End of the Sabbatical
Six months sure pass quickly. On March 1st 2018, I started my sabbatical. On 23rd August 2018 (a week short of six months), I will head back to work. Not that I haven’t been working these last six months. In fact, given the last few weeks, ‘real’ work might feel like a rest.
I still find it all too easy to normalise success (by this, I mean I tend to ignore what I’ve achieved and focus on what I haven’t). Yet, when I explain to friends and family what I’ve been up to, everyone wonders how I’ve managed it. Without waffling on, here’s a list of everything (I can remember) I’ve achieved:
Preparing to pack a Kickstarter – this was only just the beginning…
- Wrote approx. 40,000 words of a Young Adult magical realism novel. I think there’s another 15,000 left. I was hoping to have this finished by the end of the six months, but the small matter of a house move scuppered this (more on this later). I will be attending an Arvon writing retreat in November where I will be locked away (with no Wi-fi apparently!) for a week to begin re-editing the 1st draft.
- Completed the first draft of a 15,000 words of a surrealist novella. I need to find the time to redraft and send for proof reading.
- Written and submitted 2,000 word ghost story to British Fantasy Society short-story competition (awaiting result)
- Written and submitted 2,000 word comedy story to ‘To Hull and Back’ anthology (awaiting result)
- Written and submitted 2,500 word sci-fi story to Castrum Press submission request (rejected, but good feedback)
- Written and submitted 1,000 work flash fiction story to NYC Midnight Challenge – you are given a genre, a setting and an artefact and 48hrs to write. Mine were Fairy Tale, Auction and a Measuring Cup. I’ll get feedback in September and start the second round of the competition then too.
- Redrafted and submitted 2,000 word sci-fi story to Yeovil Literary Prize (awaiting result)
- Wrote and submitted a poem to Humanagerie submission request (rejected). Also wrote other poems, but don’t think they’re ready to share yet.
- Redrafted and submitted 2,000 word ghost story to Scribbler magazine (rejected, but good feedback and I’ll probably send this out as a freebie at some point)
- Still waiting the release of my horror short-story ‘Ingrowing’ – I’m told this will be released Halloween 2018.
- Drafted new idea for comic book, ‘Reanimator Inc.’ based on H.P. Lovecraft mythology. Plan to start scripting and kickstarting this project in Q1 2019.
- Begun work on Webcomic idea for a comedy/fun mini-series
- Continued work on a trilogy of children’s poems – artwork will be by the multi-talented Rebecca Travers
- My Cyber Security free e-book has achieved over 1,000 downloads and now has 4 x 5 star reviews. I’m planning to start work on a second edition and will be volunteering with the local scout and community to further knowledge into Cyber Security and home IT setup.
- Set-up and maintained two websites inc. 6 blog posts (7 including this one)
- Completed, marketed, Kickstarted, printed and distributed my debut comic book, Undetermined. I truly never expected it to be as much work and as hard as it turned out to be, but with some amazing support, we got there. I sold 86 copies through Kickstarter and have had enquiries about how it can be bought now. I’m looking to set-up an online shop, so it can be ordered and posted. To be honest, the comic distribution is worthy of a blog post on its own, but in short, I’ve ordered the following items and dispatched a selection of:
- 200 x comic books
- Worked with the genius Darrell Strike on the inception and production of 50 x Infinity Mirrors
- 56 x T-shirts (yes this is a strange number, but there was a mess up on the sizes and re-ordering was required)
- 35 x jigsaws
- 500 x leaflets advertising Episode #2
- 1 x roller banner
- 100 x pocket mirrors
- 4 x 100 x A5 prints
- 250 x bookmarks
- 100 x Vinyl Stickers
- 100 x Bottle Openers
- 100 x Fridge Magnets
- Lots of envelopes and packing materials
- Bear in mind that a lot of the above needed designing and collaborating on. I don’t know how many beers I owe Chris Holmes.
Has it been worth it? Of course…! I’ve received some amazing and really kind feedback from people on the comic, its quality and production. It’s demonstrated that I can do this (even though I questioned why I was doing this during the packaging and shipping of the above) and I’ve more lessons and learnings than I can count for the episode #2 of Undetermined and my other ideas.
“Has it been worth it? Of course…! I’ve received some amazing and really kind feedback from people on the comic, its quality and production.”
I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things… So what’s next?
- I will be attending my first comic con which scheduled for 29th Sept in Chichester. You can apply for tickets here: https://meanwhilecomiccon.com/
- I’ll also be selling some copies of Undetermined at Bristol Comic Con on 6th October – https://bczf.co.uk/
- The plan is to attend more conventions and start networking on the comic scene more through 2018 and 2019. Edinburgh might be happening in November… http://www.comicartfestival.co.uk/
- Start planning the release of Undetermined #2 – we’ve ten pages of completed artwork and it’s looking absolutely stunning. I’ll be releasing some previews over the next month or so…
- Complete the 1st draft of my YA novel and re-edit at the November retreat
- Script Reanimator Inc. comic story
- Start work…!
Me and my giant roller banner – coming to a Comic Con near you soon…
This blog isn’t to brag or show-off how much I’ve achieved; it’s more to quantify personally what I’ve spent this last six months doing. Even when I read back through the above, it still doesn’t feel like I’ve done that much. Even though it’s been 6 months, it honestly feels like only six weeks has passed. I’ve not spent a day when I’ve been bored or wondering what to do. If anything, it was stressing about what can I cram into the day. Not every day has been productive. Writers block is real – especially when you’ve got a house move to plan, or boxes to unpack. I gave myself cabin fever the first few weeks, chaining myself (metaphorically) to the desk and laptop and writing until I felt a bit odd. I soon learnt that I need to get out and walk around a bit.
I’ve learnt so much through allowing myself this time. There are lots of things I would do again, and lots of things I wouldn’t. If I’m fortunate enough, I’ll be able to take some more time out again in the future. The encouragement and messages of support have really kept me going, and going I shall continue.
Let’s see what the next six months bring…