Archive for March, 2014

Job hunting!

Posted: March 19, 2014 in writing
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This weeks post is not so much about writing, but instead about what else is happening in my world. I am ensconced in a frantic job hunt. I need a new job as mine is under threat of redundancy. Not a happy place to be with two six month old babies’. I apply for many, get the traditional reply of ‘Due to the amount of applications, if you don’t hear from us by ???, etc etc.’ this response infuriates me greatly, although I can understand why. Still, the personal touch seems to have evaporated and now it’s all about sight unseen. I am in a difficult position, although I have two degrees, a undergraduate and postgraduate, I actually am qualified to do absolutely nothing! If anyone asks my advice about University then here it is, do a degree that provides a profession! Engineering, law, medicine for example. Don’t follow your heart and do History! Does not get you very far. My other problem is I am 35 years old, I am too old to be accepted to retrain, and ironically, too young. I am in a grey area of age between those that get additional funding to get into work, I.e. The under 25’s, I am too young to get additional funding to retrain as I have been in a long job and industry has changed, I.e. 50+. So where am I? What help do I get to try to find a decent, enjoyable job that utilises my mental prowess? I will tell you what help is available, none what-so-ever!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining or moaning, or finding excuses. I am not saying that I should walk into my dream job, I’m just saying, please don’t ignore me because I am not in assisted brackets of age, sex, ability or lack thereof! I appreciate that this is public and a future employer could theoretically find and read this blog so here is what I really want to say in an application letter!

Dear Sir,

My name is Peter and I am the best candidate you have never employed! Not only am I educated and intelligent but i am the hardest working individual currently seeking employment. I work hard, I work until the job is done, I am diligent, checking , rechecking, providing the highest quality output.

I realise that my choices in the past have moved me away from areas I am interested in, but appreciate that I have done so to keep the lights on and a roof over my head and now to keep food in my babies tummies. My choices have been out of necessity and do not give an accurate reflection of who I am or what I am capable of! I need a chance, I need a breakthrough and an opportunity to prove myself, I know you would not be disappointed!

I am constantly trying to improve myself, learning, adapting, making myself better. I would not have applied to you if I could not do the job, I would not have applied to you if I was under or over qualified, I have applied to you because I know that I could be beneficial to your company and also beneficial to me!

I really am the best person you have not employed, I am not too old or too young, I have a great deal to give, I have a great deal to learn but my mind is a hungry sponge eager to soak up knowledge. The safe path is not always the most rewarding, we strive to explore new things, make new discoveries. I am one such untried path. Be brave, take a risk!

Yours faithfully

An optimist!

That is what i want to say, maybe one day I will. But, for now at least, I shall continue to offer a solid, standard letter. Wish me luck in my search for employment nirvana!


The past week has not been a good one for me. Firstly, the competition Shortlist was announced, I was not on it. They, in their wisdom, selected seven female writers, who all sound like they have written similar stories. This was expected but does not take away the feeling of rejection. I have had time to think about the competition, I have laid awake at night analysing what, if anything, I could have done different. As we had no feedback, or know any of the genres selected, it is difficult. I have come to this conclusion! My work was not what they were looking for! For all they say they were looking for a good read, they were also looking for a guaranteed money vehicle. This is ok! A sci-fi techno thriller in the vein of Micheal Crichton, with a Clive Cussler-esque action feel probably was not what they were after. Never mind! My lesson learnt was one rejection does not make my work worthless, just pitched at the wrong audience!

Which brings me to the depressing news that my story, my brainchild, my tale is not as unique as I once thought. I read the sci-fi magazines each month and eagerly opened my copy of SFX to see a report on the first details of Christopher Nolan’s new film, Interstellar. My heart sank, a tear hit my eye as I saw my plot laid out before me. There are differences, instead of the world running out of fossil fuels it is running out of food, instead of an Air Force pilot it is a farmer as the main protagonist. OK so there is probably enough differences to make it viable. Still with the week I had it was the last straw! I am not a confident writer at the best of times, I often feel that my work is just not good enough and need a lot of reassurance from others, much to the annoyance of my partner! I second guess, question my ability, and worry. This worry often overtakes my concentration and as a result I get nothing done. I spiral, I doubt which leads to worry which leads to doubt etc… This is my curse!

So, what can I do! Well, a group from the competition and I started a writers group on Facebook. Writers United has become a hotbed of advice and support as well as writing practice and a chance to have work critique by eyes that are new to the work and have no pre-disposition to be kind or blow smoke up my backside (not that anyone else does). So that has been great, but what else? Well I will enrol on to a creative writing course in April, to develop and help. Also, and I say this at the end I need new employment! The axe will soon fall in my current position, although I lament my job, I don’t want it to end until I have something else. Oh well! I was rejected in the competition and I feel I have been rejected at work due to economic circumstance. But, I am trying to be philosophical, it is not rejection it is redirection!

Never give up!

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Well, it has been a very tense week-end. Promises of announcement of the Search for a Bestseller Shortlist has made me a very nervous man. I am not alone, through Facebook and Twitter I have connected with several other aspiring novelists who all shared in the anxiety. The list, as I write this, has not yet been announced yet I am resigned to the fact that I have not made the cut. Which is fine, it is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of my work, rather a reflection on the tastes and subjective view of the judges who, after all, are looking for the most saleable, commercially viable work. Although, I feel that my work appeals to everyone, a bit of everything, I understand that the judges may not agree. They only had 12000 words and a synopsis on which to judge my work an I am the first to admit that it has a sleepy start. Hey Ho! Not to worry, I have learnt a lot about the industry and myself during the process.

What have I learnt? Well I have learnt that just because one panel of judges don’t like my work, or don’t think it’s suitable, does not mean it is not good enough. After all, they are targeting a very specific audience and my novel may not fit into that audience. My story may be a better fit with a different publisher. I have learnt a lot about myself, I have learnt that I am determined, despite a small set back I will continue, I will finish the work. It is a story worth telling, a story that interests those who have read it and a story I want to see completed, and who knows, it might do better in the future. I have learnt that I am doing well with disappointment. Even though it is not a confirmed rejection, yet, I am ok with it! I had said on previous posts that I am struggling with my creative mojo, today, with the pressure off, I feel calmer, my head is beginning to fire again. I am looking forward to a day of writing!

The biggest thing to come out of the weekend is the camaraderie that has been shown by the entrants. We have got together and started a Facebook group called ‘Writers United’. A place we can talk to like minded individuals with similar experiences. This has been amazing and is proving a popular place to sound off and support each other. It is not restricted to contestants to the competition, so if you are a writer, published, unpublished or just thinking about it, come and join us! The banter is good, the support fantastic.

So, I shall not give up! My approach is simply this, with and enthusiast hop I face the world and cheerfully say “What’s next!”