No matter how charged one gets after such a prolific month of writing, creativity, discussion and motivational speaking, unless a way can be found to gently manoeuvre back into the normality of a â€˜writerâ€™s lifeâ€™, there is always going to be feelings of depression in the dark hole that awaits on the other side.
I feel as though I climbed a mountain this last month, learnt a lot about myself as I did so, and achieved some good things towards my ultimate goal. Yet now itâ€™s over and as I passed by the workers and machinery dismantling the Book Festival yesterday, I know it is another year before the feeling of community is back again.
And I think thatâ€™s what it is. During August I am surrounded by other people who share the same interests and passions as me. We meet up and talk books, writing, and publishing. Then afterwards we all scuttle back to our offices and desks and begin the lonely task of churning out new works of fiction, poetry, or whatever we happen to write.
Itâ€™s a crazy existence, and it takes a little getting used to. A writerâ€™s life is not jet-set and itâ€™s not glamorous â€“ even for a best-seller â€“ itâ€™s lonely, mentally challenging, and unattractive to many. But itâ€™s me, and itâ€™s what I want to do with my one and only shot at life. When I die, people will see my books on the shelves and maybe they might buy a copy. Who knows?
And yet some people think writing is easy; something done for fun. Utter tosh.
As I was preparing my GDR review last week something occurred to me that was very different from previous ones. That is the small section on â€œpushing myselfâ€.â€ Up until the last couple of months I have not been indifferent to putting myself out there and into situations that expose me, but Iâ€™ve had to force myself. Itâ€™s not easy walking up to someone you have never met and saying hello, that you too are a writer, and that you admire their work or that you would like to know more about what they do.
But last month I realised I have found all of this a whole lot easier, and I asked myself why that might be?
I think part of it is to do with me being comfortable immersed in the literary industry and my place within it. Iâ€™m happy with my progress and inside myself, know I am going in the right direction. That in itself breeds confidence.
But also I think a part of this confidence is a by-product of my freelance work. Going after work and talking to people I have never met before, has become something I have had to do, and do well, if I am to â€˜get the gigâ€™. I have to make people feel comfortable and happy with me, so that they take me on for the contract, and then pay me when I complete the task. Becoming used to this, has filtered through into the artistic side of my writing, and thus, has made networking and self-promotion that little bit easier.
A quick review of my weekend now. On Saturday we went out to Denny to stay with friends prior to their childrenâ€™s Baptism on the Sunday. We had a few bevies, caught up, and ordered in a Chinese meal. All very respectable and nice, and it was great to see Sophie, their Border Collie, again. Sheâ€™s the one we looked after for the night a few weeks ago.
Then this morning, after a night on the floorboards so the women could get the double bed, we went to the Baptism at their local church and then onto a reception at a converted Lockhouse next to the Forth and Clyde Canal near Falkirk. Itâ€™s now a restaurant/bar/function suite and is very impressive inside. There we had some drinks and a buffet and met up with their family form both sides. It was good stuff, but I was shattered from the sleepless night before so never enjoyed it as much as I would normally have.
I went to bed early with a book, too tired and blue to do anything else.
Hereâ€™s my GDR plan for September. I want to keep a tight control on the work I take on this month, and for the rest of the year. Itâ€™s going to be heavy on fiction, but I want to keep the freelance work ticking over nicely at the same time. The e-zines are already taking care of themselves and web work has chilled slightly too.
* Begin writing Gatecrash
* Complete post-research for Slick
* Develop plan and research November’s NaNoWriMo novel
* Keep on top of submissions list
* As and when – no major emphasis this month
* Submit What A Waste to local Theatre Companies
* Keep on top of The Scruffy Dog Review submissions
* Keep on top of The Ranfurly Review submissions
* Design an issue template for The Ranfurly Review
* Complete the write-up of Renee Russell interview
* Find market for article on Scottish Tourism Ops
* Query 15 freelance gigs – still waiting for About.com and music gig (chased) 0/15 this month (total=40)
* Write weekly SDR articles – 4,11,18,25
* Finish writing Scotland’s Treasure column for SDR Autumn (Oct) edition – Book Festival (done). Warhol (or other), Erasure/Dead 60’s review?
* Work on photographer’s website
* Project Elysium
* Websites for new client
Marketing and Promotion
* Publish September newsletter – done
* Prepare October newsletter
* Keep website up to date (YouTube idea)
* Distribute rest of new leaflets and posters
Reading and Research
* Do more reading
* Finish critting friend’s manuscript
* Finish Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
* Get the Rabbits a run! – getting tired of seeing this on my monthly GDR!