I’ve always written stuff.
Even when I was a kid sat in English class and the teacher was droning on about his time as a child growing up in rural Wales and all his friends dying in a landslide. I was sat at the back with a few friends scribbling tales of sword and sorcery and maddening horror.
This later backfired as the teacher noticed it all and put me in the top stream English class the next year where I actually had to do some work.
Then as a teenager who was into Black/Death metal and Doom I penned verse after verse of dark, brooding poetry and lyrics to which never got put to music. I’m willing to bet that if I took a look back at that stuff that I wrote I would think I was a bit of a goth-douche-bag type.
But none the less, I was still writing.
And later in life still when I was actually in death metal bands as a vocalist I penned all the lyrics myself so I guess it was natural progression that brings me to where I am today.
I can turn around and say that I am a writer… I guess.
At the beginning of the year I got laid off work (something that I have spoken about before) so I decided to take a little time away from working for other people that really couldn’t give a shit if you live or die and take up writing full time. The way I figured it was that if I didn’t just go balls deep into it I would never get around to doing it. Getting made redundant from work was just the boot up the arse I needed to give it a shot.
So I dropped out.
I dropped out of everything, my life shifted dramatically. I had spent the last of my saved money, I had to start claiming benefits to pay the rent and keep me fed; something that I used to be totally against but I figured that over the last twelve years of paying tax it was my turn to get something back.
By this time I had already had some stuff published, a few website credits, and a couple of short story acceptances and a collection of flash stories published by Feverish Fiction. So I had the itch, I just had to scratch the fucker.
And to be fair the gamble of dropping out has really stated to pay off. I have many short stories published in several anthologies by several respected publishing houses, my first novella has been picked up and is in print and I’m working on many more shorts and novella length projects.
I have also started to write features and reviews for a horror website where I get published on a regular basis and have picked up quite the following.
So everything is starting to get where I want it to be. The dream I had at the start of this adventure is pretty much coming together.
But here are the pitfalls.
Over the last few months I have had to sell pretty much everything that I own.
Hundreds of my cherished DVD collection and I do mean hundreds for a huge cut in what I paid for them. All of my musical equipment went the way of Cash Converters including all of my home recording studio that I had spent a good two years putting together. All my guitars went, three BC Rich’s, an SG, a Les Paul and my Flying V. Three amp heads and two cabinets, I even sold all of my leads and stands.
Because writing is a very secluded lifestyle, you are pretty much on your own for the majority of the time and when you immerse yourself in a lifestyle such as this it’s very easy to get caught up in it.
So I started to go a little bit mad, I guess you could call it cabin fever and every now and then I would feel the need to get out and about.
What’s wrong with that you may ask? Well here’s the snag.
I get my benefit money on a Monday and by the time the weekend comes around I have pretty much spent all of it on bills, food, tobacco, laundry, toiletries and the like leaving me pretty much penniless. So to keep up with a much needed social life because there have been times where I have gone a whole week without speaking to anyone I have had to cash in on some of my possessions to be able to get out of the house.
And you don’t get much bang for your buck at all. I can’t remember that last time I went to a gig that wasn’t local purely because I really can’t afford it.
It makes it really embarrassing when trying to date. Picture it, you meet a really cool girl at a party and you start chatting. She’s nice, she thinks you’re nice and you think, “Way-hey, I’m in here.” Then she invites you to a gig that her friend is putting on somewhere in the city and because you’ve had a few drinks you agree to meet up.
The next day you realise that you have no money that weekend because you spunked it all getting the pair of you pissed and can’t get there. So you gather up as many DVD’s as you can stuff into two carrier bags and flog them only to receive half the money you were expecting to get and can’t even afford the train to get to the fucking gig.
So you message her letting her know that you can’t make it, she says “it’s okay, maybe next time” knowing full well that there will be no next time.
Shame because she was fit.
It really puts the block on one’s sex life living this way sometimes.
I was most embarrassed one afternoon when a mate of mine bumped into me in our local CEX where I was cashing in a shit load of DVD box sets so I could go to a friend’s birthday drinks that evening.
The guy whose birthday it was found out and said thanks for turning up and was really appreciative that I had made the effort. It meant a lot to the both of us I guess.
And that’s another thing; I don’t like being a let-down.
I need a social life to stop me from going stir crazy but on the other side of the coin I can’t get the funds together to be able to go out.
I have gone without food; I have gone without company, fucked up a long term relationship, gone weeks without going out and having a single beer. I’ve nearly lost my house, put myself into dept and had running battles with not only my landlord but the local council as well.
But you know what, when I saw that first copy of my book, something that I had sacrificed so much for I nearly cried (I didn’t coz you know, blokes), then I did a little dance and opened a bottle of scotch that I had been saving.
So maybe, just maybe it might be time to start considering getting a good job, not just the first thing that comes up. Get myself out there a bit, start reclaiming some of the stuff that I have flogged off over the last few months. Claw back some of my social life. Get amongst it so to speak (wink, wink, ladies!).
But I have made myself a little promise that if the royalties of my first book are okay then I’m going to spend a few days down in Hastings to get away for a while, just me and the sea. A few games of crazy golf and an afternoon in the arcades playing the 2p machines with a bag of chips.
You know, I might even take a bird to a gig or two.
Life is on the up and up and it has really been too long since I have been able to say that.