A Writer (and Diarist?)’s Challenge

A writer should never shirk from addressing challenges in message nor description, despite the social or self-imposed barriers they encounter. After all, the very essence of writing is to strive, to reach and then even break through those barriers, never worrying about the reaction. A writer, in this aspect must display boldness.Victorian writing

The task confronting me was another episode of tardy attention upon WP and lack of interaction with my good friends upon the community. There was good reason. However, to explain this required a deft, one might say diplomatic approach. If I simply cited illness or incapacity and left the business there, then all sorts of wrong intimations might arise, unwarranted concerns would be expressed, and a farcical air of melodrama would impinge upon my blog. This would not do.Social Graces

There again. And here is the overriding problem. An average British male, in their late 60s b85885aa0fd01f0cbebaa2798639b472

 

 

 

 

aware of the number of lady readers to his blog does simply not feel at ease in going into, in this case the relevant detailed description. Now, whereas we all have secret chuckles at ‘Carry On’ films, these are normally conducted in more domestic matters. To utilise this approach simply would seem, well crass.

Therefore, I explain the circumstances of the last several days in a slightly cryptic manner and trying to avoid the Too Much Information syndrome. These facts and opinions are for your considerations.

Yeast. Not to do with baking. Medical. Jokes about yeast making things rise no longer seem remotely funny.

Not all conditions respond to medicines. Some require surgical responses, lest conditions get worse. Gender reassignment is not a phrase I personally, in my lifestyle ever thought a possibility.

Not to worry, having imagined conversations with idiots on the Web-footed Rightalexjonesrandpaul-alexjonesimage  and Fashionable LeftPompus
over their laughably ignorant notions of biblical surnames and surgical procedures was quite amusing; almost tempting me to indulge their ignorance…..My imagination does get vivid at times.

The UK. Our NHS….yes it does surgical procedures on a Sunday. So the NHS works, despite the antics of governments, the slimy efforts of money-making corporations and hapless misconceptions of the 8d8f41c1217d3007621ceda397c48ef6Trumpster Propagandists in the USA.

Being under general anaesthetics gives you real clarity as regards Napoleon’s victory at the battle of Austerlitz in 1805.

Of course, being in Britain recovery in the recovery room is aided by a nice cup of TEA!cuppa_tea_1660618c

The removal of a surgical dressing by one’s spouse can be quite an intimate episode (I’m talking about shared trust and tenderness….what are some of you thinking about?).

Why does going to a hospital or attending Mass cause one to catch a cold?

Like, Slowness City man. Move legs won’t you? Brain stop drifting! Hey, that snooze just sneaked up on me! How come it’s hard to concentrate on Comic Books?

Whereas I do not take nor approve of recreational drugs the residual after effects of a general anaesthetics did help with a tricky few chapters of my current book and gave me whole new insights into the songs out of ‘Cats’ ‘Mr.Mistoffelees’ and ‘Bustopher Jones’ as they travelled through my head day after day, without the least bit of annoyance.

In conclusion, fellow male readers. Do not wince or shudder. In comparison with what our dear ladies have to go through in life….

Mate, like this is nothing!

‘Bustopher Jones is not skin and bones –

                                    In fact, he’s remarkably fat.

                                    He doesn’t haunt pubs- he has eight or nine clubs,’

bjones-karen

Love that song……

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Writers. Who’d be a Writer?

So after all your hard work. After all the time invested in the writing, the re-writing, the self-editing; maybe the paying for an editor, The Book Cover ‘thing’. You’ve found it’s even harder to publicise the book than write it. You’ve done it all and what?

You are too intimidated to do anything else with it.

The book doesn’t register double figures in sales.

The book does well, only you can’t figure out how to write another.

The book does well but after all that effort…you can’t be bothered to write another one, and you cannot figure out why.

The book does well, the reviews are fine, until you get the ‘nasty’ one. And you naturally pay more attention to that one.

Who’d be a writer eh?

Suddenly all the drive has gone. All the perverse energy you got from writing under the Flag emblazoned with the motto ‘So What? I’ll write it ‘cas I want to!’ seems so far away now. Your flag lies forlorn in a puddle.

Who’d be a writer eh?

You swear the next cheerful pep-talk post(er) you come across is going to get real piece of your mind.

From now on, every time you see a post with a list if helpful hints, you are gonna ‘unfollow’ that blogger, faster than someone who blogs with political opinions you don’t agree with.

And you do not. No, you certainly do not, like ever again read about someone else’s book being published.

And then you think

‘Oh dear (or whatever else fits). How did I get here? What is going on?’

Yeh. Who in their right mind, looking for an easy uncomplicated life would be a writer?

(While we’re about it. Easy uncomplicated Life? Is there such a creature?)

Yeh, I ‘get it’ brothers and sisters.

Y’see the problem is, Writing comes with a price. All of the above. The effort, the energy spent, the ups, the downs, the desolations, the disappointments, the worry, the emptinesses. All the sly subtle draining. The folk who are seemingly successful, worrying about where the next book comes from, or what the public will think of it. We shouldn’t forget them either. If you are going to take up the pen, or tap out the keyboard, be ready with an allegorical pocket or two full of allegorical coins.

Yeh, I ‘get it’ fellow writers. You are feelings are nothing to be ashamed of, nor frightened of. This path is a rocky one. Even us Crazy ‘What-The -Hell’ ragged-style aficionados have tripped up over our own wild feet and fallen into a patch of Reality. Some of us have even wondered if it’s our weird nature or just us in Denial about our lack of talents which keeps us bouncing along with folk scratching or shaking their heads as we pass on by. Us on our faux-Captain Beefhart,/ ‘Pretend I’m a Frank Zappa of Writing’ trips.

I can do nothing for your pain, because it is yours and I would not pretend to have some long-distance answer, that would be insulting to you. Your despondency is a familiar feeling and easy to trace, origin so common in the writing world. I wish it were within my remit to incant something to take away as your fears and your woe.

Within my remit though is to understand the feelings, not to denigrate them or insult them with a Happy Mary Poppins approach. The dust, the dirt, the chill winds of doubt, I understand, borne witness to them, experienced them on my tongue, breathed them in and they settled on my heart.

The thing is.

You will shuffle, you will ease up your weary bones, feel about for your allegorical pen, hitch up your pack of ideas onto your back and belt, you will stare out across the battered landscape and move out. There does not have to be a squaring of the shoulders, nor some end of John Wayne War movie tough, determined quote (cue music & credits), nor my favoured style of ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ rendition out of full Metal Jacket. You will move on, because The Writing Calls, exactly why, for you will be personal. You will. Just because.

‘Not me! I’ve had enough! I’m tired through. Scared, scarred and scattered. Done all I could. It’s got me beat,’

To you I say. It didn’t beat you. You did as much as you could and found this was not for you. Well, who doesn’t do that? How do you know, if you don’t try? Don’t sell yourself down. You tried. End of chapter. Now go and do something else. It is for you to choose. No disgrace. You were there, you took a stand. Now move onto another place.

We are Human. We have weaknesses. We have strengths. We have pain. We have Humanity.

We are.

And you may write once more. Or never write again, turn your back on the whole thing.

In neither act is there is futility.

There is however in both Life.

Light your torch with it.

Now Here is a Thought About Writer’s Block (aka Log-Jam)

Let’s be open about this. Being a writer is not easy.

There will now be a pause for readers’ varied reactions, the politest of which might be

YA DON’T SAY!!!

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Ok?

Right let’s carry on.

I hit this log-jam recently on Vol II of this fantasy project. Words just would not…. Not the usual problem of getting them from thoughts into intelligent or at least legible and semi-coherent statements on paper or screen. This was serious, a vague, fog across the fen lands of my mind, the characters and the motivations were out there but I could not get out to reach them and ask them what they had planned. This was a worry, after all when you go on record saying this work might be a trilogy or even a pentalogy, well you can’t just fade away after Vol I. It looks, sad. About to Rant

What was exacerbating the situation was I had these ‘bits’ of blog posts hanging about in one form or another which were nowhere nearing completion, and they and the book narrative were simply slopping about in allegorical stagnant water.

By happenstance the solution came along in the most curious of ways.

I’ll keep the actual details out, not wanting to turn this post into a platform for arguments over the subject matters, those are being rummaged over with glorious glee on FaceBook by those who like to rummage on FaceBook and compete in one of the many Who Is Most Outraged competitions which make it such a vibrant place (sarcasm).Daffy duck

Anyway suffice it to say two items on the news or social media. One new, another a very old saw which has been going on since frib’ knows how long….Now two of the arguments put forth really irritate me. You’ll just have to accept this statement and put yourself in a similar situation, in your own experience.

By another goodly happenstance I had come by a brand new efficient laptop, which enabled swift and efficient access to FaceBook. (Previous machine did not like typing directly onto social media, I’m sure I don’t know why !). So I weighed in putting in my objections in long balanced posts about reality and the quality of communication when stating one’s view OR using history as a foundation for why my view point made more sense. Then a few side-swipes at folk using obscenities. And telling those who hurled facile judgements like they were in food-fights that they’d lost the argument. These by the way were folk who in theory share the same political views as me….civil wars are always the bitterest.

Now once I had got those opinions off of the chest, and the lyrical flows were set free, well everything became easier! Firstly the blog posts popped up in swift succession and seeing them there made me feel a whole lot better. Nextly the fog lifted, the characters said ‘That where you’ve been is it! Get over here, have we got things to tell you!!’ and the book starts to rattle along.

Of course, in retrospect, all made sense. I had been annoyed with these FB warrior folk and their opinions for ages and I had not cleared my head of the simmering thoughts. There was no intention of winning an argument. No one wins anything on Social Media,Andronicus1_2572537b I just wanted to bust into these little self-congratulatory groups and scare the horses a bit. Done. And I am feeling better….muttley_laughing_by_sektor8bit-d7fv6shThey had it coming.

The morale dear reader? If the words are not reaching daylight, maybe there is something outside of your book/story/poem which is getting in the way. I would not go so far as to suggest you fire off polemics at the nearest target or throw well passed use-by-date sticky buns at people or buildings which cause offense. Nor would I advise taking a picture or model of whatever distresses you and jumping up and down on it, neighbours notice things like that. Anyway whatever ‘it’ is, such treatments may not be applicable. Suffice to say ponder on the possible exterior reasons for the log-jam, then mull over any ways you might rectify the business, even this exercise may kick-start the writing.

Just a thought.

PS…..

This is the First Vol of the fantasy project; it’s on Kindle.

Patchwork

Of Patchwork Warriors….. By R J Llewellyn

This is me marketing.

Social Graces

Sad isn’t it?

My giggling as I write this part is not appropriate, I really must get Mature Me Marketing, some day.

Interludes with Cortana

An Interlude on Stage

Sleeping Beauty. One Foot Soldier’s Account (A Tale in II Parts)

Sleeping Beauty. The Foot-Soldiers’ Side (All Tale in II Parts) (Part II)

 

 

Publishing … Just a thought (or two)

So I did this re-re-edit of my ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ Book Cover 9and thought ‘Aww what the frib (mild swear word used in the said book), let’s enrol in this Promotion Stuff and try and be professional for once’ so I put it out there free for 3 days, and announced it on WP.

Then I’m updating my ‘A True History of These Isles Vol I’ and put the 2nd edition up and wonder what’s going on with ‘Patchwork’ and there’s that’s little red line which shows someone bought a copy of the 1st edition in December and I’m thinking ‘Sorry ‘bout that’ (so many typos etc), then I notice this blue line.

What’s with the blue line? Maybe it’s a sort of line which indicates that’s as far as the report goes, I mean it’s the kind of thing I’d put up…but hang on, like there’s a guide to all these lines; never noticed that before……and…….Shocked-face

Well, bless my boots! NINE, yeh NINE free copies ‘kindlised’…..like NINE!!

OK so some might say ‘Yeh that’s ‘cause they were free’

And I’m saying ‘So fribbin’ (there’s that word again) what? It’s copies in the hands of the Reading Public! It’s more than I’ve ever, ever, ever achieved. It’s all cool!!’crazy-lime-cartoon-jumping-happy-35166861

So, going back to my original mission statement:

Tip for folks starting out- if you just wish to dip your toe in the water:

Having completed your manuscript:

Firstly: check it and check it for typos etc and if short of cash, use an online editor such as Grammarly (its basic package is for free, although there are other goodies)

Secondly: find yourself a platform to upload on an e-book.

Thirdly: Put it out there free for a short space of time.

Now, none of this is perfect, none of this will turn you into a ‘name’ but it will give you the first taste of self-publishing. You will feel you have taken the first beat of your wings.

Yes, I know, then we all wait on tender hooks waiting for the reviews. (Thanks again Audrey for yours!)  And, that is nerve-racking. I feel your twitchiness. But that is another chapter in your journey.

As the old saying goes:

‘To accumulate you have to speculate’

It can be done, people!

And this is from one of the world’s most hapless marketers ever!

PS: If anyone reading this are one of the NINE……thanks!!

Advice on Publishing, Markets etc- Look Somewhere Else

There is nothing of value I, personally, have to offer on the practicalities. There are probably intelligent, dedicated and astute writers and bloggers out there in WP who despair of, who are irritated by or have given up on my approach, or lack of when it comes to:

Firstly- The very art and determination in ensuring that their work is as polished as they could humanly manage.

Secondly- The associated effort in spreading news of the forthcoming conclusion to a work they have embarked on; particularly in the correct and effective use of the opportunities afforded by Social Media

Thirdly – The professionalism required either to market by oneself or by contacting professional folk who can assist in this way.

I can evoke, lyrically I might add, the reasons why someone should write. I pride myself on being able to ignite a spark or breath life back in the fading embers of a lonely and uncertain soul wishing to write. I can, allegorically, stand on a podium and thunder with all the passion of a wrathful preacher; railing against badly strung critical reviews; professional critics; the snobbish sorts who look down their noses at self-publishing and anyone else who tries to stifle a new writer. I would sit on the edge of the nest of the nervous person about to start upon those excruciatingly difficult first words and gently ease them into spreading their wings to take flight amongst the breezes and breaths of Creativity. All those come rushing into my mind and my spirit, they are clarion summonings to bear aloft the banner emblazoned with those inviolable words ‘You Can Write’.

But I cannot give practical advice. I know not why, and sometimes do confess wretched sluggard that I am, not to caring to either. For me, the thrill is the creating, the crafting and the completion and then as some person caught up in the joy of a festival or event, once those final words, as chords in a musical event are done, away go I with fond memories. Ah, dear harmless fool; jester for the more focused, sensible and ultimately successful. You have your day amongst the words, the posts and the comments to posts, but the rest will always be vague stumblings……………………..

Errrrr, not too sure where all that introspection came from, but since I spent a good few minutes of my time crafting it, here it is and here it stays. Take it or leave it folks. Be warned. It could happen to you.

Anyway……

To the most important part of the post.

There are many energetic, inventive and determined folk in the WP Community who are kind enough to share their thoughts and suggestions on the matters of actually getting your words out there to the public. These come in all shapes and sizes, differing approaches, particular details, varying personalities; in fact across the myriad of the positive sort of Human Effort. They all have one thing in common though. They are taking very, very, seriously the business of getting their work known to the public. At times, it seems as if once the book is completed then their Hard Work begins. I salute them, I marvel at their adroitness in navigating all the pathways.

Thus, for all the new and uncertain writers there is a treasury of guidance and advice here in WP, without you buying a suspiciously self-aggrandising book by some ‘name’.

I cite you a few examples from posts on this subject which just had to be reblogged

So You Want To Be A Writer

3 Rejection Letters Indie Authors Receive

The Thing About Writer’s Block

When Your Writing Issue Is…

Newsletter BlitzNew Feature: Writer Rants (with host Dan Alatorre)

Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

Let’s Talk: Grit as a Writer

Now some of these links might not actually cover a point in your journey as a writer, but they will guide you to folk who have a wealth of experience, talent and drive and are some of the people you should be reading. I apologise to those who I have left out, ragged that I am.

There we are folks, as the old saying goes

‘Get Weaving’

All the very best in your endeavours, now go and read someone else’s blog for pity’s sake.smile

The Absence of a Wandering Writer

I do like Word Press! There is so much going on socially, culturally, creatively, politically, and other-ones- I-can’t-bring-to-mindly. There are days when I spend hours+ reading through other bloggers posts and some would say to me

‘You are following 130 blogs. This is unwise. You cannot read everyone,’puritan-christmas-color

And I would reply

‘Yes, but looking at all the interesting contributions.’ (Unless I am listening to 1960s music, in which I would say ‘Yeh man. But dig all the out cool vibes going down. I mean like Out of Sight man! I mean like ..Heavy man!!… I mean I just got to be There Man!…..I mean…..like….Man!!!’…Those were the circumstances when you could say that to a lady and they would not be offended by having their gender changed; they would simply reply ‘Oh. Far out! I dig what you’re saying Man!’..and so forth)en_greekphilosophers

Ah. Sorry about that I seem to have wandered off topic.

Anyway having stated the obvious that there is so much of value and interest to read, somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice wouldst say.

‘But what about those Three Posts, one of which you specifically said to someone you would do (and it’s a doozy to work into words too!). What about that political site you said you would contact? What about the seriously serious editing you were going to do on the book? How about that notion of producing your own cover which for once is actually relevant to the book? What about the History of the Isles Project, it’s three chapters behind schedule?’trilby

While a more strident, naggy voice spoils by mid-morning coffee ritual, its allegorical arms folded, fingers tapping on the opposing arm, eyebrows narrowed, mouth a thin line.

‘AND,’ it booms (don’t you hate it when that happens inside your head? I don’t know about you, but that echo really disorientates me) ‘When are you going to get around to making your Blog Site look like a worthy site and not some room which has just received its first undercoat of paint? You have a WordPress Guidebook. Why are you not reading it? Why are you not following its advice? You have had this blog for two years now. People are following you- personally I am at a loss to know why- so you had better make the whole thing look presentable!’  (I don’t know where this character came from I’m sure they’re not really part of me; like I’ve been possessed by a spirit of Serious Diligence and Work Ethic).rant

I try and tell the two of them that it is productive to reply to other folk and chat back and forth, and then they gang up on me and tell me that is all well and good, but I, personally, do not have the energy or mental capacity much less creative powers to do the two simultaneously. The inference that I am somehow deficient is somewhat hurting, however they are a persistent pair.

So to shut them up I have to resolve to writing and not reading for a while. This is odd, feels like driving down the wrong way in a one-way street

And while this existentialist threat is being sorted out along comes…….

The Choremaster who reminds me there’s pile of ‘stuff’ to go on e-bay, the trees really need cutting back, and don’t forget the attic needs clearing out, then there’s the ‘clerical’ work…ONLINE PHOTO ENHANCE VILLAN

So what’s this Putting Your Feet up thing when you retire?

Anyway, I suppose all this will have to be attended to. Although to be accurate, some because I want to and some because I have to.

Which will be why if you are used to seeing me replying to your posts and am not over the next few days, sorry about this, sort of cleaning out the back yard, or garden, or attic, or spare room, literally and allegorically.

Now if I could only think of a succinct way to conclude this post………….imagesC0U7V2ED

Refreshing Holidaze

Our perceptions of Time can be whimsical; a week can be a very short span while at filled with so much as to seem a month. This was my experience between the 14th & 21st July spent at the village of Trefriw, about 2 hours from where we live but may have well be another country. Set off the main bustling thoroughfare of the only arterial road of the North Wales coast in a region of small villages, roads where courtesy is essential, and wooded stretches  which absorb then stifle the noise we are inclined to make.

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Beneath a bridge unimpressed by the traffic runs the River Crafnant, although not filled with the pomp and self-importance of wider and deeper cousins around the world, she runs at her along own steady, bright course, feeding the lush banks each side and lending some energy to help the local woollen mill about its modest trade.

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She was in a peaceful mood that day and let me clamber over some of her rocks while singing her own endless soothing anthem.

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While these hills will remain; unimpressed by the posturing and gabbling of small-minded folk, stately custodians for those who value peace and tranquillity.

A time and a place to reflect on how grateful we should be when the opportunity comes to be allowed to share in the majesty.