Month: May 2015

Done and done.

I completed those two further chapters this evening. I am sure they could use some revision and editing but they are basically done, they exist, they are polished, they look like chapters, they are complete drafts. That was well worth cancelling my evening plans for.

That’s it, then. I’ve got three sample chapters and that is plenty. No more content-writing for me. On with the proposal and then I can begin to shop around for a publisher or a literary agent, at the same time as looking for a job.

Postscript: OH WOW. Today is the day this blog attracted its 500th follower. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who reads this shit. Thank you. I really mean that, thank you.

Days of adventure.

How my life changes shape, in this time of relative crisis. Every hour I that invest in one activity and not another has rapid consequences. Networks of hope, support and affliation change fluidly. It is interesting. Current state of play:

– I am relatively calm today because I have successfully netted a magnificent one day of work. I command pretty good rates, even at freelance prices and it will pay one round of bills. It also means that there is more work where that came from. This has significantly reduced my anxiety.

– Two employers turned me down and I’m not that sad because see above and they were jobs that I would have been good at but not overjoyed about doing.

– One friend wrote me a letter and said we can’t be friends any more because he is having psychological issues. What can I say. You have to let people do what they need to do. Position your own oxygen mask before helping others.

– There is a relationship waiting to happen that could potentially ease at least a few financial problems and that I am gradually emotionally preparing myself for and committing to. It is very 19th century. Not coincidentally, I am reading Henry James.

– I sent a sample chapter of my book to my friend the editor. She became excited. She is in the US. I am British. The US is obviously a much bigger market. She is going to talk to a colleague who is a publisher about my book. She said, “he might want to publish it himself or he might be able to find you the right literary agent”.

– Today I continued writing because it is starting to feel very urgent that I say all these things in a publishable format, before somebody gives me a job and uses up all my time. I started writing an important chapter, it flows naturally but it is long and content-rich. I now realise it is two chapters. I also realise that the structure of my book is going to be more thematic and less procedural than I thought. I cancelled a dinner engagement this evening so I can keep writing. These two chapters will be completed very soon. Three sample chapters, in total, are more than enough to support a proposal so at that point I will stop writing content and get on with the proposal itself and we are good to go.

This is the way my life is changing.

This fucking book.

Thank goodness for bank holiday weekends, they are like a cheat code.

Yesterday I took the whole day to rest. Today … I worked on my book. I have a chapter outline. I have a sample chapter almost completed that took hardly any time to organise because I have all the raw material. It was so quick that I might be able to write a second sample chapter before I complete the proposal. When the proposal and sample(s) are done, they are shopped around to publishers.

I am in conversation with an editor, she has held senior positions with Proper Publishing Companies that exist in real life. She has been on at me about this book for ages, I protested that I was too busy with work, then I suddenly crumbled and now I am organising all my stuff into a manuscript, as you see above, and she and I are talking seriously for the first time.

She said: “This is exciting. You have a unique voice and I can see you being wildly successful.” I don’t know. I am writing it now, anyway. If it actually finds a home with a publisher and we can generate some publicity for it, it would take my career in a different direction. One that would be a lot of fun.

Tomorrow, business as usual, and hopefully I’ll be slightly ahead of the game when everyone else gets back to their desks on Tuesday. Wish me luck.

Time to say thanks to my friends.

I am trying to stay optimistic. Some days are better than others.

Last week was pretty awful but I am hoping it won’t be that bad again. It was a week in which I had business meetings every day, attempted to write numerous proposals, filled out job applications, talked to lawyers, was sick as a dog with a migraine and spent several days sleeping on the floor in the back room, surrounded by boxes, while a guest slept in my bedroom. After the guest left, he complained that ‘your guest room didn’t feel like a guest room and still had all your stuff in it’. It didn’t have ‘all my stuff’, it had a few books. All my stuff was piled in the back room where I was sleeping in conditions that I’ve seen easily surpassed in developing countries. I am not doing that again. It was worth about £40 in the end. If you ask me, it’s a triumph of effort on my part that he didn’t twig that he wasn’t sleeping in a guest room at all, he was sleeping in my bedroom, the contents of which had been evacuated as completely as possible while still leaving *just about* enough space in the back room for me not to have to sleep standing up.

Career opportunities that I have considered in the last week include prostitution. At least the punters go home after an hour and don’t sleep in your bedroom for days at a time while complaining that the room hasn’t been stripped as bare as a prison cell.

There is a tiny sniff of work here and there and this thawed my anxiety just enough that I was able to feel other emotions, and they weren’t particularly good ones. In particular, I was desperately upset that someone I thought was a close friend deliberately concealed from me the fact that he’d emigrated out of the UK six months ago, allowing me to think that he was 5 miles away down the road. Waited until I needed him, then finally revealed what was actually going on.

You really find out who your friends are in these situations. They aren’t who you think. People to whom I am terribly grateful: my loyal and long-suffering mother; my loyal friend C in Yorkshire; my former boss J who has really made a lot of time for me after barely seeing each other for 15 years; M who I briefly dated three years ago and have only occasionally spoken to since but who came over to comfort and help me the moment I needed him; my other friend C who is a doctor, who checks regularly on how I am doing. People in whom I am disappointed: S who lied to me about having left the country; K, who helped me by making a post on Reddit advertising a thing that I need to sell but who cannot make time for a 15 minute phone call or even a text message, despite being more aware than most people of my dire circumstances. I texted him about 3 days ago and said ‘It would be great if you could ask how I am”, but there was silence. I guess people are busy with their own lives.

I have been plagued by nightmares, which robs me of sleep.

Strangers have been kind. I have always believed in the kindness of strangers and they are not letting me down. Thanks to A who came over here two weekends ago, let me cry on him, made some excellent business suggestions, gave me a few good orgasms and bought enough food to keep me alive for a couple of days. I was so grateful for the food and the human comfort. He didn’t owe me anything, we didn’t know each other at all. I just liked his face, he looked clever and kind, and so it turned out that he was and I’m thankful to him for answering the call. Online dating is really something else. I am glad I am so good at it and have so much experience with it that I can use to identify decent, honest people who will help me when I have a problem that’s bigger than just having fun.

The Head Honcho is being kind as well. I have not furnished him with all the details but I told him that my life was hurting me and he was especially nice about it considering that empathy is not really his thing. He even suggested meeting up yesterday. It was a bit short notice and we couldn’t organise it in time but it was a nice offer and we are emailing each other and he is helping me think through some business ideas.

Things I have achieved, because I need to believe that I am getting somewhere:

– I have tried hard to raise work for my business and have a couple of briefs in. There is a big, huge gap between someone sending you a brief and you sending them an invoice, usually because briefs represent mere interest and have nothing to do with actual budget being available, but hey, briefs are briefs. Maybe ONE of them will magically turn into some actual money. Even one job would allow me to pay my tax bills, which are frightening.

– I have applied for some jobs. I had a phone interview that I can’t quite tell how it went, I have another job interview in June and I talked to a recruitment consultant who seemed really professional and has presented my details to a very high profile client with money to burn.

– I have been to numerous meetings in which I’ve sparkled and chatted people up and looked for freelance work. There is a little tiny sniff of work here and there.

– I achieved miracles with respect to making my house resemble a hotel, despite the petty complaints of the guest about a few books.

– Everyone who I’ve spoken to who knows anything about publishing says I’d be an idiot not to get a proposal for my book out to publishers right away, so I made time to write a chapter outline, write part of a sample chapter and start drafting a proposal because fuck it, I’ve got nothing left to lose at this point.

– I changed my broadband, gas and electricity suppliers, which will save a little bit of money.

– I returned my PC to the manufacturer.

– I didn’t die.

I am a bit tearful this morning but I am hoping that I will get over it in due course and then I can take a good look at the World’s Largest To-Do List and make a plan for the day and the coming week. I am trying to keep business meetings down to a bare minimum for the next week or so because I have more proposals and job applications to write.

Wish me luck. I am scared and I am juggling time and money like a circus perfomer but I am still here.

Let’s have some Church. I might have this whole album on continuous loop today, it has always given me strength.

Don’t ask me why I’m motherfucking stressed. Things done changed.

Notorious BIG: Things Done Changed.

Fatigue.

So tired. So completely wiped out. It has got so that I have to have power naps whenever I can squeeze one in during the day, just so I can keep going. I’ve just woken up from one and now it looks like I have to go out and attend a business dinner. I just want to go back to sleep.

I weigh 151.0 pounds. It should be less than that by now. I think my body is retaining fat because it has gone into survival mode.

My former boss.

My former boss, from 15 years ago, just spent an hour on the phone with me, God love her. She is a brave woman who has faced bigger financial problems than I am currently having, plus her husband just died, just a few months ago, around when I started to date Leroy before Christmas, so she knows a few things about adversity. Also she is a psychologist and is great at talking people down when they are upset.

I am grateful. She said interesting things. She didn’t say ‘don’t get a job’ which is what other business owners have said to me, using the logic that owning a small business is inherently better than working for someone else’s large one. She said ‘get a job, make sure it is a job you would love to do, you will be happier’. She is right about that. So I will continue to apply for jobs in this other career track that I should have been on all along, while at the same time trying to get my existing business back on its feet for a few months just so that I can pay the bills and the mortgage and keep my options open, what with the existing business commanding rather good rates when I can actually get any work in.

It is 10pm in London and I am choosing to believe that it is going to be all right. I may have to consciously choose that a whole bunch more times tomorrow and the next day and the next day but at least I recognise that what I believe about this situation is in fact my choice and is not determined by the situation itself, which is merely awkward and bit precarious.

1 Mental Health point. FFS.

Apologies for the short ad break.

You may notice some ads popping up on TLYW over the next few weeks.

I am not making any money off them, it’s not for my personal gain. It’s because I can no longer afford to pay the fee to WordPress that makes them *not* appear. It’s a fee I’ve paid in the past to spare all of you lovely readers the annoyance of having to look at them.

Sorry everyone. Bear with me while I try to sort this out.

Today is 17th May. My life crashed on 20 April. We are almost one month into the crash rescue and recovery programme.

– I am a bag of nerves. I am getting on with stuff anyway, for want of any choice in the matter.

– My business partner is robbing the business and is counting on me not to sue because I’m broke because I am being robbed 😦  If any readers can offer me free legal representation within the UK, there’s quite a lot of money at stake.

– I am working so hard to find solutions. I keep trying. I try not to put my hope in things prematurely, before real money shows up in my account.

– I think that’s it. One or two of my friends are providing real emotional support, for which I am grateful. Strangers are kind. One or two more people who I thought were close friends aren’t very interested. In one case I’ve known the person for 10 years and now just as I need them it turns out that they’ve been lying to me for a year about small matters like having left the country.