My ‘author year’.

Writer’s diary: stardate: 26.06.2014

Less than two years into my self-publishing adventure, and already I have established my ‘author year’. And why not? Other walks of life have the calendar year, the financial year, the fiscal year, the budget year, the sporting year and the academic year, for examples.

My ‘author year’ runs from September 1st to June 31st. Because I said so. And I’m in charge. Decisions have to be made and the buck stops with me.

First week of July we are heading back to the UK for the summer for the holidays. And if the weather can manage what we had last summer it will be another wonderful break, I’m sure. If you have never been to Dymchurch beach on a fine summer’s day you’ve missed something special.

In the UK my home is a two minute walk from the beach. Perfect for my three year old boy to commute to and play safely on.

Here is a snap from last year if you don’t believe me. (It’s worth clicking on it for the full-screen effect.)

Halcyon days in The Children's Paradise.

Halcyon days in The Children’s Paradise.

I won’t be hauling my laptop with me because that might tempt me to try to find time and space to write. I want to write. I love writing. I will miss writing. But I also want to enjoy my holiday with my family. If I take my laptop there will be a temptation and I don’t want the conflict to threaten my family holiday. Don’t forget I also have a day job; I need a break from everything, too. (There is no regular Internet connection for me back home, but I’ll try to keep up with correspondence on my trips with the ipad to Wi-Fi zones.)

I anticipate doing a lot of reading. There is a charity bookshop in Dymchurch which always has shelves of good and reasonably priced paperbacks for sale. How I’ve missed browsing bookshops. I anticipate long mornings reclining on the golden sands in The Children’s Paradise under the sea wall enjoying the sun and a good ‘real’ book while my son amuses himself on the beach.

This last ‘author year’ I self-published two books. Bad Sons and A Dog’s Life. I’ve also written the third in my Acer Sansom series, Smoke & Mirrors. I won’t get that out now until I return to Istanbul. It would have been good to, but it’s not ready, it needed extra work and still needs more. One of the great things about being a self-publisher is that there are no deadlines. When it’s ready and I’m happy, I’ll click publish. My apologies to any who were perhaps looking forward to this title for a summer read, but I’m sure you understand.

I’ve made a good start on the second B&C but I’m going to have to shelve it until I return. I had hopes of at least finishing the first draft before we head home but I forgot to factor in the World Cup to my ‘author year’. Watching three matches a night in my time zone is taking its toll on my creativity and energy. Again, it’s a choice and one I’m happy to make.

My realistic predictions for the next ‘author year’ are not particularly encouraging, but it’s best to face up to them and get used to them rather than live in denial. That won’t be helpful, and life can be tough enough without creating additional pressures for oneself.

I start at a new school in September. I’ve walked to work for the last five years and that’s been worth its weight in gold to me as an author and a human being. The new job is an hour’s commute away…by bus. The fact that I’ve done that to my working day is a reflection of how bitterly disappointed I have been with the new administration at my ‘old’ school this year. I’m leaving behind some wonderful colleagues and brilliant students. I’m also leaving behind a position and routine that provided me the opportunity to find time to write. I don’t anticipate that at my new school I’ll find half the time I had here.

Those familiar with this blog will know that I started writing when I came to Turkey five years ago. I’ve written eight books while I’ve been working at this school. (Not during lessons, of course, I mean in my time here.) I can still remember banging away on the first Acer Sansom – the first book I wrote – on the school computer, which kept crashing, in the old staffroom in my free periods. Before I started carrying my laptop to school every day I was always trying to find a computer that worked to practice my hobby. There probably isn’t a computer here that doesn’t have a chapter or two of something I’ve written on its hard-drive. I feel quite nostalgic about the technology here, which is quite appropriate seeing as most of it is from another age.

On top of my new working life, my son is growing up – he was three this week – and becoming  more demanding. Like Elton sang about Mars, Istanbul is not a place to raise your kids. We live in an apartment, which, like most apartment blocks in Istanbul has no play area or garden to speak of. The nearest park to us is a twenty minute speed-walk away. My usual routine is to come in from work, put his reins on him and go there for an hour or two each evening after school. (Coming from a rural area, I can’t bear to think of him not having the space and opportunity for outside play in his day.) This coupled with my new commute, I can see myself getting less time to write at home in the evenings and weekends. I won’t ignore my parental responsibilities with him just so that I can write. I wouldn’t want to. It’s a choice I’m happy to make.

This will be my last blog-post for the ‘year’. That’s something else I won’t be killing myself over while on holiday.

I’d like to take this seasonal opportunity to offer my sincere and heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all my readers for their interest, downloads and support of my writing. It’s worth repeating: writers are nothing without readers. I’d also like to say a public and huge thank you to Martin, my gentleman friend, who has worked with me on the Acer books, the fourth R&M and the B&C. Through his diligent proofreading and editorial suggestions my writing has achieved a much more polished and professional finish – absolutely necessary as a self-publisher if one is to continue to attract readers and maintain their interest.

Have a great summer everyone and I look forward to further communication with you all next ‘year.’

8 thoughts on “My ‘author year’.

  1. Hi Oliver,
    Writers should not marry, have kids or a full-time job. We should be loners who live a solitary life-style in some remote area where there is no phone, and just paper and pens for company. But life isn’t like that, and I really feel for you as I’ve been through the same turmoil. I gave up writing altogether for many years and I regret that now. But you have been relatively successful, so even if you only put out one book every two years it’s better than nothing. We all have to decide what is important in our lives, and there is nothing more important than family, especially when our kids are young. It sounds to me a break is needed, but not a full amputation. So, have a good holiday with your wife and son, and go back to Turkey refreshed. And congratulations on your new post.
    Kinds regards and my best wishes.

    • Hi Pat.
      A great comment as always. The writer’s life you describe would suit me just fine, I think. Maybe we could add beer in there…and wine…and good coffee and someone to do the housework and cook my meals.
      The school children all left two weeks ago, but the ‘system’ here demands that teachers go to school every day at the normal times, do nothing for eight hours and go home…for two weeks. Bonkers! However, for me it’s perfect. I have a quiet room off the ‘library’ with a desk and a window and my laptop and Internet. I have spent two weeks tucked away in virtual solitude living the life of an author. (They still provide hot free school meals at lunch time and Starbucks is over the road.)
      I can’t imagine that I’d cease writing. I enjoy it too much, but I can see my time for such being seriously curtailed next year. Just another challenge, I suppose. Where there’s a will and all that.
      Thanks for your good wishes for the summer. Much appreciated. Have a good one yourself.
      Best to you and yours.

      • Hi Oliver,
        Even though I’m retired my life is so full and you get to wonder how you fitted in everything when teaching full-time. But, I have finished editing my third book – hooray – now agonising over the cover. And… I am about to become a – I just can’t bring myself to say it – a great grandmother, ouch. I now I have visions of everyone seeing me as a Miss Marple look-alike who doesn’t knit. But, if you look at my blog you will read I was shooting the rapids the other week, then last week laser-tagging with my grandson. I’m thinking about embarking on climbing with my youngest granddaughter. I may kill myself but what fun I’ll have doing it.
        Enjoy the summer, and if I was in that lonely house in a lonely spot with no telecommunications whatsoever, I would email a shopping list to M & S every week and have them deliver. They do a very good Pinot Grigio and Italian coffee.
        Speak soon.
        Have a good summer. Pat.

  2. Have a great holiday back here in the UK – weather report: cloudy with a chance of rain. I’m looking forward to your next release. Glad to hear you’re not wanting to rush 🙂

    Have a great holiday, who knows, the rest may spark some new ideas!

    • Thanks, Dan. I appreciate your comment. Maybe I should bring the laptop after all if it’s going to rain all summer. 😦
      As for the break being good for ideas, I’m reminded that last time I came home I got the ideas for Acer #3 and #4. 🙂
      Best wishes and have a good summer yourself.

  3. Enjoy your hols,your child, your wife and most of all, your life, Mr Oliver Tidy. As an avid (& avaricious) reader, I eagerly await the next R&M and B&C, however, NOT at the cost of either your happiness or your family’s…life is way too short as it is, and yes, we readers can wait. Albeit, not patiently, but will be here. Good things come to those who wait, etc.

    After all the reading pleasure you have given, I am happy to return the favor in some tiny way. Thank you, for being so dedicated thus far, and for providing hours of clever enjoyment. Have a lovely vacation in Children’s Paradise, savor the moments. We promise not to whinge,..well not too much.

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