Welcome to my digital home. Don’t be surprised if it changes from one visit to the next, I like to redecorate.
I am a creative type. I’ve been described as scaterbrained, restless, even reckless and impulsive, both in my personal and work life.
Although I am a writer, I have trouble focusing on one thing to write about. I get bored with projects, and tend to jump from one shiny new toy to the next. I learn fast, so I tend to end up knowing quite a bit about a lot of things. I have a good analytical mind, and have often heard the phrase, ‘you’re the first person who’s ever said that,’ by people who are experts in their fields.
What I’ve never been able to do is find ‘that one thing.’ You know, the thing Curly talks about in City Slickers. The one thing you were put on Earth to do. The single activity, interest, passion or cause that lights up your life and makes everything make sense. The elusive niche.
In fact, although I didn’t realise it until today, never having come across the word, it turns out I’m a classic multipotentialite. I did well in all subjects at school, had numerous extracurricular interests, struggled with career choices and always felt a little misplaced.
I ended up dropping out of university because I couldn’t choose a subject, and opted for American Studies, only to find it tediously boring. In my career, I bounced from telesales, retail and secretarial work to hire counter sales and working as a prison librarian before being pensioned off at the grand old age of 26.
I returned to college at age 35, not because I wanted a new career, but because I wanted to learn something frivolous and fun. I trained as a florist and ended up owning a flower shop for about a year, before closing it after the credit crunch. It simply hadn’t been established long enough to survive the sudden economic downturn, it was in a lousy location, and if I’m brutally honest, it was getting boring.
In 2009, not long after closing the shop, I walked out on my life and started again. Still with major health issues, and living in a city where the only person I knew was my new partner, I knew I was unemployable in the traditional sense. So, I set about building my own job.
I started writing for content mills, selling 500 word plus articles for a couple of dollars apiece, and sharing in advertising revenues on sites like Helium and Triond. It was a tough apprenticeship, but within a few months, I was earning a few hundred dollars a month, mainly due to writing for back end clients on Helium.
Then I started publishing books. The main success I’ve had in that area to date is the book Economic Food Storage Strategies for Disaster Survival, written under the pseudonym Sandy Gee, which has sold thousands of copies. It spent over 6 months in the Amazon bestseller charts before dropping, and still bounces in and out occasionally when it’s on a special offer or promotion.
I run the writepublishpromote.com website, and own a few other domains. I work for a few private clients. I write books with my partner Alan. And still, I bounce from project to project, wonder what that ‘one thing’ is for me. What am I ‘supposed’ to be doing? What could I do now, that I will be happy doing for the next twenty or thirty years?
I love writing. That has never changed, and probably never will. But do I want to spend my life writing about writing? I’m not sure. I love being able to help new authors take a book concept and turn it into an outline. I love editing and gently (or not so gently in some cases) pointing out changes that need to be made. I like helping people find their voice, express themselves and embrace creative freedom.
I like formatting books for publication, both print and kindle (I know, most hate it.) I love typography, right down to faffing with the kerning and line spacing of a page to create the perfect book interior with no widows and orphans, AND a tidy footline. I don’t believe it’s an either/or compromise. It can be done, even in Word, if you know how and have the patience to work through a manuscript page by page. I even like fighting the EPub standards to create a good looking file that doesn’t have the validator throwing a wobbly.
But I also know 2 things that make me hesitant to pitch myself as a book formatter:
1) It quickly gets tedious. Especially when working with clients who have unrealistic expectations, poor manners and move the goalposts.
2) Most new authors have a zero budget. Period. Not just a zero budget for interior book formatting, which they seriously underestimate. Zero budget for editing in many cases. Even for cover design.
So, can I see myself formatting books and eBooks for 30 years? Probably not. At least, not as my main focus.
I love baking. I love crochet. I love painting, singing, walking, foraging and camping. I’m not sure I love any of these things enough to make them the focus of my life.
I am agnostic, not because I am not sure whether there is a God/higher being/creator but because I don’t believe it matters one way or the other. If the only reason not to do something hateful is the fear of punishment, there is something fundamentally wrong. If organised religion promotes hatred and violence, there has to be a better way. Doing right is its own reward; something you only learn by doing right with no expectation of compensation or fear of reprisal.
I am sickened by violence, bigotry and hatred. Yet I believe everyone has the right to an opinion, to hold their own beliefs and to practice their faith to the extent such practice does not infringe on the same right of someone else.
So, while I have quite strong beliefs about right and wrong and matters of faith, and have taken the time to read several religious texts, I’m never going to be one of the flock. And just as I could never be religious, I could never join the ranks of the atheist. Trying to prove the nonexistence of something other people believe in just feels like a waste of time and effort.
At base, I’m just another person trying to make sense of life. I hope we find some common ground, that I have something of use and interest to share with you, and that you enjoy my company, my work and find value in my ideas. If not, I wish you all the best on your journey.
Until we meet again,