2014 Reviewed-Current Consciousness of the Prevaricating Author.

The Year Passed (2014) Reporting Back to Myself.

In this hiatus between Christmas and New Year I must refine almost everything. Take stock of stony failures, acknowledge some small shoots of promise that need staking and decide upon the reality of any ambitions. I have been a lifelong writer, but an ‘author’ for 1/74th of my life. Net result is I have more WIP than there will be time to finish, publish, and wave about. Too busy being mother for far too long, and probably missed the sell by date on almost everything, particularly in discovering what I might be of value to others.

What takes priority? Life? Remembering to notice the new? Returning with a dodgy wrist to rescue what little remains of cello playing? Drive my patient husband occasionally to see a view? Or slog on with the dubious business of keeping up with the literary Joneses, doomed, I fear, to certain failure.

The Works in Progress? None shout ‘best seller’ or Amazon Rankings, yet they whisper some merits when I attend to their claims.

I genuinely share this reflection for clarity in myself and advice from any who care to offer it. I mean that, I welcome any detour!

Small Successes

The past year has seen some successes. Involution was reviewed in four print Journals, articles (on its seeming insanity) commissioned in two others. Yucatan almost got a prize (I think- nobody really confirmed it) and two short stories were Stories of the Week in Narrative and one among the Five Best of the year. Another was shortlisted for the Rubery prize. None of that has made the slightest difference either to sales or building confidence. Only readers do that.

We, authors, are told that winning things matters. Does it? Piled high and stamped with badges in W.H. Smith or B&N maybe, but mentioned on Facebook or Twitter merely irritates! And embarrasses. Even adding comments stating more of the obvious now becomes more difficult, and who asks to be ‘liked’?

Smaller Successes.

Mastered WordPress, learned to be merely adequate at editing graphics, written some reviews that have given pleasure and assisted others, written five guest posts, and been interviewed on specialist audio shows four times. All pleasurable, made a few loyal friends, enjoyed feeling less alone in the corridors behind the Bull Ring’s real stage where performances need capes and swords, speed and deft footwork.Bullfight Wikimedia commons

Large Failures.

Mostly in the arena of giving hope precedence over experience; paying for short cuts and assistance, taking workshops, buying software and believing I will (one day) use it. Mostly ceasing to write anything new ( until pushed into NaNoWriMo at the eleventh hour) and parched for want of creativity; and watching the last remaining life ooze away without sufficient attention to glory or the sun rising.

 

Some Impulses Arising. ( Not Exactly Resolutions because I know my recoil from any imperatives- even self induced!)

 

The First has to do with FOCUS, and Making the Rock and the Hard Place comfortable and making life easier for my followers on the matter of reflection.

This Blog (Careless Talk https://involution-odyssey.com/blogscribe/) will get less careless. More reflective, perhaps a kind of Philosophy of Ordinary Life. Not evangelical, but related to why I write what I do, who for, and what may be of value in more general contexts. I have had a very interesting life, and I have scarcely touched upon it in books ( A ladybird has this moment crawled upon my keyboard and settled briefly on the Ctrl key- see?) Lots like that! Motherhood to the power of twice (2 x 2) taught me much about getting it wrong. Belief in academic dispassion showed the ugliest qualities in people far from dispassionate about the ownership of ideas! I can tell those stories and with some disparagement I hope.

My other site’s (http://philipparees.wordpress.com/) blogs will be for others, good ideas, reblogs, guest posts, interviews, things of interest, a few poems, and unfettered impulses to share with friends. It will also carry reviews ( the one contribution I can make to the struggling self-published but only as gifted, never requested because again compulsion renders me impotent, verbally and emotionally!)

I will map across as appropriate! Apropos of this new kitchen cupboard where stores will be more ordered, if you are a ‘follower’ please subscribe so that I can gift you with stories, pre-publication offers, (and persuade a publisher I might be worth a punt on books I can’t manage on my own). You will never be plagued or inundated or asked for anything! Of an alleged 787 followers I have but 13 subscribers. That’s my fault in asking for ‘Friendship’ – an onerous demand from a stranger. I have changed that and much else on the welcome mat.

Clearer Intentions for 2015 On Publishing and Creativity

I intend to publish perhaps ten short stories that reveal the indefinable differences between Old and New World Characters, ways of being. I hope to put both Yucatan and Involution out in audio books, and rewrite Acer- the mythical fantasy I wrote for NaNoWriMo. I am also seeking a publisher for another hybrid book- a fictionalised biography. I might set up some kind of recording booth at home since recording can only be managed for an hour at a time, (after a lifetime of smoking the voice gets manly which can be advantageous, the breath in short supply- definitely the opposite.) Now the ladybird bids me cease and sits upon a finger-tip.(‘Your house is on fire, Your children are gone’)

Injunction Take Ctrl.
Injunction Take Ctrl.

 

I wish each and all a very happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

Crisis Revelations. Mining the Dregs of Resolve.

Crisis Revelations. Mining the Dregs of Resolve.

Seeking Inspiration
Seeking Inspiration

I am on the cusp of change. Not yet sure in which direction but I thought I would capture the essence before I lapse again into plodding without looking where I’m going.

‘If you want to be successful, you have to pretend you already are’

Ever been told to put on your dancing shoes and caper towards the camera? Metaphorically speaking?

I have been made brave by Viv’s blog (Zen and the art of tightrope walking) in which she questions the virtues of stoicism (the full-English in approved ‘attitude’) to venture onto my own high-wire, and examine the world that has another set of unspoken virtues- the approved conduct of the ‘indie author’.

All Indie Authors should consider the stoicism implied by a dreaded word ‘Authorpreneur.’

 Before I get onto its entrenched edicts I shall have to define why, right now, I feel defeated and why this post sets out to invite contributions, commiserations and perhaps even solutions? (Hint I intend new coherent, focussed, valuable… something.)

So: Many things have contributed to my small crisis: (See, there is stoicism showing its petticoat- it feels pretty big actually)

Putting it Behind Me

After two years of close attention to the world of marketing, web design, IT mastery (well, moderate self sufficiency) blogging, guest posting, commenting, reading, reviewing… I have recently been told I have left no tracks in the web sand- in short I do not exist.

(The kind SEO searcher who discovered this offered a consolation. ‘At least you have not spoilt your first impression. You have not made one!) He disabused me of believing anything Google said, (because Google is a big stroker and would have me believe I have made veritable waves for fully three pages) and suggested I asked duckduckgo instead. Sure enough, his point was proved, I do not exist.

Branding

Like a wayward young steer I need ‘Branding’, or I will never be welcomed in the herd. It is not the books that matter but the branding of the author. ‘Think of things others would say if asked to describe you?’  Well aside from the obvious (and why should I offer insults gratis? Mine could be auctioned to Save the Children )

All suggestions here, or here, or here…

(Look ma, no genre?-The art of the unpopular?- Believing five impossible things before breakfast? Delusions of Hercules?)

Problem is, my daughters aside, how would they know without reading what I write? Or being able to find me when I don’t exist? Or even digging out (up?) the recluse who lives in darkest Somerset and could not embark upon a series if it bit her on the bum and chased her to the gate.

(Aside:I do have an idea for a fabulous TV series and I have cast Bill Nighy in the lead-he’d relish the role and yes do feel free to contact him.)

Wrestling with this for months I decided to turn aside and join NaNoWriMo for some creative distraction. Yes I finished the outline of a novella, (did not even limp to 50K, stopped and laid down its plot at 48K) and it offers a skeletal outline but one so world weary that it needs to live on spinach for a year. WHY? Because it now joins the list of the next books that will be unfound and unread.

Going Round in Circles

Looking at the Optimist- see it smiles and wears a hat in halcyon days
Looking at the Optimist- see it smiles and wears a hat in halcyon days

So no escape. Circumnavigation of the central problem. How to wave without seeming to, the mastery of the sleight of hand. Finding they who are already searching?

Caution: They would not imagine such a book so would not be searching. If they fell over it they would say …………………………(Feel free to improvise in the comments)

Hence back to the first subject-Stoicism.

It seems to me we Indie Authors are signed up to these ten commandments (plus one) Nobody showed me before I signed up. Bastards.

  •  Thou shalt anticipate author hood by building a solid platform (before you have any    hooks to climb it, spiked shoes, or a windcheater for the long winter’s blast.                Intentions are two a penny, solidity speaks.)
  • Thou shalt acquire a tribe of ten thousand followers on Twitter and Facebook ( But without a book available? Stick to cakes and recipes-you can crib those.)
  • Thou shalt exceed the traditionally published authors by being better written, better dressed, more adventurous.(Safe here, nobody will find out one way or the other)
  • Thou shalt write works with a keen eye to the market you have already seduced. (Do cakes and recipes foster an interest in evolution? Baking is a busy business.)
  • Thou shalt master the Amazon category minefield.(It may not anticipate the category you have been adventurous with. Write nicely to Amazon with suggestions.)
  • Thou shalt produce at least a book a year, and preferably in series.(Latest sure fire-winner- of- 1000 signatories- a- month advice: ‘To accumulate an email list give away your first, follow with a gift of the second a day later, in order to hook a readership for the many to follow. Sorry forgot to mention you must start in your twenties, or write three at a time. (‘Note to Self: Remember to bar anyone over 65.)
  • Thou shalt find the money for editing, and cover design and they shall be exemplary examples of what is already in abundance and look good in a thumbnail. It’s all anyone will be likely to skim past.
  • Thou will understand the sprinkling of keywords and have an ear to the ground of SEO so that though wilt play harmoniously without banging anything- strictly strings.( How about scored for base trombone, viola and a snare…)
  • Thou shalt persist in offering something of value to acquire a mailing list that will be susceptible to thy next offer and thou may post many portraits of yourself  behaving as though chased by papparazzi lest we forget your name. Tip: Be photogenic or at least ‘interesting’ Drag? Indecent? Rear view?
  • Thou shalt not deviate by questioning these precepts, nor challenge them but thou canst always give up and drop out.
  • (Thou wilt not be missed.)

    'Just a little further' he said. Left or Right? Sorry- didn't quite catch.
    ‘Just a little further’ he said. Left or Right?
    Sorry- didn’t quite catch.

The Mystery of Water- Stan Kapuscinski

Since I have taken the plunge into the global obsession to turn out yet another novel in NaNoWriMo  water seemed a good subject with which to distract my readers. This, as usual, original piece was blogged by Stan Kapuscinski a week or so back. I thought it small genius- perhaps big genius.

Gathering in, flowing on.
Gathering in, flowing on.

The Mystery of Water

Someone once said that divinity is like water, that it always finds its lowest level. So it is with us, fragments of the eternal, omnipresent Consciousness.

Imagine a drop in an ocean. An ocean that reaches beyond all horizons. An ocean that is limitless—that stretches to infinity. Once, you and I were drops of water in that ocean. We’ve never experienced anything other than water, caressing us on all sides. We floated happily without a single care. For countless aeons we could only experience other drops, hovering, suspended all around us. And then a strange thing happened. We have been lifted, almost weightless, from our home. We evaporated.

For a while we wandered the blue yonder above, experiencing the warmth of the sun, gusts of wind. We have become rarified elements, suspended in an environment quite strange to us. No matter, there have been many before us visiting these environs.

Soon we combined, again, into drops. We gained weight and fell down as rain. Now really strange things began to unfold.

We penetrated the soil. Soon, we were absorbed by strange tendrils. Some of us were drawn up, through inner channels of these strange beings. Some of us rose up and gave leaves their vitality.

We gave them Life!

Gradually, over eons of time, rivers carried some of us back to the endless ocean. Some of us lingered behind. We evaporated again. We liked giving Life. Again, we have been absorbed by many plants.

And then an even stranger thing happened.

To read more go to the source here