The Writers Struggle

I finished my third book this morning in a series I am writing for teenagers. I had hoped it would be an easy book to write but guess what, it wasn’t. I had so many advantages going into it and then found times when I could barely move forward and plot devices I’d worked out in my head just didn’t translate well to the page.

I struggled with making parts of it funny and some parts, admittedly, don’t work very well. They are almost there but not quite and will need some reworking in the next few weeks, but the main thing is that I have got a framework that I can use to polish the turd.

I find it frustrating that I can write great scenes in my head when I’m amongst the fruit and veg section of my supermarket but then immediately forget it or have no opportunity to write it down or record it. Not that I want to be one of those people who walk about talking into a recorder. “Joe is going to murder Suzy by chopping her up in a meat grinder” becomes “Is that the police? I’ve just heard that Joe is going to put Suzy through a meat grinder! Please hurry, the man who is planning it is still in the town!”

And I don’t have the energy to simply write stuff down and carry it around with me. I don’t have that stamina to write a whole scene in my head then scribble the full 1200 words out and then try to read my writing and decipher what the hell I was on about three hours ago before I got distracted by an oddly shaped carrot!

I think we all struggle with writing. We all struggle with pacing and characters and plot lines. Some of us are lucky enough to have alpha readers and beta readers and editors to help sort the wheat from the crap but I’m not one of them. I’m just me, doing my best, getting stuff out there.

So, if you write, and write anything, you have my admiration. Well done and keep up the good work of keeping us informed and entertained.

And I’ll keep struggling along.

Finding that perfect holiday

Not my perfect holiday!


It’s great to have choices but sometimes you have too many. For example, when you have a pile of brochures about twelve inches thick and your eyes go all funny as you try and compare one with the other to see where the bargains are. And that’s assuming there are some.

You start to rule out destinations due to expense or lack of interest in them and then your better half starts making suggestions that you know she doesn’t mean because, if you followed them, she wouldn’t actually enjoy them. I mean, look at the image above. Idyllic yes? I’m not a beach lover but even to my eyes it looks fantastic. But only for a day or two. Not a week and certainly not a fortnight.

She wants to see the Northern Lights. I see the cost of a short break in Iceland and note that I can get two weeks elsewhere for less. There’s no guarantee you will see them either and I don’t want her to be disappointed. She talks about beach holidays but I can’t enjoy them when there are things to see and do elsewhere and again I question how much value there is in something she might get bored of in a couple of days.

I like to move. I like to be on the move. I like to see places and not feel trapped or confined to one hotel or one beach. Great if it’s a day to recharge in the middle of a trip or a couple of days at the end but a week, ten days, two weeks? I really don’t think I could bear it.

So I sit with the brochures and try to find a compromise. Somehow. Find that trip which combines enough interesting places for me with enough chilling time for her. And that’s hard. I don’t want her to feel this is what I want and that I’ve ignored her but don’t want to give up what I want either.

Choices. Sometimes there are simply too many.

A sailor went to sea..

Not for me

Now and again my better half will say she fancies a cruise. Now and again I will wince inwardly and say no.

Cruising just doesn’t appeal to me and whilst I have friends who cruise several times a year, I just cannot see the attraction of being trapped on a boat in the middle of the ocean and feeling forced into partaking in various events and jollity.

I am not a people person. I’m not sure I could cope with sharing a ship with several hundred or thousand other bodies, fighting to find a quiet spot or the best spot by the pool. I am not interested in 24 hour dining or shows performed by west end standard performers. I do not wish to attend the captains cocktail party or eat dinner at his table.

I am not immune to a river cruise, having cruised the Nile twice. But the boats are smaller and the shore is on either side and there’s always something to look at rather than a vast expanse of water.

If I want hotel facilities then I stay in a hotel. If I want to visit several islands then I will do so at my own leisure and not feel hampered by the departure time of the ship. If I want to eat dinner at 2.00am, then I won’t and so that becomes superfluous.

I just don’t want to feel hemmed in. I don’t want to feel restricted, controlled, ordered about and given limited time to visit places along the way, not to that extent. I just can’t see the appeal.

So, unless I have a chance of heart, sorry love, it isn’t happening.

I have more brochures than sense!

It isn’t so much a holiday brochure as ‘War and Peace’. The poor postie hit a hernia as he lugged it towards my door and he had that resigned look on his face that said, ‘It’s the bloke at number 2 again!’ and was promptly proved correct as it landed on my doormat with enough noise to wake the cat.

My trouble is that I like brochures. They excite me. I see pictures of foreign places and ooohhh and aaaahhh over them. I see pictures that are clearly photoshopped and look nothing like the real deal and 8 gnash my teeth over those and I check which hotels the tours are staying at for any obvious spelling errors I can point out to Saga in the hope that they’ll offer me a free trip.

I like to compare tours. Duration, hotels, excursions, what’s included or not, who they fly with, from where. I’m a nightmare to live with as I attach sticky labels here, there and everywhere and try to whittle 500 possibilities down to a final dozen. Or should that be twenty. Perhaps thirty?

And there’s the problem. Where and when? With whom? And if we go there are we missing out on there? Is that more budget friendly than that? Why does X do that but Y doesn’t? But then why does Y do that and Z doesn’t? TripAdvisor gets a fearful hammering and reviews are digested and analysed for signs that all is not well beneath the calm exterior of the hotel on offer.

I have about 20 brochures. I have brochures for 2024. I have updated versions and old versions so I can compare prices. I have sticky labels stuck to sticky labels in different colours showing whether a trip is top tier or a pleasing alternative. I have countries ruled in and ruled out. I have a budget that wobbles when it sees something new. I have..

I need help. I have Brochuremania. I can’t decide. I must decide. I will decide. Will? Will I? I really have no idea. Now, if you will excuse me, those brochures won’t read themselves..

‘Ooohhhh, I hadn’t considered that. Now where are my sticky labels?..’

It’s like I’m being watched!

Set a reminder to blog, they said.

So I did.

Now, a little notification pops up to remind me. It’s like I’m being told it’s time to take my medicine as it’s so consistent and although I wanted to blog more it comes on top of a writing schedule that means extra words are almost an annoyance to write and I rarely have anything of interest to say.

I struggle for inspiration. Nobody wants to read about my sore feet or my teeth extraction going wrong, again. Nobody wants to read about books I haven’t read or music I haven’t listened to and as for tv, you don’t need my criticism of that.

My life is incredibly ordinary. Get up, write, read news, write, walk, think about writing, tv, bed. Hardly the stuff of legend. I do want to give you better content to sink your teeth into and am always hopeful of inspiration but then, when faced with the blank page to blog on, that dissipates.

I promise to try harder. I promise to give you more variety and break out if the mundane twaddle you are reading if you read this. I will try and write things that inspire me. Which might mean travel stuff. So be prepared.

Until next time.


Playing The Game

It’s almost as if time is standing still. Almost.

Each time I think that I am getting to the point where a decision will be made, I find myself taking a step backwards as yet another obstacle is placed in my way. Sure, these are obstacles that can be overcome but they are an annoyance, designed to trip me up and I could do without them.

I want to move on. I don’t want to have to continually drag the process out and bring in third parties to do something else because another third party can’t get its act together. I want things to be sorted out so that I can wake up the next morning and look ahead, rather than wake up and hope that’s the day that A or B is resolved.

I feel very trapped and that is making my anxiety worse. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel but only if certain people agree to draw back the curtain and let it in. I don’t want a ‘will they, won’t they’ situation to develop. I want it all sorted and I would rather it’s done sooner so I can simply move on and close that chapter of my life.

I would like to say more but I have certain restrictions placed upon me and so I can only say very limited things when I would like to be able to speak more freely but, if I do, have to accept the consequences and, as with many things, its a question of balance and making sure I come out of this on an even keel at the very least.

I hope we can get it done in the next two weeks. I hope we can and will do all that I can to progress things but without sacrificing my dignity and self-respect. I’m not prepared simply to throw everything away and lose out. I have to come out of this better than when I went in, for the sake of my own sanity.

I know this is confusing and I am sorry. I hope that I can get back to more ‘normal’ blogging soon, perhaps even in my next blog. We will see.

And still things aren’t resolved!

I hoped that yesterday would see things sorted. Just sign some papers, drop some gear back and then fly away free. But I guess I’m not that lucky.

Third parties hold different opinions and when those third parties see something they don’t like or they think could be argued against, then it’s their duty to step in and advise you. Sure, you can ignore their advice and part of me wanted to say so and just walk away but sometimes you get that feeling in your gut that something is worth one more try, one final effort, and so you say ‘Why not?’ and resign yourself to the fact that it’s not quite over.

Then you find yourself chasing things because deadlines have crept up on you and all of a sudden you have to push things back and ask for this and that to be extended and that has a knock on effect of having to ask someone else to move a deadline. I tell you, I was absolutely shattered after talking for 90 minutes and still forgot half the things I meant to say.

So now it meanders on. Now we have at least another week of waiting. I hope it gets resolved soon. I want my life sorted. I want to know the future and not live with anymore uncertainty.

The Written Word

Photo by Pixabay on

I have decided to try and read more. Yes, I had said it before and failed miserably but I am determined to try again.

I find it hard to discover something that is compelling to read, especially these days when life seems so manic or my brain finds it so manic and I have this streak of impatience that makes reading more effort than it once was. I find that I read one word in three or four or that I skip pages because nothing is happening to keep me interested.

I yearn for the days of my youth. I long for the days of a new Michael Moorcock, a new David Eddings or a new Dean Koontz; authors whose work I devoured and loved. These days I can’t say the same and have to be honest and say that I can’t recall the last series of books that piqued my interest.

I see new titles in the bookshop and read the blurb on the back but the stories sound the same and perhaps I have had my fill of dragons and magic and books that will only remind me of ‘Game of Thrones’. I read thrillers but don’t feel thrilled by them and crime novels seem two a penny.

This is not to knock hard-working authors who deserve all the success they achieve, but just to say that what they write is not to my taste. I am sure some of it is wonderful and some of it very good but if I’m not feeling it then I’m not feeling it and when I part with my hard-earned cash then I want it to be for something I am going to value and enjoy. If I can do that without my brain playing silly buggers.

So I have invested in two books. “Persians: The Age of the Great Kings” by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones and “Tutankhamun’s Trumpet: The Story of Ancient Egypt in 100 Objects” by Toby Wilkinson. Two weighty tomes that I hope will reignite the reading fire in my belly. Two books covering topics, Iranian history and Ancient Egypt, that are very interesting to me.

I hope I can read them. I want to read them. I want to recapture the simple enjoyment of reading.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Busy, busy, busy

I’ve been very busy this last week.

Edited one book. Compiled another. Edited that. Made covers for both. Then uploaded covers, then changed covers and edited covers and changed them again and watched a YouTube movie on how it’s done except it didn’t show me so I had to start again. And again. And again.

I think I’ve changed about twenty covers now. I’ve lost track of which is which and what size is size. I’m exhausted and cranky.

I’ve started writing two new books. The third in one series and the first in another and I have ideas spilling out all over the place and no time to get them down and if I do, I’ll be concerned I’m spreading myself too thin. Which I already.

And this coming week I have solicitors and dentists and I’m leaving work and I have more writing and editing to do. And more covers. And then there are benefit applications and job hunting. And…

I’m just so tired. Little sleep, Fibromyalgia pain wearing me out, sore foot, toothache…roll on Thursday and I’m so busy I can barely breathe.

Now, I’m off for a lie down!

A timely reminder

I have set myself an alarm now which reminds me which days to blog on.

I know it’s a bit sad but blogging is one of those things that can take a backseat in my life and I’m always thinking that I should do more. This way, even if I write nonsense, I’ll write something.

Not much to say today. Wish I could inspire you with some brilliant news. Wish that an agent would show a tiny bit of interest in my book but then, nope, not happening. Or that I’d win the lottery. That’s not happening either.

I have finished book 2 in my series. I have started working on potential covers for the books thus far. I’m selecting poetry for my anthology. I am active even if it’s not getting me the riches I had envisaged. people say they have purchased my first book but the sales don’t seem to be registering so, perhaps they changed their minds. It’s frustrating but it’s life. I shouldn’t expect anything of them.

Weathers a bit clammy here. It’s overcast and we’ve had a bit of rain but it’s still muggy and close outside. Exciting stuff, isn’t it?

So that’s it. Nothing else to add. Might get inspired over the weekend but, even so, this and that probably won’t ever be read.

But who knows…