Tag Archives: blogging

Don’t Call It A Comeback!

Let’s refrain from all notion of making a comeback, or some grand return to the blogosphere, and instead just jump right back into it. Deal?

I haven’t written in a long while, (outside of the realms of social media, anyway), and a large part of that is due to how much work I had to do on this site before feeling comfortable moving forward. I tend to get bogged down in small problems that stack up behind large problems that need solving, and before I have any chance to stop it or catchup with it all, I succumb to the temptation to hide away, pop down the Winchester, and wait for it to all blow over.

But there is no longer a Winchester. It’s been closed for the foreseeable, and with it, my hiding place is no more. Over the past couple weeks I’ve cleared up most, if not all, of the issues I faced here on WordPress, and have had lots of time to think about the direction I want to head in. That gives me a solid, but flexible, plan. A clear, concise notion of what I want to achieve by building my once precious website and community!

Above all, though, I don’t want to overwhelm myself with a list of set-in-stone commitments and grandiose expectations of what happens next. My physical business is responsible for the health, wealth, and wellbeing of my family, and my various coaching elements are extremely important to me on a purpose basis. I love to write fiction and I sometimes like to sketch. I enjoy wasting hours at a time singing to old swing songs and can easily lose myself in a Netflix series. I, as an individual, am very broad in my likes and temptations.

And so herein lies the answer to my biggest, stillness-inducing question about this website. What do I want to project? What do I want to produce? What do I want to put out in front of the world, to equate to some level of success and an expression of my creative side? And that elusive answer, after six months of worry, and putting off, and ‘I’ll figure it out tomorrow’s,’ is embarrassingly simple. ME. Plain, erratic, social, sometimes boring, othertimes awesome, me.

The writer. The thinker. The talker. The drinker. The overall and total wanker: Me.

So here I am. Back, active, and ready to mingle. Of course I’ll be writing fiction for the blog here as I always have, but I expect it’ll be fewer, and farther between. I want to set up a Patreon and various things like that to attach my fiction commitments to. But for now, and most importantly, I want to write, and with it build relationships with the varied, awesome, and interesting people right here on wordpress and beyond.

If you’re interested in doing the same, hit that follow button and leave a comment. I’m excited to get back into it all 🙂

My Slice’a Freedom -Free Flash Fiction

The following flash fiction was hastily created for the Kanturk Arts Festival flash fiction competition, based on the below photo prompt. When I first saw the image, I was struck with a sense of loneliness and hiding. I was put in mind of the awful conditions in which black people had to suffer during the times of slavery in America. I remembered reading of situations in the past, where certain whites would help to shield and hide those who’ve escaped captivity, either beneath barns, in attics, or anywhere else for that matter. Sadly, those instances were too few, and no amount of fiction or storytelling can ever romanticise or undo the horrific wrongs of our world at that time. In this image I saw an escaped slave, working in solitude to create tailored items. The story expanded from there, as you’ll read in a second.

In any case, sadly this piece didn’t pick up a win in the contest, and while I think the story has its own merit, I felt squeezing the story into only 500 words was an injustice to the characters and themes I initially envisioned. (You can read the winning pieces here.) I researched extensively for this story (hence the short time to write the thing), and I discovered the amazing story of Nat Turner and the small revolution that would go on to change the face of slavery forever, for better AND worse. I highly recommend you spend a few moments going to research him once you’re done here. While I do like the end result, my heart wasn’t truly in this rendition of the story. Upon learning and researching for the story I had in mind, I quickly realised that I didn’t have enough words to convey all I wanted to in the way I wanted to. So in a way I feel blessed with another chance to tell the story I want to at a later date. For now though, please enjoy this abridged flash fiction piece.


DBC0B9BA-0303-412C-A022-1720F3534364
Are you Vin Buckley that created this painting? Please get in touch with a link to your work.

Gabe stitched through the leather with a careful precision, paying close attention to the tattered pages strewn across the workstation. Moonlight filtered in through cracks in the overhead floorboards, bright and heavy as the night of the revolt. Shadows flickered and shifted across the damp blocks, the flame of his lantern casting a taller, thicker version of himself on the opposite wall. He watched himself work in shadow form, free from scars and riches and class. Not a black man, a white man, a soldier, or a slave. Just a man, working his craft in calm solitude. Shadows revealed the reality of humankind, each equal in the absence of colour.

His wounds had healed up to tightened scars stretched out across his skin, a few pale additions to the tally that claimed most of his back. He tied off his final stitch, wondering what became of the brothers and sisters that followed Nat Turner toward freedom. Robert told him many escaped just like Gabe, but many died too. 

Gabe packed the finished product into a dusty box he excavated from beneath the workstation, and placed it neatly beneath his bed frame. Sleep came fast and without complaint. 

He awoke to the sound of Robert creaking his way down the ladder, moaning and groaning as he did. “Wakey-wakey, Kid,” he said, breathless, “I come bearing good fruit and bad news.” 

“I’ll take the fruit,” Gabe replied, “the news can wait a while.”

Robert placed the basket on the bed beside him, sighing as he did. “Actually Gabe, it can’t. Nat Turner’s been captured. They hanged him and a whole bunch more at Jerusalem. With what’s happened, they’re stricter than ever. Scared too.”

“Oh the white folk are scared,” he retorted, “s’that right?” Gabe shook his head while he processed it. His best friend, born and raised on Ben Travis’ plantation, gone. Dead. Silenced by the hangman. “Jesus Nat. God was menna-be on our side.”

Robert placed a rough hand on his shoulder. “God’s as much a slave to us as you are to them, Gabe. He’s bound to those with the loudest voices.”

“You mean with the most guns.” Gabe pulled out the box from beneath the bed and handed it to Robert, the burden of the news weighing heavily in the features of his face.

Robert opened the box to reveal the finest pair of boots he ever laid eyes upon. The blueprint he never dared lift from the paper himself, now crafted to perfection. “Gabe, did you… How?”

“I fallowed’ya sketches. Was thinking if they good enough, maybe I keep making ‘em?”

Robert stood silently, inspecting them in awe.

“Sir, your generosity’s seen me safe, but I may never walk free. These boots, they can run free and wild. Travel the highs and lows of all the great states, go on a’ventures. They’ll see men marry fine wives and drink fine wine. Each pair’ll carry a little piece of me with ‘em. For now I can only dream of freedom. But these boots… these boots can go where I can’t.’ 

“My slice’a freedom.”


For what it’s worth, I can’t wait to tell this story again, and do it the justice it deserves. Think of this as just a tiny snapshot of the greater story in play. Of course I can only  imagine the tragic circumstances of what it was like to exist back then, and can I even imagine what it would’ve been like to be black back then? What I can say for certain is that  I can do my best to relate the sense of entrapment, loneliness, struggle, fear, and torture, while being awestruck of the hope, love, and fight that never escaped those poor souls that were treated so terribly. A truly awful period in history. Shameful.

Shadows revealed the reality of humankind, each equal in the absence of colour.

Like this story? Try out my favourite flash fiction on this site so far: Endgame.

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The Silver Linings Playbook- Matthew Quick Review

Going into The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, I didn’t know what to expect. As you may know if you’re a regular here, while I’ve always enjoyed reading once I get into a book, I’ve never consistently consumed fiction as regularly as I am these days. So far I’ve read five books in five weeks, and that has to be a record for me! I’m super proud of that little achievement and not showing any signs of slowing down. I’m really enjoying it! So while there are unread books on my shelf and you’re happy to read about my journey, I’m happy to keep on sharing my thoughts and opinions.

Let me start out by saying that, like my Crazy House by Robert Pattison Review, this was the first exposure to a genre for me, on a multitude of different levels. Silver Linings is equal parts romance, family drama, and personal struggle, all delivered in a deeply personal ‘journal style’ written by the main character, Pat Peoples.

I loved Silver Linings as much as Smokey loved eating the pages!

Pat’s a man that has white-knuckled his way through bipolar disorder his whole life, and after an incident resulting in the courts ordering him to reform in a mental health facility, we watch as he battles hard to impress his estranged wife and right all his wrongs.

The Silver Linings Playbook is all about Pat finding the end of ‘apart time,’ trying his best to improve himself in all the ways that would impress his wife. Is this a wise approach? To pitch his whole improvement on the unlikely chance to reconcile his marriage? Probably not, like everyone keeps telling him, but they can’t see the Silver Linings like Pat can. He’s gonna prove them all wrong.

Aside from the wonderfully written story, Silver Linings doubles as a reminder for all the classic books that I NEED to read along my journey. Huck Finn, Moby Dick, To Kill a Mockingbird and more, all mentioned and speed-read by the loveable Pat Peoples. The author’s own love of literature is reflected in the respects he pays to these epic titles, and I personally wrote a little list under the title ‘Pat’s Reading List‘ as I raced through the pages of his own unfolding story.

Silver Linings is funny, sad, and painfully real. The exposure to Pat’s mind is an honest treat, and I think many of us can relate to his thoughts at least in the furthest reaches of our psyche.

I LOVED Silver Linings. It sits deservedly at the very top of my all time favourite reads, and has further encouraged me to explore modern literature with an open mind! So what do you say? Have I convinced you? I’ll close out by saying that if you haven’t read The Silver Linings Playbook, you need to get on to it right away.

I treated myself to the movie once I’d finished the book, and while it was good, it doesn’t even compare to the book (obviously.) the characters, plot, and pretty much the whole tone of the story is shifted for Hollywood’s sake, much as you’d expect. So please don’t rate the book by the film.

I’m so out of shape right now 😭😭 but… kittttyyyyy

UK buyers can pick it up from amazon here, and US buyers here. These are affiliate links, which means I receive a small payment from amazon to help pay the bills and feed the kids 😉 Do me a favour by doing yourself a favour -said in my best Ray Winstone/ Vinnie Jones impression- and get yourself Silver Linings right now!

The winner of this copy, with the official Smokey stamp of approval (bite marks with cute kitty teeth), is Jane from the charming photography blog, Fragglerocking. Go check her out, she’s awesome!

If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a copy of each of the books I read, subscribe to my newsletter at the following link, and enjoy exclusive flash fictions and discounts on upcoming releases as an added bonus!

Sign Up Here!

Have you read The Silver Linings Playbook or seen the movie? Let me know what you thought in the comments. What’s your favourite book? I’ll add it to my list.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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It’s Been A While… Dealing With Depression & Plans For The Future

Hello WordPress! Like the title suggests, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, and I figured I owe you an explanation. But before that, while it seems like a lifetime ago, I hope you all had a lovely christmas and new year!

So what’s been going on? Well, over the new year half of the family business has been handed to myself and my brother, so there’s that. On top of all the lifestyle adjustments and responsibility shifts involved with that, I’ve been hit with wave after wave of illness. Colds, infections, and the real kicker, seasonal depression. I’d say it started to move in just before christmas, and by early Jan, had unpacked all it’s boxes and settled in for a while. I haven’t quite evicted the unwanted tenant yet, but let’s say that the paperwork has been filed and a few gears have been set in motion.

As a longterm sufferer of depression, here’s my QuickStart guide to regaining control when things get bad.

  1. Take your time. The world will wait while you figure things out. There’s absolutely no need to rush or feel pressure to fulfill anything. It’s important that you recognise this as soon as possible, because it’s one of the most stunting mindsets to get ahold of you. Figure out what you need to do, and put some steps in place without trying to do it all.
  2. Straighten out your priorities. I am the number one guy to tell you to focus on delayed outcomes and longterm goals, but taking some time to figure out what is vital to you now, and ensuring you put that to the top of your list, is a must. During times of depression, your energy is zapped real low. Do what you need to to survive, and rest a lot. It will seriously help. You’ll start to move up that priority list as soon as you have more energy to do so.
  3. Walk. Sounds simple right? Because it is. Just get out and walk. Fresh air, low intensity cardio, and time to be free with all your thoughts. We were designed to move around outside. Please try it, you will enjoy it, and as time goes on will be one of the most helpful aspects to your overall wellbeing. Want to supercharge your walk? Sign up for a free trial of audible, get your first full audio book, and listen to it on your walk. Not only will you have all the benefits of walking, but you’ll also be learning something new or being transported off into fictional worlds while you go. You won’t be disappointed!
  4. Start Mindfulness Meditation. If somebody told you that you could perform just 10-15 minutes of an activity that takes virtually no effort, completely backed by science and hundreds of studies across the whole world, to completely change your life and improve your health, would you do it? Of course you would! So stop ignoring meditation. With so many benefits to so little time, you’re not gonna lose anything to try it, so grab an app like Headspace and make it a habit.

That’s pretty much it. Of course there are effective medications out there to help sufferers, of both the ‘swallow this chemical’ and ‘talk to this professional’ variety, alongside a plethora of self-help methods like increasing confidence and working out. But let’s be honest, how hard is self development when all you want to do is sleep? It’s best to take your time and work on a few things until the fog lifts, and then put things in place when you can see through the fog. Never delay professional medical treatment with mental health issues. Read about my experience here: Where Self-Help Becomes Self Sabotage.

Well that’s what’s been going on, so let’s move onto what happens now that I’m back in action.

We’re Sorta Becoming A Book Blog!

206D21D4-9CA4-4A8F-AAFD-4FD847527753During my downtime, I confronted two key facts in my life. Number one is that I have too many books cluttering up three different bookshelves, and number two is that I don’t read nearly enough. I decided that I need to read a book a week, and stop buying more until I’ve put a serious dent in what I already have.

So I’ll be reading a book a week, and I’ll be reviewing those books and posting a link to them every Sunday. There’ll be a healthy variety of thriller, horror, fantasy, literary, and classic novels. Basically anything and everything. I like books and am not all that picky. And to tackle the clutter problem, once I’ve read each book I’ll be sending it out to someone at random who has subscribed to my email list and follows me on facebook. So for your chance to get books sent to you for absolutely nothing, quickly drop a like at my Facebook page and subscribe to my email list here.

Flash Fiction, Novellas, and Webseries

If you’re here because you enjoy my little micro-stories, don’t panic! I’ll still be writing one or two a week to keep my skills sharp and my mind quiet, alongside working on longer works and publication submissions in the background!

I have an ongoing collaboration with blogger HannahMaggie, who sadly has taken the brunt of my inactivity over the last couple of months. If she doesn’t hate me (I’m soooo sorryyyyyy) I’m gonna jump back into that and we’ll hopefully bring it to you soon, and as the months go on, all sorts of exciting projects and collaborations for you to sink your teeth into.

So that’s about it. I’m all out of words. I’m back and I’m in business, and can’t wait to share everything I’m working on with you. If you haven’t checked out my catalogue of flash fiction yet, do that now!

Rest assured, I’ll be back soon with a review of my first official read, ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.’ Spoiler alert, it was an amazing read!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Exciting Change On The Horizon

You may have noticed that over the past couple weeks, my noise over here on the blog has reduced itself to an occasional chatter. There’s a few reasons for this, but only a couple that have any relevance to the purpose of this post. The next few paragraphs are not going to be a self-involved updates post, where I simply list all my stresses, successes, excitements, and plans—posts like that suck, right? We want the good stuff… The stuff we can use. Of course, I will be mentioning those things, while trying my best to help you avoid the same traps and pitfalls yourself, and fast track your online ventures and presence.

I Forgot My ‘Why?’

When you started your blog, or your instagram, or your facebook page, you had a reason for doing so, a purpose. Some kind of meaning that made all the efforts of social media worthwhile. It may have been to build a presence in your chosen field, to market your own or affiliate products, to raise awareness for a charity, or to fix something that you perceive as a problem in the world.

My reason was to build a presence in the writing world, but beyond that, to provide quality reading material for those who A: don’t have much time to read, B: are new to reading, and C: Need convincing of the benefits and wonders of the written word. In a world filled to the brim with TV shows and movies, reading has taken a real knock. I myself am guilty of shunning one for the other.

We know that reading is good for us. We know the book is always better than the movie. But we haven’t always got the time, or patience, to sit through it. Enter Quick Online Reads. Allow yourself to be transported off into the lives and stories of vibrant characters, experience the amazing benefits of reading, all during a single tea break. Enjoy from the comfort of your phone, tablet, or computer.

If I can help convince people, in ten minutes or less, that reading a story can be just as, if not more enjoyable, than mindlessly binging episode after episode of dragged out plot and product placement, perhaps I can help bring reading back to its prominence in this modern world, and help others discover a world they never knew existed.

As readers, we know the benefits of reading are seemingly endless, and that the book is always better than the movie. But those statements alone are evidently not enough to change the mindset of a nation. What if we start smaller? Throw out the 500 page novels that can take a good 50% or more to get going, and convince them with a short, snappy plot line that formed a character, connection, and provoked emotion all in an instant. We wouldn’t expect a middle aged couple that occasionally take a casual twenty minute stroll to go run a marathon would we?

The aim, the goal, the purpose—beyond a reputation for myself, deeper than a fan base to sell books to—behind setting up my little corner of the net, was to offer a reading experience for non-readers in order to help convince them that to read is worth the time. I’m not going to force novel length work down the throats of those who aren’t yet ready to accept them. By offering flash fictions, short stories, novellas, and eventually novels, perhaps I can put a small dent in the sad reality that a majority of people don’t like to read these days.

What about you and your blog? Have you lost track of the ‘why’ behind your blog? Having a solid, consistent purpose, and predictable, human posts, are key to building a strong brand. Your brand is your voice. It’s your promise. It’s what builds trust among your readers and followers, and turns them into fans and customers. Grab a piece of paper, or post down in the comments, why you started your blog. What you wished to achieve, what message you wished to send, what purpose you set out to accomplish. Make sure this purpose is reflected in everything you do, and has solid alignment across all your social media platforms.

I got so bogged down in posting every day that I burnt myself out. Not only that, but I lost track of what the hell I was doing here along the way. I had Fiction, mental health, blogging tips, social media tips, lifestyle posts, all of which I love to write! But that’s not to say they all belong together on this particular site, and certainly not posted at random. Unpredictable posting is a big turn off for your loyal readers. Even if you only have one or two loyal readers at this point, you don’t want to upset them, confuse them, and ultimately send them away. They keep coming back because something you said, did, or wrote, instilled a level of respect, expectation, and trust. Don’t betray that in the pursuit of more followers, more views, more more more. Each single person that builds a connection with you and your content for the reasons your purpose dictate, is more valuable than 100 casual followers. No matter what your goals. Believe me when I say that.

So What Does This Mean For The Site?

Well, back to basics. Fiction, fiction, and more fiction. My aim is to post a piece of flash fiction three times a week, and work on collaborations and guest posts the rest of the time. At the bottom of each piece of flash fiction I’ll ask you guys for a prompt for my next one, and we’ll continue on in that fashion until the end of time. (Or somewhere near there…)

That’s one hour of each morning. The next hour will be spent exclusively on writing submissions for magazines and anthologies, crafting short stories for my own personal collections, and creating exclusive content for those generous enough to support my efforts through Patreon. (That way, I won’t have a crazy two weeks of stress and online silence due to catching up with all my deadlines…)

I haven’t worked out all the tiers and benefits yet, but I will definitely be setting up a Patreon at some point in the near future. There’s a webseries in the works, an interactive community surrounding the webseries where you get to write the life of a character and shape the world, and a whole bunch of exclusive content and behind the scenes tips and tricks for all budding writers out there. Of course patreon supporters will all benefit from discounts in any future books or products, and my eternal gratitude.

On the social media front, my instagram is about to get a huge revamp. I’m talking a consistent theme, beautiful imagery, and a whole bunch of inspiring, chilling, horrifying, philosophical, and entertaining quotes. That, and an exclusive Insta-story flash fiction once per week. If this interests you, head over there now 😊 Do bare with me while I apply all the changes though!

As for Facebook, I intend to start using it. At the minute I kinda dump links to my posts and occasionally ask questions, but I hope to switch this up ASAP. Facebook is for a more active back and forth. It’s where I’d like to build real relationships with my readers, run live Q&As, and set up events. I think a whole bunch of my lifestyle stuff will end up over on Facebook, alongside my typical musings and philosophical ramblings. After much deliberating, I don’t feel it belongs here on this site at all. So if you’d like to come over and join the conversation, please do that now.

Future future future, I’d like to *ahem* set up a YouTube account. A place to read my stories aloud, perhaps have them as elaborate voice overs to animated photos and storyboards. Maybe even use it as a place to practice my own sketching and illustrating skills as well? I’m not sure yet, but I know that I’d like to. I am camera shy however, and I don’t much like my voice… so we’ll see.

And with that I think I’m all out of updates. I’m super excited to get back to the bones of this site, and feel so much lighter with a clear plan laid out ahead of me. How do you balance your time between blogging, social media, and your offline life? Let me know in the comments!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Consistency & Positivity over Pressure & Burnout

This post is just a quick one thrown together from the comfort of my own bed, on my phone. It’s a reminder to myself and all of you who read this, that consistency and positivity are leagues apart from putting too much pressure on yourself and burning out from the stress.

A positive attitude with hope and confidence in yourself, mixed with small, consistent steps in the right direction, are guaranteed to bring you success in your ventures. As humans with big hopes and dreams, we tend to easily slip into the feeling that we must do more than we are doing, must get to where we’re going faster than we already are, and honestly, that mindset is just piling undue stress and pressure on top of dreams that started out with love and passion.

Think of it like this. Positive action, positive thoughts, and positive habits will bring positive outcomes, whereas negative action, negative thoughts, and negative habits, will of course bring negative outcomes.

How we choose to frame our situations goes a long way to how those situations eventually play out.

“I said I’d do a blog post per month, but I haven’t been able to do it. I’ve still got a few collabs to work on and I haven’t even started on my true horror book yet. God knows how I’m gonna get it all done.”

So there’s my situation right now, framed in negativity. If I continue along that train of thought, I’ll become overwhelmed, I’ll stand still, and I’ll end up sabotaging any and all progress I’ve made and have yet to make on this wondrous journey through life. Now, let’s portray the exact same message, only this time, positively.

“I’ve earned some extra money being busy this week! I could take Friday off to write at my own leisure, or work that little extra and treat Ellen to something nice. I can’t wait to get a chance to work on my collab with Hannah Maggie, I’m loving how my character is turning out, and the collab with Iosonas Bakas is going to be so worth all the delay. He’s a great artist and I’m a good writer, what we make will be epic!

“Deadlines for two submissions are due soon so I better get a move on if I’m gonna start my true horror novel in December. They’ll either be accepted or they won’t, but if they are that’s great! And if not, well, I’ll spend some more time on them without the pressure of a deadline and use them for something else. Win some, you lose some.”

You see how much of a difference that makes? Realistically, I can’t post a blog post everyday. I set myself a challenge and life got in the way. That’s a bummer. But the purpose of that challenge was to hit 1000 page views this month. I’m already on track to be ahead of that target, and I’ve written around ten posts. Good ones too! The challenge has spawned great growth and ideas, including my Instagram graphic story intros to drive traffic to the blog, my “Like a Nettle Sting” and “Father’s Rage” flash fictions, both of which I’m happy with, and a couple of helpful lifestyle/mental health posts which may go on to help someone in need. I’m not going to let myself be disappointed about that, and ruin a good thing over a non-thing.

Remember, the best and worst situations in life can be viewed positively or negatively, and it truly is our choice which side of the coin lands face-up in any given circumstance. Only one of those choices leads to happiness.

So, one post a day… that’s a big no-no. Sorry 🤷‍♂️ I’ve got two amazing collaborations going on that I want to spend some time on, and I have two submissions that I’d be a fool to not make deadline for. But I’m not going anywhere, and this blog is a part of my life now. I love to log on, search around the blogosphere and read all your great posts, engage in comments and community groups. I’m gonna slow down for the rest of the month though, at least until a few items on my checklist have that all important tick beside them.

With a great girlfriend, two amazing kids, some talented bloggers working with me, and excellent opportunities that require my attention, I have all the happiness and success I need. I’m a mile ahead of where I was last month, and that’s what’s important!

The only person you need to compare yourself to is yourself the day before.

So that’s all for today. Just a small one, which I hope reminds you of why you set out to do whatever it is you’re doing. Was it for stressful deadlines and pressure, or for the love of the craft and your own passion and growth? Our experience of life is in our hands. It’s all about how we frame it!

Night folks. Feel free to drop a rant and let me know what’s going on in your world right now. How do you deal with stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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How To Best Manage Our Time For Less Stress

With all the hustle and bustle of modern living, it’s a wonder how we get anything done at all. In this age of minimum wage and maximum costs, maintaining a healthy work/life balance is hard enough, before finding extra time for your partner, family, and friends. Of course, on top of all that, there are the things we ‘want’, or ‘wish,’ to be able to do and be better at. Sadly, these are often the things that take the worse hit of them all, and we go about our lives from expectation to expectation, never finding that all important time to express ourselves and work on our passions.

But what if we could juggle all that important stuff, while working on personal projects and skills, and still have time for relaxing, movies, and friends? Have you ever seen the video where some dude puts rocks, pebbles, sand, and beer in a jar, to demonstrate how best to use our time? Well it’s a good watch, and it will serve as a good primer before jumping into the thick of this post.

Watched it? Good! So you can see how a simple shift in our priorities can instantly turn our life around. Time is the one currency in the world we can’t earn back. It slowly dwindles down until eventually, there’s none left. While we can throw around a large amount of our pounds and dollars each weekend, knowing that come Monday we’re back to earning more, perhaps invest a little in ourselves or put it to work to earn more of it, time is not expendable. So how we invest it is important.

How we use our time determines whether we are happy and fulfilled on our deathbeds, or miserable and filled with regret. Would you be glad that you caught every show on Netflix, and never let your friends share a status without being the first to like it? Or would you be happier to know that you rose to the top of your field, always helped put a smile on the faces of others, had amazing experiences with your friends and family, and lived an active life filled with success and adventure?

You see, a lot of the things that we stress over, are directly caused by the amount of time we spend doing the little, enjoyable things in life, rather than focusing on the larger issues and commitments. The enjoyability isn’t enough to outweigh the stress, and we become overwhelmed as a result of our own procrastination. But if we take a second to fit in all those big responsibilities first, we see that we can still fit in all the small stuff around it, with less resistance and stress at that!

Today I just wanted to take a minute to share with you that small piece of advice. It seems obvious, but in practice, you’ll likely be surprised at how wrong you have your life structured. I know I was. Grab a pen now and write down all the things that you like doing, want to do, have to do, and wish you could do.

Your list should look like this:

-Work/financial goal
-Read more books
-See my family
-Go out with my friends
-Take the kids for a walk
-Get my book published
-Maintain a weight training program
-Watch anime
-Check out Haunting on Hill House
-Meditate

Now that you’ve written down all your likes, wants, and shoulds, I want you to assign each one a priority. Either Rock, pebble, or sand. Rocks are larger tasks that require a great degree of focus and time, and will ultimately enhance your way of life. Pebbles are still important, but require much less of a time commitment, and sand items are the fun little things you like to do. Then reorder them with rocks first, pebbles below, and sand at the bottom.

Rocks

-Work/Financial Goal
-Publish a book

Pebbles

-Take the kids for walks
-Maintain a weight training program
-See my family
-Meditate daily

Sand

-Read more books
-Go out with my friends
-Watch anime
-Check out Haunting on Hill House

Now that we have everything structured and where it needs to be, lets have a think about how we can squeeze all of this into a week.

168 hours in a week, of which 56 hours should be spent sleeping. This leaves us 112 hours to play with.

Let’s say that work takes up 40 hours, we’re left with 72.

Of those 72 hours, we want to commit a good 20 hours on our big side goal. In this example it’s publishing a book. That includes creative writing practice, courses, writing, editing, networking, and everything else to do with that particular goal.

Right, there’s the rocks out the way. Now we’re left with 52 hours. 7 hours spent walking with the kids, and 3 hours spent maintaining a weight-training program takes away another 10. Boom, 42 hours left. At this point we’re sleeping well, working hard, progressing towards a huge goal, staying fit, and spending time active with the kids.

Of these 42 hours, we’ll spend 10 of them with the family, and 5 with friends. Why not? We’ve got lots of time… These are our refreshing bursts, the things that make it all worthwhile. Our relationships and connections outside of work, outside of the stresses of life. These are the things that make us smile.

Still, we have 27 hours left in the week. And you really have no way to pay all the bills, work on your passion, keep yourself fit, spend time with the family, and enjoy a couple movies here and there?

If you spot anything in your life that is demanding too much time, then you need to do something to bring it back in to a better balance. But that’s a different post altogether…

Now of course these numbers and priorities will be different for everyone. Some of you have degrees to work on, dissertations to write, school papers to grade during half term, a network of hundreds of employees to run, or any variable thereafter. Still, by balancing the priorities and reorganising them by order of rocks, pebbles, and sand, I’m confident you can live a happy, fulfilling life, so that when the moment comes where sadly you have reached your end, you do so smiling and satisfied.

How do you find time to balance your day? Have you ever tried adjusting your priorities and seeing where you can fit everything? It’s always a surprising and enlightening exercise.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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My Five Favourite Posts So Far- Don’t Miss Them!

I promised myself that throughout the month of November I’d write a post for this blog every single day, in an attempt to bump my views up to over 1000 this month. So far I’m on track to do this, which is great! I’m so grateful to have had such a far reach over the course of a couple of months, and while it hasn’t been easy, and I still have such a long way to go, I’m over the moon to have enjoyed my small bit of success in my own corner of the internet.

Over the past couple weeks I’ve settled into my blog more, and I’m starting to find my feet. It’s an odd mix of flash fiction, lifestyle, and writing tips, but it works for me. I’ve got a whole load of kinks to work out, and a bunch of restructuring/scheduling to get it running smoothly, but all in all, this haphazard collection of thoughts and fiction is the perfect reflection of me. I love my little site, and I have big plans for its future.

The last few days I’ve not been very well, and the juggling of blog posts, contest & anthology submissions, (not to mention my work in the background) has been wearing me down at the same time. When I got home from work earlier today, I crashed, and I stayed asleep for around four hours! Super-Nap! I do feel better for it, but now it’s 9:30pm and am suddenly hit with the realisation that I haven’t written a damn thing for the blog yet!

To make matters worse… I didn’t know what to write! I felt too groggy to attempt any fiction, too under-the-weather to talk depression, and didn’t want to get into anything too heavy. Then I figured, why not write about the writing I’ve done so far? Today I simultaneously hit 100 blog followers and 100 followers on my Facebook page, and finally cracked 250 on my instagram! I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, and some of you may have missed a couple pieces that I believe deserve some recognition. So without further waffling from me, here are my 5 favourite posts I’ve written so far!

A Eulogy

My first post, and singlehandedly responsible for my return to writing, the eulogy I wrote for my grandfather is a piece I hold close to my heart. While we weren’t particularly close, he being in Germany and me in the UK, he was a truly great man that came with his own presence. He was intelligent, funny, strong, and resilient. Without being forceful or overbearing, he smoothly commanded a level of respect from all who knew him. His death was sudden and unexpected, and from it came an outpouring of words that haven’t stopped since.

I love this piece because it stands as a homage to him, but beyond that, talks about the journey of kingship in all men. It explores what I believe is the ideal journey of all men from birth to death, and allows me to explore the archetypal philosophy of King. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d love if you did. He’d love it too. A Eulogy

How To Take Control Of Your Own Life

Actually my second post here, this is an article that I had originally written for a totally different blog idea, so the tone and voice may be different from what you’ve grown used to. Still, buried within this post is some unapologetic honesty, which forces us to take a close look at ourselves and why we may be unable to achieve what we want. Continuing on this strain, I wrote a post to follow up called “How To Achieve Success in Anything,” which further explored how we hold ourselves back from the things we love and want.

I love this post because honestly I enjoyed writing it. That style of honest, motivation rant is right up my street. It’s also a small insight into the kind of blog I was gonna be running here, which has now been sort of adapted and absorbed into this one. Hopefully in the future I’ll still run with that original idea, but who knows? I’m pretty busy with all this! If you haven’t read it yet, you can check it out here: How To Take Control of Your Own Life.

The Man In The Hat

Coming in at under 300 words for a weekly writing group contest, The Man In The Hat was a short exploration of a character I’d held in my mind for a long time. Two characters, actually. The mood of the piece is enigmatic, and it really doesn’t give much away. While the situation isn’t one I saw for a longer novel, I enjoyed setting these two characters free just for a few hundred words. If you’d like to go check that out, it’ll take less than a couple minutes and you can have a go at figuring out who the man in the hat is. Hopefully it wets your appetite for one of my near-future works! You can find it here: The Man In The Hat.

The Fury Of The Godless

Growing in cultural popularity as of late, Vikings have always been a huge thing of interest for me. Having a northern heritage myself, and feeling a particular calling to that wild pantheon of Gods and Godesses, it’s always fun to explore the darker aspects of Viking behaviour throughout the Middle Ages. I wasn’t entirely happy with this piece, but it was received well by all who read it, and reading it back now, I actually love it. Cleverly titled Fury Of The Godless, we question whether the Godless in question are those who’ve slaughtered a monastery of men, or those from the monastery itself. The Northmen had Gods, and they loved them freely. But did the Christians truly love their God? You decide for yourself here: The Fury of The Godless.

Endgame

My most recent piece of fiction comes in at under 750 words for a YeahWrite weekly contest. The prompt was catalyst, and metaphors are this month’s main theme. Being new to YeahWrite, I wanted to make an impression, and weaved a metaphor throughout the entire piece. I’ve fallen in love with both characters in that story, and wish I had more words to fully develop and explore them. Writing this piece was easy. The main character pulled me through smoothly, leading the way as I translated her thoughts through the tapping of the keys. I think I’ll revisit this at some stage and weave a full short story or novella from it. I seriously loved writing it, genuinely love reading it back, and hope you will too. You can check that out here: Endgame.

There’s more that I’ve enjoyed writing, but these are the main five that stand out to me, not necessarily on a quality basis, but on a basis of Enjoyability and meaning. These five are either going places or have taken me places, which is really what writing is all about.

Which post is your favourite so far? Have you got a post you’re particularly proud of you’d like to share with me? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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5 Facebook Fan Page Tips- Let’s Help Each Other Out +Community Camera Roll Fun!

Over at Facebook, I post all kinds of events and content exclusive to that community. Over time I intend Facebook to be my main social hub, where I engage with the community, host giveaways, and offer exclusive content and events.

For your chance at a £25 Amazon gift card, head there now!

Today, I posted an event calling for the community to post a photo from their camera roll for me to fashion a story from in the comments. Being only a small page in its infancy, I’ve only had two entries so far, but I’m proud of those two! I wanted to share with you the first couple of photos, and the consequent stories they inspired.

But first, I’d like to exchange a few tips and tricks in Facebook page growth, From the absolute beginning to your first 100. Growing from your first thousand becomes much easier, but the initial run up to that can be a hard, lonely slog.

So let’s make a deal. I’ll share five tips and ideas with you, and in the comments, you offer me one in exchange, okay?

If you’d like to link to your facebook page down in the comments, go for it. I’ll click straight over and give you a like. Return the favour by doing the same here 😉 Without any further delay, here are my top five Facebook fan page tips.

  1. Giveaways- Offer something for free in exchange for a like and share.
  1. Link To It- in blog posts, in your email signature, on twitter, in groups when called to. People can’t find it if you don’t put it out there!
  1. Focus On Engaging Posts– write the kind of posts that encourage likes, shares, comments, etc. Engagement on a post shows in the newsfeeds of their friends!
  1. Offer Exclusive Content- give people a reason to follow your Facebook page. If it’s just the same as your twitter, G+, and blog, why should they be there?
  1. Post Image & Video Content- it’s more eye catching, engaging, and shareable. Attention spans are low on social media.

So with that out the way, what are your tips and tricks? How do you increase audience and engagement on Facebook? From zero to your first hundred. From one hundred to a thousand. From a thousand to beyond… Remember to let me know in the comments.

Moving on, let’s jump into a couple of the stories inspired by my small community today. I was lucky to have been offered two great photos to work from!


Valley Of Rocks

Image submitted by Peter Thompson

After a casual stroll we hit the Valley Of Rocks. In spite of my wife’s enthusiastic response, I didn’t see much special. A few stones stacked atop one another. She spoke of the jagged formations, and the erosion something-or-other. Wow, I could have seen that on David Attenborough, only I’d be warm, dry, and comfortable. Instead, I’m shivering my tits off on the coast in November. Still, I smiled and nodded and agreed. It was safer that way.

After some humming-and-harring between my wife and herself, she decided it’d be fun to walk the extra five miles to The Hunters Inn.

‘Maybe there’s a gift shop,’ she reasoned, ‘and we could get lunch. Make a day of it.’ Great. Food. That sounds good. Five miles of windy coast wasn’t about to dissuade me from filling my guts. If there’s one thing I love above all else—excluding the nearest and dearest, of course—it’s food.

After an hour of lunging down the coast, holding the hood of my Jacket up over my head against the persistent gusts, we came upon The Hunters Inn.

That would’ve been great, but the bloody hunter wasn’t in! Closed for remodelling! And they didn’t think to maybe, I don’t know, put some sort of notice on the sign FIVE MILES BACK?

We lugged ourselves back along the coastal path, this time downwind, but now dripping from the heavy rain that just couldn’t bare to wait another hour before coming down. It wasn’t forecast of course, that would suggest that any organisation in the UK had some idea of what it was doing.

We arrived back to the car out of breath, soaked, and chilled to the bone. The windscreen fogged up the instant the engine was running, but it’d be another ten minutes before the old rust bucket delivered air that felt even slightly warm.

Julie, I love you. But next time I’m picking the day out. He pulled the urn out from under his jacket and placed it on the passenger seat. He removed the bucket-list from his glove compartment and checked off the ‘Valley Of Stones.’

I miss you, Julie.


Walking Away

Image submitted by Janet Bayes

He turned to face her once more, before frowning and walking away. A faceless silhouette, a shadow that stretched before him as far as their history stretched back. Step by painful step, out of their lives for good.

Away from her, away from the kids, away from the life they built together. She liked to think that final look was a second of hesitation, a momentary lapse in resolve. Despite everything she had done, he was torn about leaving.

The sun set into the ocean, alongside her heart. He never stopped to look back again.


So there we have it, two fun facebook stories, free from any pressure or expectation. As long or as short as the image inspired, born from the generous submissions from my community. You should give something like this a try on your own facebook page.

So, you remember that deal we made right? Leave me a comment with your Facebook fan page tips and drop a link to your own page. Let’s each expand our audiences!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

£1.00

How To Write Better Blog Posts +free blog post checklist!

Everyone who has started or wants to start a blog, has the same underlying reason for doing so. We want people to read our posts, right? It may be to provide feedback, it may be to build trust for your brand, it may even be for the very sake of sharing your thoughts and experiences with the world, but without people to read our work, our blog soon becomes obsolete. The truth is, if we want to draw in readers and keep them coming back, we’re gonna need to learn how to write better blog posts.

These days the net is littered with thousands of abandoned blogs, people who figured it was easy to throw up their thoughts on the net, and instantly have thousands of visitors liking their stuff and buying their products. The truth is, it’s hard. Like really hard. I don’t want my own blog to become lost in the internet graveyard, and I don’t want that for any of you either. So let’s stop that happening, and get right into what we can do to ensure readers find our site, and love it enough to keep coming back. At the bottom of this post, I have a special little gift to help you write excellent blog posts, every time. Consider it a reward for being here and wanting to improve your blog.

Write better copy

Better copywriting is how to write better blog postsI’m sure you figured this already, but if we’re gonna drive a blog to success, we’re really gonna need to up our writing game. This doesn’t mean writing the most pretentious, verbose copy you and your thesaurus can come up. Rather, the opposite. Your work should be short and sweet, clean. Just because it’s one blog post doesn’t mean it shouldn’t follow the same level of care and respect as anything else you’d write.

The Takeaway

• Have you written in short sentences with plenty of paragraphs?

• Have you reread your work, and run it through a spelling and grammar check?

• Have you read your copy aloud, to ensure it flows smoothly?

• Is your copy clear and concise?

• Has the reader found what they came looking for?

Include Relevant & Attractive Media

We’re in a world where the attention span of an average blog reader is of near-goldfish standards, and as such, it’s important we give them a reason to stick around. Did you know that many people, especially when trying to learn something new (like how to write better blog posts), will simply read the headings, and then jump to another post? I know I do on occasion. 🤷‍♂️

So it’s important we provide descriptive headings that adequately summarise exactly what the following paragraphs are going to elaborate on. On top of that, relevant high quality media, such as images, videos, and links to other posts that can help your reader, will improve how long they stick around on your site. Here’s a couple of things to think about before moving onto the next step.

The Takeaway

• Have you included descriptive, concise headings?

• Have you added a couple of high quality, relevant images to your post?

• Have you provided links to similar content that will help your reader?

• Have you implemented video (where relevant) to help improve your post.

Speak To Your Reader

A great read for aspiring bloggers! An honest and practical resource for us all. Click the photo for a link straight to it’s amazon page!

At the bottom of this post I will ask you, in one form or another, to leave a comment and follow this site. I may ask which of these tips you need to implement the most, or which is your favourite, or what you would add to the list. I may ask all of the above. Either way, I will most certainly streamline in a prompt for a comment.

It’s important to realise, however, that those comments aren’t for some popularity contest. It’s to build genuine connections with those that took the time to first land on your site, and then continue to engage on one of your posts. Comments are a great opportunity to get to know other people, learn from them or help them in a variety of ways, and build new connections you’d never be able to offline.

Blogging is a chance to forge relationships with your readers. Relationships where you provide them with something worth listening to, and they keep returning to hear what you have to say. It’s a chance to build trust with your readers and engage with them on a personal level.

The Takeaway

• Is your work written in a casual, friendly tone?

• Have you attempted to prompt conversation with your readers?

• Does your post come from a place of helping others to solve a problem or provide them with entertainment?

Implement Basic SEO Principles

How to write better blog posts using smart SEO principlesSo now you’ve written your copy. You’re happy with it, it flows, and you’ve concisely delivered your message. You’ve added relevant, high quality media to your post, and set yourself up as best as you can to develop relationships with your readers, by putting their needs at the forefront of the post. it’s almost time to publish. But first, we need to help others find your work, and we do that by adding some basic SEO principles to our post.

I’m not going to go seriously in depth here, because I don’t know everything those SEO Gurus and marketing experts know. What I do know, is a few basic tips to help streamline your results for search engines. And it all starts with keywords.

When you have a question, you type it in to google right? That’s a keyword. How to write better blog posts—this post’s keyword—or how to cook quesadillas. How to milk a cat? 🐈 🥛

These keywords are what tell google about your post, and at large, your site. They need to be present in a few select places throughout your post to get the best bang for your buck. The title, the first paragraph, the final paragraph, and your image’s alt-text, for example. Beyond that, you’ll want to write your keywords in your blog post’s ‘tags’ section.

On a site-wide scale, you’ll want a set of keywords that continue to be reinforced throughout your content. You can use keywords in your blog’s name, your category titles, and throughout each individual post. This isn’t necessary, but it is possible in certain niches. Consider the following set up

Blog Name: Bloggers World

Tagline: Everything you need to become a successful blogger.

Categories: Better blog posts, SEO principles, improve your writing,

They’re all SEO friendly keywords, meaning, things that get entered into google on a frequent basis. Questions that readers want answers to. Over time, creating posts that elect the same keywords, your site will soon become recognised as the place to go for those answers. Do some research, and implement them smoothly throughout your writing. It’s important not to go overboard and litter short posts with tons of keywords.

The Takeaway

• Include your keywords in your title, first paragraph, body text, closing paragraph, and your images alt-text.

• Don’t over litter your post with keywords that distract from the content.

• Put your reader first!

The Social Side

How to write better blog posts with the power of social mediaSo you’ve done all that, and written the perfect blog post. Not only is it relevant, informative and entertaining, it’s discoverable, easy on the eyes, and will (hopefully) stand the test of time. But the work isn’t over yet. Now we need to give your post a little boost to get it out there. We do that through social media.

At first when you share your work to social media, you’re gonna be relying a lot on how much attention you can attract from your friends and family. But over time, as your platforms grow, you’ll be notifying a large demographic of trusting readers that you’ve just posted something new for them to enjoy!

What’s important here, is turning your blog post into smaller, platform, relevant content, that links to the original post. On top of that boost in readership, facebook, instagram, twitter, and Pinterest, are great ways to further engage your readership on a personal level, and build stronger trust and relationships with them!

The Takeaway

• Encourage sharing your post with others it will help.

• Write an interesting excerpt with a hook that grabs attention.

• Dissect your post into smaller, relevant content for various social media platforms.

If you’d like more in depth information regarding the world of successful blogging, I highly recommend The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith. It’s an unmissable guideline for all us on-the-rise blogging successes!

The ‘How To Write Better Blog Posts Checklist’

Believe me, that isn’t all there is to blogging, but implementing the tips will give you a damn good head start in your blogging journey! Below I’ve posted my printable ‘blog post checklist.’ I’ll pretty it up and post it on my social media sites over the coming few days, but for now, it should help you to create excellent blog posts every time!

Over the next week or so, I’ll go back through all the content I’ve posted so far, and edit my work until I can tick every box. Beyond that, I’ll be sure to run each new post through the checklist too. I hope you get the same level of use out of this post and the checklist as I will. Over time, it will become second nature.

The how to write better blog post checklist.
Print this checklist and use it as a guideline for all your posts, past, present, and future.

Well folks, that brings us to the end of this post. Woo, that was a big one! *Wipes brow.* What simple tips would you give to those wanting to know how to write better blog posts? Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments. If the information in this post has helped you, please pass on the favour to your own friends and followers, and give it a share or reblog!

Until next time, happy blogging!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

£1.00

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Stephen King Tells Us to Take Writing Seriously!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge Stephen King fan. And why shouldn’t I be? Not only has the man pumped out an incredible amount of fiction, It ain’t half bad. The Stand, It, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, to name a few—all great stories, with memorable and alive characters. This is a guy—alongside other great novelists—to take writing seriously.

His writing style is perfect for a good page turner, cutting out all the crappy, pretentious, fluffy stuff, and instead focusing on the driving forward of the story at play. Being a loyal Stephen King reader, I feel his books have a lot to teach about the craft of writing. First among all his lessons, as stated in the title, is to…

Take Writing Seriously!

A lady showing that she can take writing seriouslyAbout this he is absolutely clear. If you’re serious about writing as a career, you’re gonna need to start taking your writing seriously. That means treating it as a job, and scheduling in x-amount of writing every day. Whether it’s 2000 words a day, a couple hours a day, or any variation of the above, you need to set a target, and sit down to it, without fail. No writers block, no lack of ideas, no excuses. You turn up at the same time each day, and eventually your muse will turn up to sit with you.

Equally important and along the same strand, is that you need to Invest in yourself and your craft. That means books, courses, and as mentioned above, time and practice. I cannot recommend Stephen King’s very own ‘On Writing: A Memoire Of The Craft’ enough. Seriously, seriously, seriously. My entire writing outlook changed after reading that book. Alongside being a great read and insight into his own life, schedule, and experiences, the book delves into some important writing lessons that we cannot afford to miss. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy today.

In that book, he talks a lot about ‘The Elements of Style’ by William Strunk, and highly recommends it. I do too. Combine the two books and you have enough of an education to get you selling stories and writing novels in no time.

I could end this post here and tell you that you now know enough to get going. Pat you on your back and send you on your way. But that’s no fair. There’s no fun in that, is there? So here’s a couple bonus lessons I’ve learned through my obsessive Stephen King consumption.

Character Driven Stories

With Jaime Lannister, George R R Martin proves that he can take writing seriouslyOne of the most immersive and engaging factors to any Stephen King story, is the care and attention given to his characters. If you’ve read anything by him, you can instantly see that his stories are—for the most part—character driven. He spends a lot of time getting to know them, breathing life into them, and letting them steer the rest of the story in whichever direction best suits them.

If you’re a plotter, you’ll have almost certainly come across times where the plot you laid out no longer suits the characters you’re writing about. It’s like they aren’t doing as they’re told, and if you try to force them, the entire novel loses its life. This is only natural. As you’re characters develop and come alive, certain elements of your plot may no longer ring true for them. As he states in On Writing, believability is key to writing a decent novel, no mater how fantastical or otherworldly that novel may be.

This Is A Tough Biz

Unless you’ve spent ten years on writing and editing the most perfect novel of all time, you’re gonna have to develop a thick skin, and an otherworldly determination despite all rejection letters. Because you’re gonna go through loads of those. Magazines will sit on your manuscript for months, to simply send a thanks, but no thanks. Others will tell you ‘resubmit, your story wasn’t for us, but the next one might be.’ With patience, determination, and a love for writing stories, you will break through.

From there, you’ll keep going, rejections, approvals, and all. You might start on small mags and obscure anthologies, but with each approval you’re picking up credits. Ignore the money, it’s not that important right now. It’s all about those credits. With each one, you’ll have a little more credibility in your cover letters, and start moving up the ranks.

This is assuming you write short stories, novellas, and flash fiction alongside novels. Personally, I do. Some stories simply don’t make it to novel length… others become a trilogy. Don’t force them into novels. Tie them up, and put ‘em in circulation!

If you’re dead set on novels and novels alone, then just keep on writing, keep on improving, keep on refining, and keep on submitting.

Don’t Be Afraid To Shoot & Miss

Stephen King is the perfect example of sitting down and writing what’s in your head, even if the story may end up a little shaky. After all, he did write Maximum Overdrive (LOL).

The point I’ll tie this post up with is this: you need to write what you want to write at the time. When inspiration strikes, when characters call, when a story starts to develop, you owe it to yourself to get it down on paper, no matter how bizarre it may turn out. In one of Stephen King’s most recent novels, Revival, we see one of the more bizarre conclusions a novel can end up with. It was a pretty good read, while some parts were arguably better than others. But the point is, it worked. If he abandoned the book because it took a strange turn, a lot of readers that LOVED that book would have missed out on it.

So don’t be afraid of a certain story being too this, or too that, or unsellable. Get it written, and submit to multiple publishers with all the rest of ‘em. If a simple rejection is enough to stop you in your tracks, you’re not somebody to take writing seriously. Write for the love of writing, and never, ever, give up.

Like this article? Don’t miss: 5 Simple Steps To Take Your Writing to the Next Level

What’s your favourite Stephen King novel to date? Let me know in the comments.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Tips For Starting A New Blog

Closing out my first week here on WordPress, I’ve accumulated 35 followers, published a couple of lifestyle posts, an art post, and guest posted to a fellow bloggers site. I’ve managed to build a couple of relationships and made an active attempt at engaging with the community. Its been fun, busy, frustrating, worrying, and exciting. I have more posts in the works, some literary magazine submissions being concocted in the background, and more plans than time to manage it all! Overall, I feel my first week has been a success, so here’s some tips to help you survive the early stages of your blogging venture.

Engage With The Community

Your first job when starting a new blog is building your community

If you take anything away from this blog post at all, let it be this. When you first start your blog, you have exactly 1 follower: yourself. Regardless of how amazing and well written your blog posts are, nobody is going to see them unless you get out and meet some fellow bloggers.

If you head over to the reader, you can type in ‘tags’ that suit your tastes. For example, short story, flash fiction, blogging, psychology, etc. Start reading posts that interest you from bloggers in the community, and be sure to leave a thoughtful, grateful, or encouraging comment, and follow those blogs. This period is all about building friends and connections, and it’s equally the most fun and time consuming task when it comes to starting a new blog.

Once you start getting out there, you can be sure that a few are gonna follow you back. Just keep posting, and hang in there!

Guest Posting & Collaboration

Guest posts are great ways to drive traffic and build exposure when starting a new blog

My follower count increased from 8 to a whopping 30 on the day my guest post went live on Beetleypete’s blog. As a brand new blogger with a few scattered, non-niche posts, that kind of growth is all you could ask for and more. All of a sudden, every time you post a new piece, thirty people are gonna get an email and see it on their reader wall, without all the extra traffic you’ll get from correctly tagging your work.

Now that you’ve put all the work into building friends and connections, get to work on sending out emails with your ideas for collaboration. Many bloggers love to work with each other, and if they haven’t got time to work on anything new with you, they’ll be more than happy to post a specific piece of writing that you write for their blog. This is a great way to get your words, style, and personality out to the world. Why show your thirty followers, when you could potentially show thirty-thousand? Stay positive, friendly, and helpful within the community, and your new blog will soon be bursting with traffic!

Correctly Tagging Your Content

You may not know, especially if you use a mobile device to post your content, but under post settings, you have a built-in feature to add tags to your post. This is a great place to tell users, WordPress, and search engines what your post is about. You can add tags such as ‘lifestyle’ or ‘blogging,’ and you can add longer form tags, like search terms. For example, one of the tags I’ve elected for this post, is ‘starting a new blog,’ alongside ‘new blog’ and ‘blogging.’ This helps not only WordPress users find your content in the reader, but search engines in the long term.

The more tags, over multiple posts, that point more or less in the same direction, seriously ramp up the strength of your site. If you have a lifestyle blog, or a life coaching company, tags such as ‘how to turn your life around’ and ‘affordable life coaching online’ are great choices. The more of your content that falls under that broad lifestyle category, the stronger your site, and consequently your traffic, will become.

Final Touches

Are you starting a new blog? Let me know in the comments

Beyond all that, simple touches such as sharing photos, polls, and videos in your posts, goes a long way for the readability and engagement on your site. Don’t Be afraid to ask your community to answer a question, vote on your next post, or get involved somehow. Photos add a real inviting and personal touch to your posts, more so than plain walls of text. It’s hard enough getting readers to your site in the first place. Once they’re there, get them comfortable and make the a hot cup of tea.

What do you think of these simple tips for starting a new blog? Have a few more to add, any questions, or a personal favourite? Are you a new blogger looking to befriend a member of the WordPress community? let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, have a look for bloggers that enjoy hosting guest posts for both new bloggers and seasoned vets alike. Nicholas Rossis is a good place to start… I have a post going live on Saturday! His site is filled to the brim with useful articles to do with writing, blogging, publishing, and everything in between.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

£1.00

Dealing With The Death Of A Loved One

Your cattle shall die; your kindred shall die; you yourself shall die; one thing I know which never dies: the judgement on each one dead.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is made easier through photos and memories of them. Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult. Losing a family member is the last thing anybody wants to go through, and yet one of the only things we all have to. On the fourth of July, 2018, my grandfather died. It was sudden, unexpected, and exactly how he would’ve wanted it. At eighty-four years old, he was one of the most active men I knew. He went on long bike rides, worked in the garden, and went on hunting trips all over the world. He had only been back off a three week hunting trip a couple of days before he died! With him, went my naive imagining of limitless time. A sad fact of life is that it runs out. It was on this day, that I decided to change myself, and live the life I wish to live, before I no longer have a choice in the matter. This eulogy is the final gift to my grandfather, a send-off. Closure, if you will. More than that still, It’s the first piece of writing I created since deciding to get serious about my craft. I hope you enjoy it.


Some men are intellectual. They love to read and learn, can form educated opinions, and develop a taste for cultures of the world. They have a firm grasp of their finances, and pride themselves on being sensible and organised. They know that learning is not just reading, but doing, through failing or succeeding, and doing it again.

Some men are wise. They’ve read hundreds of tomes just like the intellectual, but they recognise that each page is filled with knowledge and power that only a select few could truly comprehend, unpacking the mysteries of the universe with each further word they consume. The words are never just the words, the pages never just pages. Each new piece of information is a universal metaphor, a lesson in ‘the way of things.’ One of the first lessons they learn in their pursuit of wisdom, is that while it’s good to be sensible like the intellectual, it’s also fun to be spontaneous, and that the wise man is always a fool, so relish in being foolish!

Some men are strong. They stay fit well into their final years, can swing an axe and cut wood like a man in his prime, and can hunt for his food. Even his demeanour is strong. He’s sometimes stern. He has a check on his emotions, and shows only what is necessary for the time. He has a cool head when his insides are burning with anger, and a smile when he wants to cry. The strong man can suffer in silence, for the sake of not complaining, for the sake of his reputation and legacy, and for the wellbeing of those around him.

Some are intellectual, some are wise, and others are strong. Rarely these three traits become refined in a single individual, but when they do, we all see that man as what he truly is, and was destined to be, by the Gods themselves: A King.

A King is not afraid of war, but favours peace. He does not rule through tyranny or fear, but through compassion and understanding. He’s a bargaining man; he’ll offer something in exchange for what he wants from you. He’s a leader of men, an inspiration, and an example himself. He is what he wishes you to be. He sees what he wishes you to see. And he spends each day becoming what he wishes you will become.

A king is compassionate, kind, wise, and strong. He is fair, though we sometimes may feel like he is not. A king’s wishes, his wants and his needs from you, serve a higher purpose. One of universal importance, of divine enlightenment. His outlook, his plans, and his insight, are Godly in their truth and wisdom. If we don’t look hard enough, we may miss the point. But under the comfort of full confidence and trust in his position, we know that somewhere in his request, is purpose.

Of this we can be sure, because a true king is never selfish in his needs.

When a man becomes king, he transcends the confines of an ordinary life. He leaves behind a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow, a legacy that will guide us to the greatness he left behind. He leaves not only memories, but a message; a lesson. A blueprint that lays the foundation for further growth. For a king never dies, he lives on in those he leaves behind. It’s what he deserves, and it’s what he strived for in life.

A father’s job is to prepare his children for life when he’s gone. A king’s job is to prepare his kingdom for greatness in his honour. That is all we as the living can do to let the love we’ve lost, live on.

Robert Adolf Albert Bockmeyer-Cuntz was a king. He was the true head of his family. An intelligent, wise, and strong man. He was a hunter. A business man. A husband, father, and grandfather. He was everything a man should be and more. He was a man that confidence, wit, and charm, radiated from like an aura.

There was a sense of calm knowingness when you looked into his eyes, like a man that has the whole world figured out. Thoughtful. Watchful. Present. There was a plan for this, a plan for that, and a hundred other plans for what comes after.

Like a true king, he had the Gods whispering in his ear, guiding him and teaching him the universal lessons we all too quickly ignore. Now that he is gone, he is in a place where he can look down on the world, and watch from a perspective where he can gain more wisdom ‘in the way of things,’ just as a man of his wisdom deserves and longs for. He is where those that went before him can be with him. With Angels and Gods, ancestors and loved ones. He has achieved the ultimate achievement. His life of learning and strength and wisdom has proven his worth, and elevated him to a higher status. A place where he is no longer a person, but a force. A memory, a guiding light, an inspiration. A beacon to all of us that live on.

It is our job now to honour him in our lives. To take on board what he silently taught us throughout his years on earth. To pray for him, and to him, as he deserves. It is our divine responsibility, to let him live on through us. To accept him into our hearts and live in a way that would make him proud. To worship him, and our ancestors before him, in our actions.

His life was not the end of his journey, but the beginning of ours. One shining, standout example, in a long list of ancestors he did proud. All we can hope to do, is leave as strong a foundation for our kingdoms, as he did for his. He will be dearly missed and always remembered.

A king is never truly gone while his people survive him. What he achieves in life is never lost, but built upon, in the years that follow.

While this isn’t the typical tone of my musings, if you enjoyed this and would like to read some more of my personal writing, Please check out some of the following.

Musings