Getting it Write

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I think the malaria is gone for now – won’t know for sure till Tuesday when the last course of tablets is done. But I’m vertical, and must be on the mend, so that’s that in the illness department for now. Being sick generally makes me angry. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I tend towards rather vicious thoughts of what I’d do to whatever it is that’s ailing me, if I could only lay my hands on it/them. Right now I’m in a good mood, thinking about all those rotten parasites dying tiny horrible chemical deaths. Not normal, I know.

I would estimate that it’s going to take me a couple of weeks to catch up, work and social networking wise. But that’s alright, I think, I always do. I used to believe that if I never blogged for a day, or if I didn’t answer a comment or message immediately, that people would be appalled at my laziness/arrogance, and immediately unfriend me, cursing the day they’d ever come across me. Some did, I think, but they aren’t important, and the loss of them might not be a terrible thing. I don’t think badly of any of my friends when they disappear from the radar for a while, or if they’re not sitting eyeball to monitor, twenty four hours a day, purely on the off-chance that they might miss a comment I leave on a status of theirs. They’ll get around to it when they can, and if they don’t, that’s cool with me too.

Life happens to all of us with varying intensity at different times. Why shouldn’t we be there for people we like, just because they’re not around every day? The Indie scribbler’s life is wild enough without having to worry about that sort of thing also. We’re only human. And most of us came here with just a story or two, and no clue of how hard it would be to keep up. Even if we stop cooking, cleaning and bathing, there will still be stuff left undone. Generally your poor old manuscript at the bottom of the to-do list. We’re not professional bloggers, marketers, or publishers. We’re all just doing the best that we can. I get that, and so should anyone on the self publishing merry-go-round. I believe that with time things get easier, but unless you have a virtual assistant or two, and nothing ever happens in your real life, we all fall down now and then. But, we get up. And our friends are still there. And off we zoom again.

With the really weird, and often horrible, trip I’ve been on this last year, particularly these past few months, of being more off than on, I’ve found that the circle of friends I have in the old world wide web are the coolest friends indeed. Wonderful friends who support each other, and very likely we always will. The users and takers fall away over time, and when they do, you generally realise that they gave you nothing, and you were giving more than they deserved anyway. Really good people don’t whine or bale, and those are the ones that are important. To me anyway.

I did a lot of snoozing this last week. I generally pop out of bed around four am, and then zoom through my days, till I totally run out of steam, conk out, and repeat. I like being busy. All this enforced snoozing, and lack of activity, got the old grey matter agitated. It brought African Me fully to the forefront of my mind, with the question, “Why the hell are you taking so long to publish it?”, popping up every time I woke up. I’ve gone over this book literally hundreds of times, tweaking, changing, deleting. But still, every time I think it’s ready for the big wide world, something puts the brakes on in my subconscious, and then I’m off to page one again, convinced that I’ve missed something.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I realised that the only thing that’s preventing this book from being published is fear. Mine. The main character in African Me has quite a lot to say throughout the book, but particularly, a couple of harsh things in the beginning. The things she says are controversial, to say the least. I must have had the fear of being personally attributed with my character’s words lurking in the back of my mind all this time. So I put the question to the guys at our Readers Meet Authors and Bloggers community on Google+. Their answers really got me thinking. Should I change things, take out things that might cause anger? Should I type my disclaimer in capitals, and in red letters, then let loose the book, and hope I don’t get stomped on? Or bin the whole thing? Last night I was toying with the changing or the binning. The letting loose suddenly seemed a little too scary to do at all.

Then this morning, the first blog I happened to open was Stephannie Beman’s. She’d seen a question from a writer, asking how he could get the joy of writing back. He’d lost it – lost his mojo, poor guy. She very cleverly figured out that his problem wasn’t writer’s block, but that he was trying to write what he thought, or others thought, that readers wanted to read, and not what he wanted to write. Her blog post was called Writing For Yourself First. Light-bulb moment for me!

I think that in this last year, I’ve totally forgotten what it was that started me writing this book. And maybe now a little of every little thing that I do is strongly angled towards not getting up anyone’s nostril, or rocking any boats. Terrified of people hopping not only on the one star nasty train on Amazon, but also terrified of hurting any feelings. The possibility of both offending or hurting all sorts of feelings exists with this book. But there’s also the possibility of opening a couple of eyeballs to the truth. The funny thing is that it’s got nothing to do with politics, or even so much what’s been happening in Zimbabwe in recent years. It’s purely fiction, happening in Zimbabwe, with the thread of South African apartheid, and its legacy running through it. Still. My delaying tactics have clearly been brought on by fear that I was moving too far away from what people want to read. Or know about. I was scared to either hurt or anger people around here also.

Then, as the universe does, it made sure that the very next blog I opened showed me that my cowardice sucked. This young man showed me that. His story isn’t what African Me is about, but his courage in speaking his mind made me ashamed at even considering bowing to what ifs. Even though the only theme of importance in my book is racism, strong points of view from all angles and current affairs seem to have crept into it, so I risk making quite a lot of people on all sides of several fences quite cross indeed. So be it.

I’ve decided. I’ll not be doing any socially, or politically correct, tweaking and editing any more. I had something I was trying to share when I wrote this story. A point I wanted to get across. So that’s what I’ll be doing. That’s the thing with life. You really don’t have to read anything, or look at anything you don’t want to. Except on Facebook, that is. That’s your choice again. If you don’t want to take a chance on seeing anything disturbing, don’t join it. As an example, there people share those awful pictures of geese being force-fed, or bleeding after having their chest feathers regularly plucked out for down pillows and comforters. People get well freaked out and yell at the sharers for bringing down their day. That’s the nature of Facebook though, you can’t necessarily expunge from your brain what pops up under your eyeball. I’ve seen lots of things there that made me want to expunge my actual eyeballs at the time. But I’m not sorry that I’ve seen them. I believe people should know what, and who, makes up the world they live in. That’s your personal choice though. My personal trip doesn’t include avoidance, and if there is ever anything I can do for those poor goose guys, apart from not buying down or eating fois gras, I’d be really quite keen on doing it. Especially if it involves doing what they’ve done to the doers. Anyway. The book stays as it is.

Obviously as writers we want people to read our books. Buy our books. So we zoom around madly, finding out about marketing, market trends, WHAT PEOPLE WANT. Well. I figure that seeing as how I’m a people too, I have first dibs on what at least some people want. You can never give everyone what they want, so why stress about it. I’ll never make a million bucks writing a Zombie Meets Elf, Who Whups His Crumbling Bum into a Frenzy of Pixie Dust, erotica book. Not that I have anything against that sort of thing. People like it. And I certainly wouldn’t mind making a million bucks. I just can’t write that way. I can only write the way I do. It could be that the way I write is really crap. Only time will tell. I’m still very new to this game. But at least if I get blasted, it won’t be for trying to do something I don’t have the talent or ability to do. As Stephannie says, there’s no point in writing at all, if you’re not writing for yourself first.

This post is longer than my usual, but I have been absent a bit, so I hope I’m forgiven. I just zoomed through my unfollowers on Twitter. I get as much pleasure zapping them with my own unfollow button as I do squishing rotten little stinging insects. They follow you, and being a normal, polite Tweep, you follow them back. Then, when they’ve amassed 40 000 followers, they just unfollow 39 900 of them leaving them with an account which makes them look AWESOME! At least they think so. Just like Bieber. I’m not sure if they then sell these accounts, or keep them for themselves, believing that anyone with half a brain cell is going to think that they’re the coolest thing since white bread. Rotten little time wasting tools. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but unless I really, really, really, want to hear what you have to say, I’m not going to follow you on Twitter if you don’t follow me back. And if you have tens of thousands of followers, and are following ten, I’m not going to follow you to begin with. I’m still pissed off at Gordon Ramsay for not answering a tweet I sent him. I unfollowed him immediately, and considered for a moment removing him from my book! Hah! Only for a moment though. I couldn’t come up with a replacement tv chef quite as outrageous as he. Still. He now has ONE less follower. And he doesn’t know I watch every episode of Ramsay’s Hotel Hell after all. So…

Till next time friends.

Path

24 thoughts on “Getting it Write

    LucyPireel said:
    July 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Jo my dearest Dearie, So glad you are feeling a bit better and as usual I loved reading this post. You know? You are right about those unfollowing followers, but I’ve just decided not to care. I just follow everyone back who follows me and if they unfollow me later? Their loss, I’m not going to be bothered by something I cannot help, or change. People can be funny and don’t realise that karma is a bitch. 🙂 I’ll just be helping whenever I can and like you said the rotten apples will eventually fall away, leaving the shiny, good people (like You!) standing close to my heart.
    So never change and always, always be you my luvly Jo Dearie.
    xoxo

    Like

    John W. Howell said:
    July 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I have a ton of thoughts on this post. (which was vary thought provoking) 1. Friends on Social networks are those who interact. They are not the ones who” like” a few times and then add you to their stack of “amazing people who follow.” 2. We all need to write what we want. Forget politically correctness. political correctness yields bland, no brain pap. Political correctness has contributed to the lack of communication among diverse groups and fosters the seeds of intolerance. 3. Check out Graham Kerr the Galloping Gourmet before he found AA for an outrageous chef 4. Drink gin and tonic for the Malaria 😉

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      You’re so right John. 1. Friendship is interactive anywhere, and I love finding people I know will be good one’s – like your worthy, much awarded self. People recognise good people at the end of it. Some online ‘friends’ disappear the minute you stop adoring them, or ask for something in return. 2. I LOVE that you’ve said this. A great boost for me now to stop worrying about being correct. I so agree about the brain pap too. 3. I’ll google Graham right now – ha haaa! Sounds cool! 4. I’m ahead of you with the G&T’s 😀

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    jorobinson176 responded:
    July 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    It is their loss if they unfollow you Lucy, and that it doesn’t bother you shows your extreme coolness. Just don’t ever retweet the buggers! You really are the loveliest person on the planet my gorgeous friend. I bet they don’t unfollow you though – probably just the old dragon, for her disappearing tricks. I’m catching up quickly this time – we’ll soon be zooming off together again. 😀 XXX

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    The Story Reading Ape said:
    July 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Hey Jo, glad you’re getting your health and your mojo back in line (online?) Especially that you’ve finally resolved your crisis of whether or not to bin, revise or publish and be damned (that’s what Newspaper Editors do he says as if he knows).

    Keep writing what YOU want to write Jo (and don’t forget the disclaimers to combat the decryers) 🙂

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Your advice really helped Chris. I’m sure I’ve tweaked it down to levels that will only get up nostrils if people don’t read the whole book, or just can’t see what I’m trying to say. Disclaimers and publish I will, the first week in August for sure this time. Then I’ll hang about under the bed for a bit – just in case 😀 Still zooming along the online mojo 😀 I’ve been very organised and put all my different notifications in folders, so I won’t miss a thing. I know you won’t mind if I pop up on your week old posts, even though your life is so busy. You’re the wonderful peeps that I’m talking about. :)x

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        The Story Reading Ape said:
        July 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm

        You were getting great advice from loads of other peeps Jo, 🙂
        Bring refreshments with you, I’ve been busy this past week postswise and you’re always welcome to hide under my tree, providing you don’t mind the odd splat of banana & skin falling onto you, little JoJo still hasn’t quite got the hang of keeping a grip on the last bit of banana just before he takes the last bite) 😛
        Oh….and don’t forget to send me details of the book and release dates, so I can promo it on the blog 😀

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          jorobinson176 responded:
          July 15, 2013 at 3:29 pm

          I’m cool with little JoJo’s banana skins falling on my noggin – he’s a cutie! 😀 Thank you Chris! I really appreciate all you’ve done – you’re cool! I’ll have the mobi doc ready soon, and I’m working on a list of dates, so that (hopefully) it will arrive neatly. I’ll send you everything. I reckon I’m a fifth of the way caught up now, zooming ahead…. 😀

          Like

    Jane Fritz said:
    July 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Malaria, OMG. Jo, I hope you really are feeling better and that these attacks are a VERY rare occurrence. I love this post, which has very similar themes to one just posted by another indie author I follow and enjoy enormously as well, disappearinginplainsight.wordpress.com. You’ve both convinced me: no twitter for me!

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks Jane! I’m feeling a lot better now. This area seems to be rife with diseases like this – must be the climate or something – so we’re definitely moving. LOL! I also follow Francis – I love her posts! I quite enjoy Twitter when life is “normal”. I think that we’re just doing it wrong – there probably is a much less stressful way to have all these sites. Maybe. 😀

      Like

    kizzylee said:
    July 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    hiya ^_^,
    good post! i enjoyed reading it, glad you’re recovering -my full respect to you; to have suffered and come out strong with such a scary thing as Malaria you have my admiration, i am such a coward the very name gives me the shivers, and glad to hear your thoughts on the whole damn’ i didnt blog for a while’ thing as you know i was absent for a wee while and i felt awful about it, not from the idea of the survivial of my blog- my blog isnt up to much anyways there are far better blogs out there i am still amazed anyone reads my drivel ^_^ -but because i have made some wonderful friends here and i miss them, and one or two have gone and that saddens me, but i am lucky in that the core of them remained but i feel awful when i don’t keep up with stuff just because i love the people who take the time to be my friend, reading this post made me feel a bit better and accept yup life happens, so thank you for that and thank you for sharing hope you have a lovely weekend xx

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      It’s so COOL to have you back again! And thank you! Yours was the third blog I ever followed I think – I’ve always loved your special warmth and kindness – you certainly don’t write drivel!, and if one or two have gone from there, that really is more loss to them. We still love you – I was so chuffed when I saw your post pop up – just so sorry that you’ve had such a horrible, painful time of it. I’m glad you’re back, and can’t wait to read every word you have to say. 😀 xxxxx

      Like

    Lawrence Grodecki said:
    July 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Jo, glad to hear you’re well on the mend.

    I know what you mean by that editing. I learned awhile ago to ask myself the question, “Is that me lecturing through the character or is it really the character speaking?” My current book is actually my second one. I never pursued publishing the first one for a few reasons. One is that it was loaded with controversy, almost all of it negative, and it was definitely me lecturing, so it was maybe 1/3 non-fiction – it was supposed to be fiction.

    I’m not sure if it was Mark Twain who said, “Just tell the story.” For me the challenge then was to build the “controversial stuff” into the story, and it’s very much there, but in a kind of subtle way.

    All the best, Lawrence

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Your first book sounds kind of familiar Lawrence. 😀 I would say about 6 pages of mine altogether are non-fiction – mainly just to show one character’s past, and there’s a pucker speech gone wrong in there too. Do you think you’ll go back to your first and rework, or just publish it as is?

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        Lawrence Grodecki said:
        July 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        I’ve thought of going back to it, but more likely I’ll do a sequel to “Sunni Knows”. What I liked most about my first book was the last paragraph or two.

        The beginning was kind of interesting though. It’s set in modern times, and is about a troubled man . . . everyone keeps calling him Jesus, and he gets frustrated by having to constantly convince them that he’s not!

        All the best with your book Jo. 🙂

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          jorobinson176 responded:
          July 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

          Thanks Lawrence! I like the sound of your first book too – makes me think of The Life of Brian. Generally I love sequels. Then you don’t have to say goodbye to characters you’ve got really fond of. I’ve got your Sunni Knows also open on my Kindle – I’m a slow reader, because I read more than one book at a time. It’s brilliant! 😀

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            Lawrence Grodecki said:
            July 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

            Thanks Jo. That’s a nice compliment to wake up to in the morning.

            That first book may sound like Life of Brian, but that’s really just the intro . . . it was actually very depressing in many parts, and far more controversial than Life of Brian.

            As for characters, I’m guessing there’s one or two that perhaps I will never say goodbye to, with or without the sequel. So speaking of movies, I really like this one: http://bit.ly/15P2Ueb

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              jorobinson176 responded:
              July 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

              I haven’t seen Just Like Heaven yet – I shall have to try and find it! The more you talk about that abandoned book of yours, the more I want to read it. LOL! Maybe you’re sitting on a bestseller there Lawrence. 🙂

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                Lawrence Grodecki said:
                July 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm

                Hi Jo,

                I see I’ve confused you. That’s because the characters I was referring to are from my second novel (Sunni Knows) and not the first one – the unpublished one.

                Enjoy “Just Like Heaven” – it’s a wonderful romantic comedy. My references to the unknown realm are much more subtle than the movie. Having said that, if I should kill off one of the characters in the sequel, it could easily become much like “Just Like Heaven”.

                The problem is that I don’t think I’ve got the heart to do that . . . the killing . . . and I don’t like funerals!

                Like

    cicampbell2013 said:
    July 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Glad you’re beginning to feel better, Jo. Hope the improvement continues.
    I did something similar with my first novel…held back from publishing it because it might upset peeps…especially my mother (but therein lies a whole other story). That was more than thirty years ago. In some ways, getting published would have been so much easier for me then. I had an agent interested, a publisher considering it, an author friend lining her publisher up to look at it, then I totally took cold feet and stuffed it in the figurative drawer. It has taken me all his time to learn what you have just learned…to not give a hoot about who is going o like it or not like it. If it’s what you need to say…get it out there. So I have rewritten and edited it and it should be published very soon.
    Can I come and hide in your hut with you?
    Can we give the world a raspberry together?

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Now this is brilliant Christine! I wish I’d spoken about this before, and I will buy your book the minute it goes live – it sounds intriguing, and with the way you write, I can’t wait! You can come hide in the hut too – we’ll blow raspberries tunefully. Funny thing that – it’s a blowing of a raspberry that gets all the drama started in my book! Cool!!! :Dxx

      Like

    nmhewitt said:
    July 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    So sorry about the malaria! Glad you’re feeling better!! I had to laugh at your Twitter and Gordon Ramsey comments. I agree that it’s really frustrating when people get you to follow and then unfollow themselves. I’m not that active on Twitter, but the same thing applies to blog followers or FB followers. It can be frustrating!

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      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Thank you! Poor old Gordon. I was still a Twitter egg back then, and I really was hugely offended that he ignored me. LOL! I’ve never checked for FB or blog unfollowers. Twitter is really a brilliant place to get a message out to thousands of people really quickly, so people that pull stunts like that are terrible time-wasters. It’s good to use JustUnfollow to find them that way. Before I found that they were really hard to spot.

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