Dear Future Me:

Dear Me
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Dear Future Me:

(Age 27)

I have an apology to make. Today, I opened your mail. I found a letter that 17-year-old me wrote to you, and well, I couldn’t help myself. I hope you can forgive me. Well, I know you can. Anyway, to make it up to you, I figured I’d write you another letter, from me, 22-year-old you. These pronouns are gonna get dear me, dear future mehella confusing, so I’m gonna stick to I unless I’m talking to you.

Unsurprisingly, I am in Startbucks, drinking a decaf venti iced mocha, with whip. Surprisingly, I haven’t spilled it yet. Oh, tell a lie. I forgot I managed to squirt some on the page earlier, when I was mucking about with the straw. I guess we never do learn to be graceful, unless you have something you want to tell me?

Life at the moment is just getting interesting. I’ve taken up a new motto, “I’ll make it work”, and things are going well. It looks like I’ll have a full time job soon, and I’m currently negotiating some freelance work too. After months of fretting, two at once, just like dear me, dear future mebuses. Things are looking promising. And of course, I’m writing again. For a week now I’ve managed to scribble out 500 words a day, and it feels amazing. I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I wonder did you ever get Rimjhim published? Are you working on the next novel? Or even a third? Given that writing has been a craving of ours for 15 years now, I highly doubt it’s gone from your life altogether.

At present, I have just got back in touch with an old friend. I decided that it is impossible to be angry at a person who no longer exists. The conversation has only just started, but I’m excited about the possibility of having them back in our life. If it all goes to crap though, if  you end up having to walk awaydear me, dear future me again, know that you did the right thing. There are only so many chances you can give a person, but my fingers are crossed that it will all work out.

Love, love, what can I say about love? I’m talking to people, I’m mingling. I’m finally out of that weird teenage mindset where “will you go out with me?” means “we’re a couple now.” I still believe I can tell where a relationship’s going to go in the first five minutes of a conversation, but that’s because I’m a cynic. And I recon that’s okay.

Everything’s okay; my lack of grace, rogueish female charm, and immense knowledge of giraffe sex. It’s all okay. In the five years dear me, dear future mebetween 17 and 22, I’ve somehow figured out the tricky concept of being myself. As it turns out, it had nothing to do with my head or my heart. It was all about my gut, and my guts. I’ve started living bravely and instinctively, and it has done me more good than any of our other body parts ever did. It lead me to a great uni, the right course, and the best friends.

And now, I guess this is the point in the letter where I write some requests, or some hopes. I know that reading 17-year-old me’s letter made me smile, and gave me a shove, so:

  • I hope that if you’re stuck in a rough patch, this letter will give you a boot in the arse.
  • I hope you’re not mucking about; not writing a novel because it’s too hard, or too scary, or too much of a commitment.
  • I hope you managed to do a Masters and a PhD, because Dr Mort is a life goal, champ.
  • Don’t you dare settle for someone just for the sake of companionship.
  • Remember your mood is like the weather; storm clouds will always dry up eventually.
  • Don’t give up fiddling about with cameras. This is something we’ve only just started tinkering with, but it’s a lot of fun so far, and it’s getting you excited about the cosplay community again.
  • In general, live passionately. You are much happier when you’re busy, and the bigger the variety of things you are doing, the better.
  • Find a job that let’s you be you.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others; just because they look like they have everything figured out, doesn’t mean they do.
  • Travel to at least one country every year, or I’ll be miffed.

Now I’m going to go home to the flatmate and his missus, curl up under the coffee table, and do some writing. I break dear me, dear future me16,000 words this evening. It’s taken a long time, but it’ll get there. After all, something has to come out of losing your comb inside the printer, twice. (Has that count gone up yet?) Oh, there’s one more thing actually. An add on to something 17-year-old us said:

  • Remember, happily ever afters do exist. BUT they require work, and love, and commitment. Make yours a life worth reading about.

There, now, do you want a pretzel on the way home?

Best,

Mort.

Project Summer: What to expect when you’re expecting.

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It’s a common analogy; your novel is your baby. You give birth, you raise it, you send it out into the world and hope it can stand on its own two feet long enough to make a living.

I’ve given a lot of thought to this analogy recently, because being eleven chapters into editing (and yes, that number hasn’t changed since yesterday) I’m procrastinating like crazy and so, I think about these things.

The life of a novel usually begins with a moment of blissful inspiration. However, inspiration on its own is not enough. In order for conception to occur, the inspiration must combine with determination, triggering enthusiasm which allows the formation of an idea. This idea will then implant in the lining of your brain, until you set pen to paper.

Setting pen to paper can be a lengthy process, and you may experience Writer’s Block, where you sit and hover the pen over a blank sheet of paper, but don’t actually get anything out. Don’t worry, false alarms like this are quite usual. Just go home, put your feet up, maybe read a book or watch some TV.  It’ll come eventually, though be warned, when it does, things can get messy; notes will be thrown everywhere, ink may be smeared on skin and surfaces. Pain is also quite normal; sore joints (particularly in the hands) and head pain (from too much pushing) are frequent complaints of all novelists.

Of course, once you finally get that pen going (or even that keyboard) you will hopefully fall hopelessly in love with your novel. Note its curious little characters, its wonderful setting and the way it’s story entwines with your plot. All things sure to make a writer coo. That is when it’s not keeping you up late at night, telling you it needs writing, or editing, or that chapter just needs reading one more time. But during the day, oh no, no! No writing will be done then. The book is brewing in the back of your mind,as you flick round facebook, twitter, tumblr, watch some more TV, and all the time you’re thinking, “OH NOW YOU’RE SLEEPING.” That is until you’re out shopping, or with friends, or at work, or in a lecture hall, or somewhere else where it is highly inappropriate to whip out a notepad and start scrawling away the action. Novels demand attention at the least appropriate of times.

When your novel reaches the editing stages, it will become a lot less cute and it will be very hard to love. You will read the same conversation fifteen times, you will tell it what message you want to get across, you will try to change its symbology. It will be a mind numbing up hill struggle and you will doubt your ability as a writer daily. Only when it’s nearing that polished gleam that means you’re ready to send it out into the realms of agents and publishers, will it be easy to love again, will you feel a little proud. And yes, it might come back with a rejection letter, but you’ll be able to fix it up and send it out again and again until it either gets and offer or you start working on a sibling.

What is the point of this blog?

The point is; my novel is an aggressive teenager and now I feel sorry for what I put my mother through. After all, she couldn’t just close the Word Document down and go get a cup of tea. Oh! Tea!