Choices and Decisions

We must eat and drink simply to survive, and that, of course, is the most important decision we all make—if we are to exist. After making the choice to go on, the quality of our life is next and that is improved by shelter, and fulfilment, which may or may not include companionship, with due respect to Mr Maslow and his Theory

From the moment we wake up every day our life is filled with making decisions based on choices … selecting which direction to take.

When a creative writer develops an idea and produces the cast for a story, the entire process from those early ideas right through to the publication of the book is filled with choices. Within the story, each character must make decisions. Those are designed to produce the various incentives for the character and action to move forward, and to maintain the reader’s interest. If you’re still reading, my choices for this post are working, so far.

For an author, while the internet is a wonderful source of information, and a valuable marketing tool, it can be a distraction, cause laziness, and among other things, at worst, deplete self-confidence. In terms of ‘research’, we authors now have an incredible volume of information at our fingertips, but we must be wary and professional. Google, Wikipedia and suchlike, with respect, are not factual deposits of information on all that ever was, is, or will be. We must be prepared to make some effort (apart from producing our stories), by reading widely, and utilising multiple sources to corroborate and balance our information.

Smoking, alcohol, and drugs are addictive and harmful when overused. Social media too, is habit forming, and while we have the choice to join a site, a group, or actively partake in discussions, it is easy to be drawn in. ‘Click-bait’ is the phrase used to tease someone into reading an article, post, or whatever in media. We are all susceptible to being ‘caught’ and as we delve deeper into the article, the active thread of comments, or information, we invariably find ourselves going down a rabbit hole. Personally, I feel guilty and cheated in equal measure when I realise I’ve spent half an hour or more on social media … and gained nothing of any benefit.

Are you susceptible to the lure of a literary or graphic hook?

When you saw the title of this blog post, what was it that captured your interest?

Did you have concerns about how far you might read, and how much time might be spent on it?

Those are not trick questions. Any intelligent species naturally strives to explore, especially with the intention of improving understanding, or position within their group. It stems from a desire to benefit.

I’ve just returned from two weeks holiday in the Netherlands. My wife and I enjoyed a break in our caravan, based in an excellent campsite which unlike many, doesn’t have internet access. I don’t intend to detail our activities, but suffice to say, apart from booking our ferry crossings and our pitch, I had no need of internet. If we wanted access, a walk into the nearby small town to a cafe was all that was required of us.

Did I make any good decisions about my writing while away?

Earlier this year, I was having difficulty developing Crusader, my latest crime thriller, so I opted for working on Selena: Sea Nymph, my first sci-fi fantasy. Over recent months, apart from when on regular trips in our caravan, I’ve made progress with Selena, but I needed a break from the story. I arrived in the Netherlands having made the decision to only work on Crusader.

It was a good choice, and within a couple of days I was at peace, unlike many of the characters in my new crime story.

Did I make any other decisions related to writing while I was away?

Yes, and as I tend to do, I experiment with ideas and implement them without bells and whistles. In other words, unlike some folks, I don’t usually advertise my every intention on social media or elsewhere.

Over the past few months I’ve reduced the time (and energy) expended on social media. Apart from slowly withdrawing from the daily, mind-numbing frustration of some of the posts and comments (in a variety of internet locations), I’ve also left several groups.

Having made progress with my plan, in the coming months, I intend to reduce my ‘social’ media activity to the minimum. To aid me, I’ve already made my choices regarding websites, and groups on those sites, and it’s a short list. Within the sites and groups I will also be reducing my ‘friends’. I intend to remain a part of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group (IASD), but will soon relinquish my admin role.

I haven’t lost faith in my ability to write, however, writing is a passion for me, so the stresses of marketing, monitoring sales, and reaching ‘targets’ are not concerns. Whether or not my work is selling is in the hands of those who see what I produce, and they will decide my level of success.

In a brief visit to Facebook on my return I was delighted to learn that not one, but two of my titles had received a Reader’s Choice Award in the Connections eMagazine, a superb platform for authors. Codename: Foxglove achieved a Silver in the Thriller/Suspense category, and Amsterdam Calling achieved a Bronze in the Romance category. In the time-honoured tradition, I’d like to thank … Melanie P. Smith for her tireless energy supporting fellow authors, and also all who voted for my work. Congratulations to all of you who were honoured by an award.

For many folks it takes a long time to find a balance, but in my case, pleasure and relaxation come before stress, and any personal fulfilment or success is derived from an occasional positive comment, or review. If I entertain one person with a story, I’ve been successful, and the level of my success is increased exponentially by the number of people entertained.

Is there a difference between choices and decisions?

I think of choices as the options we perceive on our journey in life, and our decisions create the ongoing route we take. A crossroads is often used to depict this but I chose a picture I took in woodland recently. Our options in life are not always clear-cut and definite as in a relatively simple crossroads. We must occasionally be prepared to venture along a route which is not staightforward.

Thank you for taking the time to read this brief distraction, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

14 thoughts on “Choices and Decisions

  1. I have chosen a similar path lately though perhaps for different reasons. I love the title of your blog as I always speak to choices that we make in life and how really our choices route path for the Pitney ahead. Sounds like you enjoyed your holiday. We are in desperate need of a break. Covid combined with Jomammy’s steady decline has seen us very much trapped for the last couple of years. No doubt whenever the opportunity for a break comes our way we will switch off from the electronic world also. Great blog Tom ☘️🎈

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really like this post, because of its honesty and the theme, which is close to my own heart. Congratulations on your well deserved awards, and I am sure there will be more. As a member of the IASD group, I appreciate all the help and advice you freely offer, and the guidance when requested. You are making some important choices, as we need to in later life – appreciating what we really need, rather than what habit pushes us towards. It’s lovely to see your thoughts here and share them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Lesley. Thank you for the visit and the kind comments. I don’t produce many blog posts, so it’s nice to feel appreciated when I do I’m pleased to hear from you that I’m hitting the right note since you’re one of the few people I’ve ever known who ‘knows’ people. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for dropping by, Patrick. I have noted your absence but knew there would be a good reason. Unlike me, you have a close and loving family that counts for a lot if it exists, so I’m pleased for you. I hope Jomammy holds steady and gets back to her youthful ways. She comes across as a lovely person, and she’s blessed to be with you guys.
      My mother isn’t too well at the moment, but she’s in Scotland living with one of my brothers, so she has people who care around her. Unfortunately, I don’t care for any of my siblings, which some might find sad, but that’s life.
      Take care of you and yours.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m glad you’re making choices that work for you, Tom. I’ve missed your presence, but I’m a quiet group member, so I understand your reasoning. All the best with your writing, it is a passion and I join you in that x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hello Lisa, and thank you for the visit and comment. You may be a quiet member of the IASD, but you do show your face occasionally, and that’s all that ought to be asked. Having read it, I know that your passion shows in your writing. 🙂 x


  2. Sarah Stuart

    Why did I read this post, Tom? You were back!
    Did I worry about wasting my time? No. I’m and expert scanner and only read what interests me.
    Do I spend too much time on social media? I used to until recently. Tweets never, to my knowledge, sold a book. It didn’t stop me adding tweets to several threads quite often and committing time to retweeting. When my laptop had a major disaster and lost the password to every site, Twitter was one of the few that refused to believe I was Sarah! (My mistake was recording an email address I could no longer access – another site that swore I wasn’t me – and failing to leave a mobile number.)
    LinkedIn happily accepted me back, so I upgraded my details, including I was NOT looking for a job. Since, I’ve been inundated with offers! Memo – close account.)
    I do check into Facebook daily, but I rarely look beyond IASD. When I have an offer to promote, I’ll promote it.
    The rest of the time, guess what? I’m writing, but I’m also reading more and getting out of the house – lockdown, as Patrick says, altered all our lives. Covid19 is still with us, but there ARE peaceful places, as Tom and Olive discovered in France, and we have a new dog to walk. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Sarah, and thank you for dropping by. It looks like you’ve been skipping through the social media minefield. We have to do what feels right for us personally, but mental and physical health have to be our priorities. BTW, we were in the Netherlands, not France. 🙂


  3. I truly believe you’ve made the right choice to let your creative side flow naturally by enjoying life. Stress and distractions are only getting worse these days, social media in particular. That said, you have reminded me of the wonderful, stress-free opportunities for finding story sparks. I actually caught a glimmer of my first story when hiking through the mountains. There, in the middle of the forest, I found a centuries-old cemetery. And you know where I went with that… 👻
    I’ll definitely miss you as Admin in the IASD but wish you all the luck on your journey. 💖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Anne. Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments. Yes, you do have a way with what I’d consider a ‘strange’ trigger for a story, but damn, you’re good. 🙂 I’ll drop out from being Admin, but I won’t be a stranger.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Melanie P Smith

    Tom… First, congratulations on your well-deserved awards. I would like to add, for your readers, that this year the competition was very competitive and in most of the categories, the difference between gold and silver was a single point. You should be proud of the accomplishment. It demonstrates the quality of work you routinely produce.

    I think, for many of us, the past year or so has been a time of reflection. I found it interesting to learn you have been going through the same evaluative process that I have recently undergone. I too am making “choices and decisions” some have been extremely difficult. Unfortunately, time is constant. I can’t produce more if it — no matter how much I would like to. Life sometimes has a way of reminding us what is important and what falls under frivolous time sucks.

    As we approach the latter part of the year, I again find myself in the untenable position of too much on my plate and not enough time to complete my annual goals. We must all take time to evaluate life and decide what makes us happy, what causes stress, and what we will do about it.

    I hope this small step will give you the peace you are looking for and the success you deserve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Melanie, first, for all you do, and for visiting and leaving such a comprehensive comment. The ‘Connections’ awards are prestigious, so to get one made me happy, and to get two was unbelievable. As you’ll appreciate more than most authors, we who assist our peers give our time freely on the face of it, but we pay the price of leaving our work behind.
      As I’m sure you will be, I’ll still be at hand to help when I can, but I owe it to myself to leave the world behind a bit more often. In recent times, I’ve made progress on my latest, and I feel I’m back in the groove.
      Some decisions are more difficult than others, but once made, life feels that all is in order and as it ought to be. Please be sure to evaluate and adjust accordingly. Sometimes a little selfishness isn’t such a bad thing. 🙂

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