I’m a winner, that’s not something I often say, but today it’s definitely true.
Today, I got a message from Alison Belsham, to tell me that I’d won a copy of one of her books from a free giveaway. How lucky is that?
I rarely win stuff like this, so I’m really grateful to win what I know to be such a fantastic book – and it’ll be signed! That’s so good. Definitely something to celebrate. Thanks to Alison, and it all goes to prove, you’ve got to be in it to win it.
Yesterday I talked about the nerve wracking experience of submitting to a competition – which by the way I did a few minutes ago. Normally for me nerve wracking means nail biting – literally. I bite my nails.
Or more correctly – I used to bite my nails.
I have no idea at what point I finally stopped biting my nails, but I do seem to have, I have ten actual nails now. Nails that extend beyond the nail bed. See:
Still got ugly hands, but the nails look great. I’m using OPI Nail Envy to help, just in case anyone was wondering.
Now I am not here as a beauty blogger, there are plenty of them around, so I’m not going there.
I’m writing this becuase of what it indicates.
I’ve been biting my nails all my life. I bite for bordom, stress, nervousness, when I’m happy, when I’m sad, basically, any time for any reason. And now I’ve stopped. I can’t tell you when, just that I did, but this is what calm and contentment can do for you.
I’m happy with it. And hopefully I can keep that up because right now it’s not only the one competition entry that I’m nervous about, but an agent submission that I’m waiting to hear about. Keep your fingers crossed for success on all fronts (and your nails unbitten too).
Between other things today, I have been working on my short story for the Honno submission. I’ve got the word count to the exact allowance, and I’ve checked spelling and grammar, all seems okay.
Only thing is – I’m not sure if it’s great or awful.
This kind of self doubt is not exactly a me problem, it’s a writer thing. Lots of writers I know suffer with what’s called ‘imposter syndrome’. We’re all just waiting to be found out. The reality is that we’re not imposters, but writing is a difficult game.
Anyway, one thing about the short story, is that it’s actually an origin story for the main character in a new series that I’m working on. So I’m hoping that my story gets picked because it’s the first test of the character, so if it gets rejected, I’m in trouble for the series. Very nerve wracking.
No I didn’t dress in Georgian attire and so suck some blood, but I did have to spend the day in a darkened room and hiding from the sun lest it turn me to a pile of ashes.
Basically, I had a migraine. Even light hurt.
But today the migraine is gone, swapped for a backache, though that was less swapped as paid for.
After day of doing nothing because I couldn’t do anything, today I have caught up.
I’ve shortened a load of curtains for my daughter, I’ve been to the supermarket, prepared a casserole for tonight’s dinner, planted up a load of pots for the front garden, and placed them out – which is what lead to the backache.
So now, I’ sitting down to blog, and catch up on some stuff on the internet stuff I couldn’t face yesterday. So, not much to say today, but feeling good, and wanted to share that.
It’s been from the sublime to the ridiculous today. Yesterday I was so shattered I couldn’t do anything, today I am shattered because I haven’t stopped. So far today I have:
Transplanted plants from the front garden to pots (13 pots, I hope the transfers are luckier than that number.
Done 2 9kg loads of washing.
Hung all the washing on the line.
Painted the front fence – it’s 6 foot tall it was thirsty for paint (yes lots of gardening being done at the moment.
Cooked a fish pie (which I’m looking forward to eating because it’s in the oven right now and smells wonderful!)
Been a taxi service for my daughter.
Written 6 marketing paragraphs.
Posted a blog and stuck that on social media.
And now I’m writing this blog.
Apparently, the post-vaccine exhaustion has left me, though I have every intention of doing little more today. After dinner I am going to have a long soak in a hot bath and then put my feet up with a book for the evening. There doesn’t appear to be much on TV, so I may binge some more of “Shakespeare and Hathaway”.
Sleep is something that often eludes me. I consider myself lucky if I get a full six hours a night. But not this weekend.
I had my covid jab on Friday, Friday I was okay, felt like I’d been kicked in the arm because it was so painful, but I wasn’t ill, until Saturday. Saturday I was just wiped out. I got up late, couldn’t concentrate, only managed to read half a chapter of the book I’m reading. In the end I went to bed early – half six in the evening early.
Never have I ever felt so wiped out.
This morning I got up late, I decided I had to go and get a bit of work done in the garden. I spent an hour and a half pottering (pulling out ivy and bagging it up) and then I was exhausted. So I came in, put the roast on, then had to sit down for an hour.
As I write this, it is half seven and I’m pretty much ready to go to bed and sleep another fifteen hours. But I’ve stuff to do, so I’d best get on.
Just to let you now, after my little grumble yesterday, my mood is on the up today. Part of the reason for this is without a doubt, just the erratic alteration of hormones. That said. Other things had a definite uplifting affect.
This first may seem like a odd thing to feel good about, but it brightened my day. I work in the conservatory and it’s usually very cold, but I went in to start work around 08:30. What was lovely, what pleased me was that I didn’t actually have to put the heater on. Small thing, but not having to spend on heating is a good thing to my mind.
Once I settled into work, I saw that at far-too-early-o’clock I had received a message asking if I was free for an editing commission later in the year – I am, and getting work always pleases me. If you’re looking for a structural edit this year, contact me for a quote (see gailbwilliams.co.uk).
Later this morning, I saw a friend had posted a very nice note about my writing, my books both in crime and steampunk. Added to that, other people, most of whom I don’t know, piled in with other compliments on my writing. Apparently, I’m still a little over sensitive today, as those touching thoughts brought tears to my eyes.
Then, I made a phone call to a local gardener. I wasn’t expecting much as we’ve recently had trouble getting tradesmen to the house. However, not only did he turn up when he said he would, he gave us a good price and he started the job straight away. Not only that – he finished it!
I also managed to get a load of tidying up done, which is always good for my mental health.
So this just goes to show that no matter how dark one day might feel, there’ll be light in tomorrow.
Since going self-employed I’ve been generally very happy and upbeat. The last couple of days have changed that.
Before I was published, I was being told how I wasn’t good enough to get published. Now I’m published, I keep hearing how I’m not good enough to sell. That I’m not “in the genre”.
Usually when I hear that sort of thing, I try to stick two fingers up and move on. But I’m struggling to do that at the moment.
I’m feeling like a failure. I know I’m not a best seller, I don’t go easy on my readers, so I don’t get great sales, but I know that, I don’t need some trite, arrogant prima donna rubbing it in. Added to this is the fact that I haven’t heard from the agent I submitted to six weeks ago, so that feels like a rejection. I’ve just finished a novel that I don’t know what to do with – or indeed if it’s worth doing anything with. My editing commissions have dried up, and I failed an assignment on the correspondence course I’m doing. So I’m in a funk.
Oh and just to add insult to injury – I’m back to being anaemic and the iron tablets are upsetting my digestion.
Little wonder I’m feeling down really. Of course, this too will pass.
Today the Reading Between the Lines festival began, and I was very fortunate to be on a panel this afternoon with Jackie Baldwin and Val Penny.
Before the event we read one another’s books and used those as a basis for the discussion.
All three books have a strong theme of family, not just blood relations, though of course there are plenty of those, but the families we choose to be part of, through friendship, proximity, work and whatever it is that brings people together.
If you want to hear what we had to say, check out the YouTube Reading Between the Lines channel and look for our video, should be up soon. Of course because this is a channel, you’ll also find all the other events there. And congratulations to Lynsey Adams from doing the hard work of pulling all this together.
Timing is everything in life, but what about in competition?
The last week I’ve been working on a short story for a competition for Honno Crime Anthology, see Honno for details. I’ve written a whole 5,000 word new and original story. I’ve had a friend look over it and give me notes. I’ve edited it and I’m happy with it.
It’s now 22nd of March and the competition doesn’t close until the 30th June. So what do I do? Do I send it off now or wait till June?
If I send it off now, that will mean it’s done and I can forget all about it and concentration on other projects.
If I wait, I can put it to the back of my mind for a couple of months, then read/edit again before I send off. But I’ve got a memory like a sieve – what if I forget to send it? Well I guess that’s what diary reminders are for. I’ve also got a dying laptop – what if I lose the file? Well that’s what doing a backup is for.
What if in the intervening months, I think of a whole new short story worth putting in? Well if I’ve not sent anything, then it won’t matter, I can write the new idea and compare the two, then decided. Or possibly send two – not sure if that’s allowed, doesn’t say one way or the other, but I’ll check later.
This is just one of those writer dilemmas that I’m never sure of. What would you do?