Podioracket.com would like you to welcome author Myke Bartlett.

Myke Bartlett on Writing

I like to make things difficult for myself. Why else would I begin podcasting an unwritten novel, the same year I take up a position as a High School teacher?

There’s an old saying that if you need something doing, ask a busy person to do it. There’s some truth in that, for me. I need ridiculous levels of stress before I get anything done.

These days, I work as a journalist and have a weekly deadline of Tuesday evenings. I always keep Monday and Tuesday clear to write two pages of reviews. It’s about as long as I need. But, of course, I never get anything done on Mondays. Nothing. Those days dissolve in pints of bile and endless cups of sour tea. Come Monday evening, my wife returns home to find me weeping over my MacBook with a mangle of clumsy, useless phrases. Monday nights, I’m a miserable bastard. But Tuesdays? Tuesdays I’m an alchemist.  I can fly and the words sing.

Maybe I knew, back in 2006, that if I ever had the time, I wasn’t ever going to write a book. I could have prevaricated forever.

Releasing How to Disappear Completely in (more or less) weekly installments, while also dealing with the stress of a new career, gave me no excuses. Every spare second – usually those spent on the hour-long commute to work – was spent writing or editing. Those moments that weren’t, were spent recording or editing. If I missed a deadline, the angry emails came flooding in, demanding I keep writing.

That’s the sort of audience you want, when you’re starting out writing. A kick in the pants is always better than a kick in the teeth. If the angry emails had been demanding I stop writing, I wouldn’t be typing this today. I also probably wouldn’t have thrown in my teaching career, after only three years, to chase a new one as a writer. I’ll always be grateful to Podiobooks for that.

Of course, that first book, being a first draft, isn’t perfect. From a writer’s perspective, the story rambles somewhat – charmingly so, I like to think – and I’ve spent the last few years rebuilding the plot for a new draft. From a podcaster’s perspective, I can’t bring myself to listen to those early episodes. The reading is flat and the sound quality deeply suspect. If I had my time again, I would have bought a decent mic beforehand.

Still, despite these flaws, I have complete strangers write to me about the characters, usually a couple of times a week. It’s because of those people that Your Days Are Numbered has just been released via Podiobooks. It’s a collection of shorter tales, featuring the same characters from How to Disappear Completely. Despite that, it’s not exactly a sequel.

Given my unease about relistening to that first draft, I wanted new listeners to be able to start afresh, so Your Days Are Numbered works as a clean start. Old hands shouldn’t be disappointed either, as there’s no backpedalling over familiar territory. These tales are brand new and, I think, work just as well whether you’ve heard the first podcast or not.

This time, the whole podcast is available in one go. This time, I didn’t need the crack of an imaginary whip. This time, I was writing for pleasure. I love these characters, and their slightly off-kilter world, and I love sharing their adventures. I hope you enjoy them no less.

Myke Bartlett is the author of Your Days are Numbered, How to Disappear Completely, and Electricity. You may purchase Your Days Are Numbered on Amazon. Listen to this week’s podcast, coming on Wednesday, for H.E. Roulo’s interview with him.