Hospital Visits & My Writing Wage

Only two subjects for today’s blogpost, but I have a feeling that they may take up quite an area so it would be cruel to try to stuff extra bits and pieces in here and there. Of course, we must deal with the first topic first and the second topic second. Because that makes the most sense, right?

So if you didn’t come here wanting to hear about why I was awake pretty much all Friday night and had to make a hospital visit this week, then skip on ahead.

This is my dad. He’s given up smoking recently. My parents have both tried to do this years before with no success, but this time it has to stick. We were in Whitby when this photo was taken, which was a few years back, at least.

My dad had a job at the time, but he was made redundant about a year or so ago. I told you recently that we were waiting for several hospital appointments regarding some dizzy spells and such. Well…

I don’t get to sleep very easily when it comes to bed time. This is perfectly normal, if irritating, for me. As such, I was in bed but wide awake on Friday night until we’d reached the am. In fact, I’d just switched my mobile phone game off for the second time, hoping that my exhausted brain cells would kick in and actually give me the sleep I needed instead of puzzling over things happening at work or home or on TV or anything but dreaming.

And then I heard the house phone ring.

Very few people ring our house phone. I don’t think many people have the number. Not to mention the fact that we really don’t like answering phones all that much. But that’s not the point.

My mind jumped very quickly from ‘who’s ringing at this time’ to ‘why would anyone phone at 1.30am’. And as you may remember from last week, my dad has been unwell.

I think you can guess by now exactly what I deduced during my frantic sprint for the phone. Our dial time isn’t very long so by the time I got there it was to find my mum had just clicked off the line and there was a scared sounding answer machine message waiting for me.

I rang her back immediately, as I’m sure you would too. Even people who dislike phone communication will use it willingly when necessary. She told me she’d had to call the ambulance, my dad was unable to catch his breath, and they were taking him to the hospital in our town.

She said she’d let me know what was happening and I waited for news whilst Howard Bear dozed off and on in between checking whether I was alright. Eventually, mum sent me a message saying she was heading home and would call me when she got in.

So at half five in the morning, I was on the phone again.

Mum said he’d been admitted. His breathing was more normal, but he was going to be moved up from the Accident and Emergency to a bed as soon as they had one available in the right ward.

I got a little sleep and we cancelled our plans for the day so we could go see my dad instead. We went as soon as we’d heard from my mum to say he was still in the Accident and Emergency and hadn’t yet moved up to the ward he was supposed to be on. They didn’t yet have a bed.

By the time we reached the hospital, however, he’d just been moved. Of course, we were worried that that meant we wouldn’t be able to visit him. Thankfully, the nurses there were sympathetic seeing as he’d just moved and had been there since 1.30am.

When we arrived, he looked less than happy, but I think the fact that Howard and I had turned up cheered him a little. We were there a good few hours. The doctor came and checked him out, asked him lots of questions and examined him. Eventually, we left, happier that he seemed a bit better and now had a puzzle book to keep him occupied.

My mum visited in the evening. She was allowed to take him home even though they stated that they would have liked to have operated on him that day, if it wasn’t for staff shortages. Hopefully nothing terrible will happen and dad will get to his next hospital appointments to sort him out for good.

I’m sure he’s under the impression that the amount of people on Facebook who have wanted to know what happened and have commented on his status means that he’s some kind of online celebrity. He isn’t, of course, but don’t tell him that.

I should stop writing blogposts about him. They’ll only cement his ideas of internet fame and he’ll start subjecting more of the world to his terrible jokes.

Anyway, that about covers the first subject.

Moving on…

I came across this post, this morning: “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.

After the recent comments on the Stacey Jay affair, I think it’s becoming more and more important that people should understand about writers’ livelihoods as well as the fact that, even though some of us write for the love of writing, this is still a job and should still be regarded as such.

Very few of us are rich in this game.

As the first article points out, though, some are more privileged than others in regards to their financial background and their connections. If only this was the case for all of us, eh?

Sadly, I am not one of these few.

My writing story has always been one of hard work and determination. I imagine that it will continue to be for quite a few years to come and, perhaps, even beyond that. My writing doesn’t pay for my everyday living. If it did, I’d certainly be destitute. Hell, I would be living on the streets unable to afford to own a laptop or internet access to be able to publish more books!

I have a normal everyday job, as most of you who read this blog know. It’s not a brilliantly paid job. As with most, it is minimum wage. I don’t get tonnes of hours. In fact, again, I probably wouldn’t be able to afford to live on my own with rent and bills to pay. We’re not even including food costs in this so I imagine it would be back to the idea of living on the street.

As you can imagine, I’m not really up for that if that’s the way this game is being played.

Thankfully my other half earns a decent wage. He works long hours, partly due to his current commute, and pays for our monthly shop and rent. I handle the household bills and getting bits and pieces as and when we need them. Our work hours mean that it’s sometimes difficult to see each other. I wish we could do something about that, but needs must.

So I am supported, in a way, but not as greatly as some people must think when they seem to think that it’s not okay for an author to be paid a living wage for their work.

Sure, you can read our books in a day, but it takes far longer to write, edit, edit again, edit some more, format and cover create.

There’s a lot involved in book production, whether it be paperback or ebook, self-published or traditional. And I’m sorry, but we still need to eat, drink, clothe ourselves (and our kids if we have any), keep the lights and heat on, and somehow afford that roof over our heads whilst we’re working hard to produce something that you will want to buy.

I know. I’m not at the stage where my writing can afford me that, anyway. I would love to be. It would give me far more writing time than I have now if I could afford to simply live off my book wage. But I know that will be years in the making.

A good friend of mine, Gayla Drummond (you may have heard me mention her before), has spent years and years releasing books. It’s only with her current catalogue and success with a particular series of novels that has allowed her to get to the stage where she’s earning a living wage.

And why shouldn’t she be paid for her art?

Because it is art. It’s words that she lovingly crafts into beautiful images for readers the world over. She deserves every penny, cent or euro that she gets for her books.

And I personally think it’s wrong that people should say somebody shouldn’t earn a living wage from writing or complain (as with the Stacey Jay thing) if someone should ask for that to be considered in with their original proposal of writing. And there’s the thing about connections and prior wealth. Why not let people know that was how you started out?

If you’re wealthy or you have connections then just say and don’t sugar coat things. Wealth just means you have a different set of experiences in life, which you surely use in your writing. Why would you pretend you didn’t? And connections? You may have worked hard, but are you telling me that your connections didn’t make it just that bit easier and wouldn’t you like to let people know who it was that gave you that hand? That would be you promoting the people who have seen that promise in you and have shown it to the world.

You can still be modest about it, but don’t be unreal. Haven’t you heard that readers prefer the authors they can interact with and feel are real people- even if they do create the most fantastical worlds?

Anyway, that’s my rant for today & a little filling in on what’s been going on. Hope you’re all okay!

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