Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part One

I just want to state categorically that I had been thinking about this series before I read the brilliant post over on Samantha The Reader’s blog you can read her post here.  Her post is aimed at the advice writers receive about their craft mine is about the things we hear when we mention we have published a book and the realities of being an indie author.

Everyone Tells Me I Should Write a Book/I Always Wanted To Write A Book

I have lost track of the times I have had this response from people when you mention that you have written a book. First, let me say I firmly believe anyone can write a book, I don’t think you need a certain educational level, you don’t need a degree and you don’t need to have taken creative writing course but there are some things you do need to have. While I do think anyone can write a book, however, I dont believe everyone should try to write books or that everyone is capable of writing a good book.

There are so many aspects of the writing process people simply do not understand or do not want to see and this series is about that who process, the misconceprtions and overall the hard work that is involved with producing a half decent novel.

Where do you start?

There is a good chance if you are asking that question it means one of two things, you are either not ready or you are over thinking it.

If you do not have an idea for a story you want to tell then you are not ready to write, most stories start with an idea, a persistant nagging idea in your head which plagues you at random moments demanding you take notice of it. This is the first part of writing and it is the one that cannot be taught you either, have this type of creative imagination or you don’t and without it no matter how much you might like the idea of writing a book your really will not be able to. Don’t get me wrong you can put word on paper, write cohesive sentnces but if you do not have those ‘voices’ in your head that demand you listen to the totally weird and wonderful offerings they decide to throw at you as you are trying to get to sleep then the chances of writing something original and captivating are very slim.

The second group of people are the over thinkers, these are the ones who believe you must know every element of the story, and have everything completely planned, organised, and  ready before they start writing their masterpiece. In some cases they boos they could produce might indeed by pieces of litarary brilliance but we will never know because much like having children there is never a ‘right’ moment. There are times when it may be better, finacially, healthwise , timewise, fitting in with a day job wise but if you are waiting for all the starts to align it is probably not going to happen. Even if, by some miracle, it happen then the problem comes that stories are organic, they grown on their own and refuse to be constrained by our plot outlines. If you have an idea by all means outline if you need to before you start writing but don’t let the idea fester in your head.

If anyone has enjoyed this then let me know in comments and next week we will talk about actually putting pen to paper.

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Okay so on Sunday this happened…

Tennis – Wimbledon – London, Britain – July 16, 2017, Switzerland’s Roger Federer poses with the trophy as he celebrates after winning the final against Croatia’s Marin Cilic REUTERS/Toby Melville

Well okay, it did but that was not what I really wanted to talk about, what I want to talk about was this that happened afterwards…

We now know who the new Doctor will be and it is a woman!

First let me express my disappointment, not at the choice but at the fact we know! I really had hoped that they might fly in the face of modern convention and kept it a secret until the Christmas special, they could have had closed sets, invited several front runners to the set to hang about to mislead speculation. I would love to have been able to tune in on Christmas day and be surprised by the regeneration, not had to listen to months of debate about the chosen replacement which brings us to Jodie Whittaker.

Going to be honest, other than her appearance in St Trinians I haven’t really seen her in anything, I have yet to watch Broadchurch despite the fact I have been meaning to since it first aired. I don’t think overall the gender of the Doctor will make a real impact on the series, I will be far more concerned with plots, storylines and the character development. Do I have concerns? Of course, I worry they will give her a beefcake for a companion, have him saving her constantly and her fall in love with him, though to be fair male Doctors have frequently been saved by their female companions. I would love to see a non-human in the TARDIS, yes we have just had Nardol and I hope the Doctor will collect him before leaving the spaceship but he is still shaped as a human, I have seen suggestions K9 may return but honestly, let’s have something different and shake things up completely.

We live in an age where we see all male performances of Swan Lake we see boundaries pushed in all directions, I know many are not happy to see a change from the norm in ‘their’ favourite show, and I say that in quotes because I don’t think my view of the show and theirs have anything in common, theirs is an exclusive club, mine is inclusive, theirs is restrictive, mine knows no boundaries, they would rather travel to the past, my show is heading full speed into the future.

What’s going on!

Okay let’s talk honestly, the issues over the last couple of weeks have been two-fold, first, the computer failed, then secondly I failed at life, well not really it just feels that way.

The computer did an update which because of my poor internet connection failed to instal properly, the end result was I had to wipe everything, reinstall windows, then find all the various apps I use and reinstall them. Of course, this also meant trawling through emails to find the registration codes for paid upgrades and apps, mental note to self, put them all in one folder next time! It has taken two weeks so far and I am still finding annoying little things that are missing or that I need to tweak but finally I can get back to actually doing some productive work.

Now the hard bit to talk about, life! I have mentioned before that the monster has had a few issues, but I have really not talked about how hard it is to see your son hurting and not be able to fix it. We have been on a waiting list for over two and a half years for my son to be tested for Autism, everyone who spends any time with him agrees he is on the spectrum, where or whether there is a specific category he will fit into we do not yet know. It has also been suggested that if he is not actually autistic his issues may result from lasting brain damage from the meningitis that nearly took his life when he was seven and a half. As he gets older and more is expected of him he is finding it increasingly difficult to cope in the mainstream school he attends, but we have no other choices, without a diagnosis he would not be accepted at one of the schools who cater for those with more complex needs. He is also incredibly intelligent, it is not the work in school he cannot cope with it is the environment, he requires more one to one help but again without a diagnosis, the school do not get the funding for this.

Since just before Christmas he has been struggling, it is so hard to see and hear about you child talking about not wanting to exist, wanting to hurt themselves and at times physically attempting to hurt themselves but be able to do nothing to change their perception of themselves. He hears every negative word and replays it but the positives go by un-noticed. Things were really bad for a while through January, then with a lot of positive reinforcement, it seemed we were getting somewhere. However last week he started a six weeks counselling course with the hope it would help with his self-esteem, instead we are right back at square one.

Yesterday was a bad day, he tried to physically hurt himself, he said a lot of things that once more broke my heart and for the first time I questioned my ability to deal with this, Don’t get me wrong I will of course, you have no choice, there is no magic wand that anyone can wave and make it all okay. But for the first time, I feel tired, weak and alone. I have been crying on and off, day and night for the last 26 hours. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me, but today, I felt it was time to be honest.

I have spent the morning making phone calls and so far have got nothing, hopefully, the paediatrician will get back to me in the morning but the agency that deals with the autism referral are still not answering the phone nor have they called me back yet, I do not expect them to, I have lost track if the number of voicemails I have left over the last 6 months, they never call back. I am however logging the times and dates I leave the messages this time as well as calling repeatedly in the hope eventually someone might pick up the phone. I feel so tired

I feel so tired, and cannot at the minute see a light at the end of the tunnel. I love my son to pieces, that goes without saying, but today I feel like a failure as a parent because I can’t fix this for him, I can’t make him feel better. We find ways to get through one day at a time, do our best to enjoy the good days and survive the bad ones. I felt the need to share this today because I can guarantee there is at least one other person out there reading this who feels like they are struggling today, not necessarily in the same way, but I just want them to know they are not alone, very few people have the perfect lives they pretend to have on social media, and sometimes it is okay to not be okay, it is okay to say I am struggling today. Today I may cry, I may scream, I may very well throw the phone handset against the wall, but I will get through it and get up tomorrow and hope for a better day, one day at a time is sometimes all that we can do.

Wordpress what are you playing at?

I woke up one morning last week to about thirty notifications regarding pending comments from WordPress. I thought wow a new subscriber who has been reading my posts, or maybe, a few subscribers reading a few each, I scratched my head and opened my email folder then realised the WordPress hated me. For some reason best known to themselves, they had decided to turn off the spam filters overnight, most of the spam was in foreign languages so I have no idea what they were trying to tell me but to be fair most of those in ‘English’ were a mystery to me as well.

So I decided that it would be amusing to see what my spam says about me, I also have chosen a couple from my normal email spam as well just for your amusement. So first up from WP spam…

“Creating a hangover emergency system handy won’t look extremely important today, but when the time will come you’ll be happy to have the needed what to remedy a hangover. Making a hangover emergency system is a simple method that everyone can carry out. Additionally you can include those things you’ll need or don’t add the items you will not likely use.”
vegan hiking boots

So as you can see, I think I am supposed to create and emergency hangover kit, how do they know how bad my hangovers are? Why do I need hiking boots for a hangover? Why should my boots be vegan? Do vegan boots cure your hangover quicker? Judging by the writing a do suspect the writer may have been drug and was planning their own hangover kit for when they got up the next morning.

Next…

“My spouse and i too feel a new mommy that did not need to be expecting a baby. Not really because of its physicality, which i may handle needlessly to say. Things i couldn’t handle has been the romance patient or perhaps don’t have thereof which i recognized I needed however did not acquire. The actual shipping has been worse, using feuding loved ones with an unsupportive”

Okay, I have no idea what this person’s issues are! Maybe the wife got pregnant and he isn’t getting laid, maybe he thinks his relatives should make his wife sleep with him or they should sleep with him? Let’s just say this poor man has issues and I cannot think of anything that could be shipped to him that would be of any assistance.

Next up…

“If this sounds like your circumstances, contemplate going for a crack through actively trying to conceive for a couple of a few months. (Which may be easier said than done in case your grow older making you feel as if you are rushing from the time.)”

Okay, I am single, and even if I were I certainly would not be cracking on to conceive. In fact given my medical history getting pregnant would be just about one of the worst possible things that could happen to me, but this one does worry me slightly because there are people out there who can’t have kids and this would be an extra slap in the face if it slipped through a spam filter.

I probably gained weight already Mary looking at your coffee cakes. I can’t pick just one but all of them ahhah. thanks for the roundup and for the gi!vawayeHappy SUnday!”

I think this person may have been out on the beer with the first person and may need a hangover kit. I have no idea who Mary is but I am partial to a nice piece of coffee cake so if you know her, send her my way with it. and I think maybe the next two were with them.

“More posts of this quytlia. Not the usual c***, please”

“Your answer lifts the ingleeitlnce of the debate.”

I know they want people to click on their links but calling my normal posts crap is really not going to do you any favours, however, I have to say compared to some of the posts in my normal emails that is quite tame.

“You know what! Go fuck yourself. Shithole. How can you be that evil to me? Evil bitch.”

It would seem I have upset Claire, I have absolutely no idea what I could have done to her though the fact she has to ask how I can be that evil does rather give the game away that she really does not actually know me. The other thing I get a lot of is the fact the spam bots cannot work out I am actually female, I imagine the first four letters of my name flag me as a man, given the amount of mail order brides they think I might need, as well as the Viagra to cope with them, but what does amuse me, is this thing of trying to insult someone into clicking, using things like this,

“Hey YOU,

Please stop emailing me your photos. I am engaged now.
We broke up a long time ago. MOVE ON!”

“Hey Scumbag,

Stop stalking me and my friend or I will report you. You piece of shit, cock-sucker douche. I do not know why you are doing this! You slept together once, only once. It does not mean anything. Have not you heard of hook up?

So, f*** off and leave us alone”

“You mad bitch! You made me hate my guts last night. You are an ASS. You disgust me. It makes me wanna puke when I think of you. YOU SON OF BITCH. Do not you dare to do that to me again, sucker.”

Now you see it is actually a good job I am single and spam savvy because if not I might have thought that my bloke had been up to no good on my computer. I would have assumed as my computer always has my accounts signed in that he had used my email to pick up said women from dubious sites. So while I pop off now and check up on the numerous giftcards I have won to American stores we do not have in the UK, I hope I have at least given you a giggle, I may be a mad bitch, and occasionally, I may be evil but I swear I don’t have one night stands lol.

Trying something a little different!

As you are aware I am launching Ascension next month, the first part of the Queen of Ages trilogy, that means the next couple of weeks I shall be busy doing final edits and playback to catch those silly little errors we so often miss that spell check cannot spot, where we put in rather than is for example.

So in an attempt to stay off FB and other social media when I should be working have switched WiFi off on my computer 💻 and will only be accessing it via my phone, I intend to try to post everyday and hopefully the fact they will be brief daily blogs will be interesting to you and hopefully by the time I am ready to be back all over social media the passions regarding politics may be dying down and the name calling stop.

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One thing I do still need to do is the blurb for the back of the book and also for the description section of various places, I must be honest it is one thing I do find difficult, how to sum up a plot and a story in a few lines, giving enough to draw the reader in while not actually revealing anything important.

I also tried firing up my old phone this week in the hope of using it do do fb live and snap chat, however it seems the phone was more useless than I remembered so that plan is down the drain, I had thought it was just the battery that had gone on it but seems to be the whole android processor.

Will leave it here for today and finish eating my porridge, then the morning will be spent editing the afternoon at the day job. Catch you all tomorrow.

Thoughts On Thursday – The Learning Curve!

You write a book, you put it up on Amazon, your done, right? Wrong!

I have decided to run this, a new series of posts on a Thursday discussing the things I learn about the self publishing journey as I go along.

There are so many things now that you have no idea about when you start out as a self published author, things that you might think should be simple but oh no there are a thousand pitfalls awaiting you. So what I am going to do over the next few weeks is discuss some of the things I have learnt about so far on my publishing journey, some mistakes have been more costly than others.

Lets start with a pretty basic one, a business card. Everyone who has any type of business needs to have a card they an hand out, you can get them from a thousand printers on line and in your local area but getting it right is a whole different ball game, and one I got wrong the first time round.

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Now at first glance you might look at it and wonder what is wrong, it looks okay but then think bout what it tells you.

It tells you I have written one book, the book featured on the card, a ghost story book, it does not tell you that my novels I am realising are a completely different genre, or even that I have other books.

It gives you some information about the places you can find me on social media but misses out the website, now to be fair I did not have the website when I designed these but because I was naive I ordered a few hundred cards I then had a website and no one knew about it and I had a pile of cards so did not feel I could buy new ones until I used the ones I had up.

The next thing was the price and quality, I could have bought them cheaper but I heard from various sources that some of the ‘offers’ I had seen advertised turned out to be poor quality, I found somewhere I thought was fairly cheap and spent extra on the glossy finish and thicker card, and they were good in that respect, but there really are so many companies now that it is impossible to check them all out so a couple of things I learnt along the way…

  • Ask other people, both personally and online about the companies they have used, most people if you ask politely and respectfully will be happy to help with information like this.
  • Go onto the various sites and take a look, run through the process of designing or uploading your design, see how easy their system is to use, check out the pricing options and shipping remember just because you put the stuff into the computer does not mean you are obliged to buy them just stop before you hit the pay button.
  • Check out on their website if they offer samples, I sent to two different companies for sample packs, these give you an idea of not only the size of their cards but generally other products like flyers etc you may wish to consider at a later date and allows you to feel the different card qualities and finishes before you commit to ordering.
  • Make sure you save your design somewhere safe on your computer, just because you order from a place once does not mean you are tied to them, I would suggest ordering the smallest amount option for your first order, you can always order more at a later date if you are satisfied with the product and service.

So as you may have glanced on my vlog this is my new business card…

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Now the one thing you might notice I have included on this one is a phone number and this is another tip, at a small cost you can get a skype phone number, the great thing about this is you can literally set yourself business hours, I am at my desk Monday to Friday mornings most weeks, I tend to do blog posts, read emails, for the first couple of hours each day then afternoons and evenings are reserved for friends, family and writing. The great thing about the skype number is it goes to the computer and means I do not have to give out my personal mobile or my home phone, I chose to add it because as a chose dark colours for the background and a glossy finish, scribbling it on individual cards as need was not an option, plus if anyone abuses the number it is very easy to block using skype as I have to do several times a week with scam contacts. I would also say if you try to contact anyone via a skype number make sure from the message you send they know who you are and why they should add you to their contacts. Generally  business cards ware only given out to business contacts so unwanted calls should not be too much of an issue.

Okay so hope someone might have found something useful in this post and I shall do another next week if you enjoyed it.