Continuing Personal Development…

A while back I was feeling pretty unsuccessful.  I don’t sell a lot of books and for some reason I equate the number of books that I do sell with my personal sense of achievement. That hasn’t changed… I have.

Since we moved to this town, I’ve been feeling very low and trying to write when my brain refuses to focus and co-operate with my muse is almost impossible. I started doing various art & craft courses – mostly to get myself out of the house and talking to adults more. I was also trying to keep my hand in with the techniques so that I could teach them if I ever went back to work (I’m a Design & Technology / Art & Design Teacher remember?)

One thing that the courses have done is give me more confidence in my own abilities. Writing is a very solitary pursuit and I had thought that doing the courses would stop me writing, but  practising my other creative skills and socialising with people face to face, other than just with Writers and Artists online,  I found it revved up my writing muse and I found that I was managing to write something on my WIP’s every day.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my online friends; they stop me going crazy and make me feel better about myself, but the face to face interaction makes me feel less like a hermit.

So here I am nearly at the end of may, with over 50,000 words into Teacups & Time Travel. I’ve also written a flash story and a short story for two different anthologies (although I have no idea if they’ve got in or not) and I’m working on another one. I’ve also started looking at my blogsite here and my branding etc in the hope that I can improve my chances of selling my work, using the Panoptic Foundations Website Planner.

I’m not going to be going back into teaching for a long while – and when I do, it’s almost certainly going to be Adult Education rather than Secondary Education; it’s not that I don’t like teaching kids (I do) but I need the freedom to be able to teach what I want and how I want, rather than having to stick to the Curriculum that the Dept of Ed force on us and I find the other side of Secondary education (marking, reports, politics etc) far too stressful to enjoy the Teaching side.

So I’m going to continue writing and publishing. I’m going to continue taking courses, crafting and designing… and hopefully between the two, my sense of achievement will latch onto something other than my sales figures!

What’s the Point – Take 2

I wrote a post on the 17th January that was Part Rant, Part Whine… and was written without the aid of Wine of any type – staying sober is essential for me when I’m writing or it never comes out sounding right.

This is the post – feel free to refresh yourself:  https://tpsworld.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/whats-the-point/

I’ve spent the last month or so thinking hard about my future in Writing.

My family has just increased by one – SB was born on 24th January, a week before his planned due date – and the usual hormonal surges, combined with needing to evaluate where I am going in my personal life and working life, brought me to certain conclusions.

I’ve given myself until SB is in full time school to sort out my Writing Life. I have a whole stack of finished books that I need to get out and into the virtual shelves. I have a series to rewrite and republish and I have no doubt that there will be new stories to write in that time.

I also have to think about the finances of my family and unfortunately (unless I hit the JKR Lottery Prize) I will never make enough money from Writing to be able to pay the bills. So I have to look at what I am going to do to bring money into the house.
Of all my skills, Teaching is the most useful, so in the next few years I need to update my skills, learn to drive (yes, I still haven’t managed that) and get more Teaching experience; probably through supply work. Maybe at the end of that I’ll go back into Secondary Teaching or (more likely) I’ll go into Adult Education / workshops.

So my conclusion to the last post is this:

I will never stop Writing – it’s a part of who I am. It’s the Publishing side of things that may stop.

 

Poverty, Food and Politics…

Before I start, I want you to go and read this blog – believe me it’s worth it!

https://cookingonabootstrap.com/2018/02/17/my-ready-meal-is-none-of-your-fucking-business/

You may remember that  until a year ago, my family and I were considered Homeless by the local government. We’d been kicked out of the Privately Rented house that we’d lived in for 13 years; the Landlord having decided to sell the house because they couldn’t be bothered to rent it out anymore.

I’m not going to speculate the real reason that the Landlord wanted us out – it’s too depressing.

We were put into Temporary Accommodation by the council (due to my partner’s disability and the autism of 2 of our 3 children) that happened to be a fairly decent house. We were lucky in that we also had a lot of support from various agencies (again because of the disabilities in the household) so our poverty level wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

We still had to subsist on Ready Meals and Takeaways though – the Temp Accomodation didn’t have a cooker until the Kid’s Social Worker raised the roof and insisted that the council buy one for the house!

We eventually got the house we are now living in and I am pleased to say that we’re settling in nicely (it takes a while for Autistic People to settle in anywhere) and making plans to decorate etc.
That isn’t to say that we are out of the woods financially yet.
Not even going back into Teaching would do that at the moment – until I can drive and afford the car insurance hike; until I can update my subject and education skills so that I’m considered worth employing; until I can afford the childcare that full time work would require (for two of my four children) and until I can be certain that my disabled partner will be able to look after himself here without needing a constant companion.

The UK Govt seem determined to push us back down with their policies – nothing I have seen coming out of Westminster appears to be designed to help those of us at this end of the wealth spectrum. The money is being removed from the system designed originally to support those of us who found ourselves in this sort of situation.

Jack Monroe, other chefs and cooks can work miracles with basic ingredients, but without the money to buy the ingredients or pay for the energy and equipment needed to actually cook those ingredients, thousands of people below the Poverty Line won’t be able to use the recipes. Austerity policies are causing this and nothing is getting better for many people in Poverty.

Until the Politicians do something about it that is.