Sunday, 26 January 2014

Grumpy Bugger

Work has been pretty stressful lately.  Not the librarian stuff really - that I like - but the other part.

Student. Behaviour. Management.  *shudders*

If the idea of making hundreds of teenagers be quiet for the entire time that they're in your vicinity sounds awful, it's actually worse.  It's confrontation and argument all day, every day.  And it gets wearing.  Very wearing.

In a way, it makes it worse that the librarian part of my job - by which I mean the books, the research, the displays etc - is enjoyable, because if I only disliked it, I could quit and find something else.  But there's variety and I get to use my brain for a good proportion of the day - and I'm pretty sure this is the first job I've ever had where this applies.  I don't want to quit that part of my job - but with each day that goes by, I really want to quit the other half.

Of course then comes the question of what I'd want to do instead, and beyond library-work-where-all-the-patrons-behave-themselves-in-a-reasonable-manner *, the only other thing I can imagine right now is writing.

It's my tiny bright spot throughout the bulk of the day (when the clock reminds me that it is in fact not time to go home), where I get to go on my tea break or lunch break and write.  I can sink into another world and let the other one fall away, if only for a few minutes.  There's a kind of peace which comes with writing, when my brain just focuses on one thing and all the other noise fades into the background.

I wanted to try to update my blog more regularly this year, especially as I failed so miserably during various times in 2013.  I couldn't think of much by way of sunshine and daisies this week, so I apologise for all the gloom you've just read (if indeed you managed to stick with me 'til the end).  I'll try to be better next week, pinky promise.

* I here feel obliged to make the point that not all of my current patrons make me want to tear my hair out.  There are many polite, well-behaved students - I just don't get the chance to notice them.

Sunday, 19 January 2014


I'd written a draft (a second or third, I can't remember) of a letter to an agent last year.  I read it through the other day but found it so unutterably dull that I didn't actually manage to finish it.

Right.  Maybe I won't be using that one then.

I figure it's probably better to start from scratch, but staring over is always hard - that huge, white expanse of blank page, so completely devoid of the words that you just know must, surely, be rattling around in your head somewhere.

They say that this letter has to be the best piece of writing that you have ever produced in the history of ever.  Ever.  So, naturally, no pressure then.

And I was never really any good at non-fiction.  The whole form for me just seems to lack creativity, although I know this is down to a fault of my skill rather than of the form itself.  I did, after all, take a module for my MA called 'Creative Non-Fiction' so such a thing must be possible.

I'll have to start trawling through the interwebs again, looking for hints and tips and how-tos.  I know from past experience that it can feel like running through a bog but I suppose it doesn't much matter how fast I move so long as I am going forward.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


2014 has arrived in all its glory, thunder and lightning joining in with the New Year fireworks as the clock struck midnight.  I'm trying not to see it as some kind of demonic omen.

Instead, I have decided that 2014 is going to be a good year.

Regular readers of this blog - or just people who know me well - will probably be aware that optimism isn't usually my style, but this is more of a decision than a wish, so I figure I'm not straying too far from the norm.

(You can all breathe sighs of relief: I haven't been kidnapped and replaced by an alien clone.)

Some, but not all, of my good-year-decision inevitably revolves around my writing (as, indeed, does a hefty proportion of my life).  I've got myself a nice new shiny 'Don't Break the Chain' poster (left) downloaded from the wonders of the internets (link here).  I'm all set to crack on.

So maybe I'll finish my first draft of book 3 this year (sounds doable - I'm currently on chapter 7).

And I'll write to agents, pitching my book with the kind of verve and vivacity I've not yet managed to accomplish.

And maybe, just maybe, if my good-year-decision is strong enough, I'll get picked.

I'm terrified.  Naturally.

I'd say keep your fingers crossed but that sounds too much like a wish, and I've no time for such nonsense, thank you very much.

2014.  Bring it on.