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Characters have lives of their own

Hi

Today is 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was released…happy anniversary to JK Rowling and Harry.

My writing brain stays on almost constantly and can set me challenges I may want to  ignore at 5am!!

I have been known to come up with a plot twist whilst cleaning my teeth or in dreams and basics for articles for my clients can pop in to my head at the weirdest times. This is no 9-5 job! But that’s what I love about writing. Anytime, anywhere unexpected guests and developments arrive.

With fiction you aren’t so much in control of the work as the characters…I’m the ringmaster-lion tamer so the characters don’t run away with themselves but sometimes they write themselves slightly differently from the “plan.”

I may have spent time outlining the plot etc. and they go and rewrite it organically as if my imagination wasn’t the creator of both!!! Sam in Heads or Tails/Love Will Find a Way was originally intended to be sarcastic-cheeky but he wrote himself as a devious immoral b*****d. This made him stronger. A former neighbour proved to be the unconscious inspiration for the main character’s mother. This made her a lot more ridiculous and everyone knows someone like her.

The plot twist subsequently re-twisted. I liked that. An outline is good as a springboard but few of my fiction books have stuck to my plan…the characters got together and mutinied!

Some writers cry when they kill off their characters, they can say through them what they’d never dare say in real life, work through issues, and they can celebrate with their characters when they achieve their victories, large and small. This doesn’t mean we’re insane…we’re invested!

(The book I wrote when I was suffering from serious depression will never see the light of day…it’s pretty bleak.)

For me, after these good, bad and background characters form the centre of the world through the writing-editing and on to publishing, I let them go…toddling off in to the world to make their way to the readers imagination…and every reader will perceive them slightly differently thanks to their attitudes, perspectives and history. These guys are chameleons.

Hopefully, luckily, happily, a whole new set of characters, a plot and a new butterfly storm of ideas will happen in the most inconvenient but perfect ways…Writing is hard work but fabulous!

Love Will Find A Way: Scandal And Historical Romance by [Hayle, Joanne] 

Heads or Tails is the paperback version of the e-book Love Will Find a Way. Both available from Amazon. 

 

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Don’t listen to the liar!

Hi,

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It’s really tough to remember that depression is a liar. Not a fibber, but a whopping great big, no holds barred, stinky phantom of lies. (And yes, its pants are on fire.)

It tells you that there is no hope, no point to anything, that you’re a waste of space, that you are a blight on other peoples lives…it wants you to believe that every single tomorrow that you have left in your life will be as miserable and energy sapping as today. Depression’s nasty little chemicals want to swamp you.

I’ve been there and I believed the lies for a long time. Too long.

Good news!!!! Today is better, brighter and more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined. 

There was light at the end of the tunnel.

The hope was waiting for me to claim and embrace it.

Today, I know me better than I knew me before, what I need and want and feel.

Gone is the drained perennial people pleaser. Here to stay is the new me, the one that deserves to be happy and respected. Sure, it took counselling and a lot of introspection but the liar didn’t win the game. Truth did.

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If you’re depressed please try to find the truth, not the lies that the illness wants you to think are the truth.

You are special.

You have unique qualities.

You have hope for tomorrow.

You are not alone.

You are not weak, pathetic or lacking…you’re suffering from an illness.

 

Jo X

 

 

 

Happiness hacks

Hi

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Being happy with depression/anxiety/PTSD/OCD takes practice and effort. Even when the worst is over you know the dark cloud might pop back so it’s best to ward off negativity with proactive “make yourself happy and appreciate things” tricks.

Making a list of things to be grateful about may not seem appropriate when you feel like the world is your enemy and that life is less than glorious but actually, being disciplined and making that list can work, although it doesn’t take the chemical imbalance – the illness’ cause away. It can add positives to the apparent sea of negatives though.

Safe.

Have a home.

Loved by family.

Friends and support.

Employed or seeking employment.

Interested in something.

Invested in a hobby.

Not destitute.

Know where to get help.

 

I don’t know whether it’s the same for you but I love effect that the sun has on productivity. Birds singing, bees buzzing, cool drink, laptop and a full on day of writing or reading/research…love it! Summer says “bring it on!”

Obviously being out in the sun (safely) means seratonin production, the happy chemical in your brain, and if you have depression/anxiety you know that all the help you can get is welcome so set to work and seratonin to the max.

Cosy in the winter is good too and working from home I get to wear my smug face as people battle the weather conditions, you know, sat in front of the fire with a hot chocolate, sorry;-)

This took me time to be able to even consider!! Be nice to yourself. Your inner voice can be cruel. That mean voice isn’t the truth, it’s stuck on repeat.

So, you made a mistake at work, pranged your car or forgot to send an e-mail to Aunty Flo…that isn’t the end of the world. You may feel like it is, but the globe will keep on turning and you won’t make it as headline news so please go easy on yourself. You’re human.

Lastly, how often do you congratulate yourself or give yourself a reward?

As part of my CBT therapy about 4 years ago,  my homework for weeks was to enjoy myself ON PURPOSE and until it became a habit. I still do it now, whether it’s a new top, a cream cake, an Animaniacs/Garfield cartoon or an early finish, I treat myself regularly. Why? It feels good.

We often forget ourselves and our contributions as we rush about. Stop, take a moment and say “Good work.” It’s not being boastful or decadent, it’s being nice to your brain, self esteem, confidence and about diminishing stress. Humans are powerful machines, we need to refuel sometimes.

One treat a day can keep negativity at bay.

Happy Wednesday:-) Thanks for reading this.

 

 

 

 

Update: historynomystery blog – I killed it!

Hi,

…Or rather, I’m now turning the fledgling blog in to a book – because I can and it’ll be fun to collate all the days in one volume.  So, I’m going to be a busy bee for the foreseeable with freelancing and working on two books simultaneously…lovely!!!

As my brain is not so troubled by the past and I am seeing a bright and breezy today with sunshine and smiles in the future, I am positively getting on with life and that is phenomenal when you consider that depression told me a few years ago that life was pretty much “game over.”

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Fingers crossed, toes crossed and eyes crossed that Prince Harry talking about mental health will help to diminish the stigma. I know that I am so much more than my thoughts and anxiety AND also far more than some people (no longer in my life) would ever have given me credit for.

They wouldn’t like me now…Me, myself and I answer back!! Nicely, of course.

Remember, nothing lasts forever and sometimes the calm after chaos can be a revelation.

Happy rest of the day!

Celebrate!

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I was reminded this morning of how I used to be, people who know you “from before” a brain blip tend to send your mind right back, to “another” you.

I recalled how reluctant I was to say that I was ill, how I backpeddled from treatment, how I refused medication for my OCD/PTSD for around six months and how when it all looks gloomy the thought of defining the sadness with big medical terms is enough to depress you – when you’re already depressed!

Here’s a news flash for anyone who feels like this at the moment:

I only started to heal when I got treatment, accepted the diagnosis, cried my eyes out (I put them back in) and then took meds – only 60mg in my case – but my long suffering therapist thought she’d have trouble even getting me to take 5mg of anything!

Therapy does make you better, I know it’s a long road and sometimes it seems neverending, but enjoy the moments in which you claim YOU back and can review the past with a knowledgable smile and gratitude that thanks to experts and rebalancing a chemical imbalance your life is yours.

Sure, it will be different, you will be stronger – no one goes through a mental health crisis without learning who they truly are – but that, in its own way is empowering. Cool, huh?!

Don’t let the bad guys steal your life, get help and the future opens up like a rose bud.

If anyone is down today I recommend this: Thanks Jo:-)

 

 

So long stinking thinking!

Hi

Let’s talk brain trickery…it is so easy when you have mental illness (or in a rut) to get stuck with stinking thinking. Thank God I suffer from it less than I used to…helped by a brilliant counsellor and CBT but I still fall prey to the occasional (read daily) thought error.

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Like “I should have done this by now.”

“I’m taking too long loading the dishwasher, I have other stuff to do.”

“I must e-mail someone right now. They’ll be waiting.”

Really, the answer should be “why?” or “who said?” “what difference does it make?” “Is it a life of death importance?” BUT somehow the brain blip kicks in and two things happen in response to the stinking thinking:

You start to feel bad, like you’ve done something wrong and you tell yourself to do better, therefore demanding more of yourself which only adds pressure which exacerbates a stress related illness.

Anyone else seeing a vicious circle here?

Apparently it’s called the Demanding Thinking Error… It’s demanding and it’s a thought not a divine or true statement and it’s an error…so think of it as a number in place of a letter or a vegetable instead of a fruit. You don’t have to have it and use it just because it presents itself so if, like me, you have the demanding thinking error, don’t listen to that pesky inner voice, ignore it and remind yourself that life is to be enjoyed, it’s not a speed trial and you are a fabulous person doing just fine!

Happy rest of the day, smile, you’ve earned it. Have a slice of cream cake too, go on, you know you want to!

Joanne

Laptop, words, YAY!

Hi peeps

smiles

Hope you’re having a fab day.

I have had the most fabtasticexcellentmarvellous time writing full on – do not disturb – style the last few days. I love it when the inspiration and pinkies work in unison with my laptop and produce (fingers crossed) a fab piece of work.

I nearly always get a bit nervous when I start a new piece, will it soar or bellyflop in to nowhere plot land??? Yesterday and today, smooth flights. (Phew!) Tomorrow…more fingers crossed. But right now my writing brain cells are pooped. Officially. They refuse to work any more. They’re on strike.

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And yes, yours look like this at the end of a work day, it’s not just me! 

Good job that my reading brain cells are limbering up for a work out. I’m reading about Grace Kelly at the moment. Interesting lady. As with all people, very little is absolute, humans are a mass of contradictions. Keeps us busy working ourselves out, I suppose!

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Joanne

 

Tornado

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Tornado

 

In my head structures torn down, a tornado

Monoliths had been embedded moments ago

He’s not dedicated to us, a lost cause, no hope found

Twenty odd years of history razed to the ground

With his cologne filled air of self satisfied finality

I’m stunned, powerless, cut down cruelly

 

He tells me that I can rebuild my new life with zeal

Find love with someone who has more appeal

I try to believe that I’ll be better without him

As he insists it will be so I try to submit to his whim

He opens the door and goes without looking back

My name isn’t etched on his heart, it’s on the rack

 

He worships and loves her, Helen.

I’m the discarded ruin, Katherine.

 

 

I hope that cheered everyone up! 😉 Have a fab day. 

Joanne

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Snow joke!

Hi

I’m British, that means I’m genetically disposed to discuss the weather…apparently!

 

 

 

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Anyway, here I am in southern England, the sun’s shining timidly and it’s a lovely spring day MEANWHILE my sister has woken up in Canada to a dusting of snow. I know where I’d rather be.

I think I’d:

a. cry

b. retreat to the duvet

c. both of the above, whilst eating a ton of chocolate

 

if I woke up to snow on the 11th May…it’s nearly the longest day of the year…there shouldn’t be snowflakes with the cornflakes!

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Anyway, I’ve had a fab editing my latest book day.

I’ve also decided what my next book will be about and I might just go for a springy stroll later unlike my sister who’ll be snowgliding to work. LOL.

Have a fab day, whatever the weather.

Joanne


 

 

What a week – Not a geek!

Hiya

It’s a bank holiday weekend and it’s raining…I’m feigning surprise! but actually I don’t care about the weather because I have been in full on research and write a first draft mode since last Monday and the first draft was completed about two hours ago.

My brain loves to learn, probably things that most people would reply with “why do you want/need to know that??” but I seem to soak up information like a sponge. YAY! Particularly history, royalty and people facts.

I can spend hours reading about a subject and then from that write about it. Very few things make me happier in the world of writing non fiction that to translate aquired knowledge in to a Joanne Hayle book.

I realised that my “project approach” has been with me since I was a child, perhaps it’s innate, I didn’t have to develop research skills or force myself to learn.

Please love this fact and not want to hit me over the head with a book but in the long school holidays I would read up about something and then write about the subject. I remember one on Elizabeth I and another on the US states. This was as well as the playing, bike riding, visiting relatives etc. It was my normal.

I didn’t feel geeky either, I was too busy learning such fabulous things that I didn’t think that I needed to reproach myself if it wasn’t what other people did or thought was cool.

I guess that childhood attitudes stick in some areas of life because now I do what I love for a living and if people don’t think that’s great then they’re missing the point. I have writing projects that enrich me and sometimes make me reassess how things work.

The message being: Be true to yourself and be who you need to be not what other’s might say you should be. 

Just think, if I’d stopped doing those projects as a kid then I would not have developed the passion and the work ethic that I have now and that is one scary thought!

Anyway, a quick plug for the work in progress:

Lord Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb: Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know: The Passionate and Public Affair That Scandalised Regency England

Out 31st May on Amazon – You can pre-order now. byron rose2 Have a great week – guess what? I’ll be editing – hopefully in the spring sunshine! Deluded? Moi?

Joanne X