So I’m going through something of an identity crisis at the moment.
It’s something that happens to me, oh, about thirty times a day.
Every time I log onto Twitter or Tumblr or my Facebook page, I ask myself the question:
And I never really know for sure.
See, because while my name is Kat in the real world (or Kathryn, if you’re a family member or are angry at me for some reason), online I’m known by my username, Penrefe.
I’ve become strangely proud of the name. I go insane every time YouTube tries to lure me into using my real name on its web site. I am not Kathryn on YouTube, YouTube. I am Penrefe on YouTube.
Penrefe is my username on just about every web site I’m registered on. I even bought a domain of a discontinued e-mail service to get my username back on IMDB: that’s how insane dedicated I am to my moniker.
As anyone with a favourite username will tell you, your online alias is more than just a name. It’s the embodiment of who you are online.
And yet Penrefe is me. Just me. Penrefe is K. L. Kerr is Kathryn is Kat. We are all the same person. But who am I? Who do I want to be known as?
It’s a difficult choice, especially when I’m a writer with books to sell, so I often think I should be pushing that side of things (which was the reason for my initial change to KLKerr.com last year). You hear all these things about branding and centralising so that people can easily find you, and blah blah blah blah blaaaaaaaah.
But I’ve decided to move everything back to Penrefe.com, and build everything on the name I’m best known for*, even if no one is really 100% sure how to pronounce it**.
TL:DR Basically, this was an incredibly long-winded way of saying I’ve moved my site and its contents back to Penrefe.com.
This will have no impact on your life whatsoever.
* Second only perhaps to Catrinna, the Draenei hunter.
She’ll be back eventually, NuGenites. So will Winston. And Bigwig. And my One-Eyed Willy. Warlords of Draenor, woooooooooooooooooo!
Alright, nobody freak out, but I’m pushing back the self-imposed deadline of the first draft of Divided They Fall to mid March.
I have been working on this book more-or-less non-stop since November 2013.
I need a break.
I know people are waiting for this book (which is something that freaks me the fuck out. I mean, I have my usual 3 friends (Muse, Richy, Dee–see there’s actually 3) who ask me when the next one is coming, but now I have Internet friends and relative strangers asking about the next instalment. That kind of thing is just…my mind, it’s boggling at the very idea. The Internet, man. It’s a powerful beast.).
And I am working on it, but the going is slow and painful. And at the rate I’m going, I just can’t see a finished, workable first draft being ready by the end of January.
So to save myself the stress, and to save the alpha readers’ future disappointment, I’ll just come out and say it now: you’re not having a book at the end of the month.
Were I in a traditional publishing environment, I’d have already spent my advance and be crying into dust as my publisher and agent both abandon me by the wayside to be eaten by wolves or whatever.
But I’m not. I’m independently published. I’m my publisher. I’m my agent. I’m my publicist, and my media guru and marketing manager and finance department and customer services representative, and that creepy lady that hangs around the copier making awkward and uncomfortable conversation. And I’ve made a management decision to extend the deadline.
So I’m going to set a new estimated date for the alpha draft (not the beta draft, that will be 6-8 weeks later) by 15th March 2014.
I will be taking a short break from writing in the meantime.
Nothing major. Just a week or two.
I might work on something else (*cough*DARKWING*cough*), or I might just not do anything. I don’t know yet.
Only a week or two.
Then it will be back to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, and all the other well-known work phrases I can’t think of right now.
When I was a young girl ( a young girl, a young girl ), I assumed that 30 was practically dead in terms of age. I assumed 20 was old, when I was 12. 16 was ancient to an 8-year-old.
Back when I was 16, scribbling the hilariously bad first draft of my first book, I made the main character 19, because 19 was so mature.
As I passed 19 in reality, I scoffed at the notion of it being “mature”. I still scoff on occasion when I think about it to this day, the same way I still laugh out loud at those who think people should have their shit together by 25.
Technically speaking, I was a mature person for 19. By the time I was 19 years old, I had already:
Moved out of the family home;
Got a car;
Got a job;
Got a house (with a mortgage !);
…and I was totally on my way and set to be a cog in the machine of life.
Since I’d already done most of what I thought you needed to do as a grown-up, I kind of coasted through my 20′s, for the most part.
I remember when I thought people in their 20’s were adults. Now all of my friends are in their 20’s and everybody is just kind of fumbling around bumping into each other, trying to figure out where the free food is.
This GIF, in rough estimation, is what the vast majority of my 20′s was like. I’m still trying to decide which panda best represents me.
In my 20′s, I met a boy and fell in love, and settled down, and got married. That didn’t end particularly well, but I learned a lot from the experience.
I spent my 20′s working in accounts and software support, although I had no real passion for either. I mean, who really has a passion for finance? It’s one of the most stressful jobs you can have, besides technical support, so I was covered on both bases.
I’m yet to meet anyone doing work in accounts who does it because they feel it’s their true calling.
I suspect most, if not all, of people working in accounts do it for the same, simple reason that I worked in accounts: because we could.
I’m still working in accounts, though at a different company to the one I spent the majority of my 20′s in, because the company I joined aged 18 and spent ~10 years busting my ladyballs for doesn’t exist anymore. Sad story, the recession was a tragedy, and so on…now let’s move on.
I also wrote and published two books in my twenties, which is a pretty damn big deal.
I wrote these two books. Have I mentioned that before?
Writing, as I have recently been reminded and have constantly known, is such a fundamental part of my life, it tends to push everything else out.
I’ve learned to accept that, as has everyone close to me, so when a family member calls to ask, “What are you doing tonight?” and I reply, “The same thing I do every night , Pinky : trying to take over the world write a book!” , it’s universally understood that I shouldn’t be contacted for the rest of the evening/weekend/month.
Thankfully, I still have no intention of having children, so I’ll have no one to neglect. Hence why cats are great pets of choice for a writer.
And yet, there’s a part of my brain that won’t accept I’m turning 30.
You’re not thirty , it scoffs, throwing popcorn at the back of my head. You can’t even cook. You still eat Pot Noodle butties and live on takeaways. You don’t know how to pop the bonnet on your car to add screenwash. If a lightbulb goes out, it stays out until your Granddad visits. You don’t even know how your thermostat works. Give back your grown-up card; you’ve clearly not earned it yet.
That part of my brain has a point. There’s still a lot of things I should know how to do by now. There’s a lot of things I should’ve already done.
If I’d done things differently in my 20′s, I’d be somewhere else by now. I’d be some one else, maybe.
I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not.
But then that’s the thing about time: it doesn’t wait for you. It doesn’t wait for anyone.
And I have been incredibly lazy in my 20′s, letting a lot of opportunities pass me by.
This isn’t a declaration of a proposed dramatic life change. I’m just going to say that I think I might put a bit more effort into my day-to-day life to acknowledge that time isn’t waiting, and we’re all getting older, and that’s okay.
To start the ball rolling, I’m going to attempt to strip all the colour out of my hair over the weekend, a sort of “cleansing” ritual of sorts (while simultaneously stinking out the house with the smell of the hair dye remover, Colour B4 , which really reeks, trust me–like someone cooked a batch of rotten eggs and sprinkled the scrambled mess over a corpse drying in the sun, left it a few days, then worked it into your hair so it permeates the air around you for weeks ).
I don’t use many parts of myself to make a statement: I don’t have the ladyballs to pierce anything (other than my ears, which I never use), or tattoo anything (because there’s nothing I know I’ll want in 20-40 years’ time).
But my hair has always been something I’ve used to make a statement about who I am. From blonde to red to black, and there and back, I’ve been all of those, making statements, breaking hearts, being an angel, being a bitch, and everything in-between.
Let’s just hope the colour stripping is a success and doesn’t leave me venturing into a new era of my life looking like Worzel Gummidge.
This could be me by Sunday.
I want to close by saying: I’m not nervous or anxious or upset about reaching 30. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a new era, a new chapter in the book of Kat.
I like to think I’m ending the chapter on a relative high, so let’s see where the next decade takes me.
In my 20′s, I was riding with the training wheels on.
I think I’m ready to take them off.
Anyway, many people, including friends who are reaching the big three-oh themselves, feel they should’ve done more, that they should be more by the time they reach 30.
I don’t care how small or insignificant my experiences might be when compared to others.
I have done plenty, and I’ll do plenty more.
Now, in real closing, I’ve been trying to find a song that best sums up the last decade, something that articulates how the last ten years have developed me as an individual.
I’m really struggling. I’m browsing through my iTunes and madness threatens. I want to post something uplifting, something inspirational, but Shed Seven’s “Chasing Rainbows” keeps coming in my head.
So I suppose that’s what I’m going to have to go with.
Last night, I was too busy catching up with friends and watching an absolutely atrocious film to write a summary post for the year, and writing one now would kind of defeat the point of looking forward to the new year.
So all I’ll say about the previous year is that it wasn’t too bad for me, personally, but I have friends and others close to me who have been through a hell of a lot, so I won’t be looking to recall much about it, and I hope 2014 will be better for everyone involved (and for everyone I don’t even know, for that matter–if your year was a bit shit, I hope this year gets it turned around for you).
I’m not doing the resolutions thing, because I don’t see the point in forcing myself to do things out of obligation or guilt, just because it’s the time of the year to do that.
But my housemate and I have decided instead to make a bucket list of sorts for the things we should each do before the end of 2014. I will be posting mine here, updating as I decide on more things I need to get done in 2014 and crossing off as they’re done.
I have set myself the challenging (but by no means impossible) task of completing the remaining 60k~ words of the first draft of my third book for NaNoWriMo this year.
As a result, November will be a stressful month for me while I try to extract all these conflicting ideas from my brain and kind of smush them into words and paragraphs and scenes and eventually an entire novel that make sense from beginning to end.
So I apologise in advance for if you get caught up in any of the following that I do in the month of November:
Being quiet/unresponsive both on and offline.
Talking about nothing except word counts, targets, goals and word counts.
Demanding to be left alone.
Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine/alcohol, depending on the time of day/day of week.
Threatening to “punch you in the throat” or “slap you in the dick”, or just generally being nasty.
Stress turns me from a mild mannered, fairly decent human being into Aunt Irma , so this will be me in November: