Change

I don’t believe anybody who tells you there’s nothing they could do to improve what they are. I also find it increasingly difficult to aspire to anybody’s else’s level of what constitutes competent. Each of us is so different, it seems utterly ridiculous to want to be like anybody else, and yet that’s what happens. Dress like your idol, use their skincare routine, borrow their working practices for a better lifestyle… nope.

When writing, especially, I’m beginning to realise the folly in trying to sound like anybody else except yourself. Sure, it is easy to imitate a style, or a fashion, but these things are so fleeting and often fickle. How do I get better as a writer, regardless of the genre being practiced, without compromising the essence of what I am? Being ‘better’ is clearly the intention, but how does it happen?

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The internet is overflowing with guides, authors happy to offer their ‘advice’ whenever possible. Reading these, it becomes apparent that there are perilously few real answers to be found once one moves past ‘spell check, write to the word count, don’t waffle.’ It is as much a game of persistence as anything else: if you can’t hack being rejected, your career won’t last long. The rarity of hitting your target first try is just that.

For me, therefore, the process of self-improvement was at first daunting, until the sheer repetition of writing every single day began to expose flaws I’d not previously grasped. My sentence structure needed work, there were too many personal pronouns. Explaining how things went from A to B was consistently skipped or skimped on. Telling the story required a narrative pathway that often only existed in my head, not on the page.

Only by practice do we finally grasp what it is that is lacking within our work.

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Most importantly, however, it’s being hard on ourselves for not moving at a speed we consider ‘progress’ that can ruin so much achievement in the first place. If you know your rate of change is glacial, expecting to be an expert overnight really is an unrealistic ask. I’m in that camp,  only now understanding this journey’s being hamstrung by the past. Once that’s sorted properly, so much more should flow freely.

Therefore in December it’s time to see if freedom of expression can be wrought from some new materials. Processes are already being planned, and if I can look past what has previously managed to derail both confidence and ability… is anything possible? Could EVERYTHING be possible?

There’s only one way to find out.

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.

Was It Worth It?

Once upon a time, I got quite obsessed over the number of people who followed me on social media. This coincided with Twitter’s public and high profile attempts to remove the legions of robots and fake accounts from their platform. The reality of this change is pretty stark: I’ve seen zero follower growth since April 2018 on the ‘other’ account. Ironically, this was the exact period that this project began to gain momentum: interest here is far and beyond what was ever thought possible in such a short period.

In my lessons and observations of Social media over the last few years, there’s been a veritable legion of people in the background, advising me how to ‘influence’ in all its forms. What is abundantly apparent is that the best success stories, people who genuinely deserve all the plaudits and numbers on their teams are those individuals who do, in fact, put in the hard graft. It doesn’t have to be sitting on Social media, either. The right combination of immediacy and backroom work pays massive dividends.

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I do love me some good organisation, but in the end none of it is worth the Post It notes you wrote it on unless summat budges. I’m pretty sure now the path that was originally trodden with what’s now very much a personal Twitter is the absolute opposite direction things need to head: if anything, I’d be going backwards. So, it is time to stop selling myself, and to start ‘selling’ myself. Those two quote marks are actually quite vital too. Before it was all far to serious. Now, if summat good happens, it’s a bonus, but honestly I’m not fussed.

Last time out, there was an agenda and I HATE THOSE. I’m not an influencer, just a woman with stuff to say and her own shit to sell. Not anybody else’s mouthpiece or spokesperson, just my words and stories that need to be told and might well find a larger audience if I push them. So, here we go. Gonna give it a year and see where we go. If all else fails, I might luck out and get summat published in the meantime, who knows?

It gives me something to do apart from the housework and exercise, if all else fails…

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.

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.

Slow Hand

With the last month’s worth of content coming up before some much needed time off is taken, there’s a lot to think about going forward. I’ve come to really enjoy the business of having a daily schedule to work to, and it gives my mind and body the much needed sense of routine that I’ve now had confirmed is pretty much vital to keep me sane. However, there is often the feeling I’ve overreached, especially when it becomes a struggle to cope with what is promised but never makes it to fruition. However, slowly but surely, that backlog is being addressed, and by not overreaching, there is a way forward.

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The path forward is, slowly but surely, becoming clearer. I need at least until the end of the year, I think, to build a body of work as good enough of a foundation to prove this is the path to take, and then it will be time to start seriously sell myself. This will not sit well with certain people of my acquaintance, but no matter. What needs to be done will be, and those who care will support me as I move forward. There is already a friend sounded out who has the problem solving skills my brain cannot provide, as a starting point.

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Selling myself has always been a bit of a problem, but without that vital ability to do so, nothing will ever change. Therefore, August gives the opportunity to not worry about anything except planning and organisation for the journey ahead. Plus, I finally get to go to Italy, which is another of the dreams come true scratched off the list.

I have to say, the excitement is palpable.