Reality Check 2017

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A YEAR and a half ago, having got Close Call: Short and Bittersweet under my belt and deciding that becoming the next J K Rowling was a tad ambitious, my master plan was to develop my ‘brand’ and complete all the projects I had already started … while holding down two day jobs …

It still hasn’t quite gone according to plan. I have failed miserably at maintaining my blog and I still haven’t got any of my short stories published in a literary journal. As ever, the biggest barriers are time and resources, particularly a quiet place to work during down time from my day job – and perhaps too much emphasis on entering competitions to try and raise funds. Meanwhile, the passion project I started in 2013 is on the back burner, while I concentrate on more achievable goals …

On the bright side, I’ve had all the therapy I’ll ever need and never had to pay for it …

Moe recently, since my writing style leans towards the filmic anyway, I began to experiment with screenwriting. Now, since completing an introductory course at Edinburgh Uni, I am renting desk space one day a week in a film production office and have started a feature film and script versions of three of my short stories. I let each story ‘choose’ the medium it is most comfortable with – a story that has potential as both a book and a film is more appealing to me right now and I have a wee bank of stories in both formats.

My priorities then over the remainder of 2017 are:

  • finish a novel I started a few years ago and secure an agent, with an eye on later developing it into a script
  • finish my feature film script before October, so that I can get it to just the right industry professional at a writers retreat for which I have won a partial scholarship that I still can’t afford (bawling my eyes out). But since I do believe in miracles, you just never know …

Both projects offer me the best chance of success, with scope for some form of mentorship. Also:

  • plug away at getting short story publication in a literary journal
  • seek out an indie film-maker who might be interested in one of my short scripts
  • maybe even resuscitate my blog.

And so ends my manifesto to myself …

July 2017

 

A Prayer for the Young

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I DREAM of a world where material wealth and power do not rest in the hands of the few, where people are judged not by how much beauty or wealth they have but by their ability to enhance the lives of those around them through their deeds. I dream of a world where the accumulation of money and resources for its own sake is seen as downright odd.

I wish for a world where every man, woman and child has everything they need, not just to survive but to thrive, where how people choose to make a living is dictated not by the promise of a huge salary but by the things they are passionate about and the potential contribution they will make to society. I wish for a world where people eat to live, not just for the hell of it – and they buy houses as homes, not investments.

I believe in a world where the wanton destruction of the Earth for a few scraps of gold is regarded as insane and humanity works with instead of against her. In this reality, we stopped thinking of colonising other worlds a long time ago so that we could learn to look after our own.

I imagine a world where no-one has dominion over another and service to others is by choice not by expectation. In my world, those who are vulnerable or in need are free from exploitation or abuse and every man, woman and child is at liberty to fulfil their own destiny free of the labels assigned to them from birth.

I yearn for a world where people procreate in order to create the best possible future for their kids, not to increase their own standing. In such a world, it doesn’t occur to anyone to have children until they know they are ready for the responsibility.

Above all, I live for a world that shows our children the value of mutual respect. A world that teaches them to expect nothing and to appreciate everything. To think for themselves and not to put blind faith in institutions or corporations or the media. In this reality, we can see through smoke and mirrors without the use of an app and do not wait for others to tell us what to think.

So let it be.

Reality check November 2015

THIRTEEN months ago, I was in the first stages of setting up my online presence as a newly self-employed ‘writer/ghostwriter’ and my first collection of short stories, Close Call: Short and Bittersweet. Woo hoo! My intention was that by the end of 2015, I would be well on my way to becoming the next J K Rowling …

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BY the time I published Close Call in April and got the marketing underway, I was already running low on funds. So I swallowed my pride and looked for a day job. The timing couldn’t have been worse – I lost momentum at the most crucial point in my campaign.

In the end, I found myself with two part-time jobs, one office based and one as a waitress. On one level, I was trapped for most of the summer, on another I would have gone mad with the isolation of writing at home all day. The sheer physicality of working in a busy tea room has kept me grounded and in reasonable shape and I have had the great pleasure of working with a great bunch of people – mostly half my age!

For the first time in my life, I have just enough job security to pay the bills and just enough flexibility to write my little heart out. What more could a girl ask for.

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THING is, even with more free time on my hands, production and marketing don’t mix – which is why self-publishing is such a ball ache. I am the publisher. This means by the time I have faffed around with my blog, twittered around with my social media, requested reviews, networked with other writers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, I have even less time to write. In fact, contact with my iphone switches off my creative juices altogether. And this only compounds the sense that my window of opportunity is closing …

So I have had to make a decision. Continue plugging my first book, or move on. Methinks I should draw a line. Although Close Call has hardly made a dent in the bestseller list, I did achieve what I set out to do. That is to produce a portfolio that would demonstrate my style and approach as a ghostwriter to potential clients. And it’s been an excellent dry run for my next projects.

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MY master plan now is to continue building my social media network, develop my ‘brand’ and soldier on with the bigger projects I have already started, while in the short term produce individual short stories for publication in literary journals. As for this blog, it simply isn’t feasible for me to pump out masses of ‘content’ every single day, so my goal is to consistently produce one short story a week (and anything else that inspires me in between). It’s a tall order, I know, but I have a whole winter ahead of me and more free time to get my act together.

2016 promises to be my most challenging year yet. Watch this space.

Fair Adornment – The Young Woman’s Guide

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“Contentment and patience; self-denial and submission … (cough) … humility and subordination … (splutter) … prudence and discretion … (yup) … are all virtues, the seeds of which should be sown by you in early youth, that their rich ripe fruits may be gathered in after life …” (a little gem from The Young Woman’s Guide, republished circa 1894, original date unknown)

I’m going to be all of the above and zip it …)

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Just sayin’

If you admire or feel privileged to have known someone, or they taught you something of value that you have never forgotten, tell them now.

Don’t wait until they’re gone.”