Since the last post, near five years ago, a lot has gone on in the world, and personally it’s not been too much different.

I took a couple of years away from writing, the burnout is real, and instead I concentrated on one of my other loves, painting miniatures. If you’ve not see any of the painting I’ve been doing you can find all the video tutorial on my Youtube Channel, Brush and Boltgun. After concentrating on that for a while I did what I always do and dive in both feet, so used most of my free time to make videos and tutorials on how to paint them, and achieve great results with the minimal effort. Ideal for painters of all skill levels, it’s done pretty well.

Then we had the pandemic, and the great period of sickness that kicked my teeth in. So May 2021 I became sick with symptoms of Long Covid, I was phenomenally fatigued and sleeping for about 14-18 hours a day – Get up, get my daughter ready for school, do some cleaning/washing/house jobs for an hour, back to sleep for 2-4 hours, up for an hour or two, back to sleep. It was hideous. I’d take my daughter to the park and have to stop and sit down after ten minutes walking and she’d wait patiently while I sat on the grass to catch my breath. Stairs were exhausting. I also developed myalgia which I still have now (thanks life!). On top of this I had brain fogging like I’ve never experienced before. I’d just signed with Liverpool Lit about a week before, and when I was given edits to do to a comic sci-fi manuscript I found I couldn’t string sentences together properly, and would edit about 100 words in about 4 hours. I thought I’d succeeded in gaining an agent, and then failed because I could no longer write.

The brain fogging carried on for months, as did the fatigue, and I was signed off work for six months while the docs tried all manner of things to help. Eventually my GP prescribed me a Myalgia medication for the horrific aching and pain, and they were also strong anti-depressants because I was miserable as sin not being able to exercise or play with my daughter as much as I wanted to. When I returned to work I’d crash out for a few hours.

Skip forward to July last year I realised the medication was doping me up to the point where I still couldn’t write properly. I knew how I wanted things to go, but couldn’t put the sentences together to get them going. It was proper naff, so, I came off the medication and started feeling my brain chugging to life again, but super slowly. I’d put on a lot of weight from comfort eating, to the point where last year I was weighing in at 13.5 stone (85kgs/189lbs), as my pal Karl referred to himself many years earlier, I was like a fat pencil.

Rob Knipe circa. July 2022

After about 5 months I was writing about 700 words in 4 hours or so, up from 100, and thankfully now I can edit about 20-40 pages, or write 1500-3000 words in 4 hours, distractions* permitting.

As well the writing I’ve been working on my health a lot (and I’ll be writing more about that in the coming days/weeks/months/until I peg out), and gaming a lot more, with the painting taking a back seat for a few months while I catch up on everything and catch up on the writing which I’ve been making notes on and unable to do anything with for so long.

As an aside, I’d like to also give shout outs to my agent Los Bennett, and Claire Coombes at Liverpool Lit for their help and support with writing and their patience while I was recovering, John Warner for his constant bigging up of my writing, and pushing me when I’ve been mentally ruined, and Mrs Mombastic for her support and health advice over the past few months, and also, for Hence Stacks for being an incredible help in making me feel more alert and awake than I have done in years. More on that in the coming weeks too.

If you’re into any kind of table top hobby or want to try Hence Stacks I’ve got affiliate links on the right of this page which will take you to their site. If you use the links and purchase anything I’ll get a % of that purchase which helps me out a lot. Sadly, being creative does not bring in the money I’d like it to! 🙂

Affiliate link to Hence Stacks – check them out! – Discount Code – ROB10