Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Diary of a hopeful author: Why you have to tell yourself ‘At least I tried’

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I don’t  care for preaching, with its do-a-I-say approach and the way that really, when you think about it, you don’t listen anyway. But realisations? Realisations I can do. Realisations are good.

Realisations, see, are like sun bolts. You aren’t really anticipating them, but when they do arrive, they shine a light so bright, they feel so warm and wonderful and well, right, that everything is better.

Don’t worry, I’ve not gone all evangelical on you, hang on in there. See, this week, a phrase, a thought popped into my head at a time when I was tired, tired with writing, tired with working, finding myself, as I did in my shattered state, wondering whether I should have put myself out there in the ways I have done recently, work wise. And the phrase? Well, this is it: at least you tried.

That phrase, what it means, its effect – that is my realisation, my sun bolt. At least you tried. I’m saying it again because it instantly makes me feel better.

Not believe me? Think I’m nuts? (actually, don’t answer that…) Okay, think of something, some kind of work project or piece of writing you’re doing, something where you’ve maybe approached someone about it or sent something off on spec, or maybe even applied for a job, anything. Got something in mind? Okay, now I bet, I can guarantee, that at times, with that action you’re thinking about, you’ve had doubts, right? I bet you’ve thought, damn it, they probably won’t get back in touch/read it/want to give me the job etc.  And that feeling you get from that thought, that sinking that you get, that sucks, doesn’t it, makes you feel rubbish? Okay, so imagine that feeling, and now, now say yourself, ‘at least I tried.’ Done it? Poof, like a waft of Harry Potter’s wand, the sinking feeling is gone. See? Sun bolt. Who said magic was just for spectacled wizards?

I’m not preaching here. Nah. That’s bobbins. But what I am doing, with my small realisation, is I’m saying that we always have to try. And it’s that trying, you see, that giving it a go, that’s what counts. ‘Cos when the day is done, when life hits the stop button, you can look up and say, hey, at least I tried, folks. Because, there are times when things won’t work out the way you really wanted them too. But if you tell yourself at least you tried, you are then, see, not a failure. Quite the opposite – trying makes you a success. The fact that you at least gave it a shot – that’s the achievement.

The work I pitched for, I got, in the end. I was mighty chuffed, a gamble that pulled off.  Edit number three of my novel is going fast and good. Soon, for us, it’s holiday time, a week and half of fun, and I can have a rest. I’ll be able to kick back, have a laugh and eat cake. And when I scoff it all, as I inevitably will, that yummy cake at 4pm after skiing all day, I can tell myself, at least I tried it. The cake, at least I tried it. Yes, realisations, turns out, come in the form of baked goods.

How do you get through things? Do you have your own realisations, phrases? Let me know.

 **Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

Pottermore and the magical rise of the ebook novel…

Writing news

It’s “Media Monday” where I bring you my views on the latest writing and publishing news…


Pottermore. Or maybe Potter more more more, because, since it’s launch a month ago, Pottermore, the flagship e-book store of the Harry Potter book series written by J.K.Rowling has sold more books than forecast, with the latest sales figures topping £3m, according to industry insider, The Bookseller. Now, you don’t have to be a wizard to work out that, naturally, a lot of the success of the website is down to the books. Since they were first published, more than 400 million of the Harry Potter series books have been sold, with translations into 67 languages with  millions of children, like my daughter, obsessed with wands, witches and the prospect that one day they might invent a real invisibility cloak (there’s always hope.) Of course, another part of the Pottermore success is down to the website itself.  It’s interactive! You have to register! You can make potions on it, have wizard duels on there and even, even, be sorted in your own Hogwarts house (can I be Gryffindor? Please?). But of course, as well as the great branding, engaging writing and good-old fashioned wizardry plots, the other element of its success is all together more modern, namely the ebook.   All the books sold on the Pottermore site have been in digital form, and it’s this ease and speed at which people can purchase them, together with the anonymity the medium provides, which has helped sales enormously. The books have been sold as bundles and heavily discounted, which of course all helps, but it’s success mirrors a wider trend which has been sweeping the publishing industry. According to latest figures in The Telegraph last week, sales of ebooks quadrupled last year, while sales of paper novels over the same period dropped by a staggering 12.5 million in the UK alone. What does this say about the future? Are we witnessing the decline of the paper book? Many readers are polarised by this, stating that nothing can replace the feeling of the page between the fingers and the relaxation that it brings. Certainly, I know from experience that reading a book can quite literally reduce your heart rate (mine drops to around 50bpm!). Some people claim that an eReader cannot have this same calming effect, particularly if that eReader is, for example, an iPad where the temptation of checking your inbox or surfing the web  is only a fingertouch away.

The publishing industry it is true, is nervous about the future of books. But this is perhaps due to the fact that they are suffering from a lack of ability to embrace change? Look at LPs and CDs, now all but replaced by the downloading of music to MP3s and iPods. And if you’ve ever seen the Oscar-winning film The Artist, you’ll know what happened when the talkies were introduced. Stand in the way of change and it may just run you over, whatever industry you are in. But change should reflect the past, and if the past is a paper novel, then so be it. The answer, I think, is to make room for both formats in a reader’s bookshelf, and the sooner we embrace this fact, the sooner the industry will move on and everyone will benefit, with the bottom line meaning more books will be available, helping more people to read. Now, whether it’s Pottermore or not, that’s a little sprinkling of magic we’d all welcome.

What do you think of ebooks? Are they the way forward? Do you think paper novels have had their day? Or is there room for both? Let me know.

**Out on Wednesday: “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry from my Diary of a Hopeful Author. This week it’s all about my runner-up prize in a short story competition…**