What I do for a living is certainly unusual. Phrases I have heard over the years include…
I couldn’t/wouldn’t do your job.
Your job is my worst nightmare.
And finally – a phrase which can be misconstrued by sensitive/creative types and particularly so if heard after a show…
Why do you do your job?
However, this a reasonable question and my answer is simple – because I can. And because sometimes I love it. After the gig mostly, sometimes during – but rarely before.
Stand up is definitely a tough game. Attrition rates are high and not many starters make it a living.
Albeit, being funny is easy – for people who are funny, that is. But being funny on demand is more difficult. The nerves. The heckles. The tuts. The stares. The new joke that bombs…
And yet being unable to gig with lockdown, I am doing something even more frightening and fool-hardy.
Writing a novel online.
A sequel to my debut novel, Only in America. Reprising my characters and setting them on an adventure, some 20 years later.
The idea being that this novel will be written collaboratively with my readers having an input: advising, suggesting, cajoling, encouraging and correcting the novel on an on-going basis.
Which is highly exposing and not just for my agricultural literary skills. I failed English at school and my grasp of grammar is loose. I am hazy on when a comma moves aside for a colon and is a head master a principal or a principle? I can never recall.
I warned subscribers about my typos which are many and glaring. I have an affliction whereby my brain knows what I am meaning – and it tricks my eyes in to seeing what is not there. One day, there will be a word for this condition and hopefully it will arrive in time for me.
I posted the first chapter recently and with some trepidation. Almost as stressful as an important gig. And then waited.
Quickly the feedback came back. Most of it encouraging. Much of it pointing out typos but this is small beer, easily edited and corrected.
I’m all about story. A book worth reading has to have a story worth telling. I don’t do details. I don’t do planning. Not at this early stage. Just get on with it. Make a start. Get some miles in the tyres.
Which is apparent to one reader – Audrey – who has just read my first novel in prep for this venture (that’s commitment, right there) – and she has spotted a glaring mistake in my sequel on the very first page. And not just a typo but an egregious error.
I have got the name of my heroine wrong.
She was Juliet in Only in America and is now somehow, Elizabeth.
What has happened to Juliet?
Audrey emails me to ask – a reasonable question but not so easy to explain. Because what sort of idiot writer does such a thing? Which writer forgets the name of his leading character?
One that shouldn’t be writing anything more ambitious than a blog, perhaps?
Another cross that I must bear (or is it bare?), is that I am hopelessly delusional – and beautifully demonstrated now because in my head this novel will be my literary breakthrough.
People who have already signed up to this venture have no idea what they’ve let themselves in for. Drop off rates might be high and I’m prepared for this. But it will be a creative writing course like no other – if only to glean what not to do, it will be worth it.
So, if you’re game – and possibly incredibly bored…
Only in America is free to download on Amazon – and the new novel – An English Lesson Set to Music (working title) is currently taking shape on my Patreon.
And if it’s going to be a breakthrough book – at my seventh attempt – I’m going to need all the help I can get.
More simply put – more Audrey’s needed.
15 thoughts on “Maybe stick to writing blogs…”
As always another good blog and I am sure your book will do amazing ! I have loved all your books so far and I struggle with English all the time so try not to worry too much.
Also in the long time of isolation so far, I came up with something to do aside from reading your blogs on a Sunday to keep me busy. So with the charitable spirit going round at the moment, I thought why not give a little nod to your family’s trust that I try support as much as I can. it’s an amazing charity that supports so many people. I love your family to pieces (in an admirable way not creepy ) and I wanted to show people who was behind the trust that I always talk about, so I attempted to draw you all. It was a lot of stress, but I finally finished it, I have tried to make everyone look good. So it’s completely up to you and I truly don’t mean to sound pushy, rude, creepy or demanding but if you guys could look at it, it really would put a smile on my face but I completely understand if you don’t I know you may not always want to. (Instagram is hannahcroshaw_) if you decide to but no expectation at all. Hope you have a good next week and good luck with the book
I love the blog, and I hate to be THAT person, but I’m afraid to say there’s another grammatical error in the last line.
The apostrophe at, “Audrey’s” implies possession, and since the sentence doesn’t, the apostrophe isn’t needed.
if I asked you to typo proof my blogs, I am afraid you would have to devote the rest of your life to such a huge task
All the things you could’ve forgotten and you forgot the characters name
I am going to say one thing: You’re gonna rock it.
Lovely blog, as usual Mr. H, but of course, the only thing you forgot was the name of your main character. I feel like we all do that every once in a while. It’d be no different then mixing up the names of one of your sons, with another one. Good luck with your patron and your new novel, I wish it aspires to everything you hoped it to be
Good afternoon Dom. Another great blog. You’re a brave man to put your work out for others to read at such an early stage. I’m a big fan of your books and I absolutely loved only in America. I’m really curious to see what happens but not too sure if I want to see it in stages or wait for the completed story… Oh dear the dilemma… I’ll hang on for a little while longer. Have you any idea when Millie’s next instalment will be out? Looking forward to the live this evening. Congratulations on the Quiz for Lily on Thursday, I took part with my daughter and we had great fun!
Well, humans make mistakes, right ? Haha. I’m sure you’ll do well!
I hate typos (in my language, Portuguese) hahaha, I always worry if I’m writing everything right in English, but of course I probably made several mistakes, because I’m not fluent. Well, hopefully I’ll get there haha!
Lots of love ❤️
Way to go Aubrey! I missed it, too! I’m having a blast being part of your writing process! I’m sure it’s stressful putting your writing out there in it’s infant stage, but thank you for allowing us to be part of this journey with you! Looking forward to the Facebook live in a couple of hours! With the time difference it’s early afternoon so it works out perfectly!!
A way I always remember the difference between principle and principal, is that your school principal is your pal (if you’re a good student that is.)
I’ve been looking for something to read for this whole lockdown and never stumbled upon anything that was of interest to me, (I am very picky reader) I might give Only In America a go.
We all face struggles in different fields, but of course in a case like yours, being exposed to comments, stares and a huge audience is frightening. However, admitting you are scared of these things makes your audience remember you are a human being, who has feelings and difficulties just like anyone else, and that brings you even closer to us. That’s one of the reasons why I like your work- we can feel we are following someone who writes about the truth.
About those who say they would never do your job… that’s such a shame, ’cause they’ll never get to where you are… choices…
We all congratulate you for doing your work so well and for being brave enough to face your fears. Courage is the only way to get where we want.
I could not relate to any other blog better than this one. As an aspiring writer, I could connect with so much on here. I, too, am working hard on my grammar, and I also forget the slightest details in my stories that are a huge impact. Thank you for posting something so relatable
Comedy is something loved by (hopefully) everyone- but is a very hard art to succeed in. I love laughing and making people laugh- I’m just useless at it. That’s why I applaud all comedians, actors, authors etc in what they do! If you enjoy though just keep doing it. It’s sounds hypocritical because I haven’t yet read any of your books (but will be ordering them as soon as I can) but if your blogs are amazing, I’m sure your books are too.
I had a thought the other day- for the Brothers Trust you could possibly do a live YouTube fundraiser, and more pub quizzes with a different theme and host each round… just some thoughts 🙂
A stand-up live I mean.
This blog left me doubting myself – “it is cross to bear? Isn’t it? Or is it bare?”
So a quick Google ensued – I can confirm it is cross to bear. Lol