The Arts and the Hours

A portion of the website has now stopped working, and the solution is, I am told, updating my theme. So, there is no avoiding it now, and I’ll be going down this road sooner rather than later. In fact, as things stand, I’ll be starting on the shift next week. The intention is to be ready to roll on March 1st, but the reality is that I’ll need a couple more weeks to get everything sorted.

I’ll keep you updated here as the work progresses, and I apologize in advance for any issues you may be having right now. Hopefully, a complete change of theme should fix a number of them instantly, but the rest will need work. If you have any particular issues right now you’d like me to address, please leave a comment πŸ˜€

Enjoy Yourself

Hopefully, by the end of today, I’ll have all the pieces of Patreon content in place to be accessed by those kind enough to be paying me for Premium Content. This also includes the free (but password protected) content for Newsletter subscribers: I’d hoped to have it done by the 15th, but as we have discussed previously, I’m still struggling with the notion of timescales. Once this is all fixed, I will be turning my mind to the idea of further monetising this site.

Since Patreon began, the amount of original content here has effectively reduced to just blogs. I do not intend to go back and lock off any older work to monetise, but admit that some of it is now not representative of the current direction. Therefore, starting next month, we’ll be rationalising everything and deciding what stays and goes. To give you an insight of where that will take the site long term, here are some of my early thoughts.

  • Short stories continue unabated: I have used this month’s story as a lead into new Patreon content, and that story will be saved and advertised as an encouragement for people to sign-up. Starting in September we’ll go back to stand alones, with a plan in 2021 to produce a full set of twelve stories across the year. These are so popular that I’ll just keep running them until people stop reading them. No charge, just stories.

  • Publishing news: I currently have two poems due in anthologies for publication before the end of the year. You’ll see news here before anywhere else. That’s the point of having a public presence, after all. I’ll also use the Newsletter to keep you up to date with events as they happen. What is likely to happen is that starting in September posting frequency here will move to twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Short Stories will always publish on the first of the month regardless.

  • Episodic Fiction: I have promised myself we’ll have EX/WHI restarted this year. We can do that quite easily, and so starting in October, it will appear on Thursdays. Once it’s done I’ll provide a complete .PDF as Premium Content. I already have a new story in the works as a follow on, but that will be completely tied to my subscription model. I’d expect to see that appearing sometime in Q1 of 2021.

This is a slow and thoughtful rationalization of everything that I produce. I hope you’ll join me as things alter, and we enter this new phase of my professional career as a writer, because that is what this is, a genuine progression of content and output.

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 πŸ˜€

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…

Different Class

I’ve been spending a bit of time faffing with the new WordPress Editor this morning, and will continue to do so over the weekend. It’s a bit of an unwieldy beast in places, and doesn’t like lots of images at once, but the potential for what I’m doing going forward is undeniable. For instance, making two column layouts in places where they don’t exist is, undoubtedly, a bonus.


Therefore, going forward, I’ll do my best to transfer all existing content over to this format with the least amount of fuss. It won’t happen with any of the old blog posts, but is likely to happen, over time, with all the poetry and associated pages, short stories, all my visual elements and the Soundtracking/Narrating stuff. I am giving though to shifting some major design elements around too, but that won’t happen until I’m properly confident with these new formatting skills.

I struggle with the technical, but this is worth learning, because the benefits it will grant for creativity are considerable. Hopefully you won’t notice the transitions either.

A Change is Gonna Come

Stuff’s happened quite quickly today: let’s get right to it πŸ˜€

This seems like a solid move, in my head: more people can come in and become part of the family, whilst the highest Tier is now cheaper (and hopefully a little more attractive as a result.) Whether of course the person who asked me for this change was expecting it to happen and will now subsequently sign up is another matter entirely. The logic works regardless, and was quite easy to move things around to accommodate a change in focus.

I think it is important, especially in the current climate, to show a measure of flexibility when it comes to accommodating change. It also gives me some thoughts on how to work the upcoming content planned into slightly more attractive packages. This weekend would normally be time off but I’m ready to try and work through some new ideas. We’ll talk about this in more detail next week.

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For now, however, it’s time for some aggressive marketing…

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Back in the Saddle

Normally, I’d be here in the morning to write a blog, but the first of the month, from now on, is likely to be a bit different. Welcome to the New World Order, where suddenly everything is a lot more complicated, but amazingly appears about 3000% more professional. Somewhere between the end of February and now, I became an adult content creator. Blimey.

There have already been complaints and yes, I hear you. I always said I’d be the one who wouldn’t do this, and would staunchly exempt myself from the rigours of capitalism, but right now nobody is working, therefore money has to come from somewhere.Β There was never a good time to bite the bullet and go subscription, when all is said and done circumstance effectively made that choice for me.

It doesn’t mean however that content stops here, anything but. It’s a simple redistribution of effort and attainment in different locations. I will ensure however that content keeps being saved here: weekly poetry, daily Twitter short story… all those things still have their place in the world and will not suddenly vanish. There will be some new things here too, as time goes on, but first I need the Patreon mechanics to work well.

I suppose if I’ve only upset one person out of (potentially) millions thus far, that has to count for something. If everybody else can adjust to this new normal, that is the direction everything will subsequently head. I’m actually pretty excited because tomorrow I am putting together the first of TWO LANzine for the month: the first one is a dry run to see if anyone’s interested in the sub-only edition for which this post’s header is the main graphic.

The only way you get to swim is to sink first. Time to dive in…

Order from Chaos

Over the last seven days, it’s been easy to admit that work needs to be done around the website. Once that thought was out in the open, lots of subsequent internal soul-searching has taken place. If this whole shebang is going to be successful, there will never be a good moment to talk about money. After admitting this week that a fortune is never really likely to be made on the back of current submission content, it is time to be honest.

As a Digital Curator, it may be time to put down some more solid foundations.

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When I rebooted this site from its original purpose a few years ago, it was to accompany a first, tentative into the world of persistent crowdfunding via Patreon. There was some fuss at the end of that year when the platform attempted to pull a fast one over fees, and my principles suggested a step back from participation until such time as I felt there was sufficient confidence to sell myself again.

Once the site redesign starts next month (you can already be able to see the new logo above) I’ll be posting a Google Forms survey asking people if they’d be interested in becoming contributors to this new direction, which will include Patreon as an option. I’m not going to go back to the platform unless I know there’s an opportunity to make a decent fist of the endeavour.

I’ll be taking my cues from those of you willing to help fund me long term.

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Communication is key to this new direction: the last attempt of providing unique content was not really that well thought through. Now, I’m not only older but considerably more confident of what is possible with my setup and skillset. As a result, there are potentially a lot of very exciting possibilities on the table. This is not just poetry or fiction, photography or general creativity. New adventures are just a thought away.

More importantly, I’m now fully free of the shackles that were holding me back previously thanks to counselling. With the new confidence in myself and what is possible, we can start creating a truly unique and special place online, that covers multimedia and transmedia. It is not just words that sell, after all, and if I can generate content that nobody else is currently producing?

That has to be something to aim for going forward.

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For now, however, there’s some more deadlines to aim for, so it’s time to finish what’s been started before clearing the decks and starting fresh…

The Last Time

So, after the removal of my presence from Facebook, I’ve decided to disconnect myself from Instagram as well. I’ve already had content scraped from the platform, and the events of the last week have served to make me realise that, however attractive a platform might seem, sometimes you can spread yourself too thinly.

Therefore, starting next month, all of my visual content will be posted on Twitter exclusively, before being archived on the various websites I possess. The existing Art Aesthetics project, which is 19 days in, will be finished at the weekend and posted in its entirety to this website on Monday, March 25th.

Thank you for your understanding.

Too Much

There are moments in your life where sorry is not the response you want.

For a lot of people, Patreon’s about face will be a relief. However, for me I now realise that this turn of events was exactly the kick up the arse I needed to do stuff better for myself. There will be those indivduals who’ll suggest caution and that I should keep running the site, but I’ve lost patrons for whom this change will alter nothing. They won’t come back. There has been a significant and in many cases irreparableΒ  breakdown of trust, and as has been pointed out in various quarters until this ‘apology’ is common knowledge, and the situation around this whole shit storm is clear…? Nothing has changed.

In this particular situation, sticking to principle has served me well. I will continue to fund those people on Patreon who I can, but the reality is that I am better off without the service, based on the people I’ve spoken to who have been my backbone of support thus far. After that, I’ve got some really good ideas for 2018 going forward, that would not have emerged had I not been forced to consider the future by the last week’s turn of events.

I’ll take the mass of notes I’ve made on New Things to Do and start discussing the possibilities next week. I’m really excited by what I’ve come up with.

Sometimes, you need to look at things differently to make progress.

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.

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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.