Work smarter not harder.

If they stay there will be trouble. If they go it will be double.

If they stay there will be trouble. If they go it will be double.

There goes another week of my lives – my real life and my second, authorial life. Even though I’ve extended my ‘waking’ week by ten hours compared to last year, my lives seem to be flying by quicker than ever.

I remember being concerned that the new job would take its toll on my second life, my writing life. It’s not turned out that way, yet. I’m still managing to get a couple of hours a day in front of the computer. Something I hadn’t factored into this year is my son starting Kindergarten full time. He’s not getting the lunch sleep he was and his new routines are obviously taking it out of him. Consequently, he’s usually sparko by eight instead of last year’s half-nine, which means I get to slump at the writing table that much earlier.

This week, I’ve been working on Booker and Cash #2. I’ve read the ‘finished’ first draft through twice making alterations as I go. All I ever want from the books I write in each of my three series is that each subsequent title is considered a worthy addition to that series by readers who’ve enjoyed them. I think that B&C #2 meets that success criterion.

Started and quit three more ebooks this week on the commute and was reminded of last week’s reading lesson for me as a writer. Each was a freebie for a few days as the author or his/her agents did some promotional work. Each is by an author with either their own tame agent/publisher, a load of great reviews on Amazon and high chart places for other books of theirs, or both.

I’ve only read two authors lately who’ve sucked me into their stories from the first pages. Neither author would claim to write erudite prose, I’m guessing, but both of them have a writing style that is so easy to read. And they write engaging stories, of course, which is surely what it’s all about.

Work threw up something this week that has me a little excited. We had four brand new table-tennis tables delivered. I last seriously picked up a bat over twenty five years ago. I used to play a lot. When I was a junior I represented Kent. (Only once and I lost both my games, but I literally got the T-shirt). So I toured the academic departments today looking for anyone who reckoned they could play a bit. I want to get back into it. And it turns out that one of the men in the PE department was representing Turkey internationally only five years ago. He’s promised to take it easy on me.

Now, I’m going to try something. I wonder how it will turn out. It’s really only for my own amusement, so you might as well go and get on with something important, if you haven’t already done so.

Today is a pivotal day in the history of the UK. I’m going to make it a significant date for me too. I’ve mentioned before that I’m going to try writing in another direction – something that is not a crime novel. I haven’t written a word of it yet, but I’ve been giving it some thought and I’ve done some research. I’m going to start it this evening because the date has a special significance. What will tickle me greatly is that if I manage to finish the project I will be able to say quite truthfully that I wrote the first sentence, thereby getting the project under way, on the 18th Septemeber, 2014.

And here it is, provisionally and for posterity.

‘Will someone please tell me exactly how the fuck that happened?’

(It amuses me that I’m killing two birds with one stone here: I’m writing my next book and I’m churning out another blog post. Work smarter not harder.)

9 thoughts on “Work smarter not harder.

  1. A boss of mine once told me that I should work smarter, so I bought a new tie and that is exactly how the fuck it happened. He sacked me.

  2. Fuck is always a great word to use in the opening line of a book. It isn’t exactly “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but it still shows the author is not a self-important douchebag and is willing to be interesting, funny, and brave.

    • Thanks for your comment, Walker, and vote of confidence for my ‘f’ bombing in the first sentence. Personally, I’d like to have seen Dickens drop a few ‘f’ words into his writing. I think it could have taken him to a new level. For example, after just looking him up on Brainy Quote how about this: ‘A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other fuck.’
      Best wishes. 🙂

  3. The history of Scotland has now been decided, but whichever way they had voted, they could be saying to themselves this morning, “Will someone please tell me exactly how the fuck that happened.” Am I right in thinking you have a political thriller at your fingertips just itching to get out?.

      • Did your mother not tell you about stroking stray pussies in the park? Being a woman of a certain age, I’m not familiar with modern day terminology, but isn’t that called ‘catting’?

  4. Yes, fooled again by those glowing reviews on Amazon. I put a lot of stock in reviews and am so cross when it becomes obvious (in retrospect at least) that all those 5 stars were written by publicist’s shills. Now of course I understand the need to drive sales, but false positives devalue the whole review process. Your books get lots of good reviews because they deserve them.

    My own tactic is to only download those books which have at least 16 reviews. This is a random arbitrary number, chosen on the basis that most authors can’t be bothered to ‘seed’ the review process with more than half a dozen made up reviews. Beyond that number there will probably be some authentic ones to look at which provide a more balanced account. I am still caught out though. Last week I downloaded one of those promoted books with 18 positive reviews. It was such tripe that I went back and checked. Yes all the reviews were written by people who had never posted a single review before. It’s enough to make me reach for my one star. No one likes being gulled.

    Of course I know that if I write anything which is less than fawningly complimentary that it will be given the thumbs down, toot sweet in order to drive my 50 carefully crafted words to the bottom of the review heap. Quality fiction does eventually rise to the top, as your books have, but made up reviews make the process slower than it should be.

    • Hi Sarah
      Always good to have you drop by.
      You’re very kind to my writing. Thank you.
      You are absolutely right that false positives devalue the whole review process. I don’t know what could be done about it. I don’t think any one does. As readers, we just have to trust ourselves and be prepared for some good old-fashioned hit and miss, I suppose. Because I don’t often pay for a book I don’t get too irate when a few of them turn out to be something that doesn’t appeal to me. If I were paying for them, I’m sure it would be a different story.
      I must confess to having to look up ‘shill’ and ‘gulled’. (A bit embarrassing for me.) And they are now two of my favourite words. Thank you. Gulled just makes me hoot, and I don’t know why. I now want to write a book called: ‘The Shill and the Gull.’
      Best wishes.

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