Great Expectations?

Disturbed at work ... or just disturbed?
Disturbed at work … or just disturbed?

 You want to be a writer – so you write. Once you feel you have a flair for it, the next natural notion is to be a successful writer – yes, then that sordid subject of money rears its head. In some cases, the decision to join a class or group is a no-brainer. Surely that’s going to be the next step, it will help to set you up as the next great thing in the literary world. Isn’t it?    

How hard can it be to come up with an idea, string a few sentences together, build them into paragraphs, and then block the paragraphs into chapters. Give it a title. Oh my goodness – a book!

Marathon runners don’t normally set out to master that gruelling discipline. They will usually go through an apprenticeship of sprints, middle-distance, cross-country and finally, having altered their training regime, they feel they are ready for the big one.

In terms of writing, I’ve discovered a lot of folk have served a similar apprenticeship with their writing. It seems to follow the pattern of; poetry, short stories, flash-fiction, novella, novel. Okay, in some cases there are those that go straight from one of the early stages to novel writing. There are even those few who go straight for the big one.

What’s the next logical decision to be made? Traditional publishing, or eBook?

A tropical romance.
A tropical romance.

Now we come to the crux of the thing. At this point we must do what many people have difficulty with … and be honest with ourselves. Are we in it for the pleasure of writing, to entertain, to make money, or a mixture of the aforementioned?We must consider our answer before we go back to that publishing question. Why? It’s quite simple.

If we go down the traditional route, we will be spending money on our hopes of recouping the outlay with sufficient sales. All the months of effort must go through the time-consuming, filtering process of proof-reading, copy editing, etc. Does the style work? Is the grammar good enough? How accurate is the punctuation? Oh yes, that’s apart from questions raised on title, plot, characterisation, imagery and whether there is any entertainment value. The traditional route can take many months after the story is written.

Personally, I have no desire to be famous. My driving force is to entertain and as a by-product of that, I’d like to achieve some success – which isn’t the same as being famous. What have I done about it?          

In 2007, I started on poetry at Starlite, and then progressed to short stories and flash-fiction. I tried writing a novel, but was honest enough with myself to know that I wasn’t learning enough from my reading, or my reference books. I joined local writing group, the Inkerman Writers under the leadership of John Dean, journalist and crime novelist. Within the environment of a writing group, an aspiring writer learns if they have any ability in the use of words. It’s not pleasant to hear that what you thought was good, is actually not, but isn’t that what ‘feedback’ is all about?

A vigilante in Glasgow
A vigilante in Glasgow

  I’ve produced two novels in the last two years, ’10 Days in Panama’, and ‘Beyond The Law’. I’ve gone through the journey of at least four drafts with each story, and had the satisfaction of formatting the manuscripts myself. I’ve self-published my stories as eBooks on Amazon. In both cases I’ve gone on to publish fresh editions – because I found issues when I downloaded them and read again as a writer.

My books may not be ‘bestsellers’ and they may not bring me fortune and fame, but they have sold in six countries so far and I’ve had several decent reviews. The only ‘Great Expectations’ I have is the copy on my Kindle, but I’m enjoying what I do, and also the thought that my efforts have entertained. In that respect I’ve achieved my aims.My third novel, ‘Discovering Amsterdam’ is already underway. It is a romance laced with intrigue and my first objective is to submit it to New Writing North as a contender for the Northern Writers’ Awards 2014.

Why the analogy with running? In my running days, I started at 200-metre sprints, moved onto cross-country, 5000 metres and then competed in half-marathons and marathons.

Thank you for reading and feel free to comment.

My website:


A Reality Check

I feel like I’m in an enviable position in many ways.

Disturbed at work ... or just disturbed?
Disturbed at work … or just disturbed?

I did write a whole paragraph about the various situations that folk find themselves in, but with the best will in the world, it still made depressing reading, so I’ve deleted it.  If anybody out there really wants to appreciate their own life more – drop me a line and I’ll cheer you up with some figures.

Where do I stand in all this?  In a military career spanning 20+ years I saw enough of life to appreciate my own survival, so anything else was a bonus from then on.  I followed that with 20 years of retail management, during which I saw a whole new spectrum of life and attitudes.  Here I am today, with a few days to myself, but even at work now I’m only there three days a week – and it’s not management.

This is not a pose ... this is reality.
This is not a pose … this is reality.

I can deal with other people’s situations through some simple reasoning.  The employment situation and the homeless are beyond anything I can do, apart from the fact that a lot of them have created their own situations.  I regularly donate to chosen charities so that removes any feeling of guilt about doing nothing.  My efforts to raise funds for Comic Relief 2013 may not be much, but again, every £1 helps in that cause.   Please see my previous posts or visit my website to see how you could help:

Fortunately for me, 60 is the new 40, or so I’m prepared to believe because it makes me feel good.  Writing is the meaning of life for me now.  I’ve always been a storyteller but only put them in print in recent years.  It’s gratifying to get feedback to the effect that some of it is actually good, so I’m going to stick at it.  I’ll be following this post with one on Reading and Writing, so at least it will serve two purposes:

First, it will let you all know what I’ve been reading recently, what I’ve been writing and that I do both … oh yes I do!  Secondly, it will refresh my own memory of what I’m up to these days – because there really is so much of it.  I’m serious, there really is!  There are competition entries, site updates, the next novel, a little poetry, e-publishing and would you believe mentoring, but that’s all for next time.

Okay, having said all that, I’ll just check my links are working, add a photo to create more interest, LOL … and then I’ll be back on to prepare the next post.  Today I must really make an effort to read other blogs.  Oh, and by the way, thank you for reading.