The Write Way To Connect

Hi folks.

So you still want to write? (you mad impetuous fools *chuckles)

What exciting times we live in, when the opportunities for writers is so huge, huger than it’s ever been, huger than the hugest thing you can think of…

Blogging. Fiction. Travel. Educational. Analyst. Content. Legal. Finance. Freelance. Journalism. Technical. Copy-writing. Marketing. Ghost-writing. Et cetera, et cetera.

WHY? WHAT? PLAN! AUDIENCE! CONNECT!

Why are you writing? (Been here before haven’t we?!) What are you writing? Plan your working days and promotional days. Who is your audience?

And when you’ve written your stuff, you need to get it ‘out there’. You need a client, a market – an audience!

Image result for self promotion humorous vintage
What happened when Bob and George didn’t plan their outfits!

A lot of writers today have blogs or web pages to self-promote. What, you thought that would be done for you?!

WHY? WHAT? PLAN! AUDIENCE! CONNECT!

Assuming you managed to get your thing written… And assuming someone was interested enough to publish it… It doesn’t mean they will promote it for you…You have to do some of this yourself (unless of course you are lucky enough to get a contract like some woman called Joanne Rowling!)

I’ve mentioned Google Digital Garage before. Get yourself over there and pick up some hints and tips. If you already have a blog, then check out – Your Long-term Social Media Plan.

Also, to help you plan – your posts, your writing schedule, whatever, Kate at Small Paper Things, has created a digital and printable calendar for bloggers to help get organised. Just click on the plus sign next to the words Google Calendar at bottom right corner of screen.

WHY? WHAT? PLAN! AUDIENCE! CONNECT!

And when you have posted, printed, published your lovingly crafted stuff, keep on top of it. Revisit it, no not every day, don’t overwhelm people, back off! And it isn’t a cactus either, watering twice a year won’t cut the mustard!  Social media is a two-way conversation, so keep the conversation going, pay a visit every other day (I would recommend) to wherever it is you like to ply your wares.

Related image
“I say, is this The Twitter? I want to tell you about some tosh I have written.”

You probably already have at least one account on a social media site – use it to promote and connect with other like-minded idiots, I mean creative types!

If you have more than one social media site, then connect them all up; it is made really easy to share stuff from platform to platform.

Remember…

Image result for the isolator by hugo gernsback
Despite what Hugo Gernsback said – Writers do NOT write in isolation!

WHY? WHAT? PLAN! AUDIENCE! CONNECT!

Now go get ’em tiger!

Advertisements

How To Start Blogging Later In Life – LittleZotz

My first guest post for LittleZotz is up today! Yay! (For all you ‘oldies’ out there…)

Here’s the intro…

 

So, you’re interested in blogging? You’ve never written anything before…and you are no longer considered young. How’s that going for you? Tough isn’t it?

Brain Ache

‘When I get older losing my hair, Many years from now’ …so goes the opening line of The Beatles song, ‘When I’m 64’.

Though I’m not quite 64; even though it sometimes feel like it; no seriously, being middle-aged everything hurts or creaks, and I mean everything – even my brain at times, entering the ‘Blogging Arena’ later in life can be hard work.

You need to get the right head on. 

to read more, please go to… http://littlezotz.com/blog/

 

 

Interested in writing for Lauren? Go to… http://littlezotz.com/write-for-me/  (be polite and read the guidelines!)

 

So You Want To Be A Fiction Writer?

writing1

Where to Begin –

Stop Prevaricating. Easier said than done, I hear you cry. Been there, done that. I have dabbled on and off throughout my whole life (mostly off B.D – before daughter). Then an amazing thing happened, my daughter came of an age in which she mirrored back to me my own criticisms, persuasions, acronyms. She was constantly told as a child to ‘have a go’, ‘just try it’ and ‘just go for it’. I ended my dabbling when she told me to “Carpe diem. You keep telling me, now this is me telling you.” So I did.

Writers are always telling would-be-writers to ‘just write’! I’m going to try and persuade you not to!!!!

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot,” Stephen King says in his book ‘On Writing‘. Do you already do this? If not, why not? How can you possibly expect to write if you are a stranger to literature in the first place?

I cannot tell you how many times I have been speaking to other people and they say, “Oh, I was good at writing stories in school...” or when I painted:- “I got a B in my art ‘O’ Level, I reckon I could do that...” Really? So why aren’t you doing it? Because you were, or are still, ‘good at something’ is not a qualification for being that thing. You have to WANT to be it. To be a fiction writer, you have to BE CREATIVE! If you aren’t, there is nothing wrong in that, just don’t kid yourself that you can.

In a previous blog I wrote that Writing is like keeping an allotment, in which I was quite helpful (I thought), and kind (for me), about planning, editing and so forth. Now I’m telling you that writing is like rolling around in pig-swill for a huge portion of the time. Where to start? What to write? What’s my style? How do I deal with writers block? How do I resolve this conflict between characters? What’s the difference between Show & Tell? Where do ideas come from? Who will read it? Will I be successful?! I’m not giving answers to any of those questions, why? Because I’m a bitch? No (well, partially), but if you are asking these questions BEFORE you begin your shiny new writing journey – I would seriously question whether this is the right choice for you.

By the way, there is no limit on what age you can begin writing; it may be that you have spent your life working, bringing up a family, and now you’re free to follow your dream. You’re a pressure cooker that has been ‘on hold’ for decades – time to release the flood!

writing 2

 

Who are you Writing For?

And why are you writing? This may sound a bit odd, but people write for different reasons:- for fun, as catharsis, as a way to better understand the world, to escape from the world, for money, a natural progression from previous creative activity, or from journalistic based role, because it’s an itch that needs to be scratched. Whatever the reason, be honest. If you think you’re going to make money from being a story-teller, think again; the successful ones we hear about are few and far between.

Stop trying to please others – write for yourself. Some authors advocate writing the kind of stuff you’d like to read yourself; well if you can’t please yourself with what you’ve written, how can you expect anyone else to enjoy it?

Do you know how many new books get published each year? In the UK in 2017, it reached 4.8 billion! Is your effort going to be picked up amongst all those? If you knew you would NEVER get published, would you still want to write? If the answer is an emphatic ‘no’, read no further, just stop right now and go and watch TV.

writing3

Isolation –

We all know writing can be a lonely gig. Hmm, did I say lonely? I’m never lonely – I may work alone, but lonely; never. You have to want to be alone for extremely long periods. For example, you have to world build if you want to write sci-fi, that takes some serious – and I mean serious – inside-my-own-head time. You have to be prepared to miss social events – and not care.

Disconnect yourself from what you might call ‘reality’ and create your own – but be able to re-surface into ‘normality’ and function well. “I have never yielded to reality.” said Philip K. Dick.

Fiction writers spend a lot of time inside their own heads, we stare into space mulling over scenes, dissecting dialogue and listening in on other people’s conversations! Get away from everyone, lock yourself in a quiet place and work.

You do not need to attend conferences on writing to become a writer. All you need is… writing implements of whatever kind you prefer – laptop, iPad, pen and paper, quill, chisel and stone.

writing4

 Let’s Get Critical –

I have read some shit in my time, seriously, there seem to be people who think that whatever they write is worth the time and attention of readers. I have come across horrendous grammatical errors, uncorrected spelling mistakes, and just plain awful stories. Humans, it seems to me, have become less self critical in recent years, the advent of social media and self-publishing sites has led to an abundance of dilute word vomit.

Prepare for failure and criticism. If you are going to ask other people to read your work, then expect criticism; I do. In fact I welcome constructive criticism – without constant practice and critical feedback, I may do the writing equivalent of jogging on the spot.

This goes back to those people who said, ‘Oh, I was good at writing stories in school‘. So what? I won the  100 metres for my school for 5 consecutive years; doesn’t mean I was ever going to be an Olympic runner! If you want to put your writing out there, get a tough skin!

Practise description. Please! I have read stories where – 1. The scene is not described; to the extent that it was unclear if it was indoors or outside. 2. The number of people involved in a conversation was muddled. 3. A different character’s name was used who shouldn’t have even been included!

Also, it must be credible. You can set your story any where, any time, whatever, it can have pink flying elephants – as long as there is a reason for pink flying elephants, then it will work – don’t think because you have a ker-azy idea that it will make you the next Ian Banks or Hunter S. Thompson. Far from it.

As previously stated, Writing is hard work. It may, in fact, be harder than the ‘day job’ I/you do. Why? Because it is all about you – you come up with the ideas, you do the actual work, you put in the hours; it requires self-discipline. Be honest, are you prepared to be that person?

writing5

Never Stop Learning –

So, you wrote your first short story and your friends think it’s great. Is that it then? All you ever wanted has been achieved? Okay, make way for the stalwarts who are still with me.

Just because your best mate says it’s good – DOES NOT MAKE IT SO – and it does not mean you have reached the pinnacle of your (potential) writing career. Keep going, write another, write some more, keep going, and again…

Readers are greedy for more, the audience constantly needs feeding. But that does not mean you have to keep churning out the same old crap. If you want to be a real writer, you must NEVER think you have learnt everything you need to know. Down that path lies mediocrity and complacency, “Nothing is more hostile to art than a culture of complacency.” says Dr. Joseph Suglia.

Expand your reading, try something you may never have read previously; it can be anything, it doesn’t have to be other people’s fiction. Read about coal mines in South America, find out about about farmers markets in Namibia, read about your local area, learn a new language, read about the average number of piglets in a litter (it’s an average of 10-12 ,if you want to know), whatever you do – READ.

I had to learn American just like a foreign language. To learn it I had to study and analyse it. As a result, when I use slang . . . I do it deliberately.” Raymond Chandler.

If I haven’t put you off and you accept all/most/some of what I’ve said, and the urge to expel a creative nugget is wriggling in your belly, bravo!

Now go and write!

writing6

 

*The author accepts no responsibility for broken hearts or dreams.

*The author does not proclaim to be an expert on the above topic, just a weary reader.

 

Fiction Writing Opportunities

Hi there!

I’m in the process of editing a novella length story, writing a short Horror piece and a short Sci-Fi piece, plus some other stuff that may (or may not) happen. But I am still keeping my eyes open for other opportunities. I keep entering competitions, not necessarily to win anything, but more as a means to improve my writing. There are opportunities for writers all over the place, you just need to keep a look-out.

Sometimes you just want a writing prompt; for story writing. There are loads of bloggers who provide this, take a look on Twitter too!

Check out some of these:-

https://nanowrimo.org

https://www.freedomwithwriting.com/freedom/uncategorized/12-magazines-that-pay-writers-150-per-article/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunities

https://thewritersacademy.co.uk/blog/writing-competitions/

https://twitter.com/MagicRealismBot

https://twitter.com/writingprompts

https://twitter.com/sff_prompt_bot

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/mandycorine/writing-prompts/?lp=true

Add them to your Favourites and revisit monthly. Follow the instructions to the letter, this will help you, 1)Develop the habit of writing to specs; should you ever have to for money! 2)Writing to deadlines; should you ever have to for money!! £€¥

And don’t forget the good old fashioned magazine from the newsagents such as ‘Competitions: Guide 2018’, and look at the Notice Board in your local library.

writingmagazine2.jpeg
Poets & Writers Magazine, from all good newsagents
writingmagazine1
Writing Magazine. Bestseller for opportunities/competitions.

 

But however you do it, keep on writing! 

Book Review: The Improbable Wonders Of Moojie Littleman by Robin Gregory

WP_20180209_10_39_50_Pro.jpg
The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman. Robin Gregory

Genre: Fiction. YA. Historical.
Pub Date: 1 November 2015
Publisher: Price World Publishing
Length: 294 pages
Paperback : £11.00

Synopsis

Early 1900s, Western America. A lonely, disabled boy with a nasty temper and uncontrolled mystical powers, Moojie is taken by his father to his grandfather’s wilderness farm. There, Moojie meets an otherworldly clan of outcasts that he wants to join. Following a series of misadventures–magical and mystical–he is summoned by the call to a great destiny … if only he can survive one last terrifying trial.

https://www.amazon.com/Improbable-Wonders-Moojie-Littleman/dp/1942545002

 

I was surprised to learn that this book was published over 2 years ago; it seems to be suddenly everywhere I look online.

Although touted as Y.A, I found it to be an engaging and beautiful story – Set in late 19th early 20th century. Moojie Littleman is a foundling who is adopted by childless couple; Henry and Kate Littleman. Moojie is written across the babes forehead, and so the name sticks.

The name is an interesting choice, it is no accident that the name Moojie (and its variant spellings) can mean – an ethnic slur in India, particularly about a Muslim. For Kabbalists it is about optimism, being friendly and likeable, other sources say it means ‘gift from God’. Knowing just this gives a foothold into this world created by Robin Gregory. A world of hard men; of Scottish, Irish and European origins, who live hard lives in the dust-blown, western edge of the earthquake riddled coastal town of San Miguel de las Gaviotas.

As Moojie grows to an age when certain stages in development should be met, it becomes clear that he is not like other children. For starters he is disabled. This physical disability is not named, but reads like cerebral palsy. Moojie does not, or cannot, speak; until much later. He has tantrums that create havoc and can be said to be spoilt by his doting mother; Kate. An interesting character herself, his mother introduces Moojie to the magical world of books – science, history, Odysseus. She sees in Moojie something no-one else can, a special quality that she attempts to nurture.

Then tragedy strikes. Moojie’s world falls apart after his beloved mother’s death and he is packed off to live with a cranky grandfather. He has to toughen up, the threat of being sent away to a boys home hangs over him for years. He is alone, feels unloved and without a sense of belonging.

Enter the Light-Eaters. A strange ‘tribe’ or ‘clan’ of people who live in the hills beyond grandfather’s goat farm. They are not like the locals, they are dark-skinned, dark-haired and viewed with suspicion by the townsfolk, who call them ‘Hostiles’. We are not told if they are Native American, they can speak any language they want, and there is a heavy emphasis on Eastern philosophy and spirituality. A curious group who each have lessons for Moojie; even painful ones, who reveal a little about themselves drop by drop; where are they from exactly? How old, actually, is Babylonia, the ‘girl’ whom Moojie falls for?

Moojie’s desperate desire to belong; to find a family, leads him on a journey of self-development. It is, in essence, a story of self-discovery and spirituality. Moojie’s disability is no excuse or reason for self-limitation, Moojie must learn how to give, how to forgive and how to accept.

This is a curious story, I was quite entranced from the start with the magical elements entwined in amongst the mundane – and isn’t that the point? Gregory has a light touch, poetic adjectives fill the spaces between the daily activities, is an easy read and has a positive message without being cloying. It can be read by the young as a tale of wonder and magic, and by adults as a tale of the human condition, for after all, aren’t we all Moojie Littleman?

 

I am giving The Improbable Wonders Of Moojie Littleman

5 Stars

Little StarLittle StarLittle StarLittle StarLittle Star

Freelance Blogging, Is It Really Your Bag?

austin_powers_its_my_bag

I have been running this blog for, hmm let’s see, just under 2 ½ years.

What has changed?

Well, my writing has improved, that’s for sure. I know what SEO is – I may not fully understand it, or use it properly, but at least I’ve heard of it! Have become acquainted with technology that did not exist when I was young (I got my first computer when I was 30 and my first mobile phone aged 33) And I have had total freedom on what I write about.

So, What has changed?

one million dollars

I want money. That’s the short answer. More precisely, I want paying for writing. Sure, I have stories published (N.B: You do not get rich – or even comfortable – as a fiction writer), but I have decided it is time I got paid for blogging. Enter: Sophie Lizard ‘beafreelanceblogger.com’.

I discovered this site via Twitter, decided to mosey on down there to take a look, and quickly started to follow every link connected to the business of freelance blogging offered up by Sophie.

Sophie works alongside Lauren Tharp; another experienced blogger, and between them have created a series of easy to follow and understand posts on what you need to do to be a successful freelance blogger.

I obtained a copy of ‘How to Pitch a Blog Post‘ via e-mail. Read it. Wagged my finger at my reflection a few times; “See, this is what you could have been doing 10 years ago!” and recognised the mistakes I have made so far.

I got over-excited when I first started to follow beafreelanceblogger, I sent a query to a posting on ProBlogger, then read the ‘How to Pitch‘ PDF and rolled my eyes – what had I done?!

Not applied in the correct/suggested manner. I probably won’t hear from that person, though I will send a follow up e-mail to make sure. But, it is no biggy – it is a learning experience.

If there is one thing that Sophie Lizard and Lauren Tharp are great at, it is being encouraging. They have a conversational tone that makes one feel as thought they are in the room with you. They don’t use unnecessary technical jargon, acronyms, trendy lingo or the like.

Sometimes there is short, sharp advice, stop thinking and start writing – what are you waiting for? – you got a refusal, so what? Keep going, is the general overall tone; which I like. You see, I need a kick up the backside every so often. I do well when someone shouts at me like a Sergeant Major. If you give me the verbal equivalent of comfy slippers, I’ll sit down with a cuppa and watch TV.

So, What will change?

Well, as far as my personal blog, Flailing Through Life, goes, it will remain the same haphazard, eclectic, sometimes spur-of-the-moment, multi-themed jumble it always has been. I like it like that, and no-one can make me change it *grips stabby implement*

But I am going to spread my blogging wings. Apply for paid work. Why?

Because I’m worth it.

i-found-my-mojo

Edit, Compile, Publish???

I am currently editing and compiling a series of my own short stories.

838-02488657
No! No more editing, I can’t take it anymore!

They were begun in 2014, when I first became involved in the world of Steampunk, and continued until 2016. Initially posted on a, now closed, blog the first story having been published in a Steampunk magazine also, I have decided to compile them all into one volume.

The stories are based on the characters that my daughter and I assumed as part of the ‘costume’ for events, gatherings and annual Asylum Festival. These events involve people from all over the country, and in the case of The Asylum Festival, the world, dressing up in faux Victorian clothing; often hybridised from various literary characters, films, Industrial mechanisms and so forth.

This is not ‘serious’ literature – and was never meant to be; more a romp through various countries and continents with varying degrees of success. Lucy Lockhart and Theodora Doppler are a pair of adventurers, aka thieves, who collect treasures ostensibly for the Royal Society in London; think Harry Flashman crossed with Indiana Jones in female form! It is pulp fiction (no, not the film), in the style of the penny dreadfulsdime novels, and short-fiction magazines of the 19th century

The issue I have is that over the course of a writing career – especially at the beginning, one’s style and skill changes and grows – the earliest pieces reflect this, and can be seen as the development of these skills.

But do I publish? Of course, no actual publishing house is going to want to publish a set of stories about a philandering, thieving, amoral, (sometimes murdering), woman, set in an alternate 19th century, so it will be a self-published project – if it happens!

pulped fiction
Pulped fiction