Bright Spots Amidst The Anxious Darkness

Bright Spots Amidst The Anxious Darkness

I thought, since my last post was a bit of a downer, I’d write one concentrating on some of the bright points of this week. Because there were bright points! To be honest, I felt awful on Wednesday, but it’s been a slow and steady improvement since then. I’m still stressed and anxious and overworked, but I haven’t had any more panic attacks. So, here are some pieces of good news.

1. My friend Cait’s book is coming out in June 2018!

After sitting on this news for goodness knows how long, my friend Cait (from the blog Paper Fury) was able to announce this week that her debut novel, A Thousand Perfect Notes, is coming out in June 2018 under the name CG Drews. June 2018! That’s SO SOON. And also SO FAR. I was flailing a lot when I heard that news. I’m like 90% happy for her and 10% jealous, which seems like character growth on my part. (Jealousy is one of my biggest weaknesses, I think.)

I’ve got a few friends who are published, but most of them already had agents and book deals when we got to know each other, so it was sort of less of an event. I don’t remember how I got to know Cait, but it was years ago. She’s read some of my drafts and I’ve read a couple of hers, and all in all it feels super exciting to think that someone I know this well is going to be published.

Okay, so it’s a contemporary, and there’s romance in it, but it’s also about music and emotional abuse and I’ve been assured that it’s “extremely dark and bloody”, so, y’know, I’m excited.

2. I wrote an essay!

Which is … considerably less exciting in the general scheme of things, I know. But I failed to write the first essay I was set this term, although I managed a detailed plan, and I failed to write the second one too, this time not even managing to write anything at all. Faced with two essays due on the same day this week, I didn’t think I’d actually be able to write either of them, but I managed to bash out an essay today.

Sure, it’s probably not great, either in terms of content or in terms of style, but it’s the first essay I’ve written since sitting my exams last year, and it’s three days early. Because as I mentioned, I have another essay due on Wednesday. Sigh. I don’t get long to celebrate this particular victory before the nose is back to the grindstone.

This will hopefully also convince my Welsh supervisor that I’m not a completely useless human being. I’m sure she was beignning to wonder.

This is academic-speak for “look I don’t speak Welsh, okay”

3. The Irish Dance society is actually going well!

We had our first proper class today, as opposed to the free taster sessions we’ve had the last two weeks, and … people actually came? Not as many as the tasters, but it was kind of short notice that it was starting this week, and it was still plenty. We’re only charging £1 per hour (so if people come to both classes they’re paying a grand total of £2), just to cover costs and hopefully enable us to run some socials later in the term, but nevertheless… people are paying us. To teach them Irish dance.


It’s bizarre that in a very few months I can have gone from “hmm, maybe I’ll take up Irish dance again” to actually teaching it, and I feel vastly underqualified to do so. I remain convinced that within a few weeks we’ll have completely exhausted my teaching capabilities and even the total beginners will be better than me, especially as I remember very little basic choreography because I’ve only done more complex dances in recent years. But right now… it’s kind of going okay?

I’ve thought in the past about pursuing dance teaching in the future — back when I was fourteen, I thought I might teach Irish dance, then it was ballet, and now it’s back to Irish dance again — and it’s stayed in the back of my mind as an idea. I have no idea whether I’d be physically strong enough to do the necessary training to qualify as a dance teacher, even leaving aside the logistics of setting up a school, but it’s still something I’d quite like to do. (Specifically, I’d hope to focus on teaching non-traditional dance students: adult beginners, dancers with disabilities, trans dancers — basically anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable or welcome in a more traditional dance school.)

Over the next couple of terms, I guess I’m going to find out whether or not it’s something I’d like to do, and whether or not I’d be good at it. Of course I’d have a lot of training to do to get to a good standard, and I’m nowhere near that level yet, but this is an ideal chance to try out my teaching skills, and my patience, to see whether I want to take this any further.

Plus, it’ll probably look good on my CV. That’s not why I’m doing it, but it’s a definite plus whenever I start to think maybe I should be focusing only on my degree. I’m gaining a lot of experience, both the hands-on teaching kind and the organisational kind (mailing lists! finances! spreadsheets! Google Drive and its arcane and unknowable mysteries!).

Also graphic design. Though possibly that needs more work.

4. I figured out how to fix one of my books’ ingrained issues!

Sadly, it’s not my NaNo novel, which still remains un-outlined, and it’s not a book I’m going to be writing any time soon, because it’s the sixth Death and Fairies book and I’ve yet to get around to writing book two. (One day. One day I’ll get there.) But I was playing around with some scenes for book five, as I do sometimes, and realised they’d have a knock-on effect on book six, so I decided to age up a couple of characters just to see what happened… and what do you know? It made the book a thousand times better and more original.

Also, it makes the whole series more firmly ‘youngish Adult fantasy’ (think A Darker Shade of Magic kind of adult fantasy) rather than ‘a bit YA I guess?’ Because I originally started with book six, that one had a much more YA feel, but as the characters have developed more I realised that didn’t work. And by ageing up those human characters (most of the cast are vaguely immortal or at least long-lived, which complicates the categorisation), I brought it in line with the tone of the rest of the series.

And also it’s funnier. So I’m pleased with that. It’s frustrating that it’s not something I’ll be working on any time soon, but it still felt good to write out a bunch of ideas and do some creative thinking for once, instead of just thinking about work.

Characters being reluctant flatmates due to a clerical error is 100x funnier than just meeting at school

Those are the highlights of my week. Right now, I’m 100% ready to sleep, but unfortunately I have Welsh translation due tomorrow morning and the chances of me getting up in time to finish it before class are basically zero, so I need to get on with that.

What pieces of good news have you had this week? Anything exciting happening in your lives?

2 thoughts on “Bright Spots Amidst The Anxious Darkness

  1. So first off CONGRATS ON BEING A DANCE TEACHER!! And like if you decide it’s something you want to pursue later I really really hope you’ll be able to do that. It sounds awesome. 🎉 And yessss that you’re figuring things out for D&F. I mean we already chatted about it but I’m so excited for you. I get like such a thrill when something in writing clicks and it’s like “wow this might actually be genius”. (Shh we might be undiscovered geniuses. Who can know.)

    And also like thank you x 10000 for being excited about my book!! I’m so nervous about it and so HAPPY too. (I may or may not have had the most anxiously distraught week of ever leading up to announcing it.😂) And honestly I can’t wait till you’re making an announcement of your book someday so I can flail wildly about it across the universe. <3 (And no lie: I'm nervous/excited to know what you'll think of ATPN.😂)

    1. I won’t lie to you, when writing clicks for me it’s less “this is genius!” and more “wow this is painful and soul-destroying! it’s going in the book haha suck it up and CRY, betas” because I’m cruel like that ;)

      I would really like to be able to pursue dance further, as I was saying to you the other night. I just have no idea if my body will let me. But hopefully doing lots of teaching this year will mean I really consolidate the basics and get stronger as a result. That’s the plan, anyway… (It’s going to involve watching a lot of YouTube videos to make sure I always have something to teach though 😂)

      YES I AM EXCITED FOR YOU. And I hope one day to join you in those hallowed publishing ranks, but that would require me to stop editing my novels to death and actually query the damned things, which so far hasn’t happened. So this could take a while…

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