The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Well that's all right then

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I recently read a blog post by Khanh Ha, about how he has received the contract from his publisher (Dear Author), and this line in particular gave me a jolt:

I read the manuscript delivery date: January 1, 2011. Ready for publication? No, he told me. Ready for pre-press process. There will be galley proof for me to read, edit, correct, before everything is locked down.

Back when I started this blog, I was a writer in potentia (of more than blog posts). In fact, when Maggie & I decided to change our lives, the idea and vision of becoming a writer was an incredibly powerful motivator to face, and go through with, all the necessary challenges and upheavals to sell the business, move to a different area and turn our lives in a completely different direction.

I would no longer be a professional web design consultant with a business card never more than 24 inches from my fingertips. Maggie would become an artist and I would write stories. Short stories, comic book stories, novels, screenplays – whatever took my fancy.

I sold the web design business, we moved to SW Scotland and I set up this blog to discipline myself to write regularly, and to try out different styles of writing. I discovered the delights of flash fiction, and through a mutually entered competition met the wonderful Mary. I went along to a Storytellers weekend workshop where I met the very different but equally superb Eryl. And throughout this time I was busy writing a graphic novel with an illustrator friend of mine, Dave.

But the Chronic Fatigue gradually crept in without me realising, at first. Not only did it slowly and insidiously coil its tendrils through my body, leeching my energy, it also sapped my motivation and joie de vivre.

It took a couple of years before I focused on photography as a way to draw myself out of the Depression and find a new direction in life I could truly enjoy, and I’m now in a much happier place (shitty things in life aside).

But the point of all this is I’ve wondered many times how it would be if I’d continued with the writing, or took it back up again; wondering even if I’ve let myself down by abandoning it.

And yet when I read Khanh Ha’s post, and about how long it is between the time of writing and the time of publishing, and all the editing that will need to be done to satisfy the publisher; and how all this is long before it gets promoted and read by anyone; all I could feel was a profound sense of relief I no longer had to think about it.

No regrets, no twinges of “what if”, and no guilt.

I now know I have laid that ghost to rest.

I am so much happier being a photographer.

And, as I commented in a post on Mary’s site not too long ago, I never have to deal any more with that gut tightening, spasm inducing reaction to people asking if I’ve had anything published yet.

Bliss :)
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33 comments

mapstew said...

We never know what life is going to throw at us, and thats just as well! It was a strange series of events that led me to become a singer! (There's a story I must tell someday!)

A good week to you.

Rachel Fox said...

And your photos are brilliant so photography wins.

p.s. often when i come to your blog just now my virus scan has to delete a Trojan thing. Thought you might like to know. It doesn't happen with any other blogs.
x

Kim Ayres said...

Mapstew - that's a story I'd love to hear. I also want to know when you're going to get me across to take your band photos :)

Rachel - thank you :)

Hmm... another friend mentioned a virus alert thing, but I just thought it was his computer. I know Facebook was having a few problems last week so I've removed their widget from my sidebar that was advertising Maggie's Facebook Fan Page.

Do let me know if it comes up again - thanks :)

PI said...

Just for your ears only - having been
quite excited with an agent signed up and then a publisher nibbling I have managed to lose both - with no regrets and back to square one. When I've finished dressing my wounds I'll decide what next.
But will I live that long?
Vive photography!
PS It would help if I were Jordan:)

Jimmy Bastard said...

You live in Scotland man! What more can a person want out of life?

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - get some implants and your problems will be solved!

Jimmy - erm... sunshine?

hope said...

You hit the nail on the head! Although I write because it comes easily to me, I hate the thought of handing my hard work over to someone who will take a cold scalpel and slice it to ribbons because they don't think it will make enough money. Most enjoyment I ever got out of writing was doing a column for 3 years in a children's magazine...as an unpaid volunteer. I often wonder if when money, or the need for it, enters the picture if our writing doesn't take on a more force nature? Then again, maybe it's just me.

I enjoy your blog and love your photos. I hope you keep going.... after all, you never know when the "right/write" person will be reading and want to see more. :)

Have a good week!

[Psst Map, do tell!]

St Jude said...

I used to write for Marvel comics a handful of years ago, the voice of Wolverine in the X men comics. It was fun especially as no one knew who I was or that I was a woman and English to boot. From time to time I would be drafted in to do a piece for one of their other publications. It's a fast paced world with tight deadlines so I never had to experience the time lapse of novels.

Charlie said...

I think photography is your forte, even if it took you half your life to find it.

Your memoirs can wait until you're in your eighties and have a bit of life experience behind you.

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - What I love about blogging is the instant feedback. One of the horrifying aspects of creating a book is that even when it's completed, it could be years before anyone gets to read it.

As for the right person stumbling across and offering me a book deal, with there being hundreds of millions of blogs out there, and about 50 visits a day to this one, I hold that likelihood in the same realm of winning the lottery. And I don't waste my money on that :)

St Jude - what a wonderful piece of backstory I didn't know about you. It must be why Wolverine was always the more fully developed and interesting of characters :)

Charlie - the thing is, if I went back in time to when I was 20, I still wouldn't be able to do photography in the way I like, because the technology wasn't there, and until only a couple of years ago, wasn't affordable either. This is something I could only do at this point in human physical, cultural and techological evolution.

As for my memoirs, if you were to ask me right at this instant, I'd be more than happy if nothing else happened so it wasn't worth writing about.

gleaner said...

I was listening to a radio show yesterday about the difficulties of authors having any success with their books once published - and there was a discussion on a topic from the Edinburgh Writers Festival regarding criticisms of the commercialization and narrowing of genre in Scotland (I don't often hear about issues in Scotland here in Aus)...after reading your post realised how amazing blog world is in its instant access to the world.

Eryl Shields said...

I second Rachel.

Mary Witzl said...

Thank you for those kind words, Kim, and the plug. I think your photographs are fantastic too, and if you love doing them, then you've won the human occupation satisfaction lottery. That said, I still think you should have won that story competition. I loved your psychotic guy believing the whole world into continued existence.

The thing about writing and hoping to get published is that you have to take it VERY seriously and, at the same time, not care at all. You have to want it more than anything you've ever wanted in your whole life, but at the same time tell yourself that if it doesn't happen, you'll get over it. Weird, eh?

digibirder said...

Hi, I have occasionally visited your blog via certain others that I read, but have not commented before. I, too, get a virus warning whenever your blog opens. Not sure what it is, but see the following:

http://blog.chandanweb.com/linux/exploit-search-engine-attack-bitrid

http://forums.avg.com/ww.avg-free-forum?sec=thread&act=show&id=14351#post_14351

Kim Ayres said...

Gleaner - when faced with a choice between a) spending 6 months to a year writing somethings, followed by a year or 2 finding someone to publish it, then another couple of years until they are ready to publish it, then however long it takes to promote it, AND THEN IT STILL MIGHT NOT SELL - and b) scribbling on my blog and people writing comments within hours - I'm afraid I'm all for the instant gratification of blogging

Eryl - wot - r u sayin' my writin's crap?

Mary - that duality of thought and belief is just too much for my mind to take, and it's such a relief to let it go. However, your writing really is superb and I hope you keep going until someone who is prepared to pay you recognises it :)

Digibirder - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for taking the time to comment.

I just don't understand this virus warning thing - I've scanned the codes and cannot find anything. Even using google webmaster tools they say there is no malware on the site. I followed your links too, but was unable to find anything to help. Blogger doesn't give .htaccess to bloggers, so far as I can tell.

If the problem persists, is there any chance you could take a screeenshot of our warning and email it to me (email access on my profile)?

Many thanks :)

CG said...

I was a wannabe writer who ended up a photographer too. You writre and photograph so well!

Bella said...

There's quite a few that get paid for blogging! I don't happen to be one of them, and...

I am definitely no writer, or photographer, and come to think of it, not really much of a blogger...

gee I'm depressed myself now...:(

oh, and by the way, I visited your photography site, it's quite impressive! and I listened to some of your recordings. It's nice to put a voice to the blogger. I looked to see how to do voice there myself, but I couldn't figure it out, I guess it is a paid site?

Kim Ayres said...

CG - thank you :)

Bella - I don't think there are that many who get paid for blogging. I'm convinced it's a myth perpetuated by companies wanting you to promote their stuff through your blog. You might earn a few pennies, but then you lose your readership

I'm glad you like the photography site - thank you. As for the recordings, which site did you visit? If you go to The Storytellers Blog, there's a page there on how to record your own stories and put them online.

dirtyduck said...

congratulations on blogs of note! im fairly new to blogger and always enjoy seeing all the different things people are doing.

Kim Ayres said...

Dirtyduck - thank you, and welcome to my ramblings :)

deeudeec said...

we make the best of life.

Wan Hashim said...

Excellent posting. At least I know a little bit about expecting something from publishing as compared to expecting something by blogging.

Martin said...

Hi Kim,

I've just discovered your blog, and what a great discovery it is. I've not read all of your posts but by the looks of it you seem to speak your mind-- and that's great! Keep up with everything going for you.

Sincerely,
Martin.

Ashley Ladd said...

Yes, it can take a long time from having a book accepted for publication to actually be published. But this is not always the case. It depends on the publisher. It depends on the publisher's schedule. It depends on a lot of different factors, one being if you're a first time author with that publisher or one already in their stable. It also depends on your editor, their schedule, their motivation, etc.

I'm a published writer of more than 40 stories. I've had stories published within 3 months of their contracted date. That's very quick and unusual but it has happened.

I've had stories that took three + years to finally make it to publication.

My norm is about 6 months. Last month I contracted 3 stories. Their release dates are March, April, and May 2010 respectively. Not bad.

The newer the publisher, the more you write for a publisher, the sooner publication tends to take place. Or sometimes, another author can't deliver on time and if your book is ready, they'll push your book through the process much faster.

Sorry to hear about the fatigue syndrome. I have low thyroid and that's tough enough.

Kim Ayres said...

deeudeec - hopefully

Wan Hashim - for me, a large part of the appeal of blogging is the instant response, rather than the need to wait years before you fnd out if anyone liked reading it :)

Martin - I'd be very surprised if you'd read all 500+ posts, and might suggest you get a life if you had :) I'm glad you've enjoyed what you have read though :)

Ashley - a real writer? You mean when people ask what you do and you say, "I'm a writer" and they say "Have you had anything published yet?" you can say, "yeah, loads..."? Sweet :)

But does it get easier, or are you always living in fear you could dry up creatively at any time?

1+2+2=5, 1+2+3=6: 56 said...

I'm only 20, I want to be a writer, this is a horror story for me. That and I've never been able to grow a beard but this is a great blog to read so kudos to you

Kim Ayres said...

If you want to be a writer enough, you will find a way. What became clear to me was I didn't want it enough. And this post was about the fact that, that was OK :)

1+2+2=5, 1+2+3=6: 56 said...

That's the best advice that anybody has ever given me on being a writer.

I have a wall outside my apartment where I write quotes of people who have said things of great meaning and use. Alan Moore, Swami Vivekananda and others are up there.

You just made it to my wall.

Kim Ayres said...

If I'd realised I was going to end up on your wall, I might have put a bit more thought into how I constructed that sentence... :)

Cindy said...

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there no doors before... glad to see you did:)))

Kim Ayres said...

If we're not pursuing our dreams, life is a lot duller :)

snoble24 said...

wow your a writer to! or would you like to be called author? was it hard for you to make it in this business? what have you done to get your name out? i love to write it helps my anxiety and helps when im having a bi polar moment. well good luck to you

Kim Ayres said...

I think you might have misread this post - it's actually saying how I'm NOT a writer. However, Khanh Ha is, so you might want to visit his blog :)

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