.. you can write anywhere…
How do you know you are a writer?
How do you know you are a writer?
I don’t usually deface books or magazines, but the other day I did – out of desperation.
I should apologise to Motor Boat Monthly Magazine. But the magazine in question was several years old, ten I think, and it had been read several times, by us both – AND, they went out of print last year (according to Wikipedia).
Instead of throwing out the magazine we became inspired. Most people, who live the nomadic life (especially on boats) learn this knack, everything has at least two uses. We certainly had a use for the stiff folds of paper.
Saving your sanity
So, what can you make with an old Motor Boat Magazine, coloured tape, paper, scissors and string?
You can make something to save your sanity – that’s what!
Freedom at a price
Mooring on the French canals is a wonderful freedom. At many places, most times, you can stop for the night or even a day or two.
Currently, shade is our top priority. Fortunately, we have found great shady spots, safe depths and tied up safely on a straight stretch. (Why oh why do so many boats tie up on a blind bend?)
It’s here, tied blissfully to a quiet spot we are hounded by hire boats that insist on racing alongside with total disregard of the ‘rules of the road’ – you must pass all moored vessels at no more than 3 kms/hr.
As the water is sucked and pushed alongside a speeding boats’ hull, we shift forwards then backwards and our mooring pegs, that have been driven into the bank, are literally pulled out.
When we see a boat approach and ask them to slow – most do. Some look at us as if we are mad!
So, we made a sign, that’s reinforced with Motor Boats Monthly magazine. It is nowhere near big enough, it’s a little amateurish (hastily cobbled together in desperation and fear of being set adrift!), but it’s a start. I am already planning Mark 2.
What creative ideas have you developed to improve your life on the road?
Many authors dream of a publishing contract. Knowing what I know now, it’s no longer my priority – although it is definitely up for discussion.
Alongside famous authors
However, I’ve recently signed a publishing contract that will place Of Foreign Build alongside famous authors.
New Street Nautical signed me up a few weeks ago saying, ‘we’d like to do an audio version of your wonderful book.’
Famed Yachting Authors
My book will be alongside famed yachting authors such as Callahan, McCormick, Lin and Larry Pardey, and Cornell!
It’s all happening!
A professional female voice artist has just been hired and in mid-July the audio version will become available via Amazon.
There’s more… !
What’s more “A Standard Journey – 5 horses, 2 people and 1 tent” will be out in June.
Ohhh, I feel a giveaway coming on…. watch this space!
I’m rich – that’s what people think.
While I may not be driving a Rolls Royce (yet), I am enjoying best-seller rankings with my recently published book – “Of Foreign Build – From Corporate Girl to Sea-Gypsy Woman”.
Few authors make ‘good’ money – that’s the reality. For me, my sales graph provides great pleasure as it snakes across the page continually placing “Of Foreign Build” in the top ten rankings (and often at No. 1). Yes, I am quietly satisfied with my achievements. The reviews say it all.
“Resolute” “Stimulating” ”Rousing” “Moving” “Unconventional”
Marketing can be just as hard as writing a book!
If people don’t know that your book exists, they aren’t going to buy it! This has become the little mantra in my head that keeps me going. Marketing costs money and time – lots and lots and lots of time!
‘Give your book away for free’ is the advice these days. I am uncomfortable with this for several reasons:
1) How many other industries do people slog away for years and produce a product that people expect you to give them?
2) My work has value!
I won’t disregard all my options, maybe by my twentieth book I’ll consider a freebie to the masses. I have held (and will hold) many giveaway competitions, but they’ve all been within my control – so far. Keep an eye on my website and sign up here to be the first to know about freebies.
Promotions are important
I do understand that due to the vast choice readers have, it’s important to promote, and I am really excited about this promotion!
This week (7th March – 14th March) I am reducing the Kindle version of “Of Foreign Build” to 99 cents/pence (for the UK and USA).
That’s just 99 cents or pence for over 400 pages of:
Experience the world right now from the eyes of a corporate girl that morphed into a sea-gypsy woman!
All for 99 cents / pence. Not convinced yet? Read an excerpt here.
** New Release ** May 2015 *** A Standard Journey ***
**5 horses, 2 people and a tent **
50% of proceeds going to help rescue more horses! Details here.
A little while ago I wrote about the mysteries of the maritime world and how to get through your first few times on a boat at the helm.
I received many great comments – one, in particular, is important:
“Great encouragement and advice, Jackie!
Also, want to toss in the thought that not all women are the ones being persuaded to go sailing/cruising! While most sailors are super friendly, etc. it really does bug me when I run across people who just assume that I’m only there (or any woman is only there) because her husband persuaded her to be!”
Thanks Ellen You are right. It isn’t always the man’s dream to sail off into the sunset. Women are leading the way too and taking their partners or single-handing.
Ellen goes on to say, “It’s a lack of recognition of the fact that I am (or other women are) realizing dreams that we’ve had since childhood, and the sense of accomplishment that it gives us. So my bit of advice is, when you meet people in an anchorage, to wait and hear their story before jumping to the conclusion that Girl is valiantly supporting Boy’s dream :)”
Pink and Blue Jobs
Well said! And leads me nicely into blue/pink jobs. I can understand some jobs fall to the woman and some to the man. But on our boats both of us could and can handle every job necessary, from every aspect of maintenance to navigation. For us it was the safety aspect, for me it was independence. That’s just our choice; many couples have wonderful years on board with defined jobs.
“That’s not to discount the bravery of those who do fit that narrative, just to point out that it’s not the only one! E.g. we met the skipper and cook on a luxury chart yacht where she was the captain/engineer and he the cook!”
Men vs. Women
A recent FB post on a sailing group made me smile, the magnitude and range comments that followed this question were hysterical, some thoughtless, but many were thoughtful:
“Sailors, what do you say to a woman who gives you lip about drinking rum on your boat before noon, and then also tells you that your plan on someday circumnavigating is ‘scary’ and ‘inconceivable’?”
Responses varied from “throw her overboard” to “go to AA!”
My response was along the lines of, “I wonder why so many men tell us their partner won’t sail with them? How about showing her how conceivable your plans are and proving they are not scary…. as for the rum, well, sometimes it is important and sometimes not, however – never at sea!”
What do you think?
Last week someone wrote derogatory comments about us on a forum.
A few months back, two complete strangers told us we were not qualified to offer our new boat training service. They’d garnered this lofty view from our personal website and holiday snaps! Politely we explained our professional qualifications and experience on email, even though we didn’t have to.
It seems that wasn’t enough. So last week they voiced their concerns publicly. Others didn’t like our strong ‘come-back’. I wonder how many times they’d let someone do this to them before retaliating – twice was enough for us!
What these people didn’t see was the reams of private supportive messages that clogged our email. People who wouldn’t write publicly as they didn’t want to be ‘next’ on the target list (some had, disturbingly, already been there).
In droves, people said that this is exactly why they didn’t partake in this site any more.
Well, they say, there is no such thing as bad press and now having been on the end of it – I can attest to that!
We asked for an apology. A few people on the forum have apologised privately. The instigator has not, but that’s okay. Not because of the extra business, sales and wonderful new connections and friends we’ve made – it’s okay because they’ve shown their true colours.
I wouldn’t want to wish this experience on anyone. Initially we felt alone and bullied. But the enormous private (and some public) support was a soothing balm and a real eye-opener.
It makes you think
During our years of teaching commercial maritime and working internationally on all kinds of boats (yes, barges on canals too – sigh). We’ve learned a lot:
Win an Ebook
Our website was criticised too – here it is www.bargetraining.com tell us what you think – CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is always welcome. A free ebook (choice out of three) goes to the most crazy, funny amusing or helpful comment.
Website WIP – but here’s more info:
We’ll list a few more details on our website soon – it is a Work In Progress – but in the meantime here are a few more high-lights of our experience:
As well as the European Canals (on our boats, on commercial boats, on other people’s boat – recreationally and commercially) we have also traversed the following inland waterways/canals and rivers (and hundred’s of associated locks):
New York State Canal System
The Canadian Heritage Canals
Lake Okeechobee Waterway
Trent Severn Watery
St Lawrence Canal
St Lawrence Seaway
The Mississippi River
The Ohio River
The Illinois River
Lake Okeechobee Waterway
Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway
The Great Lakes
Rivers in PNG, Borneo, Australia, Ecuador, Panama, Asia, Morocco… and on it goes…
Here’s some pics – these are mostly holiday and travel snaps, most of our professional pictures are stored away at home in Australia.
If you want more information about us just drop us a line, telephone us, call around for a chat – the kettle’s always on.
Living on board a compact ten metre boat is not for the faint-hearted!
Cruising is not all about calm seas, wind propulsion and dolphins at sunset. For a start moving from land to boat is confusing, frustrating and tough! You have to sell or store all of your belongings and live without ninety percent of what you usually live with!
Here’s more cruising realities you may not be aware of:
Here’s some of our memories of sailing around the world
And here’s the whole story…
Do you prefer to go adventuring, or read about it from the comfort of your armchair?
… it would be nothing, nothing, without a woman or a girl…”
Thank you James Brown – you hit the nail on the head in more ways than one.
WARNING – THIS BLOG IS FOR WOMEN ONLY!
As a woman sailor, maritime teacher and commercial boat skipper, I’ve come up against plenty of prejudice. I fought the testosterone-fuelled nautical world and won.
First Four Lessons
When we purchased Mariah, I didn’t know the front-end of a boat from the back-end. But Mariah felt ‘right’ to me. Lesson number one, trust your instincts.
The ropes and winches were a complete mystery, the boat’s behaviour an enigma. Lesson number two: don’t try to learn how to sail from a book. Step on a boat, any boat, as much as possible, be instinctive, it’ll make more sense than text (that part can come later).
Taking the helm was enough to turn me into a gibbering wreck. Lesson number three: Women are often better at the helm. During my experience of practical teaching, women listened to my instructions, many men had been ‘taught’ via mates and erm, supposedly knew it all already.* (Women are often exemplary at navigation too!)
I felt alone, lost and way out of my depth. Lesson number four: SO DOES EVERYONE WHEN THEY START. Persevere, chat to other women. FB groups such as Women Who Sail and Women Who Sail Australia are amazingly supportive, with zero judgement and zero tolerance for those who do judge! There are women here at every level. (If you join quickly, there’s a chance to win lots of goodies, WWS are celebrating reaching 5,000 members!)
• You can become a sailor!
• Remember it takes time (but not as long as you think).
• It’s a brave move to step away from ‘normal life’.
• Ensure/remind/beg your spouse to be patient with you – I’ve seen so many men yell at their partner and then wonder why they are left alone on the boat!
• You are both working towards the same goal – when something goes wrong, you or your partner are not sabotaging it! Work together.
• Don’t panic – deal with the situation first, then panic if you must!
• Shouting and anger can be born from fear. Talk about it, work it out.
• Be buddies on the boat – that’s important, really important.
Okay, sailing and cruising is not for everyone but if it is for you, you will find:
Do you agree? Ladies, what have you found once you stepped into the cruising life?
Gentlemen – if you’ve read this far without flicking off an angry email to me… well done and thank you! If you want to go sailing with your partner… buy her this – it’ll help – honest!
*Noel adds that it isn’t always a male/female distinction of who listens and who doesn’t. It was, for him, the person with the most experience that didn’t usually listen or wasn’t very good at taking advice/tuition. Maybe the women I taught had less experience, but this is what I encountered. (And, yes, Noel does receive special dispensation to read this!)
After a ‘sticky’ start, the renovations are starting to show promise. Here’s what caused the delays:
The new holding tank – made from one of water tanks. Sourcing the right welder was a rather frustrating project. Having to cut the big tank up INSIDE the boat, made the boat filthy. It was too big to get out, so Noel cut it into four pieces, two were the holding tank (including lid), the other two pieces were superfluous. The plumbing parts were purchased on-line and all in French. Other bits-and-pieces from the Brico-marche, eight kilometres away, hauling all purchases by bike.
“What’s the very best, top-tip you have for doing boat renovations,” I said to my hard working husband, who is grappling with two loos right now, as I type.
Without hesitation or thought he dished up these wise-words of wisdom:
“Buy a house!”
And, here’s more…
… and as with all boat work, double the time you think the work will take, triple that figure, and you’ll be about halfway to a good estimate on the time it will take to do the work! (More great boat/cruising tips here, from boat maintenance to make-up!)
More humorous (house) renovation observations, here.
What are your best (funny) tips? Continue reading →