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






Tuesday, 4 March 2014

I am humbly asking for help...Please won't someone help me??

Hello future me

You might think by the title that things are not going well, but it's not as bad as I probably think.  I have come up against a wall and am having trouble getting round it, over it, hell I've even tried punching my way through it, but alas it seems that it is not to be.

The problem I am having is feedback and support.  I know, I know, so is everybody else, unless they already have an agent, editor, friends or a wife that actually cares, right.  I'm prepared to bet vital parts of my anatomy that this isn't always the case for some of us.

What I need right now, is someone who knows what it is to 'want' to be a writer, someone who is unbiased, neutral, maybe a Swiss perhaps.  Whoever this person might be, I would like to offer some kind of trade off, so here goes -

WANTED

A writer/writers who have finished a novel, novella, collection of short stories, who needs an open and honest assessment of their work before they send it off to someone to see if it's worthy to publish. 

WHAT'S THE CRACK?

What I am proposing is that we swap our work.  I will read anything and everything you have in exchange for someone to read my first story/book.  The idea is that we exchange our work and then after a decided amount of time we get back to each other and give an open and honest critique of each others work.

Now, I realise that this is open to all manner of flaws, traps and pitfalls, some of them are probably quite realistic, others are because we live in a world where trust has to be earned instead of being expected.  I think this is very sad, but that's the way of the world now, a lot of people I have noticed don't really care about others, they are only concerned with what they can get for themselves.  I don't blame most of these people, as I know from experience that the reason why a lot of folks feel like this is because life has made it impossible to feel anything else.  I've decided to update a couple of quotes that I used to believe in.

I think it was Oscar Wilde that said

'With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone'.

I have decided to change this slightly, well actually quite a lot.  My version is as follows -

'With age comes cynicism!'

Another one I used to favour and which according to Wikipedia is one of the 'Golden Rules' and which has also been written several different way is -

'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.

I believe the full version was written in Matthew 7:12.  But from what I can make out now, this 'Golden Rule' has changed to the following -

'Do unto others BEFORE they do it to you'.

Now before anyone kicks off and tells me I'm a hateful and cynical dick, I don't believe in these updated quotes, it's simply how I see a lot of people these days and I think that if you're reading this you have to agree to certain extent that this tends to be the case more and more.  I mean, when was the last time you left your house and didn't lock it?  If the last generation was anything to go by, apparently everybody did, because you trusted your neighbours and knew that they would look out for you and in exchange all you had to do was the same.  From what I can gather things were different back then, of course you had those who took the piss, who used and gained from people's trust, but how did these individuals start to control us so much that we now feel we have to keep everything guarded?  Anyway I digress.

The point I'm trying to make is that I am a wannabe writer, I feel that I have it in me to be a writer and that's okay, we all have dreams, and some of us get to live our dreams and that's all I want to do too.  I'm not expecting billion pound contracts and book sales that top the list of all things bookish (although that would be nice), I just want to be good at something enough for other people to enjoy and maybe even be inspired to chase their own dream, but to achieve the goal, sometimes hard work and dedication isn't enough, unfortunately luck is now a very real commodity.  How many times have you heard that 'It's not what you know, it's who you know'.  Or and I detest this one, 'They just happened to be at the right place at the right time'.  AARGGHHHH!!!

I genuinely believe that trust is now very hard to come by, as a general rule, it is now quoted as being something that is earned.  And I believe this is why I am going to have trouble with my request for help.  We live in a world where we are convinced that anyone we don't know will only take and never give, and as a rule I'm tolerant to this, I don't really like to ask for help, so I rarely do, but if I can help someone I will do the best I can, within my means.  I still hold onto that adage, that everybody deserves a chance, I make my own opinions, etc.  Have I been bitten in the past, damn right I have, I have been royally screwed in the past, but if I let it get to me I would be swearing by the two quotes I have changed and I'm trying very hard to ignore them, in spite of them yelling at me almost everyday.

So here is the question or conundrum perhaps. 

I have finished, to the best of my abilities, my first book/story/novel it is approx. 160,000 words.  What I am hoping is that someone might read this and be in the same position as me.  I have no beta readers to speak of as no-one I know is aware that I have written a book, besides, I have enquired and most of the people I have approached tell me that their not much in to reading.  WTF!!

Anyway, I have got as far as I know I can writing and re-writing and now the words are starting to blur.  I have approached a couple of agents, not many, nine if you need a figure and have been rejected by but two of them and I'm expecting those two to fail also, which I am totally okay with, I didn't expect anything more if I was honest, but what I haven't had is someone read my piece.  There are no writing groups local to me, the nearest that I can find is in Leeds, which is 40 miles away, besides I am slightly reclusive which doesn't help.  I have found websites that do offer this kind of service, but they seem to calculated, the complete lack of trust makes it difficult as they make you jump through hoops.  I could pay someone to proof read and breakdown my work, but money is a little tight at the moment.

I actually considered developing a site called 'Writing Buddies'.  The idea being that you have written something, book, poems, whatever gets you typing and you find someone who has the same interests and tastes and you basically swap work.  They read yours and you read theirs, at the end of it, you can then exchange notes.  Bit's that do work, bit's that might not, parts that you found incredible, etc.  Then with the feedback you have been given you know how you might be able to fix your piece so that it is ready for sending out to someone else, or if you're looking to self publish you know that someone has read it and said, well, whatever it is they have said.

I appreciate that logistically this seems like an impossible ask, but that's when trust has to come in to it.  We are all writers to some extent, published, indie or just starting, but the bottom line is, at some point we all need help with our work and sometimes, some people don't have or are incapable of getting that help, someone who might read their stuff and actually tell you that it is quite good but needs polishing a bit, whatever the feedback maybe.  You could look at it like a sponsor.  Someone who is there to push you when you feel like it's all going wrong.  I know, we all have friends and family to fall back, but sometimes they don't understand what it is as a wannabe writer can go through, the doubt, the feeling that you're wasting time, that nothing will ever come of it.

I don't for a second ever think that I will get an agent, that I will ever be a decent writer, that I will ever hold a book I have written in all it's glory, but I'm still giving it a go, because I have to do something and I can't be the only person who feels like this.

So the gauntlet has been placed, do you think you might be able to pick it up.  Is it possible or even doable that we might be able to find a way to help each other and in the process become better writers doing it?  Who knows, you might even make a friend or two.  All we have to do is believe that there are people out there who do want to help, all it takes is a little bit of trust.

I'm probably wrong, my post will probably get deleted from most of the google+ communities I subscribe to, but all I am wanting to know is the following.  Is it possible to help each other out with our writing and in the process become better writers doing it?  There might even be websites or blogs that offer this idea up.  Does it work?  Can it work?  Or am I, and I think this is probably more the case, am I just being naïve?

But if you are interested in my idea, please don't hesitate to contact me.  This is a sincere request and in exchange I promise to read and feedback with honesty, using integrity, anything you feel might need reading.  I am not an editor, an agent, I do not have any connections with regard to publishing or how to get published, but I love to read and have done since I was old enough to read.  I read my first Stephen King book when I was 7 and never looked back.  My tastes are eclectic and I have found that some of the best books I have read have always seemed to be something I wasn't looking for.

I don't expect much from this, it is simply an offer that someone might take a chance on, hell, we all need help sometimes, all we have to do is believe and trust.

Until next time.

Stay cool old friend.

Pip  x

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Do we really believe that everyone has one good book in them? I sincerely hope so.

Hello Future me. 

It's been a couple of weeks and to be honest not much has happened.  Although I did receive three more rejections this week, which is not okay, but I am okay with it, does that make sense?  If nothing else at least I'm consistent.  However these rejections have got me thinking.

I, at no point take the rejections personally, mate if we did, none of us would be writing, however it is sometimes hard to understand what it is that makes a sellable book.  I know that most of us would probably say that we don't write for the money, we write because something inside of us needs to come out, we have a story that we are compelled to share, but if that really was the case why do we write them down.  I'm pretty sure that most, if not all, could talk someone through the book that we are trying to write down at the moment.  We would regale them with tales about anything our imagination could muster, telling anyone who would be prepared to listen about every twist and turn, the highs and the lows, the beginning, the middle and the end, everything our minds can create to flesh out the worlds we inhabit in our heads.  Hell, we should all set up a YouTube account and read out a chapter a week of our work, you never know but with a bit of luck we could all be staring in our own little Jackanory series. 

So the way I see it, by taking the time to write it down, we, whether we admit it or not, are telling ourselves that we want others to read it and if we can make a few quid doing it, mores the better, otherwise, we'd all be knocking out books and banging them on Amazon for free, but we also have to eat don't we. 

And I think that's the point I am trying to make, are we governed by our need to write or our need to make money.  I'm sure that for established writers this is a redundant question, I'm not going to go on about how they are living the dream, because I imagine being what I would call an established traditional writer, one who has an agent, editor and publisher, that it probably doesn't get easier, in fact I suspect it gets a lot harder.  Deadlines, re-writes, etc.  I don't know, unfortunately I'm not there, not yet anyway.  (You see, in spite of everything I'm still optimistic).

I still don't class myself as writer, I have written one book and am wading through my second, but the way I see it, until someone says to me, I like it, I'll buy it, I will always be a wannabe.

Maybe it's the validation I'm looking for and that any money that may or may not come from selling my work is a by product of that.  And I think that's what I need, that's what we all need.  I am starting to suspect that we are, for the majority I'm guessing, if I am speaking out of turn I apologise, looking for that one someone, preferably it has to be someone we don't know and ideally someone who has the right connections who will read our stuff and give us an honest assessment of our work, good or bad.

I think I could manage a stranger reading my stuff, again preferably someone who knows a thing about writing, and telling me that what I have written is shite!  Okay, that's not very constructive and would probably up set me quite a bit, but if Stephen King read my stuff and told me politely that I should maybe consider a career in something else, I'm not sure whether I would grit my teeth and become more determined or accept the fact that someone who knows what he's doing, has basically said no, it's rubbish and perhaps I should consider moving my skill set to something else, data entry maybe, I know my way round a keyboard now, or work in a call centre, selling cheap phones to anyone that didn't hang up.  I mean I have the ability to become a brain surgeon, if I studied hard, went back to school and passed every exam with top marks, but I'm not a big fan of blood and guts, so all that time spent learning to cut someone open would have been rendered redundant right?

So what makes me think I can make it as a writer?

In all honesty I can't answer that one, except that I know I am enjoying what I do, I like writing.  It's hard though, distractions are everywhere.  I no longer use 'Facebook'.  Not just because I believe it to be a complete waste of time, but because it's designed to enable people to spend massive amounts of time doing nothing of any real importance.  I am on 'Twitter' but I only follow a few people and very rarely tweet, if you don't believe me, check out my Twitter account @pipconnor feel free to message me, it would be nice to know that others are out there.

Bottom line, writing is hard, there are no guarantees, for everyone person that makes it, there are hundreds, if not thousands that don't.  So why do I continue?  Why not, there are worse ways to spend my time, although there are probably better ways to use it too, can't win really.  Who cares if I don't ever get anyone to like or read my book?  Who cares if I die an old man with a handful of books stashed somewhere for future generations to discover?  Who cares if the hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours I spend staring at my nemesis the 'flashing cursor' is all for nothing?

Who cares?  I'll tell you who cares...unfortunately I do.  LOL.

Until next time, stay cool.

Pip   x

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Could the real Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde please stand up....

Hello future me

It has been a while, a lot has passed but not a lot has happened.  Another Christmas has been and gone as well as another New Year, obviously.  It was a good one, nice and quiet, just the way I like it.  But now we're back at the beginning, that time of the year where a lot of us hold on to optimism like a life raft, making promises to ourselves that we have every intention of keeping, but probably won't.  I ended the year trying to polish my MS and I'm still not happy with it, is anyone ever happy with their own work??  Something to think about for later I suppose, if you can answer this question, please let me know, I think it will help me.

A thought occurred to me over the festive period, I have been trying to finish my first piece for the better part of 6 months and think I am as close as I can get with out any help, so what now?  Send it off and hope for the best.  But whilst I wait around eagerly for those rejection slips, what do I do now?  That's easy, start book two.  I have the basic story in my head for my second attempt, I know what the beginning, middle and end should be, but if book one was anything to go by, that'll change, (You know what I'm talking about).

The thing is I've noticed something strange happens when I write.  Editing and re-writing not so much, I'm talking about getting the initial idea down on paper.  I believe, and I haven't written enough books to know whether this is always going to be the case, but I'm almost sure that my personality changes.  Whilst I love this part of the process, the actual writing of a piece from scratch, I have noticed that I am a different Pip from the one I normally project.

I have smoked on and off since I was 15.  Pathetic, sad, dangerous, etc, I know, but over the last couple of years I have tried to give the habit up and to a certain extent I have succeeded.  The longest I have been able to resist those disgusting things is 18 months, however, when I write, I've found that I am drawn to smoking like the proverbial moth.

Other things happen too.  I am not moodier per se, but I am quicker to anger, more likely to fly off the handle.  I also find that when I am writing a new piece that I don't want to be around people either, which if you ask my wife, is pretty bad as I am fairly unsociable at the best of times.  I try to avoid papers and world news, which is very ignorant in the eyes of many, but I find myself getting frustrated at the unfairness of the world and how situations are dealt with, who doesn't?

My eating habits change too.  I cut myself down to one meal a day and if I could, I would drink Jack Daniels every day.  As it is I only allow myself to drink on a Friday or Saturday night and then I have to control myself otherwise I would get truly trollied.

I believe it's because of what I write.  In the stories I am trying desperately to tell, my protagonist is a very angry man.  An orphan who knows nothing about his parents.  A war veteran, who has seen more than his fair share of the shit life can throw at you.  I'd like to think that he is a good guy, the kind of person that if he did allow you into his life, you would be better off for it, but you would have to understand that life has changed him significantly and that's why you would excuse his black and white approach to things.  He certainly doesn't suffer fools and finds it impossible to trust anyone anymore, but he is a good person, the best person, the only problem is, he's broken.

As I have mentioned before, this is not a blog on how to write a book, if you're reading this hoping to gain some kind of insight in to what it is to write, I'm afraid I can't help, I wish I could, I really do.  However, if you want to know what writing can do to someone, make them feel, then I think I am honest about how it affects me.  I realise that not everyone feels like I do when I write, this is just one mans journey to see if he can accomplish something he really wants to do.  It's all I think about, writing, am I any good at it, only time and an agent, then an editor and then a publisher will tell, but I won't hold my breath, lol.

Unfortunately, like a lot of other people, I suffer from quite severe anxiety and depression.  I would say it's held in check most of the time, but I'm willing to bet my wife would say different.  I find it almost impossible to be amongst people, a person or two I can manage, but anything that I constitute as a crowd terrifies me.  Just so that you know, a crowd for me is defined by anyone who isn't my wife and two girls.  I will rarely go outside unless it's unavoidable, and then when I do leave the safety of my home, I have to psych myself up for it as much in advance as possible, a week tends to be just enough, but the more preparation I can do, the better.

I can completely understand why anyone would find it frustrating when someone announces they suffer from anxiety and depression, a lot of people who have never suffered or aren't aware that they might be suffering from it think that a most people just use it as an excuse, I used to be one of those people I'm ashamed to say.  But it is a very serious condition to handle.  It infects you like a virus, the only problem is, once it has it's hold on you I believe it's almost impossible to get rid of it.  There is medication, lot's of it, I suspect that anti-depressants has to be one of the biggest earners for the pharmaceutical firms and their profits, but I found when I was on it, and I was for a long time, that it freaked me out.  Often I could lose days when I was taking that stuff and I don't like that, I have to know what is going on at all times, due to my other condition, it is built in to me, as I also have Asperger's Syndrome.

For anyone reading this who doesn't know what Asperger's might be, you will find a wiki-link here.  I think this might be the first time I have mentioned this to anyone other than my wife.  Why?  Because I'm can't help but feel embarrassed.  I'm not ashamed, how can I be, it's not my fault, but I do find that it hinders me everyday, especially when I am in a situation with people I don't know.  As the Dr. who diagnosed me said, and I quote,

'Whilst I know you find everyday social things incredibly difficult, on the plus side Pip, you have an IQ that exceeds 160.'

'Great.'  I thought sarcastically.  What the hell am I supposed to do with that. 

I always knew I was different from most people, I can do the kind of maths in my head that most would have difficulty doing on a calculator.  I have this annoying ability to memorise almost everything I see, hear or read.  I play several musical instruments, because I love music and because of that, I have an inherent need to know how music works.  Unfortunately I can't take music apart, not like I can a laptop or a toaster and look at the components and see what it takes to make it work, so I decided to learn read music and then play the instruments that I enjoyed so I could get my head round it.  I have to say it was one of the best things I ever did, as often the music I play drowns out everything else for a little while.  I make connections all the time, especially it seems, when no-one else sees them.  I'm not saying I'm right when I do, but an awful lot of the time I tend to be on the button.  I can also count cards, up to three decks at a time and I can solve a Rubik's cube in less than a minute.  All skills that I'm sure you will agree have the building blocks to set you up for life.  Not really.

I think what I'm trying to say is that I spend most of my waking hours trying not to be the person I should be, because otherwise people don't get me.  I am never rude and if I am it's never intentional and often I don't know I'm doing it.  I never introduce myself as ' Hi my name is Pip and I have anxiety, depression and Asperger's', even I know that would be weird.  But a lot of the time I don't know what to say at all.

A couple of months ago a friend invited me to a party.  It was late, everybody was having a good time and the drink was flowing, I hated every minute of it.  This one guy was being particularly obnoxious but no one would say anything as the man in question was the boss of most of the people at the party.  Anyway, at one point he wasn't looking where he was going and spilt his drink on me.  I'm not very confrontational, it's not in my nature, unless I am pushed.  As soon as he turned around he took one look at me, instantly decided I wasn't important enough to apologies to and instead chose to berate me in front of anyone who could see and listen.  I let him get into full swing as he called me all the idiots under the sun, whilst he did this I just stood and watched him and his demeanour.  I was looking for what I call the 'Tell', something about him wasn't right, all I had to do was figure it out.  It turns out there was loads that was wrong with this particular bloke.  After a few minutes of shouting at me he really got his stride on, the bloke was shit faced so his bravado and sense of self importance were turned up to eleven, and the fact that he was attracting quite an audience whilst he continued with his assessment of me drove him on further.  I continued to stare at him and when he had stopped talking I remember asking if he had done, he nodded, very pleased with himself and then in front of the sizeable crowd I told him that it was now my turn.  But instead of shouting at him, I leant over to him and whispered in to his ear, I couldn't have been there, whispering into this strangers ear for any more than a minute or two.  Once I had finished what I needed to say, he quickly shut up and according to a lot of witnesses he went very pale.  Not long after that he grabbed his coat and left the venue.  Everyone cheered and brought me drinks, even though no-one knew what it had been that I said to him.  A lot asked, so I lied and told them that I had told him that if he didn't fuck off I would beat the shit out of him.  I suspect everyone knew that wasn't the case, as the guy was twice my size and would have destroyed me, probably, but he was gone and because of that everyone just smiled at me and then continued to have a good night.  Later on that night my friend asked me what I had said to him, but I told him the same and he laughed at me as he knew I was lying.  What I actually said to him is as follows.

'Listen pal, we're all just trying to have a good time, so unless you want your wife to know that you're having an affair with your executive salesman I suggest you leave.  And before you deny it, let me explain how I know.  For a start I can tell you're not wearing the same shirt that you came here in, and neither is your sales exec.  The one you're wearing now is to small for you and the one he has on is far to big, besides the aftershave on the shirt doesn't match the one you're wearing.  Now I'm guessing your wondering how it is I know you're married.  Well your wedding ring is on the wrong hand but the right finger, which tells me that you put it on that hand so you won't forget to put it on the correct one before you get home and your wife notices, and your recent fake tan has left an obvious tan line on your left hand, telling me that you've only just recently taken the ring off.  Now if I'm wrong, and I suspect that I'm not, you can beat the shit out of me now and look very hard in front of your staff, but before you land one punch I'll be sure that everyone here knows of my suspicions and judging by the way your secretary has followed you around all night and they way she is looking at us, which leads me to suspect that you're also having an affair with her, I believe that she will be jealous enough to tell everyone, including your missus what it is the two of you have been up too.  Understand?'

I think the point I am trying to make is, like most, I find life difficult and whilst I can read binary coding like most people read a newspaper, I often wonder at these times if I'm almost living a lie, just so that others will find me more...normal. 

So when I write who am I?  Am I the Pip that most people see and know, a quiet, if not slightly odd individual who avoids any and all social interaction just because I am scared to death of what might happen at any given moment or am I the Pip I become when I write.  The smoking, drinking, swearing, frustrated, analytical, slightly arrogant pain in the arse that I seem to become.  I know which one I would rather be.

I hate that I am the way I am, I'm usually to timid to say or do anything and that frustrates me, but when I allow myself to get comfortable, to be the person I should be I'm scared that people won't understand me.  Or is it just because I am writing about someone who I see a lot of myself in and because my protagonist is like that I let myself become him??

When you write, do you feel a change in you?  Do you act differently?  Does your writing dictate who you are whilst you're working or is it all part of the process.  I think what I'm trying to figure out is it normal to be like this.  I know I'm not what people would probably class as 'normal' but that's my issue.

Anyway, that's enough for today.  I feel the other Pip waking.  It's time to kick arse and chew gum and I'm all out of gum.

Look after yourself, but above all, stay cool.

Always wondering

Pip  x