5 Mistakes We Make as Aspiring Writers

If you look at the date of my last posting you will see that my once quite regular postings here have dwindled. Number of reasons for this. 1. I’ve started a new course and don’t have so much time and 2. The main one I start and go “Nah this is crappy” so this is where I think I’m going wrong.

1.Comparisons to our bestselling favourites

If you are an aspiring sportsman whilst you are aware of Lionel Messi you are also aware that although you might make the team, Lionel will always be a class apart, because he is a “once in a generation” type talent.

Why then do we (or me at least) compare ourselves to the masters of the art, Stephen King’s of the world. I have read numerous articles and books on how so and so Mr Bestseller wrote by candle light inside a cardboard Pringles tube, whilst his family lighted their own farts for warmth before his big break. He still writes in the pringles tube by the way, his family is a lot warmer and less smelly.

Whilst Mr Bestsellers approach obviously worked for him, he’s not you so cut yourself some slack. Otherwise it’ll put you off writing anything.

2. Devotion to the craft

Similar point, but… some are able to be “devoted to writing” writing 8-12 hours a day everyday. Some of us have families and bills to pay. Granted to write an 1800 page opus you are going to need time. But you have a lifetime. Write when you can, enjoy it. Enjoy life

3. Forgotten why we do it

I have always written. It’s been for me always, for fun. I would hope that even at the very top with contracts and book deals and movie screenplays it’s still fun. I started this blog to show people what I write, I welcome comments but I don’t really care what anyone thinks. It’s for me if anyone else likes it it’s a bonus. If they like it so much they’ll pay me to write it, happy days.

4.Meh, It’s been done

Everything has been done. Everything. That brand new fresh original is a copy at least in part of something else. There is even a very similar list to this somewhere in the world. As long as you don’t rip it off entirely, copy, rewrite, rephrase. Do it better, make the starcrossed lovers divorce, kill the good guy. “It’s your world” to quote Bob Ross, so write about a happy little tree.

5. The search for perfection

We all have standards for ourselves. Whilst these can encourage us to reach for the stars and be the best it can also encourage us to throw away a potential masterpiece. The beauty of being a blogger or “amateur” writer is that it doesn’t matter overly what you write. Get it done, get it out. You can always amend it later or it can serve as an inspiration for someone elses number 4!

5 Mistakes We Make as Aspiring Writers

Don’t Panic

Easier said than done eh Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army.

I have lived with panic attacks now since my early teens, for the most part I can deal with the signs of them impending and head them off at the pass with not quite consummate ease. Except of course when I can’t and it all goes horribly wrong.

Case in point, work conference 200 miles away from home, so a double overnight stay. Didn’t sleep a wink despite driving and being tired. Cue the panic, cue the nausea, cue the sweating, dizzy spells. My hands are tingling now just thinking about it. Lucky I have a very supportive set of colleagues at the moment who were able to talk me down from many a metaphorical ledge that I’d reached the edge of at approximately 3am in the cold morning light.

The conference itself went fine. Of course it did. Will that stop me panicking at similar events going forward. Probably not no. Why? I can only venture a guess that when things get that bad and the physical and mental combine to give you the “night of your life” the rational becomes like a mythical dragon that was banished long ago. So you can’t say “Well it was fine that time before” because your internal arsehole mind replies back with “But what if it’s not this time”

Real Ramblings of my Arsehole Mind in panicsville:-

“What if I piss myself in front of everyone?”
“What if I shit myself in front of everyone?”
“What if everyone hates me?”
“What if I don’t know anyone?”
“What if there is someone there I know?”
“What if they find out I’m dumb”
“What if I never sleep again and crash the car?”
All these hits and many more….

I have further challenges in the next few months and in a effort to quell the Arsehole Mind I know I will have to consult tutors and managers to tell them of my fears for situations. I figure its best to be upfront so that people can at best help or at least be aware. However its a double edged sword because these consultations will almost certainly be my first communications with people. I want to convey enthusiasm, interest hell even talent. The Arsehole Mind forces me to display weakness, self involvement and a lack of confidence, straight out. The social equivalent of meeting the girl of your dreams and crapping your kicks before you’ve said “Hello”

Maybe thats a real worry after all.

Don’t Panic

Hurry up and Weight

Greetings lads and lasses and welcome to my first blog post in an absolute age. Is this a new dawn, is this the start of more regular postings. Who knows!

Now is around about the time lots of you will be giving up your New Years resolutions, dry January or Veganuary. Popping corks and heating up those frying pans for a side of something dead and delicious. For those people, enjoy. You gave something new a try for a bit. Bravo.

Some of you are still going. The lure of your old ways not strong enough to pull you back. Some of you trying to lose that Christmas weight are still going to the gym or doing that latest and utterly pseudosciencey detox. Some of you will be unknowingly starving your body and losing weight because of it too. Because that is the goal isn’t it, weight loss the body beautiful and guant.

Well no not really.

Most of us could probably stand to lose a few pounds. I know as I veer towards 40 the only six pack I’m close to is the one in the fridge. The idea though should be I want to get healthy, not I want to lose weight. If you get healthy any excess weight will shed slowly and naturally it’s not actually a complicated premise. Eat right, exercise and hydrate and eventually things will slowly happen.

Heres the rub though. The eating right is hard. Exercise is hard. Hydration should be easy but even that takes more time than it should. A grande latte is better value and tasty, bottled water (because taps aren’t available most places on the go) is not.

Think of the time it took you to get out of shape. For some it was just over Christmas, for others it will be a lifetime’s work.

Why do you expect the healthy you to appear overnight?
Why bother putting time limits on things?

This change is to get healthy, not to lose weight. It’s not a diet. 30 days and then I can go to KFC and eat 20 buckets of chicken! Diets, fads and detoxes (not the rehab programs for substance abuse) encourage binge and purge behaviours and make you think about food the whole time. Experiment with me:-

Say “cheesecake” 20 times (if you don’t like cheesecake, replace with something you like)

Hands up who fancies cheesecake!

To anyone who wants to get healthy. Well done, me too! Steer clear of quick fix, pseudoscience and diets. Eat healthy have something you fancy once in a while (good for the mind) stay active and have a good hearty laugh at those saps inserting bananas where the sun don’t shine cos “Dr” Boz says it will be good for you.

New York's best... the cheeeeeese cake..

Hurry up and Weight

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 5, He Hasn’t asked for it back yet!

When I started writing these i only ever envisaged doing a working week with them. Why? Because I’m lazy and no-one cares what I write!!

So day 5 has to be some kind of conclusion. Well here goes:

Apple Watch Sport

The Apple Watch is truly great at what it is, people have accused Apple of taking other peoples ideas and claiming them as their own. Well watches were around long before Steve Jobs looked like a geeky Ashton Kutcher. So yes they took this and improved on it.

As a smart watch, fitness tracker, style icon (for the “look what I got” people) and remote for the third gen Apple TV it is second to none. If you are far more active than I and already have an iPhone it’s a no brainer.

That said, I’m not that active and although notifications were nice to get, I’m not comfortable with dictating messages via Siri so I always reached for my phone to reply to messages and pretty much everything else. It is nice to be able to look at the time on my wrist. But a cheaper dumb watch will do that.

I think the cost is a factor for me. If someone got me a Apple Watch for Xmas or it was 50% off on Cyber Monday I would be grateful/tempted. Because I have enjoyed it, I can now put it on at the first time of asking, and it is a very nice object, I like the chunky design. However I would bulk at paying Apple Watch money for something I’m not going to utilise fully.

Of course.. unless my friend actually asks for it back…. no rush eh!

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 5, He Hasn’t asked for it back yet!

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 4, New Apple TV

I worked from home today. So my Apple watch sat unattended on its cradle. Unloved. If you aren’t going anywhere, why wear a watch, or trousers, or pants….

As I did nothing with the watch I thought I’d talk about something I own. The “New” Apple TV (forth gen) I have to admit getting caught up in the hype with this one. I got it on release day to replace one of my previous Apple TV’s.

Lets play good/bad:

Good: Apple TV has apps
Bad: Too many aren’t too good

Good: Apple TV has App Store
Bad: Interface is very clunky (currently, they are improving)

Good: Apple TV has Netflix
Bad: It’s the Netflix that everyone has, the one that prompts you to watch the next thing before the thing you are watching is finished. Netflix, I love you, but I want to see who the dolly grip was on my favourite movies. Don’t move the titles into a small box.

Good: Has remote with motion sensors and Siri
Bad: Doesn’t work with iPhone remote App. Now ok, the remote app has never been great. But if you needed to enter a password it was so much easier to type on a keyboard than scroll sideways through the alphabet. And people wonder why 1234 is a popular pin! This is also stupid from infrastructure point of view. I am in apples ecosystem. I buy their products because they all talk to each other without me having to think.

Good: The screensaver (yes) these are stunning
Bad: They have my excited over a screensaver. Not since 1994 have I been so enthused about a device for stopping screen wear. I changed the marquee of all the screensavers in PC World to tell people to go to another shop. ACTIVIST!

In a nutshell. Currently, unless the app store gets better (and it will) and the remote app gets redone (it should) there is no compelling reason to recommend this gen over previous gen. The previous gen was very Apple. This gen seems very market share price led. Shame really.

IMG_2724
Clearly I like things with breasts in and the writing of Steven Moffat
My Week with Apple Watch: Day 4, New Apple TV

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 3, Smashing through the boundary lunacy has found me..

If you’ve read the two previous blogs i’ve written this week (who hasn’t!) you’ll know I thought I’d give the battery of my loner Apple Watch a bit of an unscientific test. Now I love my iPhone. I’ve had jobs that made watching paint dry interesting, I still miss my colleagues at Dulux.

I have had jobs that have so much down time it’s lovely to be able to escape the tedium and play a game or email people. So over the years my iPhone’s battery has been known to be dead by the mid-morning.

Apparently I am “king of the notification” (this from a man who wants to live in a yurt) so Apple watch was gonna get a fair real world test.

It passed for two days use. It was down to 8 percent just before i got in my bath. So i put it on charge, it charges like magic with the things that take your heart readings doubling up as some power connectors. It’s witchcraft! There is a low power mode which you can activate to prolong things even further. (Like the teenage me trying to think of Bruce Forsyth squatting on a glass table…: sex joke)

Things of note. I reached one of my health targets. I was rewarded with a trophy that looks like an old 1980’s hob element. But yay trophy.

When you set a timer, (for my damn pizza) on the phone it vibrates the watch. Pretty cool if your phone is on silent and you’ve gone for a cheeky (insert vice here) No excuse for burnt anything anymore. Except crumpets… overdo those.. go-on.. then top with cheese.. try it.. go now..


 

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 3, Smashing through the boundary lunacy has found me..

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 2, Health and Efficiency

I said yesterday I didn’t set up the fitness elements of the Apple Watch right from the get go. Two reasons for this, I was short of time as I said and also I’m hardly “Mr Five-a-Day” healthy. I like to keep myself active, but I also like a full english breakfast from time to time. But its a feature and I thought it might be fun to actually see what gets my heart racing.

Like the set up of the watch in general the Activity monitor is easy to set up. Tell your watch how tall you are (short!), how heavy you are and how active you are (not very) and you are good to go. The watch then displays 3 worms. Red for Calories burned (actively) Green for exercise and blue for how long and how often you have stood up. The more you do the more achievements you unlock.

It did occur to me that wheelchair users may want to use this to track exercise and calories burned. To be told to stand up every hour would be a trifle annoying. Thankfully you can turn this off in the settings. Not that I have.

The daily goals are attainable and the watch will display words of encouragement to get you moving even a little more. Which has to be a good thing.

So thats the Health, what of the efficiency. Well I’ve decided not to charge the watch tonight and see how it does. It’s on 51% now so I’m not holding my breath.

IMG_3372
This woman is wearing an Apple Watch on her right wrist.
My Week with Apple Watch: Day 2, Health and Efficiency