Monday 27th February 2017
Today I’ve been so tired that I’ve wondered at multiple points throughout the day as to whether I am actually ill. I was tempted to phone in sick to the day job, but didn’t and now reaching the end of the day am wondering if I should have.
Whilst I had a very busy weekend, I did get 9 hours sleep last night. I should have felt better for it but I just felt as exhausted. I’m due for a hospital check up soon but have yet to receive an appointment so one of the things I want to ask is relating to periods when I see to really be suffering from fatigue.
Despite feeling tired all day, it was busy today. A friend I helped get an agent emailed me an update this morning (to be fair he did all the hardwork by being an awesome writer, I just made introductions). He’s doing really well and about to embark on rewrites, and so despite not being much further in my career than him I was able to give him some advice.
I used to be the type of person who would invest time in anyone who wanted to write, trying to help them to success. That’s changed recently. It’s not just that I have less time though. As much as I like certain people, I see far too many who don’t put in the work. They’ll argue that there’s some reason and whilst that is often true, there are those people who find ways to inch closer whatever else is going on. Those are the people I now invest my time in.
As much as I might like the others, if they’re not doing the work then it’s a waste of time to try and help them. Now some may question just what help I can be at this stage in my career, but as this person I chatted to today will testify, I made introductions that made him sit down and chat with his future agent. Would she have taken him on once she’d got to his manuscript on the slush pile? Most probably, although I don’t think you can underestimate the being a nice person in the author-agent equation.
Case in point was a slightly barbed comment by another friend today. It was possibly meant as a joke, and whilst I have a pretty good sense of humour, I watched it turn online into a bit of a bitchfest.
That’s fine, I thought, but I will remember this and as much as I like you as a person and enjoy chatting with you at cons, I’m not going to offer to look at your agent letter or maybe go over your synopsis for you (as I have done for other writers). Sadly, they’re one of these people who moan about not getting anywhere more than doing things (which partially explains the bitching) and whilst I genuinely hope they do well… if they ask me for a favour I will politely tell them I’m too busy.
The bitching pissed me off so much that I actually decided that I was going to counter it by putting in a good word for someone who doesn’t bitch. Always pay it forward no matter how big or small your career.
It’s weird in that, as a general rule, I don’t believe you should sanitise yourself as a writer in trying to get an agent or publisher. There’s too much advice that warns that if you put one foot wrong, your career is as good as dead. I don’t believe that to be true. But I do think that if you piss some people off, they’re not going to offer to help you up to the next level.
Just don’t be a dick seems to be the only advice you need to follow as a writer. It amazes me that some people find that so hard to follow.
I was reminded of this when my friend Laura Lam posted an Instagram post about her publisher folding two books into a three book series. I remember going to lunch with Laura and Angry Robot at an event in Brighton that eventually saw her get picked up by them. I remember being at an Eastercon where she announced what had happened. She seemed so strong when I know I would have been crushed. She maintains that it was difficult.
If I was a total dick I could have been bitter about the fact that Angry Robot picked her up and not me, and then revelled in the fact that her deal fell apart. But I’m not that sort of person. A lot of people are and that saddens me. I was genuinely happy for her, and remain a big supporter of her work that just continues to go from strength to strength. She’s an awesome person and deserves every success. I’m so glad that her Micah Grey books (including the unpublished third novel) are getting republished.
My point is that if you are a dickhead then yes, you need to watch your step as it might eventually bite you in the ass, but if you are a nice, decent person who treats everyone around them with respect, be yourself because it will only result in good things.
I also found chance to read what Neil Gaiman is up to. He signed books for me and he is friends with some of my friends (not that he ever pops up on their Facebook feed so I can tell my friends that I hung out with him in a thread online) but I don’t know him personally. It’s interesting to read about how he’s so busy. It reads up like a grown up version of The Climb and it set me wondering what this daily blog will look like in years to come if my career takes off.
I got some decent words written before going to training this evening. I’m pretty pleased as I’ve broken out of a piece that was really holding me back and slowing down my word count. If I’d had more time I probably could have written more.
However, I learnt that an instructor was stuck at work this evening so I ended up teaching beginners at Swordfighting. No real hardship really as I quite enjoy it, but it did mean I missed rapier training. My only real wince moment was when one of the students misheard a comment I made thinking it was a homophobic one. Nothing was really said and I only realised on the way home what she might have thought I said, and I cringed all the way home.
At the pub after training it seems a number of people are placing orders with various places and now I need to decide if I want any more weapons. The answer, of course, is yes, but I need to ensure that I don’t actually go broke doing so and that I actually NEED the weapons. After all, I just bought two maces that are too dangerous to use in sparring.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels. Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.