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. 🙂

 

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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 🙂

 

 

Really?!

I was going to try and write an article for the Games & Geekery website this morning. Actually I was going to write it last night, I was super tired and ended up falling asleep instead. I knew I only had one odd-job client scheduled for today though. I could get the article written in the morning and then go paint garden furniture in the afternoon.

However, I got a message from one of my Facebook contacts who happens to also be interested in participating in my sci-fi RP group, The N-Viron Network. He seemed determined to talk despite telling him how busy I was. However, one of the things I was busying myself with was playing with Heroforge.com (it occured to me that I could create custom minis for the characters in The City of Gate), and that I should always be available to help the players.

In general I like to help people. It makes my day to brighten someone else’s. It’s part of the reason I like doing odd-jobs so much. I also love talking about the rp games I run, and writing in general. So when he started the conversation, not with ‘Hi’ or ‘Do you have a minute’, but ‘Do you like Campbell?’ (as in Joseph Campbell, the author of ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces‘) it seemed like it might be an informed discussion about character creation.

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One of the Knights of H’Vannah, from The City of Gate

I made myself available. I’d been looking forward to seeing what kind of character he might come up anyway based on our previous discussions. He seemed to be leaning towards creating an antagonistic player character determined to tear down the infrastructure of the N-Viron Network last time we talked, which would have made things challenging, but interesting.

However, he quickly stopped talking about The Hero’s Journey and claimed he just wanted to chat and develop our friendship. In my experience people on Facebook who say they ‘just want to be friends’ are selling something. I explained that I prefer having a specific topic of conversation because I’m a bit of an introvert. Conversations need to have a point to reduce the risk of awkward gaps in which you don’t know what to talk about. He claimed to be an introvert too, and that’s why it’s easy for him to listen. He proceeded to dominate the conversation at every opportunity!

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Majister, and Elder Draconic Vampire from The City of Gate

He began by saying that he prefers to dig deep into topics that make people feel vulnerable. ‘Like dreams, desires, wishes, fears, etc.’. I agreed that being upfront about your weird stuff is a good way to find out whether or not you can really consider someone a friend. What I didn’t tell him is that I also recognised this as a sales technique. People are easier to convince when they’re vulnerable.

The conversation became a series of soundbites about success and motivation, whilst also criticising my writing style and undermining my confidence. If he’s kept going until I was utterly crushed, I might have been desperate enough to buy what he offered, but he got frustrated with me and quit talking to me first.

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Skritter, the last of the Ratkin. Another NPC from The City of Gate.

His first attack on my self-esteem came by asking why I still lived my parents. This put me on the defensive immediately. I don’t still live my parents. I moved back in with my parents after over a decade of living in the US, because I was feeling emotionally vulnerable and financially desperate following my divorce. He then told me about his string of failed relationships, mentioning that he would sometimes ‘get all bipolar on people’.

Then he asked me when I was going to move on, ‘you’re not going to live with your parents forever are you?’ I was expecting a pitch at this point, some magic way that I could make money and regain independence. Surprisingly he said, ‘I don’t know how you can earn money to get out of this’, and that’s when the self-help quotes started up like, ‘what you fear most is the thing you must do.’

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Myche, a magically modified elf from The City of Gate

I happen to agree with him. Sometimes doing what must be done is scary, but you have to make the leap. I found the prospect of quitting the day job to write for a living terrifyingly intimidating, but I did it. In fact I find most regular obs intolerable now that I’ve become used to working for myself. I’ve put myself out there and invited constructive criticism and feedback, despite how vulnerable this makes me.

He also said, ‘If you hit your lowest, you can start anew’. This too I agree with, and I told him all about hitting my low point and using it as an opportunity to explore my psyche and figure out what had brought me to this point and why I was getting in my own way. That by doing so I identified several learned behaviours that were holding me back. He then told me that what I had done was impossible and that I was fooling myself, and seeing only what I wanted to see, while continuing to tell me (just like my ex-wife did) that I just had to cut the bullshit and be myself!

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Greta, from The City of Gate

Apparently I should only be myself if I do it the way he approves of.  ‘Tap into your emotions and your subconscious mind’. I’m pretty sure I had just told him that I did that very thing. I had been using a computer analogy, telling him that I was basically using meditation to edit my source code. He didn’t like that. Computers are logical (though anyone who’s ever used a computer might disagree), while emotions are not. While I agree that ‘logical’ isn’t necessarily the correct word, I do find that emotional reactions make more sense than they’re given credit for.

Regardless of his insistence that I was wrong, I tried to use a different metaphor, that of the mind-palace, to explain how you might choose to navigate and organise your thoughts and emotions. He seemed interested in this concept, but quickly moved on to expressing his opinion that the key to happiness is being aware of, and in touch with, your emotions. At this point he was beginning to sound like a broken record.

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Lynn, from The City of Gate

I suggested he write a self-help book, which is when he said there being easier ways to make money than writing, and bragged about having lived in one of the most expensive apartments in Romania, and how he’s very good at selling online. Once again I was expecting a sales pitch, but got none. Since he didn’t, I did. I told him about my Patreon campaign and invited him, since he was so affluent and successful, to help support my writing.

He said no. I wasn’t terribly surprised. Usually when people have to tell you how rich they are, they aren’t. They are just trying to convince you they are so that you buy their money-making scheme. I’m also aware that only about 10% of pitches result in a solid sale, because I’ve actually studied sales and marketing back when I worked in sales and marketing!

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Granma, from The City of Gate

He went on to tell me that he’d be more interested in reading a book like ‘The Grey Man‘ than my work. Which is fair enough. I’m aware that not everyone is going to like my writing style. My main goal at the moment is to expand my audience and find more people that do. Pitching to people that don’t like my stories is just a waste of time. I made the foolish mistake of asking him how he gained an audience large enough to make him wealthy.

He told me I had to tap into my ‘real, real, real self’ and put myself ‘at risk of being judged’. To risk ‘being considered weird’ and having ‘people make fun of you’. All things I already do, as anyone who subscribes to my WordPress blog already knows. I told him that I already do this and he claims that I’m not really being vulnerable. He read some of the blog and said I write like a scientist.

He cited his own articles as an example of how to write authentically, deeply and with vulnerability, and found almost all of his articles to be about how to get rich (no surprise there) and lists of the things he’s grateful for. The same generic shit I’ve seen on countless blogs that make money through affiliate marketing.

He called me a brat at this point and I called him condescending, and he decided we should never talk again. However, his assessment that I don’t write with emotion or vulnerability bothered me. I feel like I’ve bared my soul in this blog, but what if he’s right? What if the reason why I don’t have a huge following already is because I don’t make people care?

Or maybe he’s just a douchebag. Let me know what you think, I’d appreciate the feedback, no matter how much it may hurt.

By the way, do you like the minis?

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 🙂

Here We Go…

Today marks not only the first full day of my life in Kidwelly, but also the first day of my renewed commitment to writing every day. There won’t be a video with this article, since my headset is still at my Grandparents house, packed and ready to be brought here on the next trip.

For those that don’t know, I’ve moved to Kidwelly in south Wales. My parents live here, along with my sister and her daughters. I’m hoping that the happiness I feel being with my family again will help me counter the recent spike in my anxiety levels. The fact that Kidwelly is a much smaller, and by all accounts much friendlier, town should help also. I don’t have to be worried about my safety leaving the house, and I certainly don’t need to worry about running into anyone that used to pick on me in school.

Its a little silly that a 37 year old man should still feel nervous about bullies, but I do. It might even be that the reason I’ve been feeling so anxious lately is due to a denial of my true nature. I was always shy as a child, but I should be confident and assertive to get anywhere in life. I’ve been pretty good at convincing others that I’m outgoing, including myself, but recent events have forced me to recognise that deep down I’m still the same shy kid I always was.

I’m still determined to be a successful writer, I’m just going to have to do it as I am. I don’t seem to be able to fake it anymore, at least not without being aware that it’s fake. I can feel my inner self pouting at the very thought of it. This is very frustrating since I still need to work at a day-job of some kind. I have a job lined up working as bar/restaurant staff. Exactly the kind of job that requires you to be outgoing.

I’m honestly dreading it. I’m hoping one of the call-centre jobs I applied for offers me a position before I have to start at the bar. It’s not an ideal job. It’s a caravan park. It’s about a 20 minute walk from town, on country roads. No pavement. No streetlights. I’ll be coming home in the dark, and for at least two months of the year, it’ll only be part-time.

I know I should “suck it up, buttercup” and get on with it like a grown up. ‘We don’t always get what we want’, ‘at least it’s a job’, etc. I don’t wanna! I sound like a whiny entitled brat, but I’m not sure that it’s such a bad thing to want to work in a jib that suits your personality. In fact, most of the management books I’ve read suggest finding employees with compatible personality traits. I’m not doing myself or the business any favours by putting on an act.

A business relationship is like any other. If you’re dishonest, you’ll be found out, and the relationship will be over. On the other hand, maybe I should just go for it. It might be one of those ‘it was fun while it lasted’ sort of relationships. I can drop it when something better comes along. However, those kind of relationships (particularly when they’re the romantic kind, but also the working kind) always leave me feeling like a shitty human being.

I’d much rather not have to go into the job pretending I’m something I’m not. That includes having to pretend I want the job. I applied at the caravan park because I thought it was in the town of Kidwelly. It really isn’t. I also wanted the supervisor job, so I’d be making use of my education, experience and training, but they offered me team-member instead. There was also no cellphone service there when they had their recruitment day. It would be nice to be able to call my Dad or Sister for a ride home if the weather is bad, or it there’s an emergency.

Maybe I’m just getting new job jitters. Maybe it’ll all work out. Perhaps I’ll make a new friend working there that’s willing and able to drive me to work. Perhaps I’ll get fitter and the walk won’t leave me feeling like a wheezing old man stinking of sweat. There’s an elliptical exercise machine in the room I’m staying in. If I use that each morning it should help.

Perhaps I’ll make enough money on the side from writing that I’ll be able to save up and cover the short-fall during the off-season. That way I’ll be able to afford to rent the flat I’ve been looking at. I might also find a better job, or be writing full-time. Who knows? I know there’s no point in worrying about things that may never be an issue, but expecting everything will go well seems naive, and a setup for failure.

I suppose I could try to not expect anything, good or bad, and just take it as it comes and roll with the punches. That way I can avoid the “I knew it!” moment, or the sense of impending doom while I wait for something to go wrong. If anyone knows how I can teach myself this trick, I’d be happy to hear it!

I’ve been writing this article a few lines at a time for most of the day now. My plan is to write a new article every Saturday, post the next part of ‘The City of Gate’ (a forum-style RPG on Facebook) on Sunday, work on a short story submission on Monday, then on Tuesday I work on ‘The Haunted Story’, the writing guide on Wednesday, ‘Hermes925’ on Thursday, and ‘Leveling Up’ on Friday. Technically it’s now Sunday since it’s a quarter after midnight, so I’d better wrap this up!

I have to do at least an hour’s writing each day, and I’m using ‘The Book Factory’ and my family to help hold me to it. Even if I’m exhausted from work. 1 hour. I’ve spent more than an hour on this, but I have been writing only a few lines at a time throughout the day. In fact, I’ll finish this in the morning. I’m tired. 🙂


Awake again. My family go to church. My Dad’s the Vicar (Priest), so he has to. Mum runs the Sunday school (or ‘Messy Church’ as they call it). Today they’re building a temple out of cardboard boxes. Mum asked me yesterday to come along and help. I really don’t want to, but how do I say no? I feel bad even typing this knowing that she’s probably going to read this. She always reads my articles.

I think it’s mostly because I’m still figuring things out. For a long time I thought being shy was a bad thing and I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to be proactive and bold instead. However, I still tend to ignore things I don’t like instead of doing anything about it. I let myself be swept along instead of fighting the current. I worry that if I go along with this I’ll never achieve anything, and that I’ll be okay with never achieving anything.

It would make life a lot easier I suppose. To stop trying so hard and just go along for the ride. I may not ever become the successful writer I want to be, but at least I would avoid the struggle, and the pressure of success. Instead of facing and overcoming my fear of failure, and my fear of success (if I actually become successful then people will come to expect things of me, an I may not be able to sustain it), I could just accept my meek, shy, and wimpy self, and let life/God/whatever take over.

It feels like giving up. If I go to church, I might find myself becoming attracted to the lifestyle Christianity offers. I might decide that being a sheep is far easier than trying to be a wolf. Live a quiet life, don’t make any waves, and go to Heaven, remembered only by a handful of people with kind, generic, words.

 

Sadly, it’s sort of appealing. I worry thought that there will always be a part of me that knows I took the easier path. That I gave up. Would I still become I writer if I get involved with the church? I know that if I get involved I’ll feel like a hypocrite. Unless I allow myself to believe in God again (I used to when I was a kid), and ignore everything that caused me to turn away from Christianity in the first place.

I’m not sure I can do it. Pretend to be Christian, allow people to assume I’m Christian, or publicly convert to Christianity because it would be easier. All of the options seem bad. I do wonder though if my belief that organised religion is a form of mind control to keep the population from competing with the ambitious is still valid now that I know that my shyness is not something I can get away from. It’s either genetic, or so deeply ingrained that I haven’t successfully overcome it.

I noticed I didn’t say ‘can’t’, which I find reassuring. It implies I still believe it’s possible. There’s also a possibility that none of this will be an issue. I’ll go help out with messy church and feel no obligation at all to be Christian or help indoctrinate the kids. I’ll meet some nice people, and begin to make some connections in the community.

I may even find more people interested in my writing, preferably interested enough to ask me ‘How’s the writing going?’ or ‘When’s the next part of Hermes925 out?’ every time they see me. However, I’ve learned not to put too much faith in people. It invariably leads to disappointment. I probably need to lower my standards. Learn to be more accepting of people as they are, instead of expecting them to live up to their potential. This includes myself.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I wasn’t a success. Perhaps living a normal, mundane life surrounded by nice people is okay. I really hope they’re nice.

This article has been a lot more unguarded than usual. We’ll see what sort of feedback I get.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

Wales and Wellness

New Year, fresh start! I’m getting out of my emotional slump, and also out of the tiny box room, out of the depressing night-job, and out of this bad-memory riddled town!

I spent most of last week in Kidwelly visiting my family. I’ve thought about moving there before, but this time I’m going to do it. I think I was worried that if I lived nearer to my parents, in particular my Mum, I’d simply give up trying to be an independent adult and allow her to run my life for me. My mother is a self-confessed control freak, but that doesn’t mean I’ll automatically default to a child-like role.

I realise now that this idea was planted in my head during a previous relationship. A relationship that is now officially, legally, 100% over! Woohoo! I might have the letter from the courthouse framed! It doesn’t automatically undo everything we both went through together, but it does help me to severe any remaining emotional and psychological ties.

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To be fair, I do have some childlike tendencies. 

Speaking of psychology. Moving to Kidwelly will mean having to cancel my place on the waiting list for CBT. However, I feel confident (at the moment) that I can find similar therapy in Wales, and use self-directed cognitive therapy techniques. The phone conversation already validated my suspicions that I’m dealing with anxiety, and that the anxiety may be a result of mild autism.

The more I talk to people on the autism spectrum, and to people who have autistic friends and family, the more sure I am that the difficulties I sometimes have communicating with ‘normal’ people, particularly groups, is due to this. However, I’ve learned various tricks to allow me to talk to individuals.

I have no problems in a customer service or sales role because I’m usually dealing with a one-on-one conversation, and I’ve learned to read facial expressions, body language and tone to make sure I understand. I’m also very good at using my own body language and tone to lead the conversation where I want.

I do tend to automatically try to figure out what the right thing to say is though, even in casual conversation. I think that’s why I like blogging. I can just say what I want to say without feeling like I need to modify the message for the person I’m talking to. I do write with a particular audience in mind from time to time (like the ones about ghostwriting that are meant for for potential clients, or the articles I write for Games n Geekery), but most of the time I just write whatever comes to mind. Unfiltered.

It’s freeing being able to speak my mind. I don’t often feel like I can in conversations. Talking to people seems like an elaborate dance I don’t know all the moves to, constantly watching for clues to avoid stepping on toes. Like I said, this works well when talking to customers and you have to choose your words carefully to close the deal, or at least have them going away with a positive opinion of the company you represent. Not so good when you’re trying to make friends.

I often feel like no-one really knows me, because I tell them what they want to hear instead of what I want to say. The more important the relationship, the harder I try to make them happy, and the less I express my true self. I tend to be more honest with people that don’t matter to me, ironically. This initial candour though can then lead to them becoming important, and then I fall back into audience-pleasing behaviour!

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I have two more packets of them that I’ll think I’ll save for the new place!

I have trouble disappointing people. The fear of letting everyone down can often prevent me from making choices that would be in my best interests. Sometimes though, my own needs burst forth in a sudden rush of activity. Suddenly, I’ll have to do something selfish. It was one of these outbursts that ended my marriage. Another that brought me back to England, and I think this decision to move to Wales is another example.

I felt genuinely happy for the slightly-more-than-three days I was in Kidwelly. I haven’t smiled so naturally or laughed so easily for a long time. I don’t honestly know when I last felt like I could just be myself like that. Even the other people we talked to down there, I was just myself. No masks. No performances to make a good impression. Just me.

It may not last, but if there’s a chance that I can just me happy, and my true self there, I have to give it shot. I’ve already applied for several jobs in the area, and I’ve even checked out a flat above my parents’ favourite cafe. I’d have a job there too if I was a chef, but I’m not.

I’m looking for work that will encourage me to talk to people. That way, even if I end up hermitting in the flat the rest of the time, I’ve at least socialised a little. I may even make some friends. My sister has already promised to get me out of the house every now and then. 🙂

By the way, the microphone featured in the video is a Xiaokoa mini-microphone. The instructions read as if they were badly translated, and the setup instructions don’t work on my laptop. I could at least find it in the devices list on my mini-pc (bought recently to replace the laptop when it finally dies), but it still doesn’t pick up my voice clearly enough to be of any use. Oh well. At least it was cheap.

I forgot how long it takes to upload video. I was hoping to have this article finished and posted hours ago, but I’m still waiting for the video! It’s not a flashy video either. I don’t know how to create title screens and background music, etc. It’s just me talking. I may up the production value later if I ever feel inclined to learn. I passed a little time by taking pictures of things in my room and adding them.

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Cuddle buddies!

I have to go to work in two hours. I should be napping, but I’m feeling anxious and can’t sleep. I’ve heard from two other employees, both of whom have quit, that the hotel isn’t paying our taxes in. They’re probably just doing a little creative book-keeping. Using the money to buy the Christmas decorations and extras food and booze, with the intention of using the profits from the Christmas season to pay the arrears. However, I still need to investigate so that I don’t end up in trouble.

I also got a call just before I went to bed (3 hours ago) reminding me when I’m scheduled. He said that he wanted to be sure the night-porters, plural, were coming. This makes me wonder if both of us are scheduled, and if so, is it because there’s a lot that needs to be caught up on after the holiday, or is it because they’re packed full of people?

January is supposed to be dead, so I hope that it’s just that the place is a pigsty and needs two people to clean up. It would be even better if he just misspoke, and that it’s just a regular, non-crazy Sunday night requiring just one of us. I guess I’ll find out. I’ve already taken a dose of the flower essences my Mum mixed up for me to help me when I’m feeling anxious. Hopefully it will keep me from having a full panic attack if the place is crowded.

Even if everything else falls through, I need to get out of that job. Anyway, the video is finally loaded. Time to put the finishing touches to the article and start getting ready for work.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

Why am I even trying?

Yep, it’s going to be one of those posts.

Things are going fairly well at the moment. The new job as a night-porter is just what the doctor ordered. I get time to write, I only have to deal with a few customers, I don’t have to work with an ex-girlfriend, and the other new night porter is awesome. Of course, now that we’re both trained up we’ll be on opposite shifts most of the time.

The potential romance issue has been resolved also. We talked. She recognises that I’m in no emotional (or financial) state to up sticks and move to Italy. We’re still friends, and maybe, when I have my shit together, it will still become something more. Who knows?

The Monolith project is going well too. I’ve got some great admins helping me to regain order and sanity. Each admin has been assigned specific tasks, taking a lot of the weight off my shoulders and allowing me to get back to doing what I’ve always done best. engaging with the Creative Writers group members and building interest in the group projects.

Thanks to the lack of stress I’ve even begun working on Hermes925 again. I haven’t even needed to smoke. I’ve been completely weed free for a week and have no compulsion to acquire any more. I’ve been wanting to quit for a while, but every previous attempt has left me feeling anxious and resulted in a relapse. I haven’t even written about it because I didn’t want any family that still read this to worry about me (and when I last described my ‘recovery‘ I was ridiculed for it).

 

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One of the ‘Game of Thrones’ characters I empathise with. A man who has had everything taken from him.

 

However, a new job means new people, and new people (especially when they hear the slight American twang to my accent) means having to tell my story again. It’s not just co-workers and customers either. There’s a woman in the Creative Writers group that is going through some trouble with her partner remarkably similar to my relationship with my ex-wife. Helping her get through it and telling my story to others has inevitably stirred up some less than pleasant emotions.

The reason why I’m writing this article instead of working on the Creative Writers group FAQ, like I intended, is because it occurred to me that maybe the real reason I’m trying to become successful as an author, as a boss, and as a man, is to feel like I’m worth something. To give my life value and meaning. If I don’t produce something of lasting value, I’m just a waste of good oxygen.

I’m not writing this so that people will feel sorry for me and try to help. I know everyone that reads this is going through their own drama, trauma and pain. I also know we’re all broke, so I’ve given up asking for financial assistance either. I think I’ve removed every reference to asking for money from the website, including the ‘Tip Jars’ page I recently created, but if you find any I’ve missed let me know.

Realistically, I know that success won’t result in the permanent state of happiness that most of us aspire for, hoping that if they’re ambitious and determined enough they’ll be able to relax and bask in the glory of victory. Being the best invites challenge and conflict. We know from reading stories, playing games, and the lives of our cultural and literary heroes, that the better we become, the larger the challenges we face are.

However, that’s not what’s putting me off. Life is hard, but conflict and hardship make it interesting. However, it occurs to me that I haven’t stopped trying to prove myself worthy of love. Despite telling myself I don’t believe in love anymore, I still find myself wanting it. Though I feel like I’d have nothing to give. I can’t offer children or wealth, or even a place to stay until I can afford to move out of the back room of my Grandparents house.

 

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Intimacy often feels awkward, embarassing and one-sided for me too.

 

Relationships would just complicate things anyway. Even the idea of socialising seems pointless. I sometimes crave company, but not enough to be worth the risk of becoming emotionally attached. Maybe love will find me when the time is right. When my assets are greater than my awkwardness and social anxiety. When my life is stable enough to know that I’m with someone because I truly love them, and not because of some selfish emotional need to feel loved and desired.

Any affection I receive would be charity on their part at this point in my life. If I work hard at becoming a success, I may eventually become worthy of love. Though no matter how hard I work I’ll still never be able to produce a family, so the whole thing seems like a waste of time. Why bother working so hard to become an attractive prospect when I’d be trapping any woman interested in a life of changeable moods, intermittent attention, and childlessness?

I like to write, but the pressure I’m putting on myself to accomplish ‘success’ is taking all the fun out of it. If it’s truly not worth the effort, then why am I even trying?

 

Please don’t worry. This is not a cry for help. Just processing some feelings I’ve long been suppressing.