After a decent 2015 on the gambling front – which provided us with a sufficient supplement to Anne’s salary – 2016 proved what I’d always feared, which is that whilst the system itself remains profitable, I was massively over-staking based on my meagre fund size and so too vulnerable to an inevitable losing streak. Or two as it happened. So, that’s on hold until I can start again with a properly-sized fund.
My poems and short stories were rejected all year long. The novel I wrote in a kind of daze over the last few months, doesn’t seem likely to escape even the ‘first reader’ stage. The draft of my management book was looked on kindly by someone nice at Hodder and Stoughton, but returned anyway.
I shoved my old gambling book on Amazon and it sold a few copies before Christmas. A very few. Which was a very few more than my book of silly poems.
So, apart from some laughingly small royalty cheques which continue to dribble through quarterly for Farewell Trip, my writing has remained stubbornly art for art’s sake. Which I don’t mind. I’m not doing it for money. I would quite like an audience though. I feel like I might be at the end of the road, really. Or at least standing at a turning – with one fork pointing to nowhere and the other to dead-end.
Where I probably took a wrong turn – a bad gamble – was in spending my time these last two years split equally between gambling and writing. I spent no time seeking training work at all – relying on the work coming to me, as it has done sporadically over the last 18 years or so. Except, this time, it didn’t come to visit at all. Indeed, most of the people I have come to rely on for work are now retired, or retiring, or consultants themselves.
This needs to change in 2017. Not least because it’s unfair to Anne. If gambling and writing aren’t contributing anything then they are mere vanity projects and, frankly, we can’t afford them. So, 2017 must be about work. And I’m guessing that means a proper job, assuming someone in their fifties, who has been self-employed of a fashion since 1998, is actually employable. I feel like I should be, but can’t help doubting that I am. We’ll see.