It’s about that time of year—end of Feb, beginning of March—when my promise to myself and commitment to start blogging and writing again in the new year comes crashing down around my ears.
There’s usually a range of reasons for this but they almost always have something to do with “real life” as opposed to “author life”.
However—and I know I say this every year—I’m determined that in this new decade, this year will be different.
The most difficult thing, for me, is finding something to write about. I’ve mentioned this before but it’s become very difficult to find things to write about over the last five years that isn’t going to alienate someone. And I know that makes me sound like a wimp—or a snowflake, to use the current terminology—for not wanting to upset—or ‘trigger’—anyone, but ultimately, I do this to promote myself as a writer, with the ultimate goal of selling more books. (Or, more accurately in 2020, getting more people to read my books via Kindle Unlimited).
And you’re not going to get more sales by upsetting potential readers.
The problem isn’t that I don’t hold strong views—I most certainly do—the problem is that in the ever increasingly toxic political climate in what can loosely be called “The West”, the ‘footballification’ of our society has reached such a state that no matter what opinion one expresses on no matter what topic, someone, somewhere is going to take offence at it.
So the best idea is probably to stick to writing about writing, but that can prove impossible when you’re not actually writing very much, if anything, new.
I suppose I could write about technique. Or character. Or story structure. But how interesting is that going to be your average reader who’s looking for their next naughty book?
It didn’t used to be like this. At the moment I’m reformatting Kissed by a Rose ahead of a re-issue as a self-publication via KDP and it’s fascinating to note how ‘dated’ some aspects of a story which is set in 2008 feels.
Mobile phones, for example. There’s an incident in the book that causes one character to comment that another character doesn’t have a camera on their phone.
Can you remember the last mobile you had that didn’t have a camera? This book is set just twelve years ago, but already the tech they talk about feels like something from the dark ages. Like the ‘state of the art’ hand-held video camera that can record an hour of ‘HD’ video onto a memory card instead of a tape. Wow! Today, you’d just whip out your phone.
If you cast your mind back to the heady days of 2008—before the financial crash and before Obama was elected US President even—the world felt like a much, much different place than it is now.
This is a line of thought that leads towards the post on Twitter that I’ve been working on but have postponed for a while. Simply put, the world just isn’t as ‘nice’ a place as it used to be and too many people are too quick to anger—particularly at people that they see as being on the ‘other side’. That’s the “footballification” effect. Everyone has to be on one ‘side’ or the other. Cheering for one ‘team’ or the other.
Of course, the other thing that’s happened over the last five years or so is that my views have changed. I’ve ‘mellowed’, I guess. They say you drift more to the Right politically as you get older, but I’m drifting more to the left—well towards the centre—as I age.
Or maybe it’s that I’ve not moved all that much but the country around me has lurched to the right? I don’t know. That’s a topic for a different day.
I do hope that 2020 is the turning point. I hope that we come out the other side of the first half of the third decade of this century and wonder what the hell we were collectively smoking in the second half of the second decade that made us all so angry with everything and at everyone.
But, deep down, if I’m honest, I think things are probably going to get worse before they get better.