The end of a year is always a sobering time, and at this time in 2012 I was facing my father’s impending death from terminal cancer and then having to sell the family home and our family’s ‘past/life’.
It was a ‘challenging’ year, and this Christmas was also a challenge, but as I sat alone on New Year’s Eve, the saddest thing for me was knowing that my father died without having seen me make a success (i.e. ‘earn a living’) from my writing.
Life gives and it takes away – mostly the second for me
He’d always thought I was foolish to have finally given up work to become a writer (after having wanted to do so right from being a child), and made no bones about it. Having thought I’d ‘got’ an Agent almost immediately after having started submitting my debut novel seemed to be the culmination of a lifetime’s ambition for me, but – like everything in my life – it turned out to be another bitter disappointment, and hit me very hard.
I started blogging to help publicise my book (because that’s what you’re meant to do, apparently) and – as these things so often do – it somehow evolved into a Soap blog for our top three UK Soaps, and from there has led to my regular radio broadcasts and my live weekly internet radio show.
I’ve recently started writing for YahooTV (for which I get paid), but – as some of you will know – the time it takes to watch the shows then write each section and upload the photos for my ‘Soapy Corners’ and my Yahoo posts leaves me with little time to do anything else.
The only money I earn is from the one little office-cleaning and two weekly ironing jobs I do, but – in effect – that’s another two days gone, and I am at a point now where I feel as if I’m drowning in it all, but for what?
I LOVE writing my Soap stuff. I LOVE broadcasting, and would love nothing more than to get a regular weekly job on TV and/or the radio/online etc talking Soaps (or writing for one of the Soaps in ANY way, shape or form), but I HAVE to start earning some money from it somehow, otherwise I’m just going to have to give it all up.
I’ve sat here in tears this morning at the prospect of not only starting another year knowing that I’d not only earned barely anything from the more than two thousand hours I’d spent writing in 2013, but that it’s my 55th Birthday next week and that my dream of earning a living as a writer seems as far away as ever.
And then there’s my book …
The Emmerdale Actress Michelle Hardwick (@ChelleHardwick) has just finished reading ‘Just Good Friends?’ and said that she, ‘Couldn’t put it down’. WHAT a thrill for me – to know that a lesbian actress has enjoyed it so much, but where do I go from here?
It’s selling steadily on all the online book sales outlets, but as I’ve spent the best part of 2.5 years building my Soap ‘career’ (which wasn’t meant to happen, don’t forget) I’ve missed out on 2.5 years I maybe should have spent writing the sequel and working on publicising it.
This is typical of my life, you see.
I didn’t MEAN to get into Soap writing. I only started it to publicise my book, but now I’ve spent all this time and got almost nothing to show from EITHER. I got a bit tearful talking to my friend about it all yesterday and she told me bluntly that I’ve been spreading myself too thinly and should focus on one or the other.
That’s easier said than done though. There’s a powerful paragraph in ‘The Traveller’s Gift’ by Andy Andrews about a man on a journey of discovery who’s shown around a huge warehouse by an Angel. It’s stuffed full of riches, but the Angel tells him that they’re the riches that people ALMOST succeeded in achieving but who all gave up at the very moment before they were about to achieve success.
My fear is of giving up the Soap stuff (which I love doing) because I sense that I’m on the verge of achieving success (i.e. earning a living) from it, but how long do you give it? I simply can’t be sat here in another twelve months pondering the same question.
I’m keenly aware that my health is starting to suffer from the stress of working a seven day week (but earning less than I would if I was on the dole and laying in bed all day). How can that be right? I’m the hardest working person I know, but what’s the point in that?
I’ve worked myself to the verge of exhaustion almost every day of my life, but at least I used to get paid for it. I live like a pauper, and in 2013 only went out for coffee around half a dozen times. This was something I used to do ALL the time, but now don’t HAVE the time to do, yet I don’t earn any money from it. How stupid is that? I have no life (because I’ve put everything else to one side to write – as if you want something enough you HAVE to give it your all), but I have no money either, so what on earth am I doing?
Why am I writing this?
I don’t know. I hadn’t intended to, but regular readers (of what used to be a short page of comment accompanying my weekly Soap/TV review posts) will know that I have always been completely honest about what’s happening so that if and when something good DID happen I’d be able to share it with you all and you’d all know what it had taken to get to that point.
Anyone clicking onto this page will have probably clicked away by now, but something’s making me spill all this stuff out, and I no longer question ‘The Universe’ when it seems to be making me do things because if I’d trusted The Universe I’d have won £6 million on the Lottery so I just do as it bids me now.
What has 2014 got in store for me?
God only knows, but one thing I DO know is that by 4th January 2015 I’ll either be earning a living as a writer or be back as a wage slave again (if anyone’ll have me), as – although I live like a pauper – I can’t continue to afford to live at all without an income, so need to earn at least £1000 a month to pay my rent/bills and food.
Being single doesn’t come cheap. It still costs the same amount of money to heat a flat – no matter how many people live in it – so if you’re reading this and need some sort of a writer, or are a literary Agent who’d like to take me on (my book has been optioned to be made into an Independent Film @JGFFilm – still unfinanced at present, unfortunately), then ‘Every little helps’, and if I can find a way of earning at least enough to live from my writing, then I’ll be thrilled.
I see myself as the ‘Harry Hill TV Burp’ of Soap-writing (as I pick out exactly the same sort of things that he used to on his wonderful show), and with my love of one-liners I always aim to put a bit of a humorous twist to my work.
I’ve also got a number of other writing ideas that I’d love to pursue, but I’m putting this post out now without even proofreading it (because if I do I know I’ll end up deleting it or rewriting it so it’s less honest – which will defeat what I’m doing by writing it in the first place) and without any pictures, because if I upload any photos I’ll just end up re-reading it, and I daren’t do that or I’ll start editing it etc.
Right. Here goes nothing … or something?
PS This site is in the middle of a revamp which has had to be put back because I HAVE to get my tax return done. It’s now ‘critical’ (due to not having done anything on it for a year because of my father/the house etc) and I’m not going to be able to write any ‘Soapy Corners’ in January (much as I’d love to and am gutted to not be able to) as the little free time I’ve got HAS to be spent on that. Wish me luck. It’s a lot of work ahead!
Where you can read/hear me:
My latest Yahoo!TV posts: ‘What we learned from the Soaps this week‘ and ‘The best of the week’s one-liners’. ‘What we learned from the Soaps’ is original content and is unrelated to my Soapy Corners, so if you’d like to learn a few (completely UN) important (and humorous) handy hints and tips, go and take a look! (If the link isn’t showing the most recent post it’ll be because it hasn’t yet been published by YahooTV. As soon as it is I’ll update the links.)
My live, lighthearted weekly internet Soap reviews are on Tellyspy (Twitter: @Tellyspy) from 6.00-6.45 pm every Monday, and you can hear my live half hour of Soapy chat on The Big Mid-Morning Show between 10.30-11.00 am on Thursday mornings on Swindon 105.5 FM.