There’s no denying I’ve been busy lately. My day job more than keeps me occupied, and my evenings over the last few weeks have been somewhat fully booked. Just moments ago I was horrified to discover that I haven’t blogged since March. However, the reason I’m doing so today goes beyond just a simple realisation that I should blog something. Yes, I’ve been busy, and for wonderful reasons that I’ll go into momentarily, but lately I’ve been feeling a general sense of malaise when it comes to my writing. Namely; should I even bother?
This isn’t about self pity, or even looking for sympathy. It’s important to acknowledge our feelings rather than bury them. I could keep the mask up, pretend I have ultimate confidence in myself 100% of the time, but I don’t think such an endeavour is really useful to anyone. Not to me, and not to anyone I might come across. We like to think we must always appear confident in order to be in any way successful. However, by acknowledging those moments of self doubt, by properly scrutinising them, we can see them for what they are and use them to spur us on later.
So, as I said, I’ve been busy. Since March of this year I’ve had a big family holiday to America that, due to the travel restrictions in place at the time, we were never quite sure was definitely going to happen. It had been postponed from 2020, and with six of us going there was always the chance that one of us would test positive and that would be it. Then there was the chance of troubles with the airline. We were very fortunate to be able to go, and my sympathies go out to everyone whose trips were disrupted or just plain cancelled by the recent chaos.
Once we got back, I had a trip to Nottingham for a book signing weekend at Em Con. It was my second event since lockdown, the first of which had been mildly successful. This one was Em Con’s flagship event, and I’m pleased to say there was plenty of foot traffic and many copies of the Figment Wars sold. Even so, I confess that at the time the thought of arranging further events for this year filled me with a sense of mild dread. Not all authors have a team of people setting up such events, the vast majority of us do it alone, and it’s a lot of hard work. That weekend, while ultimately successful, was the first time I really began to feel this unease over what I do and my plans for the future.
It’s also worth mentioning that I tested positive for Covid-19 in June. I am double vaccinated and boosted, but still it knocked me for six. Not only did I feel physically low, but the necessary isolation did nothing to help my feelings of self doubt. It was the first time I’d contracted the virus, and my thoughts go out to everyone who has lost someone to it.
What I’ve occasionally had to remind myself of is the fact that I’m currently directing my first play with my local amateur dramatic group. It’s been planned for months, and I’m very much learning as I go, supported by the fantastic members of Sodbury Players. Still, it’s very new to me and there’s a great many things to be done. I’ve performed in shows before, but this is my first time really seeing things from the other side. As Em Con was drawing to a close, we had yet to cast the show, but it would have been weighing heavily on my mind. I would have known full well how busy I was going to be right up until the end of September, which likely explains my reluctance to look into other book signing events this year.
It isn’t just that I wasn’t looking at further book signing events. I haven’t been promoting my book online nearly as much as I used to. Obviously I haven’t blogged. Yes, I’ve been busy with other things but I still maintain it is important to acknowledge the doubt I’ve been feeling over the last few months. I’ve been wondering if I’ll ever really get back to writing properly. If I’ll ever make the time to promote my books again.
The answer, of course, is yes. Yes, I will. I remind myself that, at the moment, my time is being taken up with preparations for the show. Something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. Something I’m deeply passionate about. Once the curtain comes down for the final time, I know I’ll have more time for my books. I know this because I’ve acknowledged that little voice in my head that says I’m not currently doing anything towards promoting my books, but have not allowed it to tell me I’ll never do so again. I’ve looked at my current situation, taken into account everything that is happening, and seen it all for what it is. I may sometimes feel like I’ve failed and will never get back to writing, but the simple fact is I’m just currently busy with something else I feel equally passionate about.
Now I know there are plenty of people with much busier schedules than me. The point is, however, I am not them. I am me. I operate on my level, they on theirs. I live my life, they live theirs. We’re all different, and we all find different ways to cope with the rigours of what we do. I don’t question for a moment whether those who stride across the global stage feel those moments of self doubt too. I know I’m relatively small-time, but the point is we all get these feelings. Personally I think we should be doing more to talk about them. Hence this blog.
Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully this has been helpful to some of you. It certainly has to me. There’s still a few more weeks of rehearsal, but having worked through some of my feelings of doubt in this blog, I promise to make more effort to promote my books and write about various issues. That, after all, was what this blog was all about. May you all take heart, tackle that voice that says you can’t, then go out there and do it anyway.
Oh, did I not mention the name of the play I’m directing? It’s ‘Dracula’!