Tag Archives: CC Lester

Having Some Fun with WordPress

For those of you still finding your way around WordPress, like me, check out something quite fun.

If you click on ‘My Blogs’, then select the blog you want to find out about (if you write more than one).  Scroll across to ‘Stats’.  Not only does this page show you lots of cool info, including your total Page Views ever (not including your own views of your blog), and your Best Day ever, in terms of page views, but there is also a rather cool section called ‘Search Engine Terms’.

Click on ‘This Week‘ which is in blue on the right hand side of the ‘Search Engine Terms’ header, midway down the Stats Page.

Then, when the page changes to a page devoted to Search Engine Terms, click on the ‘All Time’ option – also in underlined blue.

I realise that all sounds a bit complicated, but hopefully what it’s brought up for you, is a rather cool list of all the terms people have entered into Search Engines, to then get to your site.  You’ll probably be rather amused by some of the more random ones –

For example, on my list of searches which led to The Elementary Circle , there are some common ones I might expect to end up at the site – ‘navigator of dreams’, ‘cosmopolitan ultimate woman of the year 2007’, ‘cc lester’, ‘charly lester blog’, and ‘dream navigator’, ‘the elementary circle word press‘ are all things several people have tried to Google.

However, here are some entries I wouldn’t necessarily expect to lead people to my blog!

(NB – All searches are as typed originally and word for word)

  • superman name
  • woman to ski
  • loner writer (NICE!)
  • penis (that one hit my site twice …. pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned that particular word on the blog!)
  • bungee
  • ‘i crossing my fingers you get a chance to’ …. (hoping this one means I get some luck!)
  • mercury childs wagon (???? what is this? some kind of pushchair/stroller??? – for anyone reading who doesn’t know, the book I’m currently writing is called Mercury’s Child)
  • similarlymercury wagon child’s (what is this all about??)
  • unspoken words of need of closure (does this make sense to anyone?)
  • sex.girls.xxx.falling i if m singleton (seriously HOW did this bring up my blog???!!)
  • work for free otherwise known as (Haha! kind of sums up my life at the mo!)
  • how do i an 2 above a m (can anyone translate this??)
  • am sikis (DITTO)
  • fat back women maken usen ditto rate xxx (SIC …. what is with these searches.  Are they literally just entering random words?)
  • some time i an read an i cannot
  • weight loss diary (um??? wrong blog me thinks!)
  • +post something anonymously on facebook
  • would sending letters of recommendations help i an immigration case
  • dream interpretation; cant hear me warning her (this one scares me a bit – sounds rather nightmarish!)
  • http://www.thewriter’slife.com/earnaliving (haven’t personally worked that one out myself yet!)
  • literary grandmother names
  • my 18 tens
  • cool names for shields
  • female christian writers blogssorry, defo got the wrong blog here
  • woman 40+ glam shots (I REALLY hope this didnt bring up my front page pic! I was 24 in that picture for frack’s sake!!!!)
  • do not reply email address (why is someone even searching this in the first place?)
  • how to write someone elses thoughts (pretty sure that’s a major part of fiction, and not necessarily something you’ll find cliff notes on!)
  • what english writer used the pen name ella? (was someone at a pub quiz by any chance?!)
  • bored written loads of times in different writing (not too impressed this brings up my blog, if I’m honest!)
  • heels muddy or mud (um WTF?!)
  • swearing screaming sex (coz obviously my blog is full of it! Though possibly slightly more accurate than the Christian writer search!)
There are also a couple of cool, but unexpected ones
  • ЩИТ И МЕЧ ПЕРО И БУМАГА –  Which Babblefish handily tells me means ‘Sword and Shield, Pen and Paper’ in Russian!
  • Flicker Lester (I like!)
  • Felicity Firestone (um AWESOME!!!!! who Googled her?! Now I want to Google her and see what comes up!)
  • Ellody Rose (is someone Google-stalking my heroines?!)
  • my life in ten years (not sure what that person was looking for, probably not my novel ‘My Ten Future Lives’ but I guess you never  know, it might have helped him or her!)
  • glorified slavery (this blatantly came up because it’s the phrase I use to describe unpaid work experience!)
  • i’m the author of my life (um, BOSH!)
  • facebook.com/cclester (eek, someone’s trying to stalk me!)
  • lucy lester flicker (this one made me grin – like a combo of me and my agent all in one – i guess that sums up a year of my life!)
  • elliwrites boyfriendLiz of Elli Writes – SOMEONE FANCIES YOU!!!

Plus, it’s quite cool being able to tell my lovely agent Lucy Dundas, at PFD (and a couple of other friends who have commented on my blog!!) , just how many times her name has been googled in the past few months 😉

Ah the power of the Search Engine Terms!  Give it a go, and let me know if you come up with any particularly funny ones!!!
C-C xxx
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Anything You Can Do …

As a child, I saw school as a competition.

I wanted to be top of the class, and that meant comparing myself, and my work, to other people.  It’s an attitude which worked as a child, and even through secondary school – GCSEs and A Level exams offered yet another forum for competition.  But, as an adult, studying at one of the best universities in the world, that attitude had to change.  If you try to be the best at Cambridge, you’re inevitably going to be disappointed.  In fact, a number of people I studied with quickly became more than disappointed.  They became defeated, verging on nervous breakdowns because for the first time in their lives they weren’t the best.  They had gone from big fish in small ponds, to tiny fish in an enormous ocean, and they couldn’t handle it.

It was at Cambridge that I realised a change of attitude was necessary, to survive, and to stay sane.  It was no longer about other people, and what they were doing.  I went from being competitive, to being a perfectionist.  I was simply going to do the best that I could do.  Whether that was in my studies, or in my extra-curricular life.  Regardless of how well others were doing, provided I was doing the best I could do, then I was happy.

And for the most part, I think this attitude works as an adult.  If you stop comparing yourself to others, and simply focus on what you want from your own life, then you’re likely to be far happier, and probably far more driven, because you’re doing things you want to do, not things other people want to do.

But there’s a problem with my logic.  Because being an author requires you to constantly be surrounded by the works of other writers.  Most writers start writing because they themselves love to read.  The written word surrounds them, and its not just their own.

I write Young Adult fiction because I enjoy Young Adult fiction.  I love the genre, and so when I pick up a book in a book shop it tends to be a YA fantasy novel.  That’s how I recently discovered the fantastic Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

But not everything you read is fantastic, by any stretch of the imagination!  And I think this is one of the most difficult parts of being in author-limbo.  After months of crafting words and constructing plot lines and sub-plot lines… After gritting your teeth and bearing subjective rejections from agents, editors and publishing houses … You have in your hands, the one thing you’ve been dreaming of attaining.  A physical published book.  Tangible acknowledgment of someone else’s literary success.  And it’s crap!

Now obviously that’s just my subjective opinion! (Just like all those publishers’ subjective opinions of my manuscripts!)And I’ll spare you from the details of exactly which book it is that has got my shackles up, because it’s not the only time it’s happened, and I don’t really want to turn the blog into a forum to bitch about other YA authors … but what I will say, is that as an unpublished author, who has spent the past three years writing and rewriting sentences – treating creative writing as a craft rather than just an outpouring of words – it’s quite depressing to come across something that really doesn’t read like anywhere near the same amount of work has gone into it.  Maybe it just slipped through the publishing net.  Maybe at times the insurmountable hurdle I feel like I’m facing actually gets a bit lower, and some less-deserving manuscripts make it through the ‘Total Wipeout’-like obstacle course to final publication.  Or maybe that’s just the whole point of opinions – they differ, and not everyone agrees that something is very well written.  To be fair, even highly successful recent ‘greats’ – Harry Potter, Twilight, Eragon, are not without copious critics.

So I guess there are several ways, as an unpublished author, that you can deal with reading a published book, which has (if you think competitively) beaten you over the publishing hurdles, and successfully come to print.

1) Accept that everyone thinks different things are good.  That’s why your agent might rave about your manuscript, but it doesn’t immediately get fought over by every publishing house it’s sent to!

2) Sometimes crap stuff gets through the filter – and if you start to see a pattern, and are beginning to lose self-belief, maybe try sending your manuscript to the publisher happily printing all the crap?! (This is a joke … kind of 🙂 )

3) Take on the positive message I always try to convey in my posts – that everything works out in the end, you just have to believe in yourself and your writing, and work your writing butt off … so use the annoyance at someone else’s success to power your own success

4) Use the book as an exercise to improve your own writing – don’t just bin it for being ‘bad’, but really think about why you don’t think the book works, and then try to apply that reasoning, and those criticisms to your own work.  That way your own work can become stronger directly as a result of the poorer work!

 

I think the important thing to underline, is whilst you do need some competitive spirit, or at least some desire to win in this publishing business, that shouldn’t mean you

a) shun all other writing all together, or

b) shun all other writers!

 

Being an author is a lonely enough profession in itself.  Unless you have the luxury of a co-author, you work alone, and the only way to get things done is by spending long hours in front of a lonely computer screen or blank page.  So your own quest for success, shouldn’t result in you losing a sense of author community.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, as blogging authors, we’re have a very real opportunity to create a writer community – published or unpublished – and social media will allow us to communicate in that community.  Don’t become so bitter and twisted because you think your own work is being overlooked, that you shut yourself away from your peers.  Often their feedback and criticism will be the most useful.

For example, I very recently discovered another author, of a similar age, represented by my agency, who not only also writes YA, but is also unpublished and lives within an hour of me.  So now, my plan is to see how many other writers I can find fitting those rough credentials – signed, but not yet published – so that perhaps we can form our own kind of writers’ group.  A forum for discussion, reading, and most of all growth.

And as for stopping reading altogether?  Well that should NEVER happen!  Because, like I said earlier, most writers get into writing a particular genre, because it is THAT genre which he or she loves to read.  So stopping reading a genre, simply because you don’t enjoy comparing the work to your own, is a really sad bi-product of choosing to become a writer.

 

C-C xxx

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Look what I just stumbled upon …

Ok, so it’s almost 2 am in Canada, and I really ought to be in bed.  In fact, as if to illustrate the point, my boyfriend is sitting next to me on the sofa, his laptop also on his lap, but fast asleep, snoring, and looking very close to dropping said laptop …

But … I felt the need to post, because, after a comment on the blog post I just wrote, about what information is available about you on the internet, I decided to Google my name!  My REAL name, not my pen name.  (Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog will know it doesn’t take a super-sleuth to discover my real name, or at least the nickname I have gone by all my life).

As expected, it brought up a whole host of information about me – from the global challenges I filmed for Challenge Charly, to my street address back in Reading (AARGGHHH), to the scholarships I received whilst studying at Cambridge and my Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year Award.

What I DIDN’T expect it to turn up was an Op-Ed article I wrote over a year ago, and sent to the International Herald Tribune! I actually only found it, because it was posted on the New York Times website, and then commented on in someone’s blog!

How crazy is that?!  If Wheelchair Pride hadn’t written a response to my Op-Ed and used my name, I’d have never even known my letter was published!  Insane!!!

Ah well … I guess now I can add ‘New York Times contributor’ to ‘nanny’ and ‘travel bum’ on my CV 😉

C-C xx

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Rebirth, Rebranding, Re-invention!

So here it is guys … my response to Elli Writes’ April Writing Competition ….

Rebirth, Rebranding, Re-invention!

When I first decided to write a post on Rebirth I wanted to tie it in with the rest of my blog.  It needed to be something to do with writing.  And so I decided to tie my piece on Rebirth in with one of my first ever posts – So Am I An Author Yet?!

There are a number of stages in the process of ‘being a writer’.

From penning your first ever story, to deciding to write a novel, to finishing that novel, getting an agent, and eventually getting it published.  And of course all the various points in time both between and after those stages. Each of those stages can be seen as a rebirth … or at least a ‘rebranding’.  Because with each small success comes emotional change.

What started as an untouchable dream becomes closer to tangible reality… and you have to adapt accordingly.

If I had to describe myself right now, I’d probably choose the term ‘inbetweener’.  Unfortunately not the twenty-something year-old comedian variety who masquerade as teenage schoolboys on Channel Four (though actually two of the cast went to uni with me), but the writer stuck in the no-man’s land between being signed to an agent, and getting physically published.

 

I’ve now been signed to the London-based agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop for eighteen months, and in that time I’ve completed two teenage fantasy novels, both of which have been deemed ‘publisher ready.’  The buck has been well and truly passed.  Where both ‘Flicker’ and ‘The Dream Navigator’ are concerned, I’ve done everything I can personally do to get them published.  I just have to wait to see what the next runner in my publishing relay race – my agent- can do with the baton.

So where does that leave me?  I’ve finished three novels, and edited all of them several times.  And whilst I have new stories rattling around my mind on a daily basis, I definitely feel a bit off the boil.  As if after two years of effort – finishing the writing, finding an agent and then going back over the writing time and time again – I’m waiting to see some tangible reward before I continue.

But I’m beginning to realise this isn’t only the wrong attitude … it’s a self-destructive one.  Because, as I described in So Am I an Author Yet?!, a major part of being an author is identifying yourself as one.  Self-branding.  Self-invention.  The only way other people will truly believe (and in the early years, accept) that you are an author, is if you believe it yourself!

So rebirth for a writer is about re-branding, and re-invention.

I am NOT an inbetweener.  I’m an author.  I’m just an author at the start of my career … and if that career is going to be a successful one, then I need to adopt a fully positive mental attitude to my writing.  And that means THINKING and ACTING like an author.

And so I’ve re-evaluated my year, and my aims.

I’m at a bit of a crossroads … after two and a half years travelling and working abroad, I’m about to return home to the UK. And the pressure has been on, from me and from other people ‘to start a career’.  I have a degree from Cambridge, and I can’t help but feel that a lot of people think I’m ‘wasting it’.  But deep down, I feel like I’ve found my career.  Ok, so it hasn’t raked in any money yet, but I’ve been perfectly capable of financially supporting myself while I wrote my books.  And it’s not like people always walk straight into the career they will hold for life when they leave university.  People try out careers.  And right now, I’m trying out writing as a career.  Which means committing to it.

So if I commit to writing, what exactly does that involve?  As I’ve mentioned, my biggest aims for this year – getting Flicker and TDN published – no longer lie in my hands.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t work on other aims.  And for now, it seems those new aims are

1)    Turning My Ten Future Lives into a screenplay

2)    Writing a children’s novel – Mercury’s Child

3)    And feeling inspired to develop new book and story ideas, and continue with the Flicker series

How do I go about achieving those aims?

Well, I’ve found I’m at my most inspired AND at my most productive when I travel.  Now obviously it’s not possible to travel forever, and never work … but working as a lowly nanny in a Canadian ski resort has funded my ‘writing habit’ pretty well thus far … why not do it for another season?  And as for the script-writing … well that’s something totally new to me … so how about doing a course in it, whilst also exploring another area of the globe?

And so … as I re-brand myself a bonafide Career Author, I actually find that very few things are changing.  I want to spend this year travelling as much as possible, and funding those travels by nannying – an occupation which doesn’t zap my creative energy.

I’m re-inventing myself … but all I’m really doing is re-inventing my attitude towards my life.  I’ve spent the past two and a half years travelling to some of the most exciting and inspiring parts of the world and writing the entire time, but somehow feeling like a failure.  Like a shirker.  Like I had chosen the unacceptable path.  And yet, only now, am I truly appreciating that path, and seeing it for what it really is.

The first steps of a career!  Granted, I don’t know whether that career will be a successful one … but isn’t that what life is about?  Trial and error?

I didn’t need to re-brand myself for anyone other than me.

So here goes … I’m C-C Lester … Career Author 😉

 

 

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