Monday 24th April 2017

I’m not sure if there’s something in the water or not, but there’s definitely an air of intolerance going around the SFF community
I watched today as a discussion about the Gemmell Awards got a bit heated.  It seemed to boil down to the fact that the public are stupid and don’t vote for diverse books, and whilst I get we want to see more diverse stories get recognition if the award is – and always has been – a public vote, you can’t very well tell the voting public that their opinion is no longer valued and it now needs to go to a jury.  As frustrating as the situation is, that’s not how you affect change.
And then there was an author who moaned about some copyedits.  Now I’ve been warned that copyedits are the most painful part of the publishing process, but I’ve yet to experience them.  I don’t disbelieve my friends that they will be everything they’ve warned me they will be.  But, and maybe I’m being naive here, they’re a necessary part of the process and ultimately there to help you, not decide for you. So complaining that a copyeditor’s hard work was in some way insensitive does smack a little of unprofessionalism
On one hand all these little battles are distressing.  There seems to be so much negativity going around.  Everyone seems ready to jump on one another for some perceived comment.  Discussion seems to have disappeared in favour of barbs back and forth.  As I said yesterday, it’s got to the stage where I think I need to withdraw from the community a little for my own sanity.  I’m quite willing to fight my own fights and own what I say, but I really could do without the bruises.
On the other hand, it’s kinda a relief to know that it’s not just me accidentally stirring the hornet’s nest.  It comes back to my feelings in starting The Climb.  I’m capable of saying the wrong thing, I’m capable of giving a view that perhaps I might feel differently with hindsight, but even given that, I think I approach this writing gig with professionalism.  If anything, I think it would be a fair criticism to say that maybe say I approach it with too much of a professional attitude at times.
But I also think that treating it like a job is the right thing to do.  Everytime I see an author have a meltdown online over something that ultimately doesn’t matter or they can’t control, it just reminds me to stay true to myself, knuckle down and carry on.
My biggest worry at the moment is that the time I have to edit The Climb before scheduling it is now so ridiculously tight, I’m going to miss seeing a negative unintended interpretation of what I say and find myself in the middle of another online spat.
I think I need to just ignore a lot of what’s going on in the SFF community for the time being and instead focus on me and my progress.  Sounds selfish, I know, but these online spats use up what little mental energy I have at a time when I need every ounce I can get.  I could do without the battle wounds.
I still managed to get my fair share of bruises today, although they were of a different kind.
At swordfighting tonight we had a sparring evening.  We started with some bucklerball where I managed to stop the ball with my face.  I then added a nasty neck thrust to my injuries that gave me such a weird headache I thought I might be having an aneurism, and a nice cut across the thigh.  I fought some sword and buckler which went pretty well, a bit of rapier and dagger against Stewart where he feels like a different fighter, and some single rapier against Dan that I did some nice moves in.
It’s a while until my next tournament and it’s difficult to see your own progress when everyone is levelling up together, but I need to remind myself that I said that around May I would get frustrated by my progress, as a result of losing one night of training to teaching.  The Astolat and Fightcamp tournaments could be interesting (but most likely frustrating).
The day job is still tiring me out and leaving me with no time.  I came back, didn’t even get changed before I started cooking and then went straight out to training.  It’s a reminder of just how insanely packed my weeks are.
This is the crunch time.  Things are moving forwards (although I often can’t see it) and before I move onto a new set of problems I have to be willing to knuckle down and eat dirt (figuratively speaking).  These are the dirt eating days and I should remember them and all the bruises they give me, because one day I’ll look back and see how far I’ve come.
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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