It is exactly the middle of August, give or take an hour or two, and I'm sitting here wondering what has happened to the year. It seems to have flown and all the things I promised myself I would do are still not done. I really must learn how to schedule myself a bit better. Twenty years ago I was complaining there were not enough hours in the day or days in the week, and things don't seem to have improved.
I know I am my own worst enemy. I'm trying to get noticed as a writer and keep being told, follow blogs, interact with people on Facebook and other social media, join forums, keep an eye on what's happening in the literary world, and the big wide wide, and the world of technology and don't forget to do your Spanish lessons. News people, by the time I've done all that I've used up the energy I had to write!
So should I write first thing, before I do all those other things? That would only ever happen if I didn't bother getting out of bed. I could quite happily sit up in bed and spend a few hours hammering away at the keyboard. Maybe I should try that. The trouble is as soon as my feet hit the floor at the side of my bed life takes over.
Sort out the washing that was done over night, well actually just before I went to bed. Have a bath so that I can actually start moving. Check my emails just in case someone has offered me a film deal for one of my books, never happens. Check Facebook to see if the world has ended; eat; walk the dog; think about what to eat for dinner tonight. I would like to say I vacuum and dust every day but I don't. Such things get done when I can't ignore the bits on the carpet or the fingerprints in the dust. Speaking of which, guess what I really must do when I finish typing this.
And suddenly it's time to cook dinner - that is if the star of my life hasn't informed me an hour before I start that he won't be home for dinner because he is on his way to the back of beyond and probably won't be home until midnight. So I'm walking the dog again.
So dinner eaten, it's time for the evening news during which I usually fall into an exhausted power nap because I have been running around all day and still haven't sat down to write a word.
Power naps are great. I often feel better after a nap than after a night in bed, but there are then the evening things to do. Wash up, make tomorrow's packed lunch, see if there is any washing to do tonight. Check if there have been any sales today. It's now pushing nine o'clock and I STILL haven't written anything.
At some point, I'm not sure where, I do manage to get some editing done for other people. But when it comes to my own writing, I might start at ten pm. But more likely my eyes are too tired and I just sit and watch old TV shows - there hardly ever seems to be any new ones worth watching. Although I did enjoy Humans that was on recently.
Don't suggest going to bed earlier, it doesn't work, never has. My entire life I have gone to bed at a 'reasonable' time and tossed and turned for two hours before I sleep. I am an owl, I go to sleep late and wake up late. That's me, don't expect anything different. But I quite like this idea of maybe writing before I get up. I'll have to take my tablet to bed with me and try it. Could mean I don't emerge from my cocoon until around lunch time!
We will see.
Must go now. The dog is looking accusingly at me to let me know her dinner is late. There are far to many 'so's in this piece, but I couldn't care less at the moment, so they will stay there!
Hi, someone just sent me a message praising my blog and asking for advise. Unfortunately they didn't give me an email address for my reply so I'm posting this in the hope they may look and it may also be useful to others thinking about setting up a blog.
It is very easy to set up a blog, I have one on my website which is provided by Weebly and I have a personal one and one for my publishing business on blogspot which, I believe, is part of Google.
Setting up is easy. Knowing what and when to post is the difficult part. Do you want to blog about something specific, life in general or are you supporting a particular cause?
The next thing is to post regularly to keep people interested. Something I fail miserably at (posting regularly that is, hopefully people are interested!). This takes up time and eats into other things you should be doing. Also, you need to have something to say, otherwise why blog?
Finally, you need to let people know you have posted something, usually through whatever social media you use, be that Facebook, Twitter or any of the other platforms now available.
Hope this helps.
It has been announced that the word hashtag has been included in the OED as not only a word to describe the # sign, but also as a word that is attached to another word as in ‘hashtag brilliant’.
I’m not a grammar nazi, nor am I opposed to new words or new ways to use them, but I do wonder at this.
The hash sign was, is, used on social media so that people in the vastness of the cyber sphere can quickly share ideas and thoughts. If you want to draw attention to something put a hash sign in front of a word and the computer will link your post to any other similar word. A simple #blog will link all the posts that contain the same tag so that people looking for a blog to read don’t have to read 50 million irrelevant posts before they find one about a blog.
It has developed into campaign tags and almost anything can be made accessible in this way.
It now seems that people are using the word ‘hashtag’ when speaking to express themselves. This does not make sense to me. Using the word ‘hashtag’ in speech is not the same as putting one in front of something that can be accessed by computer software. It doesn’t link together thousands of other people using the same words. My first thought on hearing this development was it is simply another form of expletive. No different to ‘bloody’, ‘sodding’ or that ‘f’ word every parent tells their kids off for using even though they probably use it themselves and the kids use it all the time in the school playground.
You don’t believe me? An example. A kid comes out of school, annoyed because a teacher has done something the child thinks is unfair. Moaning to his friends the kid says, “Hashtag teacher, wait till I tell my dad.”
How is that different to him saying “Fucking teacher, wait till I tell my dad.” ?
And how soon will it be before saying ‘hashtag’ becomes offensive? Before the bullies start chanting “Hashtag idiot” at their victims?
There are many new words added to the dictionary every year. Most are innocuous, many forgotten within a generation or so. Being added to the OED gives them a certain status of acceptability. I have no problem with the word Hashtag being added as a word to describe the hash sign being linked to a word or phrase to attract attention on social media. Being used as an expletive, a sentence filler, I’m not so sure about.
This information came to me second hand. If it’s not 100% correct all I can say of my informant is a ‘hashtag stupidsod.’
I'm pleased to announce I have just launched my first children's book. It was quite a challenge keeping the word count down as I do tend to ramble on a bit! But everyone who has seen it so far approves and thinks I've got the balance right.
There is a big difference between writing for children and writing for adults, especially when writing for the younger end of the spectrum. Not only is the subject matter different but you tend to forget not all children know the words you take for granted! Mind you, some adults don't always know the words I take for granted. And likewise, when editing I have found words that I did not know and have to check before continuing.
This difference is one of the reasons I have chosen to use my maiden name for my children's books. (I'm assuming, here, that they will be popular enough to warrant more than one! We shall see.) So when you see the name A P Lanstone, it is me!
The other main difference between adult and children's books is that children like to look at pictures and I can't draw to save my life. I mean that. If I had to draw a diagram to tell someone how to rescue me from kidnappers, I'd be dead! So imagine my joy at finding an illustrator who makes pictures exactly how I imagine them! Ann H Griffiths came to me in a very roundabout way for advice on publishing and now she has done some wonderful pictures for my story.
At the moment the book is only available as an ebook. We are working on the idea of making a printed version in black and white so that children can colour in the pictures themselves. We will see.
So what is the book called?
It's FantasmaGONE! and the Pirates. It's about a little girl who finds a strange creature in her Aunt's garden. A creature that can change shape, turn invisible and fly. Oh, and can time travel too!
Available in all these places
KINDLE uk http://dld.bz/dBVaw
A question every writer asks. And if any one person knew the answer they could make a fortune. But the truth is there is no magic formula. Success is as much to do with luck and being noticed by the right people at the right time as it is about knowing what to do.
I don't think there is an author who has not been rejected by the big publishing companies. I'm talking now of the days when the only way to get published was to be taken on by a main stream publisher. Nearly all the famous names who are now familiar to readers and scholars alike, were once rejected by one publishing house or another.
Now anyone can publish a book. It's easy. You write your book. You submit it to Kindle Direct Publishing and hey presto! you are a published author. Quite often with typos and bad grammar included.
Writing your tome is the easy part. Getting people to buy it, and maybe leave a comment about it, is the hardest part of being an independent author.
So how do people pick their next book these days? In 'the old days' when books were printed, you would go to a shop and look along the shelves for something that sparked your interest. Readers might scan the best seller lists and go in search of what was trending at the time. They would wait patiently for the next book from their favourite author. They might pick something by someone local to their community. They might wait for the paperback version or trawl through the pallets of books on offer at cheap discount stores. But the truth is few authors sold their books in vast numbers.
So how do authors get noticed now? There are hundreds of websites that offer to promote and advertise your books. I'm on several but I have not noticed any great response to these. Maybe I don't try hard enough. I'm not a naturally pushy person and to be a success I guess this is a flaw. You name a site and I bet I'm on it somewhere.
There are sites that boast of having mailing lists of tens of thousands of people which you can join, for a fee.
Social media - get the word out, but no matter how much you tweet and get re-tweeted, if people don't catch that message there is no sale.
What authors have to remember is that their book is a mere drop in the ocean. ANY sale is a success when there are literally millions of books from which the reader can choose. Well done to the few who make it to the top without the backing of the big guys. You are doing well. You are a success - just don't quit the day job yet!
Ever since I started writing I have wondered this. What makes a writer and in particular a good writer? Is it someone who knows how to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's, puts commas and full stops (periods to anyone in America) in the right place? Who can put words in the correct grammatical order? Or is it someone who can tell a good story with wit and humour, make totally unlikeable characters loveable, or unbelieveable scenes seem real?
Since offering my editing services I have come across all sorts. Most have a reasonable grasp of how things should be done and my main task is to spot the odd typo and flaws in the plot line. I think my special talent is spotting continuity errors, you know the sort of thing, problems solved before they have actually occurred, getting married in May when the proposal didn't happen until July (not that I have ever come across that, but it explains what I mean. Of course, it could happen in a time travel story!)
But what about someone who can tell a really good story, verbally, but has no concept of how to write it down? Can such a person be moulded into a good writer? I do hope so as I've recently come across one such writer. He dictated a story over the phone and it was wonderful. 'But my grammar's rubbish,' he confessed. His grammar sounded fine to me. Grammar in this case being the way the words are presented, in the right order. It doesn't matter whether he knows what the words are called, even I struggle once we get past the basics of noun, verb, adjective and a few others. His grammar was fine. His punctuation, however, is non-existent.
It is a sad indictment on the schooling in this country, that some people can still go through life without knowing even the basics of how to write something. OK, it was probably a few years ago that this guy went to school, maybe things are better now. Maybe he went to a bad school. Maybe he just wasn't interested back then. But it is such a waste.
I am hoping something will come of this encounter. The stories this guy has to tell are too good to miss.
Has anyone else come across this situation? What did you do?
All on my own this weekend as my husband is off to Italy to watch the Rugby, Italy v Wales. Seeing as how I spent four weeks in Tenerife in on my own in January I can't really complain.
So what will I do? All the editing I haven't done this week. Not sure where the days have gone but it's already Thursday night and I feel like I haven't done anything.
I will do some piano practise which is long overdue.
If the sun shines I will do some gardening. Last year's dead stuff hasn't been pulled up yet.
That is what I say I will do. Probably won't get a thing done though!
Well, here I go again with yet another blog! I started a personal one on blogspot, called Kristen-the-writer, but that has become the place where I put my thoughts about what is happening in the world rather than what is happening in MY writing world.
So I thought I would try again. This time JUST for writing thoughts.
And my thoughts at the moment are pretty low. My friend accuses me of being a glass half empty person. Well, at the moment I feel more like 'glass reached the dregs' person. It's probably because the sun isn't shining and the wind is cold, but it's also because sales are down these last couple of months.
I know it is not just me, which helps. I'm probably living in the wrong part of the world, writing the wrong type of books but I can't move and I can only write what comes into my head. And seeing as no one really looks at most of my blog posts I'll have a good whinge here.