The Muse. We writers refer to her a lot. She's a goddess. She's creative, inspiring, and when she's with you it's a fabulous feeling. Your ideas flow and your fingers fly over the keyboard. But sometimes she's elusive. She teases you; she's just out of reach. You struggle to grasp her and she slips from your fingers. You're left staring at a blank screen.
Well, I've had a week of staring at a blank screen. Let me introduce you to the Muse's evil twin, the Demon. Demon. It's a great word, isn't it. The dictionary definition is fascinating (yes, you know I'm a word geek!) "An evil spirit or devil; cruel; skilful, possibly a genius..." Hmmm. If you are going to call your business "Demon" you are setting some high expectations. Hopefully you are going for the skilful and genius end of the definition - unless you're offering some pretty specialised services. Which brings me back to the blank screen. The blank screen is what happens when I try to call up my website. It hasn't been working for a week. I'm quite upset about this because my Brides of Fortune trilogy is out at the moment and everything had been going really, really well with masses of hits on the website and loads of great feedback and the chance to chat to lots of lovely readers. I know it's not a matter of life and death, but it is a matter of skill and customer service.
My website is hosted by a company called... Well, you can probably guess. It isn't Muse.
Here's the gist of what happened when I rang up yesterday to check on progress in fixing whatever fault is affecting their server.
Me: (Ringing a number I had previously been given for customer service): Hello! Please can you tell me the latest on fixing the problem with my website? This is the reference...
Person at other end: You've come through to the wrong number. Just a moment... (Several minutes of tinned music)
Another person at the other end, sounding annoyed: Yes?
Me: Good afternoon! (It's hot and I can tell he's stressed so I'm being really nice). Please can you tell me the latest on fixing the problem with my website? This is the reference...
Person: You're not the only one whose website is affected you know!
Me: (Slightly taken aback) Well, no, I had worked that out... (I'm neither so web illiterate that I thought I had my own personal server nor so self-centred that I thought it was just me!) I was only enquiring to see if there was any update on when the problem is likely to be sorted out?
Person: No. There's an engineer working on it at the moment. It could be ten minutes or two hours.
Me: Two hours? That would be great!
Person: It might not be two hours. I can give you absolutely no timescale for fixing this.
They can't give a civil answer or an apology or any kind of customer service either, can they? If you know of a good, reliable web hosting site, please let me know!