Author Topic: Hi - some advice please for a newbie  (Read 15975 times)

Offline thatollie

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2008, 03:39:23 AM »
Yep, probably more vicious and dishonest than the one you just left.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline skirabbit

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2008, 05:32:53 AM »
Hi guys - well it seems since deciding to write I have spent a lot of it on this site - swinging from enthusiasm to despair - as someone asked me to post something I had written, here goes, this was pulished a few years ago in an online magazine for ex Africans.... though far from a book and not my best work it gives some idea of my style.

ciao

Ski


Death Defying Expedition


Well after reading the book "The Seven Summits" I had toyed with the idea of climbing some mountain somewhere, this coupled with the fact that I  had just turned forty meant that I desperately needed some macho adventure to prove my youth. The opportunity to do both things presented itself late this summer. In a casual conversation with a friend, he mentioned that he was going to climb Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc 4807m). I immediately jumped in with the suggestion that I would love to do it with him. He told me that unfortunately the climb was full but he would put me in touch with Martin the "expedition" leader for future reference. I spoke to Martin and two days later he called me to say that due to cancellations there were two spaces available on the climb. Now came what was probably the most dangerous part of the whole trip, asking Cindy to release me from my promise to spend a week in August with her and the kids to go on my personal ego trip. Fortunately she said OK and I was on for climbing the highest mountain in the Alps.

The plan called for a three day "acclimatization" climb of Monte Rosa (the highest Mountain in Italy) followed by  one rest day and then on to a two day ascent of Mont Blanc. Prior to the departure I did some research and discovered two scary statistics relative to my planned trip. The first was that more people die on Mont Blanc every year than die in the Alaskan Rockies every ten years, the second was that 50% of the people who try the climb never make it, either due to fatigue, injury or bad weather.

From the start my adventure was blessed. Weeks of bad weather lifted and  we started our adventure from Alagna Val Sesia 1180m at the foot of Monte Rosa on a beautiful sunny day. The first days climb took us from the village over the Colle D'Olen to the rifugio "Cittą di Vigevano" at 2871m. A climb of almost 1700m. It was a tough long day but the reward at the end was a fabulous view and a great meal. The next day we left for our next goal, the Rifugio Cittą di Mantova at 3498m. This rifugio is at the base of the Lys Glacier, one of the many Glaciers on Monte Rosa and was to be our starting point for one of the many 4000m plus peaks present on the Monte Rosa complex.

A late start (in mountaineering terms - 6am) the next morning we left with no particular objective in mind. Climbing the Lys Glacier for about 2hrs we reached the Colle de Lys. With my nose bleeding and my head spinning the team decided to pity me and try for one of the "lesser" peaks which now surrounded us. Turning to our right we started the suggestive climb along a narrow ridge to the top of Ludwigshohe 4341m. The thrill of my first 4000m peak and the stunning views made me forget my blood nose, my spinning head and my aching feet. From the peak we decide to tackle two other 4000+ peaks on our way home. First we climbed the challenging (for me anyway) Corno Nero 4322m - ice picks and crampons the order of the day on the very steep yet thankfully short face . Just to bag another four thousander we popped up the Balmenhorn 4167m on our way home.

In one day I had gone from zero alpine experience to bagging three four thousanders - I felt (excuse the pun) on top of the world.............

After a rest day we met in Courmayeur for our next challenge. With our experience guides from Tika Saab, Andrea, Gianni and Carlo we traveled up the Cable Car to Punto Helbronner. There the seven of us plus our guides departed, not even bothering to don  our crampons, for the "easy" walk across the Valley Blanche Glacier to the Des Cosmiques hut. On the way we climbed a small peak to practice with our crampons and by 3pm we were at the hut. The mountain huts are very very rustic, no showers, bunk beds that sleep 20 people, rooms with up to a 100 people - but no one seems to mind and after a hard days hiking the food tastes great and you are happy just to have somewhere to lie down for a while, and lie down for a while is all you do, because we were up at 1am the next morning for a hearty breakfast and an hour later with lights on our heads, crampons on our feet and ice axe in hand we headed across he Glacier to start our climb with the ascent of Mont Blanc du Tacul. The route we were taking to the summit is known as the three Mont Blancs route. Going over the shoulders of the Mont Blanc du Tacul (4248m) and Mont Maudit(4465m) before reaching Mont Blanc. The route is rated PD+ (Peu Difficile - French for a little hard) but don't let the rating fool you - it is no surprise so many people die on Mont Blanc every year - the route was the hardest, scariest thing I had ever done, and I have always considered myself rather brave. Anyway back to our expedition, we had at this stage already "lost" one member of our party. Suffering headaches and perhaps a lack of confidence in her preparation one of the two ladies in our group pulled out before we started the second day. The first part of the climb was a steep slog up a 600m flank of Mont Blanc du Tacul. At the top, sensing that my climbing buddy was not going to make it to the top of Mont Blanc I asked the guides if I could change ropes. It proved to be a wise decision as my buddy was to be the second "partial" casualty. I say partial because he did summit Mont Blanc du Tacul before returning.

The climb to the is made even tougher by the ups and downs. 1700m of climbing, 90% of which are over 4000m are required to cover the 1200m of height difference between the Cosmiques hut and the summit of Mont Blanc. After skirting the shoulder of the Tacul we hit the first of two very tricky sections - climbing over a crevice through a gap in an ice wall and then doing two sections of very steep ice face. For a person who had never used an ice axe or crampons until two days before I was now relying on them for my life. A slip in either instance would have meant a fall of several hundred meters and certain death for me and the four suckers tied to me. Fortunately it was still dark while we were doing all of this and I had no idea how bad it was until the return trip. Once past the two obstacles we rounded Mont Maudit in the weak dawn light surrounded by mist. As we trudged along the mist lifted and there was Mont Blanc. From here it was just a hard slog. My heart pounding, my lungs screaming for air we trudged 50 or a 100 paces at a time, stopping to rest, looking up at the summit which never seemed to get any closer. Having come this far though, nothing was going to stop us and at 9:30, seven and half hours after we started, we hit the summit. Exhausted, cold and surround by cloud we could hardly exalt at our fantastic achievement - we were on top of the world (or at least Europe) - Mont Blanc (4807m). A few minutes rest and the Gods smiled on us again - the cloud lifted and spread around us were the most beautiful views you could imagine. We had done it! All I needed to do now was survive the descent so I could tell everyone about it.

Going down was tough - I did another couple of firsts, rappelling down the ice face we had climbed in the dark and falling into a crevasse (something which my two climbing buddies also experienced) - fortunately I was roped to a fixed point at the time. The walk still had one last cruel blow in store for us - having descended back into the Valley Blanche we had to climb 200m back up to the Aiguille du Midi to catch the cable car back to Punto Hellbronner. Well after 13hours on the mountain those 200m were sheer torture. The French thinking they are such macho fellows have made the access to the Aiguille du Midi really dangerous. Walking uphill along a snow and ice covered ridge half a meter wide with a several thousand meter drop on one side and several hundred meters  into a crevasse on the other was no fun and I am not embarrassed to admit I did most of it close to being on my hands and knees. Finally we were finished walking, it was 4pm, 14 hours had passed since we had left the Cosmiques hut. A spectacular cable car ride across the Valley Blanche and we were on our way back to Courmayeur, exhausted but filled with a fantastic sense of achievement.

Offline AJ Barnett

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2008, 08:50:09 AM »
Talking about percentages, what's the score on producing a workable piece - I read 1% inspiration 99% perspiration - seems about right to me. It's damn hard work, and that's once the right idea is in place - the one the public want, not the one you think they want - fickle lot these "Joe-publics" and THAT'S when you've got past the publishers - which is quite another story!!!! If you think any other you're on cloud cuckoo.

I always thought I was mercenary, but to PLAN on an outcome --- Simply doesn't sit well I'm afraid. I'm sorry to talk like this, Skirabbit, but you really do need to face up to it.

You seem to be filled with self-belief, and all credit to you for it. Unfortunately, self belief simply is not the only thing that is required in this game. Only the exceptions make a fortune, the exceptional make a living, good writers merely scrape by.

If it's money you're looking for, look elsewhere. Treat writing as a compulsive hobby, otherwise you might be quite disappointed. I know of a good writer who has several novels on the shelves, who works in a bar to get by.

Anthony
Author of <a href="http://amzn.to/aoTuEI">SHORT MOMENTS</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/92VNu3">WITHOUT REPROACH</a>

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Offline skirabbit

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2008, 10:03:06 AM »
Hi Anthony

I am sure I will learn the hard way, but in my experience planning an outcome is absolutely the way to go - the philosphy of visualising the outcome is a powerful tool which is even being used in helping sportsmen improve - read any book on achieving your goals and preparation, planning and visualising the result are all in there.

There are so many below par books out there, those guys got published - how did they do it? - I hear you are you telling me that far more talented people exist and that due to some twist of fate are constant failures, whereas less talented individuals make it? Well I suppose this is true in almost every aspect of life - as a talented sportsperson, businessman(woman), actor or whatever you need some breaks, some luck, the right vehicle - but I believe without a shadow of doubt - go in believing you will not make and I guarentee you won't. Gary Player always said - it is amazing the more I practice the luckier I get. Of course you have to have the raw material - I may fail because I have no talent - I could practice golf 23 hours a day and I would still be crap - but if I do have talent - and I believe - and I work at it and I practice - I will get lucky - of that I have no doubt.

We humans are much more powerful than we believe - it is self doubt and fear that paralyze us that take away our will to succeed - it is the negative thoughts that creep into our minds that cripple us - send out your book believing it will be rejected and 99,99% of the time it will - we communicate our self doubt in subtle ways - other people pick this up and they doubt us too.

OK I hear you all saying - ha ha ha - all great pie in the sky he will get a solid dose of reality soon enough - but com'on guys believe in yourselves, believe in that power you have, be positive, visualize that success - act like winners! Ok watch this space in a years time and see if I am a whimpering wreck of a man, if I have succeeded or if I have realised I have no talent and have gone back to licking someone's bum and trying to make the numbers :-)

take care

Ski

Offline rewh2oman

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2008, 10:33:04 AM »
the philosphy of visualising the outcome is a powerful tool

A.K.A.  "The Secret"
http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1582701709

The odds are against any of us in the fine arts. Perhaps you have to ask yourself "why you write"?

Hang in there skirabbit.

...russ

Offline Omni

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2008, 10:48:07 AM »
OK I hear you all saying - ha ha ha - all great pie in the sky he will get a solid dose of reality soon enough - but com'on guys believe in yourselves, believe in that power you have, be positive, visualize that success - act like winners! Ok watch this space in a years time and see if I am a whimpering wreck of a man, if I have succeeded or if I have realised I have no talent and have gone back to licking someone's bum and trying to make the numbers :-)

It's obvious from the questions you've asked that you made the decision to give up the 'rat race' to become a writer without bothering to find out anything about what being a writer involves. Then you talk about the importance of planning. You've come into the forum full of yourself, telling those who have bothered to find out what's involved what good the power of self-belief is. You need to recognise that you don't know diddley-squat, and stop talking as though you do.

Omni

Offline Nick

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2008, 11:08:35 AM »
Hi Skirabbit

...and welcome to MWC!

Can I suggest that you re-post your article on the Review My Work board, as I'm sure you'll get more feedback on it there. Really, this board is just for people to post their initial introductions and be welcomed by other MWC members  :)

Regarding my courses (thanks for mentioning this, Paul!), Write Any Book in Under 28 Days is aimed at anyone wanting to write a book in the shortest possible time, while Quick Cash Writing is for people seeking the fastest ways to start earning money from their writing skills. URLs for more info are given below:

www.nickdaws.co.uk/writeany.htm
www.nickdaws.co.uk/qcw.htm

Good luck!

Nick  :)
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline skirabbit

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2008, 11:53:47 AM »
wow Omni a lot of agression and negativity there - did not realise that a positive mental attitude and self confidence were negative traites. If I am an overconfident poophole why should it wind you up so much - I am a no one in your life and yet you let me get to you - that is not healthy - if you are right and I am wrong I will crash and burn - what do you care? You should focus your energy in a positive way.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope you get the break you are looking for. As for me - I climbed the highest mountain in Europe without ever having climbed a mountain before - just because I believed I could so why not write - like I said n times before if I am wrong I will learn a lesson and then I will move on - no harm no foul...

ciao

Ski

Offline skirabbit

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2008, 11:55:53 AM »
thanks Nick I had already signed up for your course - that is how I got to the web site

regards

Riccardo

PaulW

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2008, 12:41:02 PM »
You're exactly right Ski - it's your decision and you've obviously thought it through. And people DO get published, every year. There is no reason why you shouldn't be one of them. You can certainly write, and you've come to the right place to get help and critique where needed. The honesty you'll get here is one of the most powerful gifts you can get. Any idiot can tell you that you are great. The real boost is when someone gives you a critique telling you that you are getting something wrong - then tells you why.

I think we've all had the experience of posting something, thinking it's great, then somebody putting a critique on that sets us slamming the chair back against the wall and stalking off in disgust. And then later, when your mind has opened up a bit, you come to realise that they are spot on, and see the weakness for yourself. Sometimes it's not just a specific problem they've outlined but a general problem with your writing, which you can then correct. And that is like all your Christmas' coming in one.

Unfortunately sometimes it can creep over into a little negativity. You have to bear in mind though - they cared enough about your stuff to post in the first place. You can always ignore that (God knows you better get used to critics ;D ) for the sake of the 'diamonds in the sewage' as I like to think of it. Actually it's quite a good training course in handling rejections sometimes. ;D

You have to let Karl interview you for writers FM if you DO make it to your goal in a year though. On the theme of how a positive attitude got you through! ;D

Paul


Offline SteveJ

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2008, 12:50:27 PM »
I think we've all had the experience of posting something, thinking it's great, then somebody putting a critique on that sets us slamming the chair back against the wall and stalking off in disgust. And then later, when your mind has opened up a bit, you come to realise that they are spot on, and see the weakness for yourself.

This is very true, Ski - when I joined MWC, i thought my poetry was quite good, but when I posted it, I got reviews like:

Quote
"Jesus Christ, noooooooooooooooo!!!"

and...

Quote
Retire from writing immediately! PLEASE, for the sake of literature!!"

I was a bit disappointed. But then I realised they were right - my poems WERE crap!
So I branched out & tried fiction writing, and now I'm still crap, but less so than before, thanks to my helpful MWC colleagues :)

Kudos to you for your self-belief, Ski :)
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Offline thatollie

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2008, 12:53:30 PM »
Quote
I think we've all had the experience of posting something, thinking it's great, then somebody putting a critique on that sets us slamming the chair back against the wall and stalking off in disgust. And then later, when your mind has opened up a bit, you come to realise that they are spot on, and see the weakness for yourself.
More than once for me, and I've done the same for others (well, except for the realise that "Ollie is right" bit.)
Never make a decision standing up.

PaulW

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2008, 01:08:54 PM »
You are SUCH a liar Steve! Ok, I did move all your posts to the 'truly crap poetry' thread, but still...  ;D

(actually I think all my own efforts are still on that thread.) :P

And it was just to keep you working on your screen-plays, we were doing you a favour goddamit!

Offline SteveJ

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2008, 02:17:45 PM »
So it was YOU, Mr Paul!! It's obviously a vast conspiracy to keep my incredibubble poems away from the delicate eyes of MWC newcomers, who might laugh, & think that this is a forum for 6 year-olds! ;D ;D

Ps: My screenplays are crap too, chief ;D
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PaulW

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Re: Hi - some advice please for a newbie
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2008, 03:05:08 PM »
No they're not. Though I do wonder how much of Sherlock Jones is drawn from the real you. ;D