I was chatting with a friend in the pub at lunchtime the other day, while he tried to get the fire he’d started in the hearth roaring for the evening (he works behind the bar – he’s not a pyromaniac, to my knowledge). That’s actually true, but it works as a metaphor (funny how that happens sometimes).
I asked him how he was, and he gave his usual response: living the dream. Maybe it says more about me than anyone else, but when people use that phrase, I always take it with a pinch of salt. I asked him what his dream really was.
Then he said something along the lines of so, what about you? What’s next for you? I replied that my sabbatical – long story involving the demolition of an animal rescue centre, and the restraints of the school run – will be over soon, so I’ll be back at work. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I meant, back at work at my ‘real’ job – the job that pays the bills. Other than that, I said, I’ll carry on writing, partly because that’s always been my dream, and partly because you can do it anywhere and at any time, so I’ll always be around for my family.
Then it occurred to me that if my guest feature on this blog – the Writers’ WIP Questionnaire – 2 – has shown me anything, it’s that being able to write at anytime and anywhere, isn’t strictly true. It’s a pleasure-pain thing, and, inevitably, there are sacrifices and costs.
Trying to balance what most people consider a ‘hobby’ – but which is actually more of a ‘passion’, and , some might say, a ‘calling’ – with your ‘real’ job (the one that brings you most of your income), your family, friends, pets, actual hobbies (I like to swim), physical and mental health, voluntary jobs etc, is really hard.
But all those ‘high-profile’ writers had to start somewhere, so why do most of the rest of us feel as though we are being selfish, childish, sad, and that we’re wasting money we don’t have, trying to chase a dream?
Sometimes, you can’t write anywhere or at any time. Sometimes – for whatever the reason – the words just won’t come. Sometimes there’ll be too much ‘real life’ stuff happening, and when you finally get a moment to yourself, you are utterly exhausted, and all that comes out is trash, so you feel useless, and say fuck it, I’m going to bed, but you can’t sleep because you’re worrying about ‘real life’ and now you’re worrying about your writing life on top of it all.
And I don’t know what you believe, but to me, we’re on this earth, here and now, once – it’s tragic to not try to do what you love in life. I want my child to wholeheartedly chase their dreams, so I’m trying to lead by example.
And even tough to everyone else it looks like I have all the time in the world, I’m finding myself stressing about time and money. Given the nature of this website, and my blog in particular, I think it’s only fitting to use this phrase: the definition of madness is – apparently – doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result; for this reason, something has to change. I’m struggling. And as we’re still in January, it seems a fitting time to make said change. Also, they say a change is as good as a rest, and I’m shit at resting.
Consequentially, and amongst other things, the Writers’ WIP Questionnaire – 2 feature will end. My final guest, friend and fellow darkstroke author, Jo Fenton will be popping in on February 28th. It’s been fun, fascinating, and inspiring to see these snapshots of literature-in-the-making, and to get an insight into the diverse lives of writers, and I’d like to thank all those who took part and wish them the very best.
I’m prioritising my WIPs – my writing. Which was the whole point of this in the first place. The dream was to write, so I’ll live that dream, whatever the manifestation of that looks like.
My new novel – the third in the Glasshouse series – Underrated, will be published by darkstroke on Valentine’s Day.
The main theme of the book is aspiring for a better life – trying to get there and trying to survive. Things go wrong. Things don’t turn out as envisioned. What do you choose to do?
The cover art shows a load of cocaine shaped into a heart which has been cut up by lines people have snorted. An apt image for the Valentine’s Day release of a noir thriller.
So, curl up in front of your fire with a mug of cocoa, if that’s your thing, and enjoy my new story. I’ll be metaphorically stoking my own fire. That, or chucking on another firelighter. Or maybe I’ll just be in the pub, celebrating the launch of Underrated with a pint of cider. Living the dream.
#Underrated #WIP #livingthedream