Weekly Ramble #124

The place you once stood compared to where you are now in writing and publishing can get better if you keep going. I boast continually to be nothing special and I’m not, but the results I’m seeing are both a constant and a variable because they keep improving over time. All I have ever done is kept going and the rewards follow, whether it be higher social media numbers, more supporters on here or even more sales. In the past three months my books have gotten more reviews than 2016, 2017 and 2018 combined. As an author I am very much in unchartered territory of regularly selling books, leveraging social media and getting an uncanny amount of reviews, its fantastic.

It might feel like a struggle, and believe me it is, but eventually and if you keep going that struggle turns into reward. The efforts of a person who seeks to find a better tomorrow might not stand in a great today but if they work hard it will eventually be better than yesterday. While that may sound philosophical or like some over hyped motivational speaker I am simply a person who started from zero and cultivated that number into something better through creating. As I said, nothing special which means what I’ve done is more than possible to achieve by anyone who works at it.

People, good people along my journey resonated with my efforts while I did with theirs and we connected to make this whole thing bigger and better over time. To me this is and always will be a one person at a time deal, but the number of people is just way bigger than yesterday.

To those who have left reviews for my work in recent months, thank you.

Weekly Ramble #123

For some time now I’ve managed to make my corner of social media a pleasant place to be. Not that I am claiming to be some hero in the process but for everything I have tried to achieve on this journey, its becoming something I am probably the most proud of.

We’re all fighting or striding for something and this sometimes volatile world of always trying to get results can make us forget that perhaps a pleasant environment is important. Most of us have seen the darker side of social media, the trending feeds full of commentators with plenty of cents and no real sense. The trolls who create accounts to simply fulfil their existence lurking under whichever bridge they choose. The straight up hatred, anger and whatever intimidating emotion these crowds can feel while they try to cancel whoever, what if, just what if there was a place away from that?

I know in my heart that the majority of people I connect with on here and across social media are decent. Genuine people who are just trying to get reads, views, sales or even friendship or connections. Some even have guidance to offer or are in need of some. My Twitter has grown through the simple act of helping others and trying to stay afloat with positivity and in doing so has become a decent pleasant place. Maybe that’s what I will eventually be known for. Not for books, writing or what I sell, but what I offer on that basic level, something that cannot be purchased but still experienced. A nice place on social media. Nice places are hard to find in this world and kindness goes a long way.

Weekly Ramble #121

I think sometimes its as simple as being committed and dedicated in order to get results over time as a social media author. While there are so many technical inputs and outputs, if you spend time trying to figure it all out, eventually good things are going to happen and even then perspective is everything. Just a few more likes, sales, follows or interactions than yesterday is progress. Take this whole deal seriously and serious results will happen.

We roll everything up into a snowball of expectations when really that work which is being laid down now might not pay off instantly, it could take years. Social media is a constantly moving conveyor belt where something you shared before might not be seen by those who you are visible to now. The work will eventually be worthwhile for those who do keep going and spend that time figuring out how to reach an audience and believe me, I know it’s hard but if you really want this, then you’ll get it, if you work hard.

Through all the algorithms blocking links and keywords to folks just not seeing your posts, there are so many things thrown in front of our attempts to hamper our progress online. The platforms have an agenda also but we just don’t know what it is. Write a book and share the link to your social media following, instant sales – I don’t think so ‘Marketing Experts’ of 2010. More like spend as much time as you can reminding folks you create stuff that is worth reading while exploring every possible way to trick the algorithms that you are not trying to sell something. The experienced veterans of social media don’t even spend much of their time pushing sales, they push themselves in front of an audience using conversation which drives visibility. Supporting others genuinely, that helps too. Be like them and you’ll succeed because I do, every day. Social first, media second will always win the day.

Weekly Ramble #120

And so the notifications fall silent but the words I have laid down are seemingly just as loud in my absence. In the near week I have been away from Twitter the amount of followers I’ve gained has gone up by over 300. While silence is sometimes solace, I see enough of it while writing and I’ve concluded this journey is nothing without the company I have found across social media.

I did say previously I am on this journey because of the writing but now the social media connections, the personal connections I have made with so many like me are now a part of that. The good things I have found and created for myself outweigh the bad by a lot. This always has been an eye of the beholder type deal and I know social media can be a grind, for some, it can chew you up and spit you out, but only if you let it. With my following, we made Twitter a good place to be, a place to converse and sell our work to the world while we learned from one another. We found each other and together we are going to step forward day by day and continue what we started. I value it too much to just walk away. I value personal connections as much as my writing.

The world can be a bad place but it can also be a good place, but you have to be willing to let that positivity in and embrace it because soon enough the negative will emerge. I’ve been away only for a little while and I’ve found my happy thoughts, I’ve found my balance and I’ve concluded that I am all in from now on. I was burned out but you’ll be amazed what a few days of silence will do for the mind.

There always will be others who’ll try to be the opposite of me, folks I have no time for. It’s why Twitter invented the mute, unfollow and block buttons. Tools I’m gonna be using to protect myself, because I come first, my following does too and I’m too far down the track to let a few bad interactions stop me. The bad feelings they present me with weigh nowhere near as much as the good. As I said, balance and I’ve found mine.

Weekly Ramble #111

Slowly I’m coming out of thunder dome. That’s the phrase I use to describe what has been the most intense three month period I’ve ever known as an indie author. From having my book thrust into the hands of 10,000 readers in one day to the arduous road of just releasing another one. Between that I travelled an immense but taxing journey to reach 10,000 tweet machine followers. All of this has taken a mental and physical toll but as I said I’m on my way out of that place. Pressure valves have been released and a quieter time has appeared. I’m now going to do what I have needed to do for a while; I’m going to live in the real world.

For everything awesome I have achieved recently, I feel like an immense amount of pressure has been lifted internally. The fight for the attention of others on social media is something that has diminished, no longer do I have to struggle because now I have an audience who are loyal and are there for me. While having an amazing audience is great, that doesn’t mean that I’ll take it for granted, I just don’t need to perform miracles to please everyone anymore. Yes, the pressure is off but the responsibility remains, these shoulders have taken on a lot recently and they will continue to carry anything else that may present itself. Just now, it is on my terms and my terms alone. My audience have made me and I’ll be doing everything I can to repay that.

My motivation to support others remains and is the strongest pillar that holds everything else up. While I will be backing off for a short time, you can still expect this machine to keep turning but now I’m heading back into the real world!

To those who have supported my recent book release, thank you. You have made it what I hope will be my most successful release ever with just a few more sales!

Weekly Ramble #107

May 2021 is shaping up to be the ultimate culmination of 8 years work. 8 years that began with a leap of faith into the unknown world of authoring and blogging. I’ve always had a weird relationship with luck along with always somehow being in the right time/right place. Things seem to just weirdly align although I will say that carrying on through everything in those 8 years is finally paying off. And those who do carry on no matter what have my greatest respect.

In art and creativity, we can only get better by showing up day by day and making progress step by step. Progress can be measured by time and what we do with it. Recently I’ve never been busier as social media and the writing demand more and more attention. Its started to carve a rather trailblazing path paved by those looking to me for advice and wisdom; a somewhat foreign but ultimately humbling feeling. People trust what I have to say and I have always believed that my own words are honest and good. Perhaps honesty is all that matters.

This journey has become a responsibility, a responsibility to do authoring and blogging justice by telling the world that our own induvial words, our books and our content matters. We can forge a following from zero, we can build from scratch and our words can stand on their own two feet upright and shoulder to shoulder with every generation before us. I am determined to prove that and so much more.

With my eyes firmly set on a month that is going to define my entire journey as an independently published author and blogger I have never been so ready because for the first time in all of this, I have momentum.

Weekly Ramble #98

Having your book presented to a mainstream level of readers is not always going to work out well. It seems the more readers a book gets the more scathing reviews it can pick up. Truthfully just yesterday while watching the rating for The Teleporter slip after being torpedoed by just a handful of low ratings began to take it’s toll on my mental health.

I’ve been here before but just not on this scale. Perhaps a particular insulting and scathing review tipped me over the edge to sigh-ville but for a comedy that’s supposed to be on the lighter scale of things, people have sure been hurtful in their verdict of it. Does comedy indirectly incite foul people because some of the reactions have been just that. I’m not preaching, I’m not whining, I’m venting – releasing a book into this world makes it open for any criticism from anyone but the level in which some will stoop to try and insult me beyond my work is simply baffling. I had no idea people like this exist and that’s not me being naïve, I mean it’s just a comedy.

Perhaps this is the ultimate price for success in authoring – there will always be jealous foul fucks who want a reaction. Perhaps they are trying to match the comedy of the content but jut not very well. Maybe seeing these hatred filled words is the arrival of an author. After all just good reviews is suspicious. I’m stronger than this, I’m better than this and I’m better for venting on here. The backing I have on twitter came to my rescue yesterday after sharing my woes with those who care. If you think writing scathing reviews for a book that wasn’t your cup of tea and you think that’s a productive way to spend your life then carry on, you’ll gain no respect for it, asshole. You got it for free anyway so your review ultimately means nothing to anyone.

That’s better…

Weekly Ramble #80

They are going to knock down my old high school. This is a fact that I have recently learned which is both bitter and sweet at the same time for me. The pandemic has presented many opportunities for deep reflection, time on our hands will do that and it’s sometimes important to revisit things with the eyes and mind you’ve grown into.

Many people over the years have relayed or recalled their school days as either mostly positive or straight up terrible while others stand somewhere in between. I’m still processing today that the school I went to and the experiences I had may have been of the worst possible persuasion.

The truth is, that place took years for me to fully recover from. During those years after, I came to realize that there were normal people in this world that you could mostly trust, share real conversations with and generally function as a person alongside. So was it really that bad you ask? And my response would be, yes.

Not only is the concept of high school a mostly regressive thing to me; throw together a bunch of hormonal kids all at different stages of being hormonal, drill into them conflicting information about how important preparing for the future is and then top it off with a pressure to fit in and also succeed.

If you combine that with the environment I had to endure you would most certainly agree and the ecosystem that I weathered and survived was socially hostile, violent and toxic. It was a place that I could never truly fit in or let alone dare to be myself. Today we celebrate being ourselves. Inclusion is celebrated and still a noble cause worth fighting for. Back in that place, you couldn’t wear certain clothes, listen to certain music, think a certain way or even look at someone the wrong way without being punished for it and sometimes that punishment was violent. If you ever thought of stepping outside from the current and flow, you were targeted by a stifling mob culture of kids.

Head down, voice quiet and just bide the time. This was the only method of survival in that place I knew how to adopt and even then you weren’t safe. Perhaps that is why wherever I have gone since, I’ve survived. My invisibility strategy was enough for me to stay mostly unscathed physically and for the most part I went through this journey without being noticed. As for today; I’m not remembered probably by most who I shared those narrow packed corridors with. They were people who I had nothing in common with and many of the less desirable types had socially peaked at 16, I guess I could live without being remembered by the likes of them.

The teachers, who didn’t help but as an adult I know now they couldn’t help. Many of them couldn’t relate and were probably horrified by the fact they were trying to answer their calling in life at such a place. They were trying to function and survive themselves in what was an every person for themselves environment. Over the years I was there (5 – trust me I was counting), the place became more and more unstable over that time. A combination of worse schools closing locally and a change in leadership interrupted the order of things. Now you had younger kids fighting older kids, and sometimes these younger kids would win which just spun the volatile environment around some more. A wider level of ‘Gotham’ style chaos began to ensue. There was no safety. There was fighting everyday. No wonder I took the world of working in my stride, the sensation of it was both refreshing and liberating. The civility of it, a culture shock to begin with.

Anyone going through the struggles of high school, or anyone who has been through it, you are not alone. And it does get better. Leaving it behind is both weirdly sad and happy all at once. Being a writer means I am seasoned at compartmentalizing and putting thoughts away. There is no trauma now, but I can still explore old memories to cope and reflect. There may just be a hint of bitterness because I never went to the prom by choice, or even had many decent memories of that time, let alone any true friends.

I no longer represent the shy, quiet, keeps things to himself kid, that was just a survival mechanism. Over the years I learned to socially come out of that defensive shell because the toxic environment of those narrow corridors has long gone. As that confidence grew and whatever that place did to me faded, I began to do everything in life that I would get punished for in that place. From the music I now listen to and embrace, to even the hairstyle I adopted just two years after that place’s grip on me faded. Some of this stuff I do is to stick my middle finger up to the fact I couldn’t do it back then. Everything I have aspired to be was once just an escape from that place, and now I am who I envisioned to be, well and truly and without the school that I survived.

Now I’ve learned the place is being knocked down I’m able to take a long breath of relief because even though on the 25th of August 2005 I vowed to never return to those corridors in physical form, I will never be able to now, for definite. Since I left, the place took an even bigger downturn before half re-branding. Now that brand looks to fully absolve itself perhaps from such a shadowy past with new modern building beside the proposed playing fields which will serve as simply a grave of the days I struggled alongside so many others.

After reading this, you’ll see Open Evening – my debut novel in a whole new light because that story highlights the social struggle of high school; something that came from my own personal journey. I fused that element of what I knew and fashioned it into a story for some and a statement for others. Maybe I knew all along while I walked through that place, one day I was going to get these fuckers back, and the book did. Like always for me, the writing says everything I never could.

It became both therapy and reflection for me as a writing experience with an element of realism among the actual monsters that jumped out from beyond the unknown. The school burned down in that story, and now in reality it’s going to fall for real.

Good riddance.

Weekly Ramble #78

The truth is, even though I’ve written recently about reverting to zero, that whole deal has summoned some wonderful people. It’s actually been very touching to hear from so many who approached me after that post, which started out as just a vent about the lamenting struggle it is to be noticed in this world as an author. We all have those moments that get us down. The whole taking a wider look around and realising this might be not as great as first perceived. 

I suppose we are all a work in progress. And even though since that reverting to zero post, my sales have been one more than zero, I’ve realised I have something worth way more than that – the support of some decent people from all over this rock which now seems a little smaller. That support is way more valuable than anything else on this journey, trust me, it means so damn much to have people swoop in and offer their words and kindness – you know who you are and for what it’s worth, you’ve improved my stance and mental health on the subject.

I’m fine, and I will be fine. This whole process of writing books is a build me up and tear me down type of deal – that may sound deep but it is. I pour absolutely everything into my writing, every essence of me are in those words, every emotion I have will go into creating something from that number, zero. Even though all of us who create have aspirations of what that work will do, it’s what you don’t expect to happen that gives out the true pleasure and satisfaction.

I will take the support of those who have supported me and do support me over anything else. They have offered me something I never thought I would find, let alone look for.

Being genuine in this world is probably the best thing you can give someone. Thank you – from a writer who isn’t afraid to go forward because of that.