Tag Archives: ESA

Stifled writing and a look into my brain! (WARNING – it is not for the faint-hearted)

People who write can often get bogged down with the concept of finding that great idea which will earn them money and quite often when they do this, they lose themselves and in some cases, even lose the love for writing itself.

I am at fault of doing this as much as anyone, particularly in the past five years, this is because financially I am suffering to the extent that birthdays and Christmases have been disappointing and not as traditional as I am accustomed to.  In fact recently I found an old Christmas shopping list, which included food, presents, games and décor and basic normal food to last for two weeks over the festive period so we can focus on more family time and that list was five pages long with two sections on each page; this year it was only 3 pages long with only one section as when I write in an excited state, my letters get bigger than my usual handwriting – which is a bizarre idiosyncrasy that I have.  My lists are quite methodical, I will list food from Tesco, Food from ASDA and food from other places separately within the list; I will list where to buy certain presents too and for whom, which shops, so we kind of plan a shopping map in our minds whenever we go to town.  Along with this list will be a separate length of what kinds of decorations or traditional Christmas stuff we need, such as crackers from B&M and purple bauble at Wilko, you get the idea?  We usually do a massive buffet on an old pasting table in our living room and fill it to the brim with food and drinks as well as the coffee table, because Christmas Eve is the only time in the year where we can guarantee an influx of visitors and we like to feed them – this year it is a no go and I am embarrassed that this may come across as too inhospitable compared to what they are used to, as everyone usually got a bag of food to take with them either for snacks at home that night or jars of homemade stuff, which we just can’t afford to do this year.

I hate pleading poverty, but lately it is getting me to a state of breaking down.  I went for advice on my ESA benefits two weeks ago to a lady who is very kind and runs a charity, I was so embarrassed detailing my struggles to her as she was helping me fill out the forms that I was shaking and my teeth were chattering so badly with the humiliation of it all.  She thought I was freezing cold, but I told her, it’s just that I am so embarrassed by it all and she said that it was OK, but it really isn’t though is it?

Usually I am very good at being calm and self-composed, despite anxiety issues, but lately I just can’t keep it together, I am struggling to hide behind a façade like my normal self would.  Most people can’t tell that I have anxiety issues because I masked it so well, but lately I break out in tears over the smallest of things and what is worse is that I am getting short tempered with it, with people I feel are cold or unfeeling and I have this awful feeling that I will say something out of character at my next medical which will make me lose the benefit.  I am very scared about it.

If I could get a job I would, but no one is going to employ someone with the health issues I have.  I did struggle a few years to get a job, before it got too bad seven years ago.  All of this makes me try to push myself to create something just to get out of this mess, but it isn’t working, it is stunting my creative growth badly because I am not writing what I really want anymore.  I am writing the lesser ideas I have which are the most popular amongst my nearest and dearest and unfortunately what I love to write about, they hate immensely.

What I like writing about are dystopian stories similar to Mad Max, I am Legend and Tank Girl.  I enjoy writing about vampires and their sired offspring as I call them and histories as a massive saga dating back to the Ancient Sumerians and contemporary times too, how they live and how they lost loved ones.  I enjoy writing inane pun infested comedy fantasies where you meet mermaids and trolls with a very Monty Python meets Discworld air to them and I enjoy writing horror that touches taboo subjects.

According to those who are in the know, the only type of book up there I have mentioned that they can barely stomach is the comedy fantasy, not my main love of in depth vampire soap operas and dystopian tribal warfare.

Yes I love my fantasy comedies, but whenever I discuss my writing with those who are privy to them, they always get more excited about any updates on that genre than anything else and I feel if I don’t write this genre more than the others, I am failing to please this specific audience.  I am one of these people who find it really hard to talk to people about my work, those I do are precious to my motivation, if I don’t talk about my work, I can’t do the work.  But unfortunately my discussion circle seems far too niche and not entirely me.

I used to mix and mingle my genres a lot and had a wider circle I trusted to talk about them to, usually as dinner party discussions but since moving to Warwickshire, I don’t have that anymore.  London is a very different place, with very different people with mind-sets very different to Rugby’s.

I have mentioned vampires and horror to people up here I thought I could trust with my writing, but they recoil or give sideways glances to those next to them and simply state “Oh, right, not my cup of tea really”; Then I share my fantasy comedy ideas and they feel that fantasy is strictly for children, surely I should write something nicer for them?  Not drunken elves and mermaids who rip eyes out and swear profusely with such corny puns as well!

Apparently my personality must reflect my work and because I don’t lark around like some tomfool jokester all the time and I seem a pretty calm deadpan person in real life, I can’t be taken seriously in comedy surely?  Won’t I come across as some kind of fake?

Now that hurts, but it has been said to me before and I find it amusing that comedy must be serious… really?  I wonder how we all laugh at serious comedy!  Should we laugh at flippant tragedy then?  I don’t know what kind of world I have tripped into a hole of, but it is certainly quite different here to where I am from, I can tell you!

I think if I was to walk up to my favourite British comedian of today and say “Darling, you are not taking your comedy seriously” he would choke laughing and crying at how stupid that sounds.

*passes a dictionary to said people and points to the word “comedy” for reference*

So, though I am currently in quandary over my work, my main quander is this – “how can I develop a trusting relationship with people online so that they can become my beta readers and I can learn to trust the online community with my plans and outlines”? 

I’m not sure I can.  I am very protective of what I share with people because I have often had entire ideas stolen and published behind my back and that someone became very successful with my ideas and have not produced work since I eliminated them from my social circle a decade ago.

I have thought that maybe signing up to a free creative writing course with the OU would help me discuss work and improve my skills with an online tutor?  But not sure if that is really what I want – improved skills are always good, but not sure if I want straight laced professional opinions which are bias regardless of genre and content.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking about just writing whatever, whenever and go back to my scatty ways that were long lost a decade ago.  Paul tried to organise me too much I think?  Tried to get me to focus too much that I lost my way; I don’t really have a way.  I am higgledy-piggledy and mentally a mess when creating.  Paul often said if a hypnotist was to delve into my mind for just five minutes he would run out of the room screaming “get me out here, she is completely insane, she is such a mess, she is so confusing, help me, help me…. And oh, pass the paracetamol that gave me a headache!”

Why the drama?  Because I will have seven documents up at the same time, one is a horror about a cat, two are vampire novels concentrating on two entirely different characters, one is a comedy fantasy with tiny people, and one is a dystopian story based on a religious concept of the apocalypse and angels, the other document is writing notes to eventually put into any work in the future, along with research papers and notes, scribbled papers and notes off the computer, and Wikipedia up on the internet with another internet page looking for the history of Thracian warfare.  If that is not enough, I am also meddling with playlists on Amazon music flipping through them depending on which scene and novel I am working on in those few seconds, whilst daydreaming about food and what it might be like if I was the size of a peanut in my garden.

You get the idea?  That’s my brain in just five minutes.

I am like the dog who is in the garden playing fetch with you then all of a sudden I have ran away chasing squirrels, then coming back to you wondering where the ball is and oh look sausages!

With a mind like mine, it has been said by people before – is there any reason to wonder if I will ever find it possible to get anything finished?

I pass them some books I have indeed already finished and I do so quite proudly.  Then I announce, they are not for sale, they are not edited and they are not good enough.  The person looks through them, finds they do indeed need editing but are absolutely wonderful, why not publish them? 

Because they are mine!  Then I grab the books and hug them close to me with a snarl!

I am like this even with the art I paint too.

Thing is, there are ideas I do want to sell.  But I am scared that those private stories reveal too much about my inner workings.

I feel psychologically exposed, basically.  It brings about the kind of feeling in which I can only sit back and think, it would be better to be physically nakedly exposed than that, then Paul tells me to stop being weird and dramatic!

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Update November 2019 AKA I am still alive!

I didn’t continue Inktober from day 5 and I haven’t done anything towards NaNoWriMo this year either, my health has got quite bad in the past few weeks, for some reason or another I have developed something new where I am sleeping an average of 10 to 15 hours a day and when I am awake, I wished I was asleep and this is something strange for me, because I not a person who loves their bed (unless I am making love in it)!  I don’t find sleeping a productive venture, other than maintaining health (which I don’t have any more anyway).  I am living in constant pain too; painkillers aren’t cutting it anymore for me, not even the occasional co-codamol, I am having almost permanent nose bleeds and other strange bodily phenomena, such as the feeling that I have a glass splinter in my foot and my arms are going numb and losing strength at random unpredictable times.

My IBD markers have also risen and my rheumatic arthritis has decided to wake up again, it often goes away and comes back again, remission I think it’s called?

My depression had got better until last week I received a medical request which puts my ESA medical due around Christmas week again, just as I felt that Christmas might be financially impossible this year I get this as an added assurance, because I don’t think I will pass it this year due to the fact that my consultants are very laxed in actually giving me a name for some of the things that are wrong with me.  I knew my local NHS is struggling as it the NHS nationally, but yesterday on TV I finally learnt why my consultants are particularly lacking in their treatments of me – they are part of what the government consider the notorious Nuffield branch crisis.

I never heard of it before now.  I don’t really understand what it means, but there seems reason to be concerned according to the news I watched last night about being part of the Nuffield problem.

I don’t vouch any knowledge on the thing.

All I know is that someone advised me to take a certain person to my medical this year as it may help my claim, because I am a client of a specific charity and apparently this could give my claim some weight.  I just hope I don’t sink.

I haven’t been able to practise my recorder for a month either, because I have been getting a little chesty, I was expecting this, because every year between November and March I get bronchial issues – I have been given medication for asthma but the doctor declines calling me asthmatic, I don’t know what that is about, but there is no name for my breathing problems when I get them.  When they get really bad the doctors say I might need to stay in the hospital as I always seem to get bad enough that they feel I am borderline of pneumonia or pleurisy.  Hopefully that won’t happen this year; I am tired of the fact that I haven’t had a decent healthy Christmas in almost 7yrs.  It is starting to make an Ebenezer out of me. 

I haven’t written anything other than 9 poems since my last post and I don’t think I like them enough to share.  Some of them touch very delicate subjects.

I have also managed to list whilst in bed, all of the story ideas I have had had over the years and number them, 187, that is scary and I felt instantly depressed that more than half will likely never be started let alone finished.

I noticed that I shouldn’t really call myself a horror writer too, as most of my stories are comic fantasy or dystopian, I think all in all there are only 6 non-vampiric horror stories in the list, about 12 vampire stories in the list, but mostly comic fantasy.

I have an idea for a sequel of a top Broadway musical, but I know I wouldn’t rightfully be able to write it as it will be an infringement of copyright and it is a shame because I really think that this sequel would be amazing.  The musical has always been one of my favourites, Annie.  I love most musicals anyway, but that one is special to me as I remember watching it the first time when I came out of hospital for the first time aged 5.

I won’t say my plans, but if anyone needs a sequel to it, please let me know – I am not a dunce, I will know if you are of genuine sources or not.  I have often thought about writing a letter to the source of the musical or current copyright holders, but not sure when I will take the plunge – as I am embarrassed, because of my health I may not be able to deliver on a strict dead-line.

Another thing I need contact from is from anyone who knows how to get my Henry onto junior MasterChef, he really wants to be a chef when he grows up, he has decided – he also wants to do a baking marathon for Children in Need next year, but I have no idea how he can do that, I can’t afford to give him ingredients for 100k of cupcakes, ha-ha, he will be 10 at the time too.

Wasn’t it amazing what Rylan did as well this year?  Henry always thought the guy was awesome, but now he is inspired to do a 24 hour baking challenge because of it, I said he won’t be allowed he is too young!  So then he thought of a specific number of cakes – though he says they have to be gluten and lactose free so I can have a couple!  Isn’t that lovely?  He thinks of his mummy?

I don’t know if it is a sign, but I have nearly finished a novel, when I get the energy back to continue it I will have about three chapters to do before I consider it done and coupled with this, I have been getting dreams.  Those dreams are of me moving house, every night I am in a different house in a new dream, what is weird is I accidentally found a house that is identical to my dream in Derby with identical surroundings in the town, specific shops and maps, it has blown my mind away about how I found that.  Thing is, I don’t think I want to leave Rugby.    I think it’s a nice little town, the people know me well like I have always been here and it is really is in the centre of everything you need in the UK – an hour from London, 45 minutes from Birmingham, 90 minutes to Manchester, it’s just a great spot to be!

I have discovered after reading several books in bed over the weeks that one of my main problems creatively, is that I overthink things.  I play too many ideas into others and eventually lose their uniqueness, I have learned to let go.  I have learned that it is ok to repeat themes in my writing in order to make things more interesting in places, but also learned that various themes can be used only once and there shouldn’t be any regret.  I have also learned that mentally I use the excuse of not having much experience in anything in life as a way of holding me back from having a life.

I am on a big learning curve right now, my mentality is changing and it is growing me.  I am also changing on a personal level – I used to be a very meek and obedient person who was afraid to make people unhappy even at the expense of it making me unhappy, but that too has changed.  I have started to learn that if I am not happy with something I will tell that person and I will try to maintain kindness as I do, but ultimately I won’t suffer anymore, not for others, especially as it was never appreciated in the past or even recognised.  I do however insist that I maintain kindness as much as possible and maintain a positive attitude, I have an intolerance for misery still, that is innate within me and I think that is in part the reason behind why I am more of a comic/comedy writer.  I know this blog doesn’t show that, as my poetry is often very dark, but my stories, when I eventually release them for the world to see, will be quite light hearted and funny – well I hope so anyway.  My poetry may still be dark and bleak in a lot of respects, because it helps release what is soaking my insides up, bad things from the past, my deepest yearnings, my tears and fears, I have to release this emotional cancer somehow, don’t I?

I never intended to be a comedy writer, it just happened.  I always intended to be a horror writer but as funny as it sounds, writing horror is horrible and I don’t like to do it anymore.  I used to relish in making people scared and feel sick to the stomach, but only certain people and now they are gone from my life I realised how neurotic they made me and how horrid they were making me.  So now I only want to make people smile, laugh is even better, inspire would be a jewel, but I would be happy with a slight upturn of the mouth from my readers and nothing more if only to make the world a bit more brighter.

(was written on the 14th November but only just got around to copying it for this blog – I have not been well, in fact the whole house has had the flu this week on top of everything else).

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Constructive Procrastination

Procrastination is a part of a creative person’s life; something they get comfortable with and sometimes it seems that procrastination is an essential part of who we are and where we get out ideas from. For me, I am constantly procrastinating; this blog is a fine example because I often do not post a thing for weeks on end!
However, as procrastinating I can be, I am always doing what I consider to be “constructive procrastination” because whatever I am doing when it is not writing regularly for my blog, I am in fact, building myself up for other creative activities – usually writing things that aren’t meant for my blog, reading books, researching, filling my mind up with wacky art and images etc.
What have I done since the last post on my blog?
I’ve started and completed two jigsaw puzzles, one of them was a 1000 piece Ravensburger “Santa Express” Limited Edition 2013, the other was Christmas Quarter 500 piece puzzle, I have since started another one of those Christmas Quarter puzzles, despite it being mid-February. Now this seems like procrastination at its finest, but for me this closes my mind to everyday worries and opens my mind for new ideas – a type of meditation.
I have sketched several pieces of clothing that my characters like wearing in a fantasy story that is in planning stage.
I have also read two adult sized novels “The Light Fantastic” by Terry Pratchett and “Occupy Me” by Tricia Sullivan, I am a slow reader – an adult novel of approximately 300 pages will take me about five to eight days to complete because my brain insists on showing me everything that’s going on in fine details like a movie.
I have also read snippets of other books too, as I am a multi-reader, I can have about twelve books on the go at any one time and not get confused!
I have researched the history of the Cathars, Japanese folklore and Hammer movies.
I have done one or two pictures from an adult colouring in book, another form of meditation for me.
I have sorted out my much overdue papers into organised piles and backed my computer up.
I have watched online videos and looked at online images in regards to natural history, local nature, religious history, philosophy, Cosmic Ordering and been a member of some online Goth, geek and fantasy groups at Facebook.
I have researched to the best of my ability as to how I can get into comic book writing and how to sell my art.
My son has come down sick twice since the last post, so I had to take care of him.
I have watched the rugby and I have written the synopses of several stories I am about to write as novels.
Actual writing I have accomplished as part of a/or several novels – approximately 800 words – not a lot. But that’s fine when you consider I am actually writing an average of 800 to 3000 words per day, even if it is just a diary entry or my 750 words from 750words.com – I am actually writing a whole lot more than I used to!
I am writing in depths about the dreams I have at night. I have been writing down my ideas behind ethical behaviour and the changes that needs to happen to society for a better world. I have written how I feel about my family and circumstances. I have been making business plans and life plans. I have sat down for several hours in the last few weeks with my husband lulling over ideas about our life and even brainstorming my stories with him! I have also helped my son start writing his own stories and he is nearly 6yrs old!
A lot of what I am writing is not actually story based or for the blog. I have written several posts since the last time I have posted on this website, but the situation has been that I found it unsuitable for my readers here because I am either ranting about things or I am giving too many of my ideas away.
I have written notes on historical facts that I feel will help me with my stories. I am a self-student of the social sciences, since leaving the OU course for social sciences because I couldn’t cope with the demands in math and stats as well as having a teething baby on hand.
I have finally decided how one of the novels I am writing is going to end, so now I know this and have written the bullet points; it should be finished by April 20th, and yes, I am going to approach someone with it. The story is a horror with some Japanese folklore element to it, because I have studied the Japanese culture and language a lot in the last eight years as I love their comics and their sense of humour and horror; if and when I get published, I hope this opens a doorway to Japanese media, because I would love to travel to Japan and use the language skills I’ve developed. I should get on quite well in Japan speaking Japanese, as I have learned enough to get me by as someone who speaks the language a little better than the average tourist, though learning their script is near impossible for me at this stage!
I have also discovered through an ESA examination that I might have a neurological disorder I should discuss with my doctor, because I have been blacking out, phasing out, getting shaking hands and been getting a lot of problems with my upper body mobility. I have noticed that this is slowing my writing down a lot, because I am making huge errors such as forgetting how to use punctuation – writing different words than I originally wanted to and generally not making much sense at times, so if you come across this, please note it and let me know, thanks!
I write descriptions in depth or comedy scenes, but none of this is embodied into a story yet.
I don’t know if I am a proper writer and I don’t know if proper writers do exactly what I’ve been doing, but I am curious to find out. Is there more to being a writer than just sitting down writing poems and stories? Do we essentially write mostly about anything but those two main ideas society have about us?
I have never joined a writers group so I wouldn’t know. I would like to join my local writers group but the bus time tables make this difficult for me as the classes are twice a month at 7:30pm and the last bus to my village is at 8pm and I can’t walk that far home these days – I can’t drive either and have been advised not to with my medical conditions, such a shame really as I would have enjoyed it.
So that’s me since the New Year in a nutshell.

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