What is the next thing I can do?

I have a hypothetical scenario for you:  You have an event coming up in your life relating to your chosen passion.  It’s just around the corner and you’re hugely excited.  This is it, this could be the making of an incredible new life and it’s almost here!

You dream of people flocking to your door wanting to know who you are and can we have some more please.  That sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Then the event happens and reality gives you a rather unwarranted (well, it may seem that way) kick up the backside as you realise you haven’t hit the big time.  Okay maybe you sold a few books/paintings/photographs, but you are still sat at home and your phone/email is as quiet as it used to be.  Now what?

Wind back to just before the event.  If you have some free time dedicate it to answering these questions; ‘what if this doesn’t launch my career?’ and ‘What is the next thing I can do to get people to notice me?’

After the event there is a possibility you could disappear into a funk because after all your hard work, nothing happened.  Setting time aside beforehand will help prepare you if it didn’t go to plan.

So after being absent from my blog for quite a while you are probably wondering, why this and why now?  I have a secret.  I have been getting into photography in the last few months.  Next week (19-23 August) I will be taking part in an exhibition in London.  I’m really excited and nervous about it.  It could be great or it could be a damp squib.  Here’s hoping for the former.  If it is the latter, I need to be better prepared than I am now.

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When the Story Doesn’t Come

You sit there and nothing happens.  Time halts as your fingers waver over the keyboard or the pen over the paper but the muse, or whatever you call it, has taken the day off.  Never mind, you say, It’ll come later. But it doesn’t want to come later, either.

Maybe a little bit of guilt sets in.  It’s been three days since you got something down.  Perhaps I should be worried?  What if my creativity has run out?  That’s it, its over, no longer a writer.  Lets not be hasty, you can’t expect to write all the time, right?  But what about professional writers, they write every single day, how do they get through this?

I know, I’ll look on the internet/find a book on the subject.  Someone is bound to have written about it.  This is all a distraction, of course.

Does it really matter what the real reason is?  If it is an external source, then yes, it does matter.  Remove the source or deal with it and you should be able to start writing again.  After all, we are all humans and are subject to numerous things wanting our precious resources; physical, emotional or otherwise.

Sometimes though, it is through lack of practice.  What helps for professionals is that they write all the time, but even they have struggles too.  Terry Pratchett wrote in his autobiography (which I suggest you buy, by the way) how a typical day went.  Each day he set himself a target number of words (400, if I recall) to write and this particular day it took him the whole day (I’m not kidding either) to get there.

I know you’re not going to like this but, keep at it.  Never give up, never give in.  Drive yourself.  Sit down, any opportunity you have, and try.  You might not get anything, but trying and failing is better than not trying at all.  You cannot hope to win a competition if you do not enter.  That is only the stuff of stories.

Like everything, writing needs to be worked at.  In this day of near instant gratification, taking years to get to the end goal feels like a nightmare.

I love the definition of wordsmith ‘A person who works with words, especially a skillful writer’.  Just like a blacksmith works with metal, a wordsmith works with words.  Apprentice blacksmiths may come up with something resembling a sword just like a novice writer can arrive at something which looks like a novel.  Lets face it though, the misshapen lump is best off sticking back into the furnace to be worked on.

Day after day, the blacksmith turns up at the forge hoping today will be a good day.  Each day brings a new experience and over time that experience makes them a better smith.  That is what you need to do with writing.  Imagine a world without metal because the smith gave up.  Pretty stark, isn’t it?  Now imagine a world without stories.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pink Salamander has landed!

What I threatened a few months ago has finally come to pass (probably before Christmas but I’m not too sure!), The Pink Salamander is here, yay!  You can read it here The Pink Salamander or you can navigate via the menu on the right.

So what was the inspiration behind it?  Well its a strange one really, I recall the title popping into my head not long after I had woken up one morning.  A Pink Salamander was so unusual that, at first, I dismissed it.  I then decided otherwise and went with it.

I took me a while to write it but far longer to edit.  I’m glad I did as the first draft was mainly dialogue.  Dialogue works well in your head but does not make for great reading.

I hope you like it.

 

 

What Have I Been Working On Over Christmas?

Starting with the monthly theme for the writers’ group, ‘Renewal’, I came up with a piece called ‘A New Look For Clover Street’.  First off I’ll let you into a secret, this was not my first attempt.  ‘Driving licence’ was already written pending editing before it got pulled to pieces.

Deciding I could not be bothered to fix the problems, I started afresh.  Within minutes I had a new idea and I was soon writing.  By the end of the day the new piece, provisionally called ‘Clover Street’, was ready for editing.  Having got to that stage, I took the time to reflect and came to the conclusion that I was much happier with the new story.  I left it for a week then edited the piece before submission.

Other than that, I have another story in what appears to be long term editing (in other words, there are issues but I can’t be bothered to sort them out yet!).  Sooner or later I’ll get around to it and release ‘The Pink Salamander’ onto my dear, unsuspecting readership.

Those who have followed my blog for a while will have noticed a significant increase in output over the last week.  A few days before Christmas (which feels such a long time ago now), I set myself the challenge of blogging every day for the Christmas period.  The first day I sat down to blog, I found I had plenty of ideas but nothing to write about.

It sounds odd, I know, but you have to experience it to understand it.  To make a long story short (this from a guy who can never tell short anecdotes!), I decided on a film review.  Like all things, I found it was a matter of discipline and of giving myself the time to do it.

Now that I’m at the end of the week, I can look back and say I’ve really enjoyed it.  So much so that I want to increase my regular output beyond the *ahem* once a week blog I normally do.  We shall see what the future holds.

Owning a Creative Mind

What’s it like having a creative mind?  Maddening and wonderful at the same time.  I love seeing the world in a different light to most people.  New ways of imagining objects, a different twist to language ( why, for example, does stench have to be a word describing a bad smell, to me it indicates a strong odour.  Aroma is nice but delicate.  Even with the addition of ‘heady’, it doesn’t sound as strong as stench), are fun to me.

In the last few minutes I have thought about what to write for this blog, the subject list is as follows; weather, food, family, cats, Christmas (or at least a time of coming together as a family regardless of your denomination), the past, update on the Syria story.  While it is fun to be able to jump from one subject to another, sometimes it can be difficult to concentrate.  Still, it does mean I’m a whiz at word association!

The maddening side of it though, I have to keep my brain active.  Various inputs are necessary; music, film, modelling (not the catwalk variety, I mean plastic kits), photography, video games (esp. Dreamfall: Chapters, now that’s a beautiful story right there), reading, writing, cooking, philosophical arguments, space exploration (and not just because of Tim Peake), science and I’d better stop there.

Conclusion: I really need to learn yoga or some other form of meditation to calm this mental hurricane down.