It was close to a year ago, at the 2012 Digital Parents Conference, that I announced I’d be taking several months from blogging to write my fourth novel Waxy Flexy. In that same speech I also revealed a bit about my approach to writing about the personal, a tad about my more unusual writing habits, a smidgeon about mine and RM’s sexual habits, and also about the time I pissed into my Nana’s shag carpet (followed by a very pregnant pause to hint at the possibility of some bottled emotion). You can watch the speech right here –
I’m proud to say that I got the first draft of Waxy Flexy finished by August 2012, despite it being the most stressful year of my entire life. In that year we had our fourth and final baby – Maki – rebuilt our house and moved in and out of the in-laws. I also spent some long harrowing weeks avoiding a vasectomy that turned out to be a walk in the park, developed a disturbing thrill from the zing you get while chewing foil, published some articles in online and print mags, started wearing Bonds boxer shorts over my jeans and kept writing my guts out in one form or another whether that be short stories, novels or blog posts for reservoirdad.com and others. All while cleaning the house and raising four boys of course.
The novel is currently in the hands of my agent Kylee Doust in Italy. I expect it to come back to me glowing red with suggested changes and edits. There will still be a lot to do. And, as always, there’s a very strong chance it will never be picked up by a publisher. Becoming a published novelist is harder than ever, regardless of a writer’s skill and effort and more than ever having an active social media network is crucial to getting a contract (more on that at the end of this post).
To that end I’ve started writing a monthly article for Writing Novels In Australia which was founded by Steve Rossiter (Australian Publishing’s answer to the Energizer Bunny). My first article was published yesterday and reads like an extension on the Digital Parents speech, with writing sessions stretching into the early mornings, the trialling of new stimulants and losing my freaking mind. Here’s a snippet –
I was getting up at 5:30am most mornings and getting to bed at midnight at the earliest. I was living with my in-laws and suffering through setback after setback on the building of our new house. I had given up a five day a week gym habit and was only eating dinner if there happened to be time between the kids falling asleep and my 8.30pm start writing time. I lost a lot weight. My jeans only stayed up if I folded the waist over a little and I had bags under my eyes.
One of the characters in my novel appeared to me randomly, usually daily. Once, when I’d found the rare opportunity for a daytime nap, Charles Livings – the catatonic schizophrenic and antagonist in Waxy Flexy – was sitting on the end of my bed.
‘You should be writing,’ he said. ‘Be careful…’
You can read the rest of the article by following the link below this post but before you go I’d like to appeal to your soft side. You must be feeling just a tad sorry for me right now – what with the pissing in the shag carpet, the craziness, the 80s music obsession (yes, even Air Supply) the years of effort with no publishing contract, that fact that I am almost 40 and have slightly longer eyebrows than I used to (fucking gross I know).
If you could wipe away your tears and visit my Writing Novels In Australia article, leave a comment there and share it around, you will help create the illusion of a great underground following and it would assist my publishing goals to no end.
To pay you back I’ll… I don’t know… make another dance video? And be your best friend.
Read the full article – Finishing The First Draft