A TRAGIC DEATH ON DAY 2
I didn’t expect to find myself standing at my old desk in my old office for day 2 of my new writer’s life. Yet, that’s exactly where I’ve been.
We archivists are a strange and specialist breed and I’d served as one for quite a few years. When the worst news possible hit at the weekend, informing me that a colleague and friend had died suddenly, I offered to go back for a few hours. It seemed easier to drag out the relevant photographs than explain to someone on the fringes of devastation, where they might find them.
It was a difficult morning. Lots of tears and sadness and justifiably so. This colleague loved his life. He had it nailed; a career he invested heavily in and a home which made him proud. I don’t think I ever saw him ruffled or stressed. He conducted everything with ultimate calm and always gave the air of someone in total control. A champion of history, he had high and exacting standards. He pushed me to limits I never thought I could attain. In the blink of an eye, his heart stole him away and nobody could stop him leaving.
IT’S MADE ME THINK ABOUT WHAT I’VE DONE
I’ve jacked in a perfectly good job and stood myself on a cliff edge. And this is only day 2.
Did he think it brave or foolish? To be fair, he didn’t offer an opinion, just wished me well. I’m certain I need to make this work, not just because I don’t want to be a starving artist, but because one of things he said to me often was that no problem is insurmountable. Unfortunately right now, I can’t see what the problems are to even know if I can fix them.
My parents are visiting from England and I spent the afternoon with them. I don’t think I could have concentrated anyway. If today has taught me something, it’s that people are more important than anything else. Life turns on a sixpence and relationships have more longevity than activity or stuff.
THE NEVER-ENDING LIST OF JOBS
I think I’ve managed to fix something on my website. I do not have a technical bone in my body. If you don’t believe me, ask the Husband. Apparently there’s a way the colour drains from my cheeks which tells him I’ve messed up something big.
There’s now a ‘subscribe’ button to allow people to follow the blog. A kind author friend informed me that I had encouraged people to subscribe without providing a button to do it. Sometimes this kind of thing happens when you’re juggling too many plates in the air. There is a button on most of the pages now. I have a WordPress site hosted through Bluehost. They both seem rather moron friendly and I’ll stay with them for now.
THE MAILING LIST
I also nuked about 400 people from my mailing list who weren’t opening any emails. It sounds drastic, but mailing list health is essential and I do this process regularly. I sent them an email last week, offering them the opportunity to unsubscribe for themselves if they were too busy. Some did but again, a heap of emails bounced and some didn’t open. By ditching a bunch of them, I’ll raise my open and click ratio which is essential for maintaining a list of active and engaged readers. I used to think it was about the numbers, but it’s really not.
Like most things in life, subscribers are about quality and not quantity. I now have a list of people who always open my emails, usually email me back to answer a question, happily read the freebie gifts I send and let me know what they think. They are actively engaged and have in many instances, become my friends. They are my rear guard, my long distance supporters and the reason I thud away at the keyboard for hours on end. Don’t tell them this, but meeting them has been the best part of this process.
Always tell your mailing list host before you do the nuking. Mine makes a note of it so that I don’t end up in mailing list jail for an unusual rate of unsubscribes. I use Mailerlite’s paid hosting which is very reasonably priced. They’ll also talk to you if you have a free account, which Mailchimp won’t.
I WROTE NOTHING TODAY
I didn’t. Day 2 was a sorry bust for creating. I re edited a chapter of Du Rose Legacy and it made me feel better somehow. Hana’s world has this way of sucking me in and soothing away the wrinkles. Perhaps it’s because she’s neurotic enough for both of us. I need to have realistic expectations of myself but generally don’t. I suspect that will be my undoing. Working the proper job and writing means I’ve pushed myself unbelievably hard to achieve anything within the realms of publishing. Even on our trip to England last year, I took my laptop and typed everywhere from the plane to the beach. I need to learn that it’s okay to take breaks.
TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY
Although after recent events, I’m once again reminded that I can’t even count on that…
K T Bowes is the author of the bestselling Hana Du Rose Mysteries and other series.
She’s decided to ‘go hard or go home’ as New Zealanders commonly say.
If you’d like to take a look at her achievements so far or sample some of her free novels,
you’ll find them on the ‘Books’ page or click HERE