Tag Archives: blogging

Me and Mr G…and Voodoo Dolls

25 Apr

In the past year I have been in the privileged position to work closely with a writer whilst he wrote his entire first novel.

From the first chapter, i provided feedback on plot, characterisation, language, continuity…proofreading. Not your typical way of doing things, but that is what we did. Last month, I received the final installment of this first draft. Much to both mine and the writers surprise, the word count exceeded 137,000 words.

Why am I telling you this?

Well obviously once this novel has gone through the full editing procedure it will be the bestseller of our time. It will rival the sales of Harry Potter, its series will be found in libraries in hundreds of years, hailed as a classic.

No not quite (although it is quite brilliant). This journey I have been part of has taught me a lot about dedication, commitment, and being in the real world as a writer.

You see, me and my writer friend, lets call him Mr G (ha) started our ‘writing careers’ at the same time. Where as I have embraced blogging and networking, Mr G has continued with his commitments away from writing, held down a part time job, and has just been accepted on a post graduate degree programme in creative writing.  Mr G does not have a family to care for, the need to work full time, the desire to have a career today as the years are passing by quickly. Other than wanting to write, mine and Mr G’s lives are very different.

So, what I did find surprising then, was that Mr G, with what to me seems like an eternity of time, did not write to a daily word count, did not measure his success on how much was achieved in an overall time scale, did not, well did not have any rules.

Mr G would take a couple of months off, then he would churn out multiple chapters on a daily basis. Mr G in September told me that he had to continue, he had got so far after all, and then didn’t produce anything until January. Mr G did not beat himself up.

Whats my point? Well, I have been pondering this whole blogging malarkey. I know, FACT, I don’t write like I should as I write my blog post when I get time. I also know, FACT, it is blogging that spurs me on. remember No Way Out, well nothing kills me more than knowing I haven’t written the next installment, eventually the guilt becomes such that I find some drive.

This is not a post of oh I have no motivation, oh I will write soon, whats the world coming to, not at all. This post is about embracing the diversity of our own approaches, to do things our way. We shouldn’t feel guilty for not writing. We should feel smug if we manage to churn out 5,000 words in one day. We should just feel how we feel, and not allow the pressures of the blogging community/twitter etc to make us feel we are doing something wrong. we should be pleased for fellow writers when they achieve something, not secretly stab pins in the makeshift dolls we have sat on the shelf above our computers….oh just me?!

(If you were the blogger last week chatting about writing goals give me the heads up – I wanted to include a link but can’t find you!!!)

Blogging: Why It Makes Me Smile

9 Mar

It is rarely a day passes when we don’t get to read posts from bloggers discussing their facts and figures behind their blogs.

WordPress have now launched another little gadget that helps us to analyse who is reading our posts, through the new ‘Views by Country’. You can find the details on your stats page.

Basically, this little gadget tells you where in the world your readers are. I am delighted to announce, my blog is global. Sure, the majority of my readers are in the UK and USA, as expected, but we can also count countries such as Chile, Estonia, Jordan and the Philipines.

How mad is that?

Sure, I imagine that these stats do not disallow for those amazing spammers so I am slightly dubious, but OMG (yeah I did just use that) my little map is super colourful. I am just chuffed – how could you not be?

But it isn’t just the new little gadget that makes me happy, just stats in general. watching the numbers increase on almost a daily basis. I mean that is just amazing in itself. If ever you are feeling slightly doubtful about why you blog, and then you have a day where your blog has beaten your last busiest day it’s like wow, maybe I should keep this up.

Nothing makes your smile broader than your number of followers. People who have said, ‘hey, I will pop by again’. I have been blogging for about 18 months, well on this blog anyway, and I now have 390 followers. Less than many, but more than I ever anticipated.

What makes me even prouder about this figure is that I have done it on my own. As in, I have never been freshly pressed – I know many people have said they have had over a 1,000 new followers on one post (one wonders how long they stick around for). I have never won an award from another blogger (but I have had mentions on other blogs) and I never spam (not sure that it is very effective).

Talking of spam, I love checking my spam messages, they are just so…random. and I know we all get them, and some are better than others, but even just the five pure gibberish ones that appeared today are worthy of a little twitch of the mouth.

Search engine terms are a highlight. Do you remember that interview I did with Stuart Heritage of the Guardian? Well I get some crackers terms for that content, most assuming the man is gay. I can assure you, he is not.

The best search engine terms however are when they have searched for your name, whether that be your name or the blog name or your latest project. Someone actually wanted YOU, just YOU and no one else.

The best part of blogging though, and without sounding cheesy, is the friends you make. Friends is probably the wrong word, but hey, I know what I mean. I have blogging buddies that have been part of my life since day one, and others, that I met just last week, and I eagerly await their latest post. there are those that take the time to read your entire back catalogue, those that just like everything (just a nod that says ‘hey, I hear ya’), and those that take the time to write well-considered comments. Some come, some go, many return. all of us linked, all of us actually giving a damn.

I smile every time I have a little number in the box, when someone bothers to respond to my comment, when I realise we all have our own misgivings for why we do this, when I discover a like-minded person.

Thank you.

I don’t have Writers Block!!

31 Jan

I felt I needed to write another post in response to a comment about me suffering from writers block in my last post, Reflections of the toffee type.

Maybe I am in denial, but I really do not believe I have writers block. Let’s roll back the clock somewhat and see what I have achieved in the past 12 months.

Now I know many busy people have children so I am not saying ‘look at me, I’m a mummy’ but I do believe it is a valid point to be noted when we look at work levels.

So the first half of 2011 saw me completing my degree, which resulted in a first class honors and I am immensely proud of what I achieved. During that time, I completed A Simple Guide to Self Publishing, and tried real hard to promote it blah blah blah.

I also had a ten thousand word creative writing project in which I started my first novel. The result was the first three chapters and a full synopsis. Eager to continue I worked out full character bio’s, and a ‘post it note’ scene breakdown. Shortly after completing my degree, my computer died and I temporarily lost my work which by that time was at 20 odd chapters. Several months later when the work was recovered, I had lost heart in the story. If I am honest, during this time I didn’t have writers block, just writers depression. The part where you decide you cant do it, feel the effort is not worth it and wonder why you ever started.

Being sensible, I didn’t dwell on it, just chose to take a break.

During this time, I had started acting as editor for several writers, a role which I continue still.

By the end of August, I had found employment, and other than those precious hours of an evening, I didn’t get time to write.

It was at this time that ‘A Cuppa’ came along. Spotting a worthwhile project, I grabbed it with both hands and worked non stop (at least three hours every evening, on top of the kids and my day job). This finished in December and I think it is fair to say I collapsed. I had done too much, too quickly.

But I still wasn’t writing. Now we are on the eve of February, and I still haven’t put pen to paper.

That doesn’t mean however that I have writers block. Far from it. The recent posts that have been based around food (unintentionally) have been more about me getting back into writing, blogging, just testing the water. How much time can I commit? What should I allow my limit to be? Am I ready to go again?

Take a deep breath, yes, yes I am. And I am really quite excited.

I have two projects burning away, just waiting for me to say go. This time I have had has provided me with some fantastic thinking time, without pressure, and the stories and ideas have developed gradually.

The first project will involve you. It is still formulating, and I need to gather some more research and prepare a study plan. But it is looking promising. Whether it will work only time will tell but I am rather quite excited.

The other project will be a script, a series for TV. It is based in a uni, think the Inbetweeners but older, but from the staff point of view. If my idea continues to develop as it stands, the basis of the uni will become less of a factor, as the characters really do tell their own story.

Am I mad sharing my idea? Will somebody steal it? Well, if they do then I will take it as a compliment. As they say, no idea is original, it is the way you tell it that’s important.

I haven’t been a writer for the past six months or so, and this does not worry me. Sure I have had wobbles, slight panics that the dream was sliding out of sight, but there is always more to be had. Writing takes time, but it isn’t just the telling of the story, it is the formulating, the preparation, the time to watch the world.

Anyway, I am here, I am dipping in and out but I am thinking, always thinking. I hope you are too.

The fuck it list, much more entertaining than a bucket list!

3 Dec

Today we going for something a little bit different, a change from the norm.

In the past weeks I read a very funny post that mentioned the idea of a ‘fuck it’ list. the list that should go with the bucket list. Now I would love to give credit to the blogger that came up with this idea, but I am sorry to say I have no idea! If it was you, speak up so I can share with everyone the wonders of your blog!

 

Before you read my list I want to say that this was incredibly difficult to do. It sounds easy right? What do you never want to do? Well, OK, I could have said, do a bungee jump, go camping for a month…but these would have just been completely random and unrelated to me. I have never thought I would like to do a bungee jump, so it can’t really go on this list. This list is about what I have often thought I should do or would like to do, and for one reason or another, I now think ‘fuck it’.

So here goes…

1) Maintain a beauty regime.

Like hello, have you met me? Have you seen the things I have to contend with in my life? Seriously, even if i was an unemployed singleton, would I bother with getting my nails done, hair treatments….a spray tan??!!!

I wear clean clothes, have a shower every morning and occasionally straighten my hair – and wear make up, what more do you want?

2) Wear Designer clothes

Ha ha ha, why oh why would you wear designer clothes? The amount my brother pays for a t-shirt I can replace my entire wardrobe. Now handbags, that’s a different matter…

3) Banish Junk food

Junk food is a must in my life. Hey, I worked at Pizza Hut for four years, that’s dedication to the love of the hut! But it’s not just pizza, maccy d’s, kfc, burger king, you name it, im there. No I will not apologise, and yes, I do eat my greens…ghekins count right?

4) Complete a Parachute Jump

Many of you may be aware of the story of my list of three things I had to do. when you are 16 you are fearless. I may not be double that age, but I certainly have triple the fear. You will NEVER get me jumping out of a plane, that’s a promise!

5) Read all the classics

Shoot me now. I know this wont go down well but yeah, classics may be great, but there are so many more gems out there that just do not get the credit they deserve. And, to be honest, the few classics I have read have been insanely boring – the only thing I can honestly say I have enjoyed is the BBC adaptation of pride and prejudice. Lets face it, that was all to do with a certain Mr Darcy than the storyline!

6) Be posh..

Yes I am the biggest snob, but dinner parties, black tie events, drinking refined wine – lets just refer to the points above. I would rather have a beer or four followed by a kebab if I am out. Given the choice though, I will always opt for a cup of tea, some chocolate and a few mates round for the evening. It’s not boring as so many believe, its good fun, and certainly beats redecorating your road on the way home. Back to posh though, I just cba. It is so pretentious…however I may retract this if I am ever invited to these types of events because I am just SO amazing lol!

7) Stick to my given view

As above! Tonight I am in one mood, tomorrow I will be in another. I am female. My choices are led by emotions, hormones and…well just because. I see it as my right, and who should tell me otherwise.

8) Complete a PHD

I suppose you could say this is on my bucket list, but as per item 7), this is now on here. I have so many plans and ideas, too many to implement…did I mention having purchased the URL for my company? I did this a couple of weeks back and that is as far as I have got. So no, at the moment, any kind of postgraduate certificate is simply not relevant right now.

9) Not be a complete bitch

It’s not going to happen is it? You guys know when I am in a foul mood and quite frankly I never try to disguise it. Take me as I am.

10) Stop drinking black coffee

I would say this is the most important item on the list. Having had porcelain veneers several years back, the whiteness of my teeth is a major issue. Quite frankly, I have very british teeth and ruining them with black coffee should not even be up for discussion, actually, tea, coca cola..they should all be banned. But, and this is the big but, should I be opting for vanity over enjoyment? especially when you consider the cost of my teeth? absolutely not, never in a million years.

Simplicity at its best - no faff, no pretending, just 'coffee', and yes, I do buy it in bulk!

 

Item ten on my list sums up my overall thoughts on this blog post. Life is to be enjoyed, wasting times on these various points because you are made to feel like you should is just not on. If you want to paint your nails because you like to, then you should. If it is because sat in your office you feel slightly inadequate because of the polished women around you is not on. Be you, be what you to be, and have fun doing it!

Well this is half hearted..

9 Nov

I actually do not have time to write a blog post right now…

Coming up when I get some time:

Why I shouldn’t be allowed to work with others

A Cuppa Update

Why I love my blogging friends

I have the best idea that will thrill you all

Children’s apps or traditional board books – you decide

(OK they may differ somewhat when I actually write them but this is the initial thought)

Oh and one last one, following a blog I read the other day which I will link to, promise, I shall be creating my fuckit list – the jobs things I will never do…because I don’t want to lol!

You don’t want to miss this…well you might.

29 Oct

Do you ever read a post and think ‘What the….?’

This happened to me this week. I was reading Christo the Nomads post on chairs, yes that’s right, the uncomfortableness that is the workplace chair.

By the time I had finished reading, I was overwhelmed by the cleverness of the writing, or more to the point, the ability to write about the everyday, in a way that was not everyday at all. Seriously, if you realised you were reading about a chair, would you continue?

Anyway, it got me thinking. My chair is slightly amazing. It is very much an ordinary chair, in an ordinary room. ordinary people sit on it, and more often than not, watch ordinary TV and occasionally eat ordinary food. (I say occasionally eat, that is a lie, all the time we eat sat on the chair, but we aren’t supposed to admit to this).

It is an ordinary colour, black. It isn’t feather filled, just ordinary foam….thats all to it really.

So what makes it amazing? Well I spent most of my uni time sat on this chair writing assignments. Most of my current WIP (yeah OK, what is supposed to be the current WIP) has been created on this chair, and, A Cuppa has seen most of its progress happen right on this chair.

So?

So the most amazing thing, I sot on my chair every night and it does something most would moan about, and it isn’t that great I can tell you, but worthy of discussion, IT EATS TIME!

Seriously, I lie not. I sit down around 8pm and then BAM, its 10 o’clock and I really should be thinking about bed sometime soon.

Now I know if I sit on the chair across the room with the slight bounce I would be aware of every minute passing. Does this happen to you, do you have a chair that just makes time disappear?

Talking of time eaters, Alexis wrote this post on social media, and how we get easily distracted. It is definitely a well-worn discussion, but Alexis shared some of her writers friends tactics to avoid the pitfalls of social medias consumption of time.

One of the commenters, Anthony Lee Collins, made a suggestion that having a friend change a password until a certain deadline had passed maybe the way forward. Seriously though, could you do this? As much as I like the idea, I doubt I could very much.

Now I have had friends that have closed accounts such as FB and managed to refrain for several months at a time, but they always return…and they aren’t writers. I would be too worried I would miss something vital, a competition, a friends new release, but would anyone else notice, or even care?

Anyway, just to push you towards another post I want you to read check out Christos post on Roys of Wroxham. I am sure I missed the irony of the post but it brought back so many memories….enjoy.

Self – promotion. Are we allowed to sleep?

10 Oct

Today is the final submission day for a Cuppa and An Armchair. I am sure you are all aware of this as many of you have already sent me your shorts.

So far this project has been a real learning experience. You would think, having done a book before it wouldn’t be anything new, but you would be very wrong.

A Simple Guide was a massive flop. One simple reason, I didn’t follow my advice. That book focused on how to do it all, but I wrote it without having experienced it, I had just completed months of research. Now, I will say, my learning was very thorough. I have applied everything I learnt during those months of research, and the bits I have picked up on since, to promoting the submission process of A Cuppa and An Armchair.

What I suspected, but didn’t really understand, was the hard work that promotion involved. I have spent on average two hours every evening trying to get the word out for the project. I have hopped online at every given opportunity throughout the day also. This would have been easier for FB status update and tweets had my Blackberry lasted a bit longer. Since being dropped, I think it had survived longer than could be reasonably expected. All the same…

So what is this promotion?

Well obviously there has been this blog. I have been very wary about just writing project related posts but I am not convinced I have provided enough variation. My main consideration was about not wanting to annoy my regular readers. There is something known as too much promotion. Personally it drives me mad when I am reading other writers blogs and it is all about their current WIP. Don’t get me wrong, this is fine if that is all your blog has ever been. What I’m saying is I don’t want my blog to be about one thing only. That is not where I am at the moment and I don’t want to lose readers because they may think I am.

Sticking with the blog I have tried to spend time reading new blogs, commenting, trying to spread the word. I haven’t been as successful as I would have liked, mainly because I haven’t done it anywhere near enough. promotion scares me, I don’t want to be a spammer…

On Twitter I have become a spammer lol! This was most obvious the day I discovered the problem with the email. Ahem, the day Charlotte told me about the problem. I just had to get the message out there. The only way I could do this was to keep posting the same thing over and to ask for others to retweet. Other than that I sent DMs to many tweeters, and attempted to join in with the conversations. Twitter is definitely my weak point, I’m not sure I fully understand it. Either way I gave it a good go and I am pleased with my progress.

Now Facebook i dreaded. How many times have you been told that Facebook is not the place to promote? Well, sure, the amount of effort I put in, hunting down writers, being inventive with updates and such, may not have been reflected in the ‘likes’, however, we have still managed to get up to 61 likes as of this evening. Bearing in mind A Simple Guide sits at 57, I am certainly not complaining. Now I know many writers have a higher following on Facebook, but I have been at this for a little over a month. We haven’t even put the book together. If the page grows at this rate, by the time the book is released, I shall be ecstatic.

I have dabbled at Google+, thought about LinkedIn and many others, but I decided to concentrate on my three main areas. I am glad I made this decision. I think I would have spread myself too thin otherwise.

So I guess I should get cracking with organising the shorts for the panel to read, plus a little last-minute tweeting and FB updating. I am hoping to take a week off from here, just to re group, and consider the next stages in full before we jump straight in. After all, not only have we had the problem with the email, the submission date has got somewhat muddled also, whoops! It will never run smoothly when you are doing all the running, but I guess a few rocks keep you on your toes. I am just very grateful that I have my Simple Guide knowledge to help steer me through this process.

As always big thank you to all of you who have shown your support, submitted, or just wished us luck.