Monday, 4 January 2016


New Year’s resolutions - what the hell is all that about? Okay, maybe not the chirpiest way to start 2016, but like many people I’m suffering from over-eating, over-drinking, and over-sleeping. The transition from a festive break to the first Monday back at work – even for me and my haphazard working from home schedule – is tough.

But hey, I’m here. And actually despite the fact that it’s been a constant stream of rain since November – that’s right Guns ‘n’ Roses it’s like you’ve never been away – these early stages of 2016 aren’t looking too bleak. At least not for me anyway.

Now to reiterate – I’m not a fan of resolutions. Resolutions for me are like concrete structures that look good on paper but in reality are nothing more than overbearing grey reminders of how much you have underachieved. You can try to keep it simple – like cut back on drinking, or give up chocolate, or do more exercise – but here’s the thing, the reason you’re putting these bold expectations on yourself in January is because you failed to fulfil your life improvement last year. I’m not saying in any way that you shouldn’t try – but be prepared to fail.

And what about those resolutions to be more happy, more positive? – basically the oath that says “hey you know what I’m not really inclined to make much physical effort, so I’ll generally try not to be an ass for fifteen minutes.” I might have subscribed to this in the past, but even cutting back on my general grumpiness feels too much like hard work and actually, as I look at 2016, I’ve got bigger things to do than work on unrealistic expectations…

…This year I’ve got realistic expectations to screw up.

The big plan I have only circles around the first months of the year too – meaning either I get to take the rest of the year off, or there’s even more excitement to come (probably the latter but let’s not get ahead of ourselves). And this big event – well it’s only the bloody re-release of The Running Game.

All my life I’ve been working on getting signed by a publisher and for the past eight months I’ve been waiting for The Running Game to finally be ready. And now it almost is. I’ve signed off on the layout, received my page count, all we need now is a date. We’ve hit some bumps along the way and maybe we’ll hit a few more before the month is out – but it’s so close and I can’t wait.

As a writer, The Running Game is very special to me. To start with I’m working the rest of the series – which means it still holds my attention. But it’s also one of the pieces I am most proud of. I’ve revisited it a number of times since self-publishing in 2013 and each time I’m inspired to push the series further.

Unlike a lot of authors, I don’t remember my work off by heart. I couldn’t quote you a passage off the top of my head and I use numerous notes to remember all the details of my backstories. When I flip back to past pages I worry that I’m going to discover how poor my writing is, or read a cringe worthy piece of dialogue that will force me to give up the pen altogether. It’s happened with other books, but never The Running Game. Whenever I return to those pages, in all their stages of editing, I’m happy. Now I’m not saying it’s awesome… actually I think that is what I’m saying. And I suppose I shouldn’t be afraid of singing its praises, because when I go back I don’t see my work – I see a book I love, which is what every author should be striving towards.

I’m usually a shy, self-deprecating author. I don’t like singing my praises and squirm a little on those rare occasions other people try to do it for me. But with The Running Game, and lots of coaching from the editors, books managers, and publishers I’ve worked with, I’ve learned that underselling my work is ruining its chance of success. And this book deserves every chance of success. So if I had to make a resolution… and by had to I mean: was forced at knife point… I would say that my resolution would be not to undersell my work and abilities. There we go – a lazy and unachievable resolution – what’s yours?

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