A Big Freshly Pressed Thank You

juicedI was lucky enough to be featured again on Freshly Pressed over the weekend – courtesy of my last blog post on Marmite Moments: Writing Good Sex.  So first off, it’s a big thank you to the Freshly Pressed crew for singling me out again. 

Getting Freshly Pressed gives a big boost to little blogs like mine.  Last time, I went from readership in single figures to over 1,400 hits in one day alone, and several hundred new subscribers.  This time, A Writer’s Notepad has seen around 1,200 hits since late Saturday night – and from the last time I know, that’s early days in terms of numbers. 

The biggest delight of all is that so many new people have joined the conversation, by commenting on this post and others.  It’s weirdly fun, to engage with people all over the world, from all sorts of perspectives, and simply share a few lines of comment, empathy or opinion in a warm and social environment.  It’s a bit like a bunch of friends settling down on the flumpy sofas at their favourite coffee house and having a chat – if that’s not too much of a raging cliché these days. 

So my other thank-you is to you.  If you’ve found my blog in the last few days and joined in by commenting, or just followed, or even just popped by to see what’s going on – I thank you! You are what makes blogging… fun.

In case you’re interested, I also have a Facebook author’s page – yes, budding authors can just about get away with this.  So if you’re a friend of Facebook, find your way there and ‘like’ if you will.  There’s a Twitter feed too – both are signposted in the right hand column.  It’s all about writing because that’s my passion. 

I hope you enjoy my novice writer’s journey, my writerly angst and the odd off-piste moment that finds its way on to the blog.  Don’t be shy either – it’s great to get comments and I read and respond to all.

So am I a writer? (Part Two – the question of success)

writingmagcard0001Back in August 2011, I asked the question, ‘So am I a writer?’ here. That was when nobody – nobody at all – was reading my blog. I had scrawled the first (catastrophically rough as it now turns out) 45,000 words of my first ever first draft and written 3 unremarkable short stories, one of which has, astonishingly, been published.

Today, I have produced the completed manuscript of my first novel – that’s 97,000 words give or take – and I have the firm intention to get it out there one way or another.

In the intervening months whilst writing, editing and doggedly refining Singled Out, I’ve continued to earn my living as a business copywriter and marketer.  I deliver blog posts for my clients (for which I am paid); I deliver short promotional vignettes for my clients (for which I am paid); and I deliver a slew of output around sales propositions, products, thought leadership and product/service promotion (for which… yes… you got it). So I will, thank you very much, define myself, however cautiously, as ‘a writer’.   I write, therefore I am… a writer.

Moving on from this, today, a fellow blogger Eli Glasman at his fascinating blog here, gave me pause for thought on defining success or failure as a writer.  It gave me cause to reflect on whether I am – or ever will be – a successful writer.

Here were my thoughts on the matter, commenting on Eli’s blog:

What makes you or I a successful writer? Is it enough simply to write until something – anything – is complete? Must one produce multiple stories, or a novel, or more than one novel? Is it enough that your friends and family love what you write? Is it sufficient to self-publish? Or to be published by an independent? Or do you need the credibility of a mainstream publisher? Do you need sales in the several thousands to consider yourself successful? Do you need an occasional royalty cheque, payment for the odd short story? Is it enough to earn something – anything – from your writing? Or a proportion of your income – one-third, half perhaps? Do you need to be able to live on your writing income? Do you need to be an in-demand speaker at literary events? Would you have to have a place on the bestseller lists? Or a prize – Booker, Costa perhaps? Where does it end?

If you’re one of my writerly blog followers, have you ever considered what would make you classify yourself as a successful writer?  It’s a wholly subjective question.  And the inevitable follow-on question is this: If one isn’t – perhaps by one’s own definition – successful, does that mean one is an unsuccessful or even, heaven forfend, a failed writer?

I don’t believe so.  I might be successful on one level as my freelance work, which is largely writing, supports me.  On another level – in the field of fiction – I can’t own the word successfulYET.

I’m going to brand that perspective on the matter ‘success-in-waiting’.

Wow… thank you!

sunshine rosesA quick thank you – to the hundreds of people who’ve read, commented on and are now following A Writer’s Notepad; many of you, I assume, as a result of its appearance on Freshly Pressed yesterday.

My sudden but very positive lurch into the world of active blogging and the pleasure of the conversation, has (despite the friendly alert from Ben at Freshly Pressed) taken me somewhat by surprise.  I’ve gone from 10 views on Wednesday to 450 yesterday and 1,000 and counting today.  I know that’s small-potatoes by the standard of many blogs, but it’s manna from heaven to me (oops, cliché alert). I’m doing my best to keep up with your wonderful, encouraging comments and over the weekend I will take a read through all your blogs too.

It’s worth mentioning, I also have a Facebook author’s page (optimism… optimism…), so if you’re a Facebooker,  find your way there and ‘like’ it if you will. There’s a Twitter feed too.  Both are signposted in the right hand column.

For would-be writers, you might like to know I curate a ScoopIt page (also called A Writer’s Notepad) with tips and advice for writers sourced from across the internet.  It’s building up to be quite a resource.

So, fellow bloggers – writers, would-be writers and all who have something to say and the words to say it with – thank you for engaging with me through A Writer’s Notepad and opening up the blogosphere and drawing me in.

Freshly Pressed – and Juiced about it!

juicedHey, this is fun.  I found out yesterday that my last post, One word at a time, is to be featured on Freshly Pressed.

I began blogging two years ago whilst in the early stages of writing my first novel.  I thought it would be good to have a web presence that wasn’t about my work life (that’s my marketing web site) but instead reflected my ambitions to become a writer and my writing journey (I know… I’m sorry, I hate that word too).  It also afforded me a soapbox to grumble in a very Grumpy Old Woman-ish sort of a way about the language I love and the way it gets corrupted. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve no problem with language evolving for an altered cultural landscape.  What I dislike is lazy language.

For two years I’ve been pinning my posts to a tree in the middle of a forest.  Every now and again, someone has wandered past and enjoyed a read, but mostly, ants have chewed at the paper and rain has washed away the ink.  To be fair, I’ve done little to boost my follower numbers – until now – I’ve been too busy trying to finish my first novel.  That’s my excuse, m’lud, and I stand by it.

But by a strange and synergistic coincidence in the very week that I finally declare Singled Out to be a finished manuscript, I get Freshly Pressed.  So I’m juiced! And now that my 97,000 fledgling words are almost ready to fly (yes, another few hundred evaporated on the advice of one of my Beta readers), I promise to be a better blogger in future.

And if by chance you’re a reader who stumbled upon my tree in the forest as a result of Freshly Pressed, do take a moment to say Hi!