Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Time flies when you're having fun

Good Lord - has it really been THAT long since I did a blog ?! Christ-on-a-bike, if I hadn't have seen the mortgage money coming out of the account every month I would swear that I'd been the victim of alien abduction.

Actually I've been locked up here in the cold, damp, dark attic that is my study (in the very highest tower of Castle Woollseystein) frantically hammering at this keyboard like a teenage boy with a porn obsession and a credit card. Many is the long night I've passed with nothing but an Oxford Theasaurus and a ballpoint for company as I strive to get an editor to notice my fevered ramblings...

However, the good news (for anyone who didn't get the 10,000+ emails that I sent out to everyone and anyone) is that...(Pause for dramatic effect and drum roll)..

I'M GOING TO BE PUBLISHED !!!! :-D Woo-hoo !!

Actually, so far I've had two features definitely accepted: One for Prima Baby which will be appearing in Spring 2010 and another for Paranormal Magazine in January 2010. Paranormal magazine have also expressed an interest in a further article of mine so if all goes well that will be three pieces of work accepted before the Yuletide festivities!!

They're even paying me for it ! Honestly, paying me...!

So now you see why I've been so tardy in updating my blog - I've been too busy inundating publishers with features (often accompanied by begging letters and enclosing a £20 note).

I've also had to officialy register as a Self-Employed Freelance Writer with the Inland Revenue now that I'm actually making a (small) amount of money. However, although I am by no means anywhere near the kind of earning levels of old J K Rowling yet it does feel quite good to be 'official' !

I'll have to start considering my offshore tax haven options for the whole £4.25 I have in my pocket... Hmmmmmm...should I invest this lofty sum in gold bullion or oil stocks ? Decisions, decisions...

Oh, sod it - I'll just get another packet of fags...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Patience... I must learn patience... and brevity

It's been over 72 hours since I sent the email outline of my latest article to 'Mother & Baby' magazine - my first, proper magazine article (with proper spelling and everything) to a proper magazine.

72 hours and already I'm on the verge of calling the editor to see if it's reached her safely. I've read my course materials that say 'leave at least two weeks before sending a reminder email' at least 16 times in the last 3 hours to stave off the temptation to pick up the phone and call the magazine Head Office and shout "Is it there ?? Do you have it ?? What do you think ?? Oh please God like it !! I've sweated blood over this, you know - Look, look at these fingers !! These are the fingers of a GENIUS, damn you !!"

I find myself sitting rigid at my laptop trying to coax any kind of alternative thought from my coffee-wired brain whilst all the time my eyes are being drawn to the little 'Email Received' box in the top left hand corner.

Christ knows what I'll do if the count actually goes up by one. Probably have a stroke, I shouldn't wonder...

I've already opened and closed it multiple times just in case a new email has arrived and the number hasn't changed..then of course there's the rabid checking of the 'Spam Folder' in case it's been shunted in there by mistake..

Wait two weeks to send a reminder ?!? I'll be lucky if I make it to the end of today before I call 999 and ask the police to investigate.

Truly they also serve who stand and wait

I wonder if Michaelangelo had this level of anticipation whilst he was waiting for the Pope to get back to him about his quote for redecorating the Cistine Chapel...?

Monday, 17 August 2009

Holidays are NOT good for writers

I have discovered that taking two weeks holiday is as conducive to good writing as say drinking a 1.5 litre bottle of whiskey is to careful, considerate driving. Or better yet trying to drive after drinking a 1.5 litre bottle of whiskey AND wearing a blindfold.

In other words - one makes the other ever so slighty harder to do.

I've been sat up here in my attic office since 9 o'clock this morning willing my reluctant brain to get back into literary mode - but it just ain't having it. I find myself being distracted by the tiniest things: sorting out my paperwork before I start, oh I'll just wrap that parcel, actually I could write those two letters I've been meaning to do before I infinitum.
This afternoon I actually spent an hour on the internet casually trawling for spoilers about the upcoming series 5 of Doctor Who - time well spent you would think ? No - because although I feel suitably rewarded for finding a couple of long-range snaps of Matt Smith in his new outfit in (of all places) a rock quarry and the speculation about if the interior of the TARDIS may have a make-over this does NOT fulfil the primary duties of a writer- to wit: to write something (or much more preferably to write something, finish it and get paid).

In addion to this valid point I also have the added incentive that Mrs. W will remove my testicles with a rusty coathanger if she even suspects that I've been indulging my passion for all things Sci-Fi instead of fulfilling my role as joint bread-winner.
Ah, truly marriage is a wonderful institution for instilling clarity and direction in the male partner... without the ever present threat of spousal disapproval men invariably lose all sense of direction and end up going off and doing things which we doubtless enjoy but have little, if any, productive value. Like going down the pub, watching 'Diagnosis Murder' or surfing the internet for Doctor Who info...

Or is that just me..?

So, after my third cup of coffee I have had a stern word with myself, put on a CD of Gregorian Chant (to inspire a Monk-like state of inner peace) and decided to salve my guilty conscience by updating my blog - I mean it is writing, right ?

Good Lord - I can actually feel the old writing muscles actually starting to creak back into life... I wonder what Shakespeare did to loosen up the rusted literary genius after a couple of weeks on holiday with Mrs. Shakespeare and all the little Shakies ? Probably went down the pub and knocked out a preliminary script for Eastenders before getting back to the really serious work about Scottish nobles and Danish Prince's rambling on about regicide...

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Welcome back to the future

Firstly, this really isn't my fault.

I was quite happy working for the insurance company - it was safe. More importantly we had a mutually beneficial arrangement: they paid me a regular wage and I turned up for work...or at least turned up.
Alright, it wasn't exciting, glamorous, challenging or rewarding but it did enable me to:

a) Pay the mortgage (thus keeping Mrs. Cardinal and the smaller Cardinals in the manner to which they are accustomed)
b) Buy books (or rather add to my ever increasing list of books I have bought and not yet gotten round to reading)
c) Smoke

and in return they always knew that in the event of a problem with the coffee machine I would shoulder the heavy burden of calling Facilities. An equitable arrangement, I always thought.

Then after 20 years, and in the middle of apparently the biggest economic depression since the 1930's (I hadn't noticed due to being absorbed in a root and branch analysis of the migratory habits of the common-or -garden homing slug), my employers say "Oh, by the way, we're having a reorganisation.. Nothing to worry about... Getting rid of the dead wood and clearing the decks, so to speak.... Incidentally, what is it exactly that you do around here again..?"

I remember flapping my arm vaguely in the direction of the smoking area outside and frantically trying to think of something 'corporate' to say. After an expectant pause I manage "Me...type... Me type...good" before demonstrating this singular skill by hesitantly pressing the Enter button and thus deleting all our customer records for 2002.

And so I am beginning my new career as a Freelance Writer. To date my successes include:

  • Watching all three 'On the Buses' films whilst lounging on the sofa consuming a packet of Jaffa Cakes
  • Looking up the definition of as many rude words as I can think of on Wikipedia
  • Surfing the internet for 'Breast Augmentation' adverts (Research for an article I'm thinking of writing provisionally entitled "Look at the tumblers on THAT !!!")
  • Buying a new panama hat (in order to look suitably artistic and ethereal)

By the way - as I understand it as an aspiring writer I am required to be off my tits on a cocktail of Absinthe and Laudinum 23 hours a day... But is it totally necessary to be riddled with syphilis too ? Oh well, when in Rome...