Paranoid Android

I have a problem with self-promotion.


Things have improved over the last couple of years, but the whole ‘sell yourself’ thing is tough. It isn’t just the British reserve either, far more significant worries from beginning to grasp there’s been a lifetime of misinterpreting the signals of others in personal situations to assimilate first. Getting all that settled in my head’s been a fairly notable undertaking but finally, there is light at the end of the mother of all tunnels.


This means that, starting in September, the promotion machine will move into high gear. I suspect this site will undergo a revamp, to try and make it more friendly to potential individuals and organisations who may wish to approach. For those of you who don’t like the idea of me getting all commercial? I’m sorry, but at least part of my future is now being pushed this way, and there’s no going back now. This week the first of many applications for writing support is submitted, plus poetry finalisedto be considered for financial gain.

There really is no going back from this path now.

I’m cautiously optimistic for the future, because pinning all your hopes on summat and then watching it fail is no way to live a sensible existence. We’ll just keep plugging away at this stuff for as long as is needed, and keep on writing in the spaced in between. That’s what matters most of all: not the recognition, but the words that narrate life’s inevitable progress.

That’s something I’m getting increasingly good at controlling.

Don’t Dream It’s Over

This morning, a lot of things disappointed me.

Some of them I was able to put into words. Others were not as easily corralled. Absolutely the best thing that could have happened then did so and necessity forced body away from Social media completely to go do some important stuff with my daughter. It was even better for everybody that she got Friday afternoon off.

The only way sometimes to counteract the pure toxicity Twitter can generate is to not use it. This has nothing at all to do with contentious topics or difficult discussions, and everything around the fact that, like it or not, it is not a complete version of reality. Thinking that the future somehow involves this and everything else wrapped up in a version of reality isn’t quite the truth either. At some point in the future, when someone looks back to this moment and considers it to represent ‘the good old days’ it will be time to point out to them that it’s a lie. Everything is subjective. Absolutely everything.

The present is where everybody needs to live more.

Without rehashing old ground or trying to make people who clearly don’t listen to do just that, all the issues in our lives right now are often far more easy to solve than is at first apparent. The key, undoubtedly, is an ability to step outside of ourselves and look inwards with a more objective eye than exists in the storm you’ve just left. Watching total strangers proclaim what terrible things they’ve done in order to court reaction sits uneasily beside the real-life tragedies of those who just stopped caring and gave up. For some, it is more important to hate than heal, or hurt rather than forgive. This has been no different for thousands of years. The key now is that you can be a fuckwit on one side of the world and someone on the other side gets to attack you with more vitriol than was ever possible previously.

Oh, what a brilliant thing modern life has become.


I feel that everybody should now be made to take mandatory leave from the Internet for a sense of proportion. Anyone getting too emotionally invested needs to take a reality break, which involves somewhere with somebody they care about, and the chance to talk about nothing in particular. Most importantly of all, anyone using Social media to further an agenda needs to be far more comprehensively vetted than is currently the case.

These are the good old days, right now, that we’re all pissing up the wall because nobody grasps the real damage being done to society from the ability to say what we want when we want it, and not worry about the consequences

Building the Perfect Beast

I am beginning to see areas in my organisation and planning schedules that require improvement. One of them is having content ready before it needs to be published. This has meant a quite significant re-organisation of how things work and what is written at certain times of the week, leading to a provisioning of days for each particular part of the scheduling process. For now, things are working quite well, but there are holes and issues, especially when the desire to write effectively evaporates. The plan in these spaces is to try and capitalise on the periods when I am productive, and ‘load up’ content then.

That’s why you’re seeing this post on a Friday when it should have been here on a Tuesday 😀


This means today I’ll be catching up on the backlog, but at the same time planning forward. Friday is now Poetry day so there’s not a panic at weekends about content. YouTube’s often complicated, organic development from the original concept is now scheduled on Wednesdays (and was, quite successfully) whilst Thursday covers the long-term #WarcraftMotivation project. This then frees up Tuesdays and Thursdays for writing and Mondays for forward planning, and once exercise is successfully inserted on top…

Yes, this will all work, but just needs some time to bed in.


Once it is all established I can begin the process of expanding and stretching the writing muscles a bit more. The house will get a bit cleaner too, and my personal interests will finally be given some much-needed love.

If only all this stuff weren’t so bloody difficult to organise successfully…

Falling Down

Yesterday, I put back my weightlifting ambitions by an indeterminate period of time. The injuries sustained to both hands and my left elbow won’t be properly obvious until swelling has gone down, which could take up to a couple of weeks (knowing how my body reacts to these circumstances generally.) The fact this was my own fault? Totally incidental, in the wider scheme of things. What matters now is far more important: how mentally capable am I with coping with consequence?


All the positivity in the world will not prepare you for the situation where circumstances go out of your hands. However strong you think you are, there are moments when you will be forced to think of things you never thought would be an issue. For most of us, losing a loved one or someone close is that circumstance in its most raw and unpleasant form. Everybody dies, it’s a fact of life, but when and how that happens becomes at least in part a testament to the person themselves.

It is how you live during the days you have that will ultimately become the remembrance others hold when you are gone. This is what drives me now not to waste days, but do the most that is possible with them, as often as possible. It means that despite having knackered an arm, my legs still work. So, time to get on the bike and making exercise count, whilst doing my best to promote healing. Then, once I get to the Physio next Tuesday, we will see where we are.

I’ve not told my trainer yet either.


When all is said and done, this is a First World Problem. It’s not a threat to health, it’ll all sort itself out eventually, and I should be grateful for the fact nothing long-term or bad is likely to come of the incident. In fact, the last few days have been a wake-up call for a lot of issues in my life that are frankly non-existent when placed beside others genuine and heart-wrenching problems. The trick should be to just cope with everything without having to talk about it. My husband keeps telling me that I overshare far more than is sometimes healthy.

Should I really be blogging about this as a result?

It’s a fine line; there are many things I could share but don’t, personal issues that never see the light of day. Often there are real-life dramas that should never make it to public consumption, especially when related to my kids. Overall, there has to be confidence that what is shared is the right stuff, and isn’t negatively impacting anything. I’d like to think by now I grasp the balance. However, it is always best to keep asking, checking and adjusting stance. Maybe the next time I do that I won’t trip up over my own feet.

Next time, let’s hope I learn from this mistake.

I Think We’re Alone Now

Last week I got a couple of shocks via Social media. All of them involved people having conversations where it was abundantly apparent they’d forgotten the Internet is public.


We’ve all experienced a moment in our lives when something’s been posted on the Internet we wish hadn’t. Once upon a time, there were no delete buttons. You did not get the chance to reverse your decision. However, crucially in current conditions, even deleting an offending post will not mean you’re off the hook. All those people I watch remind themselves ‘I must delete all that stuff I said in the morning’ are already far too late to fix the damage done. If someone else can see it, they can screencap it. Sure, there are ways to spoof Twitter to make it look as if someone said summat they didn’t, but this is largely beside the point.

You should not be saying in public anything you will regret, ever.


Yet I watch people who accuse others of being troublemakers when that’s exactly their own modus operandi: casual racism, sexism and all points in between. Pronouncing righteousness, reinforcing stereotypes, and the by now almost metronomically predictable subtweeting. Yeah, I get those other people piss you off. If it is that much of a problem, then remove them from your feed. Use a mute button, block them but do not sit and complain. If someone professes an opinion that you do not ascribe to, this is not a reason to hate them. It is a reason to keep them in your feed and learn from them.

The Internet is not just here for your benefit.

Tolerance is in short supply right now and is sorely needed in every walk of life. It is possible for us all to learn from each other, in so many different and surprising ways. Telling other people how to think and act has taken place for thousands of years, the only difference now is that the stage on which it happens is far larger than ever before. The sensitive and susceptible are in danger of believing everything they read as truth. It is already happening.

I wish more people would start thinking and stop posting.

Something About You

Sometimes, it takes change to make real and lasting progress.

I’ve spoken at length about my feelings on Patreon, and as of this morning, my Paypal account has more money in it than I’d garner each month when all pledges were paid. The irony of that situation is not lost on me either: by refusing to stick with the easy, comfortable and stress-free direction my writing was taking, it was time for a leap into darkness. What hadn’t been clear until last week however was that the drop I’d expected wasn’t nearly as fatal as was imagined. Yet again, imagination got the better of good sense and reason: the reality is that here, where things now stop and begin to settle, holds far greater long-term potential.

The key, in a life previously lacking in focus, has become the path of consistency.


This morning has been full of revelations, but the one that hit home the most revolves around the set of circumstances which finally separated me from a desire to write and exist as an active part of the Warcraft community. I caused a lot of grief, and upset a fair few people when I refused to complete a series of Podcasts inspired by celebrations around the title’s 10th Anniversary. I was (fairly and accurately) accused of being flaky and untrustworthy. It’s only now the reality is grasped that I didn’t want to be the person I’d become back then. My future wasn’t as a ‘personality’ or a ‘fan podcaster’, and it took a couple of years before finally, I was able to separate myself from the reality that surrounded me.

I know now it was the reassurance that was craved so much: I needed to know I was significant and my voice mattered. I will never forget the moment when someone accused me of using them to forward my own ends and something inside me literally snapped: I’d become a hopeless parody of all the things I hated, and the people who cared about nothing but themselves. It didn’t matter that the accusation was 100% false. It didn’t matter that I’d being wound up by a ‘popular’ streamer, belittled by a ‘high profile’ personality and used as an in-joke by dozens of other people because I refused to play their games or become part of a clique. These incidents were not important, and they still aren’t. It could have been anybody or anything. Until my own house was in order, everything else ended up as irrelevant.

Life had become all about deciding whether I cared about fitting in or not.


When I took the decision to go it alone last year I lost a portion of interest, understandably, from those people who turned up just because of my ‘Warcraft Brand.’ When this year I announced I’d be selling myself as I now am (without Warcraft being a primary focus) someone DM-d me and pointed out I was a liar and that I should just go back to doing games. I still play, but my content is hash-tagged so the people who don’t give a fuck about Azeroth get the choice. I’m loathed after nearly nine years of blogging just to throw all that away, especially when I know the debt that writing journey owes to everything else that I am. But truthfully I am no longer the same person, and I have little or no desire to hang around with a portion of the people I used to.

The people who don’t like the fact I won’t come and be in their clique have finally got their wish. I have waning interest in anyone whose obsessive devotion to an MMO shuts out logic, reason and common sense. If you’re going to live, eat and breath this game 24/7 at the expense of everything else, please go right ahead without me, because I’ve already done 51 years on this Earth rather badly and really need to fix all the stuff I’ve fucked up elsewhere. The game is no longer a constant in my life and trust me when I say I am definitely better for it. However, as a reminder, the Hotel World of Warcraft allows me to return any time I like, and I am perfectly entitled to play and write about it whenever I choose. If you turn up in my Social media timeline and start being a fucking twat because I don’t play the game in the way you like…?


In good news I have zero desire to make any money as a streamer, personality or talking head any more. I do have a quite long list of people however should I ever meet them in public that I’d feel quite happy giving a very well measured and scathing piece of my mind, just because they have no idea of what arrogant, stupid and sexist morons they really are… and that’s just the women.

I don’t think I’ll be getting tickets for Blizzcon any time soon.

Sometimes I Fail

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Writers fail all the time. Some of the most famous writers in history only got there via rejection, many after their deaths. If you put pen to paper, fingers to keys… doesn’t matter how you do this gig, inevitably you have to fail somewhere. Not only is it an essential part of process, it is the absolute best way to judge of you have the mental strength to be a writer in the first place. Now, for those capable, self-publishing at least can present a notion of success in a small sphere… except once you grasp that success is relative too, a lot of things change in life for the better.

Dealing with INEVITABLE REJECTION is a lot easier if you’ve experienced it second hand.


The best training I could ever have had for this came from a very good friend, who was unexpectedly made redundant from a job he’d loved for many years. Refusing to compromise in a niche market, I lived through what was many months of tortuous interviews and almost consistent rejection. It wasn’t because he wasn’t the right person for the jobs, either, but the fact the right job didn’t exist for him. Once he went to employers (one whose work he totally idolised at the time) it became abundantly apparent that what he wanted and what employers wanted were often vastly different, and he was strong enough not to compromise on what mattered. In the end he moved his family to a different country to get what was most important to him. That’s the kind of personal devotion needed to get the job done.

I’ve never really thanked him for this, because at the time it was heartbreaking to have to build him up after every failure. I hated it, and only now can come to realise how much strength he was able to grant me by just being himself. Sometimes that’s all it needs: somebody with enough belief in their own ability and the ‘self’ they exist within. For me, every rejection is a step in the right direction. It teaches me countless different fundamentals about my own ability, and how things need to change. However, because I am a realist there remains the certainty that eventually, if I throw enough sharp objects at a target, one will stick. What is happening now is picking the right people to aim at. My friend’s success came after successfully knowing and aiming at a particular target. Which each new rejection, that’s what I do too.


Right now, when I get the Novel finished, I’ll have a workable raw material to sharpen and start throwing. That’s never existed before, and when it does, I’ll be ready to use it for good. I confidently predict a ton of rejections, I’ll welcome them happily with open arms, because it will mean I’m confident enough not simply to take them, but to allow them to make me stronger. If all you see is failure, that is all that happens. That’s not one of those dodgy motivational poster things, it’s an insoluble truth from decades of my own practical experience, and only by living the fail do I get how the fail can destroy what you are.

One day, I will hit a target, and when I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it.

Communication Breakdown


Those of you paying attention will know that yesterday was my 51st Birthday. These events are often odd affairs: I can remember my 40th as one of the darkest periods of my life, whilst a decade on I was in Paris, with my family and staying in the fanciest Hotel I’d ever experienced. As human beings, we tend to put a lot of emphasis on these celebrations, and it is only this year that I’ve begun to understand why that is. Those revelations will undoubtedly serve as personal blogging fodder for several days: for now, I wanted to spend some time explaining how a very particular group of people have influenced my journey to this point.

You see, without exception, it is those who take time to be critical whom I respect the most.


Being positive is, for a writer, often the coward’s way out. I can remember moments when asked to critique other people’s works, I’ve struggled to find anything positive to say. In those cases, the compliment sandwich becomes a difficult meal to make. You know how this works: two positives that act as the bread to a filling where you get to lay bare all the bad stuff. Except sometimes, there is only filling. As a society, we are now pushed to be positive for a lot of very good, noble and totally correct reasons. There are extremely sound foundations for encouraging this behaviour… except when your sandwich is sans filling…

It is a balancing act I’ve always found hard to maintain because I was made a blunt instrument. I’ve had to learn to communicate a balance, and over the years on my three blogs you can, if you take the time, watch this evolution take place. There will be days when I continue to say ‘fuck you’ to various sections of the establishment, and that remains the case because there is the realisation that these people just don’t listen regardless. If your idea of criticism is the passive-aggressive format that at least one of my stalkers took in an attempt to try and make me feel guilty for ostracising him? I can see the difference now. That ploy’s not going to work anymore.


With everybody else, I can find a working relationship. Language differences do not matter: I can Google translate now if required (and I do when the need is there) and honestly if the willing exists on both sides, everybody wins. The best criticism I get, consistently, is that which simply holds a mirror up to my own failings without fear. It happens far more than most might realise too: the exchanges via Social media, realisations that are highlighted by (often) the most unexpected of people. The number of individuals who still DM me when typos turn up in posts is a true joy and is never going to get old. It isn’t pedantry, but a physical manifestation of care, and I will forever remain grateful.

Being online is becoming less dangerous with each passing day as a result. Those who are annoyed enough to block me from their lives have done their job in teaching the lessons around how sometimes, however hard you try, people will just hate what you are regardless. Occasionally those blocks, however, are for sanity, and the understanding that someone isn’t listening to anyone but themselves. For the people who really matter you just mute and allow them the chance to vent, because they give you that respect in your space to do the exact same thing. Having taken all my Twitter mutes off this morning after a period where I just needed to breathe (metaphorically speaking) there a readiness to engage again.


Writing isn’t just an exercise in self-satisfaction, despite what some authors might say to the contrary. It is as much about being able to grasp and accept the critical responses of others as it is being able to do the same to them. I am happy to be edited, which was once not the case but only to a point. If I feel someone’s suggesting the removal of a point I feel is crucial to an argument or a narrative, it will stay intact. If someone sees the World in a differing way to me that is absolutely fine (and I can respect this) but not at the expense of my own view or indeed feelings on the matter. If it is obvious someone is not prepared to compromise… then you walk on. With too much else to do, some fights are simply not worth your time.

However, I listen to all the criticism I get. Good and bad, positive and negative, I have found the means to assimilate it all. That is something I know many people just can’t do, but for me, it has become as much of the process as the writing itself. I have been forged in the heat of decades of pitched Internet abuse, attacked by trolls and fools as well as finding some of the best and most brilliant friends a girl could ever ask for in her journey to enlightenment. Sometimes, you take it all because there’s the understanding that on some days, you get nothing at all.

This is what I have become, and it is glorious.

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