I first read this story in an Isaac Asimov book. It was supposed to be the originator of the term a shaggy dog story. That term is used to describe any anecdote that draws people in on the presumption that it’s going to have a witty ending. It then rambles on, keeping people waiting, till finally, the audience begging for mercy, it ends with a weak pun. I happened to like the wordplay in this one so it stuck with me even though I must have read it a good 35 years or more ago.
This week my update lands on my birthday by pure co-incidence but it got me thinking about how long it’s taken to get to this point. I’m turning 49 and haven’t published yet. I only started writing around 18 or 19 years ago. I’m not entirely sure when as I didn’t record my first few novel’s start dates. Since then, as I’m a bit of a maths geek, I’ve created a spreadsheet tracking my writing, start and end dates, total number of words written, number of stories per year, words per story. So far I don’t see any trends, but I know that I’ve written 3.8 million words (that’s original words and doesn’t count all the rewriting and editing). All the same I only really started writing in my early 30s. I was probably too busy being sensible and holding down a “real” job to take things further. But as I said before, times have changed and self publishing or being an indie-writer is now a respectable possibility. So I am finally tackling phase two of self publishing, editing. Phase one of course is to actually write something. Editing is time consuming so I worry I won’t have huge amounts to write about on this blog till I actually get to publishing although so far that hasn’t been a problem and it gives me a chance to review the process. Continue reading
I am not a very reflective person. I tend to look forward to what’s coming rather than to review what has gone before. I also have a terrible memory, which is good in some regards as I can re-watch films or re-read books a couple of years later and not remember a thing about them. So if people had asked me how far back I can remember about being a storyteller or a writer, I wouldn’t have been able to give them a good answer.
Recently though, I have been working as a coach specifically helping people live a happier life by finding what they love doing and helping them set up in that. Many people are desperate to get out of jobs they hate and an equal number of those don’t know what else they could do so feel trapped. One of the most interesting questions I have found to help them discover what they love comes from Marianne Cantwell’s book Be a Free Range Human. It asks, when you were eight years old, what were you most likely to be found doing?
I was reading Chris Guillebeau’s book, Born for This, where he described what he called a side hustle. Essentially it’s anything you do over and above your day job that also brings in some money and that you enjoy. I was instantly struck by what a great idea it is to bring in more than the monthly paycheck. It’s always handy to have a little extra for unexpected expenses, a treat or a holiday. I didn’t like the name though. A hustle sound like something dodgy a geezer is doing in the darkened corner of the pub with items that fell off the back of a van. So I’ve opted to call it a side gig.
The term gig comes from the musical world and is essentially a job, possibly a one off or for a season but not tradition 9 to 5 work. It sums the concept up nicely and got me thinking about all my friends who do make a bit of money on the occasional gig in a pub. Continue reading