I have been a Goodreads member since 2013, and every year since 2014 I have participated in the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, wherein users set themselves a goal for how many books they will read over the course of the year. For various reasons (the principal one being I chose not to include re-read books) I have yet to successfully complete a reading challenge; and progress on my current one isn’t going so well. I am way behind schedule.
I have recently come to learn that the most rewarding thing for any author, after successfully writing and publishing a book, is the feeling experienced upon discovering that the story you have written has really connected with a reader. This amazing feeling is further magnified when such a reader chooses to share their appreciation for your work with you, and the rest of the world.
It’s a Bank Holiday today and I’m bored so I’ve decided to answer one of the default questions that Goodreads presents to every author who signs up to their author program. The question I’ve chosen to tackle is perhaps the most common one an author gets asked: how do you deal with writer’s block? What I find most interesting about this particular question is the assumption that writer’s block is inherently a problem, and that it needs to be overcome. Personally, I’ve never viewed the matter in those terms so writer’s block has never been a genuine source of frustration to me. Whenever my own creative writing is brought to a grinding halt by writer’s block, I take it as a sign that I need to take a break from my story, so that’s exactly what I do. And depending on my frame of mind that break will manifest in one of the following six ways.
As much as I hate asking for help with anything, sometimes it’s just unavoidable, so I have a minor request for whomever reads this post. If any of you guys are Facebook users, would you mind liking my author page the next time you log in. Apparently, it’s necessary for 25 people to like my page before I am are eligible for a custom URL. Under normal circumstances I would just wait for it to happen of its own accord, but I suspect I’d be waiting for Godot if I don’t issue this call for assistance.
Earlier this year something rather unusual happened to me; I had a 150,000 word unpublished story on my hands. Certain facets of this manuscript were different from every other story I had ever written in my life before, the most notable difference being that it was a finished novel. Prior to its completion, the only stories I had ever successfully completed were short stories and the occasional novella; all previous attempts at novel writing resulted in abandonment, usually because I unceremoniously tore up or deleted the offending work. It was also different in that it was the first story I had written with the explicit intention of having it read by persons other than myself. And perhaps the most unusual thing about the manuscript was fact the that I was actually happy with it, which shouldn’t have been possible; I am never satisfied with my own writing.
Greetings folks, today it’s time for something a little different. No veiled attempts to get you to buy my book; no complaints about how much my life sucks; no insights into the craft of writing. Instead, having recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview with fellow indie author, Rebecca Howie, who is a mystery writer from Scotland, I am posting that interview below for your reading pleasure.
Rebecca self-published her debut novel, The Game Begins, last year, which made enough of a splash to make it up to 16th place on Amazon’s Teen and Young Adult Detective category within three months. She is currently preparing her second book, A Woman Scorned, for publication in the not too distant future.
I have reluctantly come to the conclusion, recently, that I have a self-promotion problem, one that is potentially insurmountable. That problem, in a nutshell, is me; or more to the point my personality. I am what is known as an introvert. (People frequently mistake introversion for shyness, which is incorrect. For a more accurate insight into the psyche of an introvert check out this Huffington Post article.) One of the consequences of this character trait is that I really dislike being the centre of attention. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid bringing attention to myself. Now you’re probably beginning to see my problem.
I have generally taken it for granted that every author, whether they be published or unpublished, has one specific book they read during their childhood that planted the seed which would eventually grow into the desire to be a storyteller. I know that I can trace the beginning of my own journey to becoming an author to a book I first read when I was just seven years old. From that moment, reading and writing became my principal hobbies (although being born into poverty meant I couldn’t afford to do much else).
Although creating stories is something I have been doing for my own entertainment since early childhood, until recently I had never given any thought to what actually inspires the stories I tell. It was during the course of writing my first novel throughout most of 2016 that I first consciously came to realise that the inspiration for my writing comes from two things. It came as something of a surprise to realise these two factors were influencing all my work because beforehand I wouldn’t have thought either lend themselves naturally to writing fantasy or science fiction.