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Thursday, 7 February 2019

Yes, but what's your real job..?


In my experience most people automatically assume that being a writer isn't actually a real job. Even when I tell them I write every day, for at least six hours a day, more than half the people I talk to, will still ask what my real job is. 

In fact the reaction is often akin to what it would be, if instead of saying I was a writer, I claimed to be a fairy charmer or a dietician for frogs. On the whole, people just don't get it. Perhaps because of the fantasy (excuse the pun) surrounding the concept of being a writer (see previous post) or perhaps because it seems a tenuous way to make money...

And in truth they're not far wrong. With royalties literally only pennies on every book sold, it takes thousands of sales to be able to buy a round at the pub, and yet, there is money to be made. 

One of the ways is in ghost writing, or in writing commissioned articles for magazines, either online or in print. There are well paid jobs in copy writing and/or editing, so if you're not fussed whether you write about a new-to-market car, or the latest restaurant, or how to rid yourself of the misery of piles, or any number of things that magazines publish, you can have a job for life. 

The trouble with this sort of writing however, is that it's all slanted towards making the average consumer lust after the subject of your article. This sort of writing is rich in flashy adjectives which often imply that a person will be sexier, more beautiful, richer in life, thinner, sleeker, more intelligent, if only he or she will buy/use/spend /try/give,  etc., etc., etc... And come on, we all know the reality of that, don't we? 

Another problem that writers can face is in connecting with others. It's a dog-eat-dog world in writing, so chatting to another author can become a bit of a competition. They tell you how many books they've written and how successful they are, and you reciprocate. 

You're both cautious when discussing your WIP (work in progress) because there's a chance that 1. this person might steal your idea, 2. this person might ridicule your idea, 3. this person might suggest there is no value in your idea, since the concept has already been written about in a book they will name by an author you've never heard of, and 4. this person might actually like your idea and therefore tell others about it, leading to numbers 1-3 above. 

So connecting with other authors has to be done carefully. 

Quite recently I found myself in one such scenario, and on exiting the building where we had met, I let out a huge sigh of relief ,and then allowed my self to laugh at how silly I felt at having to skirt around the topic of my WIP, whilst she did exactly the same thing. 

We were like boxers in a ring who never landed a single punch. 

But funny as it seems, it's deadly serious too. I know of two production companies who are adamant that their productions have been ripped off by another company. Easily done, when agents, publishers, film directors, producers and TV companies insist that they want to see a whole script before making a decision. 

Of course you can pay for copyright and registration of your work, but like everything in life, that requires money. Whilst relatively inexpensive per script, try doing it with thirty books or scripts. And of course, should you be plagiarised even so, it takes seriously big bucks to drive these cases through court. 

So remember, as they used to say in the war - "Loose lips sink ships," and keep those great ideas to yourself!

Happy reading!


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Pros and Cons Of Being A Writer - Part One

The reality of being a writer is usually far from what people expect.

Generally, people assume that it's a glamorous job, that my days are filled with excitement, my evenings star-studded. 

It's seldom like that. For me, anyway.

The path to being published or produced is a hard and rocky one. There is more rejection than acceptance, and there are times when you will want to quit, and times when the idea of quitting seems impossible. The publishing industry is a hard nut to crack and the TV and film industry is a daunting thing to attempt to infiltrate.

And I choose my words carefully. There are helpful people in  these industries but there are also many who will rip you or your idea off, at the slightest opportunity. 

Most days, you will tread the slim line between quitting and persevering at least forty or fifty times... depending on what your latest review has come back saying; whether your agent is free to take your call or not; and generally, whichever way the wind is blowing...

From this, I think you will get my point. In an up and down world, being a writer is one of the most fragile of mindsets you can possible hold and not go totally insane (if you're lucky, and if you have people at your side to hold your feet on the ground).

So let's take each point one at a time. 

DREAM  - well you'll have plenty of those. Both in the sense of actual sleeping dreams and hopes and aspirations. 

Of the actual sleeping dreams, expect these to be peppered with all your fears and anxieties, not only about your own life, but about everything and everyone you encountered that particular day. 

My dreams are so vivid that often I wake up, convinced that the world really has been taken over by aliens; that I can fly; that I did win the lottery; that I've entered another reality… etcetera, etcetera...

These dreams have to be taken with a pinch of salt, and unfortunately, although they might have seemed riveting when your unconscious brain was rolling them out on the widescreen of your sleeping inner mind, they will be so riddled with plot holes and weird inconsistencies, that there's no way they will make interesting books or films. 

So dreams are not the lazy way into writing. 

As for the sorts of dreams that are hopes and aspirations… well these can also be problematic. 

It's possible that you will be  a billionaire upon the launch of your first book. Possible - but highly unlikely. 

What you might be, is a few pounds better or worse off, depending on your publishing situation. 

Readers will not flock to your door, demanding more of the same... indeed your readers many not even leave you a review, even if they loved your book. 

That is of course, assuming that any readers manage to stumble upon your book in the first place. There are now millions of books for sale on Amazon, with the growing popularity of the idea  that everyone has at least one book in them. 

You can call me a pessimist if you like, but I stand by my belief that there are many people who don't even have one book in them, let alone more. 

And why should they? We are all different and  our experiences within life are all different, ergo why should we all  have the same story telling skill?

So when it comes to hopes and aspirations, being grounded is the key. 

If you want to write, you must ask yourself why. And you must be truthful in your answer. 

If it's to get famous, then forget it. If it's to give yourself enjoyment and perhaps spread that enjoyment to others, then maybe test the waters. But don't ask your family's opinion of anything you write. They love you, so can't be objective. 

If, on the other hand, stories and characters burn bright inside your mind, then you really have no choice but to write and let them out. 

So, before you put pen to paper, think hard - it may just save your sanity!

Next time we'll cover Not A Real Job, and Connecting With Others. 

Happy reading! x

Thursday, 10 January 2019

2019 already!

Hello again readers. 

Hasn't it been a long Christmas and New Year period? My children didn't go back to school until January 8th, and by then we were all so far removed from our routine, that it kind of came as a shock when it arrived. 

That said, I'm well into the three films I was planning to get started on. The truth is that I couldn't wait until January, and started them around Christmas. 

So far I'm loving them. You may remember me telling you that they are very different and I think that's half the fun, having so many different characters in my head, all offering their opinions on any given subject at one time. I swear, some days they have a party in there and don't even invite me!

Today I woke up to a wonderful message which was sent to me by a reader. 

" I have just finished reading your book, began and finished in one night! Incredibly hooking story and very well written, definitely hope you write more! Thank you for such a great read!"

Needless to say, I'm absolutely delighted. I do hope she leaves a review on Amazon. 

And yes, there are more books coming. To date, I have written 20 books and around 8 films, the first of which will be coming out this year. 

So if you haven't yet read any of my published books, you really should. 

Happy reading! x