End of a Century

Tomorrow is June. That means that, once these blog posts are done, it is time to take down the old calendars and begin the process of planning what happens next. This part of the process has refined considerably since the start of this year, probably more than anything else I’ve learnt since the journey began. So much so, that the whole shebang’s gonna get an upgrade starting on Monday.

It is high time the rest of my life got the treatment writing does in terms of organisation.

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I’ve been trying to stick more exercise into the game-plan, the effect it is having on body and mind has become noticeable. That means, starting tomorrow (and no, does not matter it’s a Saturday), we try and stick to the ‘something, every day’ mantra when it comes to keeping fit. Yes, I still have rest days factored, but that means that every day that isn’t had to have summat in it…

With two exercise classes per week (Wednesday and Thursday) Friday is still the preferred recovery point, because of the amount of work that gets done during those two evenings: anything between 700 and 1000 calories depending on how my body co-operates. What OUGHT to happen is a comparable amount on the other four days: 600 calories is my notional baseline to start with.

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There also needs to be a balance of cardio and weights, which has lapsed somewhat since my exercise classes took preference. So, there’s a scribbled plan from yesterday’s lone lunch at the sushi restaurant: what I do when, how it covers the areas that need work, and then crucially whether I am capable of keeping it up for the two to three months required to make this routine a habit.

I fixed my writing shortcomings with organisation, and without it there’d not be the ability to give myself the vital forward motion required to feel as if progress is possible. Let’s see if that can also work wonders on my body. It can’t be that hard, surely…

Hard Habit to Break

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

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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. 

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Write Now :: Inspiration

It was a few years ago that an Open University Creative Writing Course was taken to kick-start creativity. The first thing I was told, on almost the opening page of my Unit booklet, was that there’d need to be a notebook for ideas. This, initially, was met with much internal hilarity: when there are ideas, I just write them down complete online. Why on Earth would there be the need to keep notes?

Several years on, there is not a day where a notebook is not close by.

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Poetry is odd stuff: I’ll get a line in my head sometimes and then scrabble to keep it intact. That’s where pen and paper beat electronic means such as my phone, though I will freely admit that my tablet (and Pages) has become a useful fall-back notepad late at night or early in the morning. However, it’s those moments when a full-blown plot appears out of left field and EVERYTHING needs to be remembered now where this form is a massive boon.

Most of the stuff in the Book Of Shame is accompanied by such handwritten notes: both Already Grown and Reboot to Shell emerged fully formed. Occasionally it will only be a title that starts the process, and that was today’s revelation. 24 Adjectives for Pain was  begun from a conversation between myself and my Physiotherapist, and now needs titles to accompany the journey from flab to fit. The notebook will be put to good use in the next few days, of that I have no doubt.

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Writing should be a constantly evolving process: if it’s not, how do you ever get better? Once upon a time there was no need to be organised, but with so much else going on… without it, I’m frankly lost. Listing to other people’s wisdom pays dividends, people, it is why there’s so much stating the obvious going on all around you. What may seem obvious to one person is inevitably news to somebody else.

If all else fails, a notebook can be used for shopping lists and doodling in traffic jams.

 

Closing Time

There comes a moment in your working week when, under the pressure of about 35 things you’d like to do but know are unrealistic, something gives. Before for me it would undoubtedly be the personal stuff that was thrown by the wayside, but this time is going to be different. I know where the finish line is, this year, because I drew it. In previous years I’ve taken work with me and combined it with relaxation. Things are going to be a little less regimented during this Summer.

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A part of it has to do with not knowing what kind of Internet access we’ll have whilst being away, but mostly this is me recognising that my biggest failing possessed by some way is an inability to know when to stop working. Therefore this month will be a process of planning what needs to be done to cover the gaps for four weeks, and if it is successful I’ll repeat this process in February. This then gives me two clear months away from the daily worries concerning writing, and to focus then on Arguto. If this all works out, Issue 2 will be available on February 20th, 2019.

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The idea of a Winter and Summer magazine pleases me, and allows other stuff to happen in the background. It also allows the vital space to insert jobs like writing poetry for contests and editing existing work. All of this is eminently doable in the time-frames assuming I’m smart enough to organise far enough in advance. Right now that means sacrificing the occasional exercise day, but after the adrenaline-fuelled evening I had yesterday with the Football, both mind and body are pretty happy for the break. It isn’t just the mental stuff that needs addressing, after all.

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Tonight’s plan is to get all of the You Tube contents from the last two and a bit months up to date, whilst simultaneously seeing if I can’t schedule the rest of July’s stuff at the same time. If all of THAT gets dealt with the weekend can begin to front load the stuff for the holiday. I’m mindful too that maybe I could do with a short story to publish whilst I’m away, as that feature has become far and away my most popular daily post via Social media. Maybe I could do something holiday-related…

Right, quite enough nattering from me. Time to write the words.

Paranoid Android

I have a problem with self-promotion.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Get a Job

It is almost time to unleash the latest of our monthly themes upon you, but part of my brain is all to well aware that there’s previous work to catch up on too. It doesn’t help that this week is kids’ Half Term, and therefore all normal pretensions of organisation get summarily kicked out of touch. NO MATTER. There are plans afoot to spread it all out across next week, which should have some free time locked within it.

This is also the moment where I announce formally that I’ll be taking August off from posting via the blog, but using the time to showcase the best of the previous thirty week’s worth of poetry. As there’s will have been sixty Haiku and Micropoems published during that period, it seems the ideal moment to allow me a bit of breathing space and the ability to showcase how my poetry has evolved since the start of the year.

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There’s FIVE Poetry, Short story and Fiction prizes currently on radar I feel are worth entering: there’s likely to be space for at least one more as time goes on. These require inserting into the game plan: two will be written whilst I’m on sabbatical, the other have to find a place my workload before. I may yet pre-programme a month’s worth of music and video in August too, but that will all depend on how things go in terms of bike rides and exercise.

The next couple of weeks are going to end up being crucial.