,000 per month for 6 months! They make a good point.

With all the time effort and passion I’m putting into the Monolith project, including the Creative Writers group and Creative Writers’ Press, I worry that Laura, my girlfriend, is getting neglected. To that end, I’ve been asking her what she’s really like to do with her life. She said she’d like to travel more. At first, this answer made my heart sink when I realised that it would be a long time before I could afford to buy flights and hotels all over the world. Then I watched this video:

I often watch TED videos while I’m working on Monolith, to keep me motivated. This video helped me to realise that travelling the world doesn’t need to mean expensive hotels and flights to every destination. You can travel on a shoestring if you don’t mind roughing it a little, and I have a tribe of over 7,700 Creative Writers to ask for help.

We’ve already had members offer Laura and I a place to stay in Holland, Iceland, Pakistan, Canada, South Africa and several states in America. I don’t have a lot coming in from Patreon subscriptions, but it would be enough to keep my phone data active, and as long as I have power and internet access, I can write anywhere. If it gets too hard I know my family would welcome me back.

We’re not running off immediately (much as I’d like too) we’re currently aiming to start our adventure next year after Monolith has launched, which will hopefully provide an additional trickle of income. In the meantime, we’re going to save up and do our research so we can do this as safely as we can. It will still be risky, but it’ll be a great adventure, an amazing experience, and I’ll have some great stories to tell. I may even end up with my own TED talk!

 

 

 

 

 

Unexpected Hope

Today I was working a breakfast shift at the Whitewater Hotel. I grumble about having to work here from time to time, but I still like it. There are much worse places I could be working. We were waiting for the last of the guests to finish when one of them called me over.

“Young man? (instant ego boost) Do you have any toothpicks?” she asked

“I’m sure I can find you some,” I say, already knowing there are cocktail sticks in the kitchen. I’ve been working in customer service for most of my adult life, and read quite a bit too, to actively try and excel at it. I habitually under promise and over deliver now.

I returned with three cocktail sticks and asked: “Will these do?”

She accepted them gratefully, and I said, “I’m terrible, I always use the corner of a business card.” She replied that she refuses to admit to doing the same. I took the opening and pulled out one of my business cards saying, “I have one if you need it”.

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She looked at it. Read my name, and that it says ‘Author’, and asked me what I was writing. So, of course, I told her all about Hermes925, the Creative Writers group and the Monolith project. She held my gaze as she asked if I was published, so I told her excitedly,

“That’s part of the reason I’m doing the anthology. It will allow me to figure out how self-publishing works without risking my baby”. My ‘baby’ being Hermes925. She came up with a great idea.

“Then afterwards you could write about how to become self-published. There’s a huge market for that right now.” It turns out she’s retired from a corporate position in which she specialised in attitude-focused motivation. I’m sure my eyes lit up as I mentioned a project currently on the back-burner called “Levelling Up! A gamer’s guide to success“.

The book would compare gaining XP (experience points) to gain new skills in both tabletop and video RPGs to gaining real life experience and applying them to your life to develop real skills.

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She seemed very interested in the idea of applying game experience to real life and encouraging people to be more with what they already know. I loaded my tray with dirty plates and used breakfast items such as the jam tree and sugar bowl as we talked. We soon realised that we’d spent a long time talking and she promised to keep my card and email me. I went back to the.kitchen with the tray, invigorated and hopeful.

I was a little disappointed that she left my card behind, but not terribly surprised. If I bump into her again over the next couple of days, I’ll hand her another card as if she forgot. I may have been deliberate, and if it was it wouldn’t be the first time that someone in the corporate world promised me a great opportunity that never materialised.

It also reminded me that the only people I can rely on are my family. They’ve given so much to help me become a successful author. I want to return the favour and help them live they way they want to live. If I want to do that I need to work harder to make Creative Writers Press a reality, and put rest to the idea that some mysterious benefactor will simply give me what I want.

I’ll learn a lot more figuring this all out myself. I’ll be more than just someone who got lucky. I’ll be an expert, and I can use that expertise to compound that experience into more stories, projects and self-help books! I feel more confident in my ability to pull this off than ever.

I’ve been trying to crowdfund to support giving the administrators of the Creative Writers group a salary, so they have more time to work on this. There’s already a Patreon site, and I’m working on a Kickstarter site too. If that doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. I just pointed out to someone today that my part-time job gives me a break from all the work I’m putting into this. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

However, I think I might be able to get myself a better income if I do this right. I can schedule breaks for myself. I can keep a standard work day again instead of fitting time in around my Whitewater shifts. Even if I’ll fail, I’ll be gaining experience and I’ll learn. When I try again I can use what I’ve learned and I’ll find a whole new set of hurdles, and I’ll learn from those too. I’ll keep practising what works until I have a whole new set of skills.

Those of you who play RPGs will know that at this point things start to get easier, but then you level up. This gives you new recognition, more renown, and tougher challenges. I can’t wait 🙂

True Love

It is often said that true love lasts forever. I’m not sure true love exists. I think that in reality, love is a fleeting emotion. Temporary, and all the more precious for it. However, it’s possible to fall in love again and again for the same person. Each time they do something that makes you smile, and your heart flutter.

When love ends it’s not the end of the world, just the end of your time together. You discover some principle they have that is diametrically opposed to one of your own, or they behave in a way that you find shameful or repugnant one too many times to balance with their enduring qualities. Perhaps they just flat out refuse to conform to your preconceived perceptions, or insist you do something that you find boring, useless or disgusting? It doesn’t really matter. There’s nothing you can do to change it.

Unless you can make them fall back in love with you, but that one’s tricky. Usually, there’s a bond of trust that forms between people in a relationship. At the very least there’s a familiarity between you both and the prospect of having to be single and fend for yourself again inspires some resentment. At least one partner will probably feel betrayed.  It’s unlikely they’ll ever trust you again.

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Especially if you pull it off. You show them you’ve changed and given them everything they ever wanted from you, so they give you another chance. Then you regress back to old behaviour patterns as soon you feel like things are good between you. Yet the alternative is worse, having to accept that you failed to do what every successful adult is supposed to do. Find your one true love and be married to them forever.

You don’t find out until you’re in the mess of relationships that falling in love is easy, and we often fall so hard and so fast that we’re swept away by the blessed miracle that we have found our one true love so soon. You find yourself making little concessions for this person, and making excuses for them so you can maintain the delusion that you’re going to stay with them forever.

Some people manage it. Live perfectly content lives, soldiering on together through hardships and victories. Bottling up the resentment over how much you had to give up to keep the relationship going. Even old lovebirds that smile and talk to one another happily, can still cry when they’re alone. Regretting the chances they could’ve taken if they hadn’t played it safe.

They chose to hold on to that one constant individual, even if it means lying to themselves and each other. It’s silly, and it’s based on something that isn’t real. Wouldn’t you rather live a real life? One in which you make big risks, stupid mistakes, have genuine adventures, new experiences, and fall in love all over again? It is a choice. A real choice we can all take. We can stop living the lie, admit the love is gone, ride through the resentment, the withdrawal and the fear of being alone forever.

We can stop living the lie, admit the love is gone, ride through the resentment, the withdrawal and the fear of being alone forever. Or, we can stick with what we’re used to. We can apologise for things we know we haven’t done wrong, just to keep the peace. We can wear that awful garment they say you look good in, hoping it will rekindle the romance, even though it makes you feel ugly, weak and dishonest. At least you’ll be able to look back on your life and say “We stayed married”!

I wanted so badly to stay married until she said something to me that completely broke my world view. She said, “It’s not your job to make me happy”. I may have mentioned this before, and if so sorry for repeating myself but I’m going to say this again anyway. I had believed until that point that my true purpose in life, as her one true love, was to make her happy. Suddenly I felt like I had no reason to exist.

Now, to be completely fair here, I hadn’t been doing very well. I would promise to do something different to make her happy, and I would do that thing (such as wash the pots more often, or maintain a house planner) for a little while. Then I would slide back into old habits.

Arguably, this could be just ADHD. Unable to focus on necessary tasks, because it’s boring as fuck and I don’t want to. Especially when it doesn’t need doing yet, and I’m really really enjoying my Xbox 360. Which she bought me, by the why, to illustrate that she recognised I’m not happy and wanted me to have more recreational time.

Whenever we talked (usually after a fight) she would tell me that I needed to spend more time with friends and have something in my life other than just her, and yet the fight would usually start because I hadn’t been writing chores that needed doing into the planner and marking them off one by one as they are completed each day.

In hindsight, I understand now that she also wanted me to schedule in ‘me’ time and friends time. I think she seriously imagined that I would be able to breathe in a strictly scheduled life in which I plan out each day meticulously in order to balance my work life, home life and all other pleasures of life in perfect harmony.  I can see why it would have comforted her to live in such a safe and predictable world, but I felt trapped.

Even writing “Monday – laundry,  Tuesday – groceries, Wednesday – litterboxes, Thursday – dusting” and left every other day blank. Leaving that journal out for her to oversee and check was enough to make me feel like a caged bird with a snake in the room. Beating it’s clipped little wings pathetically to escape. I’d build the cage myself though, and it was keeping her out.

Those words of hers let me see the bars. When we were dating, she told me that she saw greatness in me. When she took it back, telling me ‘I don’t see that in you anymore’ I saw that the key had been in the lock the whole time. It still took me a little while after that to pluck up the courage to open the door and escape.

It also turned out to be more like a multi-walled fortress than a cage, and I think I may still be working my way through some of the outer defenses. Turns out imaginative people can build one heck of a prison! It had oubliettes. Go watch Labyrinth (again), followed by Dark City and at least 3 documentaries about medieval castle defences. You’ll thank me for the imagery. 🙂

I thought about her words and realised something. If she saw something great in me when I was single and confident, and dressed all in black, perhaps I needed to go back to that. Not to win her back. That had been the plan shortly after we broke up, but that ship sailed when she told me about her new boyfriend.

I started to notice how ratty her face was (in hindsight, this may explain why I often use giant rats as villains in my stories), and how immature and nonsensical some of her opinions and assertions were then. I became determined to find my greatness despite her pronouncement that my chance at greatness was behind me. To come back to who I was before I met her, make some different choices, and be the person I was meant to be.

I may have missed the window for greatness, but I’m going to do my damnedest to get close to it. I want you to know, in advance, that I appreciate all your help on the way there. Maybe together we can build something greater than all of us, and perhaps the spirit of the Creative Writers group will continue after we’ve all gone. Who knows. For now, I’m just enjoying taking the journey with you all.

Have a great day 🙂 I hope you enjoy my writing

 

 

Writing through the Block

Sometimes I’m kind of an idiot. There are several stories I should be working on, but I just can’t find the motivation. I actually have the next part of Hermes925 drafted and ready to go, but instead of typing it up I spent most of the day playing Oblivion (in my defence, it was on sale).

I’m tempted to blame it on feeling too tired to write, which would launch me into another rant in which I whine about having to work at a hotel part-time when I’d rather just be writing for a living. It’s necessary for now though. I’m living in a room that’s about 8′ by 10′ at my grandparent’s house. I really need to get a place of my own.

When I moved in I didn’t plan on having a girlfriend, but I do, and I’m grateful. I think the lack of room for her stuff is upsetting her. She needs some territory she can claim as her own beyond a pull-out bed, a drawer and part of a shelf!

I think it’s also frustrating to her how much time she has to spend at work. She works more hours than I do and seems to spend most of the time she’s not at work napping. She’d much rather have the time and energy to enjoy her time off, as would I.

I tell myself that I need to buckle down and get writing, or I’ll never be able to give her the freedom she deserves. Instead, I find myself procrastinating. I’ll be checking Facebook to see if any members of the Creative Writers group have a problem I can help with or playing a game instead.

I’ve often advised others to start freewriting when they get into a funk like this. Just pick up a pen and paper (or in this case open a new blog post) and start writing. I tell them, quite sagely, that doing so might help them figure out what it is that’s really holding them back. Yet, I didn’t think of it myself. Hence the self-abuse at the beginning of this post.

I’m still no clearer to understanding why I can’t seem to be bothered. I’ve maybe written five lines all day on an actual story, which is more than I’ve done the last four days. To be a little fairer on myself I was working at the hotel 3 of those days. 

I like working at the hotel. I get along with my co-workers, the view from the bar is fantastic, and sometimes I can get a free meal. I just wish I wasn’t so tired all the time. My feet still hurt. I can’t imagine how much worse I’d be feeling if I worked five days a week instead of only three!

I know everyone hates going to work. I should just man up. One of my colleagues has had surgery lately and still manages to work a full week. I feel like a whiny brat in comparison. There are lots of others too, willing to work their fingers to the bone for a steady paycheck. I still feel I’d be much happier getting by on what little money I can make from writing, but I have much more to worry about now than my own wellbeing.

Before I had to start taking a second job, I had a system that seemed to be working. Get up when I like, but start writing at 10 am. Keep writing (which would also include research, editing, re-writing, and sharing my latest updates online) until I can’t concentrate on anything anymore. This system would often give me about 6 hours of writing and writing-related work each day, and I would give myself weekends off.

Things got more complicated now. For one, I needed to be able to buy my own food instead of raiding my Grandparents all the time, so day-job. I can’t even stick to my old plan on the days I’m not at the hotel. One or both of us will have to over-sleep to recover from a hard shift at work, so no strict 10am start. I also can’t, in good conscience, ignore my girlfriend as she’s sitting on the bed right next to my desk.

Something has to go. It’s not going to be the writing. The very idea makes every cell in my body rebel. It had better not be my girlfriend or I’m going to be very upset. It has to be the job that gets sacrificed, but with the job also goes our main source of income. Even if I could secure income enough to support us both, I still wouldn’t have the time to write. Unless I can either find a way to include her in the writing process or hope she finds a passion of her own to pursue.

I also realise that all of this is a complete waste of time. The fact is I have chosen this life and I’m the only one who can make it work. It’s my responsibility. Yet I still have this childish, almost girly, dream that some day a famous author (Neil Gaiman) is going to see my work, tell me that my ideas are awesome but they could be better expressed, and then take me under their wing as their apprentice.

Even that isn’t going to happen unless I have my work out there to be found. I need to stop wasting my time whining, overthinking, sleeping, etc. I need to create the future I want to have. That’s not going to happen while staring at a screen and feeling sorry for myself.

I really should be working on my Monolith submission. Maybe I’ll sleep on it and try again tomorrow. Maybe when I wake up, I’ll discover that I have a hundred new paid subscribers each paying £10 a month, which would be more than enough for me to make writing my only job. I’ll keep dreaming until I do.

Have a great day 🙂