It was another Monday morning and I was asking myself the same old question. Why do I bother with any of it? Anything that could possibly go wrong, usually does, and it was getting a bit wearing. Then my inner voice decided to join in the conversation.
Everyone feels like this sometimes, you are not unique you know…
Yes, I know we all have days when we think everything conspires against us, and life seems futile. Doesn’t help though.
You sound like a drama queen, one who is prone to over exaggeration…
I don’t think I have imagined the succession of near disasters that have played havoc with my life this year?
Okay, I will admit there have been one or two, but nothing to write home about…
How about my inability to successfully market anything. You have to admit I am hopeless?
Could be you’re just not smart enough, for it’s not exactly rocket science…
I can buy that one, for the results of my efforts speak for themselves.
You seem to be forgetting that you are OLD. That feeling of circling the drain is quite normal at your age you know…
There are days when I would agree, but others when I still feel competent enough for the job in hand.
But which of these days are the real ones, and not the ones that are the result of your own stupidity?
I know I have a few shortcomings, but there are also circumstances that are beyond my control.
Beyond your mental capacity, you mean…
A fine Jiminy Cricket you turned out to be, where is all the optimism, the encouragement?
I can only work with the material I have at my disposal. It’s not my fault if your grey matter isn’t up to scratch…
You know, all of this could be academic if my health gets any worse. I’m sure you have to agree that I am not imagining that?
I know it does all seem very real, but you have beaten the odds before, and will do again, I’m sure…
So, you would conduct my life differently, would you? You are coming across as a smug know-it-all, but you don’t drop any hints any more, do you? Isn’t that supposed to be part of your remit?
After a lifetime of trying my best for you, literally thousands of hints later, I have run out of ideas. Banging my head against a wall is definitely not my scene…
So I am on my own now, you are retiring?
You still have your instincts, even though they malfunction far too often. It has brought you this far, however…
“Some of us get to choose how we live our lives, whether to depend on our conscience, or wing it with instinct.
Heaven knows which is best, and I think it also knows what will happen to us. I could do with a ‘heads up’ round about now…”
Jaye said I should think of something different to write about.
Short stories or romance, ghosts, hauntings, all of which I think I do.
Unlike Jaye, I am only good at one thing. The work I put out, good or bad, I can’t always tell until there is feedback.
I know that sometimes the pieces I put in front of Jaye have moved her to tears. So maybe there is something to them. Either that or she is just a soft Nellie. Who knows?
I can only do what comes from the pen. Good or bad, it is for others to judge.
I guess I can tell when the web is silent, the likes low.
Maybe Jaye is right, the pen has had its day.
Then again, we don’t always agree from one second to the next.
Unless there is a blue moon, and they don’t come around very often.
I met a lady at the fair
Let me tell your fortune, said she
I smiled and kept on walking
She stopped my steps with this,
“You have one number wrong on your ticket.”
I paid with silver,
she told me then, “turn the four into a five
to see your fortune thrive.”
With this, my bank account did swell…
Nearly time, to be honest, I think, something I have been trying to ignore for some time now. It is becoming harder to pretend I am the same as I ever was.
It’s not just my general health, which, to be fair, is not brilliant. Or the eyesight, which is becoming a problem, along with arthritis.
I am talking about my brain.
Those magical grey cells that shuffle all my ideas around and manage to figure out the best way to make them work. At least, that’s what I have always imagined was going on!
Late last year, I started to notice a reluctance to come up with the goods. Things that were once simple and routine were becoming difficult and often forgotten completely.
We make excuses for this all the time. Stress, tiredness, or life daring to get in the way. But I think I knew the writing was appearing on that proverbial wall. Well, the first few words, anyway.
My family are very supportive and continue to be amazed but what I have learned and what I can still do, bless them. They say it is normal to slow down a little at 75 years of age.
Now, my hackles usually rise at the mention of my age and slowing down, but it is probably time I acknowledged that I am the elephant in the corner of the room and that it might be time to start to act accordingly.
Time to have a serious think about the future, and what we can actually achieve. It might well be time we slowed down, but frustration has other ideas.
There is still so much we want to do, so much more of the fun stuff to learn and enjoy.
Seriously though, I do appreciate the need to slow down a bit, but I’m sure that won’t spoil all the fun we are having!
The New Year and the new month were slipping past me at an alarming rate, as I suffered the throes of one of the worst colds flu I can remember having and I was becoming more and more depressed.
I wasn’t doing anything, couldn’t think straight and I suddenly realised just how close to despair I was getting.
I was having small moments of pull yourself together girl and quite a few just have a look at the WIP… but nothing was working. Two weeks of solid inactivity, but it felt like an eternity.
Every now and then, I would have a day when I seemed better and the head would clear, only to be extinguished when the paracetamol wore off, leaving me a pathetic sniveling heap again. It wasn’t just the aching joints, headache and streaming nose, it had affected my eyesight too and I really didn’t need that to deteriorate too. The cataracts were doing a grand job of that!
I have been trying to keep on top of the emails and other small jobs, but anything else didn’t bear thinking about.
But that was the thing, I had been doing a lot of thinking. Not enough, obviously, to get me doing anything creative but at least the grey matter was trying to function. My WIP was beginning to haunt me. I knew it was a mess, with different piles of pages depending on what I was researching at the time and somehow never tidied up. Before I could move in any direction, I would have to sort through the entire 60.000 words and put them in working order.
And this morning, that was what I did. The germs have retreated enough to allow a little get up and go to creep back into my life, and I now have a working copy of my manuscript.
As I am still battling germs and feel like a wreck, I will not be running out our resolutions just yet. Although I am struggling to do the daily necessities, never mind anything more adventurous, my eyes keep drifting to that corner of my desk where my WIP lives and I feel really guilty. I shouldn’t before you all say so because it was hardly my fault that last year was a bit like wading through manure. I was being polite there, did you notice?
I tried, but it was a no-go zone from start to finish. They say not to blame yourself when life gets in the way, but it’s hard not to when you are usually better at dodging the bullets and fielding trouble away. I think the only productive thing I did all year was write nearly 60.000 words of PayBack, my WIP.
Anita has been doing well with her poetry, and recently won Poet of the Week with her Double Nonet poem “Broken Ground” for Colleen’s Poetry CHALLENGE
Some of our trying must have registered somewhere, as the stats on our blog show a remarkable improvement. I don’t understand how or why, which is a shame, for we could do more of whatever it was.
My brain is on notice to pull itself together and to prepare for battle, as this year is going to be special and I already have a list of possibilities that I want to explore, learn and implement.
Smashwords, Amazon or D2Digital?
Years ago, we had all of our books on Smashwords. We had to opt out of Amazon’s exclusivity to do it, but at the time, we thought having all of our eggs in one basket was a little silly.
Actually managing to put our books on Smashwords was an art in itself and almost impossible, or at least it was for me but I was a newbie back then and didn’t know my arse from my elbow!
Just lately, I have noticed that Smashwords has been promoting themselves quite a lot, probably because Amazon is reported to be losing popularity.
I started wondering if we should go back there. After all, because we are also on D2Digital now, we have already lost the advantage Amazon offers.
I would love to know how many authors are starting to spread their nets further afield, and what they think about it.
I was looking back through some old posts and found this one, written at the end of 2012. This was when the madness began…
2012: My New Year Resolution!
Next year I have decided (this is Jaye, by the way. Anita is busy writing!) that I will become more adept with all this technology. I have been stumbling along, picking up bits of information here there and everywhere and have come to glorious conclusion that my efforts are not quite good enough. Close, but no cigar, to quote Anita.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think I have learnt a massive amount of stuff in my stumbling’s but if we want to be successful in any way at all, I have to learn more. This will not be easy, for at my age (69) my brain cells are dying faster than I can count! I have never liked computers, I think they were invented by the devil to drive us all insane. But the reason I persist (apart from the fact that I am one of the most stubborn people you will ever meet) is that my mind cannot accept the fact that the devil is possibly cleverer than I am at using a computer.
It’s only a machine, I tell myself.
It’s do-able, so do it.
Other people do it and do it well. So can I.
Who am I kidding?
Myself unfortunately. But I digress. I can do anything I set my mind to, always have. Might take me forever, or might have to modify what I wanted in the first place, but I usually get there. (Once I have driven everyone bonkers in the mean time!)
Now for some back patting…
In 2012, I learnt how to upload Anita’s books onto Amazon. (And you don’t want to know how long that took!)
After that, I uploaded them all to Smashwords. (Difficult, but worth it, amazing people!)
I even managed to create a paperback copy of Bad Moon Rising with Createspace. (Don’t ask!)
I had a go at designing our own covers, but need to improve a hell of a lot!
Created this blog site, but still not sure I am doing it right (or even if I am happy with it!)
But as I said earlier, it’s all out there in 2013 and all I have to do is find it and make it work.
How hard can it be?
I was looking for inspiration, and usually manage to find small nuggets of the stuff in our old files and posts. I needed to find a substantial amount of it, as my mind was a less than delightful blank! My only excuse is that our house is fighting the flu bug, and intelligent thought was the first casualty!
I wanted to sum up the past year, wax lyrical about how much better 2019 was going to be, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t think of anything worth writing about. 2018 was a disappointing year, a wall-to-wall struggle if I am honest. We were out of our depth for most of it, playing catch-up and pretending everything was fine but we were nowhere as productive as we wanted to be. So if the New Year was going to be more of the same, I don’t think we had the heart to soldier on.
Reading that old post and feeling the excitement of our beginning, made me sit up and wonder where all that excitement has gone. Where was my determination to crack the code that would open the door to our success?
I was sure it couldn’t have gone completely, and was probably lurking around somewhere, but I had searched for it and come up empty, leaving me feeling sad and frustrated. I mean, I had a book to finish, a very long to-do list and a pile of fascinating and helpful articles and information to wade through. There was also that list of dreams ideas for trailers, posters and promotions.
Full of germs and feeling terrible, I wasn’t really in the mood to try and put our world back to rights, but I knew I wanted to, needed to, if I was honest. There was no way we were going to stop, so I have three days to pull myself together, ready to step into 2019.
A brand New Year … full of possibilities!
This year has been a series of difficulties. More downs than ups, to be honest. So it should come as no surprise to anyone to see a Christmas tree, seemingly floating upside down in mid-air in our front room.
Being white, it looks ethereal, the string it is suspended on almost invisible as it moves slightly on invisible air currents.
It wasn’t easy to do, for these trees are not designed to be upside down, and the top part parted company with the base at the most awkward moment, almost resulting in our giving up on the idea and being conventional after all.
Beneath the tree, looking remarkably like Miss Havisham’s abandoned wedding feast from Dicken’s Great Expectations, we have created a display to reflect the dinner we will not be having in our house.
The idea came to us because this Christmas will be like no other we have ever had or imagined. For the first time in the history of our family, we will not be here on Christmas Day. Relatives will not be arriving, full of Christmas cheer to share our carefully prepared feast of turkey and all the trimmings. There will be no fun and games at the table when we don’t pull the crackers.
There will be no toasting the cook or pulling the wishbone, not in this house, anyway.
We will all be somewhere else…
The next generation in our family is now of an age to change things, to take charge of traditional celebrations and create new ones of their own. This is the way with families.
It came as a bit of a shock for me and for a while I didn’t think I welcomed the invitation. For nearly fifty years, I have been cooking the turkey and mince pies, and I suppose I thought it would continue. I mean, what would I do with myself?
I have accepted the idea now, and the notion of someone else manhandling an uncooperative turkey into an equally uncooperative oven is making me smile.
It will seem odd to have nothing to do on Christmas day, but you never know, I might like it so much I will arrange it for next year too!
Some of you may be familiar with some of the trouble I have had since I began to organise our writing career on the Internet. It is probably simple for all you single people out there, but as soon as you are a partnership, trouble arrives big time!
Not that we could ever separate our writing business, not even to make our lives any easier. It is all far too complicated, but it works for us though, so that’s good.
We tried having separate websites, so as not to overcomplicate everything, but as we share a PC, this didn’t seem to work. Plus it was twice the work. So we reverted back to having a joint website on Blogger. Still managed to confuse half the population, including ourselves, but all our links seemed to be working. But it still didn’t feel right, so I approached WordPress and discovered that we could actually share a website. How very civilised.
I have since managed to share Anita’s Facebook too.
Goodreads almost cater for the two of us and we have our own pages, but only one of us can have our blog showing.
There are still a few places that refuse to understand, that although we share a PC, we do still have separate email addresses and passwords. I won’t name and shame, but they have driven me mad for the last time and I have resigned myself to sharing these awkward sites under Anita’s email address.
It goes without saying, that if I had known this marketing and promotion lark was so complicated, I might have had second thoughts, but on the whole, it has been interesting, and dare I say it, fun? The fact that I am almost certifiable is unimportant, as I think you have to be barking mad to approach a computer in the first place!
When I saw these lovely fractured pictures the other day, I was fascinated, probably because half the time, my brain is in pieces too…