How Writers Survive Bad Reviews.

“If there is one thing that writing teaches an author, other than how easily the semi-colon might be misused and how gleefully people love to point it out to you, it is to prevail. Writing gives purpose to an aimless day and teaches resilience….”

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Mark Twain.

There is so much focus upon writing, on the magic tips and tricks that at times the real skill is neglected. And that is the art of disallowing poor feedback or bad reviews from ruining your day, and your ENTIRE BLOODY LIFE AND EVERYTHING THAT HAS LED TO THIS DISASTROUS MOMENT, which is pretty much what neighbours heard when I read my first 2-star review of the Life Assistance Agency on Amazon. Ironically writers chase these reviews because it helps with algorithms and sales, although no one has yet provided a coherent answer as the relationship between the two without ending up sounding like a conspiracy theorist. And what reviews don’t help with is your mental stability. Or do they?

(Yet) another great thing…

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How to beat the Winter Blues..?

It’s never too early for advice on how to beat the winter blues, right? And it’s definitely always a treat to read & share a blog by one of my favourite people who also happens to be a writer I’m totally in awe of.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Yes, it’s How to Beat the Blues season again. And I don’t mean Manchester City, although they are probably the least of Crystal Palace’s worries. It’s the time of year when weekend newspapers pack away features on 10 best bikinis, Get Fit Without Lifting a Finger, Top Ten things to do in Ibiza (and two to avoid) and How To Get a Beach Body by the Time you reach it From Your Hotel, and turn instead to life beneath the heavy skies. Winter is coming.

So, in the magnanimous spirit with which Scott Wildblood set up his speculative Life Assistance Agency, whilst failing to look up assistance in the dictionary, we idly consider how we might combat those seasonal blues.

Don’t look at the internet. The first birthday greeting I got was from a German company offering me a £5 voucher after I bought a record stylus from them…

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How to Avoid the Perils of Modern Shopping…

If the intro immediately sends you to YouTube like it did me, make sure you come back to read the blog – always worth it.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

We’re S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G….we’re shopping. – Pet Shop Boys

Shopping used to be so easy. When I was a boy (oh, here we go Grandad), we went grocery shopping once a month and made it last 28 days. February was the only month in which we failed to run out of provisions. It was a day trip ending in playing with boxes on the lawn.  Anything lacking was grown on the allotment, which sadly didn’t grow chocolate biscuits, or Kellogg’s Frosties.  Shops were windows for pressing noses up against.

Despite this I thought I lived in the future, which is a strange prism through which to see the 1970s, but in light of my father’s wartime experiences it was Disneyland. But compared with today we lived in Eastern Europe, when towns would hang out bunting and hire a brass band to celebrate arrival of the first washing machine. Our local toy shop…

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Dark

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I have gone back to my roots, no more bottle blonde for me. Although the decision to go back to dark was kind of spontaneous, it had been at the back of my mind for a long time.

As the world turns away from reason in favour of emotion, the false prophets proliferate – it is more important than ever to be as authentic as one can possibly be. This blog that at one stage meant so much to me has taken a backseat, as some of you may have noticed.

People I thought I had an understanding with, people I interacted with on the basis we shared the same love for words, and literature, and art…those people who pride themselves on being tolerant have been anything but…and clearly unable to separate the ‘art’ from the ‘artist’ – an attitude that’s prevalent in today’s society.

I will never apologise for having an opinion, for the ability to criticise *everything*, for the fact my heart doesn’t rule over my brain. I do not believe it is a creative’s responsibility to pontificate and tell the masses what to think and what to like. I do not believe in demonising and ostracising based on political opinion alone. Unfortunately the majority of creatives feel differently. More’s the pity. But I won’t be bullied and I won’t be silenced. Without free speech, an individual  simply isn’t free. Deplatforming is an abomination, shutting down any kind of speech is abhorrent.

I can be dismissed and discarded by hundreds of people I have everything in common with – except for one seemingly crucial thing – and I still wouldn’t change the way I am and the way I speak.

If we share the same interests but you decide to pull the plug on our friendship because I don’t believe in open borders and uncontrolled immigration, because I believe ALL religions should be subjected to the same level of criticism, etc…then fair enough and so be it.  Your loss, your narrow-minded view of the world – contrary to what you preach. I won’t mourn you and I won’t miss you.

So I have been unfollowed on here by quite a few people, which is fine. Everyone is entitled to do as they please – what has massively pissed me off is that some of these people before unfollowing felt the need to tell me what a nasty human being I am. Obviously I’m going to object to that, especially when the stench of hypocrisy surrounds them. Nobody has the monopoly on kindness or pain – hence why identity politics is total bollocks and incredibly divisive. You can’t rewrite history and you shouldn’t want to. Virtue signalling is getting old, to be quite frank.

Progressives? Nah, regressive (s)

I’m a natural brunette and I’m back to dark. Some people will say it matches my soul – fuck them.

(The selfies… because I was in one of my exhibitionist moods – I could blame the new hair but…nah.)

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How important are Daily Rituals to Writers..?

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Dare to be complicated – be the child’s robot that sings sweet Child O’Mine. – from notes in my phone.

‘How d’you find time to write?’ has to be one of the most common responses to any writer announcing they are starting another novel, as though they’ve found some secret stash of time under the stairs in that strange old chest that glows after midnight. It’s not a football match, there’s always time, although you may not necessarily be around to see it. Life is simply how you choose to spend our time. Cooks like to literally chop stuff up while crime writers enjoy chopping stuff up literally. Besides, having time to write doesn’t automatically mean you’ll do any. In fact, give someone unlimited time and they’ll achieve nothing, beyond the ability to mumble mañana beneath their breath.  As we know, nothing fuels invention like necessity.

Writing is like grabbing…

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Is camping REALLY a good idea?

When writers go camping, they’ve got one advantage over other campers, they can write about it when they get home – which proves once again that writing is the best therapy. Please go like on Tom’s blog 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.”

Jerome K. Jerome – Three men in a Boat.

I’ve been camping with two under 6-year old boys for a few days and I’m shattered, like I’ve been sleeping in the bass bin at a Leftfield gig. It’s a unique type of tiredness that suggests you missed an entire night’s sleep and have been covered in a layer of sweaty glue and smell of a bonfire.

Any self respecting idler should listen attentively for suggestions of camping, and be ready with excuses at the drop of a bent-tent-peg that’s impossible to hammer into even the softest ground yet remains in the equipment bag. Nothing has ever looked better…

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Get a life

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I had a busy day today, juggling all kind of stuff. I was getting a bit stressed with it all when I checked my email and some fuckwit had sent me a message about something I said on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, might even have been longer than that. In any case, my little tweet had enraged the fuckwit and he clearly NEEDED to tell me about it.

This is EXACTLY why I don’t let non-followers private message me on Twitter anymore. Between the guys who want to send you dick pics and the people who just HAVE to let you know how offensive your political opinions are, I couldn’t handle it anymore.

But, my blog link is on Twitter and if you find my blog, you find an email address. The fuckwit was kinda dedicated, I’ll give him that. I was talking to my tutor while reading his bullshit email which basically amounted to: I’m an ignorant stupid bitch, out of touch with reality, etc…the usual stuff.

Well, obviously I don’t reply to those kind of emails.
What could I say? Only this:

Fuck you, you fuckwit. Fuck right off and when you’ve fucked off as far away from me as possible, fuck off some more. I don’t give a fuck what you think of me because why would I worry about the opinion of a fucking toad? Also, take a fucking chill pill, we’re all allowed an opinion – even you – but you shouldn’t bloody harass people with it though. Seriously, get a fucking life.

You know? Some of us HAVE lives to get on with, I’ve been up since 6 and been working and studying all day, I don’t have time for some fuckwit’s meltdown. And now I’ve gotta go and workout.
You lovely people enjoy the rest of your day – as for the fuckwits: in case you SOMEHOW missed the message, I refer you to my pic, I’ve got nothing else to say to you, so keep the fuck away, thanks.

Down With Free Speech

Brilliant piece on the current and very real threat to free speech by Sam White – I love his writing and he’s one of my favourite people on Twitter.

Up All Night

The cry from the left is unmistakable now: free speech is dangerous, and to support it marks you out as a suspicious individual. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to be added to any hit lists of people who favour free expression, so best just to grab a pitchfork and hope the mob doesn’t intuit your thought crimes.

A particular favourite of vapid hipster conformists is to implicitly support the de facto reinstatement of blasphemy laws. You have to be very careful with this one though. Stick up for the wrong religion and you’ll be thrown to the wolves. Crucially, to be part of this odd crowd, you must be fearfully respectful only of Izlam and the Prophet MacHamed, while showing utter contempt for the stupid bloody Christians and their church fetes.

The choice way to broadcast your subscription to the fashionably authoritarian new-left mindset is to wait for the next jihadi…

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Stranger Things

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I’ve been really excited about Stranger Things coming back, an excitement tinged with apprehension because I LOVED the first season and there is always a (very high) risk “they” won’t get it right the second time round.

Since I’m not watching this alone, I wasn’t allowed to binge watch which is probably a good thing. Two episodes was the limit set by my viewing companion last night and he wasn’t going to be swayed. Ok then, I guess I do need someone to rein me in at times.

So, what was it like being immersed in Hawkins again? So freaking good. I was an 80’s kid and this show is the ultimate gift for me: I would happily watch it just for the soundtrack, movie references, bad hairstyles, awful fashion choices and the video games – a mere mention of Atari and I’m quivering, instantly transported back to a time when gaming was new, crude but so much effing fun.

But of course, Stranger Things is so much more than 80’s nostalgia – I’m not going to spoil anything for anyone, let’s just say that I was hooked all over again with episode 1 which felt somewhat like being plunged in one of the early Stephen King stories.

The cast is as good as ever, I bloody love those kids and Dustin is still my favourite: I have shamelessly asked countless people why they were “keeping the curiosity door locked” in the last few months, which is a good way of separating the wheat from the chaff actually. Either people give you a blank look or they just high 5 you without even bothering with any other response and you know you’ve found one of your tribe. Incidentally I have been told that high fiving after the age of 30 is despicable and it probably is, but do I give a fuck? Hell no.

Can I also say that Sheriff Hopper is my favourite Sheriff in the history of both sheriffs and TV (followed closely by Sheriff Romero in Bates Motel) and if he doesn’t get with Joyce at some point, it’s going to be tragic. Yes, I know she is dating Bob right now but there’s no way that’s going to last because it’s just a ridiculous pairing.

I’m also curious as to what’s going to happen with the Nancy/Steve/Jonathan love triangle – I usually have strong opinions in such cases, but not this time as I have equal sympathy for Steve and Jonathan.

We’re getting to know Will who was mainly absent – for obvious reasons – from the first season and we have some interesting additions to the cast in the form of Max and Billy. Well, Max particularly I want to see more of, Billy I’m still ambivalent about.

And of course (of course) there is Eleven, our mysterious flawed gem, who is so far isolated from the other kids, a state of affair that can’t go on for long or I’m going to be very disappointed indeed.

So, I’ve done this: wrote about Stranger Things without mentioning the plot – I cannot be accused of spoiling anything for anyone this time. But I needed to write about it as the viewing companion was unwilling to keep discussing the lone 2 episodes we’ve seen so far. In fact, his actual words were: “enough, Nat, it is JUST a TV show, go and tell people on your blog about it if you must.”
I told him he was a philistine and (in a fit of exaggeration) the worst viewing companion ever – and then wrote this.

Seriously though, if you haven’t given Stranger Things a go yet, please do so. Even if you’re indifferent to the whole 80’s vibe, it is well worth watching.