Always There

The plan, at the start of this year, was to own something saleable to self-produce by the end of the year. It was initially the intention to only do this digitally: that should hopefully still take place in the next couple of weeks but my first serious foray into publication will be with a physical collection. I’ve spent the last six weeks or so putting finishing touches to a proof and obtaining prices from local printers. A final amendment to my original cover design has been double-checked, plus a biography added to the back. On the 19th I’ll send everything to the people chosen to handle this task and wait for a proof…

If all goes well, by the middle of November, there’ll be a debut pamphlet to purchase.

Part of me hoped this particular collection might be picked up by a major publisher but nobody seems to consider a 53-year-old mother of two’s mental health journey as particularly saleable. I can completely understand why that would be the case, and why to favour supporting authors who have a proven track record of selling poetry makes far more sense financially. I’m not an idiot. These are difficult times for everybody. It’s why the decision was made to dip into savings in order to fund this, and to know well in advance not simply the viability of the product, but EXACTLY how many copies need to be sold to break even.

This project then becomes maths plus ability, and allows me to make what I want and not to compromise on what is, at times, very personal content. There’s a number up on the wall, a pricing scheme which is acceptable for what is produced, plus a marketing campaign of my own design which will reveal the best of what I can offer as a mental health poet. This will culminate in producing a complete reading of all the poems for Time to Talk Day in February, where I’ll explain the details of this journey from childhood to the present day.

Normally, I’d be obsessed with NaNoWriMo at this point… and I am, after a fashion. The idea is all ready to roll, I’ve already started writing, but next week is not going to be some adverts and building a webpage so that I can start taking pre-orders. I reckon that’s a good couple of days work, and as I intend to take a day off on Friday (*cough* BIRTHDAY *cough*) So, once that’s done, you’ll be getting alternate posts on both of these, and I really can’t complain that there’s not sufficient excitement in my life.

Well, I could, but it would be a complete lie.

The Last Time

An awful lot got done this last week, but not nearly enough. It’s always the way, you provision time for things to be completed, and then it becomes apparent that you’ve massively underestimated the amount of work required. I am becoming fantastic at this, and therefore there needs to be a bit of a rethink over the time management side of things. Fortunately all of this effort is front-loading. It’s architecture, and that always takes the most effort.

After this, everything gets considerably easier. I just bolt stuff on top and suddenly, there’s content. I’ve seen other people state that learning how to project manage is the skill they wish they’d properly grasped before starting anything. Nothing is ever an exact science. I get, thanks to exercise, how a shift of one muscle group or a rethink of your body placement can be the difference between success or failure. Again, that just has to be translated to my other issues to address.

This is me, permanently shifting stance to maintain balance.

The latest piece of Patreon content is out this month, and (honestly) this is the best thing I’ve made this year. I’m charging a five a month, more or less, for people to read it and although some days the process feels like pulling teeth, it is worth the effort. This month we’ll have a digital print to sell too which I need to do some research on in terms of sales. I’m going to do a run of 25 ‘prints’ all numbered which my daughter and I will sign. When she makes it big in the future, she’ll be the signature everybody wants 😀

Me, I’m here to make some money to pay for web hosting and printing materials. Just trying to break even at this time is the goal, or to get a decent amount of cash for my time. There is a break even point I have notionally aimed for, and when that is reached then I know there’s real, tangible progress. Until then, yet again, it’s all architecture. The foundations are placed, you build walls, a way in and out, and incentives for people to come and stay.

That’s all you will ever realistically be able to achieve.

If you’re a Patron, there’ll be space for you soon here that’s exclusively yours and nobody else’s. I’ll provide passwords by the end of this week assuming that everything goes to plan… but who knows what will happen between there and now. I’ve watched the World go south a few times this year, and coping is getting easier each time. In this case, one can only hope that it’s not a major disaster close to home.

That’s the thing about life right now, you never quite know what to expect…

Rise Up

This will be the last post on-site before the big reorganisational change happens, starting next week. Having committed to the change, I’d like to get started on the nuts and bolts changes that need to happen behind the scenes. That will involve a Secret Bonus Area for Patreon followers, accomodation for the NEW Weekly Newsletter… plus shifting around all the old stuff to become more friendly and accessible.

Therefore, starting next week you can expect to see stuff morph and evolve before your very eyes. I don’t have the luxury of just shutting everything down, after all, so we’ll sort as much of the architecture out as possible within the existing framework, then turn up and give the thing a lick of new paint. After all, it would be rubbish to do that first and then discover a bunch of stuff is no longer fit for purpose…

waffle+fallequalsexplosion

Then, we’ll relaunch everything in April, with a brief moment for World Poetry Day on March 21st. Of course, you’ll still be able to read my daily rantings via Twitter or on the Laughing Geek Website, or observe my increasing graphic competence via Instagram. I’m going to also be overhauling Ko-Fi to link up with the Patreon, so you can go take a look at that too when everything is complete.

Consider it a general Spring Clean for everything.

BG_Patreon

Oh yeah, and about Patreon. I’m gonna go for it again: there is no idea who will be interested, can only hope the content ends up speaking for itself. Lots of people are struggling to get by and won’t ever be able to afford to support me anyway, and as a result I’ve decided to give this whole thing until December to see whether there is enough interest to push forward.

Is what I do worth paying for? It’ll soon be time to see for myself…

Highway (Under Construction)

Going away is always fraught with an element of danger, because with none of the normal things to act as distraction, my mind can wander. However, this brief weekend away has thrown up some really interesting possibilities. I think this time however, a lot of stuff has moved into focus, and as a result, it is probably time for a bit of a rebrand. Therefore, during March, we’re going to do things a little bit differently.

Prepare yourself for a much-needed site Spring Clean 😀

cleaning

There are already things planned of an artistic nature next month: Wednesdays are Workshop Days going forward (and I have no idea what that will mean until I go get a brochure from the people running them, so watch this space) and there’s a couple of days booked at the Arts Collective where I’ll have space reserved to work without restrictions. Apart from that, I’m clearing the decks.

That means we’ll restart all the scheduled content in April, which gives me much-needed time to find better ways of presenting continuous output in a more accessible form. Certainly as the number of YouTube playlists grows, maintenance and upkeep of those lists is increasingly problematic. Ironically also the lists get shorter: it’s an education watching copyright robots take down stuff, or videos suddenly being marked as ‘private.’

You’d think some people don’t realise the Internet can be seen by everybody…

birdstares

It’s getting increasingly frustrating having to do stuff piecemeal because I’m reacting and not planning sufficiently, and if my online portfolio won’t support the content that’s already here, adding to the problem will just make things worse the longer it is left unchecked. Therefore, rather than saying to myself ‘this will do’ it is time to stop managing with something that has become unfit for purpose.

There’ll be more details in the next week or so. Needless to say, I HAVE BIG PLANS.

Hard Habit to Break

Okay, it’s official. I need a break from poetry.

don'tlikeyou.gif

That’s not strictly true, but it’s close. It’s become impossible to throw my brain into poetry mode at present, and the last time this happened a month’s break was EXACTLY what was needed to reset the gauges. A lot of this is wrapped around the two major submissions I’m now finishing up, both of which have poetry as their core. It is time to return to fiction as my life for March, which means the following:

  • No new weekly Haiku or Micropoetry until April, but we’ll repost some of my Greatest Hits whilst also trailing upcoming projects for the rest of 2019,
  • #Narrating needs a break too, so I can stock up some better ideas going forward. #Soundtracking however will celebrate the upcoming 14th birthday of my daughter with a list of bands I think she’ll appreciate going forward into adulthood,
  • The Short Story continues unabated. Because DUH. 

notmeyou.gif

That leaves a gap for content here which I’ll fill by getting EX/WHI up to date whilst simultaneously filling in details of some of the things I’d like to do with my writing and this site by the end of the year. It also allows the much-needed opportunity to get Gumroad up and running, so I can sell stuff to you to allow that journey to more comfortably take place. That’s probably the most important thing of all to get properly organised next month.

Thank you for your support and understanding during the first two months of this year, and here’s to the next ten.

F.E.A.R

Okay. No putting it off any longer. What am I doing in 2019?

excellentquestion.gif

There is a PHENOMENAL amount of work that needs poking with sharpened graphite sticks, for starters. A year’s worth of failed poetry, to be picked apart and then reconstructed… before I start thinking about the new things I’d like to do. 24 Adjectives for Pain, Five / Seven / Five and that’s before we stick long form fiction and the short stories into the mix. Writing is no longer the problem. Working out what gets priority has become the… er, priority.

Probably, we will need MOAR TEA. Undoubtedly.

398e8-tea

That means that every night this week there will be pencils and paper out, and lists will begin to be shaped and formed from the detritus of the previous year. There’s also a need to go and edit the existing stuff saved here, before we start throwing anything else out into the world. Now, that might mean that in January we’ll cut back on Twitter content to accommodate this, or maybe tweak what’s already in existence to compensate. The GIF/Rhyme aspect of December’s Advent Calender’s an interesting diversion, that could easily be adapted as a starting point…

Whatever happens, there will be better organisation than there has been previously, of that you can be absolutely certain…

Making Whoopie

I made that graphic myself. Sure, there was some help, but it’s all part of a process which allows the introduction of neophyte design into my body of work. I’m taking the physical side of things a stage further and embarking on a redecoration journey at home, the product of which you will see being reported on my personal blog in the months that follow. However, the layout here could also do with a rethink. It doesn’t really serve my purpose going forward.

Therefore, today is where my Giant Redesign of Awesome begins in earnest.

bloodydoors.gif

Once upon a time, I HTML-d my own sites. In the grand scheme of things I have neither time or desire to continue this, and therefore WordPress get to do the job for me. When I picked this theme at end of last year it was always as a temporary measure, and now the time has come to start the search for a layout that will serve my self-publishing aspirations going forward.

I have a phenomenal number of layouts to choose from too. This is no easy task.

wakeupbear

Primarily I’m looking for a place that will be able to highlight my poetry and short prose work effectively, that isn’t too gimmicky, and that has a clean look. Whilst everybody else is throwing interactivity and flashing gubbins at readers, what is needed here is simplicity and clarity. I’ve managed to go full minimalist on the personal site, but this space demands a bit more.

I’ve already been sitting and making notes as to which layouts will best serve my needs, with half an eye on long-term development. When this change gets affected (early December, hopefully) then there needs not to be any more changes for a while, because then it’s all about focusing on content and not how the whole thing looks. There’s also a hope it won’t take too long to find the right layout. This wasn’t that, but a compromise so the work didn’t suffer.

Now it is time to make a better decision.

wtfishappeningnow

The’re an interim header and logo whilst I faff. This week we’ll get everything up to date for the end of October (short stories, #Narrating2018 and #Soundtracking2018 pages) and then, starting next week, the changes will begin to be affected.

We thank you for your understanding as construction begins.

Down Among the Dead Men

I’ve taken the opportunity, in the last week, to streamline just about everything I do online. If the plan is working there will be no discernible change to the landscape that is immediately apparent, and in this regard things appear to be moving quite well. Next month’s planning’s already in an advanced state, and we will be pursuing the project that was going to happen in October with a few tweaks.

Symphony

In simple terms, that means the following:

  • Daily Haiku on Twitter is replaced by 30 Haiku with an overarching, cohesive theme (Symphony). The entire project will then be archived in a new area on the website.
  • Daily Micropoetry continues as normal on Twitter.
  • #Narrating2018 and #Soundtracking2018 will both run in tandem with the Symphony theme: more details are coming next week
  • November’s Short Story (Piper) is not part of this project, and also continues as normal

Also, EX/WHI will be back up to date starting on Friday and will run in tandem with my NaNoWriMo updates, which will be taking over from all other content until November’s done. There’s then going to be a soft relaunch of the Internet of Words with new graphics and sections for December 1st.

Following so far? Good stuff.

simple

This is becoming both enjoyable and exciting again, and not like a job, which was the entire point of the Project to begin with. This is a place where my creativity dictates progress, and not the other way around. Allowing that to grow and expand’s been a tough ask across the last few months, but Symphony as reawakened the creative synapses, plus having taken a break from mass-producing submissions has been a great help. There’s still four more poems that need to be completed in last-pass editing polish Hell right now, but that’s not a problem.

I’m all over the faffing, and it is GOOD.

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 😀

lists.gif

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.

gorillaleaves

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…

Clean Clean

Today is DAY ONE of me sorting out the Website, and I have a list of stuff to do. I’m still not 100% settled on a layout but the one we have here is one of a selection that are tailored for magazine style blogs, and so it is already attractive. However, I’ll need to go and edit a ton of old posts as it uses the ‘Featured Image’ image as the one that sits on headers, and in a lot of cases that is duplicated (as the old layout didn’t do this.) The plan, as with everything else I have on my plate currently, is to break my task down into bite sized chunks and tick them off when done. That means, once this post goes live, I’ll go back and edit all of November’s blogs and add that to my Completed Work list.

roblowgreatjob

Hopefully all this being broken down into bite sized chunks will make the entire process considerably easier. I have a lot of work to do with menus and new headers too, but that’s going to require some specific photography that won’t happen until next week. For now, the plan is to make the site as it stands look cleaner and more accessible (which will probably include increasing text size) and once that’s been done to my satisfaction, we can add some new stuff to the mix. This week and next however, the task is to start taking things away. Consider it an effective de-clutter of my working space.

If you see anything you don’t think is working correctly as a result, or have comments to make on how stuff is changing, please let me know.