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What is good?

19th July 2015

Hello, back again because staying away is too hard,

The truth is I love to sit here and do this.  As much as I want the input because I want readers I can still sit here alone because I love this, writing that is.  It is so good to get the words out.  I have a somewhat contradictory nature in that I appear extrovert but I am so not that way at all.  Inside I am so timid, so shy and so sure I will say the wrong thing.  Don’t get me wrong I understand socializing but I am someone who is quite insecure.  What keeps me going is that I am secure in my insecurity.  I am what I am, well except that is when I am writing.  I don’t care if someone tells me I need to do this or that because I am willing to listen but I can also stand up for myself in this arena. I want to be good or more precisely I want to be a good writer.   I truly love the freedom the written brings and even my fears don’t stop me writing, I don’t care about them when I sit down, I just care that I want to be good.  This brings me to the topic of the day.  What is good?

Now this is a very interesting concept to consider. I won’t say controversial even if opinions differ because I want to discuss a more human look at the notion of good.  For instance as an English teacher I could probably rattle off some classics and certainly one of my all time favourites is Wuthering Heights, and like so many of our classics there are very good reasons why they are held in high esteem.  However I am going to go a little left field here because of my history I guess the last few years.  The reasons don’t matter but this time for me was one of survival and it was a very lonely time.  People closest to you don’t always want to see what is really going on and I didn’t help by keeping it so close to my chest.  I didn’t want to be seen as failing and each day was harder. I had to force myself to find ways to deal. I needed it to be an intellectual challenge so that I could look outside my thoughts and my very narrow world but everything seemed too hard, out of reach and the only way to continue was to read. It gave me time out.  Life does work in mysterious ways, really it does.  I can give you so many examples but I’d rather hear yours first.  Sorry, had to sneak that in.

The sadness in my world disappeared with reading, tomorrow was another day to finish what I was reading but I had things to do first and I did them.  That was a positive. The position I was placed in however meant money was limited.  This wasn’t my fist time with this situation and so I reminded myself how good I was at finding ways around things and thanks to my oldest daughter I discovered Kindle and Amazon.  It solved a little of the problem but because I am a very fast reader and I still had the limited funds saga I took a chance and looked into the world of Indie writers and wow, what a surprise.  Affordability, well some of them were cheap, and variety and to my joy every once in a while as a bonus this new reading adventure  gave me my breath back and I could take in the air and be here another day with excitement. I decided then and there to give my loyalty and to join their ranks. You see secretly I have dreamt of being an author all my life and here was a way I could take control. No I am not saying I wouldn’t like a normal path into the literary world but this is one I can take and be in good company and do now.

I need to clarify I have eclectic tastes and still read widely specifically now as I have just returned to teaching (so  ‘books’ are still a big part of life) but I try to stick to the self-published ladies and gentlemen out there where possible, actually mostly ladies.  Not to digress but women are amazing at taking risks into new ventures, simply amazing and I say that as a human being not a woman.  If I return to the topic of the day which was the question about what is good then reading firstly from these authors because it was cheaper gave me a chance to explore new avenues in the reading world. Then I discovered they could be my teachers.  That’s right!  Every individual book brought me closer to understanding what is truly good, and how much I wanted to do that too.  I have always dabbled but I have always been afraid as well.  It’s that contradictory personality.  These people, ordinary people like me took the chance, some made it, some didn’t but they put themselves out there to try, and be at the mercy of their reader.  How incredibly brave!

Hopefully now I have your interest and hope not to disappoint you as my answer may not be what you are expecting in as far as what makes it ‘good reading’.  This is me talking and I speak for myself. I believe in reader connection because only then can you exchange your world for theirs.  Whether it is a melodrama, a paranormal world of vampires and shape-shifters, sci–fi, poetry, romance historical or contemporary, or whatever else without that connection it won’t work. These ordinary people often managed that with such aplomb I was staggered and inspired.  I also learned to rethink so many things.

Grammar matters and under the grammar banner we can probably list a lot of other things as well that come under style but if the connection is there we can ignore these little irritations.  We just can’t go on ignoring them so if the author keeps writing then they must address the errors, the inconsistencies.  Readers forgive lots I know but as a writer I can’t forgive myself if I don’t make an effort for them.   The trouble is some writers don’t take any notice and just keep doing it their way and this was another learning curve for me. What did I want to do, be like?

These questions went around and around in my head for a long time and I found myself on a see saw.  One day I was never going to be a writer and the next day I would be scribbling (well you can’t scribble on a computer but it is such a lovely word.)  My refuge was trying to tell me something but what.  I started writing reviews on Amazon and not just reading them.  I thought maybe somehow putting into words the good and the bad could make things clearer. After all I was noticing so much and I was also getting caught quite often with over promising in the blurbs and having books completely under deliver that just thinking about it wasn’t right.  I had to take action. A writer needs to know praise and the other, you know the word I mean, I certainly do.  Now I review every book I read.  Do I do a good job? I don’t know? Am I gentle? Sometimes.  Can I face the same? Yes.

I could go on now forever with different things but the truth is that it is really quite simply.  An author needs to care about what they do and who they do it for.  It makes us better.  Reading makes us all better no matter our ambitions. So all this time that I was escaping I was learning and my learning has led to my wanting to take a chance.  I have a contemporary romance waiting to go up online.  I am so close now but I thought getting the blog started first would be of benefit.  I want my readers (presumptuous I know) to have a forum to talk to me.  I have so many ideas for things including the series which will come from the first book when it finally gets out there.  I want it to be a good experience for me and anyone out there willing to take a chance on me.  I don’t think I have a classic but I am hoping to give someone an escape.

Till the next time,

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