I finished and delivered my last book back in early June.
It’s a novella which Fahrenheitpress commissioned and are due to publish some time soon.
I then went off to Theakstons Old Peculier Crime festival in Harrogate and had the time of my life. While there I accidentally* pitched a standalone psych thriller I’ve had hanging around to an agent who asked me to send her something.
So I repolished the submission package and sent it off.
And those two posts rang so many bells with me. I'm not anxious because I hate all of this. I'm anxious because I want to be better, I am allowing the 'not good enough' voice I've had since childhood to overshadow the knowledge I have of late that I'm really fucking good at this stuff. (and typing that made me cringe; not because of the profanity - you know me by now, right? - but because saying it aloud - typing it even - wakes that voice up and i await the who-does-he-think-he-is?)
Then I had an idea for a new book. A new standalone. One that came almost fully fleshed out plotwise. I know what happens. I know what the book is about. I’m not entirely sure how to write it without making the plot twists obvious so I need to do some thinking.
I have another idea – for the next in my series – which is also exciting and almost fully formed and in fact my only issue should really be deciding which of these two to work on first.
Things should be tickety-boo.
And yet, of late, I’ve been – as the man in the chair in Drowsy Chaperone might have put it a little blue. “You know, a little anxious for no particular reason, a little sad that I should feel anxious at this age, you know, a little self-conscious anxiety resulting in non-specific sadness: a state that I call ‘blue.’”
I took sometime today to think it through and what I came up with was this: I’m tired. I’ve been writing or editing or planning or blogging or newslettering or tweeting or social media-ing or furiously hustling (and you ain't seen nothing til you've seen a short middle-aged Irish homosexual hustle furiously) for what seems like years, and it’s FUCKING EXHAUSTING.
But you probably knew this already.
Then I re-read the blogpost that Jay Stringer put up here a week or so ago, and the one that Dharma posted on Monday. Jay talked about doing this because you love it (and I’ve been very clear to people I’ve mentored that you’re very unlikely to be able to do this because it pays for your house in Capri and your apartment in Manhattan, so Love is at the very least an believable rationale) and I realised that I needed to be reminded of this more often.
And Dharma - whose post made me cry - talked about progress not perfection, about the fear of not being good enough, of impostor syndrome.
I feel obliged to have all of those things – the blog the newsletter the flashes and whizzbangs – and truth be told I enjoy having them and writing for them. But I don’t enjoy the craziness of doing a full time job (Up at 0530. On train at 0630. At my desk for 0730. Home again by 1900 and then spend some time with the husband before bed and repeat til death retirement or enough money to pay for that place in Capri and Manhattan) whilst hating myself for not having a more robust structure around my writing.
Today was the 2nd birthday of my third book “Death of a Devil” being first published, and I mentioned this fact on the aforementioned social media and was then advised that the book is “humane. Benevolent. Lovely. Inspiring. And yes, beautiful,” and reminded by my readers that they eagerly await the next book in the series, and any questions about what the point of doing this sort of went away.
So, if I love doing this and the rationale is not in order, why am I anxious of late? I think that the issue is less ‘why am I doing this?’ and more ‘how do I do this so it fits into - rather than banging against - my life?’
How I can make a more solid writing routine? I am a total binger and will happily spend all my spare time writing the book(s) but the other stuff needs to be done too and I think I need to include all of that into the plan so that it’s not just about carving out time to write but figuring out how much of the time I carve out will be writing, how much will be blogging / social etc.
I know some of us on here are way ahead of me on this road, so I would love to hear how you folks manage this. Hit me up (as da kids say**) in the comments.
(*the best type of pitch: I had no idea she was an agent; we were chatting; she was clearly a lover of books and of writing and asked what I was writing and I got really enthusiastic about this modern gothic thing I have and – because I’ve practiced it in my head so many times – went into pitch mode without even thinking about it. Well I say ‘best type of pitch’ but as I’m still awaiting her response I may be a little optimistic in that assessment. We’ll see.)
(**do Da Kids say that still? To be honest, I haven’t been a kid since the last century so what the fuck would I know? In fact, now I think about it, I'm pretty sure I wore tweed to my first communion so I suspect I’ve been in middle age since I was seven. Whatever, HMU in the comments.)
Love & Light
Derek Farrell is the author of 5 Danny bird mysteries. “Death of a Diva,” “Death of a Nobody,” “Death of a Devil,” and “Death of an Angel” can all be purchased from the usual e-stores or directly from the publisher here. The fifth, “Come to Dust,” is available exclusively as a free download from his website .
His jobs have included: Burger dresser, Bank teller, David Bowie’s paperboy, and Investment Banker on the 80th floor of the World Trade Centre.
He’s just delivered a sixth Danny Bird mystery and was going straight into a new book as otherwise he tends to fret. But, well, you've read the post above...
He’s often on social media and can be found at.
Twitter: @DerekIFarrell (twitter.com/DerekIFarrell)
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