Monthly Archives: November 2014

Adventures in Writing … bullying for authors

One of the great things about being an author is, you are your own boss.

You don’t have anyone breathing over your shoulder, checking up on what you’re doing, making the criticisms, making your life feel worthless.

Well … if you’re a full-time writer that is.

The problem is if you still have to hold down a job to pay the bills, as writing simply doesn’t give you that luxury. I wish it did. Maybe one day it will for me, but not right now…

So, I juggle between the two. I work and I write, mainly at weekends, but also during holidays (when I become fanatical!).

And here is my focus this month … bullying.

I’m a teacher. We spend a lot of our time talking to the students about bullying, how to fight against it, how to do our best to stop it. But human nature is what it is. There will always be individuals who will try to impose themselves on you. And that is bullying. Simple.

I was bullied at school. The problem with me was, the bullying took place AFTER school. They would stand beneath my bedroom window and jeer at me for going to bed early, or they would come and knock on my front room window as I sat and had my supper. I never told my parents. Don’t ask me why. I just never did. And then, when I was out, they would stalk me, and push and shove, call me names, and once, the most awful time I can remember, they grabbed me by the ankles and held me over the edge of a cliff. They shouted and jeered, demanding I say ‘Don’t drop me, don’t drop me, PLEASE’. Instead, I said, ‘No.’ I wasn’t going to give into them. They had nowhere to go, their threats had failed. So they pulled me back and from that moment, they never troubled me again.

I’m not tough. I’m not that hard. Okay, I can trade punches, but my life has taught me there are better ways to sought out differences and this is what I teach my students.

Fighting, violence … it is never the answer.

So now, I have a situation. I’m being bullied again, only this time it is at work. The asshole I work with has decided my desk is too untidy, so he has taken it upon himself to clear away all my papers. In fact, he’s done this more than once. I took a few days off sick and when I came back, everything was gone. The problem is, I don’t know where.

So … what do I do?

Do I ask him, politely and meekly, where have my things gone, or…

Do I stand up?

Enough is enough, I feel.

There comes a point when you simply have to say ‘No.’ I may be the untidiest person in the world, the most disorganised, but that is still MY DESK. How dare he, or anyone else, pick up MY things and move them.

Enough.

So tomorrow, I stand up. I tell him, ‘you have no right to move my things’ and I’ll see what he says. And if he wants a ruck, I’ll give him one. I used to be pretty good, but I haven’t traded punches for at least 20 years. But, I know a few things. I reckon I could break his nose before he even knows what time it is.

Mm, seems to go against everything I’ve just said. But, do you know what, sometimes … well …sometimes. I wish I was like Hardrada. Bury my battle-axe deep in the asshole’s head.

The great thing about all of this, I can use the entire scenario in a book. Now there’s the joy of being an author. Experience. Writing the truth.

Amen to that.

I’ll let you know how it all pans out.

The GREAT news is, my latest book is now published! Varangian, King of the Norse is the second in my Hardada series, and I’m hopeful. I think it is better than the first, and the first has received plenty of amazing 5-star reviews. So, get out their guys, and buy yourself a copy. Christmas is coming, so why not buy them both! You know it makes sense.

Find the new book HERE.

Thanks for dropping by, and keep on reading!

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Adventures in Writing … interview with Cat

I’ve recently had the good fortune of being interviewed by one of Rebel-E’s wonderful and successful authors, Cat Connor. (Check them out HERE). She is quirky and great fun and seems to have a healthy obsession with zombies, which is cool. I’m watching ‘The Walking Dead’ a TV series of which Stephen King, no less, is a great fan, and it’s great. Not because it has zombies in it, but because it just a great story. But, I digress. One of her questions was the perennial, ‘why do you write?’

I have trouble answering this question.

I’m a natural rebel (maybe that’s why I submitted to RebelE? Who knows). I hate being told what to do. I don’t follow the crowd, never have. This has sometimes resulted in me getting into hot water, but there’s not a lot I can do; it’s the way I am.

So … not wishing to insult anyone, as far as I can see there are two main reasons.

One, people write to make money;

Two, people write because they love it.

I guess some of us fall into both categories, but if you write because you love it, the monetary gain is a wonderful by product of our desire, our need to tell stories. And it is wonderful to make some money, of course it is. But it’s not my main motivation, not by a long way.

I’m a story-teller. I simply love conjuring up new tales to write. I don’t know how I do it. I sit down and write. There’s no mystery, as far as I’m concerned, but I am aware that this something of a thin, possibly unsatisfactory explanation.

I’ve tried to analyse why I do it. It causes all sorts of problems for those around me. It impacts on my social life (of which I have none), and it makes me seem self-centred, selfish, even boring. Whilst others – colleagues, friends, loved-ones – go about their lives, all I do is sit down at my desk and bash away at the keyboard. If you’re not a writer, how can you possibly understand? It’s the downside, I guess, to writing. BUT, if you are creative, you have no choice. If I do not write, I am tetchy, unfulfilled, short-tempered, I stomp around like a big bear brought out of hibernation too soon. More than anything, I feel guilty.

I’m not sure if those who write for money have the same emotional response. And what happens if they don’t make any money? They stop, give up, and latch onto something else. Writers who do it because they have no choice write another book. Then another.

Well, to help me answer Cat’s question, I turned to others for some inspiration. George Orwell put down four reasons why, and his words rang so true for me. I won’t go into all of what he said, but the idea of us longing to have our opinions heard has a lot to be said for it. All too often, I am ignored, not listened to. My opinions don’t count for much. Those around me are far more vociferous than I. I’m not good in social gatherings. I’m too self-conscious, too shy. I’d rather sit in silence, than air my own thoughts. And we are surrounded by so many armchair experts who spout off constantly about what they know. The internet, Wikipedia, the Discovery Channel, have made everyone an expert. It’s also closed people’s minds to the possibilities of formulating one’s own judgements. Sheep.

I’m not a sheep.

I get into trouble because I do not believe the BS.

But I write. And that’s me, my way to give voice to what burns inside.

Perhaps I should have said that in answer to Cat’s question. I’m not sure if I did. Ho hum…

 

I’m working on my website!  Woohoo! I’m adding all sorts of things to flesh out my stories. I’ve already put in some background interest, and extended extracts, so why not call in and have a look HERE. It’s all building to the release of the second in my Varangian series, which should be available very soon.

It’s all very exciting! So keep reading.

 

 

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