Karen Bayly

Author and Copywriter

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Words Into The World

I’ve been in editing mode for the past month. Editing a short story, editing a novelette, and editing my second novel. This week I felt the need to write something new, so I wrote a drabble* and a short story set in the world of “Fortitude”. However, as both were for submission into anthologies, I ended up back in editing mode.

I don’t find it difficult to generate ideas for fiction, as even a random word or real-life scene can spark my imagination. However, I struggle to think of things to write for my blog. I’ve plotted out my themes a la Dan Blank (who I wholeheartedly recommend), but I still struggle. I’m not a chatty person in everyday life - well, I am when I haven’t seen someone for ages and there’s a lot to catch up on, but when I’m in regular communication I run out of steam quickly. I prefer to be doing things with people rather than talking with them. I prefer it when conversation arises naturally out of shared activity rather than making it happen. Sitting down and offering an opinion on something without being asked is uncomfortable.

I don’t lead a very exciting life, I’m afraid, and that’s not only because of the current pandemic. I work part-time testing software, and the rest of the time I hustle for freelance writing gigs or other work. I used to work full time as a software tester, but since 2019, I haven’t been able to secure a full-time contract (a common problem) so I juggle jobs. Most weeks I just make enough to get by and for that I am grateful. But it doesn’t leave a lot of spare cash for travel, holidays, entertainment, or any other ‘exciting’ ventures. Reading and writing are my escape.

I’ve long given up on any dream of making money from writing. For every book or ebook sold, the hosting platform gets about 80% of what the reader pays, my publisher gets 20%, and I get 10% of that 20%. This is why good reviews matter so much to authors - it is often the only "payment" we get.

It’s a good thing, then, that I write for love. I write because a story wants to be told and characters have things they want to say. I’m happy to be a mouthpiece for these fictional beings. It’s being a mouthpiece for myself that I sometimes find difficult to do.

Still, I want to maintain some connection with my readers, and blogs and newsletters are the only way I can do this. It would be lovely if people would tell me what they want to read, but I realise that people rarely know what they want to know until they read it. I completely understand. If you were to ask me what I want to hear from my favourite authors, I would struggle to put my finger on what that might be. But then, they’ll write a post or blog and I’ll go 'Ah, good to know. I’m glad I read that'.

So it’s hit and miss, this blogging thing. I have to resist tying myself in knots about what to write. It’s best to let the words come as they will, then send them into the world to do whatever they can. Isn’t that all any writer can do?

* Drabble - a short work of fiction of around one hundred words. The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author’s ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.

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