Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Life has become horribly frustrating. Everything is thwarting my desires. If I was a character in a novel, I'd be a great read right now. Trouble is, what's good to read about in literature is often vile to live through.

Specifics are as follows.

Many, many short story rejections. I know each rejection takes me closer to the next acceptance. I know I've done well to sell three stories in my first 18 months of writing them. But, dammit, another acceptance wouldn't half cheer me up.

My poor Paramour. As well as his bereavement, he is now also dealing with a very stressful work crisis that may end up with him not getting paid several grand for working his butt off over the summer. He's pale and distracted and not sleeping well. This mostly makes me feel compassionate, but there is a significant side order of frustration because several of our joint projects have had to be put on indefinite hold, and your friendly neighbourhood monarch doesn't like uncertainty, she likes plans and lists. (Plus I want to disembollock the stupid treacherous incompetent people who have put him in this position, and I can't.)

My slightly mad youngest aunt. She's 14 years older than me and mostly good value: funny, intelligent, and a fabulous cook, but every now and again she takes umbrage at something minor, blows it all out of proportion and has a big rant at someone. It has come to my ears that she is currently hopping mad with me. I'm not particularly bothered about this as such, because (a) she's being ridiculous, and (b) one of her redeeming features is that once the rant is over, she forgets all about it - I don't think she'd know what to do with a grudge. However, I've been tipped off by a family member, who doesn't want me to confront my aunt because they will get in trouble for telling me, so now I have to wait for her rant. I hope to goodness I answer the phone when she rings because, if she rants at my Paramour about something that's nothing to do with him when he's horribly stressed and miserable, I may not be responsible for my actions.

Work. I don't have enough paid work. There are rumblings of more to come, and I expect it will, but it looks as if I'll end up doing 80-hour weeks in Jan/Feb/March like I did last year, which will rebalance the finances but will mean I have to postpone working on the book, and I've heard all the platitudes about a break being helpful for your writing so I don't want to hear them again, OK? It's an ongoing source of frustration that my clients are such deadline junkies when, with a bit of planning and organisation, they could have better results and we could all have more manageable lives.

Not getting stuff done. Writing, of course, but I have a zillion other outstanding jobs - plants that need pruning, rogue piles of stuff everywhere which need sorting and tidying, trips to the charity shop with the resulting throw-outs, self-assessment paperwork, correspondence, Xmas shopping (some of which is suddenly more urgent because of the imminent postal strikes), clearing out the dead phones and computers from my office, taking all the cardboard that won't fit into the recycling bin down to the tip because the effing council won't pick up side waste, etc etc etc. Due to the lack of paid work, I have plenty of time at the moment yet it still seems difficult to get through the tasks.

Politics. I blogged about this recently, so I won't bang on about it again, but I did read a terrific article by Jenni Russell that said a lot of what I wanted to say in a much more politically savvy way. The comments were interesting, too, and it's telling how few of them disagree (and these are Comment is Free commenters, who specialise in disagreeing).

Even the last lot of feedback from my beloved mentor Debi increased the frustration levels. Not because there was anything wrong with it - quite the reverse; it was incisive and helpful as ever - but because, dammit, she makes me think, and that slows down the writing process. Yes, I know being made to think is a good thing, indeed it's a big part of what I want from her, but there's so much to think about, and writing a book is so hard, and my biggest fear is that I'm looking down the barrel of another six drafts and another change of tack and never EVER getting the bloody book published!!!

I know the only thing I can do is to keep chipping away at the various tasks and accept the aspects of life that I can't change. I know that having a huge screaming tantrum won't help - it'll use up valuable energy and, when I've finished sweeping up the shards of china, I'll still have to keep chipping away etc etc. I know the chipping away and accepting approach is the sensible grown-up option. But you know what? Being sensible and grown-up, when you really want to have a huge screaming tantrum, is very frustrating - aarrgghh!!!!!


Carol said...

Your frustration just jumps out this post and I'm not surprised your feeling frustrated!! One or two of these things would be enough to drive even the most laid back person to frustration breaking point never mind all of them happening at once!!

I hope you see some light at the end of the tunnel soon

C x

HelenMHunt said...

It's horrible when it all comes at once. Much empathy from here too. And if you do feel like throwing a tantrum I may be tempted to join you x

Debs said...

Oh poor you. It all sounds madly frustrating, and you have my sympathies.

I do hope everything starts turning soon and all the negatives become positives for you.

Karen said...

That lot's enough to break the strongest camel's back - rant away!! (Not that I'm calling you a camel you understand?)

They say don't sweat the small stuff, but the small stuff has a sneaky habit of piling up into ... well, the big stuff.

As far as outstanding jobs go, I've started picking one thing in the morning (it was cleaning the bathroom today) and doing it straight away, then forgetting everything else. I'll do something else tomorrow, etc.

Take care x

JJ Beattie said...

Big hugs to you...JJx

SpiralSkies said...

And this too will change. Workly woes are crapsome, more than doubly so if both you and the paramour are swimming against the tide.

So long as there's enough money for books and wine, you'll be alright. And short story acceptances will be just around the corner, no doubt hiding behind a bush to leap out when you least expect them.

Anonymous said...

Sounds exhausting. * proffers chocolate cake * I'm sorry to hear this.

I think that you could patent the word 'disembollock' though, and that would at least take your mind off it....

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Oh honey, {{MASSIVE HUGS}}. If it's any consolation I know exactly what you're describing. Those millions of jobs that just never seem to get done, and the more time you have the worse it seems to get. So sorry to hear of all those woes. Buy yourself some chocolate from me!

Queenie said...

You're all lovely, you know that?
Karen, I'm going to try the 'one job a day' approach; thanks for that.
Hilary, thank you for noticing, I was rather pleased with that neologism myself, no hits on Google, it seems I really did invent it!

Debi said...

Oh, I really do think October is the hardest month. And all this stuff goes in cycles and right now you're on the downturn. But as a wise commenter said earlier - This too will change.

And you know what? Being grown up is VERY over rated. Sometimes it's absolutely appropriate to scream and rant. Repressing it just makes you ill, so let it rip!

Then have the chocolate ...