O Christmas Work…

Oh, look, I reused a featured image. Sue me.

So, yeah. This is that obligatory post about Christmas for that time of the year that Christmas tends to come about. It’s usually December. In fact, I can’t remember a single year that it wasn’t in December. Imagine that.

In my previous post, I talked about how I’d started my postgraduate degree in Creative Writing & Publishing, and had started drafting my new novel. So far, that’s been going alright – I’ve now got nearly 10,000 words, and hopefully with plenty more to come along, but there have definitely been delays and issues with the process of getting it together in a swift, organic progression, and you can partially blame my course for that.

It’s not as though I’ve not had my creative work scrutinized before, it’s just that I have to remember that in this case, it’s often the person who’ll be marking me who’ll be making suggestions of what I can change. I can imagine, whatever other difficulties may be associated with the job, that’s one you can be quite self-satisfied with.

“That’s right, just write me the stories I want to read…oh, you don’t want to? Well, that’s fine…as long as you don’t mind a mark reduction…”

OK, I’m pretty sure it’s not actually like that, but I don’t think I’m the only one who’s had that image cross their mind – or else this is mighty awkward.

On top of that, in having to submit a prose piece for an assignment due in January, 3,000 words is the limit. That’s fine – I’ve already got a lot more than that. The problem is, the way I write tends to involve a lot of establishing. If you’re waiting for an inciting incident, you’re probably not going to get it until the second chapter. If that bores you, well, pffft! You might as well watch a film! Or read a book with an inciting incident in the first chapter…

Look, I’m sure I’ll post some other time about why I choose to open a story the way I do. I’m sure I can find justifications for it, but actually my experience with this course has made me doubt how I write blogs too. We had a published author do a workshop talk this one time, and it was all very nice, pleasant and interesting, but when I raised the subject of keeping up a blog online, she advised me that it probably wasn’t a good idea to write for free, because she feels that it robs from people like her who make a living through writing. Well, as you can imagine, that wasn’t easy to hear. Writing is my oxygen, and is anyone really going to pay me for it at this stage…? Nobody’s reading this blog and offering me cash to splurge some random nonsense on a webpage! I just do it for personal reasons, and honestly, isn’t that why most people go into writing for pay in the first place? It’s a bit of a minefield. So, if you do hear of writers starving to death anytime soon, you can probably blame losers like me for it. Or, alternatively, lobby your pathetic government for a decent minimum living wage, rather than having them focus on building a wall or wasting parliamentary resources on trying to lip-read someone who might have muttered something mildly insulting under his breath whilst you were turning legislative processes into a literal pantomime to hide that you’re making a massive cock-up of Brexit…not that you can really get that right.

Oh yeah, this post was supposed to be about Christmas. I guess it’s just way easier to throw political shade than it used to be.

The weird thing is, unlike so much else, Christmas is just the same as it ever was. Still the same old agonizing over not knowing what to buy people, the same old disasters that are inevitable when you’re wrapping presents with dyspraxia and the same old making sure your cat doesn’t wreck your decorations once she’s discovered how much fun they are. And in the midst of that, some genuinely nice moments of just kicking back and having fun, overindulging in Shloer (PRODUCT PLACEMENT) and chocolate and slowly watching your weight go up in preparation for the big day.

I guess that’s what Christmas has done for me this year. Looking back, this might have been the most dynamic year for me since…well, my birth. Graduating, starting a master’s, being on the verge of sending my Private Tuition manuscript and synopsis off to whichever publishers seem likely to have me (which I’m going to get on with as soon as I can)…and all this has been interspersed with some rather fun outings, including spending two days in Brighton with one of my best friends in time for Pride and managing to miss Rose and Rosie in the parade despite them being feet from us (NOTICE ME SENPAIs…), and attending a talk in my own crappy little hometown where I got to see and hear A.C. Grayling and Femi Oluwole talk about how much Brexit sucks. OK, sorry, I’m going to try and keep this as apolitical as possible…

But as well as these very obvious external events, there’s all sorts of dynamics internally as well, and I don’t mean that I’ve had organ transplants. Perhaps it’s an effect of my course or the current political climate, but my desperation to know everything, or at least be well-read in multiple areas of philosophy, sociology, biology, physics, political theory, economics, global issues, ethics, epistemology, culture, literary criticism and just simply having a much wider repertoire when it comes to creative artifacts and art has reached the point where I’m genuinely getting frustrated at how much I still don’t know, and my bookshelf is already overflowing, which isn’t exactly going to get better come Christmas…

But at least Christmas is something that is normal and standard and familiar. Midwinter celebrations have their origins in trying to keep things fine and dandy during blistering cold and bleak darkness, so perhaps it’s fitting that Christmas will hopefully serve as a break from the rather rapid changes going around. That’s not to say all these changes are bad – I’m rather looking forward to what 2019 brings. Well, unless it brings me failure in my assignments, in which case, perhaps I’ll prefer this year…

Hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year.