16 Days to go

I've been asked many times if I'm selling enough books to make a living and the answer is yes I do, but the truth of the matter is that it's extremely hard and sometimes the rewards are small. When asked if it is all worth it and I would also answer yes. Everything that I do with all sides of the business I'm in contribute to the improvement of what I want to achieve. Despite managing to survive their are times when it is extra hard to make ends meet and for me that is the summer months when I cannot go in to schools and promote writing and my books. I'm pleased to say that I am now ticking over a few books on Kindle, which as far as my children's books go, is a nice surprise. There's a long way to go with these to gain a more substantial gain into the electronic market place but at least it's underway.

I have other skills that I am able to offer as a service to other writers those of a editor, proof reader, and publisher and I am reasonably priced in a market that seems to be set up to drain every last penny from a would be author. I set up files for printers and also convert to kindle formats too. Each of the services is thorough and guaranteed to get a new author off the ground and up and running. I offer free advice to anybody that contacts me for any sort of help and always make sure that they are informed in no uncertain terms about the difficulties of our industry. If anybody out there needs help or advice don't hesitate to contact me, I'm free to talk too and already have a wealth of experience to share.

Happy reading

Steve

17 Days to go

I wonder how many of you out there engage in people watching. It's crucial to my work with the invention of characters and for visual descriptions, but there is so much more that can be gleaned from just observing. The way people move, their body language and their facial expressions that complete a real rainbow of moods and demeanours. After that there is their choice of language and how they communicate with those around them. I've witnessed more than my fair share of people arguing in front of their children without a single consideration for what they are going through. and what and how they are saying. By the same token I have witnessed younger children using anger and behavioural tactics in order to get what they want and control their parents effortlessly. I've also watched those who believe they can discuss any issue with children even if society suggests that it's a subject to mature for children. I've seen adult pick on adult, retaliation in a physical and sometimes verbal onslaught and also those who try to impose their will on others by not letting anybody else speak. Then of course is the communication that doesn't emit a single sound. Facial expressions can often tell a story better than words, convey emotions, good and bad and forewarn the approaching inevitability that the confrontation is going to move to another level. 

So what am I saying really about all this? Well it's simply that there is no right or wrong way despite what professionals might say. Relationships between people exist and are managed on all sorts of levels and just because sometimes what we see it isn't our preferred style, it works for them. As a study it is fascinating on every level and great for a writer to look at, to borrow and learn from. Everyone is different and it is important to make our characters stand out in some way, and in a book, crucial to give them a personality that is different from the others. keep them interesting and make them a combination of good and bad, after all nobody is perfect and readers don't want the perfect character. Next time you people watch, look at them in a different way. Ask yourself, as you look at them, what's your story? It's amazing what you can work out from an appearence, a demeanour or a voice. Try it.

Happy Reading

Steve 

19 Days to go

One of the hardest things to do, as a self-employed person, is to find a way to balance work, rest and play. Most of the demands on me are purely mental and there is no doubt that if you want to be successful to any degree then you have to be driven and single-minded. I have those in abundance so I guess that's half the battle. Fortunately, being a creative person allows me to view the writing, and even the editing, side of my work as pleasure rather than work. Sleep can be problematic sometimes. I don't turn the creativity on and off by choice, it's there or not there, and that can be at any time of the day or night. The trick is to work around it as best as possible.

Touring is a mixture of pleasure and pain. My time in schools is exciting, exhilarating and very creative and I have the benefit of working with some of the most creative minds in the country - the children. Year's five and six are my personal favourites; as they learn that there is a grey area between the black and the white for a brief while they open their minds to the seemingly impossible and it is fantastic to share that with them. The pain is more concerned with getting to the schools in far off counties and often I spend more time in a day driving than I do with the children teaching. It is the most tiring thing I do.

keeping yourself physically fit requires a little discipline too. Most of what I do involves either sitting down or just standing. Little in the way of physical exercise. I swim as often as I can during the week and enjoy walking the countryside at the weekends. Both physical activities have the feel good factor about them for me and ensure that I am in the best physical shape I can be in for the demands of my work. As you get older, its natural for your body to tire and you have to be sensible and not push it beyond what it is capable of doing. I can't afford to be ill or suffer from injuries caused by sport despite still having the need for competition. These days I compete against myself in different ways, challenges and goals I want to achieve present a different form of competition but help towards achieving my goals.

In truth, the simple way of saying all of this is that you need to look after yourself, both physically and mentally and if you do it right it should provide a balance that can help you work at the top of your game.

Happy Reading

Steve

21 Days to go

For the second Saturday in a row I have taken a lazy approach to work and gone out exploring on the Marsh. Today I wandered along the paths of the Military Canal at Winchelsea. It's not as wide and deep here and wouldn't represent too much of a challenge to cross had Napoleon crossed here to invade us. I guess of course in his day the canal here could have been bigger and wider. Following the path here, which eventually leads to Pett Level, it was surprisingly lacking in terms of view. The path was tree and bush lined on one side and had taller ground full of trees on the other. It is the first time that I noticed the lack of scenery anywhere on the marsh although it has to be said that I only covered a two mile stretch of path. For once then it was about looking closer at the things that were around the immediate area I was walking in and it wasn't long before my eyes tuned in to what was nearer.

It wasn't long before the heat of the day beating down on me made me change my mind about walking for too long here. It was intense and there was no shade at all in the middle of the day. I found my attention drawn towards the insects that buzzed around constantly and in particular the damsel and dragon fly that were present in huge numbers. The vibrant blues of the damsels were particularly striking but there were other coloured varieties too that could easily be missed if you didn't look hard. Flowers on the lily pads were in their infancy but delicate pinks contrasted the green of the pads and the murky shades of the water. Buzzards were flying overhead again, soaring effortlessly on the thermals of warm air. 

Even though the heat shortened my walk there was plenty to see as always on the marsh but it constantly reminds me of the delicate balance everything is held in and the fact that man can be overzealous in his rush to build and expand places close to home. This beautiful fifth continent, as it is sometimes affectionately known as, is wild, beautiful, and untamed and I for one would like to see it remain like that for future generations.

Happy Reading 

Steve

22 days to go

It's been a couple of days since I blogged because I've been on the road again. Kent monday, Surrey Tuesday, Hampshire Wednesday and East Sussex today, a tiring week without internet after the school visits but that's how it goes sometimes. Today I was at Hersemonceax Primary School for a second visit and I had a great welcome from staff and children alike. Originally I was going to work with small groups of children but that changed and I had the pleasure of the year 4's for the morning and the year 5's for the afternoon. I can't tell you, as a teacher, how good it is to have longer periods to teach a topical lesson from the real world and get a whole different perspective on the process of writing. 

I suppose my first task was to give them something to write about and for the year 4's I had chosen the plight of the homeless in  the Uk. The children listened well to the problems that cause homelessness and then to the various organisations that have been established to help them. They really empathised with the fact that these poor people weer cold, hungary, suffering from poor health  and very unclean. They understood that it would be better to give them food and a hot drink instead of money so that they could be sure what they gave would be meaningful. Then they wrote in a genre of their own choice about what it is like being homeless and how people treat and view them. Their writing was amazing and I was really pleased how maturely they discussed and then wrote about the significant issues.

For the year 5's the topic was far more emotive and we looked at the issue of famine in Africa and how, in some cases, that leads to children becoming child soldiers to get a bowl of rice. What I taught them was reinforced by images from the Internet that were deliberately chosen to get a response from them - and they did. just like the younger class they were able to discuss and deal with highly emotive subjects in a very mature manner and again the writing that followed suit. They too wrote in a genre of their own choice and four girls managed to write and perform some very clever raps. I like the children using this genre. It is a genre of their age, they understand how to construct one, how to keep the story line going and keep it emotive, it is the music of their time and they should embrace it if they can. Again, the class produced some real quality writing and their ideas were imaginative and relevant.

It's great to work with a school more than once and build up a rapport and relationships with staff and children alike. After a super day with them I left feeling as proud of them as they were about their writing. Thanks guys.

Happy reading

Steve

C.S. Clifford

Author writing for all ages
Copyright © 2018 C.S. Clifford - Author writing for all ages. All Rights Reserved.