• Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea…

    So ends ‘The Italian Job’, the iconic 1969 movie starring Michael Caine, as the cast hang precariously over an alpine precipice. We never learn the nature of the idea, or whether it works.

    Paramount Pictures Image of the Italian Job

    Mrs L was serious, and knows exactly how her idea will progress.

    The idea

    “I am going to train in Grief Recovery”.

    With that, a new business was born. Over the next few months, a new avenue will be explored, as Mrs L comes back into the world of Learning and Development, having spent a few years kicking back in retail.

    I’m delighted.

    Mrs L is enormously talented, has incredible empathy and communication skills. I can only imagine that helping people deal with grief is tough but rewarding. Mrs L will be brilliant at it.

    She completed a grief recovery programme herself, as a delegate, and found it incredibly helpful. I believe that starting a business started from a passion already has an advantage. It’s a great idea, and every business needs a great idea, but it’s passion that will carry the project through the inevitable challenges that will come.

    I’ll post details of her blog once it is up and running.

    What will I be contributing to this new venture?

    Previously, I posted here, I’m getting the hang of wearing a range of different business hats.

    Given that I am as sensitive as a toilet seat, I will be no use at the sharp end of the business, but I do have a little experience in some of the back office function and the process of going from ‘great idea’ to ‘detailed plan’ to ‘functioning business’. I will be trying to help with some this ‘nuts and bolts’ work.

    Next Steps

    Right now we’re putting together a business plan.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  • Progress Report

     

    Glass of Sherry

    Much underestimated; sherry.

    I have been quiet recently. Progress has been slow. Unusually for me, I have been working.

    I wrote before about setting simple goals this year. As January draws to a close, this is a progress report.

    Progress

    I haven’t lost two stone, or published a novel. I have bought a company though. Look at that. January not yet finished, and I have one of the year’s three goals in the bag. How’s that for progress?

    I have signed the contract for the deal, but I can’t reveal what it is for a couple of days yet, not until I have paid for it. They can be funny like that; vendors.

    My last venture was in partnership with a great friend, and this one is no different. However, this time, I am the senior partner. Allow me to introduce my Chief Operations Officer, Tamodan Midnight Sun, or Nero as he is more commonly known.

    Nero, COO of pocketnotebooks

    Nero Assessing Progress

    CV

    This is his first real management position, but he is off to a flying start. We have had several management meetings, and he is never short of an apposite bark or dismissive sniff.

    We have secured ourselves a very desirable office on the Castledown Business Park, and tomorrow we collect the keys.

    Exciting times.

  • C is for Creativity

    Creativity-definition-1

    In my last post, I wrote about a growing addiction to stationery – particularly to notebooks.

    With a new notebook and a full pen you can go anywhere. You can be anyone. At the end of the day – you just make it up. Yesterday, I blogged about the wonderful Bureau Direct. I must also mention Spotlight Stationeryanother company that provides gorgeous things.

    I thought that finding creativity was the challenge. Overcoming the blank page.

    I learned that the secret was fifty words. If on any morning, I could write fifty words, then I could write five hundred, a thousand, fifteen hundred. The key was to churn out those first fifty. That’s it! I thought. I’ve cracked Creativity. I’m a writer. Eureka!

    I am learning that a writer must be many things. Creativity is a part of it for sure, but for me, it is just the first part. Once the imagination has run riot, another ‘C’ needs to step forward; the craftsman needs to emerge and fashion the writing into a novel. Then the marketeer must emerge and promote the book.

    If this draft is to become my best-ever debut novel, then the craftsman is going to need to work with the creative. At the moment, I’m not sure that they are even on speaking terms.

    This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. Find out more about it by clicking here.

    Blogging from A to Z Challenge

  • In it to win it.

    business-competion

    This week I honoured a promise made on #writingchat

    #writingchat is weekly meet up on twitter, Wednesday 2000 hours UK time for writerly types. There are some great people there – come along. Just use the hashtag.

    I submitted a short story into a competition for the first time. I am not telling you which one. I will report back once the results are published.

    Actually, I promised to enter and win a writing competition in 2016.

    Although, I am convinced that the story is, in fact, a masterpiece, I am prepared to accept that it is unlikely to win. I can’t win the first competition that I enter, surely?

    Therefore, I am working on several ideas at the moment. Naturally, I am scouring the literary world for competitions with extremely few entrants.

    I have even written a poem.

    No. Really. I have. I am going to enter that into a competition too.

    One thing that has come from the entering of competitions is that I have started to use ‘Red Pen’, an editing system and ProWritingAid, an app. I will post a review here soon.

    Before I go…

    Further to my post about medical studies, I came across another on twitter this morning, courtesy of @lifehacker and @beccacaddy all about people over 65 and sarcasm. The study found that the over 65s don’t get it. Really?

    Most of the over 65s I know can cut me to shreds with sarcasm.

  • Ben Adams. Living the Dream – Writing

     

    An Author’s Life

    The link above will take you to the blog of Ben Adams, a very dear friend of mine.

    Well actually, not a very dear friend. We have never actually met.

    Ben Adams

    Dashingly handsome though isn’t he?

    I stole the picture from his website – so he is doubtless lining up a cohort of solicitors to take me for every penny I’ve got.

    We might have swapped the odd blog comment, or even twatted each other – sorry, I think that should read “tweeted each other” – but Ben is fast becoming a mentor to me.

    He has done it, you see. He has written a book and published it. I know he has actually sold some, because I bought one. Counting his Mum and the ones he bought himself, he must be in double figures now at least.

    Don’t tell anyone – but it is actually pretty good. Buy the Kindle version here

    A couple of months ago, Ben took the huge step of resigning a perfectly good job to focus on being a writer.

    Nutter.

    He is soon to publish another novel! That will put him ahead of Harper Lee in terms of output at least.

    How envious am I?

    He’s living the dream. He is writing. He has all the time in the world to sit there and write – to immerse himself in his characters, writing darlings, WRITING!

    Whereas I, I, …. I, …oh wait a minute….I’m not working much either am I?

    What he is doing, is knuckling down, eliminating excuses and making time to do what he wants to do – Writing.

    He has established a routine and got on with it.

    Hmmm…

    Must dash – I have a novel to write!

  • R is for Rutherford

    Sean Rutherford.

    My hero.

    In my books I mean.

    When I say books, I mean the books that I am going to write.

    I am currently in the midst of the first in what I hope will become a series of novels about Sean Rutherford.

    It is with complete honesty that I can say that I do not know how the series will proceed or finish.

    Sean has his own ideas about how the Rutherford books will go and he is not saying as yet.

    Young Sean is, at present, enjoying himself in post-Soviet-bloc Hungary.

    He has new Russian friends with seemingly endless supplies of beautiful girls and currency. What could possibly go wrong?

    Curiously, he is spending a lot of time in places that I once saw. Sean is perhaps a little braver and more adventurous than I was.

    Although obviously, he is not as dashing or handsome as his creator…

    A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0

    Great blogs here

  • N is for Novel Writing

    A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0

    Where does the time go?

    All of a sudden, I am way behind.

    More organised bloggers are posting S – and I am at N.

    I will make a concerted effort to catch up by Monday.

    I would love to report that I have been so caught up in writing my debut novel that my blogging has suffered.

    However, I have simply been caught up in ‘stuff’. Sorting out the garden, bits and pieces of corporate tasks, bits and pieces of golf club admin and other important, but uninteresting chores.

    Am I avoiding my novel?

    No. I’m not. I have gazed intently at my navel. (Not an easy task in itself) Sometimes, we have to concede that life can just get in the way.

    The novel is still being written, in my head. It will come out.

    I’m sure of it.

    Now – got to run, I have O,P,Q,R,S and T staring over my shoulder.

  • Oh No! The Sun’s out.

    blu-demo-attachment-2

    Don’t get me wrong, I am usually partial to a bit of Spring and sunny weather. Right now, I am thinking that I need to be outside enjoying it rather than sitting at my desk writing about it.

    I bought and read a book yesterday. (This is a habit I encourage you, dear reader to develop. Keep an eye out for anything by Stuart Lennon).

    I found this particular book while wandering around in the slightly mad worlds of Twitter and Blogs. The book can be found on amazon (Click on the word book earlier in this sentence!)

    It is by a guy called Ben Adams. I enjoyed it. It is an easy read, and good fun. Ben is a little cagey about which bits are his experience and which are his imagination – but that is at it should be. We are British males. We don’t want too much of this metrosexual nonsense. We are uptight and proud of it, what?

    Currently, I am stalking Ben. He published ‘Six Months to Get a Life‘, his first book, in January and his blog records his experiences. Damn it.

    I will definitely use different pictures here if nothing else. He posted about #MondayBlog.

    You can read it here but essentially it is a hashtag which one can add to tweets. Fellow authors then pick up on this and retweet and favourite it.

    I only have a rudimentary understanding as to what the last sentence means, but I am hopeful that it is a good thing.

    This page is on a new theme. Again.

    Mrs L pointed out to me that having a ‘sign up’ box right at the bottom of the page was not necessarily very clever. So now it sits proudly top left.

    So…no excuse not to sign up now.

    Oh yes!

    The book. Sean is getting along OK. With my long and varied experience of Central European hangovers, I found writing about Sean’s remarkably easy.

    Until of course, the Sun came out.

  • ‘When words don’t come easy….’

     

    ‘When words don’t come easy, I make do with silence and find something in nothing’  Strider Marcus Jones – Poet.

    Well there’s a thought. Very nicely put Strider.

    Also, what a fantastically poetic name! You had me at Strider.

    Right now, words are coming easy in my little corner of Hampshire.

    My target is a paltry 500 words per working day, which should allow plenty of time for editing and rewriting before reaching my target self-publication date at the end of April 2016.

    By working days, I do not mean days spent in furious concentration in front of a screen; I mean weekdays.

    I know from experience that an easy target motivates me to get ahead, to ‘bank’ some overachievement against the inevitable days where the golf course, the pub, or indeed both, are just too seductive to resist.

    Therefore, the target is to be at 3500 by bedtime. At the time of writing, I am at 8,017.

    Today, one thousand words were in the bank before ten. I rose at six, walked the dog and was at the screen before eight thirty. For the book’s hero, it was Friday night. I have always been fond of Friday night, so words came easy.

    Now for all of you…

    Oh all right, for both of you:

    I am happy to reveal that the hero has been christened.

    Sean. Sean for a brother that I never knew.

    Now, I am going to have a little look at Strider’s Facebook page and maybe even mosey on to his Amazon page and buy a wee book.

    The photograph by the way comes courtesy of Death to Stock. Well worth a quick look too, if you blog.

     

  • The Secret to Becoming a Better Writer

    See! All of this perusing the internet is not a complete waste of time. I stumbled upon a site all about blogging in particular and writing in general. Brian Clark – has very kindly made the image above available.

    So the secret is out. He has even made a pdf available should you wish to produce your own poster. Really.

    A Writer writes.

    My project is going well. I have taken to heart the advice above. My focus is on getting words on paper (or at least into the computer). I am resisting the temptation to do too much editing at this stage.

    The logic being that there is always plenty of time to edit – but you cannot edit what is not there. It is difficult to argue with that.

    My target is to rattle off 500 words per working day as a minimum.

    So far, I have managed 5,000 words in the first five days, but I am realistic enough to realise that things are likely to get harder after the first flush of enthusiasm.

    Several hours today were spent on this site. I had chosen a theme where the focus was on everything except the posts – and it is the posts that this should be all about. So, I installed a new theme.

    I was feeling quite smug, until my wife asked me why I was bombarding Facebook with nonsensical posts.

    My apologies to everyone on Facebook and Twitter that I hit with my avalanche. This post is on purpose – but those this afternoon were not. Whoops.

    What am I looking for? I am looking for YOU. Yes, you there. I am new to this. Both to writing and to blogging.

    Sign up to the newsletter at the bottom of this page and it will drop into your mailbox each month.

    Comment on the posts – got some advice? Let me hear it. I have a lot to learn.