November 2016


National Novel Writing DSC05765Month


Do you know what? I’m so bogged down with editing my last novel and struggling with where to go with my new one that I just might give this a whirl. 50k words in thirty days is the target, which isn’t quite a novel but I suppose it’s close. If I do take the plunge then it will be seventy thousand for me. That’s two thousand three hundred and thirty three words a day, two thousand three hundred and forty three on the last day to make it a nice round figure. Not impossible, but damned hard.

The main problem would be that I would still want to work on my other two. That means that it has to be a simple but firm idea. I think I know how to go about that. It’s been a while since Frank Vine was on a clean page.



On a different note: I often get asked about earning a living through writing, as though that was some kind of measure of quality. Avoiding bitterness, it really isn’t (Listen to Kanye West’s version of Bohemian Rhapsody). However, it is necessary to do something to earn a crust and we all have different methods. I tend to drift from one unsuitable job to another, earning less than is practical in each case. I guess it’s the Welsh Gypsy in me.

There is a point to this: My son was recently asked, ‘What are you aiming to do with your life then?’ He was stumped. He has a similar work ethic to me: avoid at all costs. But it made us talk about the issue. And I realised that the conversation that used to take place when I was young no longer applies. What do you want to be when you grow up? We all had an idea but now, well, there just aren’t any jobs that would be for life other than the obvious ones: doctor, solicitor, fireman, policeman, paramedic etc. Most jobs now are short hours and often casual with no real contract. Or even worse, a zero hours contract.

It worries me. The loss of stable work for young people gives them no realistic vision of their future. What should they be aiming at? As a young telephone engineer I could work my way up to a Technical Officer, the highest engineering rank before management. What do our young people do now for ambition? They can’t all win X Factor. It will continue to worry me.

Out of my four kids, three have what I suppose would be considered proper jobs: postman, biomedical scientist & CNC Machinist. It is my youngest with whom  I had the conversation. He suffers a creative bent. You can’t even get tablets for it. Nevertheless, he already has many musical performances and theatre performances in the bag. No money but plenty of kudos. I think this is a completely valid way to conduct yourself nowadays. Why stock shelves for forty years? It makes no sense. And we all end up as a pile of dust in a plastic bottle at the end of it all so let’s enjoy ourselves while we’re here.


Hope you like the seasonal photos. This last one shows where my youngest gets his creativity from. It’s a picture of a cake his mum made last November. All sugar, all edible. Astonishing. She has a proper job, too.