ALL THE OTHER STUFF THAT GETS IN THE WAY

I’ve had Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” in my head for the last 6 hours, so this entry may be a little skittish.

Tether.

End of.

Etcetera.

As we move into 2016 (9 years longer than I planned on living, when I was adamant on joining the 27 Club), plans are afoot. This year I have written around 200,000 words. I reckon about 50,000 are decent. The rest were practice. And you need to practice, right? You need to fuck it up. Nobody cooks a good Baked Alaska on their first attempt.

The grand novel! The mighty tome that you can show to all your family and will forever be used to impress – and, let’s face it, belittle – your peers. Well, I’m not going to knocking one of those out anytime soon. Although I do have aspirations…

I like to think of myself as a no-bullshit man. Concise. Direct. Sometimes that doesn’t work too well in real life (aka IRL). For example, my boss has just booked me on a Conflict Resolution course. I said it was fucking pointless. I didn’t win the argument.

However, there are times when this trait (I like to think of it more as a quality) is useful. And one of those is when writing short stories.

Unlike their sartorial namesake, I love shorts. They’re so fun! I don’t get bored writing them and they suit my style (I think… Do I even have a style…? Who knows? Who fucking cares?)

So I’m sitting in the hot tub in the gym (standard Tuesday lunch break in December as I skip between hangover and party time) and I’m composing a scene in which two lovers burn to death for this short story called Sleeping Pills (or it might be called She’s Everywhere, I haven’t decided yet). Do I put them in a car? A hotel room? A locked toilet cubicle in a bar (that’ll teach them for the PDA)? I don’t know. But this is the joyous part of writing.

And then I think…Hmmm…I’m almost ready to publish a tale or two.

Then I consider logistics and the bullshit that involves. Jesus!

Artwork.

Well, I was going to ask this graphic designer friend of mine to knock up a few covers. I’d pay him, of course – I’m quite good with that. But then he had a small Christmas gathering at his place and didn’t invite me. So I thought, Fuck him. I never really liked the guy anyway. I’ll use that cash to buy Photoshop and do it myself. I mean, how hard can it be?

 Turns out it’s pretty hard.

But it’s not impossible.

And before you commit your name to the cover, is it right?

Maybe I’ll lose the middle J.

Jack Binding.

Yeah, that has a nicer ring to it.

Less try hard.

Less pretentious. 

Mind you, assuming a bunch of strangers will be remotely interested in your fictional ramblings will always carry with it a certain amount of ostentatiousness.

So rather than write the marvellous scene where this beautiful couple get burned alive (maybe he survives and is in a coma for the rest of the story…? Yes!), now I’ve got to dick around with domain names and Twitter handles.

And then after that, I’ve got to learn how fucking Photoshop works because I don’t trust anyone else to do that shit for me. I mean have you seen some of those covers on Amazon?

Ugh. Admin. I bet James Patterson doesn’t have to deal with this crap.

And that profile picture. I thought it was pretty sleek when I first took it. Nice little Instagram filter. Moody. Beard’s looking nice. Gravitas.

Six months later, I think it makes me look like a cunt.

Gravlax, more like.

So that’s gotta go. I’ll be replacing it with a dick pic, obviously…

Ah, but it’s Christmas! The time for jubilation and Prosecco. I can’t drink Prosecco anymore because I started the Golden Jubilee off drinking gin and Prosecco cocktails (10am) and ended it in bed with a Scottish girl who never talked to me again (4am).

Every time I drink it, I taste Queen Liz.

So that rules out the bubbly at parties. I usually turn up with a bottle of Scotch and nurse it, quietly seething that my night is being stolen by these stupid social obligations.

Life is what happens when you’re making plans. True,  I guess. No wonder there are so many half-assed attempts at art in the world. It would be so easy to say “Fuck it, it’s done” and whack some unedited, flabby work of fiction into the black hole of Amazon.

But I’ve got a little more integrity than that. Which blows, because I often wish I didn’t.

Changes are coming. I’ll be rebranding. Ugh. Makes me sound like a chain of sandwich shops.

 

 

 

 

12 comments

  1. You mean you don’t know the golden rule, Jack? If your hand doesn’t touch your face in your writers profile image, your readers won’t believe you wrote it because clearly you don’t have hands.

    I jest.

    Have fun with photoshop! And don’t overthink things too much. Even if you are an INTJ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You won’t be sorry for taking some care with your artwork. Trust me, I learned the hard way. Jack without the J Binding sounds better, I think. And your photo is handsome but you look sad, sort of. Or grim at a minimum, like you’ve just got bad news. 200k words is impressive! Are you going to let us have a look? One of those short stories, maybe?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sad??! I was going for mean. Dammit!
      I don’t think I’ll share the stories with anyone, just sit on them and tell people I’m a great undiscovered author. Met a guy at a party like that once. Told me he was a writer. I asked him what his book was about. He hadn’t started it yet and wasn’t sure. Pretty sure he’s still procrastinating.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oddly enough, in another of my many roles in life, I trained as a graphic designer at Loughborough College of Art and Design, as it was known before it got promoted. That was back in the olden days, when computers with less memory than an iphone – or someone suffering from Alzheimer’s lite – were kept in huge temperature-controlled rooms only authorised personnel were allowed to enter. Art colleges didn’t have them; we just worked with brushes, pens, scissors and paper.

    Anyway, realising I might need it one day I’m still waiting for, I taught myself Photoshop. It almost cost me my relationship. Not that I’m touting for your account, I’m a bastard to work with.

    No, what I wanted to say, is that I really have faith in your work. I can imagine really enjoying a novel of yours.

    Although I have put a couple of links to my site on your blog, I feel a rather guilty about doing it again. Perhaps, you can edit the link out of this comment, and I can send the first chapter by email.

    It’s just that I think you might learn something from another of my blogs, where I have posted a good part of an unfinished novel. The fact it hasn’t been completed after fifteen years is a lesson in the importance of not letting a manuscript die on you. Cheers!

    https://pedersenslastdream.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/introduction/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great! Why haven’t you finished it?

      I think I’m enjoying the short stories way too much to work on the novel right now. I’ll be putting some out next year for sure.

      Actually quite looking forward to learning Photoshop. I’m only complaining about it to make the blog more interesting. I’m a nerd at heart and find gadgets like that great. Also, quite empowering when you realise you can do that crap yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you better take another look at the title at the top of your page, Jack. That apart, the first complete draft of around 60,000 words was finished in a matter of a few months, then the real work started.

        Projects like this are difficult for me, and I set about the difficult task of polishing it up, knocking about ten chapters, more or less, into decent shape.

        Going into the rest of story of would take too long so I won’t, save to say at a certain point I ran out of funds and began sending what I had off to agents and publishers with the idea I might be able to get an advance. I believed I had enough to show to deserve it. I was mistaken. Though most proved gracious enough to reply in an encouraging manner, it, and I, were rejected.

        So then I began to write articles and short stories in the hope I’d get a break. It didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean I’ve lost all hope; if I can afford it I plan to buy a ticket for ‘El Gordo’ (the Big One), Spain’s massive Christmas lottery.

        A novel like this needs isolation and time. To cut it short, I didn’t get the money, so I didn’t get the isolation or the time.

        Like

      2. Hmm…that’s a shame. Have you looked into self-publishing? I believe the world has moved on from publishing houses. In fact, I haven’t even considered approaching them. From what I can see, they’re pretty similar to record labels – flabby and superfluous. A product of their time and no longer necessary. I’m sure there are some great ones out there – and I realise that writing the novel requires the ££ for an advance if you need time and isolation – but it’s no rush. Stolen moments here and there. Chipping away.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love writing…hate publishing, PR and publicity. Takes so long to do when I should be writing but hey, whats a guy with no money gonna do, find an assistant who works simply for the pleasure of it? Dream on 🙃

    Great piece, mate.

    Like

    1. Indeed! Although, I must admit, I’m actually quite looking forward to designing my own cover now. And re: the PR. I once was in a band that dressed in gold shell suits for a string of shows, so I’m no stranger to forgetting my dignity and being shameless! It’s all in the name of art, right?

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s