‘Milestones’

The last few days, I’ve been reading a few posts by writers who’ve passed some significant ‘milestones’ in their journey as people and writers. It’s caused me to stop and think about some of the ‘milestones’ along the way.

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Back ‘in the day’ a milestone was just that, a stone put at the side of a road that marked the distance between two cities. Simple, but they showed how far you’d travelled, and how far was left to go.

 

But here’s a thought we often forget, someone has to walk the road between the two so as to record the distance, literally to ‘mark’ out the milestones for others to follow. We often call those people ‘EXPLORERS’ or ‘PIONEERS’ or at least we call the first few to do it that.

 

But did you know, every few months or years someone walks those roads? Measuring wheel in hand they set off and measure out the route again, see the earth’s crust is constantly moving, and they have to, so that we know exactly how far it is to our destination! Here’s the thing, satellites can do it as well, but it takes someone actually ‘doing the hard yards’ to check they get it right!

 

Okay, where am I going with this? Well, I will pass a milestone in a couple of weeks, actually it’ll be two. One says I’ve been with the bus company five years, and am one of the ‘senior drivers’ and the other says it’s a year since my first book was published. Am I on course for where I want to be? From the signs others have left the answer is yes, but there are changes ahead.

Here’s the ‘Milestone’ I’m talking about

Some of those changes might take me into ‘unchartered territory’ so, I guess I better get ready with some milestones, so as others can see the way

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The Workman, and his tools

“A bad workman ‘allus blames ‘ees tools”

That was a favourite saying of my Dad’s, I think it was probably passed down from him from my Granddad, but by the time I was old enough to remember it, it was Dad who used it, and it’s been a saying that’s always stuck with me for various reasons.

When I was a kid, I’d try and do a job, it didn’t always turn out the way I wanted, and it was so easy to say, “This brush isn’t good enough, the bristles aren’t strong enough for the job!”

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It might have been true, but Dad would always come back with that saying, and it drove me bonkers! I was convinced he had patches of dirt literally glued to his specs, he always found a patch of dirt, or a part of the pan I hadn’t cleaned properly!

Eventually I learnt that it’s not so much whether you ‘know’ how to do a job, but how well you know your tools!

Think about it for a minute, ever spent time with a tradie? What’s the first thing they do when they get their pay packet, especially when they’re just finishing the training. Pretty much the first thing they buy is a decent set of tools, the kind that’ll last a lifetime, then they set about learning how each tool performs.

Not just what it’s ‘supposed’ to do, ​but what, with a bit of practice, a real ‘artisan’ or craftsman can achieve!

You know, we writers often talk of our writing being a craft, we get out and we practice the craft, but what happens when we don’t get the results we think we should?

I know what happens with me. Dad’s words “A bad workman ‘allus blames ees tools” rings in my ears, and back to the learning how to use them I go.

So with that thought, I want to issue a challenge to all you writers out there, take time to learn more about your tools, and the best way to do that, is to use them, but use them in a way you haven’t done before, then you’ll get to see them in a new light!.

 

Leave a comment below, and let me know how you get on.

 

‘Finding the time Part 2’

Last week we talked a little about what I did to find the time to write my first Novel. To me, at the moment it sounds a bit as if I’m ‘blowing my own trumpet’ and I suppose I am, but the real reason I’m writing this way, is to try and show what “thinking outside the box” might look like.

Not the same for everyone I know, but truth is, if you have something you really want to make happen, then you’ll find a way right?

How badly do you want the dream?

So, the intent here, is to tell you what I did, and maybe then it’ll get you to thinking “what can I do differently?”

As I said before, I discovered that writing that early in the morning meant my ‘boy’ didn’t get a walk, and he was getting grumpy! Ever thought a dog could get grumpy? How about disobedient? It takes three or four attempts to get attention, and then it’s only given ‘grudgingly’! That was Barney.

As soon as the walks started again, and he realised they were going to be regular, the mood improved, but the writing didn’t!

 

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It’s amazing how ‘bossy’ they can be!

That had stopped, but then my beloved told me a bit about Google docs.

Before we go any further, I’ll point out Google docs is a free program you can load onto your computer and phone, it allows you to sit and write anywhere, at any time and stores the document in ‘The cloud’, it even ‘syncs’ your devices so that what you write on one is available on the other (password protected)

What about Privacy?

Okay, about now there’s a few of you beginning to rise out of the chair to start the ritual ‘Jumping up and down’ and going on about privacy and the fact that ‘online stuff’ isn’t all that ‘secure’ but the truth is, don’t put any stuff you don’t want shared on there! And if you do lose it, you can always ask the National Security Agency (or GCHQ if you’re British) for their copies!!!

Don’t laugh at that, I do know of one guy who did that with the KGB and got every email he’d ever sent, as well as every fax!!!

Here’s the Novel that was produced, take a look.

 

Anyway, the result is that it doesn’t matter where I am, as soon as I’ve got a break, out comes the phone, you know, the one I now use as a writing pad, and away I go, tapping away at the latest story!

The result was a 73,000 novel produced in just over nine months, I’ll let you be the judge of how good the story is.

That’s all for this week, but leave a comment, and let me know what you think.

Lawrence