Born to win

So you had your little tantrum last week, you got it out of your system?

Before i say anything, listen to this song  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4WdMei5oXg it’s a song called ‘Born to win’ by Papoose. I just want to pick out a few of the lyrics…..

My competition said i wasn’t ready to face him,

My teammates said “I think we need to replace him”

All the haters used to say “Boo we hate him!”

I wanna thank y’all for the inspiration.

And i couldn’t have said it better myself. Every day i see this book slowly coming together. All my other books are in the first draft stage but this one is nearly ready to be published. I’ve got the front cover done and it looks incredible. The editing is nearly done, just waiting on a few people to finish their parts of the book that they were willing to edit (I can’t complain though, it’s being done for free. That’s the great thing about being an English teacher in Asia; you are surrounded by intelligent people and these people end up becoming good friends). in terms of the book everyone has been extremely supportive, however i have spent a lot of my life – like i’m sure most people have – constantly having to overcome obstacles. People saying that i’ll never succeed, that i need to give up, everywhere i have worked i started from the bottom. Sometimes forced, sometimes by choice. Simply because I’ve always wanted to prove that i can do it. I enjoy being underestimated and when people look at me and smirk, or make some kind of comment that i’m shit at whatever i’m doing at that time, I use that to drive myself on. So for every person that shot me down and treated me like shit; Thank you. Thank you for inspiring me to do what I’ve done (and possibly will do in the future) and for those of you that didn’t, it didn’t go unnoticed.

And now here we are, my book is nearly ready for publishing, i need to write a biography and do a little bit of work on my amazon page that i have no idea what to do, but it’ll surely be completed soon enough. Soon i will have a novel that’s available to buy on Amazon. ME!?!?!? A small, skinny kid from Watford has somehow wrote a book. And not just any book; like a book about my experiences in life, an actual novel. Once it’s out there no one can take that away from me. Against all odds i somehow became an author before the age of 30. Now i need to hope that it’s actually any good. I’ve had people tell me it’s good, but the true test will be once it’s been out for a few months and people i have never met start reading it. Then i’ll know if i truly am good at what i do or if i’m living in a dreamworld where everyone is too scared to break my fragile confidence to tell me what they really think…..

Alright calm down sunshine! I’m guessing you haven’t got any teaching stories if you are ranting like this….

Oh no i’ve got some! I was teaching a girl who shall be referred to as ‘Little lady’. I was teaching her how to expand on basic questions like ‘What is your name?’ for when they have to take these international exams. for example: What your name means, if you were named after anybody, if you like your name, etc…. and…. well, you know how it goes by now.

Unfortunately yes i do…..

Me: So lets give it a go; What is your name?

Little lady: My name is ________ which means red pork

Me: Great! it means red pork in…?

Little lady: <Blank stare>

Me: In what language?

Little lady: English

Me: No, it can’t be English, in which language?

Little lady: …English (more insistently)

Me: No it can’t be English, because ‘red pork’ in English is ‘red pork’

Little lady: <The stare becomes blanker…. and not the cool Blanka from Brazil that can electrocute people by tapping ‘B’>

Me: So which language is it? Korean…..? Or Japanese..?

Little lady: …..Every language.

Me: It cannot mean the same thing in every language. Especially since your name does not mean red pork in English, because red pork means red pork.

Little lady: <Yet another blank stare…>

Me: <looking for way out.> Is it in Thai? (knowing that whether it was or not, she would still say yes, and she would also say yes if she didn’t understand)

Little lady: Yes (well actually, it was more of a nod to say if i agree to whatever you are saying can we move on?)

Me: Lovely Jubbly! lets carry on…..

Its getting to the stage that i know as it’s happening that it’s going to end up on my blog. So now i find it difficult to either keep a straight face or to act completely normal. Probably if i did act normal they would say even better stuff.

Lovely! So you mention the book you are publishing, how about this new book you are writing?

I’m about 10000 words in. Enough for it to be considered a ‘part 1’ and shipped off to friends and family to see what they think so far. If it doesn’t flow then i can either start it again or scrap this one and start a new one. I’ve got a few ideas ready so i’m not afraid to scrap one if it’s not as good as i thought it would be. That being said i’m enjoying writing this one so i hope it’s good. I’ve given the main character some emotional issues to add depth to his personality, which i always enjoy exploring. This one specifically is interesting because he is an interesting, funny guy on the surface but when he’s alone he has severe self worth issues that usually only go away after half a bottle of whisky. Like i said it’s very interesting to write, i just hope it’s just as interesting to read…..

What else are you going to bore us with?

I did some leafleting this weekend for work which was really fun. I spent the whole time high fiveing people saying “Free coffee!” Referring to the coupon they got for a free drink if they came to the coffee shop. My bosses have been ridiculously nice. So much so that i’m wondering what i have possibly done to deserve it! They’ve treated me to dinner on more that a couple of occasions in the last 2 weeks. And i’m talking nice places too, not just your basic street stall restaurant. Their belief in me is so comforting. They speak very highly about the way i do my job which is always nice to hear. Their confidence in me is contagious and gives me more confidence in the classroom. I’ve never needed motivation for anything but i have always needed some self confidence. So i’m very thankful for that. I know it’s either a cliche or something that a suck up would say but i’m genuinely so lucky to have bosses like them. People who are good at what they do AND see potential in me as well. That’s me done for this week. I want to have had this book ready to publish by next week. I think i just need to get my arse in gear and attack it and stop being such a pussy about it. Anyway, CIAO!

 

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The dark side of blogging

I have been blogging for just over 3 months now. I wanted to start this blog in a few years time when i hit 30 and start my ‘travelling around the world without using a plane’ trip. However circumstances worked themselves out in a different way and without warning i started to get interested in writing novels. After i wrote 2 in 4 months i thought, “Well this would be a great way to not only promote my books but find like minded people as well.” and also by the time i started doing my world trip i would have (hopefully) got a few followers who could follow me right at the start of my trip.

So i set up a blog with some help with a few of my friends and posted it on facebook. I got the usual reactions; “Finally! i’m so happy you’ve started to write a blog”, “I’ll be sure to follow”, etc…. And i must say it was a great ego boost. I got 50 views in the first week. 50 different people were interested in my life, even though my blog looked nowhere near legit, people were still clicking to find out about me. So i spent some time setting up my blog to look more like a real blog, and as it grew i invested more of my time into it, and that’s where it started…

I shamelessly started spamming pages on things like facebook and linkedin in the hope that i would get that 1 extra click on my blog. Stupid right? Even irrelevant pages were getting my blog spammed all over their page. My thought process at the time was that i was just getting it to a wider audience, so i could double the people clicking on my blog and feel important. It was pathetic if i’m honest. It’s not as if i was even getting paid for it. I’d become one of those people that writes “I earned $4000 a month and you can too. Blah blah blah…” on a completely random page that makes people roll their eyes and think “Why are you here?”. I remember once i posted on the lad bible, i can’t even remember what it was any more, but i posted a link in the comments section saying sometimes along the lines of ‘blah blah blah…. I write about this in my book’ with a link to one of my blurbs. My facebook page is full of links to my blog, and for what? Just because i’m hoping a few people will click on my blog. Will that really satisfy the initial rush i got?

I didn’t stop there. I started commenting on other people’s blogs after i got told that you would get more traffic if you like and comment on other people’s blogs so they know you exist. “Sounds good.” I thought, as i wanted to build friendships anyway. Unfortunately i didn’t know how to really go about this and i ended up doing something that i never thought i’d do – suck up. Don’t get me wrong there are people who i have met blogging who i am glad i have bumped into them, Storytimewithjohn is one of them. He seems like a genuinely nice person. However i have commented on or liked a few blogs that popped up on my news feed. I read them and thought either, “I don’t connect with you at all” or “This is pretty poor”. However i’d still like it and comment hoping that someone would do the same for me. I know, terrible right?

There was one blog post i still remember. It was something about a girl saying why her boyfriend was better than some guy who had been harassing her saying that she would never find anyone better. It was a good read, but not comment worthy, making a comment wouldn’t have made any sense. But me being me i posted a real kiss arse comment saying something like “A great read, thank you.” I posted it and thought “What am i doing? This isn’t coming from me.” I realised i was becoming the one thing i swore i would never be – fake. Fake just like my father. No matter what happened in life i wanted to work hard and be honest and true to myself, so if i ever have kids i can look at them square in the eye and say; “Whether i succeed or fail, you can never say i’m deceitful and dishonest, what you see is what you get.”

I feel like i just need to get this negativity out of my system to move forward. So this really negative blog post isn’t my last (although i hope it’s my last negative blog post, at least until i’m stuck in the middle of Western Africa wondering how the hell i’m going to survive) So i will continue to blog, I will reply to any comments you may have, as I’ve realised now it’s not about the blog, it’s about building friendships with people i would never meet otherwise. But i’m going to stop spamming pages that aren’t relevant. I don’t want to be one of those people that spends all their time on forums and other peoples blogs in the hope that they will click on or follow mine, i want this to be a place where i can click on it as a hobby once every couple of days and keep in touch with friends I’ve made along the way, and not follow or comment on things for the sake of doing it, but look at blogs that i actually want to read about.

If you came looking for funny stories about teaching, then sorry, there’s not gonna be any this week. There was loads of funny things that happened that would make you think “what the….? I don’t even understand your thought process. It’s like you’ve literally said the first word that’s popped into your head, with hilarious results!” But i decided to write this instead. If anything worthy of posting in terms of teaching pops up, then i’ll let you know when it happens, but i’m not actively looking for things what happened in the classroom just for a cheap laugh. I’m going to stick to the whole reason i started this blog in the first place – A place to talk about my books, and the progress of them. With any things about my life in Thailand being a secondary topic.

To be honest i was very hesitant to publish this. I feel like i’m bringing the mood down as i’m always writing about funny things (or at least i hope i am). But in the end this is what was in my heart, so i decided to share it. And if people don’t like it, then it’s only 1 blog post right? And more importantly like one of my friends told me the other day; I’m writing for me, not for other people….

Military coup, week…..3? Is this still going on? I just don’t know anymore…..

What do you mean you don’t know? You live there!

I know, but I’ve been confined to my bed for the past week. I had some dodgy flu bug that drained all my energy and caused pain in all my muscles so the coup has been the least of my concerns, especially as it doesn’t really affect me unless i stay out past the curfew. So if you are looking for an update on how it’s going i’m probably the wrong person to ask. I couldn’t give you a direct answer because i was too busy lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. But i guess it’s still going on. I know the bar that all the prostitutes would go to after hours to pick up an inebriated fellow has now become a funky looking coffee shop, presumably so it stays in business at least until the curfew finishes. Every so often i see a few army guys standing around town with their guns looking like bosses, but there’s nothing drastic happening here. If something does change i’ll let you know.

Okey dokey bacon smokey. How’s the publishing?

I haven’t really progressed yet. I’ve got my sister designing my book cover as she’s an artist and all around general legend. And I’ve sent parts of my books to various friends just to edit stupid things that i may have missed while editing it myself. Apart from that nothing else has really been happening on the publishing front.

O….K. So what about teaching stories?

Well i haven’t been teaching that much either because I’ve been ill. But i am teaching this TOEIC (academic test) class where half of the students are shockingly poor. At the start of the lesson i was doing basic questions to get to know each other like ‘What is your name?’ I asked one of the little gems how old she was and she said “I…27 o’clock” I’m no academic examiner but i don’t fancy your chances in an international test….

She’s gonna go far! So is that it then?

Actually no, i started writing my 4th book. I know i said i was going to wait until i published my 1st one but I’ve been itching to start writing again and I’ve lost a lot of confidence and positive energy since i stopped writing. So i need to do something to keep my mind active or i feel like i’m wasting my life. I did write off a couple of days of my life playing South Park: The stick of truth (Great game by the way!) but after that the negative thoughts kept creeping into my head and i felt sad for no particular reason. This way i can build towards something and stop my mind from wandering.

Oh great, another book! I hope you can feel my sarcasm! What’s this one about then?

Well i surprised myself with this. I have told a few people what my 4th book was going to be about but i decided to put that one off at the last minute. I have a few ideas floating in my head about what kind of things to write about. Yesterday a friend of mine asked me “Why can’t you write a positive book for a change?” And i quickly replied that i can’t write anything positive, i can’t only write negative things because that’s what naturally flows. Then later that night i thought, “Why can’t i? I’ve already wrote about a psycho killer and a book about a fantasy war set in the future. Give it a go and see what comes out?”

So that night i thought of a concept i wanted to go with. This book is different to the other 3 in the sense that i already know how it is going to end (i’m always open to change depending on where the book takes me, but i pretty much know how this book will end) whereas in the other 3 books (and the book that was supposed to be my 4th, but will now probably be my 5th) i had a vague concept of a story, possibly a start. But only a very vague idea of what i wanted in terms of a spine to the story, with no idea how i was going to end it. I enjoyed the idea of an ending coming to me in a dream or when i was waiting at the traffic lights, then having to race home or to work and write it down before i forget it. But that’s not going to happen in this one, or at least i don’t think that’s going to happen. So it will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

Ever thought of being a politician? You droned on for ages and didn’t even answer my question!

Well i’m going to leave that a mystery for now. One mistake i learnt writing about my 3rd book was that i think i gave too much away. So i’m going to wait until i have a fair amount of dialogue to the story before i start giving away snippets of what happens.

What about your views? Has anything changed?

No, it’s still the same as last week. I got a surge of views from Amurrica so they consolidated 3rd place. But most of my views were either from Thailand or The UK, so i don’t see the top 3 changing anytime soon. And that’s it. Hopefully something interesting happens next week that i can tell you about. If not, i’ll just lie…..

 

Random picture of me fire juggling…..

picture of me travelling 10

Military coup, week 2

This is still going on?

Yep, no sign of stopping yet. Like i said last time the curfew has been extended to midnight. But the only thing that’s really different is that all around the town there are random army guys with machine guns just standing there.

Sounds scary!

No it’s nothing. Of course if anyone asks i’ll tell them how brave i am to withstand this dangerous time. But in all honesty it’s business as usual. In fact I’ve heard that the curfew has been lifted in places like Pattaya and Phuket. You know, the party towns. But i’m not 100% sure if that is true or not. Unfortunately I’ve been ill for the last few days so I’ve just stayed in feeling sorry for myself.

Aw diddums! Well you better have a good teaching story for me, you didn’t have one last week!

Last Sunday I was teaching some terrible girl. I was teaching her the time and she was really struggling to get it. When we got to 25 to 3 she had said 35 past 2 and two thirty five, so now i was trying to get her to say the last one. I got ’25 to’ out of her by waving my arms like an Italian on the board trying to give her the answer without actually telling her. I said…..

Me: 25 to…..?

Admittedly cute, but shit: 25 to

Me: 25 to what?

Admittedly cute, but shit: OH! 25 to what <starts to write it down>

Me: No don’t just repeat exactly what i say, i’m asking you 25 to what?

So of course i started singing ’25 to what?’ to the tune of Lil Jon’s ‘Turn down for what? including humming the tune. She was giggling when i was humming the high pitched notes, seemingly unaware as to why. Then i asked her what ’20 to 3′ was and she started to spit a rap freestyle in Thai. So i said “OK” and wrote ‘Random Thai’ on the board as a joke. She nodded and copied it down. I thought to myself “You know what? i’m just gonna see how this plays out!” And sure enough when we did an exercise and i’d asked her to write down the time for 7:40 she wrote down ‘Random Thai’

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

Yep, what a penishead. I thought “Actually, i don’t even want to correct you, lets just leave it out there and see what happens…”

I don’t think your students are shit, i just think you are a shit teacher….

Well i am a shit teacher as well. Although one of my students (The French girl) got her TOEIC score last Thursday; 730 out of 990. Just to put that into perspective most non-native English teachers are proud of having a score of 650. She said she wanted 700 and got more than that so i’m very happy for her. In fact i think i was happier than she was! I was also a man of my word, i said that i would treat her to some ice cream if she passed, like i say to all my students.

That’s nice, good for her! So what else have you been doing?

Last Monday i went to an internet marketing seminar. I didn’t write about it last week because i had already written so much last week. Anyway, i got there thinking that it would be good for me. I get to meet like minded people, i can learn about how to publish my book and how to market it. Fan dabby dosey!!!!! So i got there and i felt very uncomfortable. Some Thai woman came up to me and barked “YOU PAY YET?” “Err… no” was my shocked response. “OK, YOU PAY HERE. 250 BAHT!” I didn’t batter an eyelid, i assumed she didn’t mean to come across rude and gave her the money. I asked her if water was included and she said no, i must pay extra. So i paid an extra 25 baht (50p) for a bottle of water only to find free water in the room when i got in. “Great! I’ve been here 1 minute and I’ve already been lied to!” I thought to myself. I got some food and sat down at a table full of people talking confidently about about things i had no clue about. “I don’t fit in here.” I thought. Eventually one of the girls sitting next to me tried to start a conversation with me. I was nervous and uncomfortable because of the situation only to find that this girl was gorgeous “Great! Keep it simple and don’t say anything stupid.” I remember thinking. Labouring through an awkward conversation i asked her what she did. “Adoption” was her answer. “Oh adoption, that’s cool…” i said. “no; DROP SHIPPING!” she replied. Well done Lewis, you are very good at this ‘talking to girls’ lark aren’t you?

Oopsy! Was she pissed?

No she laughed it off, and after that i started to relax. It wasn’t really a seminar, more of a get together. Luckily i was picking the brains of everybody there so i learnt a lot. Met some really nice people there as well. Including the ‘adoption’ girl…. There was also a guy there who had published a book and had enough confidence about him to suggest he had been quite successful. He was very genuine and gave me some invaluable advice. At one point when there was a table full of people he walked over to our table, nodded at me and said “This guy’s writing a novel.” and walked away making me the centre of attention for the next minute or so. I thought “What a nice guy!” So overall i didn’t enjoy it at first. I felt out of my element and unable to connect with these people but the longer i was there the more i started to be myself and everybody opened up.

So it was a good night. Hows the medal table looking?

1. <>        Thailand

2. <>       United Kingdom

3. <>       United States

4. <>       Germany

5. <>       South Korea

6. <>       New Zealand

7. <>       Russia

8. <>       Laos

9.  new   Australia

10. -1      Canada

India, Malaysia and The Philippines have got their first medals. Also i got my first view from Africa last week, Kenya to be exact. So hello to you! Most of the top 10 hasn’t changed except Brazil has dropped out and Australia has surged into 9th position with Laos in it’s sights for 8th position. As of 3 weeks ago i hadn’t even got one view from Australia, now look at them. Even Kanye West got involved. This is what he had to say about it:

“Australia, i’m happy for you…. Imma let you finish…. but Thailand has got the most views of all time. OF ALL TIME!!!!”

Cheers Kanye, enjoy the rest of your honeymoon! Any progress publishing your book?

Kind of. I always take a few days off after i finish a book and this one was no different. I edited the book, added a little bit here and there and sent it out to a few friends of mine to edit a few pages each. When i first started editing it i got to 5 pages (A4 pages) and decided to have a break. Then my worst fears were confirmed. Now i understood why most people took so long to finish it. I thought the exact same thing; “This is good, but i’ll carry on tomorrow.” And of course tomorrow never comes. However after that it flowed easily and i effortlessly finish editing it. I feel like i may have to change the start to make it flow like the rest of it but deep down i don’t know how i’m going to do that. I don’t want to interrupt the flow. I think i’ll wait for the editing from my friends before i make any rash decisions.

I’m done! See you next week if i can think of anything remotely interesting to say…