2017 wasn't my finest year as far as writing is concerned. Though I have every adoration for the brothers Mark and Paul Hayward for their support and opportunity to gain what I thought was a good work/write lifestyle, it just didn't work out. So it was that in Feb/March I gave up my position with them and made the solid decision to give up life on piggeries in favour of my writing. I realised, though knew much sooner but wasn't ready to admit it, that working with the animals I adore left me too shattered to really get into the zone of working with fictional characters. And so with the help of a friend I've known a very long time, I jumped ship and moved close to the southern coastal town of Portsmouth.
Back in March I landed myself a job, but this didn't cover my total outgoings for the month, and the stress of worry of not having enough meant I didn't write. I then took on another job, but this meant I was working 15 hours a day with one of these jobs losing me 2 hours for travel, in essence these were 18 hour days. I wasn't getting enough time to sleep let alone write, so I abandoned the one paying less, but again found I wasn't getting enough. Though I stuck it out a few further months, I finally found a job I could work, paying good money for a few days of hard graft. Alas, this gives me the time I need to work the craft I love.
I don't tell you this to feel sorry for me, it's just life. We make our choices and sometimes they pay off, other times they do not. But if we want something badly enough; a new house, a new car, a way of life, we must strive to face whatever obstacles are in our way and move forward, always moving to make dreams a reality.
I read a quote a few months back, "We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are." - Tobias Wolfe. It is very true. Believe in your dreams, believe in your ability to make them realities and never give up.
It wasn't until September I secured the job I'm currently doing, and for the next two months I got right into my writing working in the land of Evania. I hadn't seen any of the stuff I'd previously written, and so a lot of re-reading was done before I set to. It didn't go well. Though I loved where the story was, the back of my mind kept telling me the aspect I'd created didn't fit the world, certainly the reasons behind why my magicians found themselves in their cave dwelling, secluded from all others, failed to tick any boxes for me as a reader. A new storyline came to me for one of my characters, but to write this I need to scrub the whole concept of the cave dwelling. I've spent many, many hours writing about this cave, bringing it to life on the screen, so I really don't want to throw it all away. I was becoming agitated and frustrated with the whole thing and feeling like I wasn't a writer and that I didn't want to be at my desk at all. It was at this time Petros Triantafyllou came to my aid. I worked with him in 2016 by donating The White Queen into the Fabulous Fantasy Fundraiser to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, we gained $4400 for the charity, so when he invited those 100 authors who'd contributed books the previous year to do it all again in the form of putting together an anthology, I jumped at it. The theme was war, and a story jumped at me almost from the offset. I fell straight into it and wove some magic with words, re-instilling my passion for the craft, and invigorating the need to create story.
Art of War is out 13th February 2018. All proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders. Pre-orders for e-books available via Amazon. (Paperbacks to follow.)
Writing the story for Art of War had reminded me how much I love the short story, so after I had sent the final draft to Petros I looked around and found a ghost story publishers open for submissions. In essence they run competitions, and the winners are then put together in a yearly anthology. While waiting for their latest anthology, which I bought, to arrive, I had a choice. Go back and try and make something of Evania, or do something else. My mind answered almost instantly throwing up the continuation of what I had started with Beyond Endless Tides, I was always going to come back to this in time, but the story came to me so vividly, I had to do something with it. It took me two days to write a rough outline, all the while throwing me the beginning scene, and I was in, I was hooked. The ghost story has turned out to be a bit of a horror, and I loved writing every word of it. It shall receive one more final look over before I throw enter it into the competition.
To end this part of the blog, I'm back on it people. I'm waking and sitting down to write, with coffee by my side.and loving it. Long may it continue.
The other thing I wanted to share with you guys is that on making the move to the south coast, I have got into biking. This came about when I applied for the second job I mentioned above. It was to be a moped delivery rider delivering car parts. The application was a success when I told them I had a 125 moped (my mate said I could use the one he had hanging around) and a relevant CBT. Err, what was I saying. I had no CBT, but with a quick call from my mate to the good folks of Kickstart Rider Training, who he did all his training with, I was set to complete my CBT the following Saturday. The day went well while I was in their forecourt, and I really enjoyed my time going around and learning how to control a two wheeled beast. The nerves grabbed me when we got on the road, however. I had one of the tutors behind me, and anytime I am watched I get agitated, and always mess up. The instructor saw this in me and periodically told me to calm down, and though I tried, I was unable. I didn't knock anyone down, nor damage their bike, but I did feel I wasn't going to get my certificate, so it was a great surprise when they handed it over at the end of the day. All I needed, the instructor said, was to get out there a get some miles under the wheels. And using the bike every day I soon clocked up plenty, on this: a Pulse Firenze.
In finishing, I'm starting the year as I mean to go on. It has taken a while, but now I'm in a position to better push for that, what at times feels an illustrious ambition, becoming a full time writer, I'm writing every day, I'm happy and life is good. Follow your dreams and make them your purpose, and if it is something you truly desire, you will love the doing of it and an amazing sense of fulfillment will ensue within and you will flourish.
Don't forget, Art of War, out 13th February. Proceeds going to a good cause.
-Charles F. Bond