An author's blog documenting the pursuit of the dream to be one day be published.
This is an introduction post to welcome everyone to my blog. I do so hope you enjoy the content and look forward to reading any input you may have.|
|Late last week, quite literally, in fact, I'd returned back from vacation. The gorgeous Cornish weather feels like a distant memory at this point. The weekend consisted of cramming in a load of studying in preparation for the first live class session of my new accountancy training. Along with this, however, I've not had one but two birthdays including a party to help arrange. Yesterday involved coming back to work, getting home for a 45-minute breather to then be engaged in that first live class session which took three hours. And then proceeded to study until gone past midnight.
To make matters even more interesting, it is my wife's birthday today! So many people I know are born in June, the list goes on as follows:
Father (same day as my daughter, and same day as his grandmother, spooky generation trend)
It may pale in comparison to some other people's experiences, but undoubtedly June is the busiest in terms of birthdays. In any case, the above kind of explains why I've not posted on the blog for about twelve days. I've managed to churn out a new flash fiction tale, publish some content on another website already written to broaden viewership, and plan to introduce a schedule to make all aspects of life work in harmony.
I did post a weekly goal prior to the holiday, a bit over-ambitious to say the least but won't be deterred towards trying again. I'll also be putting a deadline in my calendar with goals in mind. Months in advance to tackle. Despite studying again, I actually find the process really energizing. Last night I could have happily worked on case studies, equations, and even a story because my mind was so engaged. Feeling a little worse for wear this morning granted. I'm starting to understand that getting into a student frame of mind is my best warm-up technique. That way I am truly immersed in what I'm doing, and eliminates overthinking.
This is just a short blog entry to say I'm back and hoping to publish a lot more new content in the near future.
Thank you for reading,
|Greetings one and all,
Bit of an interesting week so far, although on the cusp of going on holiday from Friday evening. When I come back, however, I'm going to be building a schedule. My employer has kindly decided to further invest in me and funding a course over the next six months. This means attending online sessions, plenty of reading, and preparing for exams (again).
Writing is love, but one must admit when a vacation is going to be of great benefit. I posted up quite an ambitious post on the weekly goals forum. Needless to say, I will be missing that target. On the other hand, the week prior, my performance was leading up to such an expectation. To call it 'writer's block' would be a poor characterization. It is just that everything I've jotted down on a draft feels awfully the same. The habit is well ingrained to write and feel the need to do still continue doing so. Then again, there lies the problem, knowing when to reel back the enthusiasm a few notches: to allow the brain a bit of breathing room.
I've been contemplating a schedule. To factor in time to study accountancy, and I'm also going to add writing into the mix from a research standpoint on separate slots as well. Rather than resent studying in favour of writing, as that will no doubt try to play on the mind, I can rationalize it by giving it a time and a place. Adding structure though not unbearable stringent is a method I've wanted to try for quite a while.
Whenever I head away, that's where inspiration grabs me. On this particular occasion, I'm heading down south to a beautiful part of the country around Cornwall and shall be taking the trustee laptop and notepad & pencil along for the journey to. Though the notepad will get the most attention during the daytime, mind you.
We, my family & I are planning many day trips. Some evenings I may be able to get on the computer to dabble and the absence of the internet where we're going feels like a benefit; to avoid distraction.
On thinking more about the issues of writing, as I write, people around me have been pretty vocal about their expectations. They do so in a loving and caring manner, that I have no doubts over. I admire many wonderful authors, there are books I read that flabbergast me with the unrelenting quality they wonderfully execute with such vast word counts. Many of those authors are deceased. Yet when a book comes out or I mention a book I've read and loved, I get asked a simple question.
"When is your book coming out?"
Such a question can be perceived in a multitude of ways. To elaborate the intention is that this should already be a thing in some peoples minds. That is both scary and flattering. The truth is, nothing I've produced is prepared to be presented. There's nothing ready, and I'm not ready. Will I ever be? Well, that is certainly my intention in life.
Those words remain comforting, that there are supporters around me who believe I can genuinely achieve such a goal. In addition to that, it proves what a benefit this site is. To receive constructive feedback, being advised what does and does not work, and given a reason as to why that's the case.
Writing is an absolutely wondrous art form, truly it is. Like an impassioned admirer, I can't help stumble with eagerness at times in its prescience. I've read the work of those who approach it so eloquently. They practically make it looks easy. Not by how it's written, but how they've managed to continue such a strong and coordinated narrative that doesn't falter. I do not wish to emulate the styles, more than to reinforce what my own storytelling voice is. To make it consistent, varied and impactful.
During the day, working wise I have to be meticulous, a problem-solver and finalise matters with conviction. Perhaps the schedule may serve as a bridge to help merge these qualities into writing.
I feel this entry is filled with subtle contradictions and I sense that a great truth is buried within the confines of those discrepancies. That the paths to success; close to what the heart desires are all a matter of self-governance. Not to keep one's behaviour in check perse, more to understand what makes you tick and to command your life as if you were helping another person. To face head-on weaknesses and figure out how strengths can be bolstered to take you further.
Each day I understand myself more.
Simultaneously, each day I feel a stronger writer and yet ever further away from the goalpost. But alas, I still see the distance travelled.
|Good evening to one and all,
Waking up today seemed the usual, subconsciously my mind whirls on ways to contribute towards adding further to an existing project. As if piecing a puzzle together. Such a thought pattern I've envisioned since being a teenager. I then deliberately pondered on various suggestions about pitching ideas to a literary agent.
To be specific, that line of thinking was more in line with creating content that immediately grabbed, gave an impactful opening to the plot, and ended on a hook that keeps the reader wanting to continue. I started to consider what kind of tale I could apply these principles and make effective. It had to be something I'd not seen, nor heard, or attempted previously. The ambition to begin afresh with a pantsers style approach and see where it takes me.
Out of nowhere, an idea struck. With that said, my initial concept of improv is curved by exhibiting a plotters attitude at this point. I knew in a heartbeat a cliffhanger which in principle is a completely outlandish, ludicrous, defying possibility. The joy of fantasy is where I'd have to partially genre such a plot brings forth the opportunity to conjure up creative ways around giving plausibility to suit it.
It reminded me of the original 'FullMetal Alchemist' anime series. The creator, Hiromu Arakawa, frequently ended episodes with cliffhangs that almost seemed completely preposterous. In fact, they were so ludicrous that it nearly killed the interest I had in it. When the next showing followed, what appear to be unanswerable questions of logic were expertly quelled. As a fan, these instances initially kicked the wind out of you. Once the explanation was revealed, those revelations expanded upon your understanding how of the universe worked and expanded principles that work in tandem with what you were educated about prior.
The similarity drawn between this morning and the example above is, this cliffhanger makes zero sense. If I were to speak to a person and divulged yet, they would look at me like I'd lost the plot. To be fair, I believed to of had by thinking it up. But then, a horde of details began flooding in. They became more emotionally driven, giving twists to the journey and offering a clearly defined ending.
I may have indicated before, my professional career is working with numbers. However, I always keep a trusty notebook handy. Today, at the office, I was intermittently scribbling notes down. This I found rather refreshing and pleasant, but also distinctively different. I knew not too far into this process that all other projects must halt. Not only is this plot sounding promising to me, but it also serves as a learning opportunity I desperately need to see to the end.
How did this idea come to be?
I haven't got a clue. What I do know is that it sprung to mind completely organically. Powered by its own steam so to speak.
Before leaving for work this morning I knew five characters, breakdown of the first chapter, what to title it, how to end it, and what consisted of the padding in the middle. Throughout the course of the day, lines of dialogue sprang to mind and details to invoke the intended emotions.
Alas, comes the hard part. Putting those thoughts down. After saving this entry, I am looking forward to starting.
I am going to follow my gut on this one and hopefully see an improvement to the quality of writing produced. Please wish me luck (lol).
Until next time, take care.
|Good evening one and all,
At least it is evening here in jolly old England. I've sat down to commence writing and all of a sudden the dreaded writers' block sensation has tried to manifest itself. I've read a recent tip that suggests dabbling in creating something other than what you intended, as a form of warm-up. Hence adding an entry to this blog is the first matter on my agenda!
As this entry title states; I've come to an awkward social dilemma. Perhaps more specifically, a social media dilemma. Such websites I am not a fan of. That's based on how it is used and negative trends that are allowed to go on unhindered. A recent example which my dear wife demonstrated to me only the other day, where our local police authority issued out an image of a wanted criminal. The post itself was of course informative and a great way to spread the word, however, the comments were atrocious.
Granted the image displayed was that of a wanted man, however, did not give the right for the comments to be a dark sea of nasty insults regarding the man's physical appearance. Some organizations do enable unpleasantness, though out of absent-mindedness. It also bothers me that the term "innocent until proven guilty" has gone out the window in recent years.
The trending mindsets and mob mentality only instill me with a sense of concern and reiterates why a pit that shouldn't have too much interest invested in, People I know do continue to use these platforms in a productive way, absolutely, yet on a personal level, I opt to avoid and use restraint.
With that drivel out of the way, that beckons the question, what's the dilemma?
To put it simply, should I sign up to promote myself as an author and my works?
I am a part of another writing website and a member of LinkedIn. You may rightfully point out that the latter is social media. I would like to explain that on there; connections have helped with my professional career. I've found it also invokes a sense of decorum to blend into that crowd, it's a place I have less objection to using.
A niggling doubt makes me wonder whether the effort is beneficial. The reason would be to showcase smaller works, try to build up some public support, and entertain people with stories. From what I hear certain magazines and literary agents may prefer groundwork done before working with a new author.
What say, you reader?
Would you be able to share your experience of using websites such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your own works?
Perhaps you can suggest other ways of achieving more exposure?
The priorities still remain to draft, learn and enjoy myself. Part of that fun does include the prospect of reaching a wider audience. During the day while working, there's an audiobook playing while I do my work. At night I am either writing or reading a book. There is much for me to develop on, but while I grow as a writer, I'd also like to develop with an audience; if now is the right time to be doing so.
Thank you kindly for sharing your time to read my blog.
Until the next entry, please take care.
Has it really been six days since my last entry? That's flown by.
Kind of a heavy subject this time around. I've been on the quest for a literary agent, there are a few projects handled offline that I am planning to get polished for presentation in the near future. With this in mind, I went through an online search site, which supposedly recommends the ideal organization to approach based on what you hope for them to consider.
A certain company came up as a suggestion, yet the details were passed along, part and parcel of the process, for them to get in touch. Experienced writers may see the red flags already, which I held such suspicions. Alas, I did receive a call and such a cautious attitude was accurate to premeditate. A self-publishing company, one with not such a good reputation.
Now, experience is experience. I wanted to hear what this agent had to say. In the realms of self-publishing, I do hold interest yet the dream is traditional. There is another self-publishing platform that has contacted me, which appears to be on a mass campaign for their app-based product. Again, I hold reservations.
It won't surprise many to read that the call ended up as a sales pitch. But I listened because seeing how this is done does stir my curiosity. People often say to run a mile in the opposite direction to such an encounter, yet sacrificing one's sanity in the process, I wanted to understand how the scam works. Can I safely call it a scam? Well, the approach gave little doubt.
Getting my name on the cover of a printed book is the dream, however, I want that to be earned the right way. If you throw a reject my way, I'll pick myself up, dust myself off and get back on the saddle again, riding stronger the next time around. The company didn't have the checks and balances in place, nor did I rely on the fluff they offered.
Instead, the target of their pitch was that dream. Which many writers share.
"Do you know about this author, well they self-published?"
"Well, no one gets a traditional publication without being self-published?"
"You have seen that particular movie and all that success, well, years ago we published the book that inspired it?"
We've had great success with a book, but the author is in their eighties and let lack of confidence stop them from enjoying such a lengthy career.
I am of course paraphrasing what this nauseating lady was spouting down the phone at me. There were a number of costs cast in my direction and because I was 'special' (pull the other one) I could get a trial to their author section where only published writers were allowed to go. Needless to say, I thanked them for their time and stated my disinterest.
The next day, yesterday, as a matter of fact, I had a beastly headache. Feeling melancholic. I went out on a little shopping trip and wished I took a notebook with me. Although I was in a rather low mood, the dark lines forming in my brain were something entirely different. Sat before this laptop, such vivid imagery is scarce. But in that frame of mind, it came so fluently.
The world felt like a dark and cold place. So many people darting about, but still isolating. No doubt my mood didn't contribute to a positive turnaround to the environment. I couldn't hone in on any pleasant outlook.
Questions sprang up internally, to bother me.
Will I ever get published in some way shape or form?
Do I even have what it takes?
Is everything I am doing just a massive waste of time, better spent elsewhere?
When my life ends, will I be looked back on as someone unable to accomplish what they've wanted for so long?
Those psychological hooks dug in deep. As deep as they could go. A decade ago it would have been far worse to shake off. Possibly taking weeks to get over it. It tempted me to continue that train of thought, due to the tantalizing inspiration thinking so hopeless conjured up. I decided enough was enough, to turn that all around.
What am I aiming to do? Well, become a traditionally published writer. To write books for readers as far and wide as they can go.
Why do I want to do it? Because I love writing. I'd do it as a job any day of the week. And that there pulled me to a better place.
Writing is a joy, an absolute pleasure, to an extent somewhat of an addiction. Our family has so many gadgets, gizmos, streaming services, and such, but writing comes to the top of the list. If I watch a movie or read a book, that's a research exercise, in the entertaining sense of the practice.
Throughout my life, there have been no failures that have altered my course. Either accomplishing them wasn't necessary or I came back to achieve it on another attempt. Any that seemed too grand or insurmountable actually took far less effort than I imagined. That's not to say I don't view the task of traditional publication as an enormous undertaking, that I certainly respect indeed. I expect that to be one of the toughest ambitions in life.
There's a dream, which I humbly respect. The lady I spoke to the day before dangled a carrot, exacerbating insecurities, and I wanted to see those tactics played out in preparedness for what may come around down this path. For a price I could get something out there, I could afford to do so. That wouldn't have felt right and I know there are no shortcuts in that industry, at least not for a new perspective author.
I take this personally because I love it. Simple as that. Whether you mark one on my tombstone as a failed author, I'll work my backside off to prove myself to be the greatest of triers. I've had lovely messages about short emotional pieces which hit home to some people and that's an incredible reward in and of itself.
Life is an adventure, we don't know how it will play out. Perhaps this dream may take another form. In any case, I am in it to find out.
Thank you for reading.
|Self Critic in Overdrive
"A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate."
— Steven Pressfield (Do the Work)
Quite the resounding quote. I've spent the evening with my darling wife watching a horror film. It was none other than the 2007 movie 'The Hitchhiker', which I must say couldn't have been a more apt title. Simple, straight forward and you can expect what it says on the tin. As far as horrors and in a respect thrillers go, for the most part, I enjoyed the ride. Pun intended.
I watched the developing plot, haunting action, and saw a tug of war between the suspension of disbelief and enthralment with what unfolded before my eyes. When the serial killer emerges, although criminally predictable, the film does an excellent job in providing the atmosphere. Along with, of course, the jump scare payoffs.
My mind had a lightbulb moment. A sudden realization in regards to a personal issue while writing. I care deeply about absolving plot holes, this does include as well making sure there's a trail of logic as to why the story progresses. At least, I'm hoping that is reflected in my work that you may have come across on this site or elsewhere.
What the movie viewing taught me, or better justified as perhaps a reminder, is the acknowledgment that a bit of flexibility is fine. Sure it may pull the viewer out of the experience on the odd occasion, yet if they're hooked, you've got them. You can care that the likelihood of X happening is minuscule, from another perspective, however, you can argue that certain circumstances improve in likelihood due to trends. As though the energy we emit draws similar positive or negative outcomes closer to us.
To give an example of that last statement, who's ever heard a similar term about money always going to money. The rich almost having a magnetism to retaining or acquiring wealth. Equally, those who fall on hard times have a cruel tendency to have a world of misfortunes pitted against them. We can over analyze in context the odds of these continuous trends of luck, whether good or bad, come to be. Or take them at face value and allow the creator to plunge us deeper into the narrative.
Now, admittedly, I had to reign the inner critic. When it comes to writing, I also need to apply a similar approach. Not to dismiss that self-discipline entirely, but more try to tame it to gain productive insight than provoke hindrances of doubt. There's a novel that I'm working diligently on that has involved plenty of research. To a point, it is supposed to be recommended by acclaimed authors, such as Stephen King and Jerry B. Jenkins. The level which I go, to me, seems counter-productive.
I could spend ages at my desk trying to conjure up a tag on a line that doesn't flow right just to bridge a gap that doesn't necessarily need to be explained. This need to include such context can even put me off writing a particular project for a number of days. A rather self-defeating cycle.
In a nutshell, sometimes you have to balance that formal critic in pairing with a childlike focus. You want to create something relatively logical and remain fun with equal measure. Unfortunately, the latter part has been suppressed as of late. But acknowledging these rooms to improve is what living is all about, to learn how to be better than you were the day before.
Victory Seeker over and out.
|Putting it out there
Last night was rather extraordinary, I was typing away until 2 am and looked at the time as though it were a strict parent trying to usher me to retire for the evening. Well, early morning. Needless to say, it felt as though I'd been operating on boundless energy. Prior to listening to common sense and getting sleep, an idea cropped to mind.
"Hey, Dan" I began thinking to myself, by the way, I am not defending against the notion I am not a tad weird during this self-narrative. "You're working on novels, what's the harm in putting that out there too?"
It is rather hard to deny that I even found the internal monologue strange. Whether it be my subconscious or a tiny alien taking residence in my brain, I became intrigued. Heading over to the portfolio section I commenced research into setting up books on this website. And alas, despite being a Barker in his thirties, you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks.
In all and absolute seriousness, there are some projects I am rather precious about. With the intent to one day have the entire project examined, scrutinized, and then worked on. Thanks to the helpful advice I've received here, I am far more comfortable with the prospect of having the criticisms dished out in the earliest of phases.
A quick side note, I had a rather funny conversation with a friend who kindly reviews some of my work. An avid book worm. The kind of character who'd openly shout an atrocious book for weeks on end. Upon discovering that particular trait, they instantly became my number one source for constructive feedback, outside of writing.com, of course. I sent a few chapters of a novel and he called about it.
"What did you think of it?" I naturally asked.
"Yeah, it's really good, flows really well. I didn't find any issues on the grammar, and didn't really pay any attention to finding errors."
"Ok, did you like it? The plot that is?"
"Well, I've just split up with my girlfriend so I'm not liking anything at the moment"
Awkward, yet there's an essence of dark humor in that exchange. For anyone who may be concerned, he remains fine during this rather challenging time. It's good to have friends who you can depend on, and equally, you don't hesitate at the opportunity to return the favor.
This does bring me to somewhat of a closing thought. A personal flaw I've carried for some time and been challenging myself on as time goes on by. That's trusting people to read concepts at an early stage. Since joining here, especially, that's shifted away a lot of self-doubts. Yesterday was a testament to that, I'd written a poem that found became featured on three separate blogs. To which I'm pleased as punch people enjoyed it enough to feature. Thank you to those who did that.
Once I've ironed out a few flaws in my blogging ventures, I will be featuring work that resonates with me from this community. I would, however, like to beckon eyes to the developing phases of a couple of novels.
Fundamentally, I am focussing on completing these as rough drafts. I welcome any feedback you may have in regards to either. There is another story in mind that I'm going to dabble in first person, kind of an impromptu story that writes itself in my brain, here's hoping it flows that easily into actual written words.
Thank you for taking the time to read,
|Note of Introduction
Please excuse the rather bland startup, to be open about the subject, I've never blogged anywhere else. As I'ma part of this community, I figured it was time to throw caution to the wind. After all, the reason for my membership is to further develop as a writer.
Though, I may be rough in areas, reaching out to the readers on a personal level is a pleasure to undertake. Hopefully, you'll find these words to be entertaining and/or beneficial. A definite learning curve is on the cards, however, I am not one to back down from a challenge.
Onto the matter at hand
Primary school, or known in the United States as 'Grade School' is a mental bookmark to my earliest memories of story writing. There were copious inspirations to create a tale that I'd use. Mostly from television and comic books of course. The first couple of school years didn't exactly ooze originality, in fact, they humorously ended in a similar fashion. A heroine would fall in love, get married, and have children.
No matter the story written during those years, that exact style of ending was featured. A literal sentence that tied up the plot to a traditional conclusion. Hilariously, it would also be used completely out of context. I could be writing about a spider clambering around a child's room, it would still wind up getting married and have offspring. There is a subtle irony, however. You see I dreaded the beginning and endings. That padding in the middle is so troublesome to many writers, especially myself now at times, but then I managed to thrive at that stage.
On occasion, we pupils were either tasked to create a story or given the option to during class form a selection of other activities. By reading this, you presuming I chose to write a story is a given at this point. Yes, absolutely, I couldn't help but take advantage of any given opportunity, I even used to daydream in class about writing out a scene that played in my mind. I also used to daydream about one day seeing my own book in a specialist bookshop. Visualizing a novel that I'd published being displayed on a shelf has never left me, it's remained vivid since the age of five years old.
Interestingly enough, at least to me, I also envisioned the stage of my life it would happen. Not the age I am now, nor younger. I saw myself having pale air, a flurry white mustache, ranging anywhere between mid-forties to mid-fifties. That was the childhood prediction when I would have started writing for a living. This never left my mind either and has provided a significant amount of comfort whenever hitting hurdles along the way.
I find this to be amazing and confident if you were to place your mind back to a period of time, you too could recollect a similar instance.
Moving up to in years, I'd contemplate how the future me would react to the then present me. It must be stated for a long time common sense wasn't exactly my forte, oh no, quite the naive little soul I can quite assure you. That led the younger me to believe the future self would be disappointed in that regard. As I've gotten older, I find the child I used to be endearing. In some sense, envy comes into place.
Children are innocent, so full of energy and ideas. Without meaning to toot one's own horn, the latter I don't struggle conjuring up. The energy and determination is an area that I wished to continue. But drawing back to an earlier point, the viewpoint had in those earlier years were surprisingly well-thought.
Have I published a novel? No, that's the dream. Yet when the dream came to be, I foresaw to some level how much time needed to be invested to see that through. The dream didn't stop there, it included owning a modest country house, a few acres of land. Alright, alright, perhaps not so humble, as that is pretty affluent. On the other hand, children are more likely to have delusions of grandeur, I didn't hope to swim in a vault of gold coins like 'Scrooge McDuck' or own an enormous mansion along with a collection of luxury sports cars.
In the process of growing up, life becomes ever more complicated. To the extent, you can become detached from a dream. You may feel a bit silly for having it. I'll confidently confess to sharing those lousy thoughts and bought into them. Fast forward to today, I realized finally that back then I knew exactly what I wanted out of life and the direction I wanted it to go. The young boy I had been, he knew who he wanted to be.
Let's open up the conversation, what about you?
Have you got a story to share similar to this?
I'd love to hear it.
Since joining writing.com, it's been an eye-opening experience. In the most positive sense. I have received excellent advice, support, lovely comments, and suggestions to improve upon my work. A personal thank you to everyone who's taken the time to contact me. You've made me feel so welcome here.