Thursday, 5 January 2012

Getting Real... Getting Serious

Real life is the one thing we can never really escape from.

As writers, escapism is our business, you might say. But wherever you go to, whatever world you read yourself into, whatever adventure the movie takes you on, whatever mystery the game embroils you in... the real world is there waiting for you, and living in the real world takes money, and money, usually, takes a job.

For me, that job is bookselling. I'm fortunate enough that the job I do is a job I love, that I get to work with books, and recommend books and talk to people about books*, and get paid for it. It's a product and an industry I'm passionate about.

(*but not read books. If you think working in a bookshop is about reading books all day... think again.)

It's a job that came under threat recently... I won't go into the state of the high street, the tensions the book industry and retail industry are under, you've heard it all before, suffice it to say that there was a very real chance I would have been rudely dumped on the real world's doorstep with the possibility of having to find work that meant nowhere near as much to me as my current work does.

With this shake up and change I made a decision, something I've been thinking about for a while. I took a drop in hours, and thus in pay, and it was entirely my choice. It was my choice to finally take a step in the direction I've been headed for a long time...

I want to write. I do write. But it takes time, and unless you're one of the lucky few it doesn't pay that well.

So this is me taking a step in the write direction... ha ha... (sorry)

This makes it suddenly very serious. This makes it more than something I'm working towards... some day... This means it has begun. It's here, now.

And how will it begin? Well, there is a plan. I will be thirty three this year, an important number for me. The plan is this: on my thirty third birthday I will release my first collection of short fiction.

No more procrastination. This is no small task and I need to get myself in gear, I plan to make more of an effort to blog this year, I plan to continue with the writing I already do, I plan to set things in motion for future projects too. So I've freed myself a little more time, but I need to use it well, I'm going to have a lot on my plate.

This is me grabbing the real world by the horns and attempting to wrestle it into some kind of shape that suits me. But the real world, like all mixed metaphors, is a wily beast, and not one prone to submission. I'm planning to build a real world I don't need to escape from.*

*Which isn't to say I won't want to continue escaping, for pure pleasure. =)

Monday, 2 January 2012

Will update this blog for food...

Well I've been rubbish at maintaining this blog, haven't I?

It's not the only one, either. Well, I intend to do something about that. I intend to make something of my web presence. I will keep writing fiction, and that, I think, will always be my priority, but I'm going to try and keep this thing updated, in the same way I used to keep my old Commentary blog updated: by talking about the flash fiction I posted that week, what inspired me to write it, and what it makes me think about writing. So hopefully I'll go back to talking about process and technique and skills. And experimentation.

I think I shied away from that because I felt kind of like, what do I know, what right do I have to talk about this stuff, an amateur myself? But, you know what, it's as much about talking out loud, making me think about the process, as it is about trying to instruct others. And if it opens discussion then that's a good thing, right? And if it helps improve someone else... that's a great thing. =)

This is kind of a new year's resolution thing, I guess. I don't really do those, but there are lots of things I want to do this year, and I'm pretty determined. I just need to make sure I get myself in gear, stick with it, and try not to get too distracted.

So one of the things I want to start working on again this year is Space-Time Industries. My old science fiction blog. It got an amount of attention that surprised me... not loads, but more than I expected for something so new and unpromoted. Hopefully I can regain that and build from it.

It's kind of a stupid dream but one day I would love to be able to run some kind of Space-Time Industries 'Best of the Year' awards and have people actually look forward to them with anticipation. But hey, I've always been a dreamer... kind of makes me happy to know there's still part of me that aims for the clouds. ;)