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Love’s Great Adventure

You’ll be reading this in a time warp: It’s being published the day before NaNoWriMo 2019 began, yet the plan was to hype up how prepared I was for everything… the reality is, that as I type this, it’s already four days into the process. Last week’s health shock knocked everything into the air, and if truth be told, there’s still things I’m watching, waiting for them to land.

This year, however, organisation has saved me. Even if the real-time responses to things has been a bit arse about face, doing the preparation and knowing how important this whole process is to complete has provided the most welcome of cushions for the intervention of reality. It means that despite commentary being behind, word count is very much ahead of the curve.

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After a weekend where I took on an extremely important new responsibility (which I’ll talk about at length on Wednesday) it’s now a case of cleaning up the loose ends and ploughing forward. In reality of course, it’s not like tens of thousands of people read this blog and they’ll get confused with the timeline. If that were the case, it might be a different post that was being written.. but you guys understand how this works.

What this change also corresponds with is a marked improvement in organisation away from a desk. Those of you reading my personal blog will know that October, despite everything else, was my most productive month for physical health this year. That also needs to keep happening as I write, which means now I’ll be off for the first session of next week… or is this the third session of last week?

Trust me, true organisation is happening regardless.

Fairytale

Quite early on in my online career, it became apparent that other people expected significantly different things from relationships than I did. Inevitably, it is impossible to reasonably control who decides to follow you, or indeed how they operate when interacting with you. Being kind, generous and understanding should be the default settings for everybody but inevitably this becomes unrealistic in reality.

I’ve spoken at length in other places over the issues that inevitably rise from being female and high profile in any kind of gaming capacity. Earlier this year, when asked if I’d want to talk about that in public, there was really no desire to do so. Pulling up past events as a signpost to the future might be useful in certain situations, but in this case…? it’s probably best that these sections of my history are consigned to obscurity.

Except, it is apparent, these issues never really go away.

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There’s been a bit of drama around my sphere of late over the business of online stalking. Knowing that it doesn’t matter what you do and that sometimes, people will latch onto you as some kind of personal saviour, is the lesson I wish more would take seriously but inevitably never do. Inevitably, enlightenment has to come from learning the lesson: you don’t even have to be generous to a stranger in reality to become a victim.

In fact, many people are learning that just existing and refusing to think or act as others expect they should is often enough to receive abuse. So many women in high-profile positions run the risk of becoming the fixation, crux of increasingly demented obsession, because other people’s perception of their personality is as far away from reality as it is normally possible to get.

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So, what can you do if you’re caught in a situation that makes you uncomfortable? Even as an obscure writer, there are ways and means to assert control. The most important thing of all, undoubtedly, is to not generate personal capital off the back of it or to allow the individual any indicator that their actions are affecting your existence. In that regard, at least, it is very easy to take back ownership of personal domain.

That last lesson is still one I’m working on, it has to be said.

Bird of Prey

With less than a week to go until everything kicks off, how ready am I for NaNoWriMo 2019?

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No really, it’s okay. I’ve got everything together, the WiP playlist is strong, plus there’s lots of enthusiasm. It also helps that I now have an operational computer again, and am well on the way to having a better, larger space in which to work. That alone should make the process more conducive. Not writing poetry will also be a pleasant change. There’s plenty of that to look forward to in December.

This however is not about submissions or progress. November is all for me.

All my November content will be inspired by the NaNoWriMo project, kicking off with a #Soundtracking2019 playlist that begins with one of my favourite pieces of Fatboy Slim music, an important prompt for a sequence of events in Ternary’s plot. As to what you’ll get from the #Narrating2019 list? It’s time for a bit of Alternate History… with some Steampunk elements thrown in for good measure…

Hopefully there’s enough time to arrange everything else that needs doing before that point: the plan, such as it stands, is to try and write for two hours every morning and then in the evenings when time allows. I’m also determined to get this narrative finished and then decently edited, in the hope that I may be able to do something with it. Self publishing is most definitely an option going forward.

Let’s not get ahead of myself until then.

Back to Life

As my birthday has come and gone this means there’s a week left until we’re into November. It would be useful, I think, to try and make a return to what used to be considered as Normal Service around these parts, but the loss of my PC yesterday (and the fact I’m typing this on a keyboard on my knees on the sofa) has rather put a crimp in proceedings. NO MATTER.

It is time to get this ramshackle shebang back on track.

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What that means is POETRY EVERY DAY (as has been successfully happening with my #FaithIoW prompts) but with perhaps a little more interactivity than was previously the case. It’s nice to have work every day on Instagram too, and 2020 will be when I try and make that platform work a bit harder for me than is previously the case. It is also high time we had some YouTube content back.

Then there’s the short stories: the last one from August was left hanging. What will happen in November is that will be reposted and completed, before we go into NEW WORK in December. Also, yes, I PROMISE. EX/WHI will be back once the NaNo gubbins is all done and dusted. I know only too well what happens when my brain becomes overloaded with narrative, it all goes horribly Pete Tong and nobody has time for that.

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However, the overriding priority right now is to get this keyboard off my knees and onto a desk. That’s being delivered tomorrow (reclaimed from a dusty industrial unit) and once the front room’s organised, the sky will indeed be the limit. My new wall awaits, ready for a wipe clean perpetual planner and a fucktonne of Post It Notes.

I am ready.

Coming Up

It will several weeks before my dream working space is up and running. In the meantime there’s 10 days left not only before NaNo begins, but for me to whip a selection of my best poems into shape. In the midst of this all there’s also a bunch of single submissions to be done, many of which won’t cost me anything other than time and effort. It’s getting close to the stage where I need a year to view wipe clean calendar from Amazon to keep track of it all.

Crucially, none of this work is new, and is all being created off the back of existing effort. So, the question I find myself asking with increasing frequency is how much extra does an idea require before it’s good enough to be considered not simply as good, but completed. When is poetry ready to publish? When all is said and done, just how much polish is enough on your work?

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The best barometer I have of done is the Places of Poetry collection, all 24 of which are meritorious in my own head. Each one fulfilled the brief set out before I started: personal resonance, intrinsic link to the place being written about, plus a better than good technical standard. In that regard, polish was quite liberally applied to the raw works. It gives me real hope for working with my poems going forward.

Long form’s a bit harder, but reading through my synopsis today for NaNo there was a strong, unerring confidence that not only was my narrative basically sound, it could be established in a far stronger configuration if I swapped around some key pieces of action. As it transpires, the confidence that’s given me today’s helped to get a lot of those plot holes filled. It’s incredible what self belief can do.

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Instead of attacking the weekend’s folly with pitchforks and torches, it transpires all that was needed was a bit of polish: re-arrange the narrative flow and BOOM there we are, very much back on track. This has also helped me rearrange the poetry running order too, so that it too can have the appearance of narrative cohesion. Many of these poems were not written to go together but with the right connecting pieces, things can be constructed differently.

I really hope I can finish the poetry to my satisfaction for the weekend, because it will make my next project in December considerably easier to attack. In the end, all of this is a process of building confidence and accepting shortcomings. Everything will always benefit from one more read through and even if you know something’s pretty much done, there’ll always be a typo you missed on that last read-through.

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That’s what polish entails too, of course: spelling mistakes, proper grammar, the minutiae of common sense that often is lost when people focus just on their feelings and not the work as a whole. Those things are as important as a workable narrative and poems with personal meaning. Put it all together, and the balance becomes apparent, even at an early stage.

Knowing what’s enough is half your battle won.

Moving On Up

I can still remember with vivid joy the arrival one Christmas of my first ever typewriter. It didn’t last long, however: this was the early 1980’s, and there was already talk of personal computers quickly superseding the need for such antiquated items, especially as work could be saved and returned to without fear of data loss. In our house, in the early years of my relationship with my now husband was a Commodore for gaming, plus an Amstrad for word processing, using Locoscript.

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By Marcin Wichary from San Francisco, U.S.A. – Amstrad PCW 8512, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3481787

A lot has changed in those intervening 30 or so years: it’s my gaming rig that now serves as a word processor (I use Libre Office as it’s free and not Microsoft) but in the last few months there’s been some alarming restarts and freezes which my PC knowledge knows means my hard drive’s on the way out. Add to this a graphics card that regularly overheats and it is high time a replacement is found. However, I don’t want new.

Once upon a time, that was not the case, but now with all the issues around me in terms of consumerism and climate change, it seems only right and appropriate to go reconditioned where I can. Therefore, I’ve found a second hand desk larger than the second hand desk I’m currently using, and during the upcoming half term will be rearranging my working space which has been this way for the last 14 months.

Basically, it is time to expand.

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The biggest problem is that I’ve run out of wall space. Stuff is planned across one wall currently, and it is simply not large enough for what it is I want to achieve. Therefore, I’ll be shifting position and the sofa will be moving back to this space which it inhabited for many years. That too probably needs replacing, but with the current economic uncertainty…? That might well have to wait a while.

For now, however, this is a project that is going to grant me great joy, and hopefully rearrange the front room a bit in the process. I’ll make sure everything’s has pictures taken as we go too, so it can become a proper transition from one space to another.

I’m really rather looking forward to this.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

As we established on Monday, my novel for November’s now finalised. The next step, as also committed to, is a written copy of the basic plot from beginning to end. I’ve been mentally getting this particular house in order during School Runs this week with my Spotify soundtrack, which has existed in several forms for a fair few years now. I realise already there are some gaps in action that need filling.

However, I can’t do that without the right pieces of music to help.

Music is immensely important to my creative processes: I can’t emphasise enough how much the right song will create vivid, compelling pictures in my head which I can then transcribe to the page. It doesn’t have to be classical either: this WiP has some unexpected pieces of modern music buried within… except I’m imagining them reinvented as folk songs, played on instruments from another time.

This musical accompaniment is perfect for my alternate historical setting, and it gives a special haunting quality to some key scenes. It’s also making me realise what an absolute godsend YouTube is for any writer looking to find the right atmospheric background for their endeavours. Now, if I could only find someone doing Prodigy songs on this instrument, I’d be golden… ^^

It’s likely the narrative’s gonna be done before the weekend, so that the missing pieces can be successfully filled whilst the most free time is available. Friday night therefore will be spent with headphones on and Spotify on my tablet, attempting to map the progress of what, I realise with some horror, will be the first of at least a two book series. There really is too much here to shove into one decent sized novel…

That’s a worry for another day.