Monday, 1 December 2014

How I'm using something I hate to motivate me with something I love....

Hello future me

I know I say this a lot, but it really has been a while since I have written here.  A lot has changed and I don't have much time in which to explain it, so here are the highlights.

I have had to get a job

As some of you may know, I was made redundant in 2013.  I did not take it well.  Years I had spent with my previous employer, working hard, putting the hours in and I thought I was doing pretty well, then in June 2013 I was called in to a meeting with my manager and the big boss and was told, thanks for all the hard work, now there's the door.  It wasn't just me, there were several of us, but I was left angry, dazed and very confused.  After talking to my wife, we decided that we could afford for me to take a year off.  I would work on finishing my first MS and spend sometime with my two beautiful little girls.  I'm not going to lie people, it was an amazing year.  I got to watch my girls grow for a whole year with no interruptions, I got to know them as people as well as just a Dad.  Best time of my life and then as an added bonus, when they were at school I spent hours tirelessly working on my first story/book.

Well the year has passed and a deals a deal.  The savings took a battering and money was needed, so I went back to work.  I now work in a call centre, calling people, trying to flog them mobile phones.  If you get a call during your tea and it's someone telling you that they can get you a better deal on your phone, chances are it might be me.  I apologise in advance if you get the call, I hate doing it as much as you hate getting them, but I have a family to feed, sorry.  However it is also one hell of an incentive.  I detest it, it takes me out of all my comfort zones.  It's loud, it's very cut throat and you're made to feel worthless.  These places that are called 'call centres', but which I have now renamed as '21st century sweat shops' are foul places.  You are kept in check constantly and threatened regularly, where you're told if you don't sell you will be out the door.  Most of the people on the phones seem like good people, all they want is to make money for their families, and they go to these 'sweat shops' as a means to an end and because there seems to be very little else out there.  Honestly, if you've never worked in one, then you're lucky.  However I have managed to find one positive from the whole thing.  It has given me the drive to write with a sense of urgency I've never had before.  I don't want to be where I work, not because I don't want to work, but because I hate it, so when I get home after a 10 hour shift I get the old laptop out and write.

I am re-writing my story/book ...again

Every word I type, delete or edit gets me, in my mind, one step closer to leaving that place.  I've got to be honest, I thought it was ready, I even sent out enquiries to agents, 15 in total, and all of them were rejected.  That's okay though, I expected that, but it got me thinking, maybe I should read over it again, except this time I got my wife to read it out to me.  I was devastated.  It was to wordy, I repeated myself so much and well, it simply wasn't good enough.  If any of the agents I did send it to happen to read this, I apologise.  I wasted your time.  It simply wasn't goods enough.  But, and this I can now say with certainty, it will be next time.  I have a new perspective on what it is I need to do and how it needs to be done. 

I know it's a learning curve, it's the same with anything, it's just time that's seems to be the factor now.  Have I got enough?  How long will it take?  When will it be done?  These questions plague me every moment I'm away from my wife and kids.  I want to be a writer!  I WANT TO BE A WRITER!  And this might sound arrogant, but I believe I have it in me to be one, and doing a job I hate is helping me become one, a better one.  Last year I wrote in a previous blog post that -

It's the need to write that drives me, but it's the fear that often inspires me. 

And I mean this now more than ever.  I am terrified that I am going to spend whatever days I have left chained to a desk, in a role that I hate, an embarrassment to my wife and girls.  I will not do that, I can not do that.

So get ready life, fate, whatever you want to call it, I'm coming for you.  I will not be dictated to anymore.  I am far better than you would have me be and often have me believe, and to prove it I'm going to write and write and then write some more.  I will achieve that which at times seems impossible.  I will prove to myself and maybe others that I am more than they expected and I will no longer be the thing they want me to become.

Has anyone else out there ever used a negative factor in their life to produce a positive result?  I would like to hear from you if so.  It would be nice to hear from others who have become the person they want to be, instead of the person that others think you should be.  Please leave a comment, your words might help and inspire others who are struggling with life and the route it's pushing them down.

And with that said, I have an hour left to get some more writing done before I return to hell.  See you guys on the other side.
 
Stay cool people.

Pip  x

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I think I've discovered the secret to editing...Honestly I really think I have!

Hey future me

I know it's been a while, but that's okay.  My girls have been on their summer holidays and I have been fortunate enough to spend it with them.  Hand on  heart, best 6 weeks ever.  Thank you to my two girls for sharing their summer with me, I love you both. 

During the six weeks I had pretty much decided to leave the writing alone.  Story/book 1 was finished and I was already halfway through story/book 2 and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.  That was until I asked my wife to read my finished piece. 

Over the last couple of years I have learnt loads about 'The Craft' we call writing.  I know I have more to learn, but time will take care of that.  My favourite part is writing the first draft.  I like the feeling I get when I take a clean white screen and fill it with words.  I don't know if anybody else does the same, but when I write a first draft I don't tend to focus to much on things like grammar, structure, etc.  For me the first draft is all about getting the story down.

Once I have it all on paper, I then start editing and focus more on the technical aspects of writing.  To be honest I wrote my first story/book six times before I thought I had a good working copy.  By the time version six was finished I was tired of looking at it.  It got to the point where I was reading what I had written, but none of it made sense, so I asked it to my wife to read it for me.  I know, I know, bad idea. A lot of people have told me that you should never ask someone you love/like to critique your work and I understand why, but I did it and found that it was probably the best thing I have done. 

At first she read it to herself and to give her credit she was very positive about it all, but I suspected that there was something she wasn't telling me.  Eventually, after a lot of nagging I asked her to be honest and boy was she. 

I was to wordy.
I repeated myself often.
I would often lose the message (or plot) by over describing the silliest things.
And I repeated myself often. 

(See what I did there, I made a joke about repeating myself.  C'mon that's funny). 

I was gutted, angry, upset, and so got very drunk.  When I had sobered up I asked my wife to give me an example of what she meant, I had written the bloody thing six times, surely it wasn't that bad.  Turns out it was worse.

She read out loud the first chapter.  I listened and quickly realised that she was right.  Hearing what I had written was a real eye-opener.  Try it, I think you'll be surprised.  Having someone read your work out loud is completely different from reading it yourself.

As she read to me I discovered that paragraphs and pages that I thought were literary gold were simply not good enough.  When my wife had finished that first chapter I was embarrassed, and felt a little sick.  As a wannabe writer it's easy to get completely engrossed in what I am trying to do.  I immerse myself in a world which only I can see and hear and then I try to write it down in the hope that it's interesting enough that someone else might want to visit.  But if the way I write is to difficult to read, then what's the point?  Writing can be lonely, but thanks to my wife I have learnt that it's okay to let others in.  For perspective mainly, but it also helps keep you grounded.  I had forgotten that the reason I started writing in the first place was because eventually I wanted someone else to read my work, and that when they do, it should be enjoyable and not a chore.

So that's my secret to editing.  Have someone, preferably with endless patience, read it out loud to you.  I wish I had done that when I had finished draft two, I could have saved myself months of long nights and fretting.  If I'm ever fortunate enough to be published, when I write my first dedication it will be to my wife, not only for being an amazing woman who has had to put up with me and my shit whilst I try and make something of my writing, it will also be for showing me that it doesn't have to be that complicated. 

I Love You Boo!

Does anyone else have any tips when it comes to writing?  Please feel free to share, I for one would be grateful.

That's it for now.

Stay cool people.

Pip  x







Monday, 4 August 2014

Is a story/book ever really finished?

Hey future me.

It's been a while since I last wrote here, but that's okay, it tells me I that I am working hard on my now 2, that's right 2, MS's.  The first I hope will be finished within the next few weeks and the second is the first draft of my second book, which I also hope to have finished in the next month or two.

I have noticed massive difference's on how I have approached each of the stories/books I am writing, but today I am going to mainly focus on the first one.

In all honesty it is finished-ish.  I feel that it's about as good as I can make it without having had someone taking a huge chunk of their valuable time and reading it, and then spending more of their time telling me what they think.  What is good?  What is bad?  How can it be made better?  Etc.  Proof reader or Editor anyone?

(On a side note I have looked in to reading groups but as yet haven't been able to find one that doesn't involve a 2 hour car journey just to get there.  I'm toying with the idea of starting my own reading group, but I wouldn't know how to begin looking into something like that.  If anyone has any idea's please let me know).

Okay, first thing first, repeated words of phrases. 

I am at the moment re-reading and re-editing my first MS, for what feels like the 1001 time and I have noticed that there are certain words and/or phrases that keep cropping up.  Examples of these would be the following :-

But before ...
Without warning ...
Realising that... (I seem to use the word 'realise' and it's many variants a lot)

(Please feel free to leave your own examples of words and phrases that you find you use a lot, it will probably help me loads.  Cheeky of me to ask I know).

Every time I see one of these, it's feels like a slap in the face.  I have written 7 different versions of my first story/book and it has only just become apparent that these 'slaps' exist.  Now I can take the positive route and tell myself that as a wannabe-writer I must be growing on some level as I am now aware of them, because in the previous 6 versions it never even registered.  OR I can give myself a bollocking for not noticing them in the first place, call it a rookie mistake if you will. 

If I'm honest, it's a bit of both, I am relieved that I have noticed them and am frantically working through my story/book deleting and changing almost everyone I find.  (Some of them I have learnt are necessary). 

However I am pissed at myself for allowing them to get in there in the first place.  When I started this writing malarkey it was more as a release for me.  Somewhere to go when I needed some piece.  It was either write words down and hope they made some sense or drink, heavily.  LOL.  I wonder how many other writers started like that?

I never really expected to finish, and yet here I am with what is essentially a story/book.  I 'realise' (SLAP!  I'm starting to hate that word), that in the eyes of others and of those that know better, that 400 printed pages does not necessarily constitute a 'Book'.  Surely though, any writer, published or otherwise, must have started out like this?  At some point they were sat at their writing spot, staring at a pile of paper that they had just printed that contained words which they had typed.  I remember the first time I did, it felt pretty good, even if what I had written might've been shit.  But then I realised that the warm glow you get from printing your first efforts only lasts so long. 

Oooh, I've just thought of a joke. 

How long does it take for a writer (wannabe or otherwise) to lose the satisfaction they feel after completing a story/book for the first time? 

Answer : Approximately the time it takes the writer to print it, until they/we actually sit down and read it.

Okay, it's not that funny, but I suspect there is a lot of truth in there.  I think the question I'm trying to ask is this.

Is a story/book ever really finished? 

I could probably spend years re-writing and editing my efforts but I will always see mistakes, parts of the story that niggle away at me where I know it could be written/told better.  At what point do you walk away happy that you have done your best, without the feeling that it still isn't quite good enough?  I will offer the prize of a free virtual hug or a metaphorical high five to anyone who can come up with an answer to that particular conundrum.

Anyway, that's it for today.  Time to get back to it.  I have decided, against a lot of people's better judgement I have started to notice, to try the traditional publishing route.  Will something come of it?  I don't know, but it doesn't mean I should stop now.  Hell, someone has to win the lottery, why can't it be me this time.  Wish me luck, I suspect I'm going to need it.

Look after yourselves people, but above all stay cool.

Pip   x


Monday, 16 June 2014

My first interview as a writer. (Kind of...)

Hello future me

This week I have decided to try something new.  Last week my 10 year old daughter came home from school with some homework, the topic, 'Interview someone'.  They were given a list of questions to ask and told that they could interview anyone, about anything.  I'll be honest I was well chuffed when she asked to interview me, but I wasn't sure how I could help, I'm just her Dad, what interesting things did I know about that would help in her homework.  So when I asked her why me, after all she has a great gran who lived through two World Wars, surely she would be more interesting then me, my daughter simply said...

'You're writing a book and I was wondering how you do it and why?'

Jeez, the things kids say.  So yesterday afternoon, we sat in the front room, my daughter with a writing pad and the better part of a dozen question, me with sweat on my brow and a glass of water, and we started the interview. 

So below is the interview that my daughter did with me.  If nothing else, it will prove to my daughters teachers that she did her homework, just in case she losses it on her way to school.

Interviewer - Amber
Interviewee - Me (Daddy)

Amber

So Daddy, thank you for helping me with my homework.  I have been asked to interview someone and I have decided that I would like to interview you and the reason why you are writing a book.  So my first question is why are you writing a book?
Me

Well Amber, firstly thank you for choosing me to interview, and to answer your question, writing is something I have always wanted to do and I am now at a stage in my life where I feel I am ready to give it a go.
Amber

That is very interesting.  So what's your book about?
Me

I would like to think that my book is about people and whether they are capable of making the right decisions when the time comes.  Good and bad choices are something that everyone has to make every day, the secret is to know which is which and what you should do when faced with a choice like that.
Amber

So it's like when Mummy asks me if I want a piece of fruit or a biscuit for a snack.  I know I should have the fruit, but I always want the biscuit.
Me

LOL.  Yes sweetheart, I suppose you could say that, but it's also more than that.  Sometimes the choices we are given can have a big effect on ourselves or those around us, and quite a lot of the time you find that it's up to you to figure out which is the right one.
Amber

So why is writing a book the right decision for you?
Me

I don't know that it is the right decision, all I can tell you is that at the moment it is something I believe I should do.  Besides, it beats watching some of the rubbish on the TV.
Amber

The 'Amazing World of Gumball' isn't rubbish, we both like watching that.  And I love 'Frozen', that's not rubbish either.
Me

No, I agree they are both worth watching, but there is more to life than TV.  It's a big world out there kiddo, you have to try and experience as much as you can, whilst you can, and for me writing a book is one of those experiences.
Amber

Okay.  My next question.  Is writing a book easy?
Me

Now that is a good question.  I think I will have to say no, no it isn't easy, but it is good fun.
Amber

So why do it if it isn't easy?
Me

Why not?  Why do you play with the toys you play with?  Why do you have the friends you have?  Sometimes things are difficult and you can choose to not do them, or you can challenge yourself to do it, so that when you have finished you can say 'Hey, look what I've done.'  And then sometimes it has to be done because someone tells you too.  But I'm doing it because I enjoy it, it is hard at times, and sometimes I want to give up, but I don't, because I would feel like I'm letting myself, you, your sister and your Mummy down and that's the last thing I want to do.
Amber

You could never let us down Daddy.  So do you have any advice for anyone who wants to write a book?
Me

Yes. Read, read and then read some more and then write, about anything, whatever comes into your head.  I believe that everyone has a story to tell, it can be about anything, ponies, sweets, monsters or princesses.  You could write about a princess that lives in a marshmallow tower and is waiting for her prince to rescue her, but there's a booger monster that makes it difficult to get to her.  It's up to you to decide how the princess got in to that tower, or why she's there.  Why is the booger monster a booger monster, and why has he trapped the princess.
Amber

Eew.  Daddy, a booger monster, that's disgusting.
Me

I'm sorry, but I bet you could write a very cool story using what I have just said.  I think the best advice I could give anyone when it comes to writing is simply write and see what happens.
Amber

I'll try that after this interview.  I've almost finished, I only have a couple of questions left.  My next question is this.  What do you hope will happen when you have finished writing your book?
Me

I hope someone will read it and like it.  I don't think I can really ask for anymore than that.
Amber

Well when you've finished it, I'll read it, and I know I'll love it.
Me

Thank you Amber, that's all I could hope for.
Amber

Last question Daddy and then I'm going to write that story about the booger monster.  Okay, in one sentence can you tell we what it is like to be a writer.
Me

I'll try, but that's a difficult question.  Firstly I don't think I am a writer, not yet, but I can tell you what I think it's like to want to be a writer.  It's hard work, but it's also rewarding.  I get to imagine a story and then it's my job to try and make it interesting and good enough so that when I put it on paper someone will want to read it.   I haven't got to that stage just yet, but I'm hoping one day that will come.
Amber

Well I'm sure that your book will be brilliant Daddy and I can't wait until I am old enough to read it.  That's the end of the interview Daddy.  Thank you for answering my question and helping me with my homework.  I hope your book, when you've finished, is really good and that lots of people want to read it.
Me

I hope so too sweetheart.  Thank you for interviewing me today Amber.
Amber

Your welcome.  And Daddy, I love you.
Me

I love you too kiddo.
----------------------------------------------------
 
 
I think the reason why I have written this in my journal today is for two reasons.  Firstly, and foremost, it's a moment that I shared with my eldest daughter that I don't want to forget.  I believe that yesterday I saw a glimpse of the woman she's going to be and it may sound cheesy but I was so proud of her and grateful for sharing her world with me,
 
Secondly, sometimes it takes a child to simplify things.  As an adult it is in my nature to over think things, especially when it comes to my writing.  Questions plague me constantly. 
 
Is it good enough?
Will someone like it?
Will an agent like it?
Is it a best seller?
The list is endless...
 
And yesterday, thanks to my daughter, I learnt that writing isn't all about what happens when you've finished, yes it plays a big part of it, but the bottom line, for me anyway, is I just want to enjoy writing a story where I have managed to put everything I can be on to a page in the hope that one day others will read and hopefully enjoy it.
 
Kids.  I couldn't live without mine.  Thank you Amber for reminding me why it is I started writing in the first place.  Will I ever write a book that one day will be read by others?  Will I be able to make a living from writing?  Who knows, and right now, who cares.  I write because it helps me, if what I write can help someone else, then bonus, but there's a lot of stuff to do before I reach that point and maybe I should stop thinking about it like that.  Hell, if what I read on the interweb is to be believed I may as well buy a lottery ticket for all the good it will do, but that doesn't stop me from doing it.
 
By the way, the story of the Princess and the Booger Monster was excellent. 
 
That's it for now, look after yourself people, but above all, Stay cool.
 
Pip  x

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Writing - Can it be a curse or a cure?

Hello again future me

Again it's been a while, couple of weeks I think, I could check, but why bother?

I'm feeling a little down today, so apologise if this makes little or no sense, but something has occurred to me and I had better write it down before it gets lost amongst the never ending bullshit that I, like everyone else, has to carry.

Before I start, I need you to know that I get ridiculously angry at myself when I feel like this, but I suppose that's human nature.  Strange expression that - 'Human Nature'.  What exactly is that?  Well if what I have experienced today and over the last few years is anything to go by, then whatever the 21st century of 'Human Nature' is you can stick it right up your....

I'm not really sure if I have mentioned it before, but I suffer from what people in the medical profession call severe anxiety and depression, throw in a large dose of OCD and you get a vague picture.  Yes, yes, I know, who the hell doesn't suffer with these and many more symptoms these days?  I'm not special, I don't feel like I'm unique and, so I keep getting told by doctors and psychologists, I am not alone.  Then why do I feel like the only person on the planet most of the time?

Fuck, I hate it when I go down this route.  Sometimes it's just a short stroll, other times it feels like a marathon, either way it's a royal pain in the arse.  Today I was supposed to start Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT).  I have been psyching myself up for it all week, as when something new enters my life, I have to adjust my routine to be able to accept it, so all this week I have slept little and fretted lots.  Then this morning I drove almost 20 miles to get to my appointment, making sure I was there in plenty of time, only to be told that I live in the wrong area and that CAT therapy wouldn't be made available to me. 

Living in the UK I am very grateful for the NHS we have and I wouldn't dream of knocking it in anyway, as a nation the UK is very lucky to have the NHS, but to be denied treatment that I have been waiting for well over 18 months, and to be told that it's because I live in the wrong area, well, I don't think my vocabulary has the words.  I didn't shout and kick off, what would've been the point, I'm sure that the people that work in that department do excellent work and help countless people, but...

Anyway, here is my question. 

Does writing help or hinder my condition?

I know why I have these issues, man do I know, I dream about them endlessly when I am able to sleep, I even think I know how to fix them, I'm just having real difficulty taking the first few steps to get things moving along.  Then, when I do take the initiative I'm told that I'm geographically incompatible. 

One of the reasons I decided to start writing was a way to keep busy, being made redundant last year from my job knocked me sideways, adding to my already paranoid delusions that life has it in for me, so rather than sit in front of the googlebox watching daytime TV, I decided to write a story/book and  I believe that book one is almost done.  The thing is, has sitting in all day, everyday, banging away at the keyboard helped of hindered my possible recovery?

When I think about it, I sit at my dining room table for sometime 6 hours at a time, writing, then reading, then writing again, if you're a writer, you'll know what I'm talking about.  I'm starting to think that maybe I should have spent more time making myself go outside, pushing the boundaries that I have placed upon myself and somehow tried harder to fix myself.  I genuinely believe the only way to get over what it is I am feeling is to stop being a dick and simply move on.  Please don't think that I am saying that everyone with a mental health condition is a dick, and I'm not saying that they should just get over it, I'm not a professional in this field, nowhere near one, I just think that for me, there is no other way, all I need is to find that first step in doing so.  I cannot change the circumstances that have made me feel this way and I will never forgive those that made me reach this point, and above all I accept full responsibility for my current circumstances, maybe I should have been stronger, more aware, less trusting, I don't know, pick your cliché.

And that's why I have to wonder if writing is the way I should go.  Realistically there is a very little chance that I might ever get picked up by an agent, let alone a publisher, so how does me, sitting in front of my laptop, burning hours on writing, that in all honesty no-one will ever read, whilst competing with countless others, all of which are in pursuit of the same goal, ever going to help?  Rejection is a word that many associate with writing, and I don't think I'm being negative when I say that, it's just a fact as far as I can see.  So for me, someone who constantly feels like a reject and is used to rejection (How pitiful am I?), I do wonder if I'm in the right game.  I suppose I should take solace in the fact that at least, if nothing else, I'm giving it a go. 

In life we are always being, scrutinised, judged and knocked down for our efforts, the hard part is the ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and keep smiling.  I think I've said this before, but it's the writing that inspires me, however it's the fear that drives me.

Anyway, that's my lot today.  I'm hoping that next time I write something on this here blog I will be in a better frame of mind.  If anyone else feels like this and would like to chat, please feel free to message me, or if you are tech savvy, send me a tweet at @pipconnor.

Now if you excuse me whilst I pick myself up and dust myself down and wait, is that a smile on my face?  No, not really, but if it makes others feel better, I'm prepared to play along for at least a little while longer.

Look after yourselves people, but above all, stay cool.

Pip  x

Monday, 21 April 2014

Is becoming a successful writer more luck than skill?

Hey Future Me

It's been a while, couple of weeks, but things are moving in the right direction.

I finally got round to sending CD Baxter my first WIP.  If you're reading this CD I hope it's going well and that my writing isn't as bad as I think it might be. 

Question 1 -

Does everyone feel like this with their first story/book?

If you would like some more information and some insight in to what CD Baxter does please click here.

Whilst I know that my first story/book is nowhere near as ready as I would like it to be, I am so grateful to CD for her help and hope that CD see's at least something in my efforts.

However, since I have been given a bit of a breather from my first story/book, rather than take some time off, I have moved straight on to book two and I love this part of what I suppose I should call the 'process'.

I remember starting on book 1 and at times struggling to find the words.  Minutes turned into hours, hours into days, and so on.  I remember pulling on my long flowing hair (I have long flowing hair you know, although when I read this in the future I'm betting I have no hair left and that shall be a sad day), pacing my dining room as I ran through plot twists, characters and their attributes, and after 9 months I had a book.

My first book.  I thought I was king of the world and then I learnt that just because I had written 140,000+ words, it did not in anyway constitute a book, I was devastated.  Why?  Because whilst I think my story is pretty good, the writing was, well it was dreadful.  So I rewrote it and guess what, the writing was still bad, and so I did it again and again.

The problem I started to have was that whilst I was reading it, I wasn't READING it.  I think that there comes a stage when you are reading your own words and yet they make no sense.  It's almost like a strange word blindness.  You look, you read, but nothing changes. 

So how do you get out of this situation?  The only way, as far as I can see, is to get someone else to have a look, preferably someone who has some knowledge of writing.  Now I can only assume that if you are an established writer, this can be pretty easy.  If you have an agent, I'm guessing they read it and tell you of any short falls or mistakes, then if they like it, it must go to an editor, and then if they like it, it then goes to print.  I'm sure there are many more hurdles to jump before that happens, unfortunately I am ignorant of what happens at that stage as I'm not there, not yet anyway.

But and here is question #2 -

What do you do if you haven't got an agent or an editor?

Well I did some research and a lot of people advised me to pay for it to be read and critiqued.  Which can be costly, but it wasn't that which bothered me, as the more research I did I noticed that for every one person who said pay a professional, there was someone else who said that to do that was dangerous, as a lot of people who charge for this service aren't strictly legit.  I'm not saying that these services are a scam, but make sure that you do your homework, you want to be sure that the person you're sending it to is going to help and not hinder, I suppose it's like anything, get recommendations, word of mouth, etc.  Would you rather use a plumber that you found in the yellow pages, or one that someone you know has used and was more than happy with their services and would recommend??

I think the point I am trying to make is whether you like it or not, if you want to be a writer and want to be good at it too, you're going to need help.  This irks me somewhat as I hate asking for help, but if there is one thing I have learnt on my journey to authorism (I'm aware that authorism isn't strictly a real word, but I like it) is that at some point you are going to have to give it to someone else and ask them for an open and honest opinion of your work.  I have just started this part of the process and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't apprehensive, but if I don't what chance do I have?  If the interweb is to be believed, none apparently, besides if you write a book, surely the reason is because you want others to read it.

In my time as a budding/wannabe writer I have had to change my attitude to how it's done and how I should do it, a lot.  It's part and parcel unfortunately, but what chance do I have if I don't move with the times.  There is a lot of information out there about becoming a writer that I despise, the main one being the idea of having an 'Online Presence', but if what the majority says is true what choice do I have?

But I have decided not to let it bother me, the world is changing and evolving every second of every day and if your not careful you might look up and realise that everything that you once knew no longer counts.  Life will throw you curve balls all the time, yet we still get up to bat, most of the time, but that doesn't mean success. 

Since starting my journey I have learnt that there are thousands and thousands of us that want to be a writer and it's becoming increasingly more obvious that only a few of us will succeed.  So and this is my last question...

Is becoming a successful writer more luck than skill?

I hope not, but there's this monkey on my back telling me different, I suppose only time will tell.

And with that said, I'm off to discover what happens in book two.  It's going to take time, but when I've finished I shall no doubt say exactly the same thing for book three, and then book four, and so on...

If anyone has any insight into what I have said, please let me know. 

Look after yourself, but above all, Stay cool.

Pip   x

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

What do you do when you lose your mojo??

Hello future me

I'm afraid that this particular entry is going to be one hell of a rant, so in the interest of not offending anyone, please be aware...


In my last post I am humbly asking for help...Please won't someone help me?? I was staggered at the response I received and would like to thank all of you for offering to help in my quest.  I truly am grateful and would like to thank CD Baxter in advance.  Please click on this link CD Baxter to view her website and the services she offers to writers in need of some help.  I haven't forgotten CeDany and I will be contacting you direct on the 1st of April.

So what's the problem?

Me, I am.  I have written 5 different version of my first story/novel/book.  Each one different, but all of them the same.  And I am now rewriting again for version 6. 

What, are you mad!!  I hear the few that might read this say, what's the point?  And again I'll answer that with a resounding ME!!  I'm the point.

I want to write the best story I can, I want to write something that says this is my story and it's the dogs bollocks.  I want people to pick it up and not be able to put it down, I want them to laugh at the funny parts and cry when it's sad.  I want them to love my story, tell friends about it and have them love it too.  I want to write the best fucking book in the world!!  And this will sound completely ridiculous but I think I can do it.  I genuinely believe that I have the ability to write something that will be literary sound. 

I don't want fame and fortune, fuck it, that's a lie, I think that's what we all want in one form or another, but I don't expect it, life's a lottery right?  Well someone's got to win the jackpot at some point, why can't it be me??  Anyway, I'm moving off the point here.

I am desperately trying to write version 6 of my story, and I know that this version will be the one when I let someone finally read it.  I'm hoping that they will like it and say it was written well and tell me it has potential.  Will there be spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, short falls in plot, Christ I hope not, but in all honesty, probably yes.  But when I finally surrender my story/book I have to make sure that what I give is the best I can do.  Hence the 6 different versions.

Stephen King writes that Draft 2 = Draft 1 - 10%, which I completely agree with, but what do I do with the other 4 drafts, because if I continued with the maths I don't think I would have enough for a short story.

I love it when I write, it helps me, keeps me calm and happy at the same time.  Have I been published, not yet.  Will I ever be published, may as well ask me what this weeks lottery numbers are, who knows.  I suppose I could just self publish and hope for the best, but I know that if I did that now I would be cheating anyone who reads my stuff, because I know that it isn't the best I can do. 

But what do you do when the idea to write the same thing for a 6th time just seems to damn hard?

I am trying to rectify this, as CD Baxter has offered to help with my writing for a very reasonable price, but I know if I was to submit it now, well it's all shit.  The words just don't feel right in my head.  I know what I want to say, but getting it down on paper....

I could just walk away and start something new, but the frustrating thing is, I can't.  When I am left alone with my thoughts all I think about is writing, how can I make it better, what can I do to ensure that everything flows, is the story believable, are my characters portrayed the way I see them in my head.  I have read dozens of times about writers who say that their first book is shit, so they start on something new and go back to it later, or realise when they have some experience under their belt their first efforts were woefully crap.  I can't accept this, I know, I have no idea what I'm talking about.  That is true, I don't know anything when it comes to writing, I started this venture as a way for me to cope with life in general.  Call it a mental holiday, when real life gets too complicated, sometimes it's good to daydream and think about something obscure and fantastical.  Just because I am nearing 40 doesn't mean I can't escape reality every now and again.  Hell I know Santa Clause doesn't exist, but every Christmas Eve a small part of me wonders what if?

I'll tell you what I want, I want to be able to submit my writing to someone and have them give it me back after reading it and say there's nothing I can do to improve this, it's perfect just the way it is.  Fat chance right, I mean who has ever done that?  Well if it's possible, I want too.

We can all dream, nothing is impossible, only improbable. 

So what do I do to get that enthusiasm back?  I wish I knew.  I'm not giving up though, I can't, and I can't really explain why.  Does that make me weird? 

ARGGHHHH!!!  I am so angry at myself at the moment, I'm better than this, I have to believe that otherwise what the fuck is the point?

So guys, I ask you, what do you do when you feel like this?

Does anyone have some kind of coping mechanism that they use when it comes to frustration born out of writing?  (Drugs and alcohol is not an answer, unfortunately).

My apologies to anyone who may read this and think that my use of language wasn't necessary. I agree, but it sure helps when you get pissed off!!

Until next time.

Stay cool.

Pip   x