8 Signs You’re Not Ready To Quit Writing #MondayBlogs #AmWriting #Writer

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You have your reasons for quitting writing; it’s too hard, you’ve come to the conclusion your writing is unlikely to bring you fame and fortune, nobody wants to read your work or even your best tweed writer jacket no longer fits you. They all seem like great reasons to quit.

The only problem is that you are displaying some important signs and these signs indicate you’re not ready to quit. If only you knew you were wasting valuable time and energy telling everyone about your intention to leave the creative world.

Here are the signs you need to watch out for:

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Author Interviews Ian Probert @truth42 #Writers #Author #Boxing

Author Interviews-2

Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews.

I spend a lot of my time pestering amazing authors and getting them to agree to an interview on my blog.

These interviews provide my readers with valuable insight into a writers’ life. I get to understand how they overcame tough challenges whilst writing their books, what learnings they have for aspiring authors and most importantly what they wear whilst writing their literary masterpieces.

This week I have managed to persuade author Ian Probert to sit in my chair.

Ian is a ‘fighter not a writer’ and on his website describes himself as ‘incredibly handsome. Indescribably intelligent. The most brilliant writer since… Since… Since… Well… William Dickens or Charles Shakespeare’.  He used to play guitar in the Beatles. he’s an opera singer. Beyoncé is his stalker (she’s so irritating!). He played football for Real Madrid. He has an Olympic gold medal for water polo. Andy Murray used to be his ball boy. He played clarinet with Lorraine Bowen and is the secret love child of Marlon Brando and Tessie O’Shea!’

I love his imagination! Almost as good as mine 🙂

Ian knows a bit about boxing, so I am putting on my virtual boxing gloves to do this interview.

Ian – welcome! Please take a seat in my red chair..

Tell my readers about yourself and the book / books you have written

Over the year I’ve had eight or nine books published. These range from children fiction, to teenage fiction, to adult fiction and autobiography. I’ve even had couple of book on photography; kid of a hobby of mine.

When did you write your first book?

My very first book would have been when I was about 12, although you’d have to call it a novella. What I used to do was hand in stories that were several exercise books in length to my bemused English teacher. The poor woman would then have to read them – she must have dreaded giving me homework.

How long did it take to write your first book?

My first published book was called ‘Internet Spy’. That was in 1995. It took about a month. It wasn’t very long.

What was your motivation to write your first book?

What basically happened was that I pitched a teenage fiction series to Kingfisher and they went for it.

I was then commissioned along with people like Terry Deary to write the books.

What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?

Well apart from the obvious one of typos, which I still don’t understand the psychology behind our ability to totally miss them, it’s always about making things interesting enough for readers to want to carry on reading. Obviously it is. I used to try to get a handle on this by drinking alcohol at the end of the day and then reading what I’d written. I was hoping that I could see things from a different point of view. I don’t think this approach was particularly successful. Although I did used to get very drunk.

Did you go through any bad writing patches during writing your book – what kept you going?

I went through a 15-year long bad writing patch, in which my brain was in a complete fog due to undiagnosed hypothyroid disease. This is one of the many symptoms of the disease – the inability to concentrate. And nothing kept me going – I eventually stopped completely until three years ago, when my condition finally diagnosed.

Are you a plotter or do you just write / see what happens?

I like to have a basic framework or premise and then see where it takes me. If I can surprise myself then hopefully I can surprise others. In the kids book I did a couple of years ago – Johnny Nothing – I actually had no idea how it would end until suddenly the book was finished.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

To be in control of the entire universe.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

To have no say whatsoever in the universe you inhabit.

Also, no sick pay or paid holidays.

Have you ever considered quitting writing, and if so how have you worked through this?

Apart from my 15-year enforced hiatus, not really. I’m at the age where there’s nothing else I could do. I don’t see anyone suddenly offering me a job. Unless it’s an unpaid one at the local Oxfam.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Start around 8:30 when everyone has left the house. Write until about 1:00 or 2:00. Then try to do marketing, household chores, etc.

Do you suffer from procrastination and if so how do you handle it?

Erm… Well… I… Um… Let’s see… No, not at all.

Which is more important – plot or characters and why?

I don’t see either being any more important than the other. It’s no good having a great story with rubbishy characters. And it’s equally useless having great characters with a crappy story. You gotta go for both at the same time.

What have been your 3 biggest learnings during your writing career?

Wow.

1. To be honest.

2. To read your work aloud to others – that way you’ll soon discover if it’s of any value.

3. To learn to accept criticism.

How do you manage social media as a writer?

It’s a necessary evil these days. Although I’m unconvinced that I’ve ever sold a single extra copy as a result of a tweet or a Facebook post. However, if you want a publisher to take you seriously you must have a pretty noticeable web imprint.

As well as a personal website and the obligatory WordPress blog, I tend to do everything. My motto is ‘Facebook for friends and family; Twitter to swear at and insult people you don’t know…’

Do you have any tips or advice for budding aspiring authors?

Don’t do it. Seriously. Don’t. There are plenty of other ways out there to earn enough money to have a varied and full life.

Writing is like acting and music – only the top 5% make any money, the rest are waiters. And, of course, the fewer people decide to write the less competition there is out there for me!

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?

I’d say my entire life is a case of writer’s block. The only time I can manage to squeeze any words out of me is when i have a deadline two days away.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

Yes, sometimes. In Dangerous some of the writing was done at my daughter’s hospital bedside while she fought for her life.I also blogged about it a lot, which the hospital found out about. They then asked me if I’d write a kids book to raise money for the hospital, which is what I’m working on right now.

What do you wear to write?

I’m always completely naked. This stops unnecessary interruptions and intrusions. Believe me, nobody wants to see me naked.

If readers want to get in touch how do they contact you?

The usual places: Twitter, Facebook, and there’s an email address on my personal website. On Thursday’s you’ll often find me in the Flask in Highgate.

Ian’s new book Dangerous came out on 15 September 2016.

Wow Ian – what an intervew! So many things to think about:

  • I totally agree about typos and our amazing ability to miss them or in my case ignore them! 
  • I love the idea of being in control of the entire universe. 
  • Your learnings are great – especially the one about being honest! 
  • Love your approach to Facebook and Twitter. 
  • So many authors are writing naked nowadays –  feel like I am missing out. Do edit naked as well?

Thanks for a great interview!  

 

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If you are an author and want to appear on my blog please leave me a message below in the comment box and I will get in contact 🙂

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The Blonde Creative Agony Aunt #writers #WritingTips

 

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When I am not writing my debut novel I like to transform into a Blonde Creative Agony Aunt.

I like to help troubled writers resolve matters of the heart.

My qualifications for being a Blonde Creative Agony Aunt are:

  • I like to talk a lot.
  • I like to give advice on things which I don’t know much about.
  • I consider myself to be a very creative person. (sigh!)
  • I care about my readers.

Here is the email from this week’s troubled Blondewritemore reader:

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5 Stages of Writer Procrastination #writer #writers

5 Stages of Writer Procrastination

 

  1. Bold Statement. The writer announces to the world that they intend to spend tomorrow writing. They set themselves a target based on either word count or a number of chapters to be completed. As the writer finishes their speech they will let out a loud sigh of contentment and stare out of the window with a dreamy expression on their face. The thought of writing all day tomorrow fills them with such joy.
  2. False Expectations. In the run up to spending tomorrow writing the writer will reveal a number of false expectations. This will involve saying stuff like “I will hammer out that first chapter in no time tomorrow!” and “by this time tomorrow I will have 2,000 words under my belt and I will be cracking open the fizz to celebrate!”
  3.  Swift Change of Priorities. Tomorrow arrives and the writer leaps out of bed ready to spend the entire day writing. As they sit down at their writing desk and stare at a blank screen they suddenly get a powerful urge to go do something more important. Writing is no longer a priority when the garage needs clearing out, the leaves in the street need sweeping, a couple of motivational quotes need to be tweeted, the cutlery drawer tray needs rearranging and fluff in the carpet needs to be plucked out by hand.
  4. Deep Procrastination. The writer is in deep procrastination mode, whilst on their hands and knees, plucking out bits of fluff from their carpet. They might be overheard muttering “I am so glad I have the time to do this pressing job!”  If a loved one enters the room and questions the writer on what they are doing they might receive a sarcastic comment, an angry glare or even a teary outburst. You see the writer knows exactly what they are doing – NOT WRITING!  A writer suffers with writer guilt and admitting to their loved one that they are performing a meaningless and pointless task instead of writing would bring on a huge bout of guilt. So, its best for the writer to make out that plucking out bits of fluff from the carpet is a job that needs to be done….by hand.
  5. Day Write Off. The day is written off by about mid afternoon. No writing was going to be done after the writer declared that the the attic needed a makeover. They leapt into action, whipping up some arty decorations, for a room that none of the family inhabit on a regular basis. Their laptop screen will have remained blank all day. They reassured themselves with phrases like “I wasn’t in the mood for writing today!” and “I think I am a bit tired!”

All the best with today’s writing! 

Have a great day!

Psst..have you voted for Funniest Blogger in the ABBA awards yet?

No? Don’t worry I can help. Click here

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/77327832@N00/16226265164″>On the phone.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Reasons Why We Need Writing Friends #writers #amwriting

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Photo Credit: StockSnap

Writing friends can be found on blogging sites, in creative writing classes, in coffee shops, on Twitter and via people you know.

They are valuable friendships and can be very rewarding.

Check out the reasons why we need writing friends:

1. You will not feel alone anymore. There is someone out there who is just like you. They GET you! For the first time in your life someone out there actually understands your editing obsession, writing frustrations and your creative thought process. This realisation, that you no longer are alone, can make you go a bit strange. You may have a strong urge to hug your writing friend whilst weeping on their shoulder about how long you have been alone in the writing wilderness. Try to control your emotion as you don’t want them thinking you are a bit weird.

2. You can send them all sorts of writing stuff to read. Ideas, thoughts, plots, your entire back writing catalogue and even your story from NaNoWriMo. Friends and family will breathe a sigh of relief as they don’t have to endure listening to your 3rd read ‘out loud’ of your 51,686 word NaNo story, updated with small revisions.

3. You can learn from them. Through working closely with a writing friend you start to learn from their style. This is a very valuable benefit.

4. You can get some constructive feedback on your work. This can be painful at first especially if you are a proper newbie. However, resist the urge to have a huge creative tantrum and accept that it’s this feedback that will make you a better writer. You will start to love your writing friend even more once you see an improvement in your writing. Again try to control the urge to hug them a lot.

5. You can ask them to nag you regularly about actually doing some writing. They know all those procrastination tricks so they can see right through your excuses.

6. You can turn to them when suffering from a ‘low creative mood’. When you are having a confidence crash about your writing you can call or email them. Talking through writing problems makes them seem less of an issue. Think of your writing friend as one of life’s emergency services. Just remember they have a life outside of writing and being bombarded with your problems 24-7 is not going to make them very happy.

7. You can brainstorm with them. Creative brainstorming reaches a new level of excitement. You now have a sounding board to bounce your random and at times ridiculous ideas off.

8. You gain some confidence. Once you have got over the huge newbie writer hurdle of sharing your writing with someone else (writing friend) you find that sharing stuff with others becomes easier. Soon you will reaching for the ‘share’ button on all your work, good or bad.

9. Your blog could benefit too. Your writing friend may agree to do a guest blogger post for you if you ask them nicely.

10. You could have a friend for life – if you don’t pester them too much and hug them a lot. If you try to give something back to the friendship like giving your feedback on their work and being there for them when they are struggling then your writing friendship will go from strength to strength.

Go and get yourself a writing friend today!