Thursday 6th April 2017

The day job has been a bit annoying today.  Every so often they do something that really stresses me out.  Part of the problem is that their HR is pretty poor and the way they handle things is terrible.
I’m trying to be a good employee whilst also going full-in on the writing and as a result they clash.  I stood my ground on their intellectual property clause in their revised contract, and rather than just fold when they start to strong-arm me, I tend to get a bit Machiavellian.  The golden rule, it seems, is that I’m a fantastic employee until you take the piss, and then I become a nightmare.  And they do take the piss, more often out of incompetence than any maliciousness, which has resulted in me finding out that I do not suffer fools gladly.
So today was a day when writing fulltime would be a lifesaver rather than a dream.  I find myself getting stressed out about the little injustices and the lack of attention and care, and it’s all my head is then filled with.  Issues last year really slowed down my writing, and I vowed I’d not put up with it again.
This comes back to the thing I talked about the other day about things starting to reach a head.   The thing I need to remind myself, as scary as it is, is that the books now really do come first.
As if I needed validation of the direction everything is moving in, I got asked to contribute to an anthology.  I remember when I started out as a writer I would see all these authors talk about being invited to submit.  I was never jealous because I knew my place, but in the last year or so, I’ve now had two of these invites.
It’s so difficult with everything moving so slow to see your own progress so little things like this are helpful validations.  It’s a sign of progress and one I hope to capitalise on.  Of course, as I’ve said before, my short stories are my weakest area.  When I do pull one off I seem to do a good job but it’s something I’d like to be much better at.  There’s a couple of months before the deadline so I have time to really work on it.  I guess all that Climb the Sky work won’t go to waste.
In other good news, I finally planned out this chapter.  It’s taken a while for a couple of reasons.  First, this is a complex action scene, a bit like the chase, and as a result it takes a lot of co-ordination.  It doesn’t need to be planned so much as choreographed.    Secondly, as I’ve previously said, I’m at that stage of the novel where everything feels like treacle.  Progress is slow and I just have to accept it.
But I got something planned out and I think it could be good.  My inspiration for it is a combination of the city chase in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hong Kong Cinema, and freerunning / parkour.  I think it’ll probably need more work on the second draft than the car chase scene will, but hey, better to revise something than have nothing.
As much as I wanted to start to write the chapter, the combination of it being “that stage” and work issues meant my head really wasn’t in the right space.  I’m aware that I’ll have edits in a few weeks that I’ll want to turn around quickly, so this time now is precious.  It’s frustrating.
I went to the gym this evening.  No real records due to the strain in my back.  I think it’s mostly fixed but didn’t want to overdo it and make it worse.  I’ll happily sacrifice short term personal bests for long term gains.
I also started recording a couple of pieces for the vlog tonight.  As I’ve been doing the day job, I’ve had a lot of vlogs playing in the background.  I’ve come to the decision that I need to make a few crap ones before I make a few good ones and with Eastercon next week, I really need to stop putting it off.  The anthology offer was a good catalyst to start videoing.
I still don’t know what the cadence will be, but I guess that will come from doing.  Plus, if it takes my mind off the day job then all the better.
I really need to film the intro video where I give all the background about me.  I don’t know why but that feels particularly cringey.
So today has ended up being a strange day.  I guess the big takeaway is that as much as it’s difficult to see with clarity, I know where my future lies.  Opportunities are opening up to me with the writing, whereas the day job is full of obstacles and stress.  I guess that’s what comes from years of sacrifice.  I’ve fought hard to protect my writing (and sometimes had to fight extremely hard), sacrificing career growth as a result.  And there’s a sweet validation when the writing seems like the path of least resistance.  Trust me, it hasn’t felt like that.  Instead it’s felt like an uphill battle for close to 10 years fuelled only by this stupid belief that I had what it took to be a professional writer.
I’m still a long way from that dream (probably further than I realise) but it definitely feels as if it’s slowly gliding towards that destination.
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.

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