Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Days 36-45

I feel so upset with myself because the stuff I want to be doing is not getting done. I am not reading; I am not sending submissions to agents. But if the goal is to be a professional writer that earns money and things from words, well, I guess I'm doing that.

First there was an article for Visit Wales. That was a tremendous bit of luck that came out of nowhere and earned me a little bit of money that immediately disappeared because Jenn had forgotten we had to pay council tax this month.

Far more exciting, and also last week, was a huge adventure to the Midlands to ride motorcycles, drink free beer and score a free set of motorcycle tires. I wrote about the whole thing on my motorcycle blog, which I think was very much one of the reasons I won the competition.

And certainly I'm happy about all this. I mean, I'm pretty sure the value of that Michelin launch (free tires, a day on a top-level motorcycle, an evening in a shockingly expensive themed hotel along with food, booze, and tickets to Alton Towers) pushes me safely past my goal for this year of earning 10 percent of my income from writing. But, you know, you're not going to end up in Paris Review writing about motorbikes.

I don't know. Maybe I'm incapable of actually being happy. The correct way to look at things is to say: "Chris, you're solidly working toward your goal and it is resulting in your getting money and super awesome stuff. Stop lamenting that it won't earn you a Pulitzer and just keep moving forward." But emotionally that's hard to do. I' not being the awesome person I want so much to be.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Days 23-35

Nothing. I read a tiny bit of Jeeves and Wooster, I wrote a few posts for my motorcycle blog. But by and large I have done nothing toward my goal of being a professional author. Until today. I'll get to today in a moment.

I hit a long slump after the night I went to the storytelling circle in Bath. Riding home that night was exhausting and I felt like hell the next day. After that, I never really recovered my energy. I have been mentally sluggish, uncreative and an all-round dullard. This is a symptom of depression, I think. I slip into these phases when I just become so woefully boring and listless. 

There has been at least one instance in the past two weeks or so when I've been talking to Jenn and suddenly become aware of how terribly boring is the thing I'm saying. I'm talking about engine displacement and torque in motorcycles, or some such thing. So I've just stopped mid-sentence, said "uhm, uh, ah" a few times and claimed to have forgotten what I was saying.

More classic signs of depression are the fact I've been really tired and inclined to speak (about motorcycles, probably) in an unintelligible mumble.

I don't really know what set me off. The weather, the fact that we are struggling so much financially, homesickness, or the self-perpetuating cycle of not working out as much as I'd like. I don't know. I think another part of it is not hearing from the agents to which I've submitted. It's bad getting a rejection, but it's somehow worse not hearing from them at all. You think: "Did they get my submission? Should I send it again? But if I send it again, and they have already received it, that will make me look pushy and they won't want to work with me. What should I do?"

Anyway, I've been hovering just above miserable for the past little while and feeling that I am doomed to be the literary equivalent of Chris Kanyon.

I don't know if I'm out of my funk, but today I got a chance to write a piece for which I will get paid. And that makes me happy. Chalk up another victory to the motorcycle blog for that one.