Stress and Progress


I am six weeks into my sabbatical and I don’t know what I’ve achieved. After all, what can be achieved in the 48 days since 1st March when I began this journey?

Everyone has been really encouraging, showing interest and asking, ‘How’s the writing going?’ When I begin explaining what I’ve been up to, I tend to ramble, forget things, then surprise myself with how much I’ve actually taken on. So, I thought it would be useful to make a list. Here are some of the things I’ve been working on:

  • Surrealist novella – I started this last year, where I wrote approx. 10,000 words. Since March 1st, I’ve done some editing and added another 3,000 words. I expect the total words will be about 17,000.


  • Ghost story (5,000 words) – Two drafts so far, I wasn’t happy with the 1st, so completely re-wrote the 2nd draft. Some final editing is still needed. I plan to submit it to some competitions by the end of May.



  • I found a poetry competition, so I thought I’d enter that too:
    • Poem #1 (52 lines) – building up the courage to show the first draft to a few people
    • Poem #2 (lost count of lines) – this started well, then I tied myself in knots, got annoyed and have put it down for a bit.


  • Flash fiction entry – An 81-word challenge I stumbled across, which wrote in about 2 mins and had published on this site (I am story #342). I would recommend anyone who wants to write submits to this site. You’ll have your name in a book, and it’s all for a worthy cause.


  • Children’s poem – I’ve been finalising the poem and working with Becky on the illustrations, then wondering how we can produce, advertise and market the book (see below for what this might entail).


  • Tweaked and submitted a 2,000-word short story I wrote last year (that was rejected) to the Scribble Anthology.


  • Cyber Security forum – I ran another Cyber Safety workshop with the local community, and I am still trying to find ways we can increase awareness to stay safe online. I’m also collecting ideas for the second series.

What seems to be taking the most time is the production of my comic, Undetermined. I genuinely didn’t expect it to take up so much time. The comic is written and is complete (bar some minor tweaks). It will be launched on Kickstarter, which is a crowdfunding site, e.g. people provide the costs for the printing and distribution and receive the comic and rewards for backing it. However, I am not just a writer for this. I am a:

The struggle is real…

Preview image of Undetermined by Chris Holmes.

  • Marketer – I need to promote and raise awareness of comic. This involves building mailing lists and email marketing campaigns, social media awareness, website landing pages and sign-up forms, submitting previews to review sites, etc. You can see a Q&A the site, ‘Review Fix’ published about me here.


  • Salesman – I have applied to attend a couple of Comic Conventions later this year to sell the comic and the merchandise. So far, the dates and venues are:


  • Accountant – how much has the comic taken to produce, how much will it cost to print and distribute, how much do I need to raise, what rewards can I send and how much will they cost (and where will I source them from)?


  • Publicist – I need to ensure the comic goes to press and that all the logistics are handled. In addition to the marketing, I need to build the Kickstarter campaign to sell the product. This involves producing a video which is 1 min long but has taken a total of 3 days between myself, Becky the voice artist and Chris the artist and video producer. See the video further down this page…


  • Co-designer – working with Darrell to produce the (admittedly very cool) Infinity Mirrors which will be a given away as a reward, and Chris, the artist to decide on the cover art, other reward designs, etc.


  • Chief worrier – will it all go to plan, will the Kickstarter be funded? Will the review sites like the comic? Will they even bother to review it?


  • Writer – Starting to plan Undetermined Volume 2. Oh yes, that’s what I’m meant to be… A writer….

“Oh yes, that’s what I’m meant to be… A writer….”

Undetermined Teaser Trailer

Credits and huge thank-yous to Rebecca Travers and Chris Holmes.

Oh, and I’m doing some online courses to learn how to use my fantastic camera. Here are a couple I’ve taken recently:


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining (maybe a touch). I still consider myself very fortunate to be in this position, but I think I’ve invited a lot of this pressure on myself and I need to start bringing some of the projects to a close. My main target is to complete at least one draft of my Young Adult Magical Realism novel.

A friend asked me ‘How’s the ideas pot?’. I replied I’m adding more ideas than I’m taking out at the moment.’ That is the problem. In addition to all this, I still need to sleep, eat, drink and at some point, find time for a round of golf! Oh yes, and write more…

Opportunities like this don’t come along very often (if at all). So, while I’m trying to make the most of this time and squeeze every minute from every day, I also need to give myself a break, enjoy this time and relax.

Write a blog post – check… Now on to the next task! 

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