Breaking Out

First things first, whenever I achieve something as a writer, it has to be publicised here pretty damn quickly.

With that in mind, I’d just like to say that my story ‘Expedited’ was picked up by The Other Stories podcast and released as their latest episode. I’ve been really fortunate to have Josh Curran read my work again, this dude really lands my stories every time he reads them. He’s a great talent.

The story is about a delivery driver who takes a fancy to some of the parcels he’s delivering but soon realises that there’s a reason curiosity is something we warn our children about…

Away from celebrating getting a story on my favourite fiction podcast, there’s been a lot of real work going on. By that I mean, arse in chair and fingers on keys. Today I reached the 60k word count on my latest project, tentatively titled Rangers.

As with the other recent books I’ve written, this one has really flown by. For me, first drafts are about getting the structure of the book down correctly. Getting the key events in the right order and going from there. Much changes between the first and second drafts but that rarely involves the structure of the book. It’s more to do with characterisation or dialogue. If nothing else, by the end of my first drafts, the skeleton of the story is there. To my mind, that’s the hardest work done.

But completing books isn’t enough. Not really.

In 2020, I started and completed Lionhearts which is now out in the real world trying to find a home. I started and abandoned Static at 40k words deep. I’m now 60k deep into Rangers. One thing I can honestly say is that I have a hunger to write. I complete things. I am a writer.

But so far, I’ve fallen short with getting the book out there.

My 2018/19 project Nobody Wins is in good shape. Beta readers liked it and there was some agent interest that ultimately ended in disappointment – to be clear, not rejection but something much worse – inertia.

Lionhearts is complete. The book is fierce and honest and uncomfortable to read. What it needs now is a home. An agent to nurture it. A publisher that adores it. The search for those things is exhausting and upsetting and time consuming although hopefully (please Jesus) worth it. But if it comes to nothing, I know I have a great book to take to indie publishers or to bring to market myself.

And that’s when it hit me.

It’s 2020 (as if we could forget the year of the plague). The world is at our fingertips. Technology not only makes things possible, it makes them prevalent. There’s no stigma to getting things out there yourself anymore. Hell, it’s almost an indictment on me that I haven’t tried it yet. What the hell have I been doing?

There’s no better time to make things happen for yourself.

Let that sink in because I am right now.

One of the things that has held me back for years is waiting for permission. Who from? Why? I’m not sure I can answer these questions.

We write to get our stories off our chests. We write to get the stories out of our minds and into the eyes of readers. To share the joy or fear or tension that drove us to create in the first place. Without this final output can we ever be complete as writers? Without eyes on our work, does it even exist? I doubt I’m clever enough to answer such an existential question but I do know where this is going.

I need to publish.

Novels serve no purpose on my hard-drive. Without being out in the world, the words are empty.

Starting soon, things are going to change.

Short stories, podcasts, novels. They’re all coming.

It’s time to not only create but to publish.