Patience is a virtue I’m not sure I possess this morning.
I am sat at my desk organising and planning for the week ahead. The wind is howling outside but I am straining to hear over it, listening for a van to pull up. I am waiting on deliveries!
They are deliveries that should have come last week that were held up by the snow, or at least the claim they were because the man in his Amazon van still made it around. The most frustrating delivery is the box of books coming from Amazon but for some reason they sent them for deliver by Royal Mail, why when you have perfectly good drivers yourself would you entrust important parcels to a company who has a huge backlog due to their strikes?
They claimed my house was inaccessible on Saturday yet I managed to make it out of it at 7.30am to go to work, I think they just decided not to try. There was no card through the door so I am in limbo hoping they attempt delivery again today. If not then I will be on the phone to first Royal Mail to try to trace my parcels then failing that first thing in the morning to Amazon and demanding an immediate refund plus enough compensation to reorder with expediated shipping otherwise I will be signing scraps of paper next week. Okay that is an exaggeration but you get my point.
On the plus side I did get up this morning and get started straight away on being more productive, I hope by the end of this week to actually be ahead by a few days in terms of scheduled posts so that if I have a bad day at the day job I don’t get discouraged and fall behind.
As you can see the snow is starting to melt but I still couldn’t get a taxi or a bus to get to work. I technically live in what many people would think of as walking distance, but with a bad back it is really not worth the risk. One slip and wrong landing and I would be missing a lot more than the four hours wage I will miss out on from today. Some reports say it will reach minus 8°C which will mean I may struggle in the morning, ice skates may be required to reach the bus stop.
I mentioned that my beautiful girl would be leaving me, well, she has gone to her new home and I will visit soon and fill you in with new photos but this is one of her in her new home, it will be a huge adjustment to her being inside so much. I have been told she is having to get used to other horses coming past her as they head in and out but because she is young and so clever I have no doubt she will soon settle down.
Now as she begins a new chapter in her life, I have to begin one in mine. I have had a week feeling sorry for myself, a week where I may have eaten more chocolate than I should, I week where I may have cried on a daily basis for what has ended. But now, I have to pick myself up, and if you believe in fate or destiny, then I believe my gorgeous Ruby may have sent me a message in the form of a video I never remembered taking.
To move forward you have to let go, I have to plan for a future where I don’t have horses – unless I win the lottery or sell film rights to a book – and where I take control of what I want. I have dreamed about being an author for so long, and yes, to an extent I have got that, but I haven’t reached the levels I want to be at. I want to get on a bus and see someone sat reading my book. I want a random stranger to recognise me from the book cover, I want someone to recommend one of my books to me. The only way any of that happens is if I put in the work, that is my next chapter, one where I focus, I use the time I would have spent with my girls to create words for other to read.
Life might not always go the way we want, there are many things out of our control that we would wish we could change but we can’t. Instead we adapt, we grow and evolve. We have to take what is thrown it us and look for the positives we can find, and if you are wondering about the video of my girls well here it is…
My last post dealt with the passing of my sons great grandma, you would think that this would be enough to start a year but no fate is going to keep throwing crap at me.
This photo was just under three years ago, in the background you can see my beautiful girl Ruby who I lost last year to what we believe was liver cancer, and there creeping up to my son is her baby Preeya. She looks so different to the white horse that you will be used to seeing on my social media, she has grown up into a stunning, sweet natured girl.
Sadly we have reached a point where I can no longer be the one who guides her future. I always knew there would probably come a day where I made this choice but outside circumstances have forced my hand to make this decision quicker than I would have liked.
As a writer all I can do is try to take the pain I am feeling and put it to productive use in my writing. I had recorded a video when Ruby was ill talking about all the things I had learnt from being her human, I never published it. We have to take every experience we have in life and learn to utilise it, create something from the darkness and pain that enhances our ability to make readers feel all the emotions.
It won’t be goodbye forever, she will go to a home where I can still visit and see her grow up, I would have had to reach out to others to help me with the next stage of her learning but I wanted to see her grow up. Now I will watch someone else take her to the next stage in her life, someone else to teach her things I can’t and I get to watch from the side lines.
Last Friday I attended the funeral of my son’s great grandma. When we split up with a partner it does not always follow that we say good bye to their family. I was with my ex 18 years on and off, in that time in become closer to his family and remain so especially with his mum. When I looked back after my sons great grandma passed I realised that she had been part of my life for longer than three of my own grandparents.
Not long before she passed I was invited along on a family meal and sat with her and her older brother. They were both in their nineties and the conversations we had were fascinating. Sadly he also passed at the end of last year, although it appeared sudden to everyone at the time it was revealed he had been hiding a lot of illness and his death may have been the straw that broke the camels back for his sister.
The thing I took from the conversations I had with both these people is that the lived life to the full. They travelled, they loved family but never let that restrict them. They saw the world change and rather than sit back and say they were too old to learn anything, my son’s great grandma in particular, they embraced they changes around them,
I remember when I lost my own grandma eight years ago last month, one of things I took comfort in was the stories I heard from her and that I got to share in the life experiences she’d had.
The officially closed lines are living relatives, my great aunt and uncle but what is really interesting is that on this someone has written in Wootton which would eventually be her married name but at this point she was only 15 and had not begun her nursing training.
Friday has be itching to go back and do some more work on my family tree, I recently got my hands on a lot of old family photos, some of which I would love to scan and add to the tree so that is relatives on other branches find it they can see them.
There are many characters in a story but so many more behind the scenes, each one of which made a choice that lead them to where your story begins. Who they marry, where they choose to live and then of course the lives each one led. Imagine yourself or your characters like a dish on a plate, you are the final meal but to get there every single person in your heritage is an additional ingredient. Some may be bland, some spicy, some you can’t quite put your finger on, now imagine what your life will add to the recipe.
In this picture are my mum and grandma, my uncle, my great aunts and uncles, there is someone who was a prisoner of war, there is a member of the Coldstream Guards, and a pop star. This is just one photo of many, a sample of the ingredients in the recipe that created me.
So you may be asking how this relates to the title, in a way it doesn’t, but, what I would say to anyone who has older relatives is before you have to say goodbye take the chance to get to know them. Even if they ramble and don’t always get everything right every time, listen to them. When we are gone our kids can look at our social media and get a snap shot of the person we want the world to see but make sure you tell them the full stories.
Make you life one that when you go they will say was well lived. Make sure when the time comes to say goodbye you can also say thank you for stories and memories shared,
Years ago I used Hootsuite to monitor my social media. While there was only FB and Twitter it worked okay but as more social media sprung up it no longer fit my needs. Then at a friends recommendation I tried Later.
Later works really well and I actually would happily keep using it but they recently hiked their prices up and as an Indie author who really doesn’t make enough to even buy a coffee most months I honestly cannot justify paying $40 a month (approx £36) I know it only works out at a pound a day but at a time we are all tightening our belts financially it is an expense I cant afford right now. Their free plan allows for 30 post per month and I may very well continue using it for Instagram for the reason I will explain in a minute.
Yesterday I took the time to go looking for a new social media management app and I found one called Planable. Right now I am trying the free version to decide if I like it but the version I would need will be $22 which is almost half of the price Later has gone up to and less than I was previously paying for it before the price increase.
Planable allows me to schedule posts to both my FB pages, my readers group, aw well as to Tiktok, Youtube, LinkedIn and Twitter. The one issue I have found is that I cannot schedule posts to Instagram, or rather I can but I have to the push the post to publish via a phone app. I have had to do this previously with other apps I have tried and to be honest it is a pain,
Will Planable be the answer to my needs I don’t know, only time will tell but which ever way it goes I will let you all know.
This year I am determined to be more productive, Monday before doing anything else I set up my writing tracker for this year. It is a great tool and one I have sadly underutilised the last couple of years. I had written more but I have cut some parts until I go back through them and make sure they fit with where I want this series to go eventually.
Each week I will be updating you on how the projects are going, some as you can see are titled however others remain secret until it is time for them to be revealed as they may involve other people or be part of anthologies. I would love to write a million words this year but I am being more realistic and aiming for 600k, that works out at 50k a month and should mean I get at least four books out this year along with other projects.
This is the start point so wish me luck and see you back here next week for the next update.
This year is starting today for me, one because it is a Monday but also because yesterday we sadly lost my son’s great grandma. It was a peaceful passing after a long life well lived, it was expected and though losing people hurts sometimes we can see the blessing of release it also brings.
Despite this I am determined to start the year with positivity, I have a lot planned for this year and hope to build not only this platform back up but also across all my platforms. I intend to get a lot more books out this year including finishing off the ones I have in the works. I have had a bad habit of starting a project getting to a point where its going well then letting life derail me.
First on the agenda is to get this one out…
On Wednesday when I do my writing post it might look like I am further behind than I am but that is die to some changes I made that has me doing some weird editing at the same time. I want this book out and in my hand before the signing in Liverpool in March so I need to make myself focus. Less getting distracted by YouTube videos and games on my phone, they will get played on during evenings, while I watch my favourites LawTuber’s, and catch up on some Netflix series I want to see.
The plan is three blogs per week, Monday will be a general discussion of the week ahead, Wednesday will be talking about my writing, and Friday I really want to do the Friends On Friday posts I intended doing before. Saturday there will be a vlog of the weeks events, discussions of upcoming signings and general life stuff. Sunday there will be the podcast Coffee & Dark Reads where I will discuss all sorts book related and hopefully get some friends involved too once I fix my technical issues trying to get my microphone to work on Zoom.
I will see you all back here next Monday to see how I did at getting back on track x
It’s a well known fact in any career there will always be others who do better than you. Even our new monarch will will be judged against his mum and probably found lacking
I have seen instances in the book world where authors clash, pull each other down sometimes over things that seems totally crazy. Personally I have never met or befriended anyone who has been anything less than supportive and whom I have only ever wished success for.
So today when I got to work this put a huge smile on my face.
I can’t remember exactly how I became friends with Sue it was before she got her publishing contract. I am so thrilled everytime I see one of her books for sale, because the dream is always there. If it can happen for a friend it can happen for you!
Do I get envious when I see a friends book on the supermarket shelves? Yes, a little but it is nothing to the pride I feel being able to say ‘hey my friend wrote this’. It is a push to work harder and focus on my own writing, to know that they didn’t get there by luck it was hard work and I can do it too.
So to my author friends I wish you every success and still hope one day you will be picking one of my books up along with your weekly shop.