The famous line from Forrest Gump goes: ‘life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.’ Last year life offered me a lovely box of chocolates, all tempting and sticky-finger making: the sort you don’t mind getting a bit fatter for. My writing was going well but not earning me much so I decided to branch out in a little bit of entrepreneurism and start my own business selling online gifts, as well as self publish two of my previous books.
One of my great blessings in life is that I am an optimist and never afraid to try new things. On the other hand, it is also a bit of an albatross for I tend to jump wholeheartedly into places where even fools dare to tread. I knew I had good products, and I put an immense amount of time into building up the websites etc as well as money for the stock (for the online gifts). On the premise that hard graft should equal a decent return I even felt confident that I would end the year with enough money for a holiday for once.
Well, the chocolates, although bloody lovely to look at and nibble around the edges turned out to be disappointingly hollow. The business flopped and made losses and the books didn’t really shift either (unless I gave free copies). It was a hard realisation to come to that I am no Richard Branson, and not just because I don’t have a beard or a dodgy taste in clothes. Alan Sugar would fire me on the spot. No, I am what I’ve always been: a writer. That’s what I do best. And so from now on that’s what I’m sticking to. No more wacky schemes taking the time away from the novel whose writing never seems to end (it will! This year!) and no more flights of fancy. Nose to the grindstone time. Pen to paper. Fingers to keyboard.
But, thankfully I am still bloody annoyingly optimistic. I think it’s what keeps me from jumping off high buildings and making a mess on Gloucester’s pavements. I slipped sideways for a little way but now I’m back in the saddle (oooh cliche alert!) and determined to get it right this time. So you can take away the box of many-flavoured chocolates; I think I’ll stick to plain old toast because at least then I know what I’m going to get. And it’s more satisfying.