#everymindmatters, #mentalhealthawerness, #stampoutthestigma, Craig's Blog, Uncategorized

Mental Health Awareness

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#everymindmatters

Mental health is a subject very close to my heart; it has affected my family, my close friends and myself.

The sad thing is, that once people identify that they may be struggling they are not encouraged to speak up or ask for help. For too long now there has been a dreadful stigma attached to Mental Health. This prehistoric mindset needs to be driven out and only through education and a clearer understanding of the subject can help this be achieved.

I would like to share with you a presentation that I delivered at work last week to my senior management that was enthusiastically received and generated an abundance of positive feedback.

If you only read or share one of my blogs, please make it this one.

The Alarming Facts

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What is Mental Health?

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Throughout your life, if you experience mental health problems, you’re thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry

Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse

Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

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The Early Warning Signs

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Are we at Risk – YES!

  • Mental Health does not discriminate against anyone – We are all at risk
  • In our industry, we work long hours to tight deadlines.
  • Many of us are separated from family and friends

We:-

  • Can become lonely/homesick
  • Can become Isolated
  • Can become vulnerable
  • May miss births, weddings, birthdays, celebrations and deaths
  • Have no one to confide in

Why do we choose to ignore our Mental Health Wellbeing?

  • A Stigma attached / Not wanting to be labelled
  • Fear of losing our jobs
  • Pride
  • If we ignore it. It will go away

How to Improve your Mental Health

  • Talk about your feelings
  • Keep Active
  • Eat Well
  • Drink Sensibly
  • Ask for help
  • Take a break
  • Do something you are good at

If you suspect somebody may have Mental Health Issues

  • Talk to them, listen and be non-judgmental
  • Be sympathetic and respectful of their problems
  • Keep everything discussed as confidential
  • Reassure them
  • Allow them time to take breaks
  • Set them realistic deadlines
  • Encourage them to go home on time
  • Follow your support up

Support Available

  • NHS – Call 111 Option 2
  • Samaritans – Call 116 123
  • MIND – Call 0300 123 3393

MentalHealth

#everymindmatters

As usual, I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please feel free to leave a comment or share.

For more information please visit my website www.laughcryandwrite.com

Until the next time

One Love x

mhaware

Author, Book update, Craig's Blog, Crime, short story, Thriller, Uncategorized, Writing Inspiration

MAJOR Website Update

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Hi Everyone,

Following a self-imposed alcohol ban last week I finally managed to update my site with improvements that I have been wanting to do for a long time now but could not do due to my hectic writing schedule.

I am excited to announce that I have added a section where  I have published all of my short stories. These are available to everyone to read and share.

Not only does this section include my 400 word short stories that I wrote for competitions but also after much deliberation I have decided to make my Horror-themed short stories available to everyone. I have so far published:-

The Resurrection Men

Der Devil Komando

The Calling – Will  be issued by the end of September

Outbreak – Will be issued by the end of the year

I have also added new pages for my current books which will be regularly updated to show current status. This section includes a link to buy ‘From the Toon to the Trenches’ which is available to purchase from Amazon.

I invite you all to check out the newly updated site and as always please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have.

Id appreciate it if you could share this blog and help grow my following.

Till the next update

Craig

http://www.laughcryandwrite.com

 

 

 

 

 

A Grandads Journal, Book update, Craig's Blog, From The Toon To The Trenches, short story, Uncategorized, WW1 Journal

A New Year – A New Challange – Exciting Update – WW1 Journal from 100 Years Ago

lest we forgetHi Everyone,

I trust you all had a fantastic Christmas and I wish you all the very best for 2019.

Last year was a real turning point for me and my writing. I completed my first ever draft, set up this website, completed my Writing Course and produced a few short stories.

2019 is going to be even greater for me and my writing. I hope to improve with my writing style with experience and I have just sat down and planned out my whole writing schedule for the year, which I am going to monitor my progress against.

For 2019 my main plans are to complete the final re-write of ‘A Step into Darkness’ ready for returning to the Editor for review. I plan to complete the 1st draft of my second novel ‘A Silent Scream’. I am looking to self-publish a compilation of Horror stories in time for Halloween and I’m going to prepare and hopefully complete NaNoWriMo in November which will set me up lovely for my third novel.

Exciting Update

Back in November 2018, a close friend sent me a copy of his Grandad’s Journal from the 1st World War. It had been discovered by his cousin 100 years later. The reason my friend sent me the Journal was two-fold:

  1. He knew of my passion for all things related to WW1 and WW2.
  2. He knew I was a writer.

After reading the story two or three times I sensed that there was a real story crying out to be told. A one of heroism, courage and of the barbarity of life in the trenches during that time.

After gaining permission from the family, I have been working over the festive period, tinkering here and there, formatting, editing and adding some missing information.

This is now all complete and the Journal has been self-published on Amazon in the Kindle format under the title ‘From the Toon to the Trenches.’

The short story will be priced at 1.99p with all sales being donated to the British Legion.

For me, it as a wonderful read, sometimes shocking and occasionally humorous and I ask you all to have a look and share the word.

The link to buy from Amazon is:-

 

I am immensely proud to have been chosen to assist in the sharing of this forgotten Journal.

As always I wish you all happiness and I will update you soon with the progress of my work.

One Love

Craig

P.S. Please share as much as possible and encourage everyone to sign up to my website.

Craig's Blog, Helping the homeless of Newcastle, Home for Christmas, living Rough, On the Streets, Uncategorized

Home for Christmas – My 2018 Appeal to Help the Homeless of Newcastle

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Hi Everyone.

This post is slightly different from the ones I usually post on my webpage. It is not about my writing in any way shape or form.

This is about another subject I am very passionate about – helping the homeless.

Where I live in the UK, the closest city I live to is called Newcastle Upon Tyne. It is estimated that nearly 200 individuals will be living rough this Christmas in Newcastle.

Over the years I have assisted charities like Barnardos (training) and The Peoples Kitchen (Cook and server on their mobile unit).

When I left the UK in the first week of December to return to work in Azerbaijan I was very upset at the prospect of not seeing my children over the Christmas period and not returning home until February.

This made me imagine what it must be like for the homeless during this period, where they see everyone else happy and in love spending time together – They will be sad, scared, cold, alone, sick and hungry. I could not imagine how I would cope if faced with such a prospect.

There are some great people and great support for the homeless in Newcastle, such as the Shelter and The Peoples Kitchen and there are some wonderful campaigns running at the present, generating excellent results and social media support, a current example is an idea from the travelling community for people to load up an extra trolley with food at Christmas to distribute to local food banks.

These are all great and bring much-needed support and happiness to our homeless people in this time of need, but I’d like to try a different approach to share a little warmth this time. My Initiative, thought up in the last few days, is to try and reunite homeless persons with their families and friends in time for this festive period.

My idea is cheap and simple. It may work, it may not, but if one person is reunited with their family, then for me this whole process will have been a success.

The idea, one in which I hope you will share as much as possible is:-
Give the gift of a postcard (with a stamp) and or a £5.00 / £10.00 phone card this Christmas.postcard

It really is that cheap and that simple and could change people’s lives by providing them with an opportunity to contact loved ones.

Below I have attached a short video and PowerPoint Presentation on how this should work along with tips and advice for succession.

I want people to share their stories with me, let me know their results, feelings, fears and challenges and I will post regularly on my website during this period.

Please email me at craigwrightson@laughcryandwrite.com

Again, I hope this is successful. It is all down to the power of social media once again to spread the word. It will be good to see how far across the globe this idea travels.

You will definitely brighten somebodies day if you participate in this but remember, you could brighten a families Xmas if it works.

Thank you once again for your support.

Craig Wrightson

One Love x

Uncategorized

A Step Into Darkness – October Update

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Hi Everone,

Sorry for the lack of updates lately regarding ‘A Step Into Darkness.’

I received my professional editorial feedback from Jericho Writers.

The report was professional with good constructive criticism and feedback. For me, it was worth every penny spent.

I have a few scenes to re-write and I need to develop my MC slightly. I was provided with a few other pointers which I have taken on board.

I have been told that I have a really nice and strong central idea with the potential to really create a page-turner.

The statement above has truly lifted my spirits. I did expect to receive such praise and encouragement when I submitted the first MS as my first ever novel.

I think a month or so of hard work shall have the story ready for re-submission.

All part of the process which I am loving.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to like or share this post

Craig Wrightson 16th October 2018

http://www.laughcryandwrite.com

Author, Book update, Craig's Blog, Crime, Thriller, Uncategorized, Writing Inspiration

A Step into Darkness September Update

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Hi everyone. Sorry for the decline of my blogs and updates, August was a crazy month for me.

I’m pleased to announce that the editing of my debut novel is now complete. This has been submitted today for a professional edit.

My next step will depend on the feedback I receive which may take up to six weeks. I promise to keep you updated.

During this 6 weeks downtime I intend to start the planning and structuring for my next book.

Also during this time I intend to self publish some short stories I have been working on. These are in a complete new genre at the opposite end to the spectrum from my current crime thrillers. I’m going to publish under a  pseudonym which I don’t intend to disclose. This is merely for fun and I’m keen to see where it takes me.

Don’t panic though I have a growing list of crime thriller ideas that I intend to do justice to.

Thanks again for your support and patience.

Craig

P.s I know I have been trying to push everyone to write there own story….if this is not for you then I encourage you to read. Read as often and as much as you can. Trust me, the escape does you good.

Author, Book update, Craig's Blog, Crime, Thriller, Uncategorized, Writing Inspiration

A Step into Darkness September Update

silhouette photography of people near body of water

 

Hi everyone. Sorry for the decline of my blogs and updates, August was a crazy month for me.

I’m pleased to announce that the editing of my debut novel is now complete. This has been submitted today for a professional edit.

My next step will depend on the feedback I receive which may take up to six weeks. I promise to keep you updated.

During this 6 weeks downtime I intend to start the planning and structuring for my next book.

Also during this time I intend to self publish some short stories I have been working on. These are in a complete new genre at the opposite end to the spectrum from my current crime thrillers. I’m going to publish under a  pseudonym which I don’t intend to disclose. This is merely for fun and I’m keen to see where it takes me.

Don’t panic though I have a growing list of crime thriller ideas that I intend to do justice to.

Thanks again for your support and patience.

Craig

P.s I know I have been trying to push everyone to write there own story….if this is not for you then I encourage you to read. Read as often and as much as you can. Trust me, the escape does you good.

Author, Book update, Craig's Blog, Crime, Thriller, Uncategorized, Writing Inspiration

Book Update

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Hi everyone,

After a journey of almost 16 months I am pleased to announce that today I typed the words ‘The End’ into my debut novel A Step into Darkness.

This is a momentous achievement for me and a day I never thought Id witness before I started out. This road trip has been a roller coaster of emotions, but I have come out unscathed and a far better writer than when I first started.

Today I have fulfilled a life long ambition and I am excited for the future as I develop my skills in the craft of writing.

Sadly the process is not over. A short break is in order before I return fresh ready to embark on the editing process which again will be a whole new journey for me .

I will keep you updated on the editing process and any other future writing projects I embark on.

Thank you all for your patience and your kind words of encouragement. I hope I don’t let you down.

Onwards and Upwards!!

Craig x

Author, Craig,s blog, short story, Uncategorized, writers block, Writing Inspiration

Writing Inspiration No 4 – My Tips for Preventing / Overcoming the Dreaded Writers Block – Craig Wrightson

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I’m nearing completion of my first novel which has been a wonderful journey full of ups and downs. Having had to learn the craft of writing along the way I have used many different tools and resources to help me including writer blogs, tips and lessons. One of the main subjects I often stumble across during my research is the subject of writer’s block, those 2 little words that every author fears.

My own personal opinion is that writer’s block cannot be overcome by standard identified actions alone, it has to be unique to the writer and will differ from writer to writer. With that in mind, I want to share what has worked for me in the hope that may help someone just starting out.

Writer’s block is not to feared it just needs to be overcome.

Re-read your notes and research material. Is there anything that could trigger you to start up again.

Re-read your previous chapter – For me, this got me back into the feel of the story and my mind was ready to race over the finish line into the next chapter.

Go for a walk, blow the cobwebs away and let your mind run free. Do not be afraid to push the boundaries with your thoughts. It only needs one idea or moment of inspiration to make you want to turn around and race back to your manuscript. When your out walking take only your phone or tablet with you. You need to immediately record anything that might help. Record it on notes or voice recorder and email it back to yourself so it is sitting waiting ready upon your return.

Watch a movie or read a book on a similar genre to your story and look for prompts or ideas. By this, I don’t mean for you to plagiarize. There is so much stuff out there that could easily be reworked, twisted around or adapted to suit your stories development.

Work with a story planner. I set up my story planner on PowerPoint which breaks down each chapter identifying key points and that I plan to achieve per chapter. Do this for your whole story. Revisiting this every day and updating the planner has helped me loads.

You will know your story off by heart in your head and hopefully you will have a detailed story planner, the chances are you will have an idea on how other chapters start or how certain scenes later in the book will unfold. Write them down. Writing is writing and don’t be afraid to write out of sync.

Do not allow yourself get stalled at the beginning of the chapter, Sitting for hours and hours is just dead time, if you know the end of the chapter then write it down and come back to the start later.

When completing your target for the day, go beyond this and write one or two sentences or paragraphs into the next paragraph/chapter so that you can pick up the story straight away the next day.

Really really stuck, then leave it! work on a short story, a writing competition entry, prepare the elevator pitch for your next story. This is all writing and before long your confidence in your ability as a writer will return.

If all else fails. Save everything. Turn off your laptop, Drink a bottle of wine (for starters) and dance naked around the house. Writer’s block may still be there in the morning or it may not, either way, you will have let off some steam.

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I hope this helps. Like I said this is what works for me. There are loads of interesting articles out there so don’t be afraid if you encounter writer’s block – We all do. Why should you be any different 🙂

To continue receiving my blogs and updates please sign up to follow me at my website http://www.laughcryandwrite.com

Thanks and Take Care

Craig x

Author, Book update, Craig,s blog, Crime, short story, Thriller, Uncategorized, Writing Inspiration

June Book Update – Craig Wrightson

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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Hi Everyone,

Firstly I’d like to apologise to everyone for not providing regular updates as promised. It has been a hectic few months what with the F1, friends visiting me and my UK vacation. I am now back on track and raring to go now that the finish line is in sight for me.

A Step into the Darkness is now 75% complete. I have decided to set myself a deadline of the end of July to finish the first draft and I’ve also set myself a writing target of 2hrs a night in order to achieve this. Without setting this I was worried I would become easily distracted and loose the flow of the story. I am now clear and focused on what I need to do and where I need to be so fingers crossed.

In the UK I met up with a fellow author and retired Chief of Northumbria Police who supplied me with a clear insight on not only police practices but on how my story could be improved to make it more engaging for the reader.

With this in mind I am pleased to announce my story is set in my hometown of Cramlington. It was originally called Elmdene but as all the other locations and geographical references within the story were accurate and as I was basically describing Cramlington within the majority of scenes (Write what you know and where you know). Changing the name will make it easier for readers to identify with if they know it is an actual town not a fictitious setting. The only thing I have done is made all street names, characters and character names fictitious.

Once the first draft is finished I plan to put it away for a few weeks in order to clear my mind of the story (2 years in my head now) allowing me to start the dreaded editing process with a fresh mind.

Dame Vera Baird QC has kindly arranged for me to spend some time with a 24/7 Response Officer from Northumbria Police and this is something I’m really excited to participate in and is tentatively planned for when I’m back in the UK in August.

I intend to use the experience gained from this opportunity to fine tune and clean up any grey areas within the police procedural side of the story and I will hopefully capture it all in my first few edits. Not sure yet as to how many edits I will require as I have been editing throughout when I have not had the chance to write.

A Step into Darkness was originally planned to be a standalone novel and writing a novel has always been a dream for me since childhood but since I have embarked on this project and after taking numerous writing courses I now have many other stories which I plan to write and share. Entering short story competitions, passing conversations, news reports and things I have observed have all led to a number of ideas forming in my head that I feel I can do justice to.

Once A Step into the Darkness is completed I am ready to write my second novel and It looks like I may take a few of the characters from the first story with me and see if I can develop them more in future stories. At present unless anything changes or if new ideas appear my next book is going to be about rape, betrayal and revenge set over three decades!

At the same time as this I am going to research into a second writing project which is something new for me (I love the research and planning). I’m looking to write a compilation of short stories based on the Second World War recounting tales of valour and bravery from unsung heroes focusing on all of the countries from the Allied and Axis Powers that were involved. I want these short stories to be fast paced, engaging, exciting and as historically accurate as possible. The short stories are going to be a hybrid of non-fiction and fiction with multiple points of view written in both first person and third person.

I know I have set myself a major challenge here but if all becomes too much my priority will be the second novel.

If all goes to plan my next update will be tell you all I’ve completed the first draft.

Take care everyone and enjoy your summer.

Craig x