Hobbled New Year.

I flick the switch and watch as the fluorescent light flickers with an audible ting-ting-ting, flashing multiple times until, mercifully, it decides to stay on.

Surveying the room – a downstairs basement long forgotten – I notice the lone desk situated in the middle, a weathered leather chair situated on the other side of it.
Dust had decided that this was its domain now and blanketed everything in a fine, undisturbed layer. If it were snow, you might think it was pretty. As it stood, it only made me want to sneeze.

Walking over, I observe the computer sat proudly on the desk, the only thing on it bar a notebook. Leaning in, I find the power switch on the back of the bezel and with a single press am reassured when a familiar chime booms through in a pleasant sing-song tone.

The screens blue hue joins the fluorescent yellow as I pull the chair out and take a seat. Picking up the book, I use the back of my hand to cast the dust aside, opening the cover and taking pleasure in the crack the spine lets out.

All my notes are still there. The computer still works, and my story was ready to continue.

“Let’s do this,” I say to myself, ignoring how alone the walls make me feel as they absorb the sound. “Let’s do this, 2018, you sonovabitch”

***

So it’s a new year. 2018. The future.

The last time I updated was back in the long, long ago of 2017 – before November came and went, before Christmas consumed my December, prior to my being promoted to purple belt (!!!), and before New Years brought with it a mixture of merriment and punishment…

So what demanded so much of my time?

Lean closer, I don’t want everyone to know just yet. Just you, because you’re special. Not like him. He’s awful.

*hears disgruntled objections*

Huh? Oh, nothing. Just saying how great you are!

You see? Quick now, let me tell you what you want to know…

I’ve been working on a new story.

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What’s My Age Again?

NOTE: This post is in turns an emotional outpouring as well as a personal, cutting to the core, dissection with how I feel/where I am at 30. Like my previous posts, I don’t pull punches, and I don’t want to self censor. Others have felt this way; some probably feel the same right now, but I just wanted to take a moment to capture and express my fears, hopes, worries and dreams on Write Steve Write.

With that in mind, enjoy…


It’s been 10 days since my birthday. Since this…

Honestly, I’m still accepting that I’ve finally ticked over into my 30s. No more will my age start with a 2 until I hit 200!

As I sit here pondering about all that I had dreamed of accomplishing in my 20s, all that I thought I would have done and what I thought my 30s would have looked like, I struggle at times to cope with the reality. All that I haven’t achieved. All that I thought I would be, but am not.

Kind of makes me feel like this:

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And then someone comes along, shows you what it’s like to be truly cared about, and does something amazing to help you usher in a new birthday, a new decade, a whole slew of new opportunities, adventures and possibilities…

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It’s In The Blood.

I’m sad to say it, and ashamed to admit it, but there has been virtually no progress with Temporary in the time since my last blog post, Pivot – though, if you’re interested, I have been providing minor updates via my podcast, Sweet Story, Bro.

I’m acutely aware that it’s been almost a month of inaction, but it was while providing a brief update to Temporary during the intro for a future episode of my podcast that I realised I had a topic to share that I haven’t blogged about yet, and considering that Write Steve Write is the HQ for all major updates for my writing, Temporary, and, only because I love you (yeah, you, gorgeous), some travel writing, I wanted to provide a further update on what’s going on and why I have yet to shift it into gear the way I’ve been meaning to.

Hell, sticking to that analogy, I’m still obsessively checking mirrors. I haven’t even shifted into first.

So why?

I’ve not been myself recently.

You just know when something isn’t right? When something feels inhereably…wrong. Yeah, that.

Fun, right?

A few weeks ago I felt weak. Incredibly weak. Like, ‘blacking out at BJJ’ weak. ‘Couldn’t do the warm up’ weak. Something was up. So, I’ve been trying to figure out what, exactly, caused me to feel so fatigued. So drained.

It’s because of this that the past few weeks have revolved around beautiful (grey), warm (raining), British Summer days as I traipse to the Doctor’s for scans, prodding, and (multiple) blood tests.

It’s a good thing I don’t mind needles and like post-jab lollipops.

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Plateau.

 

A few nights ago I had a great post-BJJ catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen at the gym for a while.

The conversation related specifically to how he felt about himself in relation to his progression with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and his dream of becoming a black belt, which would eventually lead to opening his own gym, allowing him to make a living from the Gentle Art.

I quickly discovered that we were both on the same frustrating path.

Whereas everybody else in class seemed to be excelling at an exponential rate, improving with an alarming rate, we both felt that we had stalled. Somewhere along the line we had become stagnant. Our game became predictable, expected, and we became lost within the roll, rather than experiencing and learning from it.

For him, the relatively new blue belt, and myself, a single stripe blue belt for almost a full year, there was a harsh realisation.

We’d hit a plateau.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 19.11.50

What always surprises me from the lessons I learn on the mats is how applicable they are to my other interests and ambitions.

Not for the first time, a lesson learned through BJJ can easily relate back to my writing journey.

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Start As You Mean To Go

So here we are with a New Year. 2016. A new year, a fresh start, a blank slate. Right?

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Not exactly.

So many times, like you, I imagine, I’ve heard and seen people make commitments that you know, in your heart of hearts, that they won’t be able to commit to.

“I’m going to do [insert this/that].”

And all you can do is tune out slightly and rest your eyes, a fixed smile on your face as you nod your head in agreement.

But why?

Why do these resolutions and promises fail? Is it because they’re overextending? Attempting to reach way too far with unrealistic goals, considering they’re starting from zero?

Most probably.

If I started out this year with a goal in mind, let’s say I wanted to strive to get my black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Well, I’m a one stripe blue belt and have been for almost a year now. Is it possible for me to go from one stripe blue, to black in the 365? No way! Why? Because it’s way too big a goal.

So, what’s the answer?

Like with Temporary, it’s down to making small, seemingly tiny, unrelated progressions, that all, hopefully, add up to a much bigger picture.

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Reject The Status Quo

The status quo is a dangerous and easy thing to become accustomed to. It allows for complacency and laziness; an over familiarity with the status quo achieves nothing more than personal and creative stagnation. You may look at what is happening in your life and wonder, “Where is my progress?”, “Where is my momentum?”

I know I have.

It may be lacking because of an subconcious acceptance of the status quo.

I’ve been begrudgingly learning this lesson over the past few weeks, with unwanted frustration growing during my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Recently I’ve been stuck in a rut, with people able to shut down or counter my game based on my, now, relative predictability. What I used to do worked every time. Not so much anymore.

So what happened? What’s happened within the given status quo, and could it actually be a good thing?

What can my BJJ training teach me about this new personal obstruction, and how, exactly, does it tie into my writing? What life lesson is there to glean from this?

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Receiving Feedback With Grace (Not The Person)

As I wait for Thea to get home, and for my friend, George, to come over later on in order for us to all experience the greatest party of the summer, WWE’s Summerslam (!!), I’ll take this opportunity on this beautiful day (which you can see below) to let you guys in on a little secret that people, usually myself included, often ponder upon: just how should you receive feedback.

A Summer Day in London

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