Inside the Fiction Factory – Part 46


I donated blood this week. I appreciate not everyone is able to, but if you can I would encourage you to do so. You never know when you, a family member or friend may require some.

The chat with the nursing staff is always entertaining. They make you feel at ease and once you have donated you can choose to have a drink of orange or apple juice and I also take a Tunnocks Tea Cake. These are produced in Scotland and consist of soft marshmallow on a biscuit base and covered in milk chocolate. There is also a dark chocolate variety. I love them.

I managed to sell a book in the process. I make no apologies for that. When I’m lying on the bed, with a needle in my arm, you have to talk about something to pass the time. I’m now more comfortable with talking about my writing to strangers when they ask what I do. It’s taken a long time to get to this point, and it is important to be able to promote books and writing at every opportunity.

I like to find out what people are reading and always make a note when recommendations are made for books. I find some people say they wish they had time to read when I ask. I make sure I don’t lecture them about this. We all have different pressures to cope with and I recall the years I spent trying to find time to write and failing to do so. I understand how difficult it can be, but I imagine most people could find time in their day, even fifteen minutes for example, if they put their minds to it. When people tell me they wish they could find time to write, I mention my early start in the morning and using that time to put some words down. It’s a habit, it’s discipline, which is different from reading, which is a real pleasure. I have a fulltime job so for me this is the most productive way I can use my time. We all have the same number of hours in the day. The same applies to reading. It’s a matter of deciding what you would like to read and then making that effort, even for a short while, to make a start. The trick is to keep going, a little each day until it becomes something you can’t imagine doing without.

Which takes me back to donating blood. I did when I was at University and then missed many years. I told myself I didn’t have the time. I was also too busy and the years just passed by. I eventually started again and managed to keep returning. I didn’t go during the pandemic. I managed to donate shortly before and then lockdown happened. I recall the first time back was an odd one. I had been experiencing that can’t be bothered feeling and it took an effort to make the appointment and get on with it. I’m glad I did and I’m trying to go a couple of times a year now. I’ve donated twenty times (the time at University was so long ago they appear to have lost a record of it) so I’m going for 25 donations for my silver badge. I will then continue to donate for as long as they will have me and provided I’m fit enough to attend.

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