The Story of Us

Last week, there was another rejection.

It wasn’t a surprise: in fact, on reflection, it was anything but. Writing what I thought needed to be produced to be considered as a contender was always the plan. Only now does it occur to me that until someone decides I’m worthy, success in these worlds will never take place. It’s completely out of my hands, however much effort goes into the work. I’ve not been published enough in the right places, and by the right people to be considered saleable. This is a discussion that keeps happening, and won’t stop until it finally registers.

Today, it registered.

Before someone is prepared to take a chance on me, it’s all about patience, and learning to pick the right things to aim for. Finally, there is the acceptance that what I write for contest is distinctly different to what is written elsewhere, and maybe if there could be less focus on expectation and more on enjoyment, we might get somewhere. The last big collection completed, currently still in contest, fits that definition well, and if it fails, we’ll send it off again.

Starting next year, it is time to reassess my working practices and redefine a lot of what counts as output, for no other reason than I am coming out of a significant period of mental readjustment. Looking at work that is often bitter and introspective, it makes sense why a lot of this will not be of interest to anyone. The good work shines, and beginning to spot the real quality is happening, slowly. The fact remains, my best work is produced in a very particular way.

It is time to start practising a new routine.

She Bangs

Okay then, December is really not that far away. Next week is all about CHAPBOOK PROMOTION and so, therefore, it seems fair to explain what’s going on when the NaNoWriMo dust settles. Oh, for the record, here’s where we are:

Needless to say, 80k will probably be my end of month total. I am insanely pleased with a project that continues to write itself. I’ve also got a second idea that might get worked on over Christmas. However, for December, I am going to be taking a month off from my normal Patreon plans, in order to build up a decent store of content for the first half of 2021. If you’re a patron, I’ll be covering what this means via blogging on the site next week.

There will be traditional favourites: my .GIFmas Advent Calendar, some festive poetry and quite a bit of photography. However, the writing is going to take a break. There’s been no holiday this year, for obvious reasons. Therefore, it’s high time I took some time off for myself and maybe stopped stressing so much about the spectre of Content [TM]. More importantly, I’m doing REDJanuary again next year and that will take a phenomenal amount of mental and physical energy.

Watch this space for the launch of the Chapbook next week 😀

A Change is Gonna Come

I have, this week, made a change in the way things happen during my work day. This will, hopefully, improve overall productivity going forward. It’s going to take about a month to see if this is indeed successful or not. For now, therefore, it is just about doing the job and seeing how the result at the end of it stack up against what’s normal output previously. Three days in, the results are surprisingly good.

There’s also been quite a bit of time on Zoom calls in the last couple of weeks. There are a remarkable number of free things available to take part in, and it is well worth taking the time to investigate what is available for your writing speciality. As a result of this there is going to be a bit of old manuscript editing going in between the downtime between NaNoWriMo writing sessions. That work’s my most successful previous novel, as it happens…

Change will take place when all of these things can be successfully combined, and then maintained. My first issue is normally about a week to ten days after instigating the initial course correction, so see me this time next week to work out if all of this is having the desired effect on life or not. The initial signs are optimistic, though, especially in areas not related to writing.

Keep everything crossed for me this time, please.

Beautiful Day

Everybody I know is glued to CNN. Suddenly all proper work seems to have stopped mattering, except before we started here two events were booked on Zoom to attend next week, both to help me focus on creative practice and work out WTF I do about making money going forward. The second one, let’s be honest, is the one that matters most and I will be taking copious notes. It isn’t just about throwing stuff out and hoping someone cares any more.

NaNo has reminded me that I am a very capable fiction writer, who can create a compelling narrative with drama and human interest, and maybe once this is done that Amazon publishing account needs to be used more than it has been of late. There will be a poetry book in the next few weeks, sure, but maybe some of my other work deserves a platform too. A growing body of quality output grants potentially more ways to bring in some cash.

The video projects are also the gifts that keeps on giving, and hopefully if I keep chipping away at things, we might have a realistic chance at making that successful too. It requires me to be ruthless as well as artistic, which is a combination that is already providing some fascinating results. This weekend I launch a weekly VLOG on the YouTube Channel. It will be interesting to see how people respond to this and whether there is any traction in ‘educational’ content.

Watch this Space.

Back in the Saddle

This week is not about poetry, to be honest. It is about politics and freedoms and NaNoWriMo but, at the back of everything there is the beating heart of what I am, good or bad, are the poems. I’ve taken a week off the promotion because next week we’re going to go full-on, and right now nobody cares about my journey, they all want America to do the right thing because if it does, we all might yet stand a realistic chance of redemption.

Therefore, blogging has been kept to a minimum. I’ve done a phenomenal amount of groundwork on NaNo too, so much so that I wrote enough in the first 72 hours to propel me well into next week. This is truly the narrative that is writing itself, and I’m grateful for my short fiction/flash fiction training via Patreon right now because its making breaking the plot down into manageable, sensible sections a hell of a lot easier.

This week’s blogging therefore becomes of secondary importance to bigger pictures, which includes TWO video offerings instead of one, plus some much-needed background work on catching up with elements that were either too complex to visualise previously or I simply did not have the brain-space to accommodate. Needless to say I expect to end this week considerably stronger than where it started. I’m hoping my beliefs will be proved wrong…

Beautiful

As I’m typing this, my chapbooks are in the final stages of printing. I’ve ordered some special sparkly pens to do signing in. There are postage materials standing by. Basically, I’m ready to roll, and there are pre-orders standing by. That’s the most surprising thing of all. People are willing to buy this unseen, which is all I’ve ever really wanted as a writer. The goal of my work in print was achieved this year, and this is the logical progression.

I’m also calling time on trying to sort out the issues I have with WordPress and getting paywalled content properly operational. As a result, next month will be organising a lot of backlog and finally taking December off. That’s the plan I’m working towards, because the last time I went away was a weekend at the start of the year which, quite frankly, seems like several lifetimes ago. Therefore, we’ll take the end of 2020 as a ‘relax, regroup and refocus’ exercise, because I’m planning to do RED January and that’s gonna be a hard ask.

I couldn’t be happier however, as video poetry is going great guns. I’ve had nearly 100 views on YouTube, only half of which are me. This is the surprise gift that keeps on giving, and this week I’m going to start the video blogging that was promised back in March. There’s a script already written, and as the UK goes into Lockdown (again) this week, I am ready to do my work with considerably more enthusiasm and belief than was the case back in March.

This time, I am ready.

Ready for the Floor

I’ve spent a long time over the last week or so with novels. It will (probably) come as no surprise to you to hear that I’ve spent a lot of my life living in my own narratives, mostly as a means by which the darker aspects of reality become easier to cope with. This weekend I sent one of the better efforts off for a speculative punt at publication, which means I’ll be editing it quite extensively starting next week. We also have NaNoWriMo proper starting on Sunday.

If you want to be a Buddy, please let me know via the comments and I’ll add you to my list.

After that? I’m still waiting for the final word on chapbook printing. I have new poetry on the go and a new video scheduled for Friday. Plus, thanks to rapid developments in software and hardware? Weekly video is coming to Twitter. Still not quite sure how it is gonna work, but I have plans. Once it all congeals into summat workable, you’ll know about it. Needless to say, literally MINUTES of thought have gone into this. MINUTES.

Watch the Socials, people.

Crocodile

You will have seen that pre-orders are on the front page, there’s even a link now to the page. Once I’ve finished the latest video project (Thursday/Friday next week) we’ll get started on the ‘I Talk to Myself’ video. Did I mention I was going to do a self-interview? I need to plan out camera angles and stuff. It’ll be great, trust me. After that we’re into November, and there’s a TON of new stuff happening then.

For now however the weekend is about throwing old stuff at new deadlines, continuing to rearrange the virtual furniture and hope that the hour I lost back to GMT won’t completely destroy my ability to be a capable human being. As soon as the final pamphlets are published (which should be at the end of next week) there will be final details on price, postage options and how many I’m prepared to sign. I need to sort out some bookplates…

Next week, we’ll have more news on NaNoWriMo, and the plans to the end of 2020.

Experiment IV

So, where are we?

A lot has happened in the last month. The pre-orders page for the Pamphlet will go live tomorrow morning, and I’ll FINALLY get started on working on my next video. Most of the prep is done, it’s now about putting all the elements together. It might yet get out for Friday: I have suddenly gained a 15-year-old at home because the girl who sits next to her in two lessons has COVID. I can but hope she was good at personal hygiene. She was one of the few at school who, like my daughter, permanently wore a mask.

Thank goodness for small mercies.

Daily practice continues to go well.

I had planned to take Friday off because it is my birthday. Most of what was going to happen will be cancelled because of my daughter’s quarantine, which is sad but totally necessary. Therefore, I may just call it a normal day and celebrate across the weekend. We will see. For now, however, rest assured that not only is a lot happening, but there’s even more going on you have not yet heard about…

Always There

The plan, at the start of this year, was to own something saleable to self-produce by the end of the year. It was initially the intention to only do this digitally: that should hopefully still take place in the next couple of weeks but my first serious foray into publication will be with a physical collection. I’ve spent the last six weeks or so putting finishing touches to a proof and obtaining prices from local printers. A final amendment to my original cover design has been double-checked, plus a biography added to the back. On the 19th I’ll send everything to the people chosen to handle this task and wait for a proof…

If all goes well, by the middle of November, there’ll be a debut pamphlet to purchase.

Part of me hoped this particular collection might be picked up by a major publisher but nobody seems to consider a 53-year-old mother of two’s mental health journey as particularly saleable. I can completely understand why that would be the case, and why to favour supporting authors who have a proven track record of selling poetry makes far more sense financially. I’m not an idiot. These are difficult times for everybody. It’s why the decision was made to dip into savings in order to fund this, and to know well in advance not simply the viability of the product, but EXACTLY how many copies need to be sold to break even.

This project then becomes maths plus ability, and allows me to make what I want and not to compromise on what is, at times, very personal content. There’s a number up on the wall, a pricing scheme which is acceptable for what is produced, plus a marketing campaign of my own design which will reveal the best of what I can offer as a mental health poet. This will culminate in producing a complete reading of all the poems for Time to Talk Day in February, where I’ll explain the details of this journey from childhood to the present day.

Normally, I’d be obsessed with NaNoWriMo at this point… and I am, after a fashion. The idea is all ready to roll, I’ve already started writing, but next week is not going to be some adverts and building a webpage so that I can start taking pre-orders. I reckon that’s a good couple of days work, and as I intend to take a day off on Friday (*cough* BIRTHDAY *cough*) So, once that’s done, you’ll be getting alternate posts on both of these, and I really can’t complain that there’s not sufficient excitement in my life.

Well, I could, but it would be a complete lie.