Why Don’t I Just Quit?

I’ve actually been thinking about quitting writing quite a lot. Writing is hard work and takes up a lot of my time. I told myself that I needed to do this, for me, that no matter what. However, I’m beginning to worry that my friends and family see me as selfish and foolish, and would prefer that I give up this dream of being as well known an Author as Neil Gaiman, George R R Martin or Anne Rice.

My close family. My parents and my sister, are being very supportive. My Sister has even challenged me to finish Hermes925 by the summer, and I wouldn’t be able to muddle by at all if it wasn’t for the monthly financial assistance from my Mum and Dad. The rest of my family, however, have not become subscribers or shown much interest in my writing whatsoever.

I currently live with my Grandparents. I don’t expect them to become patrons, they are already doing more than enough by giving me a roof over my head and a place to sleep until I get back on my feet. They used to feed me too, but they can no longer afford too and I worry that I continue to be a drain on their budget. Their electricity and water bills must have gotten higher since I got here, especially with my girlfriend spending all her time here too.

That’s partly why I took the part-time job. I want to help out while I’m here, contribute to the bills and groceries. I’d still rather pay for it by writing, but the income from my Patreon.com page is only up to $15 (£11.95) per month. I also want to save up to get a better place for me and my girlfriend. I’ve seen gaming tables bigger than this room. I’m only working 2-3 days per week, but it’s already put a strain on my writing time.

 

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This was posted to Facebook the same day I was told I needed to do more chores.

 

I’ve been asked by several members of the family to help Grandma and Grandad with dishes, dusting, and other little cleaning jobs. This is completely reasonable and the least I can do for the generosity they’ve shown me. One family member has asked me to also begin taking over the larger jobs. Typically Grandad likes to do these jobs himself and has never asked me to help. However, I don’t want to further alienate my family.

I know some people manage to write entire novels in just 2-4 hours per week, but I honestly don’t know how. This blog is about the only thing I freewrite in one draft. Hermes925 always gets at least two drafts. The rough draft is written on paper first, purposefully forcing me to rewrite it when I transpose it to the computer. The second draft is always much better than the first. I usually rewrite it again when I transpose earlier entries for publication elsewhere. I’m currently behind on the story, but you can read the most recent entry here.

As you probably know, Hermes925 also drew the attention of Project UbiquiCity, and I have a story I’m writing for them. The current draft is due at the end of this month. It’s not going to happen. It would be logical, of course, to be working on that right now instead of writing this rant, but the writing process is seldom logical. I often find that a story I need to get written just isn’t coming to me, but another story, or an article, is screaming to get written instead.

I don’t mind much that the science-fantasy story (the one about a physicist that can see faeries) has been put on a back burner for now since I’m stuck. I haven’t had any idea how to proceed with the rough draft for weeks. I do feel like I need to start the second draft. Perhaps something will change in the rewrite that will solve the impasse. I don’t have time right now.

I’d also like to begin re-writing my ghost story. The original was a short story in the form of a single letter written by a man who has was so obsessed with ghosts that he researched how to become one, and then killed himself with the intention of haunting the story itself. I hoped to send chills down the spine of the reader. It didn’t work and it got rejected by the magazine I submitted it to. So I now plan to write a longer story about the investigators that find his mutilated corpse, and show the reader what it’s like to be haunted by this ghost instead of relying on their imagination. I don’t have time right now.

I need to prioritise UbiquiCity and Hermes925, and also make time to help my Grandparents more, and continue to work the part-time job at the Whitewater Hotel. There are som many ideas swimming around. Sequels for stories I haven’t written yet. Projects that would allow people who can’t, or don’t, read to experience my stories.  So many wild fantasies, including the idea that one day I’ll be able to afford a big house with rooms aplenty that family and friends are welcome to stay in.

 

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I just got my new work shoes!

 

It might be time to “grow up” and quit writing. I’d be letting down the patrons I already have for Hermes925, the Distractions from Drudgery e-zine that has agreed to serialise Hermes925, and the team of writers I’m working with on Project UbiquiCity. However, I’d also have the time to take care of my Grandparents like I’ve been asked too, to the best of my ability.

I feel guilty for even debating this. I have to take the selfless path don’t I? If I don’t sacrifice my own happiness for others, then I’m just a selfish jerk. I want nothing more than to be a writer, but I simply can’t afford too. I used to tell myself that if I focussed on my writing now, treated it like my full-time occupation, that I’d soon be able to afford to pay for a professional carer for my Grandparents, and give generously to other friends and family also. It’s not happening yet.

I am making progress. It seems like a waste, and a terrible shame to give it all up now. It’s become such a habit to get up and write, I’d feel lost without it. I imagine myself on the couch with the grandparents, watching their tv shows and silently screaming to myself that I’m not writing. It’s true that I could be scribbling away in a notebook during this, but I really really don’t want the shows they watch to influence my writing. I suppose I could try it.

I also don’t really feel qualified to do my Grandparents housework. I’m terrible at it. I always have been. It’s a bad excuse for not wanting to help my grandparents, but it’s nevertheless true. My room is, I’m told, typical of those who are creatively minded. It’s messy. Grandma and Grandad do a better job of keeping the house clean than I ever could.

Then there’s my girlfriend, who is often content to watch a movie, play a video game, or nap while I’m writing. What do I expect her to do while I’m sitting with Grandma and Grandad or doing their housework? If I change my habits like I’m suggesting and spend more time keeping my Grandparents company instead of being holed up in my room scribbling down ideas or typing, do I ask her to help me keep an eye on the Grandparents?

It seems that the logical thing since she has time to nap and play games would be to ask her to do my Grandparents housework. After all, if we were living together and I was supporting us both with my writing as I would like, then it would be her doing the majority of the housework. It seems like a shitty thing to ask, even if it would be a logical solution.

I could still sit with the grandparents, scribble down ideas or even type them up on my laptop. I could use an earbud in one ear (leaving the other ear able to hear) to listen to music on my phone, or even use my tablet to play a better background movie or tv show than the one they’re watching. I’d also be available to help with the cleaning if need be. Particularly if I want a break from writing for a few minutes.

I might be able to make this work after all, simply by moving my ‘office’ from my desk in my room to the living room couch. It just wouldn’t be very fun for my girlfriend. It would be far more sensible and hurt fewer people, to just put writing on hold for a few years. I fear though that if I do that, I’ll be trapped. Unable to ever afford to do more than working my arse off at job I get paid as little as possible for, only to see all the money disappear into credit card debts, and expensive (but much needed) trips and hobbies to break up the tedium of life.

 

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I used to play Warhammer 40k a lot.

 

All I want to do is write, but it can’t be all about me or what kind of man would I be? On the other hand, what opportunities would I be giving up on if I stopped now? Would successfully balancing my writing, my job, my relationship and my grandparent’s chores finally earn the respect of the family and friends who have yet to become patrons, or even read my work?

What do you think?

Have a great day 🙂

First Week at Whitewater

Despite my earlier concerns I’m enjoying working a second job at the Whitewater Hotel. I still feel like I’m desperately behind on my writing, but I’ll just have to prioritise, reorganise, and make good use of the time I’m not working at the hotel.

I’ve already met several interesting characters. One of whom we’ll call “Mr. Pubb”, on the off-chance that he’ll read this and not find it at least a little bit amusing. He’s a very smart man, works for a large pharmaceutical firm, and is used to talking to people that he’s intellectually superior too. He’s clearly used to reading people easily too. I’ve seen Mr Pubb guess, correctly, several interesting facts about my new coworkers. He tried to do the same to me, but he was wrong.

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Of course, each time he did I felt the need to correct him, so he knows a lot about me too. However, this worked in my favour as he found travelling engineers, designers, and other smart people to talk too. Each time Mr Pubb saw me he’d introduce me, some of the details of which I would once more feel compelled to correct. Either way, there are now a few more people that know I’m a Sci-Fi writer. One of the people Mr Pubb introduced me too I would be very interested in talking to again. We’ll see if he’s still in the hotel tonight, or if he contacts me.

I unfortunately also discovered that my dress shoes are not suitable for the job. In my first week I worked Thursday 3-11pm, Friday 7-11am and 6-11pm, and then Saturday 7am-3pm. Thankfully they let me stay in a spare room overnight, so I didn’t have to try and get the bus back home and still get there early the next day. However, by about 11am on Saturday my feet were hurting so badly I couldn’t think straight. I was limping with both feet. If there was going to be a moment when I learned to levitate, that would have been the ideal time.

I whined about it on facebook and got some great responses, including several useful foot exercises which allowed me to sleep that night. It was also repeatedly recommended that I get better shoes and much better inserts than the gel insoles I’m using now. To that end, I’ve already started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the mere £75 I need to get myself properly equipped for the job and prevent having to feel that agonising pain again. I’m not exaggerating. By my final hour of my shift, I was physically shaking from the pain. I put my feet up as soon as I could, but I still had to wait 45 minutes for the bus!

Speaking of buses, last night I worked from 6-11pm, and I don’t start today until 6pm again. However, I got done with work early and practically ran to catch a bus that I thought would be there at 10:45. I was wrong, but I sort of suspected I was. I remembered seeing a two hour gap between the return buses on the timetable, but I was nevertheless hopeful. It wasn’t a terribly cold night, but it was dark and by the time the bus almost drove right passed me (I had to wave my Lego Darth Vader Minifig light and my phone) I was feeling a chill.

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What I didn’t know at all was that, instead of taking a route that would stop only 3 minutes from my Grandparent’s house (where I currently live), the closest it would come was a 15 minute walk. As I said it was dark, and when it started down a road I didn’t recognise, I wasn’t absolutely sure. Until I saw a landmark that I know comes after my regular stop. Luckily the bus driver made an unscheduled stop for me, only about ten minutes from home, but uphill, and I’m still wearing my crippling dress shoes. Luckily my feet weren’t hurting yet, but it was only a 4½ hour shift.

With the adjustment to the new scheduling, I didn’t get around to writing Hermes925 last month, and I was still shattered on Sunday. Though I still managed to update The City of Gate, it took me all day. For those that don’t know, The City of Gate is an RP group I run on Facebook. Do you like games like D&D or Vampire: The Masquerade? Would you like to control a character within a fantasy narrative? No rules, no dice, just story. Anything goes as long as you keep the story going. Bad things happen if you don’t make one comment per week, or if your character does something fatally stupid.

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I need to keep up with Hermes925, it’s a lot of fun to write at moment, though it is taking it’s time to come through. Every word seems to be taking great effort right now, not just writing new ones, but polishing up the older entries. There’s no great hurry on this, but I want to make sure they’re ready before they’re published elsewhere. The Ubiquicity story isn’t flowing easily right now either. However, I need to keep up with both.

Like I may have mentioned, Hermes925 is getting serialised in a pulp-fiction mag style e-zine called Diversions from Drudgery. The first issue is coming out next month. I will be sure to include a link on this website as soon as it’s available. There will no doubt be a blog article also.

Still, I wish I had the time to work on an audio version, perhaps even a YouTube video version, of Hermes925 for my friends that are blind or have other problems reading. I good do some blog articles that way too. I have a much better microphone now, so videos shouldn’t be mumbly anymore. I just need time to come up with a better video solution. The PC that can handle our DVD quality mic doesn’t have a camera, and my face would be mostly concealed by pop-screen anyway.

I’d like an illustration, or perhaps animation. Original music would be good too. We’d each get a cut of any profit we’d make from our YouTube collaboration. Perhaps I’ll even set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise some starter cash for the project. I don’t have the time right now though, and I probably won’t until I have enough Patreon subscribers to be able to quit working a second job.

If you’re interested in seeing Hermes925 as a YouTube series complete with animation and a musical theme, please contribute to my Patreon campaign for now. If you can’t though, that’s okay. I’ll raise the money eventually by working at The Whitewater Hotel, and the money I’ll make for the ezine, but it will just take longer. I’m still going need those shoes though! 😉

I also plan to rewrite the ghost story that was recently rejected. Thanks to a lot of great feedback, I’ve decided to include the original story in a larger narrative. This is going to take a lot more research into police procedures, locations, engineering, etc. For now, the ghost story and the faery story I’m working on will both have to wait until I can afford the time.

Before I forget to mention it; The Whitewater Hotel is hiring! If you’re looking for work and live in south Cumbria, give them a call!

If you have some objection to Patreon.com of GoFundMe.com, but still want to help I will accept either one-off donations or one of the subscription options below, via Paypal.primary-sml_btn  preferred-sml_btn  premium-sml_btn posh-sml_btn preposterous-sml_btn

 

 

 

Thank you for reading, and have a great day 🙂

Let’s Try This Again!

I’m feeling a little nervous. I start a new job on Thursday working in a bar. It’s in the same hotel my girlfriend works at. The Whitewater Hotel. It’s in a beautiful part of the Lake District with a river running right past it. So far every employee I’ve spoken too seems cool. Even more reason why I’m a little anxious.

It would be nice to have a bit of an income coming in again. When I worked at The Brown Cow I was saving up quite a nice little pile of savings. There were several other things about that job that would have been perfect. It was only a short walk from where I’m currently living. It helped keep me fitter because I was doing more physical work and walking home uphill.

Unfortunately, there were quite a few aspects of the job that sucked. The owner was unapologetically exploitative. He once told me that when we took the job we agreed to minimum wage, in return he expects us to work hard for him, and if we’re not willing to put all of our effort into making his business a success we should leave. He also never complemented anyone for their hard work, only berated them for what he decided they had done wrong, badly or missed entirely.

It seems that all the other employees felt they were being mistreated also, and took every opportunity to complain. At first, this gave me a feeling of solidarity. Us versus him. However, this solidarity meant that they all continued working for him, complaining behind his back, and doing nothing to improve their situation. Nevertheless, it made sense to at least work there through Christmas, and hope the increased tips would be worth the environment of resentment I was working in.

I couldn’t hack it though. The staff all had a tendency to insult each other affectionately, and once I was on ‘their side’ they began to do the same to me. One of whom would imply that I was sexually promiscuous and stand way too close to me. I’m sure he actually grabbed my arse once. The day I quit I was going to confront him about it. I spent the short walk going over it in my head, what I was going to say, how I was going to say it. Then I started to imagine what he might say back, and about the fact that I would have to talk to him in private. I walked in and he was wearing a Santa’s Elf costume, and every fibre of my being told me I had to leave. So I did, and I have never gone back.

I took this opportunity to write my arse off! I was hoping that I’d be able to get my writing career off the ground and establish a stable income before my money, and my family’s ability to help me, ran out. I knew going in that it was unlikely and would require an awesome combination of effort and dumb luck to pull it off. I’m also willing to admit that I was so upset by my last experience, that I am dreading having to work with people again.

I hope they’re cool.

I will find time to write no matter what. I’m willing to admit now that claiming that taking a second job (I’m still a Writer) would leave me with no time to write was an excuse. In truth, I just don’t want to have to deal with jerks, morons, drunks and pervs again. Like I said though, so far they seem pretty cool. The atmosphere of the hotel seems great too. They even let staff use their smartphones when it’s quiet, so I’ll be able to write down ideas and develop stories during my down time.

This could be perfect. Getting paid to work behind a bar (which can be fun), in beautiful surroundings, and still able to scribble. Plus I’m only working there 2-3 days per week, so that will still give me plenty of the week left to work on the UbiquiCity project, Hermes925 and Before the War.

I’ll find out soon enough. Getting anxious about it won’t help anything. Even if it turns out to be horrible it will still be a valuable experience, and you don’t level up without gaining experience.

I’ll be using the income to help my girlfriend save up for the deposit on a house to rent, to help pay utilities and groceries, and I’ll also be creating a marketing budget to promote Hermes925, and a self-publishing budget. I’d still rather publish through a traditional publisher that will do all the marketing and distribution for me, but I’ll increase my chances of getting picked up if I already have a following.

Please help me save up faster by visiting my Patreon.com page and becoming a patron, or choosing one of the Paypal subscription options below. All subscribers will get a weekly newsletter keeping you up to date on all my work in progress, and I’m working on ways to improve the higher level rewards beyond personal holiday greetings and personalised short stories.

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Thank you and have a great day 🙂

My Monday Motivation

I love alliteration. It comes easier to me than rhyming. I was tempted to actually make this opening paragraph rhyme, but as usual, I found myself stressing about the arrangement of words to get the right rhythm, and flow of words stopped entirely.

Trying to write poetry leaves me feeling like a rank amateur, but writing a story is like diving into a river. You may get a few bumps and bruises along the way, you might even experience real terror and struggle to keep your head above water from time to time, but overall the experience is enjoyable, thrilling and exciting.

The hardest part is often taking the first plunge. Seeing the page, pristine and undisturbed, laid out before, knowing that one you make your mark, you’ll be carried away can be a daunting prospect. Lucky for me, I find staring boring, and my mind wonders and begins putting random words together just to keep itself entertained.

There are lots of things to do today. Over the weekend I got my first two Patreon.com subscribers. This makes 3 total including one person who subscribed via the Paypal buttons I made. I’ve promised subscribers is weekly emails including updates on everything I’m writing. So I may need to put some thought into how I’m going to present it all.

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I also have more work to do on the story I’m writing for UbiquiCity. I’m enjoying this project. We’re all working together to create a unified world in which all our stories take place. We’ve discussed law enforcement, social standing, food, technology, transportation, economics, environment and healthcare among other things. The team is very imaginative and creative, and I’m proud to be included.

I’m beginning to think that my ghost story isn’t going to be accepted by the magazine I submitted it too. To be fair it was the first ghost story I’ve written in a long time, it probably doesn’t stand out among the hundreds of other submissions they received. They might accept it yet, and there are plenty of other publications. I’m not terribly concerned, but the money would be nice.

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Another publication I’m working with is all set to publish Hermes925 as a series, which is very exciting. They’re called Diversions from Drudgery and they need more artists and illustrators. They’ll take almost anything you can submit and, you’re free to use the same work elsewhere. I can’t wait to see the first issue!

I also still need to make time to write more of the science-fantasy prelude to ‘The War on Magic‘. I’m going to submit it to as many publications as I can get away with when it’s done, including SciFan magazine, the Writers of Tomorrow contest, and I’ll probably send it to Diversions from Drudgery too. Once ‘Before the War’ is out there I’ll have to get ‘The War on Magic’ written.

I need to get ‘Hermes925‘ finished first. The story is about to get very interesting. You’re going to find out where the Swordbearer has been during his exile and one of the meteor fragments that Pan brings in is going to be a little too much to handle. In addition to writing the next part this week, I’m also revising older Hermes925 entries to prepare them for inclusion in future issues of Diversions from Drudgery.

Every so often I wonder if the fluff I wrote for ‘the City of Gate‘. To me, they don’t make much sense out of context of the game. Nevertheless, I have this little stockpile of first person tales within a fantasy world I created. I should use them to try and regain my financial independence. Somehow. Maybe I’ll include them in the subscriber emails.

At one point I was trying to make them into a book. Filling in the gaps between first-person accounts with a third-person narrative recounting the events that have taken place in ‘the City of Gate’ rp group. If you’d like to read what I’ve put together so far and let me know if it’s worth trying to finish it, follow this link.

In addition to all of that I also need to check my audio equipment for a voice acting gig. They haven’t sent me the new script yet, so I posted a request for suggestions on Facebook. I’ll be adding the results to that post once I’ve recorded them.

I’d best get on with it. Please help support my writing addiction, if you can, by becoming a patron on Patreon.com, which is set up for American dollars. If you’d rather contribute in British pounds (or any other currency), please click one of the Paypal subscription options below.

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Thank you for reading and have a great day 🙂

 

 

Missing the Organising Organ

Monday. I have had a great weekend and now I have work to do. Primarily, of course, I need to get writing, but now that I’m starting to get noticed, I feel like it’s even more important that my online presence is on point.

Facebook is my friend. I’ve found some great writer groups and had some excellent conversations. I still don’t know how to get the most out of Twitter, and I haven’t even looked at LinkedIn lately, but my nemesis is Google Plus. It doesn’t help that I have two active Gmail addresses.

It doesn’t help that I have two active Gmail addresses. One from when I was living in the US (copeland.tony@gmail.com) and my new UK-based email that I would prefer to receive all my writer correspondence through (antonym.copeland@gmail.com). Both accounts on Google Plus are in dire need of an update and some TLC.

I’d prefer to close my old account down completely to avoid confusion, but my WordPress account is registered to it. All my email notifications regarding this website, Games and Geekery, and any of the pages I follow still go to the old one. So I can’t get rid of it yet.

For some reason I don’t quite understand, despite the fact that the RPG sourcebook project has my new e-mail address, I received the Google Hangouts invitation for the last meeting via the old one. It’s particularly confusing because they also have me in their Google Plus Community under the new profile, as well as sending emails to the correct address.

In addition to that, I’m falling behind on Patreon.com, Wattpad.com, and Inkshares.com. Whenever I sit down to do it I become frustrated. I know it’ll take time and experience to get each of these up to date and professional looking, but I also know that it will all be pointless unless I also keep writing to provide content for each site.

I think, for now, I shall just have to leave it all a disorganized mess until I have the time and motivation to sort through it all and figure out what needs doing. In the meantime, I have a Science-Fantasy short story to write based on “The War On Magic” that I hope to submit to The Writers Of The Future when it’s done. I also have to draft 5,000 – 10,000 words for the RPG sourcebook project, and also continue writing Hermes925.

I have plenty to do without having to worry about my online image, and yet I still do. Maybe I need an intern or something to do all the social media and website curation for me? Someone who can understand html and enjoys playing around with it, who can handle all my marketing and media, so I can just write.

What are your thoughts on this?

And please remember, if you haven’t already, to support my writing (and potentially my intern) by becoming a paid subscriber. Options start at £1 per month, and all levels of patronage entitle you to extra content and special treatment. Just click the button that fits your budget below. Thank you, and have a great day 🙂

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I’m Doing It!

I’m actually doing it! I’m writing every day. You may be thinking to yourself “so what, do you want a prize?” Yes, please. Yes I do.

I’ve felt the urge to quit the day job and become a full time writer several times over the last few years. Before that it was just the urge to quit! I knew what I was doing didn’t feel right, but I didn’t know what it was I wanted to do instead.

As a child I would write pages of ideas about what I might be when I grew up and completely missed what it was that I was actually good at, until recently. I want to write. It feels right. Being home to do it feels right too.

I admit that part of the problem I had with actually taking the plunge when I was in america was trying to figure out what I’d do for money. I was already in debt, which getting worse every month. If I had no job except writing, there’d be no income and no health insurance, and soon I’d have no internet, no computer, nowhere to live and nothing to eat.

Luckily I had a safety net. I went back to my family in the UK. I feel a little bit guilty about taking advantage of my grandparents hospitality, but I have no rent to pay, no bills, and Grandma and Grandad will make sure I’m fed. There’s no better time than now to go for it.

I only have about $200 left of the money reserves I made from working at the Brown Cow Inn, because occasionally I like to buy stuff and take the bus or train to somewhere different. So I will have to find a way to make some money at this. I’ve already set up the Patreon.com account to try and acheive this, but I’m thinking I should diversify and explore some other ways to build up an income.

Particularly since I currently have no patrons at all. It is right after christmas though. Everyone is broke right now. I need to be patient, but while I’m waiting I can still be writing and looking for other ways to sell it. I don’t mind doing the work because it feels like it’s the work I should be doing.

It’s also nice that I’m my own boss. I can set my own pace depending on my mood, adjust my schedule whenever I need to, and I get to decide what happens to the money. When there’s money. It’s going to become a problem if I don’t start to get at least a little bit trickling in. I don’t want to have to go back to working for someone else. I like having my whole day to write in.

The more I write, the better I’ll write. I’m going to work on some more Hermes925 later. The sooner I can finish the entire manuscript, the sooner I can start pitching the book to publishers. If I can actually meet my sister’s challenge and have it available to buy by June, I’ll be very happy.

So now that I’ve got this off my chest, my justification for being a jobless scrub, I’m going to get myself a glass of water, some headache pills (the one from yesterday never left) and get on with Hermes925.

Have a great day 🙂