December update


It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog entry and I’m in two minds about making the blog section visible again. For now, maybe I’ll just leave it here and if anyone stumbles across it, fine. It’s not as if there is anything ground-breaking going on here. I’m not going to sell you my books from my blog.

Since the pandemic hit, my working life has changed dramatically. I’m now no longer having to travel into Manchester three times a week – a journey that took three hours of my day. Instead, I get to sit at my desk at home, relaxed and in my own space.

This has been brilliant on several fronts.

  • I no longer have the commute nor the petrol expense.
  • I can walk my son to school and pick him up each day.
  • I don’t hear all of the meetings going on around me in our open plan office.
  • I don’t feel as tired. Getting up at 5am three days a week in your forties can take it out of you.
  • I’ve got more options for when to fit my running in. Sometimes it’s before I start work, sometimes it’s during my lunch break.

But on the other hand there are some things I miss:

  • Having a coffee with a work colleague. I’m not massively close to many of my work colleagues but there are a handful that I do miss having a chat with.
  • The fear of being in the office and needing to look productive can actually make me more productive than being at home some days.
  • The writing structure I had.

This last point about writing structure in the week has contributed to my lack of output over the last twelve months. On the days when I would go into the office, I would arrive at my desk an hour before I needed to start work, and a good forty minutes before anyone else turned up. In that quiet time, I would write new words on whatever the work in progress was. On good days I would hit 1000 words before 8am. On bad days it would still be about 500 words. During lunch I’d have time to top up that word count, meaning that by the time I got home, I’d generally have my daily words done for the day.

Now, it’s a little easier to avoid doing the actual writing.

We’ve just had NaNoWriMo, and that was a big boost pushing me to add another 30,000 words to Signals, and I then signed up to a December word sprint but have solidly failed to be consistent with writing every day.

And I don’t have any good solid reasons why that is.

My usual excuses still stand. As an indie author, we’re responsible for everything to do with our business, whether we actually do the work or not. Just looking over the last two weeks, the distractions have included:

  • Finessing the plot lines for the second half of Signals to prevent me writing pages that will ultimately be trashed.
  • Agonising over this year’s tax return. I HATE doing this with a passion but still don’t earn enough to make it sensible to pay an accountant to do the work for me.
  • Buying a kitten and socialising it with our resident cat.
  • Relaxing with the family after working hard on the day job.

I don’t know what the answer is, or even if there is an answer. I definitely don’t want to go back to the office, even if it’s only part time. I’m going to stick to my guns and when the offices are finally open in spring hopefully, I’m going to demand I work from home. I suppose, I’m not quite the same person I was seven years ago when I started publishing. Back then, I was very excited by the prospect, seeing it as something that would let me escape the routine of the day job. But as it’s turned out, the day job isn’t that bad and pays well. It would be stupid to want that security to end. I don’t think my anxiety would cope very well with the full on risk of having my only income coming from my writing.

I guess then, that I’ll keep plodding along. Writing and publishing is still fun and most often fulfilling. I’m not ready to give up on it just yet.