I’m feeling my age at the moment and for someone who was born in the 1950s, that’s not surprising. I played golf for the third time in a year on Sunday (109 at Thornbury, if you must know) and I’ve had two utterly exhausting days at work, both of which saw me fall asleep as soon as I got home and, if last night is anything to go by, will give me another ravaged, angst-filled night of bad sleep. I’m well into the final quarter of my life. I need help.
Does anyone out there require someone who can write regularly and badly and pay them for it? Or rather, pay me for it? In the last three years or so, I’ve written over 3000 blogs, a book, a year writing for the admirable B24/7 magazine and Christ knows how many programme articles for the Bristol Rovers programme. And I am no nearer making a living at it than I was when I started. Addicted though I am to writing, my head is beginning to question whether it’s actually worth the effort.
My heart isn’t – yet – telling me to call it a day. Writing is the only thing I was any good at in school so it was always going to be writing or something I didn’t want to do. The latter always won out in the end. I took what little money I was offered and somehow made it to now.
Getting home this afternoon, it was all I could do to climb the stairs and flop on the bed, where I remained for an hour or so until a hungry cat clambered all over me demanding food. Having fed him and his two pesky friends, I found myself too tired to do anything else, including reading. What kind of life is that?
With most things in life, I tend to give my all. If I am working, I try to do the best I can, no cutting corners, no doing things by half. If someone has the good grace to pay me for my services, I won’t sell them short, even if I do end up taking home considerably less than the national minimum wage. It was the same when I played sports, it is the same with all my hobbies, it is definitely the same when I write. What you see is my best.
I know only too well the limitations with my writing. My stuff is always written by ‘feel’, I have no real understanding of the intricacies of grammar. Put simply, it’s not flawless. I do hope though that it’s interesting, even if the reader has to work hard to understand what the hell I am on about.
I know really that I will never achieve my ambition of writing for a living. I am finding it almost impossible to fit in time to write that difficult second book, not least because I am so mentally and physically tired for so much of the time, in a way I wasn’t when I was much younger. And being mental, by way of clinical depression, means the mood has to be just right.
How I wish I had more guidance as a child, adolescent and young adult. I might not be writing pitiful whinging blogs like this, wallowing in self-pity, wishing life’s rich pageant had taken me elsewhere. But there was no guidance. Just survival. Just getting by, still being here as I advance at top speed into old age.
I’m not sure if I carry the dream anymore, just the desire to write. There were times I thought it was going to happen for me, but when the dream arrived, it soon disappeared or was stolen.
Tonight’s blog isn’t very good because I am weary. Physically and mentally, knackered. Ideally, I would spend the rest of the week, if not the rest of the year, in a writer’s cottage somewhere in North Cornwall or North Devon, away from the madding and maddening crowds. I might even write something good.
Tonight, though, I just feel old and tired. And I am quite sad about that.