The two keys to keeping your writing self motivated.

writer,writing,motivation,author,screenwriterAs a professional writer, I’m often asked what I find most difficult about my job. Aside from the obvious answer of ‘getting paid’ my usual response isn’t finding an idea, nor is it getting motivated, it’s remaining motivated. Indeed, when a project will inevitably take many months to put together, it takes a special kind of commitment (or madness) to keep the enthusiasm and motivation going long enough to be able to sit down every day and drive it along to completion.

However, it is important to remember that motivation isn’t within us, it’s something we have to provide for ourselves. And having been at it for over twenty year now, I have learned that key to doing that are two things: routine and reward.

ROUTINE: There is no way to write, only ways. Therefore it is vital that you find what works for you and stick with it.

For some, that will mean an office, a quiet corner or even the sofa whilst for others, it will mean Starbucks or even the local beach. Some like to write in silence, others like noise, some in the morning, some late at night. Whatever it is, once you have established a routine, stepping into it will help your creative mindset and you’ll be away.

REWARD: A simple love of writing or a desire to tell a specific story may well be all the reward you need but for others, like me, there have to be two specific and personal incentives. The first when you hit your daily word count can be something as simple as a glass of wine or a Mars bar and the second, when you hand over the finished work, can be something major such as a holiday or even a new motorbike.

Whatever they are, keep them fixed firmly in your mind (maybe even write them as your screensaver) and make sure that when you’ve earned them, you take them and you savour them.

Fairly soon, these, like your routine, will become part and parcel of your writing life and with any luck, the process of writing won’t ever be a chore, it’ll become relatively easy. Which is pretty much what’s happened to me although to be fair, I have been doing it a long time.

So I know what works for me, the question is, what works for you?

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart


Just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from bothAmazon and iTunes

 

hooligan,hooliganism,writing,writer,author,screenwriting,greenstreet,sex,

Why we love football.

football,comedy,humour, soccer,premier league,championship,As someone who is lucky enough to converse with people from pretty much every point of the spectrum on which human life sits, I frequently find myself responding to questions of some kind or another.

Inevitably, the bulk of these will revolve around subjects linked to writing and be of the ‘how can I?’ variety which is fine as my work or writing will be the thing which brought us together and if someone takes the time to contact me, it’s only right that I afford them the courtesy of a reply.

Occasionally however, I’ll get a curveball question and the range of issues these can cover is, to say the least, broad. Only recently for example, I found myself explaining to someone from the other side of the world why we British drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.

To be honest, I like this kind of random stuff. Not only does it tax the brain (or test my proficiency on google) but I find it quite rewarding to think that people actually feel comfortable enough to ask me these things. Especially when in some cases, I’ll have been the first Englishman they’ll have ever emailed.

My favourite question however, is one which lands in my inbox on a regular basis. It is quite simply, why football?

Usually of course, this will be used in the context of violence or hatred of some kind but increasingly, it’s being asked by people who don’t follow the game and want to know why those of us who do are so fanatical about it.

My response to this is that there is no such thing as a standard answer because there is no such thing as a standard football fan. To the uninitiated we might well come across as sheep (or even mugs) but when you look a little deeper, you’ll quickly discover that there are all kinds of reasons to explain why we are all unique in our love of the great game and our respective teams. There are even different degrees of obsession but if you want to know more about that, then you best read this.

Amongst those of us who actually get off our backsides to attend games in the flesh however, there is one common thread and that is that being a fan of the game is not just about the 90 minutes of actual football. And I mean football, not even great football. For it’s fair to say that some of the best days I’ve had as a fan have been on days when Watford have lost and I’d bet that most fans reading this will think the same.

For the simple reality is that watching football is about one thing, hope. Hope that things will get better, or at least not get worse. Hope that you will win promotion, not get relegated, beat your local rivals or even just carry on for one more season. And with that hope comes every kind of emotional experience possible all wrapped up in one simple word, passion.

To be a part of that passion and share those experiences with others is why we do it and why we love it because it’s where we feel that we belong.

Don’t ask me why we do it, just try and explain to me why you don’t.

@dougiebrimson

football,soccer,protest,premier league,fans,supportersSpeaking of football and fans, my old book Rebellion is now available as an ebook.

First published in 2006, it tells the background to some of the more infamous fan protests including those at Charlton, Wimbledon, Manchester United, Manchester City, Norwich and Bournemouth amongst many others.

Details of my other books, including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow, as well as links to buy can be found by clicking here!

 

soccer, football, writing, write, author

How to beat an online troll.

amazon, itunes, ebooks, author, brimson, football, soccer, troll, bullies
An Amazon troll.

Much is being made about the subject of trolls this morning and as someone who has endured their fair share of troll wars over the years, I thought it worth exploring one aspect of this issue which rarely receives any mainstream media coverage. The issue of the amazon trolls.

Now I love Amazon, it’s amazing. Not simply for the fact that it offers brilliant prices on just about everything but because it’s where I sell most of my books. Not just in the UK either, but around the world.

However, my favourite online retailer does have a dark side and it is one which all authors need to be aware of; the forums.

As an idea of course, a place where readers can talk about books is brilliant. Not just to enhance the experience of readership but also because a lot of people like to support authors and promote new ones which is not something to be sniffed at. Conversely, it is also a great way to let people know that you might not have enjoyed a particular book as well as hopefully, providing an explanation as to why. This however, is where the problems can sometimes arise. Primarily because of the trolls who lurk there.

Now I always advise authors to avoid responding to reader reviews and especially to comments for the simple reason that reviews are an individual’s opinion and are generally posted for the benefit of other readers. And whilst they can be incredibly useful to authors for all kinds of reasons, they are not written for them/you/me.

There are obviously exceptions to that, the primary ones being to thank someone who has been particularly complimentary or to point someone who has loved a book in the direction of a sequel if such a thing exists. However, when someone posts something negative, be it about the story, the writing or even the grammar, whilst the natural instinct is to respond, it is imperative that you avoid the temptation and instead, bite the bullet and take it on the chin. If you don’t, you potentially open yourself up to a world of pain for nothing excites the amazon trolls more than a sniff of a stroppy author.

As a result, before you know it, you could find yourself under attack and those attacks can very quickly get very personal. They can also become relentless as the literary trolls are prone to hunting in packs. Don’t think they will confine their activities to Amazon either. Oh no, upset the trolls and they’ll fairly quickly be rubbishing you on Goodreads, Facebook and even Twitter. And those attacks can go on for weeks, months, even years.

Indeed, so bad can they get that they don’t just damage the book, they can easily undermine the reputation and even confidence of the author. I know of numerous writers who have actually withdrawn their books from sale simply because they can’t handle the abuse they’ve received. Occasionally, they have got so bad that the police have had to become involved.

Quite what drives these people on escapes me. Although I suspect both jealousy and sad, empty lives have a lot to do with it. However, to delve into the psyche of these bullies gives them exactly the kind of power and importance that they crave so it’s far better to simply laugh them off, ignore them and simply keep churning out good solid work. Because ultimately, that’s what they want to stop you doing, which is ironic given that they all claim to love books.

.

top dog, brimson. hooligans, author, film, screenwriting, violence, crime, thrillerDougie Brimson is the author of 15 books, the bulk of which are now available as eBooks. These include the thrillers, The Crew which has held the #1 slot on its Amazon chart for approaching 5 years and is now FREE, its sequel, Top Dog, which is also an award winning movie and the new football comedy, Wings of a Sparrow.

Details of all books as well as links to buy can be found by clicking here!  

The film pitching process and 6 reasons why it sucks.

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordLot’s of people have been contacting me recently to ask if Wings of a Sparrow is ever going to make the leap from page to screen. My response is always the same, I’m working on it. However, the truth is that it isn’t up to me. I wish it were.

In an ideal world of course, I would write a script, show it to someone and they would hand me a few million pounds to get it made. Better still, they’d buy it off me and I could sit back while they did all the hard work. However, it doesn’t work like that, well not for me anyway. Instead, like hundreds if not thousands of other scripts, Wings is having to go through what is called ‘the pitching process’ and since I suspect that many of you don’t understand how that works, I thought I’d put together a layman’s guide and tell you where my baby is currently sitting.

1. You write a script. – Done. Film and TV versions are written together with various outlines ranging from two sentences to 15 pages. Plus there’s the book of course.

2. You send it all to your agent who identifies those production companies who might be interested and sends it out to them. – Done.

3. You wait. And wait. And wait. – Doing.

4. One or two (from up to ten or even more companies) will come back to you and say it is not for them. This is normal as many production companies will only be looking for certain types of films although in many cases, some of the reasoning for the rejection is questionable (but never open for discussion). – Done. ’Football films don’t ever work’ being the most irritating response we’ve had to Wings.

5. You wait some more, and possibly follow up. You also send it out to more potential producers and maybe a director or two. Then you wait, again. – Done/doing.

6. You give up pitching it and go onto the next project in the hope that one day, someone will possibly stumble across it and like it enough to show interest. – Pretty much done.

And unless someone actually comes in with an offer to either option or make it, which can be at any point in the process, that’s the brutal and frustrating reality of how it works for most of us. It’s even harder for those who have never had anything produced. However, we all know that and as I’ve said many times, if you don’t like it, don’t do it.

Do I think that Wings would make an awesome and very funny low-budget movie? Of course! Do I think it would work on TV as either a two part comedy drama or even a sit-com? Too right!  But what I think doesn’t matter. It’s all down to what a person sitting behind a desk at a production company or studio thinks and more importantly, what they are looking for at that moment in time.

For whatever reason, Wings of a Sparrow isn’t it. Yet.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart


Just in case you didn’t already know, all my books and DVD’s are available from bothAmazon and iTunes

The business of public speaking.

public speaking,author,writer, screenwriterAs anyone who knows me well will know, I am by nature, quite shy.

Yes, it’s true. Behind this gruff exterior beats the heart of someone who abhors networking and dreads having to indulge in small talk. Especially if it means having to talk about myself or my work.

This is actually one of the reasons why I write for a living because being tied to a computer means that I spend most of my time in my own company. Although given that I’m possibly the most interesting person I know, this isn’t exactly a trial.

Having told you that, it may surprise you to know that I have never had a problem speaking in public. Indeed, although they arrive infrequently, I don’t think I’ve ever turned down an invitation to speak at an event no matter how large or small the potential audience.

However, whilst I’ve always tried to entertain, inform and motivate, it has always bugged me a little that I’ve been cheating people in the sense that I’ve never really treated public speaking seriously and certainly not professionally.

So with that in mind, last week I attended a course run by an amazing bloke called Brad Burton, the UK’s #1 motivational business speaker and to say that ‘Be A Better Speaker’ was an eye opener would be an understatement. It’s safe to say that there wasn’t a single element of my speaking performance that didn’t warrant either comment or attention. In the majority of cases, both.

Brad1I certainly ended the day a better and more confident speaker and if standing up in front of people is a part and parcel of your job or indeed, if you want to earn money from telling your story, then I cannot recommend this course highly enough. It genuinely will help you.

Oh, and if you ever need a speaker, give me a shout.

@dougiebrimson

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

author,writing,screenwriting,indie film,public speaking.hooliganism,gangs,veteran,RAF,military

Five reasons why writing a novel is better than writing a screenplay.

author,screenwriter,ebook,self publishing,indie filmThe other day, someone pointed out that I am one of a very few writers who have enjoyed a degree of success with both books and screenplays. Not only that, but according to them I also hold the dubious honour of covering a range of genre which very few writers anywhere can match.

Whilst I’m not sure about any of that, it is fair to say that in a writing sense I have certainly been about a bit. Mostly, it has to be said, because I get bored easily.

However, whenever the subject of my work comes up it inevitably leads to one particular question and that is ‘which one do you enjoy the most?’

Whilst both have their merits, and leaving aside the simple truth that I’ll write anything for anyone who pays me, the answer is always the same. Because if I have a blank page and am left to my own devices, I will start writing a book. All day, every day. And for five very specific reasons.

It’s easier to write – That might shock a few people but the truth is that I can have far more creative fun constructing a 75,000 word novel than I can working on a 110 pages script. And if I’m having fun, I can promise you that the words will be pouring out of me as opposed to having to be dragged out. Something which not only makes it easy for me to write but which will almost certainly make for a better read once it’s finished. 

It’s easier to produce – Working with publishers can be hard work sometimes but if all else fails, I always have the option of self-publishing. It might not see the shelves of Waterstone’s or WH Smiths but let’s face it, it will certainly see Amazon and if it sells and is earning, who cares? Certainly not me.

With a film, the whole process is a nightmare which can fall apart at any moment. That’s if it gets anywhere at all which to be frank, it often doesn’t.

Control – With a book, I have no restrictions on subject matter, genre or even length. Being able to write what I want, when I want and just as importantly, say what I want, is not only liberating, it makes the whole thing both more interesting and enjoyable for me. If you need any more proof of that, have a look at my backlist and you’ll see a book about farting. Case rested. 

With a screenplay, once I hand it over I have no control over anything. At all.

The End Result – A book is mine. All mine. Praise or criticism are therefore personal and either enjoyed or dealt with as appropriate and I’m fine with that. A film however, is only mine if someone slags off the script even though by the time the camera’s roll, my input into the development process will have ended ages ago. 

The people – For an author, publishing is a relatively solitary game and as someone who prefers his own company, that’s exactly how I like it. For a screenwriter, the writing process is part solitude, part collaboration, part chaos. This would be great if it were an industry inhabited solely by nice hard-working honest people but sadly, it isn’t. Instead, amongst the many awesome individuals I’ve worked with are far too many arseholes who, if they aren’t simple crooks, are either bullshitters or incapable of making a decision. Or both.

So there you have it. Five reasons why I’d write a book over a movie any day of the week. And with that in mind, I’m happy if not delighted to announce that work is currently well underway on the sequel to my novel Billy’s Log. Indeed, starting work on this has underlined everything I’ve written above and more because I’m loving it.

All being well, it’ll be finished by the time we start moaning about the cold but more as and when. I might even post a teaser or two!

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart


Just in case you didn’t already know, all my books and DVD’s are available from bothAmazon and iTunes

General Election? No chance, no need.

brexit, theresa may, tory, EU,Even as news broke that Theresa May was going to be handed the keys to 10 Downing Street, social media became awash with members of the remainiac camp screaming for a snap general election. Their reasoning being that as a nation, we couldn’t possibly be governed by someone who hasn’t actually been elected by anyone. No irony there then.

Given that most of those wanting the country dragged back to the polls would never vote Tory in a million years, it struck me that the majority of these professional whiners have either forgotten, or have no idea, how the electoral system works in this country. So with that in mind, here’s a very simple explanation for them.

At a general election, you don’t vote for a Prime Minister, you don’t even vote for a specific party, the way it works is that you vote for your local constituency MP.

Once the votes have been cast and counted, the person with the most (that’s another word for majority) is elected as the MP for that constituency. After that, the party with the most MP’s (again, the majority) form a government who are placed in charge of the country for a fixed term of office. That being five years. 

At the last election, around two years ago, the party with the most MP’s were the Tory party who were already in office, albeit sharing power with the Liberal Democrats. Amazingly, this time round they actually had more MP’s than in the previous election which was, in part, because they promised to hold a referendum on our position within the EU.

However, when they finally put this question to the population, 52% of people who voted (the majority) supported the campaign to leave. As a result, David Cameron, the Prime Minister and head of the Tory party, resigned on account of the fact that he had supported the campaign to remain. At this point, the Tory party decided that he would be replaced by Theresa May who will take over as Prime Minister tomorrow (Wednesday).

Now, and this is the part some people seem incapable of grasping, since we do not vote for the leader (see above) there is no requirement for a general election if and when they are replaced. It is not our decision, it’s the parties.

Similarly, the mandate to negotiate leaving the EU wasn’t given to David Cameron by the 52% majority who voted for it, it was given to the Tory government who are still in power. As such, it is still the governments mandate which means, again, that there is no reason for a general election.

It really is as simple as that.

If you would like anything else explained using the seemingly forgotten skills of basic common sense and stating the obvious, please feel free to ask.

@dougiebrimson

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

For those who aren’t aware, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

The referendum result, and how not to lose.

brexit,leave eu,europeIn the wake of the momentous decision to leave the EU, the last 24 hours has seen the inevitable toy throwing from those who wanted to remain. Forget the democratic process, losing has not been accepted with any grace.

The was inevitable of course, they did pretty much the same after the last general election when they also threw their toys out of their prams, and whilst as a support of leave from day one I was ready for some attacks and I expected them to be heavy with vitriol, what I didn’t expect was for some of them to come from people I know personally.

I am many things. I might be ignorant, I might even be stupid or small minded, but I’m not racist and I’m certainly not a Nazi so if you throw those words at me in any context and no matter how angry you are, you only get to do it once and you do it at your peril. Because if you think I won’t forget and will happily continue working with you, you are wrong. Very wrong.

Away from the personal side of things, the remainers have also been busily complaining that all of us who over 50’s who voted to leave have stolen the future away from the young. A claim so laughable it beggars belief.

Does it not occur to them that having lived through the demise of our country and seen the future we had planned for ourselves and our children stolen away, we actually voted to try and get it back?

Does it not occur to them that having been around for a few years, we might actually have based our decisions on experience?

And do they not see that far from losing anything, the young have been handed a unique opportunity to get actively involved in the rebuilding process and create a booming future for themselves and their country?

But equally, do they not see that their childish reaction to defeat provides a perfect illustration of just why so many people who reside in the place we call middle England have become so angry at what has happened to this country?

Of course not. Because like many on the petulant left which is, I suggest, where most of them sit politically, they refuse to accept defeat, refuse to accept the will of the majority, refuse to accept that they might be wrong but most importantly, they refuse to accept that this country has the potential to lead rather than be led.

I don’t, I never have, and nor do 52% of the people who voted which, in case they hadn’t noticed, is an astonishing show of faith in the democratic process which you seem to despise.

You lost. Get over it, accept it with good grace and move on. Because if you don’t, the only people who will suffer are your bitter, angry selves.

@dougiebrimson

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

The future’s bright, the future’s British.

brexit,leaveEU,europe,great britain,

So there it is, we won.

Thanks to 52% of the population, Britain will now be unshackling itself from the controlling mess that is the European Union.

Inevitably, the doom and gloom merchants have been bemoaning the result claiming that it is a disaster for the country and clinging on to the ‘half the country didn’t vote for this’ line but it is far from that. For as Diane Abbott so brilliantly put it (and that’s a sentence I never thought I would write) ‘what we have seen is a roar of defiance against Westminster’.

After years of being patronised, criticised and even bullied by those we elect to run the country for us, the British people have spoken and we have cried enough. And by doing so, we have sent a clear message to the politicians that we are no longer going to put up with their crap. Instead, we want them to do their jobs and actually govern on OUR behalf as opposed to their own.

As a supporter of the leave campaign from day one, and who has taken plenty of flack for it from certain circles, I would be more than justified in going on a bit of a gloat now, but I won’t. And I won’t for one simple reason; I don’t have to.

This is a great day for my country. This is Independence Day.

@dougiebrimson

Just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

 

EURO 2016: The clash of cultures behind the hooliganism.

hooligans,ultra,euro2016,russia,englandThus far, despite numerous requests (44 at the last count), I have refused to make much comment on the trouble at EURO 2016. The main reason being that I’ve become as tired of saying ‘I told you so’ as I’m sure people have of hearing me say it.

But equally, it wasn’t exactly difficult to see how it would pan out as it was fairly obvious that as soon as the English came under attack and fought back to defend themselves, the general public, fuelled by the British media, would brand them all as scum until the reality hit at which point they would change their generally ill-informed tune. We would then see the usual drivel being spouted by the press (‘did it ever go away?’ ‘why always us?’ ‘they’re all Brexiters’ etc) and blame apportioned to everyone except those who are actually guilty. Including me. Oh yes, amongst others, The Mail claimed that Russian hooligans have been inspired by my books and of course, Green Street. 

Finally, we would start to see some sensible reporting of the problem including some serious investigation which is of course, exactly what has happened and where we are now. It’s a well worn path and one which someone like me, who has walked it many times, is bored of treading. Hence, it’s better to avoid it and wallow in the knowledge that pretty much everything we wrote in Everywhere We Go back in 1996, was bang on the money and continues to be relevant some 20 years later. A sad indictment of the game.

However, there is one element of the violence in France which has intrigued me enough to want to speak out and it’s one which not many people have picked up on.

For what we are seeing here is not simple hooliganism, what we are seeing is a clash of hooligan cultures. Or to put it another way, English Disease versus Ultra.

I talk about the differences between the two elements in great depth in my book Eurotrashed. The Rise and Rise of Europe’s Football Hooligans but in simple terms, those English/Brits who are not averse to the odd confrontation at games tend to keep confined to match days whilst for the average Ultra, it’s more of a 24/7 thing. As a result, it’s much more organised and much more violent.

That said, Ultra, like hooliganism, is a catch-all term. The groups we ultra,EURO2016,hooligan,Russia,Englandare seeing from Russia are very different from the Ultra who infest Italian football who are in turn, different from the Barras Brava who follow football in Latin America. Indeed, we also have a fledgling Ultra culture emerging in the US although there is little to suggest that violence will ever become ingrained in MLS.

The one constant however, is that these groups look to English football as the home of hooliganism and so when the opportunity comes to confront the historical ‘top boys’ in battle, it will usually be grasped with both hands. What we are seeing with the Russians at EURO 2016 is the most brazen and public example of this although ironically , it may well backfire with many English groups already dismissing the attacks on innocent fans as being little more than cowardly and certainly against the spirit of the culture. 

Quite what the next few days has in store is anyones guess although as I type this, Lille is on high alert with Russia due to play there tomorrow and the city full of fans from many nations including England and Wales who play in Lens on Thursday. There is also the small matter of the Poles, the Germans and the Turks (all of whom have already been involved in trouble which has gone largely unreported) not to mention Ukraine, Slovakia, Sweden, Croatia and of course, the locals who, as we saw in Marseille, are not averse to picking off the odd Englishman.

But whatever unfolds, given the response from UEFA today, the consequences for those nations whose fans get involved in any further trouble are going to be significant.

Let’s just hope that sanctions are all we have to talk about once the dust has settled.

@dougiebrimson

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes