Alone Again Or

Yesterday, I filled in a survey for a large organisation who, if I’m honest, was never set up to deal with the likes of me. The girl with anxiety issues, constant bouts of Impostor Syndrome, fear of failure and inability to understand what other people are talking about, on her worst days, puts the cause back months. Today however that girl’s still in bed, not wanting to push forward or achieve greatness. In her place this doppelganger is at the PC, putting in the hours, covering for inadequacy.

The world’s a tough place to negotiate at the best of times, especially in these fraught days of political and social uncertainty. The survey asked me a simple question: what do I miss in my life, now that there’s so much dedication to the writing cause? The answer is simple: friends. People who understand what this is like: the constant rejections, the uncertainty, doubting yourself and the output you produce. When I look at the successful people in my timeline, perilously few show the weaknesses I deal with.

Maybe that’s part of the problem.

Twitter presents the world with a platform to be whatever they wish, yet so many believe that’s the kind of person who never shows vulnerability or shortcomings. Undoubtedly the people I now gain the most from in terms of interactivity and support are those who show this more vulnerable side, not afraid to be honest with their failings. It is also becoming increasingly apparent that anyone who arrogantly believes their opinion is the only right answer will never be worth listening to or indeed debating with.

When I’m writing poetry, or fiction, or whatever else might be needed of me in terms of words, success is what is aimed for. However, less and less that success equates to being able to put well known organisations next to my work. Validation in a capitalist society inevitably is being able to earn a wage from your efforts. It doesn’t help that ‘best-selling’ ‘successful’ writers are all over my social media: many act like they’re some kind of literary evangelist, offering answers and succour in exchange for your fealty.

Except reality is a long way from that truth.

A lot of individuals consider any public admission of failure as unacceptable. It is understandable, especially as such concepts are often grouped with social constructs or lifestyle choices that directly fly in the face of continued success. The pressure to achieve, present the ‘right’ impression or outlook, places incredible amounts of stress on the most hardened of individuals… and yet, showing this is inevitably negative. That’s not true. To err is human. It is the most basic part of ourselves, and should be embraced.

Today, sitting here, I know there’s a rejection waiting to drop in my Inbox. I could probably write the generic message that will accompany it. It will include phrases such as:

‘hugely high standard of entries’
‘incredibly difficult decision’
‘so difficult to choose a winner’
‘because of the high volume of entries, no individual criticism of individual work can be provided…’

and there’s the killer. Nobody’s willingly prepared to offer free criticism, or comment. If you want to learn how to do this, you’ll more than likely have to pay someone for the privilege. Take a course, hire an editor, and even then nobody may care one jot about what makes you passionate because, in the current market, nobody wants poetry that rhymes. Your narrative is unsaleable, according to people who claim to share your passion, but only if it will make them money.

This is a tough world, and it is not getting any easier.

Not gonna lie here, I have JK muted on Twitter. Her ideas and mine are quite a long way apart, but if personal proof were needed that the unknown can become successful overnight, this is it. It would be a foolish person who did not respect the achievement of others: it is also a foolish person who will believe that only one route to success exists, and that is to exactly emulate the actions of others, without being true to yourself first. You are what you are, good and bad: I believe that you need to embrace both to be truly comfortable with your work.

One day, my work will get noticed. There’s a fair chance that won’t happen until long after I’m dead, part of why the notion of ‘success’ needs to change in the here and now. As it is just as likely I’ll not be around to enjoy that definition, maybe this is the moment to find the joy elsewhere, and stop worrying about the idea that you’re only good when people you don’t know read your work and enjoy it. I’m already at that stage, or else you wouldn’t be here now. So, in that regard, this is progress.

What matters most, right now, is honesty and not publicity.

Hymn Before Action

This weekend, it is time to instigate some change in my working space.

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The reduction in content and volume has been on the cards for a while: half this stuff never gets used, and I could do with more space. My PC desperately needs a clean, and I can schedule everything needed to publish over the weekend. There had been a plan to do some garden work but looking at the weather forecast, that is highly unlikely. Everything needs a chance to dry out first. These internal changes will very positively impact my working space and (hopefully) lead to far more productivity going forward.

It’s also way more fun than painting a fence.

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I’ll document my changes, and be back on Monday with more novel gubbins, some new poetry and thoughts on how to sell yourself in the modern world.

Enjoy your weekend, folks.

Coming Up

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If you’re a Patreon, you’ll already know that it isn’t long now until the first of my Book of the Month content is available. What you won’t know is what else is being offered, quite apart from the special weekly poetry and micro-prose options. We mentioned participation via visual prompts yesterday: as one of my Patrons rightly pointed out, it doesn’t need to be a moving image that acts as a catalyst. With that in mind, lets lay out how the weeks will pan out going forward. I’m still working on graphics for these features (just me here as the one woman staff) and they’ll be added when complete.

MONDAY:

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Many people have asked me about how I write, why I do and the experiences that have shaped arrival at this point. Monday’s posts, for the foreseeable future, will present a rough autobiographical journey from my first inklings of being a storyteller to where we now stand.

TUESDAY & THURSDAY:
GENERAL WRITING POST.

Whatever crosses my mind, writers and writing in the News, general stream of consciousness gubbins… gonna be a pretty mixed bag on these two days. Might try some longer form poetry or chain up some prose in a rough sequence… we will see. This is the area where I’ll allow spontaneity to shine, and which will probably be written ‘live.’

WEDNESDAY:

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Wednesday is Patreon Day, and that means a scheduled essay or piece of fiction, depending on what time of the month we’re in. To get more details of this, visit my Patreon page, and if you haven’t already, perhaps consider a pledge. However, there will be a second post on Wednesdays, which will pick up a word and consider how its definition has changed in recent years.

FRIDAY:
‘MAKE YOUR OWN CONTENT’ DAY
& NOVEL UPDATES

I’ve still not thought up a snappier title for this (working on it!) but Fridays will be when you can suggest images as prompts to next week’s poetry. This will also be the day when I keep you up to date with Novel developments and what I’m currently working on in terms of fictions generally.

I take the weekends off, as a rule, but that’s because there has to be some time to write for pleasure as well as business. You might get a post Saturday and Sunday from time to time, so we’ll pretend this is every day and say no more about it, ‘kay?


That’s the basic plan going forward, but I will review things again at the start of October. The key I have found to keeping things interesting is continuous reassessment, and I’ll be listening carefully to feedback and suggestions on every step of the way.

For now, however, this will do for starters

Unputdownable

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Having taken a week off to undergo important surgery, I’m back today to start the countdown to the Internet of Words ‘going public.’ It is genuinely exciting looking at the journey ahead, and in the next week we’ll be giving more details on the tiers and rewards available via Patreon, what extras you can expect to be rewarded with for participating, and how to prepare for the following months of discussion and content.

For now, here’s a quick reminder that content has already begun on the @InternetOfWords Twitter account (which includes a Haiku every day at 7am and Micropoetry at 5pm BST) which will extend this week to include suggested videos and ‘extra content’ around our first Book of the Month choice, ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger. If you’d like to read more about how the project will work, please see this blog post for the outline and further details.

This week will also see dedicated pages for the IoW ‘portal’ and the current Blogging 4 Noobs project be established and taken up to date. There should be no interruptions to current site operation, but if (for any reason) the site needs to go down, we’ll give you plenty of advanced warning. For now, sit back and get comfortable, as the structure of the project is effectively constructed around you.

Long Distance

This week has been utter bollocks. Let’s not beat about the bush, people, five ridiculous days of comedy kaleidoscope has come and gone. I’m here because I want to make sure the site ticks over every couple of days, and I need to spend a bit of time talking about community. I refuse to use a capital letter to describe the place I inhabit, and not going to go for the easy targets and low-hanging fruit, however attractive that might seem as a target. You’re the problem here, just as I am. We all promise ourselves that there won’t be judgement or pronouncement but yet it still happens, every damn day. The last ten days’s evolved into a salutatory warning that however well you know someone, you can’t provision for the unexpected. Shit really does just happen.

Question is, how you gonna deal with that, bro?

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You’re not prepared? RIIIIIIGHT ^^

Here’s a radical notion: why not just be honest? It staggers me beyond belief how many don’t consider this course of action as either acceptable or correct. ‘People’ keep telling me I need more tact and diplomacy but honestly, truthfully, why not just tell it how it is occasionally? This is one of the reasons why the positivity crowd tend to suffer after prolonged exposure to the Real World: some days, you don’t need to hear how special you are, you just need to just get to the end of the day with some kind of dignity. Of course, I understand and ascribe to the schools of ‘STFU Nobody Cares’ standing shoulder to shoulder with the ‘Just Accept Everybody As They Are’ but the problem with so many others is that you don’t consider both as part of the palette. I’m sorry if some of us grate on you, but guess what? We’re part of your community as well, like it or not.

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I know. I know.

In amongst the chaos, there have been moments of true brilliance however, and however bad you’d like to paint the World? It never is. What was contentious today is often forgotten tomorrow, the problems come when people don’t move on and hang desperately onto their disgruntled and often misplaced annoyance. There are those who wonder why I do what I do, and to them is the reminder today that what I see from ‘out here’ is often a great deal more objective than you might get from your position in the Gaming Universe. I have no employer to assuage, or a cause to champion. I don’t pick sides, often I just dislike everybody. If it matters that we talk and get on? Needs to be a two way street. I’ll forgive you but don’t think this gives carte blanche to be a twat as a result, okay?

If you want ‘true’ community, EVERYBODY has to get on. Ironically, the miserable sods aren’t your biggest issues. It’s the quiet ones that will cause the most trouble, and often for the reasons you’re not expecting. Trust me on this. 

Those with too much to say end up as being surprisingly compliant and accepting in the end.