Writing as an industrial process… maybe… maybe not!

I’ve been writing about blogging, and about a helpful list was published to assist all prospective bloggers who might be running aground for ideas, or if they are just beginning, have few ideas at all!

This is a list of seventy-three blog subjects and I’ve been challenging myself  to have  a go at writing a blog for each of the suggestions. I’ve started this on the Moving Dragon blog I share with to other people and this one is on the list as Latest Industry News  which is obviously aimed at people who have lives other than writing and might want to share news or views on whatever their line is. So slanting it slightly, accepting that writing is part of an industry, here are my thoughts:

2. Latest Industry News 

Is writing an industry? In a wider sense yes it is, and maybe today with the internet it is a greater industry than ever before. As a writer of novels, as a blogger, as a teacher of creative writing and family history writing, as a member of two writing groups, I think I can claim to be part of that industry, even in a very lowly and amateur position!

So my latest news (as an industrial writer, or a writing industrialist)

  1. my novels – having hit a metaphorical wall with the Radwinter genealogical mystery I am working on, circumstances forced me to have a break from it. There are several story-lines and I confess I was getting a little confused with how each was playing out – and if I, the writer am confused, then pity my poor readers! The first in the Radwinter series was written as a stand-alone novel, but although it concluded satisfactorily, it seemed to cry out for a second part; in the first story the paternal line of the Radwinter family had been explored, now the maternal line needed to be followed. Subsequent novels followed, and in this the latest, present day family issues are the background, while the mysteries the Thomas Radwinter is tasked to solve are to the forefront. Two different stalkers, a jealous and possessive ex-husband, the nineteenth century coastal salt industry, an amnesiac, a family history… Thomas has a lot of work to do. I reached a point where I was getting lost in it all – so my enforced breather was a real positive. I am now reading through the whole story so far, making corrections and notes as I go and I’m sure I will be invigorated!
  2. my blog – going very well at the moment; yesterday I wrote three offerings: ‘On the edge of the pond‘ – an excerpt from my novel ‘Farholm; ‘Savouries‘ – looking at a course on a dinner menu which seems to have gone out of fashion; Side-saddle – a short biography of pianist Russ Conway
  3. Moving Dragon blog – also continuing well – you can look back at previous posts to see how well it is doing!
  4. Moving Dragon – very excited at the progress we three dragons are making towards an anthology we are publishing in the autumn/winter. An update will be posted soon!!
  5. writing group (1) – having thoughts about the subject for the next meeting where the subject to write about is ‘Earth’ (following on from water, fire and air)
  6. writing group (2) – early days, but some of us are planning a ‘write-in’, where we meet together and each work solidly and with focus, break for refreshments and then continue (just the thing to get over my struggles as above!)
  7. creative writing group (I lead) – at our recent meeting we shared some great pieces of writing, and welcomed a new member. The task for next time is to write from some stimulus pictures and titles, concentrating in particular on how we start our pieces
  8. family  history writing groups (I lead) – these are new groups, which got off to a faltering start in May; however we have some interesting new people joining us so I’m looking forward to an autumn of great writing from them (and me!) The first meeting will probably be taken up with introductions and with people explaining what they would like to achieve, but I will set an optional task for the next meeting
  9. thoughts for future writing – it is only six weeks away from the on-line writing challenge of The national Novel Writing Month – 50,00 new words in November. I am not quite sure whether to rewrite a couple of old stories, just taking the plot and characters reworking it completely, whether to work on a sequel to a previous novel I have written, or whether to take the bones of what I wrote last year – a sort of biographical memoir sort of a piece, and knock it into a proper, publishable shape… hmmm… a little daunting… of course a completely new inspiration might come!
  10. paperback publishing – prepare my next e-book for republishing as a paperback. It will be Magick, part 2 of the Radwinter stories (I hope to publish them all in paperback, one every six months)

So… that is my writing news…

© Lois Elsden 2017

Here is a link to my books:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_3_10?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+elsde%2Caps%2C143&crid=2LH42U38J5NV0

… and to me fellow blogger’s:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_10?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=richard+kefford&sprefix=richard+ke%2Cdigital-text%2C136&crid=1B15ZAN73TWEG&rh=n%3A341677031%2Ck%3Arichard+kefford

… and to the 73 blog list:

http://optinmonster.com/73-type-of-blog-posts-that-are-proven-to-work/

 

Seventy-three?

A little while ago a friend shared something with me about blogging, a list of seventy-three (73) different sorts of blog. My first reaction was amazement, my second was to glance through and see how many I could tick off as having done or often do…

So, glancing through I picked out sixteen different subjects or types of blog I have done, occasionally do, often do. When I first started blogging I was totally new to it and had not even read that many different blogs. As with any writing it took me a while to find my voice, and I looked at and read what other people did and had a go at emulating them, picking up on their ideas and trying to do something similar. For example, at first I had a few gallery posts – a  selection of images from places I had been, or themed such as doors, pools, seaweed… However, I soon realised that my amateur photos were maybe not of much interest to anyone else, and also I am a writer! I do illustrate what I write with my own photos, but the photos are just an illustration!

I guess all bloggers sometimes sit down with an empty mind and have to struggle to think of what to write – when that happens I look at news stories, look at other blogs (not to copy but to trigger an idea) and yes, on the ’73 list’ there is ‘search Twitter for inspiration’. Search sounds very determined and focused, with me it is more wandering through the tweets, my mind open to something which might set me off writing – and what I end up posting maybe very far from the original post I spotted!

Similarly, I might pick up on what someone else is writing about – anywhere, newspaper, blog, letter to the editor, and from that follow my own ideas; I always share a link to what set me off, but on the ’73 list’ it says ‘share what others are saying’ and I don’t do that… Profiles – I might add some biographical notes to something I’m writing but I wouldn’t say it is a profile! Then there is the curious word ‘listicles’ – I had to look it up to check it’s a thing, and yes it is… well, very occasionally I might include a list – let me rewrite that, occasionally… well, actually quite frequently I include a short bullet-pointed list of something, but I don’t think it counts as a listicle really.

Thankful posts – I do mention how lucky I feel I am, how fortunate but I wouldn’t say I write thankful posts, especially as the author of the ’73 list’ means a post thanking readers, contributes and sponsors… I don’t have contributors or sponsors, but I do have readers, and I am very thankful to them for reading and responding – so maybe I should write a thankful post, because I am thankful!

From the ’73 list’, I have pulled out the top ten which I might fit (is this a listicle?)

  1. auto-biographical post
  2. think out loud posts
  3. share recipes
  4. share recent travel experiences
  5. holidays
  6. quizzes
  7. reviews
  8. current events
  9. rants
  10. criticisms and open letters

However if I were to write my own top ten as I see it of things I write about:

  1. my books
  2. writing
  3. other books and writing
  4. autobiographical/family history/memoir
  5. food and drink, recipes
  6. pub life
  7. names/naming/words, people and places and things
  8. travel, places, holidays
  9. ponderings
  10. news, events, history

… and mentioning my books, here is a link to them:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_2_6?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C137&crid=6NHAWMNC5D8Z

and here is a link to the ’73 list’:

http://optinmonster.com/73-type-of-blog-posts-that-are-proven-to-work/

The ‘me’ interview, part 2

Yesterday I shared an interview… an interview with me; this may sound strange but there was a reason why I wrote it – and here’s the explanation:

On my other blog which I share with two writing chums, we are continually trying to reach out to other writers and engage with them, and would love to share their work on our site – all properly linked and credited of course!

We wondered how we could offer our readers more about ourselves in a different way than just writing short biographies, and we came up with interviews; however, instead of interviewing each other, maybe we should interview ourselves! It wasn’t an attempt to rig the information, we thought it might be fun, and we thought it might be a way of having a moment’s self-reflection… there’s no reason why later we can’t interview each other!

So… trying to think of questions which would allow me to share some of my thoughts about me as a writer, I eventually, after a lot of thinking and pondering came up with ten questions.

Yesterday I shared the first five, and my answers, now here are the last five questions, and their answers:

  • You often have a woman as a lead character, are any of your ‘heroines’ based on yourself?

No, not at all. Some of them share aspects of my character, quite a few are teachers because that is what I was and it’s a world I know. Most of my characters are much more determined and focussed than I am, and don’t have a silly side to their personality, which I definitely have.  In actual fact, the character nearest to me in personality isn’t a woman at all, but a man – Thomas Radwinter!

  • Which of you published novels are you most proud of?

I’m proud of all of them; however I am proud of my first published novel, Farholm, because it was my first, and my Radwinter series because I never ever imagined I would write a sequel, let alone a series!

  • Why do you self-publish with Kindle Direct Publishing?

Like many, many writers, I have sent off scores of manuscripts to dozens and dozens of publishers and agents; I have entered competitions, I have done all I can to get my stories into print.  I have never had any luck (because I’m sure luck is the main part of the business) and have been ripped off a couple of times. KDP allowed me to put my books out in the big wide world, and I really appreciate it… however my continued dream is to be taken up by an actual publisher and to see my name on the shelves of bookshops!

  • You’re a writer – are you also a reader, and if so what do you like to read and what are you reading at the moment?

Yes, an addicted reader. I like books which contain some mystery or puzzle, so often they are crime books and police procedurals; I particularly like Icelandic authors such as Arnaldur Indriðason, Ragnar Jónasson, Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. However at the moment I am reading ‘Perverse and Foolish’ by Lucy M. Boston (author of the Green Knowe books for children) ‘South: The Story of Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Expedition’ by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and ‘Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy’ by Robert H. Frank… So no fiction! The last fiction I read and really enjoyed was ‘The Red Tent’ by Anita Diamant. I am really not very keen on ‘women’s literature’, and I am very intolerant of pretentious writing – and novels written in the present tense!

  • What advice would you give to anyone who says they think they have a book in them but don’t know how to write it?

Don’t worry about the first sentence and the beginning – especially with the technology we have now, it is so easy to go back and change, alter, rewrite – not like it used to be with a pen or a typewriter! Just start – even in the middle! Get something down on paper and keep going. Joining a writing group can be really helpful – there are plenty of on-line groups if you aren’t able or are shy of meeting others. There is no set way to write, everyone has their own style so don’t try and write like anyone but yourself, but at the same time if someone offers kindly constructive criticism, listen to it, think about it and then either take it or forget it! The main thing is to write! Just that! Sit down at your computer, laptop or desk, with your keyboard, pen or pencil and get writing!

 

If you would like a look at our blog, ‘The Moving Dragon Writes’ and maybe send us some writing to share there, here’s a link:

http://somersetwriters.wordpress.com

… and if you do have any submissions, here is our address:

themovingdragonwrites@Gmail.com

Here is a link to my books:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C144&crid=X501FNJTSG1S

The ‘me’ interview

A week or so ago, I mentioned that I was going to interview myself… you’re probably, no definitely thinking… ‘what?? why?? …interviewing yourself??’

This is the introduction to what I wrote:

On my other blog which I share with two writing chums, we are continually trying to reach out to other writers and engage with them, and would love to share their work on our site – all properly linked and credited of course!

We wondered how we could offer our readers more about ourselves in a different way than just writing short biographies, and we came up with interviews; however, instead of interviewing each other, maybe we should interview ourselves! It wasn’t an attempt to rig the information, we thought it might be fun, and we thought it might be a way of having a moment’s self-reflection… there’s no reason why later we can’t interview each other!

So… trying to think of questions which would allow me to share some of my thoughts about me as a writer, I eventually, after a lot of thinking and pondering came up with ten questions.

Here are the first five, and my answers:

  • When did you first start writing, and who inspired you?

I told stories before I ever could write them down; I guess I got this from both my parents who were wonderful story-tellers, imagined tales as well as incidents from their own lives, vividly told to me and my sister. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have stories running through my mind!

  • What is a typical writing day for you?

Lois: The first thing I do in the morning, fortified by tea, is sit here and write… maybe blogging first and then onto my current ‘project’, or maybe if I’ve been puzzling over it, straight into my actual writing. I continue through the day, in between going out, meeting people, teaching my writing classes, doing housework, shopping etc., and then most evenings I work until bedtime… which maybe 1 or 2 in the morning!

  • You write one blog and are very involved in another… does this not take you away from your ‘real’ writing?

Lois: I started my blog as a way of publicising my work – as a self-published author, I don’t have anyone else but me to try and get my novels ‘out there’. However, I have found that writing blogs has been a great way of practicing my craft (if you want to call it that) and writing in different ways and on different topics; I have also ‘met’ some great fellow-bloggers! It has forced me to get over ‘writer’s block’ – which has a positive effect on my other writing.

  • What are you working on at the moment?

Lois: While I had my day job, before I was liberated, writing was tucked in odd corners and at odd hours and although I write several novels, I wrote them in bits and pieces – they need a lot of editing! I am at present working on an unfinished novel from that time… but I also have other plans in mind too!

  • You have just published the fifth novel in your Radwinter series… do any of those writing plans involve more adventures for Thomas Radwinter?

Lois: Yes indeed! When I have finished the editing of the novel I was telling you about, I will get going on the next Radwinter book – to be honest, I can’t wait! Very excited about the new one!

 

I will share the remaining five questions tomorrow, in the meanwhile, if you would like a look at our blog, The Moving Dragon Writes’, and maybe send us some writing to share there, here’s a link:

http://somersetwriters.wordpress.com

… and if you do have any submissions, here is our address:

themovingdragonwrites@Gmail.com

… and here is a link to my books:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C144&crid=X501FNJTSG1S

Getting it out there

New year and new ambition to write and share what we write; this is a post I wrote last year when two friends and I started a new blog. We have been amazed at its success, it has slowly been growing and more and more writers are sharing their work:

The Moving Dragon Writes

Like many writers, we have become increasingly frustrated by the fact that it seems impossible to share our work . The three of us, Richard, John and Lois met through our different U3A creative writing groups and got together to try and think of a way we could promote and publicise our work; just writing it and reading it to yourself, or to a small group of friends, is a little bit lonely, like a singer with a song in an empty hall…

We decided to start a blog; John writes mainly poetry and philosophical pieces, Richard writes funny stories, serious stories, novels, poems and euphonic verse, he writes about his travels… and writes about writing; Lois writes about writing, and shares her thoughts on writing her novels and self-publishing them.

We decided to open our blog to everyone – there are so many writers who don’t seem to be able to find an audience, and blogging seemed the way forward. Through our blog we can showcase their work to a much wider audience. We now have over thirty writers – and we are always on the lookout for more, and welcome writers of every sort; our post include travel writing, book reviews, reminiscences, stories for children, geological walks, history, family history, cookery writing, fantasy writing, stream punk, excerpts from novels, publishing and self-publishing… variety really is the spice of writing!

We have been amazed at our success; within a few months we’d had nearly 1000  ‘visitors’, and 3,000 ‘views’, that is, people who had read our work; these visitors came from literally all across the world which is wonderful, and very exciting!

We would love to share the work of U3A members from creative writing, writing, poetry, history or any other group. We always link work back to the author’s own website or blog if they have one, and we also have a forum where anything to do with writing can be discussed.

… oh, and dragons? Our site is the Moving Dragon Writes!

See our blog here:

https://somersetwriters.wordpress.com

and find us in Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/TheMovingDragonWrites

and also on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/brimdraca

Top ten

I was just looking at the different countries people who read this come from… I know I read blogs from all across the world, fascinating glimpses of places I’ll probably never be lucky enough to visit in real life. because I write in English, it isn’t surprising that many people who visit me come from English-speaking countries, but not all! … so here are my top ten visitor countries so far this year:

  1. Great Britain
  2. USA
  3. Canada
  4. Australia
  5. Ireland
  6. France
  7. Germany
  8. Brazil
  9. New Zealand
  10. Sweden

The next ten visiting nations are:

  1. Netherlands
  2. Italy
  3. India
  4. Denmark
  5. Spain
  6. Malta
  7. Norway
  8. Switzerland
  9. Russia
  10. Singapore

Altogether people from 120 different places have visited my blog! Isn’t that amazing! I’m sure it’s the same for everyone who writes here, that there are contacts and interests from around the world!

Ups and downs

I guess there are many different reasons why people write blogs, maybe as many reasons as there are people doing it! I also guess that each writer has a number of aims in doing what they do and publishing it on their blog.

So why do I write here? The main reason is that I love writing, and blogging is one way of having an audience, but also practising my craft. It’s the London Marathon next week and all across the country (and maybe across the world too) people are in training for it; in a similar way I feel as if my writing here is practising and training and keeping up my creative fitness  – obviously running a marathon is a lot harder than sitting here writing, but every day I am here at my desk. Writing is the first thing I do, and it’s the last thing I do each day; when I am not at my keyboard I am writing in my head, just as those pursing some physical activity are encouraged to visualise their game, so I mentally rehearse what my characters are doing, looking at the scenes from different perspectives, over and over again.

So, I think I work hard at my writing; I enjoy it, I love it, it’s my main focus and it’s what I do, but I need perseverance and stamina. However, it does puzzle me with my blogs how some have more views and comments than others; over the last week, I don’t seem to have had the same interest from readers… I’m not as much disheartened as puzzled… what makes some things I write on a topic more popular than other things I write on the same topic?  Ups and downs, ups and downs…

Back to work, back to writing!!