Category Archives: respect

Review reviews

Hiya

board-1647322_640

I hope that everyone had a great summer/winter depending on where you are in the world. If your brain is misbehaving I sympathise and just keep going even when you really don’t want to/see the point. Keep walking towards sunrise. It’s beautiful when you reach it, promise.

First a brilliant quote I read from Joanne Harris, writer of Chocolat:

Depression is no more curable by saying it’s “all in the head” than cancer is by saying it’s “all in the cells.”

That lady talks sense…and writes great books!

I, unsurprisingly spent a lot of my time writing. I know, anyone would think I was a writer…oh yeah, I am! Lots of freelance work and regular work…happy, happy, on anti-depressants-happy! And grateful.

Also writing the next book:-)

Occasionally I look at reviews for my books on Amazon and Goodreads , not too often though because it can be a teeny weeny bit scary seeing what people think of your writing.

Guess what? There is no definitive rule about taste and reviews. For the same book I have had a 1* and 3* and a 5* so for any writers out there who get disheartened by reviews just remember that a review is someone’s opinion. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be respected but you can agree to disagree with someone’s opinion.

It’s very easy to read a review of your book that showers with praise and very tempting to kick the furniture when you see a less friendly one. A 1 star makes you want to shout “I put blood, sweat and tears in to this and you gave it a 1????” A 5 star lets you puff out your chest proudly in the knowledge that “someone appreciates talent/dedication/late nights and rewrites.”

 

tablet-1632908_640

My 5* counsellor led me to devise a system where when I read reviews, good, bad or indifferent, that I spend no more than 30 seconds reviewing the review. I assess whether there are useful points which would enhance the book or if I should agree to disagree. Then I move on. This means my emotional state doesn’t fluctuate with the reviews. I can be objective. Just think if mood was dependent on reviews, it’d be like being attached to an internal unpredictable bungee rope!

Happily, my brain is still healing and the progress is promising. I just have to remember not to make myself too busy, too under pressure and too focused on work. Relaxation and rest are important too! Who knew?

I have also enjoyed more reading time lately, currently reading Sabine Durrant’s new book Lie With Me and it’s very good so if you fancy a psychological thriller you shouldn’t be disappointed with this one.

Of course, being the history buff that I am I have been looking at a book by Anita Leslie on her great aunt Jennie Churchill, Winston’s mum.  Interesting, inside view of the family.

Happy rest of September and as the seasons change try to find the poetry in the moment.

Jo

TTC_TTTDay1

PS: If you’re giving a review please remember that there is normally a hard working person behind the book/piece so please be constructive, think helpful!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Reach out, make it a goal.

Hi

It’s Monday, fancy a superduper fabulously brilliant pep talk/great idea?

Excellent! Have a read of this…Pretty please with a cherry on top!

Think serious, think goal for the week/month/year/millenium.

thQRAYI1MJ

I’ve just been reading an article about women who have chosen not to have children, not because they are horrible people with no compassion but they just don’t feel maternal and so feel it would be worse for them to bring a child in to the world that they don’t really really want than to conform with the status quo and procreate. One of the women pointed out something that I instantly related back to mental health although the two matters are entirely different. Bear with me, it’ll make sense.

She commented that a girl could get pregnant legally at 16 but not having children was not the traditional expectation, NOT having a child was somehow unacceptable and deeply frowned upon.

In the world of health and illness I would say that there are things which are considered more acceptable and others less so. Imagine “I’ve got diabetes” versus “I’ve got depression.”

Chances are that diabetes will get a sympathetic smile, a question like, “do you take insulin?” or “how does it affect your diet?” and the chemical defect in the body will be “acceptable.”

Now, let’s look at “I’ve got depression.”

Possible comments are “Buck up/Perk up/Snap out of it.” “What’ve you got to be depressed about?” “Oh yeah, I was ****ed of last Tuesday.” or “Are you on happy pills?” All accompanied by a wary or dismissive look or gesture.

Loud and clear a message is sent back to the unfortunate sufferer: “Depression = Not acceptable.”

Hmm, that’s not fair.

It took me far too long to accept that depression is also a chemical imbalance, there is no real difference between the two illnesses if you take them back to the words chemical imbalance. Insulin is seen as necessary medication to live a normal and rewarding life, anti depressants are given a derisive name “happy pills.”

So a person with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD etc. is classed as what? Weak? Lacking? hey, that’s YOUR BAD not the sufferer’s. They can quite easily feel weak, swamped, like they are deficient, alone and fighting themselves and the world’s stigma so they really don’t need any additional unhelpful comments.

BTW: Yes, sufferers know that you think you’ll say something wrong and we’ll burst in to tears so you subtly avoid them/the subject but please be brave, you don’t have to hold a psychology degree to help…how’s about these comments plus a smidgen of your precious time instead:

“Do you need to talk?”

“Can I help?”

“I’m here for you.”

“Remember, it’s an illness nothing to feel bad about.”

“You are 100% NOT WEAK. It’s a chemical thing.”

“Don’t be ashamed, the medication will make you feel more like you.” 

As a sufferer even knowing that you aren’t alone can feel like a miracle when your brain seems to be working against you.

So, if there is someone around you who is suffering from a mental illness they may just need to know that you’re on their team not chief judge, jury and executioner of any of their remaining self esteem. Reach out, a small gesture moves mountains. 

Alone is a lonely place, everyone knows that! Give someone a hug, give their brain a friendly smile and not an unfortunate comment.

We all know that stigma can be overcome, please be a someone who does that rather than a someone who helps to build the crappy stigma pile up to the sky.

THANK YOU!

Have a fab week.

Joanne

Humanity

Hi

 

guardian-angel-674669_640

 

I wrote this poem a while ago, thought I’d post it…It was written as a response to stress I’d experienced thanks to another person who should have behaved better.  God bless therapy and therapists! Unsung heroes in the land of brain cells and emotions.

 

Respect

Love emboldens souls to be free

Or it creates dreams disappointing

Love is like blossom on the tree

It needs warmth to set forth flowering

 

Respect is to be earned not glibly spent

It’s not a silver spoon birthright

Respect is a given as a compliment

Not after a series of supremacy fights

 

Trust is peaceful but the preserve

Of those who’ve never been burned

The rest of us hold back, reserved

Until we’re sure our hearts to stone won’t turn

 

Forgiveness can prove difficult

But once accomplished it releases us to calm

We’re often too keen to assign fault

But that offers no one a healing balm

 

The heart and mind offer advice we eschew

However emotions will implode if your soul you defy

With experience we should learn that to ourselves be true

Isn’t blanket permission to injure, deride or despise.

 

On a graver note…

I hope that everyone is safe and well and that peace, love and empathy reign over the world.

The good guys must defeat the bad guys.

Only a joint effort can do it.th2KD3LEGV

Take care

Joanne

Happy Friday

Hi peepsflies-161350_640

It’s Friday which means that the first weekend of October is almost here! Fetch me a fab book, my snuggly blanky…and hot chocolate with cute little marshmallows….wanders off in to a delicious daydream…

I’m back!

This week I’ve been working on a children’s story which fingers, eyes and toes crossed the client will like (pretty please!) and next I’m off in to article writing land to write 10 pieces. Research required, it helps if I know exactly what I’m talking about, apparently. Who knew?

I’m also working on another royalty quiz book which should be out before Halloween, I know that ghosts love a good quiz, they do, really.

In the dear old U.K. October means we will probably hear fireworks any time now, even though Bonfire Night is still over a month away, show a Brit a firework in a store and they will purchase and let it off, even sometimes at two in the morning, hmm thanks for that;0)

 

 

tree-200795_640

Final thought for the mo, please can we all tell the media to stop writing/speaking so negatively about mental health issues?

Very few people are about to become a danger to their communities, hey, some of us even know that as mental illness sufferers we are more susceptible to being the victims NOT the perpetrators of crime. It would be great if the people charged with the duty of informing viewers/readers (and the powers that be) could remember that before they fall in to stigmatisation yet again. Just saying, right that’s me off my soapbox and off to the land of cute article queen.

Have fun, stay safe and smile.(But never at a crocodile.)

Joanne

 

babsIn paperback and Kindle formats.

 

Election insanity!

Hi

The great news is that I am putting the finishing touches to my new e-book about Marie Antoinette of France which will be out on 4th May 2015.

As I finish one project my mind is pondering what or who the next one will be about or if I’ll change to fiction this time. Decisions, decisions!

PenguinMeanwhile, with less than three weeks to go until the General Election in the UK the politicians are promising the earth, the moon, the stars, the improbable and outright miracles to get votes.

Some are making themselves even more unpopular by the day, others seem to think that they can make or break a nation almost singlehandedly. BUT there is one aspiring political lady (who I won’t name) who really overstepped the line this week.

She suggested – and her political party worked quickly to detach her comments from their visions -that people with mental health issues should wear wristbands to indicate that they were suffering from an mental illness – apparently different colours for different mental conditions – this would help the authorities to know what they were dealing with.

WHHHHHHHHAAAAATTTTTT was/is she thinking? Isn’t there enough stigma in the world already????

I wrote this to show my feelings on the subject:

 

Blooming hopping mad

Just read something truly bad

In the news a political type

I won’t say her name, I’ll simply gripe

Says mental health sufferers

Should wristbands gladly wear

So that everyone can know

That we’re not healthy, oh no

So, if I have to wear one

In her crazy world of stigmatised fun

What colours shall we choose

For coughs, colds and the flu? 

Oh dear, she didn’t suggest that too.

I’m still a human being – Surprise!

Her “good” idea is discrimination in disguise.

 

I’m so glad that not everyone thinks in the way that she does, with the anxiety disorders OCD and PTSD I’d presumably have to wear two “look at me” wristbands for all to see, hey, what a fashion statement.

Oh, and fair warning, the politician who suggests that mental health patients should

a. be poked with sticks and/or

b. made a spectacle of

will be cruising for a metaphorical bruising as this isn’t the dark ages they can join the 21st century rather than drag humanity backwards.

Have a great weekend.

Joanne.

TTC_TTTDay1

Outta My Mind

Hi,

Besides my all consuming book editing I have just caught up on recent blog posts that I follow.

There’s a lot talent out there, thanks for blogging.

And so on to my fun rant of the day! bicker

A writing community website that I look at frequently had the dubious honour of witnessing an argument between two writers in the last few days.

While it is not worth condoning their exchange I found myself laughing quietly at the ever more wordy diatribes. When writers have a spat, well, it’s an education…

The two gentleman were not just vying for the prize of the largest ego and declaring their rival was lacking in talent, even to the point of naming their publishers, their language was suggesting that:

a. Apart from their colourful language, they were checking dictionaries for the longest words they could find to launch their written missiles in a ridiculous game of one-upmanship.

b. Words are weapons in the wrong hands, one can only hope that they understood the meaning of ALL the words that they were using.

c. No matter how large your ego is, how much in royalties you earn from your book, who has the most prestigious publisher, how you dress up “constructive” criticism sometimes what you write is no more than an insult.

BUT most of all when people make the mistake of taking themselves too seriously and therefore abuse their gift, in this case their writing ability, it reveals the lack of respect to their fellow human, the misapprehensions that they labour under and it leads to a stormy reminder that rather than knocking others talents we could and should be grateful and supportive instead.

A war of words BENEFITS NOBODY no matter what language, genre or market you aim for.

Now for something lighter:

smiley

Outta My Mind

I’ve been working on my book

My head feels like I gave it a right hook

I’m almost, but not quite, out of words

I know it sounds daft, positively absurd

But I think I’ll dream about my subject

In Technicolor tonight until I roundly object

Tomorrow morn with zeal anew

I’ll edit on and immerse myself in word stew

But about it I’m really rather excited

My enthusiasm cannot been blighted

Real unknown people have pre-ordered it

Which frankly, sent me outta my mind for a bit! 

Yep, I am sooooooooo loving being a writer bod! 🙂

Have fun, ENJOY life and your talents and don’t get into any online arguments 😉

Joanne