August. Traditionally at this time of year I would normally be writing like a maniac to squeeze in as many of my remaining GDRs into the last week of my writing year. But not this time. This time, work has ground almost to a standstill and I face a serious amount of evaluation this August.
2012 has been a year of massive change for me on the non-writing front.
I left my permanent job of 14 years in February, and after a couple of months off and looking for a new job, I eventually took the plunge into I.T. contracting. It’s something I always said I might try, and with the timing right, I decided it was now or never.
I picked up an excellent first contract based in Glasgow, and am now a couple of months into the job. It’s an exciting role that has required me to step up to the plate and play my top game every day. So far, I’m managing it.
I’m loving everything about contracting. It has given me a lot more freedom and choices, a renewed vitality and enthusiasm, and a lot more pay.
I’m also loving being back working in Glasgow. I love the city with a passion: the people, the streets, the things you see and hear – it’s a beautiful place; flawed, but beautiful.
However, my days are long and intense because I have to deliver and I have to commute either end of it – two hours at either end.
My day starts at around 5:30am and doesn’t end until I step back inside my front door at around 7pm at night. It’s a long day.
And it’s this career change, that you are no doubt beginning to see, that has has impacted my writing schedule. While I’ve been trying to establish a new routine and adapting to it, I’ve also been creating an incorporated company and learning all that that entails. I’ve also been adapting to a new company, a new role and of course, a whole bunch of new people and surroundings.
This means that I’ve not managed to leverage any time into my day for writing, and to be totally honest, I have no energy to write when I get home.
And there lies the problem. I have thrown myself into contracting because I want to make it work. It’s opening up so many new doors and giving me a new lease of life, but without writing being part of that, a part of me remains unfulfilled.
To put it into perspective, I have not been up once to see the erection of the book festival tents, and I have not purchased a single ticket for an event because I don’t know when I’ll be able to get there. in fact, I’ve hardly had a chance to think about the 2012 book fest.
It’s that much of a change.
So I’m closing off my 2011/12 writing year one week early. I’m going to wrap up the last couple of months “work” later in this post, then this week I’m going to do my annual evaluation. It’s not been a bad year – it’s been a damn good one – but the last quarter has been non-existent. I already know it will be a case of so close but no cigar.
Over the book festival period (my traditional time off for evaluation) I shall attempt to put together a new plan based around the demands of my new non-writing life. I.T. Is how i provide for my family so it has to be the priority, but writing has to exist to preserve my sanity.
There has to be a balance somewhere, it’s just that this year I’m going to have to look a lot harder to find it.
Before I move to my final monthly GDR, I’ll tell you about some of the major writing things that have happened to me in the last couple of months:
- BACCARA BURNING will be released in the autumn. Its the sequel to Stella and will be my 2nd paranormal novella. It will also be the 3rd book available through my 3 ebook deal.
- GATECRASH remains my WIP. I had hoped to have it done by the book festival, but you now know why that’s not going to happen.
- In September you are all invited to the Penicuik Arts Festival. On Saturday 15th, you will find me at the Town Hall between 12 and 2pm at a Meet The Author event. I’ll be signing copies of all my books and chatting away to anyone who turns up.
- A special run of paperback versions of SLICK and GREENER IS THE GRASS will be available in September as a one-off.
- I’m also taking another kids poetry workshop at the Penicuik Arts Festival. I’ll post the website with details once I’m told it’s available.
- Finally, the Edinburgh Bookshop has sold out of the first run of all copies of my kids poetry book, SILLY POEMS FOR WEE PEOPLE. It’s proving to be massively popular title in Edinburgh and the feedback from the shop’s customers has been excellent. Another print run has been ordered, so it’ll be back in stock very soon.
So here it is, my final monthly quarterly GDR review:
* Launch GREENER IS THE GRASS – done
* Complete revision of GATECRASH – not done
* Republish SLICK with “Other Books” section – not done
* Re-write DAFFODILS for Bloody Scotland competition – not done
* Submit POEMS FROM A COFFEE SHOP WINDOW for PSH giveaway 1st May
* Launch POEMS FROM A COFFEE SHOP WINDOW (Kindle/Paperback)
* Contact Edinburgh Bookshop with SILLY POEMS update – done; visit scheduled on 1st June – sold out!
* Finalize RR June (issue 19-June ‘12) – done (but late)
* Keep up with RR submissions – done
* Development work on GGP Boudoir website – abandoned
* Development work on website for Building Services client – never heard back * Complete development work on Driving School website – done
Marketing / Networking
* GREENER: Press Kit submissions – done
* Update CS website for POEMS FROM A COFFEE SHOP WINDOW – done
* Lit Salon – not made last three
* interviewed for Nadine Unscripted
* Interviewed by Peter Adam Solomon
Reading / Learning
THE NEWBIES GUIDE TO PUBLISHING by JA Konrath – IP
THE COMPLAINTS by Ian Rankin – read
TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD by Harper Lee – read
FREAKS by Tess Gerritsen – read
HIT & RUN by Doug Johnstone – read
INSPECTOR ZHANG GETS HIS WISH by Stephen Leather – read
FLASHBACK by Kyla LoPresti – read
RED LIGHT by Malcolm Holt – read
RANDOM by Craig Robertson – read
DEAD LINE by Stella Rimington – read
TALES FROM THE MALL by Ewan Morrison – IP
THE MAN IN THE SEVENTH ROW by Brian Pendreigh – IP
Things That Turned Up
* Requested to provide feedback over the Story Shop question to Edin City of Lit
* Attended a play (Standing Stanes) by Siege Perilous at MalMaison in Leith.
Submissions Activity Summary
* BACCARA BURNING sent to new publisher but rejected
* Initial tester stock of SILLY POEMS sold out at Edinburgh Bookshop with great feedback. More books requested for full stocking deal.
* Agreed to Meet the Author event at Penicuik Arts Festival
* Giving a kids workshop at Penicuik Arts Festival
Congrats on the new job, Colin. It sounds exciting, especially with the opportunities it has opened up to you. A shame, though, that it has adversely affected your writing. That’s the thing with some day jobs. But I know that you’ll get around it somehow, because writing is in your blood.
Congrats, too, on the new company. You’re really branching out. I love that.
Here’s to great success for all your writing projects and goals, now, and in the coming year. Cheers!
Oh man, have I been in your shoes. Take it one day at a time and you’ll get done what need to happen. Best of luck to you!