Monday, 31 October 2016

Still writing, still alive

Well, yet again I look at this and see how long it's been since I wrote a blog post, and feel embarrassed and dilatory and apologetic.  I've been putting it off, doing other things, or not infrequently procrastinating other things, and thinking I had nothing useful to say, nothing to review, what's the point, etc etc. 

Why apologetic, though?  Why should I feel I'm letting anyone down?  If I still have any readers, none of them have been contacting me to say "noticed you haven't blogged lately, how's tricks" or "R U OK?"  So I don't think it can be causing any disquiet anywhere.  The only person I'm letting down is myself; and that only in so far as that I was taught as a child that I must never, ever, ever, be less than the best, and so if I set myself to do something I must do it not just well, but to standards higher than anyone else's.

Not really a very helpful rule to inculcate in a young mind, now I think about it.  High standards are all very well, but this just leaves you knowing you're never going to be good enough.  No matter what.  Never.  And that is death to creativity.

So the hell with that. 

I'm okay, I'm keeping fairly busy and already getting enough modelling work to pay my rent, which means my savings will stretch out a lot longer, giving me more time to find more modelling and/or develop other income streams.  I'm writing.  Some of the writing is going okay, some of it less so, but I'm doing some, fairly steadily.  I've recently started once again on the process of submitting to agents.  My experiment with self-publishing has proved to me that it needs confident marketing skills and a self-promoting ability that I lack; and I have a reasonable amount of good material these days.  What the heck, I'll give it another whirl.

It's interesting to note, looking through the latest edition of the Writers and Artists' Yearbook, how many agents now accept online submissions.  Thank God!  It's five or six years since I was last trying to do this submissions lark, and in that time, it's moved from being a tiny minority to being almost all.  The minority now are those who'll only accept submissions on paper.  This is going to save so much hassle and expense. 

I'm also intrigued to notice that fewer agencies and publishers are stipulating "No SF or fantasy" in their conditions.  Presumably this means that SF and F are coming to be considered as a better commercial bet.  Perhaps also that there's a scrap less snobbery about the genres.  All to the good, anyway. 

I got over getting hurt in the summer (see previous post).  I'm still fencing.  I go to the cinema, and occasionally to the opera or ballet, but less frequently because money is a more pressing issue than it was a year ago.  One of my best friends has moved to the coast and the other has had a baby this year, so I see them when I can; and I'm seeing some of my other closest friends in just under a fortnight. 

So all in all, things aren't too bad.  There are moments of depression and struggle, and I have to resort to ignoring the national and international news, or end up crying and helpless with fear.  It seems as if the world is in such a mess at the moment.  I have to remind myself consciously that it was ever thus; it's just much easier to learn about it than in my parents' or grandparents' day. I do what I can - little things like recycling, not wasting water, always voting; I try to live by my values even when it looks ridiculous or sets me up to feel afraid.  Within my own small sphere, I try.  Il faut cultiver le jardin.

And then I try to let go and let be, and hold on to hope.  Because in times when everywhere one looks there seems to be the same message of "we're all going to the dogs, the world is going to burn, everything's sh*t", I think it's a kind of revolutionary act to refuse the agony and despair, keep taking care of the garden, and insist on hope.  Hope, even if one is wrong.