imageI’ve decided that 2015 is going to be my year; the one in which I do everything that I’ve been intending, imagining, talking about, planing and wishing for, for as long as I can remember. It’s going to be a busy year, like every other year – only with more arriving and accomplishing, less stagnating and stalling.

Instead of just working in isolation – sitting at home: writing, knitting, sewing and drawing; I will also be publishing, exhibiting, teaching and healing, stretching all of my skills to their full extent. I’m not a ‘one-trick’ pony, even though I’m inclined to feel like one; it’s time to ‘man-up’, defending my honour against everything and everyone that has (in the past) made me feel unworthy. I’m susceptible and weak by nature; permeable by design. The shield that protects those who are strong, fails to protect me. Like a mood that is delicate, my smile can be turned by a glance or shattered by a glare, my bounce stopped in mid-flow by a careless remark. Except for when my spines are up and I’m spitting like a cat, I’m vulnerable.

Step one in this ‘master’ plan is to transcribe my book, copying up the pages of handwritten text from the notebooks I have filled. Over the years I’ve bought, loved and completed many, spending a fortune in money and time; some years writing vicariously, others less so. For now, I’m sticking to last year and the book I’m calling: Writing the Monster out of my Head. It’s the book that saved me. Aimed at other writers and artists, as well as those who would consider themselves sensitive and pensive souls, it’s a story of trying and overcoming, an insight into the trials and tribulations of me.

Step two is to proof, edit and lay it out in a PDF; then to design a cover, write a dedication and export it as an ebook file.

Step three is to upload it to Apple and Amazon, for sale over the internet.

Step four is to market myself and sell as any copies as I can, trying to get local and national support along with recognition and praise.

Step five is to offer a hard copy option so that those who are tactile, who want to hold, smell and touch it, can: nothing quite beats the old way, even in this modern world; some things need to be treasured, respected, kept. I have boxes of books in storage; they are among my most prized possessions. Reading the titles on a shelf, back when I had one to gloss over, transported me back: 2, 4, 7 – Spot, Meg and Mog, The Wind in the Willows; 13, 14, 17 – Watership Down, Forever, Wuthering Heights; 21, 22, 23 – The Great Gatsby, The Bell Jar, Ovid; 30, 31, 34 – Beloved, The Bloody Chamber, Cloud Atlas, etc. So many adventures, so many experiences, so much knowledge… so many highs and lows. Books have kept me company throughout my life. I hold them amongst my closest allies.

Book down, we move on – to my poetry, prose and art. It’s high-time I got all of it out, there’s enough, and I’ve been sitting on it for years; a lot of it has never even seen the light, what with my writing it before the advent of the internet and the existence of blogs. I submitted it to various publications and managed a degree of success, but then, like so many others, I gave up – when the rejection letters outnumbered the acceptance forms and the money paid by publishers to secure copyright for first print failed to cover the postage and submission costs. It was same with competitions; I ended up spending a fortune, earning a pittance in return. I knew it was hard to earn a living as a writer, I did my research, but I never knew it was that hard and that painful. I think my average income over the span of five years was £30, which isn’t bad when you consider that most payments were in the region of 30 pence. Still, it’s not very many coffees; I spend more than that on securing my writing space each week.

At the same time, along the lines of income and earning some, enough to boost my self-esteem and confidence, there’s revision and study: polishing up on my EFT and Matrix Reiprinting, extending my skills in Reiki, gaining a certificate in Meditation, joining a practice group or groups, finding a room to practice out of, buying a massage bed for use with clients, and seeing actual clients themselves. I also need to work out what I want to offer, who I want to offer it to and how many hours a week I want to work. These answers will come along the way, growing as I grow, solidifying as I become.

I’m sure there are other things… But for now: the above is enough.

So as not to be all talk and no action: I’ve placed two ads on a freelancing site and been in talks with those who have submitted proposals. I’m looking for a template designer and a transcriber, ideally in the UK. I’ve started typing up my notebooks, too, in case I struggle to find someone I can afford and trust: there’s a lot of text and hourly rates are higher than I would like.

On a different thread, I’ve also applied to volunteer at a homeless shelter and am hoping to work there several days a week. And I’ve committed to a Reiki training programme starting at the end of January. A day shy of the new year, this isn’t bad.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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