I’m writing this post, partly to apologise (again!) for my lack of posts these last couple of weeks due to excessive travelling and being very busy indeed but also to inform you that this may well be my final post for a little while, perhaps even a very long while.
I know, right? It doesn’t seem to make any sense, literally just a few months after finally getting off my arse and launching a business page I’m now taking an undetermined hiatus.
Well, all I can say is that sometimes opportunities present themselves, we don’t always plan for them and we can’t always ignore them.
In this instance, I recently had the genius idea (though not a unique or original one) that TWO reasonably talented, very much of similar senses of humour but somewhat lacking in momentum writers would effectively make ONE whole good one.
As such, I’ve managed to convince a friend of mine (a much talented, yet still undiscovered, aspiring writer) to come and visit me for a week to discuss an exciting new writing collaboration and to use the time as a creative workshop to draft our first project, hopefully the first of many to come.
It took some doing but I can be pretty persuasive when I want to be. I presented a fairly compelling set of objectives which overall was difficult to argue with.
Basically, do you want to come and spend a week here having shits and giggles whilst we labour under the general misapprehension of actually being adults and getting on with some professional, creative work?
Here are some snippets of how it all came about:
Me: (after a sizeable amount of preamble….naturally!)
Anyway, the main point of my writing to you with a sense of sheer compelling urgency is that I genuinely think there is something potentially fabulous to be explored in a writing collaboration.
Imagine if we wrote something funny, endearing, relatable and it went stellar.
Imagine how both our lives could change with just one best selling novel….. imagine a whole series of them!!!!
I know it must sound all sorts of ridiculous to you, especially as you haven’t had a moment to even think about it but I’m getting bored talking myself out of things before I’ve even given them a go and none of us are getting any younger.
It’s easy to say. “Nah, that will never work” or “it will never come to anything” but why not? Other people collaborate. Other people get books published. Some are really shit and they still get published.
Why couldn’t we, with our similar sense of humour and our combined ambition to write something
…….. write a really good, relatable novel?
Anyway, at the risk of utterly embarrassing myself if I continue to gush, I will leave you to your thoughts on that.
Please know, that I am utterly serious.
I look forward to hearing your response.
He responded fairly promptly (he probably knows me well enough at least to know that I don’t like to be kept waiting, even when firing across something so completely out of the blue and off the wall as a writing partnership) :
He: You had my curiosity but now you have my attention.
Me: Did I have you at “Hello’?”
He: I’m definitely interested in talking about it further. Think it could be very, very interesting. I’m really busy with work at the moment, Summer is our busiest period but I’ll find some time at the weekend to give your suggestion the response it genuinely deserves.
Me: Well I’m away for the next couple of weeks anyway, Maybe we can have a chat about it all when I get back.
He: Yes, let’s do that
Me: Great, I’ll take that as a green light and get the contracts drawn up by tomorrow.
He: Yes fax them over to my PA and I’ll get them signed. Ha Ha Ha.
Me: I’ll get my legal team on to it ‘tout suite’! Lol.
He: I’ve actually got a week off from the 17th Sept. It would be a perfect time to put our heads together and get things moving.
Me: Would you be able to visit the week of the 17th or do you mean that week would provide more time to chat/message about it?
He: I’ll be honest, I really don’t think I can. I’ve got some overtime commitments pencilled in for the weekend of the 22nd which will make it a short week, plus I really need some time off.
Me: Ah, that’s a shame. Maybe another time. We’ll just have to see how we manage remotely. Ok, I’ll speak to you in a couple of weeks then.
He: Yes indeed it is a shame, let me know your closest airport and I’ll look at some other options.
Me: Yes, I’ll send some details over in an email later.
Ok, So I know you said that coming over would not really be possible.
Not just that but obviously I appreciate that you need some downtime from work, you have got to rearrange your sock drawer and alphabetize your DVD boxset collection as you noticed that some of them have recently been put back in the wrong place and any other shizzle that prevents you from being spontaneous and just getting on a plane and getting your arse over here to start what could possibly be the most exciting chapter in your life since…. ermmm…. since….well anyway
I’m listening, I hear you, I really do……but…….
I’m sending you the details of flights in case you change your mind and decide that you would quite like to/ could come for our inaugural business/project meeting and the conception of our baby. I’m talking metaphorically now of course. A book-baby, so to speak, I’m not suggesting we have a real baby together, that would certainly cause a great many complications, not to mention distractions in our working relationship, plus I’m fairly certain that my husband really would not be happy with that situation…. not in the least.
Maybe you could visit Mon – Fri so as not to interfere with your overtime work?
I attach details of our local airport and the flight schedules.
We have a very, very comfortable spare room. (I can send you a picture of it if you think this will be a deal breaker).
If not that week in September, perhaps give some thought as to when the next opportunity may arise.
Apart from the 9th until 21st October when we are busy, I don’t think we currently have anything else in the pipeline this year until Christmas.
Unfortunately, I can’t reschedule or cancel Christmas. I could try, but I think it’s a pretty immovable date.
Alan Rickman tried to “cancel Christmas” once and look what happened to him!
So there you have it.
At your earliest convenience, perhaps you could respond either in the affirmative or the negative so that I may make any necessary arrangements forthwith.
Yours sincerely etc. etc. etc.
He: You prevent a valid argument. Let me have a think about it and I’ll get back to you. Also, I can’t help but think your tone changed somewhat between our Whatsapp msgs and the email.
Me: You’ve lost me. What ‘tone change’ am I missing something?
He: Only the fact that you went from “Yes, I’ll send you some details” to basically “Stop being a f*cking pansy!” Ha Ha Ha
Me: Did it work? ; )
He: Yes, I’m going to be giving serious consideration this weekend to booking those flights in September. Leave it with me.
Of course, I do love getting my own way, especially where an exciting new project is concerned, but I don’t like to crow about it.
So, leave it with him I did.
Several days later, flights were booked and all was arranged.
Our inaugural writing collaboration project was to start in earnest in mid-September. Oooohhhh!
It was only after the point at which he had booked his flights for a six-day stay that I considered that we (well…me) might have been just a little bit hasty, somewhat rash perhaps.
Up until now, we have never really spent more than a few hours in each others company, at various family get-togethers, birthdays, weddings, etc. shooting the breeze, exchanging witty ripostes, mostly whilst liberally inebriated!
Ah well, you know all those famous quotes about two writers getting together?
Nope, I can’t think of any either.
I just keep returning to, ‘Two heads are better than one’ and ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ or is it ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’?
Proverbs were never my strong point. I normally get them all muddled up and end up saying something like
“Don’t bolt the stable door before the horse has bolted”
Oh well, we’ll just have to see how we get along.
I guess if we can’t manage a week without driving each other completely insane and bickering constantly then it’s fair to say that we would never have accomplished a long, blissfully happy and highly productive working relationship that successfully stretched through the decades whilst we industriously churned out best seller after best seller, writing collaboratively from our respective mansions with our PA’s in constant contact and our chauffeurs occasionally taking us to a joint book signing.
Not that I’m one to get carried away or prone to flights of fancy.
Back to the present….. I’m sure if we had continued to talk and talk about it, we’d have ended up overthinking it all or just talking ourselves out of the possibilities completely, as the days and weeks passed we (again…me) would have probably totally lost interest in the idea.
Sometimes these things are better put to the test by jumping in at the deep end, a baptism of fire so to speak.
Spontaneity, seizing the opportunity is often the very key to success.
Well, I say ‘spontaneity’, we had the initial discussion just over two weeks ago and he still doesn’t arrive for another two weeks but it was as spontaneous as our joint schedules and current commitments would allow.
You will perhaps recall from previous posts that I have very definite ADHD tendencies. I absolutely love a project at the conceptual stage and I can be utterly convincing to those around me about how positively great an idea it is, I will live, eat, sleep and breath it 24/7….until, that is, that another new and shiny idea comes along to take its place.
It is fair to say that I am rather fickle.
That said, I am determined not to lose interest in this particular project; from it’s initial conception and the heady excitement that surrounded it and then during the long lull between it actually being able to get off the ground (please understand that four whole weeks is an absolute eternity to impatient little me!).
I’m trying to remain focused, not least because he has booked non-refundable flights and is really looking forward to it but also because it feels like the first genuinely brilliant idea I have had, where writing is concerned, in ages, so cue lots and lots of reading about ‘writing partnerships’’, what our aims will be? How will we achieve them? What sort of terms/agreement will we define at the start? How we will resolve differences of opinion (because I’m realistic enough to know that I can’t just get my own way ALL of the time…sigh!). There are lots and lots of arrangements that need planning before even a single fictional word can be written and all of these Ts & Cs are better put in place upfront rather than trying to reach an effective solution or agreement when you are actually encountering your first partnership tiff, strain or creative discord.
Again I found myself wondering if we would fall at the very first hurdle and just spend the entire week pissing about, but I reminded myself that at FORTY-SIX years old, I really should be a fully fledged ‘grown-up’ by now and that if we are going to genuinely attempt reaching a goal and achieving an enormous ambition, we will not get there by sitting around drinking wine and telling each other amusing stories, whilst labouring under the huge pretence of being bona fide authors.
Goodness knows what my husband makes of it all. He probably thinks I’m entirely off my rocker.
Mind you, he is the one that in many ways prompted this sudden change of direction.
He was the catalyst.
In essence, his request was simple, could I please utilise just ONE of my many artistic talents (his words, not mine) to earn us some ‘real’ money so that we can bugger off to an ocean front villa in Spain just as soon as is humanly possible. Fair enough.
In all reality, I’ve already ruled out Professional Opera singing, I don’t think there is much call for swanky Interior Designers in the sleepy, rural, farming community of our corner of the Limousin region and I think I mentioned in a very early post, that my husband has very little sense of reality or understanding when it comes to ‘writing a best selling novel’.
But because I love him profoundly and because I respect and admire him and because it is naturally very important to me that he continues to love and respect and admire me too…….
I have decided to try.
Not simply pretend to try or conveniently be too busy with a non-financially-rewarding Blog to even attempt to try….but to actually 100% try.
And that’s when the idea of a writing collaboration struck me.
Being a writer is often about being a ‘creative artist’ and with that will always come elements of crippling self-doubt coupled with complete and utter perfectionism during the more productive moments. Everybody is a potential writer, but far fewer are ‘published authors’.
In order to be a published author, one has to produce a ‘product’.
A relatable, relevant, achievable, viable product that will eventually be ready to go on sale.
This is far more achievable as a collaboration because as part of a writing collaboration you have to learn to compromise, to take criticism, to bend, to sway, to agree that someone else’s idea is better than yours and vice versa and after all of this, if you can survive the collaboration, there is far more likelihood that an end product will result from this partnership.
It is also a case of impetus and inspiration. I certainly work better as part of a team than as an individual.
As an individual, I lack the necessary motivation and discipline, yet as a team member/leader I want results, I am ambitious, I am dedicated, hard-working, focused. I like to share ideas and to brainstorm, to see something grow from all the discarded ideas rather than become dejected and despondent.
Ultimately, if my friend and I can write something that is even a tiny percentage as successful as that literary turd ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ then a fine old life we can expect to look forward to.
So there you have it chaps and chapesses.
I could, or at the very least ‘should’, be very busy with other writing projects in the coming months which means that I will have very little time to keep you all amused with my inane and, let’s be honest, utterly pointless witterings.
So without further ado, I wish you a fond farewell for an indeterminate amount of time.
I may of course, periodically update you of our progress and any other amusing anecdotes, so please do remain subscribed to TheVirtualRecluse.com to receive any update notifications of new posts.
Thank you for sharing my journey thus far and I hope to bestow you with updates in the not too distant future.
Until the next chapter……
The Virtual Recluse
P.S. to my good friend Neal
Welcome aboard the HMS Ambition