I hate editing!

Honestly, I do.

I hate it for several reasons and first amongst them is the awful realisation that what I’m editing is pants. It is. Pants, huge bloomers with frilly bits.

Sometimes I read a page or two and then wonder what it is I’ve just read. It makes no sense at all and I must have been on something to have written such dross. What are my characters doing? What is their motivation? And who the bloody hell is Algernon? I’m sure I didn’t write a character called Algernon!

Then I realise the punctuation is worse than the writing. I am the enemy of grammar although, as my spelling isn’t that hot either, I probably meant enema of grandma! I throw in random commas, strange full stops and hyphens hyphenate where they shouldn’t. And I love exclamation marks! Seriously!!!!!

I try to sound clever when I shouldn’t and dumb it down where I should make it clever and then I invent new words just for the sheer hell of it..or is just my spelling?

I’m editing my epic. Editing 90 chapters, a quarter of a million words and x number of pages. I wish I’d never started. What possessed me to write it and then decide to edit, or basically rewrite it? Am I mad? I’m already going a bit word blind and doolally and I’ve edited 5 chapters! 5! Bloody 5! At this rate I’ll still be editing in 2025! And yes I love exclamation marks!!!

So now you know. You know why I’m a little bit loopy. I will finish it and will present something I’m proud of; promise.

Just don’t ask me when!

Farewell to The Queen

I watched yesterdays proceedings with a mixture of awe and pride. I watched it and then I thought, why? Why do it like this?

This was a funeral for a Queen but how much did we learn about her during the services? She was also a mother, a grandmother and great grandmother but where were the tales about her, the things you might hear at a normal funeral?

Of course we have heard them all over the last ten days as endless celebrities and members of this or that company or household have been trotted out to tell us about how much she loved horses and dogs and Balmoral, but where, amidst all the pomp, was there a human factor?

Perhaps it’s not the done thing but why couldn’t Harry have told us a funny story, or William? Or someone with something real to say other than the usual pompous drudgery, no matter how worthy, of the religious leaders. How peoples hearts might have been lifted if, instead of another reading by a monotone politician or another hymn nobody had heard of, the Archbishop had said, “And now, a personal story from …” to lighten the mood and remind us of the woman behind the crown.

I know these things are imbued with ceremony and solemnity and perhaps the tales are spoken in private, far beyond the ears of mere humble mortals, but sometimes, just sometimes, especially if you wish to modernise the monarchy, starting with something that we can all relate to, the personal story, isn’t a bad way to start.

But now we look forward to the reign of Charles 3rd. His lip biting and grief during yesterday will linger long in the memory but I wish him well. He has big shoes to fill and I hope he can fill them. I am sure he can if he is allowed to and not weighed down by needless petty fighting.

God save the King and thank you Ma’am for your years of dedicated service to the country. Rest easy beside your beloved husband, secure in the knowledge that your reign was both long and glorious.

Who am I writing for?

I have 8 books out on Amazon and to date, I’ve sold 8 copies and 4 of the books have yet to sell a single one. So who am I writing for?

It’s easy to say that I write for me and in a way that’s exactly what I do. I have stories that I think deserve a public audience or that people will enjoy and therefore I want to get them down on paper and out there.

But it does become dispiriting when I see my sales and pages read and know that if everyone who had promised to buy one, did buy one, I’d have tripled my sales. Sure! I’m not getting rich in the process but 24 is bigger than 8.

I didn’t expect to be rich but a bit of light in the darkness wouldn’t go amiss. Even a review would be nice but either people don’t want to review, can’t be arsed to review, think it’s so bad that they want to give zero stars but can’t or the book is sitting in a ‘to be read’ pile and it might never be read and a review may never come.

I’m currently writing my 9th. If I put my mind to it and did some editing then I could have another couple out in the next month but is there any point? Am I simply fooling myself that I’m going to sell more than 1-2 of each book, if that?

I try and market when I can. I push my books on Twitter but that doesn’t increase sales, whilst Facebook means that each book gets its existence acknowledged but then nobody buys it. And I can’t live on people liking the fact it’s written because that doesn’t bring in the money.

I’m starting to become jaded about my writing. I do about 2-3K words each day but wonder why I bother. I enjoy some bits but then others feel forced and poorly written and I wince when I reread the passages, struggling with my poor word choice and generally just getting fed up with a routine that is painful.

So, who am I writing for? It’s you, but I wish you’d read the bally things!.

Travel has changed…and not for the better

Messing about on the river

As I flicked through a brochure the other day I was struck by one thing, the seemingly unstoppable rise in prices that will soon price some of us out of the market.

Companies that used to offer bargains now offered prices over and above their competitors and companies I felt a certain loyalty to, now seemed unashamedly greedy.

I got it, at least in part. The pandemic had crippled the industry and reduced international travel to a trickle. Tours and flights went abandoned and thousands of jobs were lost. But as the pandemic went into a lull and face masks and other restrictions began to be optional rather than mandatory, the companies that did emerge, rather than trying to get passengers up with offers of lower prices, instead went hell bent for leather into a world only the better off can afford.

I’ve been to Myanmar but always keep a look out in case there’s a bargain to be had. £5000 for 11 days is not a bargain. In fact I don’t know how it is justified. The hotels are good but not amazing, the flights are on good airlines but in bog standard economy and I can’t see the value in the holiday.

Japan has always been expensive but I found one holiday that pre-pandemic, was priced at £3995 for 14 days, was now £5795 but for 13 days. Same hotels, same carriers but an extra £1800 for one day less.

I get it, everything has gone up but even so there is a limit to what people will pay. There’s a reason why the cheaper tour operators can sell their tours several times over and that’s because although your hotel might not be five star and your airline might not be a five star carrier, you are going to get there on a decent flight and your hotel might lack a trouser press but will actually still have all the five star facilities.

I’m budget conscious but not in the way that makes me a cheapskate. I want value for money. If I can fly to Japan on a four star carrier and stay in three star hotels and see everything I’d like to see, then I’m going to do that rather than fly on Japan Airlines and stay in Five star luxury if it saves me £2000. Sure I’d like to fly on the national airline and that five star in Osaka does look fabulous, but if you price me out then so be it.

Yes there always has and always will be the luxury market and prices to match but now more and more companies believe they can charge five star prices and if more companies move into that market then they are snubbing loyal customers and putting themselves at risk of failure. Not every company can offer five star service and the sooner some come to realise that, the better.

Travel has changed and it’s pricing the budget conscious out of the market. It’s losing a significant portion of its customers due to unnecessary inflation and ideas that are above the station of the companies involved.

And I really don’t like the way it’s heading.

Reliving the past.

I’m writing my second travel book. The first didn’t do very well (if you call selling not a single copy not selling well) but I’m not deterred as it’s fun to relive past adventures and recall incidents that I’ve forgotten.

I like journaling my travels. I like to be able to look back at more than images, but also at words. How did I feel? What did I experience? Was it pleasant? Was it spectacular? Did it live up to the hype or fail miserably?

Images are a snapshot, frozen in time whilst the words add a greater depth and insight. I can see it’s a temple but what feelings did it invoke? Was I awed? Bored? Confused? Disappointed? The one thing that does stand out in my travel writing is that too often it relies on a small vocabulary to get my message across. Yes, things are often wonderful and spectacular but there’s more to them than that.

I’m not a good writer. I want to be and I do have a much larger vocabulary than some people but fibromyalgia fog and ADHD certainly impact on my ability to dredge up words that accurately describe feelings and so I retreat into well worn territory when I want to do better. At least that’s how I see my writing.

Perhaps I’m limited by how I travel? The organised tour is perhaps restricting and stifling of creativity as individual interactions and activities beyond the core group are limited by time. Perhaps in order to write well you need to be isolated and separated from the norm so that your experiences are more individual and perhaps more risky, more scary, than those of a group. Yes, there is safety in numbers but is there also a limit to imagination?

I can’t say because I prefer the sanctuary of the organised tour and things still go wrong and there is still some capacity to experience something different. Plus you have your fellow travellers to observe and like or dislike.

I don’t know how book two will go. I’m writing it, not expecting sales but because I want to write it. I would like people to see touring through my Autistic, ADHD eyes. To better understand what I get out of it all.

I’m reliving the past and wondering where it will take me.