WHERE I'VE BEEN AND WHY
So writing this post has taken a little longer than planned, and when I say a little I mean months:) To best explain what I’ve been up to I should recap the cunning plan I hatched three years ago after a particularly rough* day at work,
I was a Design Director at Gensler’s New York office. I took that job, leaving a position I was happy with, as I was looking to earn more money and have more creative independence. At the time I was still working under the belief that money, and the things it provided, would make me happy. Along with the new bags of gold coins I had expected my job to provide me with the intellectual challenge I needed for emotional fulfillment.
So, in many ways, I should thank Gensler for being such a relentlessly depressing work experience. It at last enabled me to see what I had been missing - you have to find fulfillment yourself. If you rely upon other people for it you are sunk.
I left the meeting I was in, went back to my desk and wrote out a list of things I wanted to change about my life. The title of that list was, “Rules of Transmission” as in the rules of transferring who I was to whom I wanted to be. (My registered company name is still ‘Transmission’ to this day.)
The first and most important was to take charge of my life again, to have a say in my future instead of having it dictated to me by sociopathic bosses. Next was to take my dream of being an author seriously. Although I had written three novels previously I never tried that hard to make it into a real career. Sure I changed jobs to have more time to write, but it was always a compromised ambition. I was trying to have it both ways: further my architecture career at the same time as building my writing career. It wasn’t possible, life kept getting in the way; deadlines, bills, vacations then marriage, children and so on. The art side of me was always the one to suffer.
Even when my third novel came close to being published I never made it the center of what I was trying to do, my commitment was compromised and through that so was the book.
I wasn’t going to let that happen this time, the trappings of a so called successful career didn’t make me happy so it was time to throw them out, start over.
But I had a family. I couldn’t go and live in a hut, I needed an income and that is how I started my illustration company. To make that work I gave it everything I had, was an obsessive maniac about it, I didn’t touch my new novel for six months.
Once the business started to grow (oh so very slowly) I began working on my new book. And there came the challenge that has kept me off this email group, and my website, for four months: time, or lack thereof. The new situation I had built for myself came with three jobs:
- Raise my kids (you know, actually get to see them after school, watch Liverpool with them and put them to bed) - this was a non negotiable line item!
- Keep building up my business though presentations, marketing, and actually doing the work when it came in. (There’s a good reason why start ups have 2 people minimum. One to do the work, the other to go out and get it. If you’re doing both days fly past without you even seeing them) This was also non negotiable! I had to earn money to keep everything afloat … *
- Work on “The Novel” - what this was all about.
To that I added a blog, website, and a fantastic email list etc but that meant the third option, writing, got squeezed out again. You know, the very reason I started doing this in the first place!
So I made a decision: until I got the first full edit of Cortex Book 1 (every title I’ve wanted to use has already been taken so I need a new one and am thinking through a few options at the moment) I was going to stop my blogging and emails.
I really appreciate how many of you have reached out to see if I was okay (thanks, I mean it) and now … drum roll … I’ve finished the book’s first stage. I am in equal measures happy, terrified and overwhelmed with impostor syndrome but f- that. I made it this far so I just gotta keep going.
The next steps are:
- Give to people for feedback
- Collate the feedback, spot the patterns (eg first chapter too slow etc)
- Work with my editor on a revised draft
- Get a cool cover … more on that to come!
- Publish (okay there are more steps between these, but this is the main list)
So that’s why the radio silence. I had to squeeze every single hour to work on the book. It’s my aim to share more with you, the cover design looks awesome, but I have to take it slow for now.
If you would like to help and become part of my “Advanced Reader Team” let me know! I will forward you a kindle, iBook or PDF file. The idea is if you get time to read it then provide me with a few comments that help me fix the flaws.
So one again thanks for all your support and help, it really does make a huge difference and I very much look forward to hearing from you all soon -
*In British English rough day at work = an utterly, devastatingly, awful 8 hours that make you question the meaning of life.
*2017 has been a great illustration year so far, I’ve built up a fantastic set of clients and the work has been fun, but also a little relentless. Still, cant complain about that!