Was up until a stupid hour watching the Democratic convention. I’m not sure why except it never feels right catching it on Youtube the next day, where there’s too much temptation to fast forward a bit, which always turns into fast forwarding so much you effectively didn’t watch any of it…

Perhaps that’s why I woke up this morning feeling a bit like roadkill. Or maybe that was down to the ibroprufen I took before I went to sleep to cure me of the lingering thundery headache I had for most of yesterday. Absolutely flattened me. Last night I dreamed I was doing washing-up in a Liverpool pub (might have been The Albert, the famous club outside Anfield which I’ve never visited). Endless washing up…

I clearly had washing up on my mind. I had a crapload to do when I got up. Weeding too. Weeds have taken over and reached that point where my ability not to care what the neighbour’s think is overtaken by my fear that postmen might disappear between the gate and the front door. I don’t like using poison to kill them (weeds, not postmen) and usually use boiling water on them (postmen, not weeds). This time, there might be no option. I don’t have a kettle big enough.

An *exact* and in no way misleading representation of what I currently look like… Oh boy! It’s so uncanny !

Not looking forward to going out but that might be a beard thing. I’m tired of people doing a double-take when they see me. “Fuck ‘em” I think but deep down there’s a pang of caring. Do they think I’ve gone mad? I haven’t (no, honestly, I haven’t… No, really! Believe me, I beg of you!) but how do you convey the “always wanted to grow a beard” attitude suitably nuanced with the “hey, turns out I look a bit like Thor”?

Jack Black shaved off his beard and all his hair yesterday on his Youtube channel. It’s another sign that lockdown season is ending. It might be time to do the same… At some point in the next week, I have to take my mother into the local hospital to get her yearly blood tests done. Not at all happy about it but I don’t know the numbers. What risks are linked with taking the usual tablets and not monitoring your signs for a few months compared with taking an elderly person into a hospital whilst the North West is still seeing R numbers over 1? Seems crazy but what do I know?

In other news, it’s strange how fate pushes you one way and another. Didn’t even make the last 28 in Martin Rowson’s #DrawMichaelGove competition. Gutted. It’s another discouraging sign – plus I lost the whole thing to a generic photoshop. I might not even bother entering yesterday’s Mogg doodle. I got up honestly think I’d detach my drawing tablet from the PC and put it into storage. It takes up so much room on my desk and I’m clearly wasting my time…

Then, oddly, presciently, and out of the blue, got a text message from an American friend I’d not heard from in a long time. His son had come across my Monks book and had described it as “amazing”. Of course, I need his son to tell that to all his friends and get some enthusiasm for a book which I think is so much better than the sales suggest. But then I also know that marketing translates into sales and none of my books have ever had that much marketing…

Serious tip for any would-be authors out there. When negotiating to sell your book, always ask about the marketing budget. It’s something I’ve never done and is a huge beginner’s mistake. I guess it’s also a sign of why agents earn their percentage, but, again, never had an agent. Marketing is the true indicator of how much faith a publisher has in your book but also a sign of if the book will sell. Unless you can get it in shops (Monks didn’t for reasons I don’t know but often wondered if it’s liked to the book’s deep atheism / mocking of religions), it’s impossible to get people to know your book exists. If people don’t know you exist, nobody will ever want to know what you do…

It’s why so many writers who have success already had success in other fields or had family money…

But I’m not going there today. I have so many jobs to do beginning with those damn weeds…

[Update. Weeds done. And I mean *done*. I even cut a hedge. Maybe gardening is my vocation…]

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