What I’m Doing in July 2018

[post status: a brief life update]

When  Walking on Custard came out in 2015 (aside: I cannot believe that was three  years ago! What on EARTH is happening to the flow of time?!), I needed some sort of online home.

I considered all kinds of wild, imaginative ideas, like interactive websites which would act as companions to the book, somehow procedurally generating both entertainment and life advice…

… but in the end I realised that simplicity was definitely the best option in this case. So I set up this basic WordPress site, and voila: a place where I can muse about anxiety and life without having to put in much effort.

A simple blog that exists is better than an all-singing, all-dancing web experience that doesn’t.

And this place has served its purpose well!

I’m constantly surprised at how many people manage to stumble into my little corner of the internet, AND at how many of those people bother to send me lovely emails about articles which resonated with them. (They can’t ALL secretly be my mum, right?!)

Anyway…Now that my new book is nearly finished (I’ll be sharing more on this soon, in case you haven’t heard already!), I’m starting to think about improving my online home.

I’m still planning to keep this blog as a hub for all my mental health and happiness-related musings, but I’d like to use some (not all!) of those more imaginative ideas I abandoned all those years ago.

And so, in between making the final edits to the novel (argh, please send help!), I’m coding a whole new website from scratch. There’ll be some fun collaborative games for visitors to play, and I have plans to gradually expand it as the years go by and future books and other projects get released.

(I also have some ludicrously ambitious ideas around interactive augmented reality phone experiences, but those might need to wait a lot, lot longer.)

What else am I doing?

Honestly, those two projects could easily expand to fill 100% of my time, but in keeping with my earlier post, I’m also taking steps towards finding some awesome, inspiring and satisfying regular work to add to my mix of activities.

And somehow I’m also juggling my social life and all my regular weekly or monthly work commitments, AND enjoying the heatwave here in the UK.

Why am I telling you all this?

Really, I’m not. This post is to tell myself. I’ve been feeling frustrated by my apparent lack of progress, but when I sat down this morning to analyse what I’m doing, I realised I’m actually taking great steps forward towards many of my goals at once.

Lots of these goals require a long wait for the payoff – I can confirm that writing a novel is the absolute worst way to receive short-term gratification – but there will be a payoff eventually.

And whether it’s a new website, a new novel, a new work situation or something else, I’m not far off several large payoffs at once.

Since I’m committed to sharing these frustrations rather than bottling up, I thought I’d quickly post about it. Most of the time we just see the end results of other people’s work: their new book, their new abs, their new yacht*, or whatever.

I don’t actually have any friends who own yachts but I’m very open to acquiring some, so feel free to get in touch…! 😉

But reaching any goal requires an investment, and I want to share some of my investment at this stage. In a few months (hopefully), I’ll be posting about the new book, the new site, the new work, and I’ll be able to look back at today and think “there was a time it felt that I’d never make it to this day, but I did”.

And hopefully next time I’ll remember more easily, and get better still at just putting one foot in front of the other and making my way towards where I want to be.

Hope you’re having a lovely summer!

2 thoughts on “What I’m Doing in July 2018

  1. Dear Neil, I have been following your blog only for a few weeks now and I keep getting surprised by how much things you write resonate with my own struggles. I have been dealing with anxiety and depression for most of my life and have been trying to get back on my feet from a burn-out last year. After a year now I feel more stable but now I start getting frustrated with the ups and downs, the days with low motivation and only half a brain, and my seemingly inability of really committing to new projects. Having said that, I am successfully getting my blog out once a week and for some time I have been excersing in the morning which I manage to do on at least 5 days of the week. So, maybe as usual I am too hard on myself. What I don’t seem to get any closer to is an idea what I can do to earn my living (currently my husband is providing that and I’m the housekeeper). But today I thought I will get there eventually, that I am already on my way. And here I read your blog and the last passage just fits my thoughts so extraordinarily. Thanks, it helps so much knowing I am not alone with this crap. One foot after the other, so right!

  2. Hi Neil and Martina, this is to both of you.
    Like you, Martina, I have fought anxiety, low self esteem and depression all my life and am part of a family unit to which I do not contribute in monetary terms.
    Notice my careful and specific words?
    I contribute, in major ways, and so, most likely do you, Martina. Just reverse engineer things a bit. Look at what would not happen, or what might, if you were not doing your bit towards the family unit (even a couple is still a unit).
    Take some strength from that for a start. I know it doesn’t feel the same as if you were bringing in a salary, because, yeah, the salary is the only measure of a person’s worth (sic).
    If you and your husband can agree that you are a partnership, and that you each make it possible, in your own ways, for the partnership to thrive then some of your anxiety about not ‘earning your living’ might be assuaged and you could be more comfortable with yourself, and happier, easing tension around the home and reducing stress for both of you.

    If you really believe that you could and should ‘earn a salary’ then some discussion and agreement between you and your husband about ‘what will not be done because you won’t be there to do it’ seems fair.
    I have found that I put myself off committing to outside work (of whatever kind) because it will mean I will ‘not be there’ to do what I normally do day to day to keep things working in the home.
    I do not have any retired relatives or time-rich friends to help out and would have to pay someone else to do what I do indoors.

    So I seek part time work that will ‘fit’ with family duties, then when(if) I find it, the salary isn’t worth the candle, (travel time and costs included) and I feel trapped by my circumstances again. How will I get a decent job with nothing to put on a cv because I’ve had a 20-year career break to make a home for my family and bring up my children? (My/our decision, taken freely and not regretted, though obviously not a choice for everyone).

    Cutting a long letter short, I think it helpful to look at the family (partnership, whatever it comprises) like the royal family does, as The Family Firm.
    I am no royalist, but in this I think they have something, namely that everyone in it should bear it in mind that they all contribute in their own way to its survival and to its growth in health, wealth and happiness (attributes in no order of importance there). The queen could not do her job without the support of her husband, the household doing its job, the children and grandchildren giving her hope and security for the future.
    Don’t sell yourself short, basically, or turn criticism on yourself. Try and be proud of what you do for others, because it’s all important, sometimes it’s even all-important, even if it doesn’t get recognised or paid as it should be.
    When you can be proud of what you contribute, then you can feel more confident about your abilities and more able to make changes that benefit YOU as well as others. It’s not selfish, it’s healthy.
    Forgive my rambling, I’m talking as much to myself as I am to you guys.
    Good wishes to you both

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