bluebeard

Two things:

Originally published at PeterCHayward.com/blog. You can comment here or there.

Two things today. Firstly, my morning sucked.

I had a dream that my father and two of my closest friends died, and had no idea it was a dream. Quite often I’m a bit self-aware while I’m sleeping; I can tell that it’s not reality, and sometimes I can even control the dream.

Not last night. I was there with my family as we dealt with my father’s death. I was uncontrollably sobbing at the waste of my two friends’ lives. I was raw and trying to work out what it meant and blaming myself and not coping.

And then I woke up, and for the first time in years, it took almost a minute for me to work out that it wasn’t a dream.

I lay there for the next hour, trying to work out what I wanted to do with this second chance at hanging out with my father, of getting to see my friends. That dream changed me, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

And then our security system inexplicably went off.

I got up and turned the power off (the only way to disable the security system for reasons too long to list here) and was going to go hang out washing and other fascinating household tasks, but Sarah Jane wanted cuddles, and so I returned to bed and went back to sleep.

Until 12:30.

It’s been a hell of a morning.

Thing 2: I don’t know how common this is, but I have to remember to be good at something.

When I lived in Brisbane, I was taking an improvised theatre class, and we were learning how to improvise songs. I got up, and had a below-average attempt.

I sat down, and thought “Wait a second…I’m good at this!” – I’d been improvising songs for several years at that point, as part of an old stand-up comedy routine I used to do.

But with all the rules and the lessons and the general mentality of “you are new and won’t be good at this to begin with” I’d forgotten that I actually had skills in that area. Toward the end of the class, I volunteered to go again, and sang a country song about my dog.

It was, in all modesty, excellent.

The power was in me all along, I just had to believe remember.

I’ve been writing erotica for fun for a few years now, and publishing on Kindle for just over 3 months.

In all that time, not once have I remembered that I’m a good writer.

The erotica thread that I frequent is quite playful at times, and today two of the best writers on there tag-teamed a piece about letting go. It’s magnificent, really draws you in, and is not at all erotic. (unless you have extremely unusual proclivities when it comes to erotica)

Reading it, I thought “Wow.” Then I thought “I wish I could write like that.”

Then I thought “Wait a second, I can write like that.”

I’m possibly not as good as those two, but I’m actually quite a good writer. I’ve been honing my skills for well over 10 years, and been officially recognised as “quite good”. But my brain has been going “erotica? That doesn’t deserve your A-game. You are new at this. Just get words on paper, publish, and repeat.”

There may be a very good reason I’m not selling as well as I want to. That reason may be that I’m an idiot.

So here’s my public vow: as of today, I’m going to start writing better. I’m going to start writing well. I’m going to give my erotic writings my A-game, and see if that affects sales.

I suspect that even if it doesn’t, I’ll suddenly start enjoying it a lot more, and work will suddenly stop feeling quite so much like work. I’ll be writing something of quality, and isn’t that reward enough*?

*the answer is no. I need money if I want to keep doing this.

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