A slightly dodgy post tonight because my life is officially like pushing a rock up hill. I’m not sure what’s going on but the chaos gremlins won’t leave me alone… and I seem to be waiting… for everything. (sings, ‘the waiting is the hardest part… one more day sees one more yard’)
For example, I decided to put a thing on my bike and McMini’s bike that means the two are attached like a tag along.
In the whole container there was only one screw that was bespoke, that I couldn’t have replaced if I’d lost it. So after I’d put the rest of the contraption onto both bikes, which screw did I discover was missing? That’s right. And to be honest, while I know how to do some fairly comprehensively mechanical stuff to an engine, I couldn’t for the life of me work it out. I gave up. McMini has decided he likes the seat anyway, so we’ll stick with it.
My car. No fascia. No dash, no petrol gauge. The 50 mile journey to the garage down a road bristling with speed cameras… interesting. The solution, discovered by the garage, disconnect the battery. Doh! Why didn’t I think of that? Then again, if I had, I’d have only broken the alarm.
Other areas of life… Flat.
I think it’s book sales that’s getting to me. They look terrible, going backwards, but the demographic is different so I’m clinging to the hope that when I finally come to do the figures, it’ll be the same numbers over a wider selection of platforms. If it is, that’s good, but I have to face the possibility that my books may just be bombing.
Writing the books? Well at the moment, I feel like I’m chasing a mirage, the more I write the further away the end seems to be. I would like to finish the K’Barthan trilogy before I die but I’m really beginning to wonder if it’s going to happen. Rolls eyes. Yes it’s taking that fucking long.
Actually, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a trilogy, I’m about a third into the last book and it’s already as long as the middle one but I think it best to finish it and see if there’s a neat point to halve it.
There are times, when I just have to accept that however ‘real’ writing feels to me I’m not really a ‘real’ author because the only thing I have the capacity to do full time is bring up my boy. Sometimes that’s quite hard, other times I wonder why it might possibly matter. At the moment it’s hard.
Different people have different commitments and also different capabilities – I really can’t write books unless I’m on my own in a quiet room. That does hamper me somewhat. I know other people who can sit to one side at a kid’s party and bash out a couple of chapters. I am in awe, and obviously, seething with professional envy. In any job you’re going to encounter this. There are going to be people who are more productive than you there are going to be people who succeed faster and you have to suck it up.
However, working within your limitations can be quite hard. I always knew my career was going to happen slowly but there are days when I wonder if it’s too slow. Is being an author like escaping the Earth’s gravitational field? Will it be impossible to escape the oceans of dross without rocket boosters? Will writing and producing books in slow motion render me a failure? Unless I achieve escape velocity will I be trapped here in the one sale a month club for eternity? Only time will tell but very probably yes. Then there’s the really evil one. Am I deluded? Have I, actually, written two shit books? Is that why they are only read after prolonged begging… or at gun point?
OK, so we’ll put the maudlin, self-pity back in the box now and think about what can be learned. What are the lessons here? What have I learned that might be useful to anyone else? Hmm. Well it’s these things:
- Something that applies to pretty much any endeavour in life. Avoid looking at other people’s output except to learn positive things, like what works for them that might work for you, that kind of stuff. NEVER compare someone else’s output to yours. That way madness lies. Switch off the internet if you have to but don’t do it. Set your own targets. Make them realistic in the framework of your life and your abilities and then stick to them – if you can. Should you hit them feel glad and when other people produce six times as much stuff in half the time, chill. Yes you may not be achieving the standard norm but you’re achieving something and that’s better than nothing.
- Don’t worry about other people’s sales figures – yes I am a fool, I’ve been to kindleboards again and depressed myself reading the threads about how well everyone’s doing. There will always be people doing better than you and for many of us it will be most people. This is the way of the world, if you have less time, people who have more will write more books, faster and achieve success faster. Embarrassingly, people who are way smarter than you will use less time than you have more wisely and write their books faster. Yes you will feel left behind. This is the harsh reality of life. Deal with it.
- Sometimes it will feel as if you are standing still and everyone is running past you and disappearing into the distance. Try not to think about it.
- Don’t start your writing career with a trilogy, or at least not unless you’re absolutely lulu. A series of stand alone books, yes, but a trilogy? No. Because a trilogy merely extends the first book angst for three books. That’s OK if you bash out a book every six months but if it takes you two years…? It’s been 16 years and counting. Mmm, I’m sure you get my point.
- Hard work begets success but unfortunately, so does luck and no amount of hard work will make up for that 1% of luck on top that puts you onto another level. This applies to anything. I’ve always had to make my own luck and to be honest, I’m piss poor at it! Phnark.
- Be patient; with your books and yourself. Yes Tom Petty was right, the waiting IS the hardest part. Aim to enjoy what you do and look upon anything else as gravy because however hard you work, the fairy dust may miss you.
So I reckon that’s some great advice, which I know and understand but seem to be pathologically unable to accept. Especially number 6. I think if I had the smallest modicum of patience, I wouldn’t be feeling quite so pessimistic. Or it could just be that it’s May and it’s sunny and although that’s absolutely lovely it does mean there’s a very high probability that it’s going to sodding tip it down for the rest of the year. If I’m not around so much it’ll be because I’m writing. I have to write because if I don’t finish my magnum opus this year, I fear I really will go crazy. After that it’s going to be short, commercially viable books. Oh yeh. No trilogies. Not ever, ever again.