I love to interact a lot with my male counterparts in this space because I glean so much from their intelligent discourse and inspiring posts. Mick has been a supportive friend in here and I appreciate his acceptance to grant us a view into his life.
Thank you, Mick and I wish you all the best with your endeavours.
Bits About Mick
About me? Gosh, I’m not that keen on talking about me, although I’m aware that I should be a lot better at it than I am since this is the sort of thing I get asked at, well, interviews! A native of the UK, I’ve spent a number of years working abroad, mostly in the Middle East, and generally traveling, particularly in the Indian subcontinent. I’ve always been a bit of an artist, writing and painting on and off for most of my life, but since my first visit to India, I found that both the writing and painting has been largely focused there.
Otherwise, I make a tenuous living as an outdoor activities instructor, especially climbing, although as I get older and my back gives me more problems, I find that I am looking forward more and more to retirement from that.
I like a quiet life, which is probably why I am drawn to writing rather than, say, night clubs and politics, although the things that get me fired up are injustices. I try to avoid controversy on my blog posts, but I’m sure that it does come through at times. I do care passionately about the environment, hate all forms of discrimination and intolerance, and cannot understand why anyone of any gender or race can be considered as inferior to any others.
I try to be a positive person, but when I read the papers or hear the news it seems difficult.
A bit about my blog
I started the blog a little over a year ago, being persuaded that it was the thing to do if I was to promote the novel that I was then working on. I’m not, as I’ve mentioned already, all that keen on talking about myself, and up until recently, I’ve regarded blogs as rather narcissistic self-indulgences. While there are obviously a few like that, I’ve been delighted to discover that there are (naturally) a whole range of blogs out there and that the majority are both interesting and informative.
I had assumed, at first, that all my posts would be about my book or at least my writing, but quite quickly it seemed to morph into a mixture of posts on writing, travel, a little about my other artistic endeavours (such as painting), a few slightly political pieces, and, naturally, a few pieces about myself. This wasn’t particularly intentional, and certainly not planned that way. Naturally, some of them I was more pleased with than others, and some generated much more interest from readers than others – certainly not always the ones that I expected to! A slightly random selection:
And finally, a couple of months ago I published a post about why I sometimes stopped following blogs, never anticipating the huge interest it would generate:
Having been blogging now for over a year, I am now hooked on it! I think that the best thing about it, for me, is that after I had been blogging for a while, I discovered that I had become part of a community.
On staying motivated
Motivation is quite easy, actually. I usually find I have something I want to say, and a blog post is just the right length for what I want to write. In my case, somewhere around 1000 words seems adequate, which is about the length of blog post that I am also comfortable reading. Anything much longer, and I find I am put off. Perhaps this is because I also follow a lot of blogs, and to see one that is several thousand words long makes me avoid reading it. There just isn’t time!
I do keep a notebook, naturally, as all writers do. And I have maybe a dozen unfinished blog posts at any one moment, so when I feel a little stuck, I can go to one of those.
A little down but more ups
That’s a difficult one! We all have times when we feel that, despite everything, we can’t think what to write. But so far, the blogging journey has been a pretty smooth one.
As for my other writing, I think the worst thing is when I have been working on a story for a long time and I read it back and have the sudden epiphany; ‘this is complete rubbish!’
Would you encourage others to blog?
Absolutely! Next question?
A day spent with Mick
Oh dear, there’s no such thing as a typical day. If I don’t have any outdoor work, and as a freelancer that happens quite a lot, then I declare the day a writing day. This means that I begin by catching up with blogs I follow, perhaps posting a new one myself (I try to post twice a week, but it is a bit flexible!), which might take from an hour or so up until lunchtime. Afterwards, I would try to work on my novel, or perhaps on a short story, for the rest of the afternoon. I usually try to go for a walk at some point, often to try to resolve sticking points in my stories. I find I think best that way.
To distract me, of course, are all those little jobs that we all have to do. Everything from housework (my wife has regular work, so I do a certain amount during the week) to shopping, and then, of course, we all have family to see. I can usually rely upon the cats to distract me regularly, too. They seem to think they should be fed at least once an hour.
The future and beyond
I’ve had the blog for just over a year, now, and am quite happy with the way it is going. Without any real effort by me, the number of followers is regularly rising and I’m not yet experiencing any difficulty thinking of topics to post about. I do have plans to add a few extra pages so that I can put in extra pictures and details on various topics, but I’m in no rush!
As for my other writing, I’m currently working on a new novel, after publishing my first one earlier this year; Making friends with the Crocodile, which is set in Northern India and explores how women are treated by society there. I’m delighted that although I have not sold a huge number of copies – it is available as a print on demand paperback as well as Kindle on Amazon, and now an e-book on Kobo – I have had some lovely and generous reviews for it. Unfortunately, the POD book is not currently available in India, but I am now speaking to an Indian publisher with a view to releasing it there in a few weeks.
My new novel is also set in India, but this time in a fictitious hill station in the Himalaya.
Thank you for hosting me today, Jacqueline.