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.