The existential existence of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Once again it has been too long since I wrote a meaningful post for these Ramblings; but life has that way of knocking you off course when you least expect it.

Although we should really anticipate that to happen, because that is what life is; a series of random, arbitrary events one after another.

Some of those events affect us instantaneously, shock us into immediate reaction. Others slowly reveal themselves through a string of smaller incidents which accumulate, gradually pushing us to a point where we are forced to take notice, to take action.

Yet the most disturbing are those which only reveal themselves after the event. The sly, stealthy spone2little beggars that inexorable invade our lives, like fine plant roots microscopically threading their way through solid concrete, destabilising and destroying it progressively yet unnoticed, until it shatters or crumbles.

This is where many of my thoughts have been over the past few weeks.

You see, even though I have been busy publishing, designing, writing and doing all sorts of whatnots, my mind, or some sections of it, have been chewing over and considering the world, life, the universe and the deeper meaning of SpongeBob SquarePants existential existence.

spone1

All of which brings me to this:

So, there I was one morning, standing in the bathroom and looking into the mirror. This was not a vanity thing; (I was considering if I could get away another day without shaving!) when I looked at myself directly.

Now, let me explain what I mean about the term ‘directly’.

spone4Generally, when we look in the mirror we are not looking at ourselves, we are looking at and for parts of ourselves. We are looking for stray hairs, grey hairs, wrinkles, blemishes, spots, pimples, dark patches and crow’s feet and so on. It is not often that we take that step back, at least in the mental perspective, to look at ourselves as a whole.

 

spone3

Once more, we are too distracted by our ever expanding waistline, or drooping…(jowls?), the slight hunching of our shoulders or offset bend of our neck. Our eyes are taken from our whole. We fail to see ourselves in our entirety.

But that is what I did that morning. For the first time in an absolute age I saw myself. I knew the reflection was me, I accepted that.

Yet I had difficulty in recognising the fact.

You see life’s events have caught up with me. Those sly, stealthy little beggars, the ones that inexorable invade our lives, like fine plant roots microscopically threading their way through solid concrete, had worked their threadlike tendrils into every conceivable part of my body, with perhaps, the exclusion of my eyes.

Yes, it is natural. It is what life does. It is called aging and it will/is happening to us all.

But that is NOT where I am going with this Rambling.

I am going here…

Looking in that mirror was a point of reference for my personal diary. A mark placed upon my life’s calendar. It was a recognition point.

My life, and I suspect yours, are full of these reference points; the moments when you realise that one stage, one phase of your life is over and another begun.

I can think back and recall many such stages. Most like this one, unrealised until after the change has occurred.

I can do much the same with my writing. In fact, they have often gone hand in hand with a weird synchronicity. But then again that is, on consideration, not so strange.

You see, I am not the type of writer who focuses solely on one genre; I write more from the foundation of heart, of feeling, of whatever may be blowing my frock up just now. Which is probably why I have so many works in progress at any given time.

DovesHard3tttAs an example I have published works ranging from a fictional novel about C&Vfront1abduction and love, to books of emotive and disturbing poetry, through to short stories of crime and non-fictional historic chronicles.

I love writing fiction as much as I do non-fiction, such as this Rambling. But I can still trace the changes in tempo, in cadence and style of each period of time, each phase of my life in which they were written.

My writings and words reflect the beat of my heart, the pulse of my soul and my temperament. They have changed and aged over time as has my body.

Which brings me to a question.

How is my mind?

Is that as clear and agile as it once was, or are the threads of invasive destruction even now winding their unseen fibres within?

I wonder.

I know that, at least until the next time I look at myself in the mirror, I shall continue to write, to leave a trail of my existence behind, a legacy of my being.

I am, for now, ready for any event life may wish to throw my way, just as I am in my continued ponderance behind the theory of SpongeBob’s existence.

Feel free to check out my website 

A great find for better Book Marketing

writers-block

Like most authors I am continuously looking for ways to do things better, not only improving my writing, my plots, characters, details and realism/escapism of my words. But also in ways to promote my work, to get my books in front of potential readers, dare I say, even to create ‘fans’ of my writing, people who just ‘cannot wait’ to read my next book.

None of these things are easy and, as I often ask myself, why do I bother at all to make my work public? Why do I publish my stories, and why, oh why do I expend so much time promoting my books and my blogs?

There must be a much easier way to achieve my goals without spending hours upon hours in front of a computer ploughing my way through the hosts of social media sites, in the hope that one person may, just may buy one of my books today.

The trick is of course to have a marketing strategy and a comprehensive promotional plan. Yep, that was the first thing that sprang into my mind the moment I finished my first book.

When that final keystroke printed the ‘d’ in ‘The End’ I should have been focused on an

integrated advertising and publicising stratagem, designed to maximise exposure and to create interest and awareness of my book in all the constant and variable media channels, avenues and vehicles possible, being fully inclusive of traditional forms as well as online technology based means such as social media platforms and internet related mediums

or at least something along those lines.

But I chose to heave a great sigh of relief and swill down a cold beer.

I do not think that I am alone in doing such a thing on completing a one hundred and ten thousand word novel either?

Which brings me back to the start of this rambling, ok it does not, but I’m going back there anyway!

So how can I do things better? As for the writing it really just comes down to writing, editing, re-writing, more editing and then doing it all again. That is something generally called practise and, in all honesty, that is the only way anyone can improve, although some suggestions and mental nudges can help stimulate ones muse.

In this blog, if you care to look back and read some of the previous posts, the archives, you will find a plethora of tips, ideas and ‘other stuff’ which will assist, I hope, in doing just that.

The second part, the marketing and promotion, which is the bit we all would like help with, the bit we could all do with making easier. Once again I have jotted down a few tips in the back catalogue of this blog.

But, and this is a big but, there is so much ‘out there’ that I am still finding. Some I dismiss as pretty darned stupid, inappropriate, or too expensive…even a few ‘dodgy’ sites and apps. I am certain you know of some of these too.

However, every now and then I come across a gem or two, or three. When I do I try to share them with you via this blog,‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind.

Today’s little gem is in fact a big shiny diamond.

Melanie Rocket’s website is a pretty cool place to visit if you are a writer or author. The problem is where I start in explaining what she has going on here.

Firstly I think a brief bio will set the scene, so here goes.

MER-logo

Melanie’s background of writing, photography and television production, positioned her perfectly for the Internet. She has been developing websites and marketing strategies for the Internet for the past 20 years and has worked with some of the top Internet marketers in the world.

Melanie has written twenty-six books, thousands of articles, hundreds of television scripts and is a non-stop idea machine. She often says, “I work far harder for my clients, than I do for myself!” This is evident from the strong Internet presence she develops for her clients.

Her clients have referred to Melanie as “the Web Witch, the Internet Wizard, “the Internet Goddess, the Traffic Cop” and as “Simply Amazing.” Melanie happily answers to all of them, though she admits to preferring “Goddess.”

Check out Melanie’s blog about book marketing http://melanierockett.com/category/book-marketing/

Or how about tips on using WordPress http://melanierockett.com/category/wordpress/

Like something more, then take a peek at some time saving software  http://melanierockett.com/category/productivity-tips-and-tools/

Looking for a good book reviewer? Check out the directory http://melanierockett.com/book-reviewers-directory/

There is so much more here too, like the services Melanie offers.

“I work one-on-one with authors and publishers to assist them with their  book writing and publishing projects.  From consulting to coaching to providing marketing advice and services.   It all starts with an email or a phone call”.

You can contact Melanie via her ‘contacts’ page on her website, just use any of the links above.

I hope you find at least one thing to make your life easier and your marketing planning better.

Books end

Have a great day, Paul.

Late train home

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I find the dull metallic hum, as the train pulls away from the harsh glow of neon lights on the station platform, somewhat comforting in its reassurance. As is entering the dark cavern of the subway tunnel whilst cocooned in the dim warmth of the vibrating carriage.

Once again the familiar tempo of steel wheels upon the rails, and the irregular rocking as the train rumbles along, calms the customary angst which always seemed too accompany me in hectic, overcrowded places.

Seated comfortably, time slows. Harmony descends upon me like a cloak of serene velvet. I sigh out loudly, a liberated wisp of disquiet flutters away, disappearing into the ether.

Unbuttoning my coat and flicking the hood from my head, I leaned back stretching my weary legs out in front of me. The carriage is empty. I am alone. Peace and calm descend.

At this time of night the subway takes on a different form, its very structure becomes prominent. Vibrations resound in every wall, wafts of cool air frequently gust throughout; inhale, exhale, the subway breathes deeply. Recurrent metallic taps echo from the depths of the black underpasses in harmony with those rustling organic whispers. It is as if the subway comes to life, wakens as an entity in itself.

I love the subway at this time of night, which is why I like to take the late train home. I can relax.

I like to stare through the glass, trying to make out what the indistinct passing shapes that flash by actually are. Long, thick wires twist together, hanging in sooty swags from the tunnel walls, like massive black anacondas awaiting unsuspecting prey. The occasional light, dulled by a layer of caked on grime, giant fireflies? And dark recesses, small arches sunken into the curvature of the walls. What lays within? Possibly a door, a secrete door to another world, a parallel universe?

Then there is the reflection, my reflection, eerily unfocused, staring back at me from the darkened window pane. But is that me? I think not. Looking I see the reflection has a smirk on his face, he is hiding his knowledge of me, or a secret. He has the answers I seek. The answers I have spent my whole life trying to find. He smiles before fading away as the train enters a brightly lit station.

stock-footage-reflections-in-subway-window

These are my fantasies, my late night daydreams as I travel home. This is where my reality and illusion merge, where imagination and invention combine.

This is the birthplace of whimsy and caprice.

This is why I like to take the late train home.

© Paul White 2014

FFCO1808‎2014

Meet my Best Friends (& share them too)

I Love WordPress


My Rambling of the day.

I know the majority who read ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind’ are indeed writers and it is with you in mind I try, in my haphazard way, to offer advice and share knowledge about all facets of a writer’s life, from the more technical stuff to empathetic ‘hugs’ during those long lonely hours when nothing written seems to work.

One subject I have not broached so far is a writer’s own library. I do not mean the reading material we have for our own pastime, but that which we turn to for help and aid during the long toil of writing a book, or a poem, or an article….or even (possibly) a Blog such as this.

I have, over the years, amassed a huge array of various reference and resource works which sit heavily on and bow the shelves of my bookcases.

Even though we have ease of access to the infinitude of the interwebs content and can collate and bookmark pages, sites and various content to our heart’s desire, it is not always so practical to move away from our works and scuttle back and forth electronically.

At best this method causes interruption to the creative flow, at worst it is a distraction where one can easily click, just for a moment, a quick glance, at our email or network sites… then, three hours later, we wonder why we have achieved so little progress.

This is where a book, those pale pages which one has to turn manually, become so much more than just good friends, they become our tutors, our mentors, our coaches, they allow us to find the information we seek while keeping us focused on the task in hand.

Often, while writing I have three, four, seven, even ten various books open on my desk. Each one a weighty and mighty tome of facts and particulars, essential specifics and verifications which I can access at a glance without dismissing the words I am working on, the complex wordsmithing I am hammering out on the furnace of imagination.

You may ask, what are these bound pages of mystical knowledge I keep about me?

Then I shall reveal their names, some you may already be acquainted with, others may yet be strangers, but all are, to me, good friends.

ALL the books below can be viewed on Amazon by clicking on the title


These are some you may have, or at least you may have one of their cousins……

The Oxford English Dictionary.oed

The Chambers Dictionary.

Webster’s Encyclopaedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.


These friends may not be quite so familiar, but are worth knowing…………6

Concise Dictionary of English Etymology, by Walter W. Skeat.

Dictionary of Difficult Words, by Robert H. Hill.

Dictionary of Word Origins, by John Ayto.


You should, in my humble opinion make friends with the following……download (3)

Grammatically Correct by Anne Stilman.

Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King.


These folk may be a little unusual, but are worth inviting into your home…..download (2)

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

The Ultimate Loo Book, Mitchell Symons.

Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story, by Michael Rosen.


Lastly, but far from least, these should be among your very best friends…

download (2)

How to Write a Damn Good Novel: (A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling), by James N. Frey.

Plot & Structure: (Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish), by James Scott Bell.


Clearly, these are just a few of those books which line my office walls like paladins. I think you can find copies on Amazon, or indeed go and browse your local bookstore where you may find a lonely discarded volume in need of a good home.

I hope this post has been enjoyable to read as well as helpful. Please follow this blog if you are not already doing so, as I have many more ideas and thoughts I would like to share with you.

Thank you for reading, Paul.


Find out more about me, my books, works in progress and more by visiting my website HERE 

One tip which helps make writers successful.

Crazy Writer


Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will know I have three major dislikes when having conversations and discussions with other writers.

By writers I am being all inclusive, whether you are and Author, a Blogger, Journalist or Essayist, in fact whatever disciplines you generally undertake; although some parts are directed more towards creative writers, the overall subject matter is applicable to all genres of writing.

Firstly let me reiterate the three dislikes I mentioned above.

One, Lists.3021379-inline-johnny-cashs-perfect-to-do-list

This is a quick cop-out for many Bloggers, Journalists and Article writers. I could quite easily have entitled this Blog as ‘Three things I hate about writers’, or ‘The ten worst things to do as a writer’. It is so easy to throw together a few clipped items about anything and collate a list. It is bullshit and writing at its laziest.

In fact, I should not grace ‘lists’ as writing at all but as compiling.

(That said the more astute of you will realise that you are reading point one on a ‘list’ of three items)!

LMAO.

Yet this blog is not just a meaningless list of three things; there is a point to it, some REAL content. (Which differentiates my construal of just listing items for little reason and using them as an inclusive part of a constructive essay).

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writers-block-graphic-how-to-cure-uncreative-periods-hemingway

So on to my second dislike, Writers Block.

This condition does not exist. It is false, a myth, a feeble excuse dreamed up by lazy writers who need something to blame, besides their own inadequacies, for not writing.

This may sound harsh, but honestly it is the truth.

As an example you may be at a particular stage, in this great and wonderful novel which you are writing, where the plot has become so tangled and complicated you are having problems writing any further, so you stop writing.

Then you start to hesitate about returning to the book, because you know you may have to go back and re-write much of it, so you procrastinate.

This procrastination then starts to fester in your mind. You worry if you can write well enough, or that all these past weeks have just been a waste of time. So you, once again, put off writing anything and say you have writers block.

BULLSHIT.

The whole point of writing is to sit down and write. It does not have to be a stream of constant writing on one project or one topic. Start a new book or write a short story. Write a Blog about something you like, or a tale from your life. If you do not want to blog, write a poem or two, or three. Even a letter to your Mother or Sister.

Write something, just write something, while your mind is working out what you need to do to get your novel back on track. If you are writing anything you do not have an excuse to believe you have writers block. Simple.

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writers-block

Ok, Number Three dislike. Lack of things to write about!

Yes, I have heard this one too many times, but it still amuses me.

I have heard writers say things like, ‘I have some rough ideas, but nothing solid’ and ‘I’m not sure how to start’ or ‘I don’t know what to write about’ even ‘I have a story, but don’t know how to end it’.

The one thing in common was that none of these writers had actually started to write anything. Therefore it amused me because often you do not have a ‘beginning’ or an ‘end’ or that much content UNTIL you start to write. That is what re-writing and editing is all about, why ‘cut & paste’ is such a popular tool!

Inspiration and stimulation are the keystone to most writing, (I say most because little of that is needed in technical manuals)! But as I have said this Blog is directed at creative writing where the most important aspect IS having a plethora of subject matter, ideas, concepts, notes, notions, outlines, inklings and whatevermacallits floating about in both your conscious and un consciousness.

Once you have found a way to keep your creative stimuli fully charged you will never ‘run out’ of ideas, subjects and topics to write about.

Which neatly brings me to the point of this Blog, the one tip which has helped many writers become successful at what they do.

plug-in world1

You have to ‘PLUG IN’ to the world around you. You have to become sponge-like and absorb the world with all its idiosyncrasies.

I read the newspapers, not for the depressing headlines about conflicts, politicians filling their pockets at the taxpayers’ expense, or how the financial state of outer-Mongolia is affecting house prices in Downtown Backwater.

I read the local and regional newspapers looking for odd, offbeat stories. I try and extract the human and emotional feelings of those affected. I do the same with the radio, I do not have music on all day but tune into certain stations which cover a myriad of articles and ‘human interest’ stories.

Many times I scan the internet, from other peoples Blogs to news articles from Huffington, New York Times, the London Times, and a thousand and one other sources which are readily available.

I type into the search bar things like ‘Sad Stories’, ‘Mad Men’, ‘murder scenes’, ‘Strange Encounters’ and a hundred and one other random searches.

I am not looking to steal anyone’s work, this is not a matter of plagiarism, but a way to find inspiration, stimulation. I am looking for that ‘Trigger point’ to prompt me to start a new story. The story will most probably be an amalgamation of ten thousand and one little bits and pieces that I have remembered or noted, which have just become a single piece due to that ‘Trigger’.

So go on, take a tip from some great authors and ‘Plug in’ to the world around you.

It works for me!

Thank you for reading this rather rambling, Rambling, Paul.

© Paul White 2015

http://paulznewpostbox.wix.com/paul-white-writer

RACO050315

Amassing the Arsenal.

Skull-on-Fire-Best-Music-HD-Wallpaper

Once again I have been motivated to write by something I heard on the radio, a passing comment made during a documentary about playing bass guitar.

One might ask what has a guitar, or playing music, got to do with writing fiction, or writing anything for that matter?

I agree it is a valid question because when you play music you usually play in front of an audience. You may practice alone, or with a small group of musicians, but when it comes to getting your art ‘out there’ you seek an audience. It is a public performance.

Whereas, for us writers, we have a rather insular art form in comparison. We write alone, proofread alone, edit and re-write alone. Sometimes we may ask someone to read our work, to give feedback or to help proof it. But generally writing is a reclusive business. When our work is complete and published, it is read by one person at a time. 

Well, that is generally the case. The author may give sample readings, a few paragraphs, chapters, or a selected portion of their latest novel during a promotional tour, or at a book signing. Reading or writing clubs may share a session, as may students, to analyse and critique your work. But these are rare examples. It is not customary for authors to perform on stage, reading aloud to an audience.

So where and how, I hear you ask, do I associate the comments in that radio broadcast about playing the bass guitar to writing.

It is quite simple. The remarks were about perfecting one’s art. The presenter spoke of how nice it is, and I quote,

‘To hear someone who knows what they are doing, doing the thing they do so well’.

The presenter then said that when a musician

let’s rip in one mad burst, it is a magnificent thing to behold’.

I shall not argue or decry those observations because I wholeheartedly agree. When a well-practised artist performs to the height of their ability it is a truly wonderful thing indeed.

But it is getting to that peek, reaching the level of talent and knowing when to use it to perform. That is the key to becoming excellent in your chosen field.

Before we can even consider getting up onto that stage and baring our artistic soul to the world at large, we must have ascertained the required skills and built up the confidence to stand there and strut our stuff, without the slightest doubt, without the possibility of making total fools out of ourselves.

To reach that objective we must practice and all practice is, is building up your creative arsenal, amassing the skills and techniques which will make you a creative force to be reckoned with.

If you are new, or relatively new, to the world of writing and publishing it is wise to remember that it is a very lonely and frustrating world at times, at most times.

If you are planning or writing a novel, you are biting off a huge chunk of optimistic expectation and while I do not want you to stop, or for these words to put you off writing, I do ask you this. Have you built up your arsenal of skills and talent to the level which you feel confident of standing before a crowd reading your work out aloud? Could you perform your work to an audience?

Local-administration-chie-007

I have been writing for some time, and I am working on another novel. Yet at this moment I do not have enough of it written to the standard I would feel comfortable reading it out aloud, reading it to a critical group of spectators.

So, I carry on writing other works at the same time. I write poetry because that hones one’s skills at manipulating words to create imagery.

I also write Flash Fiction. I find it focuses the mind to explanation with the fewest words possible, challenges me to build quick twists and plots into a short paragraph or two.

I write Short Stories, sometimes these are expanded versions of my Flash Fictions or taken from the inspiration of a poem, either mine or someone else’s.

I also write Articles and Essays, which I suppose this ‘Rambling‘ is. They also present their own ordeals and criteria. So everything and anything I write is practice. I am still amassing my techniques. I am continually building my own arsenal of experience and skill.

Watch out, because one day I shall unleash it all in that mad burst of artistic showmanship. But not just yet, because the whole point of a skill is knowing when to use it and when not to.

I am not yet quite ready to get up on that stage………. not quite, yet!

.

Thank you for reading this Rambling.

Note:

Since writing this, back in 2015, I now frequently read short stories to audiences in theatres in and around my home county. I have read my poetry on the local radio station.

Perhaps, tomorrow or the next day, maybe next week, I’ll be ready to go international? who knows?

For now, I am happily amassing my arsenal.


Have you read any of my short stories? I  have published several as

Electric Eclectic books which you can find HERE

EEpwbooks