Friday, 17 August 2012

A Whole Lot of Nothing and a Bit of Something

Well, hello there. You're looking well. Got a little of that rare and precious sun, I see, and is that a new hair cut? Whatever it is, keep doing it.

Welcome back to my sporadic venture into the blogosphere. As the title suggests, this post will be about the nothing that I have been achieving lately, but also about some bits of something coming over the horizon. Can you see them? No, just to the left. There. Got it? Good.

In my last post I talked about stopping flash52, some plans for the stories from flash365, and about the new novel that I had started writing. However, it seems that whatever got in the way of my carrying on with flash52 has spread to everything else and nothing new has been written since we last sat down for one of these chats.

Now, I can rationalise it. After all, for the first half of this year I was incredibly busy doing flash365, NFFD and teaching, as well as trying to lead a life, it's only fair that I have a bit of a low after all that. Someone today used the phrase 'burned out' and I suppose that's right.Add to that the fact that it's summer and I have no structure to my day, and no deadlines, and you can understand why my ship is adrift in calm oceans.

Oh, and the distraction of the Olympics really didn't help.

But there's another problem, and it's one which will be familiar to most of you out there. That problem is that thing we call work. The thing that allows you to pay your bills.

You see, because I am an associate lecture, I only earn during term times. So I rely on those times to give me enough income to last the rest of the year. With fears about the new fee/loan structures for incoming students, funding has been cut, and my hours have disappeared along with it. I will be teaching this autumn, but not as much. The anxiety associated with that has certainly not made me want to get on with all of the luscious projects I could be doing. They only pay in potentia, you see, not in reality.

So, what am I going to do about it? you ask...

Well, I sat down, and had a good think about what I do and what I can do. And I came up with THE PLAN.

And that is why I am setting up a little business called Palimpsest. It is basically my folio of abilities, gathered together and formalised into a set of literary services.

My first idea was to offer online courses. I figured that just because the university didn't have money to pay me, it didn't mean there weren't students out there looking to learn the things I can teach. So I have set up four courses to start in September, in Flash-Fiction (naturally), Short-Stories (because I can do those too!), Life Writing (something I have been teaching and researching in for a while, and a popular topic) and one in Editing & Rewriting (a common bugbear being that university courses don't ever actually focus on these skills explicitly).

I have also set up a full suite of offers for reading, editing, typesetting (for print and eBooks), mentoring and, soon - in collaboration with Chris Bisette - bespoke story writing!

All of these can be found, for the moment, nestled on my own website at

And the best thing about all this? Well, it started out as a way to try and make my freelance work a little more formal and bring it under my control, but now I'm quite excited about the possibilities of working, in so many different ways, with a host of writers at different stages of their careers. It feels like what I should have been doing all along. And, just to help matters, it's brought back my desire to write. After all, I've written this, haven't I?

So, weekend off, and then back to the novel next week, I think.

If you are interested in any of the courses or other services, then please do either sign up or get in touch for more information. And, if you think you know anyone who might be interested, I'd be really grateful if you would spread the word.Thank you.

Anyway, that's me for now, stuck in a lacuna, but starting to feel the faintest zephyr trying to fill my sails. I wish you fair winds and will see you soon!