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So many ideas….

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Everyone has a book in them….apparently. But is that just one book in everyone?

Quite often with writers, after putting their heart and soul into their first novel, they struggle to find that next idea.

But what happens when you’re so inundated with ideas – not all of them great or even workable – what happens then?

Which project do you go for next?

How easy is it to quieten down the ideas portion of your brain and get on with the task at hand?

Of course this is where the trusted writers notebook comes in handy, you can jot the idea down and try to move on with what you’re currently working on but it isn’t always that easy. This is something I struggle with.

You may be thinking ‘Lucky you’ for having so many ideas for novels and non-fiction works, but believe me many of these ideas simply stay as ideas. Some of them simply aren’t workable or sometimes I don’t really feel the idea. The idea may be ok but not something that I feel that I can stick with for the length of time needed. And some of them let’s face it are pure farce. They’re simply not very good, not very good at all.

And those I would like to pursue want to be pursued NOW. Not in the future, now. And it may appear that I’m giving these ideas a life of their own but that’s what they have. They almost seem to develop without me really thinking about it.

So several projects want to be done all at the same time.

So how do I choose?

I just choose.

Then I spent half the time immersed in that project, and the other half battling with the demon ideas striving to keep them in their place.

I know this is an element of a lack of discipline, and like any person with a problem I hoping that the first step is admitting I’ve got a problem….

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…and my current solutions boil down to two possibilities:

1. Conduct the two projects that are fighting the hardest, simultaneously. One week one project. The second week the other project. And so on and so forth, alternating weeks between the two.

2. Leave one to the side and concentrate on one at a time.

The second seems the most logical. But the first tackles the ideas problem………Shucks*.

The battle continues.

* Apologies to my American followers if I didn’t use this in the correct context.

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Welcoming me back….

…..with open arms (hopefully).

hello im back

I’ve been away for a long while, well not actually away away but just away from the blogging world.

I decided to take a break to concentrate on writing, but more to the point I felt that I was just blogging for blogging sake. And while the writer’s tips tell you to keep on blogging, I didn’t want to fill my blog with stuff I didn’t really care about. When I blog I always think long and hard about what I’m going to write. I don’t want to bore myself, nor especially you with nonsensical, trivial pieces.

But now I’m back, and hopefully refreshed enough to follow through on my above statement [I don't want to bore myself.....].

So what have I been up to?

In a few words: working. I’ve been fairly busy with my day job lately. Writing. And lucky for me going on holiday.

Work’s work.

So let’s talk writing

I’ve managed to [almost] finish my second novel [it just needs another read through after formatting], and get well underway with my next project.

My second novel……..The Crest

From the depths of unrecorded science, from the early times of philosophy emerges one whose destiny is his to decide. Fate has changed his world putting him on a path he did not expect. But one which now he could not imagine living without. John Masters is an ordinary boy from an ordinary home, but the early English plantation of Ireland pulls his father away from him and turns his world upside down. Not content with the life fate has given him, he grabs the opportunity to sail the seas looking for the answers he most craves. Along the way he finds adventure, friendship, conflict, and a life that he did not expect to find.

The horizon awaits; aboard the Golden Crest.

You’ll be hearing more from me about my forthcoming publication, including my publication date, excerpts and character & history profiles, soon.

For my non-fiction history project, it focuses on the history of the British Empire. So there is a lot of work, research and writing involved in this one, which is another reason I’ve been so quiet on the blogging front lately. I’m planning to do a series of non-fiction books relating to the history of the British Empire, both directly and indirectly, as a what some may call an arm-chair historian.

But I’m not completely abandoning my fiction work – I do have another idea on the pipeline waiting to be researched and plotted…..but that is the future.

[You may be able to tell that my head is awash with projects bursting out just waiting for the time for me to get my teeth into them....but that's another story....]

thank you

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Hey folks!

back-soon

Hey folks! I’ve not gone away nor have I disappeared forever.

I’m just taking a little bit of time from blogging to concentrate on my writing. Hopefully, I’ll be back blogging in a week or two which isn’t really that long away really. But with work I’ve only got one day during the working week free from work to do writing so I have to make every minute count at the moment – not that I’m neglecting you lovely people.

I’ll be just using my twitter account instead for a while: @lmhmiller. So you can still keep up with what I’m doing.

Another reason for taking a break is that I don’t want to keep blogging just for blogging sake. I have felt that recent blogs haven’t been my best…..I need some time away from it methinks. I don’t won’t to grow complacent with it, I still want to blog things that we all find interesting – and relevant.

So for a short time I won’t be posting anything, but keep up to date with me on twitter and I’ll be back before you know it.

Thanks folks!

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Good Deeds?

Wizard of Oz: Back where I come from there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called phila… er, phila… er, yes, er, Good Deed Doers.

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I was going to write about working on my ‘blurb’ – the ‘pitch’ for my forthcoming novel and I was going to draw your attention to my first novel A Straight Path that is on sale through  Amazon.

But something has literally just happened that made me change my mind. Some one fell over in the street – fairly spectacularly as they struggled to stay on their feet – luckily they were not hurt – and they were generally fine. A slightly sore wrist, shaken from the fall and quite possibly a bruise to their ego.

Naturally, I stopped to make sure they were ok, making sure nothing was broken and sitting next to them until they felt alright again to go about the rest of their day.

A little selfishly perhaps I thought about the ‘good dead’ I’d just done. Naturally, I didn’t stay with them so could feel good about myself (that came after) but to make sure that they hadn’t hurt themselves. Because of course I didn’t go looking for someone to help. And I like to think if I hadn’t stopped someone else would have done. (Fortunately I’d just stepped out of the hairdressers when it happened right in front of me.)

[I'm not recounting this story to get a pat on the back - it simply got me thinking]

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But should we go looking for someone to help, in whatever way, to do the oft desired ‘one good deed a day’? I’m sure once you start looking then you’ll see more and more people who may need that little act of kindness. But is it ever as easy as that? We’d all love to do one good deed  a day, but actually managing to accomplish it may prove extremely challenging, and that’s not because as a race we’re cruel and self-centered but maybe because these sort of situations don’t arise every day, or at least not in front of me all the time.

I always vow to do more ‘good deeds’. But what constitutes a good deed? Could it be as simple as letting a child press the button at the pedestrian crossing or waiting for the green man before crossing when nearby children are learning the green cross code? Or is it more extravagant than that, like rescuing someone from a burning building? Can it be that no one directly benefits – or sees the benefit? I once picked a trolley out of the middle of a quiet road which leads to a bus station. No one saw, and no one directly benefited.

I guess a good deed would be described as an act of kindness. However small and insignificant it may appear to you, it may have a greater impact on someone around you and you may not even know it.

I think the overwhelming message really is to not be so blinkered to what is going on around you. Oh and just be nice. You never know who you may be helping.

And there it is…my random (or not so random) thought of the day…..

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Are writers really like that?

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I’ve recently begun watching the hit US comedy-drama Californication featuring David Duchovny as troubled writer Hank Moody, who moves to California, suffers from writer’s block, drinks and womanizes. His life is filled to the brim with sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Moving on… to Castle. Again this features a novelist, this time played by Nathan Fillion as Richard Edgar Castle. He too is plagued by writer’s block. The early seasons depict him as an immature womanizer.

Moving on… to Sex and the City… Carrie Bradshaw…. a newspaper columnist who likes fashion and men and happily and regularly we see maxing out her credit card on things she cannot afford and running around the City in high heels looking for the man of her dreams.

I’m sure there are other shows out there too that feature characters as writers/novelists who are portrayed as being a bit of a mess.

Drink, sex and shopping? Is that all we do? Oh with a little bit of writing thrown in to remind us that they are writers.

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Held up against these lives – which I know are dramatized to keep us entertained – my writing life is pretty dull. It’s filled with every spare minute with writing – or at least I aim for it to be….

And…

………..is that how writer’s cope with writer’s block? Hank Moody, according to the TV show hasn’t written anything for 7 (I think) years! Years! Yet still calls himself a writer, still has an agent and still manages to find the money to go boozing almost every night.

[P.S. I may not have watched any of Castle however I am a fan of the other two so my mini rant may be sort of hypocritical.... I know their flaws but still tune in.]

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Waiting, always waiting

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Waiting for my delayed train (again!!!!) yesterday, I got to wondering how much time I (unintentionally) waste waiting.

Waiting for trains (delayed or otherwise), waiting for buses or other public transport. Waiting for the kettle to boil. Stuck in traffic. Waiting for the oven to warm up. Waiting for tea to cook. Waiting for the computer to fully load. Waiting for the bath to run. Waiting for appointments.

All that waiting may seem small buckets individually, but what happens when you add it all up. What could you do with the time?

Yesterday for example my first train was delayed by 9 minutes, therefore missing the connection I usually go for. Therefore I waited a further 20 minutes. So that’s already 29 minutes, lets add another 10 minutes for the oven to heat up, 1 minute (twice) waiting for the kettle…that’s 32 minutes already and that’s just the time I spent waiting off the top of my head.

32 minutes basically wasted through waiting.

What could I have done? Obviously the task has to be able to be split into the waiting times. So…..

1. Could have read a paragraph or several (perhaps even a full chapter) for research purposes.

2. Could have outlined a new project.

3. Could have created a new character profile.

4. Could have decided upon the title of my forthcoming novel.

5. Could have worked on the blurb. Could have worked on the ‘pitch’ to describe what my book’s about.

6. Could have written a review.

7. Could have outlined the title and theme of a potential short story.

8. Could have worked on the improvement and editing on my current project.

9. and so on and so forth……..

 

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Time is precious. You can potentially get so much done if you organize your time while waiting. I’ll definitely be taking my own advice and thinking not only what could I be doing while waiting, but more importantly do it.

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In the children’s corner: War Horse

In the Children’s Corner: War Horse

Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse

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In the deadly chaos of the First World War, one horse witnesses the reality of battle from both sides of the trenches. Bombarded by artillery, with bullets knocking riders from his back, Joey tells a powerful story of the truest friendships surviving in terrible times. The bedlam of battle had begun. All around me men cried and fell to the ground, and horses reared and screamed in an agony of fear and pain. The shells whined and roared overhead, and every explosion seemed like an earthquake to us. One horse has the seen the best and the worst of humanity. The power of war and the beauty of peace. This is his story.

 

A beautiful, heartfelt story. Absolutely brilliant. It’s a book for children and adults alike. Become Joey and witness the First World War through his eyes. Follow Joey through his trials and tribulations, through his friendships and sorrow. It’s a gem. It is brilliantly written and keeps you hooked until the very end. While the idea of the novel, set through the eyes of a horse, may be slightly cliché, but it does really work.

I’ve not read a book for children, since I was….a child myself. Well that’s not strictly true I have read the Harry Potter novels. But apart from that, this is the first one I’ve picked up since. After someone recommended I read Michael Morpurgo, I went to the library shelf and picked up War Horse, and I’m glad I did.

Warning: may bring a tear or two to your eye. Emotional stuff which really shows the futility of war and the importance of friendship.

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