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 😀

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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.

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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…

The Grand Tour

Welcome to 2018. It is high time I started making you work for yourselves, because THE DEITIES KNOW I have enough content lined up for the next 12 months to keep the most discerning of individuals sated, entertained and challenged. So, strap yourselves in lovelies, because it is TIME TO GET STARTED.

In order to upset as many people as possible, I’ll be spreading content this year across both of my Twitter accounts, with a view to promoting both as funds allow. There will be some inevitable overlap too, but in most cases that is because the longer form will take a bit longer to produce. The plan, such as it is, includes the following:

  • 12 Short Stories, serialised via Social media and then published via the site the month after their Twitter premieres.
  • 52 Poems and 365 Haiku (minimum), same deal as the short stories.
  • A monthly selection of found music and interesting digital ephemera from whatever subject is currently intoxicating my brain.
  • 365 Comic strips. This is the leap in the dark I need to do in order to push myself mentally. You’ll see the results via the IoW Instagram.

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There’s other stuff too: gotta finish the NanoWriMo, want to write some short stories to enter for contests as well as poetry, and I need to fit in a fairly serious exercise schedule on top of everything else. I think this is doable, or else I wouldn’t be standing up here saying it was. On top of all that will be the blogging, which is now an inescapable part of my existence.

The Way Forward

I have plans afoot for people to become supporters of my work (if they choose) but there’s nothing set in stone as yet. As soon as that changes (and I’ve had a chance to return to normality post Christmas break) you’ll hear about it here. For now, we’ll spend a month settling into the new routine, and see where that takes us.

It’ll also give me a chance to clean up this desk a bit, because BOY does it need it.

What’s my Name Again?

Origins

I have been working REALLY hard the last couple of months, and there are days when I will be honest, things just happen on autopilot. Last week’s National Poetry Day endeavour was not what I expected it to be: part of me felt a fair amount of disappointment. I didn’t get a single retweet for my work, and I felt the exposure gained wasn’t worth the effort expended. Then, on Friday morning, something odd happened. I was driving back from dropping the youngest from School and, sat waiting at a set of traffic lights saw a girl in her 20’s in an outfit that, at a casual glance, beggared belief.

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have chastised myself for such a casual condemnation of personal taste. This time, however, I did and when I got home there was a sudden and rather unexpected need to write the moment down: not as a blog post, but as a poem. You can find The Girl Who looked like a Sofa here and that moment has somehow unlocked a part of my brain that used to exclusively thing in terms of prose and nothing else. Now I find myself wanting to willingly write poetry as a supplement to my stream of consciousness written output. This is a new sensation.

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Previously, I’ve been producing output almost to order, mechanically in some cases… and somewhere between this being considered requirement or relaxation, a seed has germinated. I’m beginning to think differently. There’s a need to produce poems not just as words, but in a more visually appealing manner. That’s how the idea for the 31 Days of Haiku Challenge was born, after all.

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Every day, I have determined, will be different. I’ll try my hand at design using pens for some days, find suitable locations to present thematic words on others. I want to build a picture not only of my life but the place I live and things that matter to me. Poetry has become another means of expression as a result. It is also producing surprising subsidiary benefits, mostly in the means by which I express myself normally.

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I want to do more visual work. If this can be successfully combined with words then so much the better. Almost overnight, I have a completely new means by which to express myself.

You can totally guarantee I will make the most of it.

Take the Long Way Home

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Those of you paying attention will know that Thursdays are now intentionally quiet on the Blogs because I’ve decided to dedicate an entire 24 hours just to writing fiction. The positive effect this is having on mental health is not to be underestimated, quite apart from the actual progress being made. 40 pages of editing was managed on MMXCI and the hope is to double that this week, but that’s not the whole story. I also forced myself to hunt down and seek out half finished works, notebooks full of treatments, and to track down fragments of documents saved on various back up CD ROMS.

The result is a new found confidence over what I have produced, and what can now be built from the foundations in place.

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Not all of these ideas are great, lets be honest. I’m not about to start shouting my proficiency from the rooftops, but there are elements from some stories that can be co-opted into others, for example. There are ways to take ideas and adapt them elsewhere, but the key is that everything is written down. Learning how to notebook, or if I’m on a treadmill write notes on my Phone has become a thing of great usefulness, and I’d argue that any artist benefits from not just working in their familiar spot or favourite space. Taking yourself out of comfort zones makes for interesting writing. By far the biggest buzz I got writing poetry this year was at a local festival. Sometimes, it helps to mix it up and do stuff that’s scary.

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What has been the most significant takeaway from all of this however is that I can write a decent story (if I say so myself.) What hasn’t happened is experimentation, or any kind of extension outside of what were very long-established comfort zones. That’s why I’ve picked the oldest story to start with, because in effect it has the most potential for re-imagination available. As a result, a major character’s changed sex, and a number of key scenes are being replotted in my MMXCI edit, to better reflect what I feel is the true diversity of humanity that should be presented. It seems odd now, looking back on what I feel had to be normal, realising that my own blinkered imagination was only reflecting back the circumstances I was trapped within.

Needless to say, I’m beyond excited at what is potentially possible with all of these works going forward. I’ll be keeping you up to date on progress, and am hoping to pick a completely new work to serialise on the website starting next year.

All You’ve Ever Wanted

Those of you paying attention will have noticed this site is now a wee bit more active than it has been: the plan, long term is to hack the place up to three posts a week. That means the news post that should be here now will only appear when I have stuff worthy of mention: this week all my top news gubbins has gone to the Personal site. I suspect that’s the way this might go for the first few weeks anyway, and assuming that’s the case I’ll try and find a moment on Saturdays to make sure the 3 posts a week regime is maintained. I had planned a launch for the new writing project on Wednesday, but last week summat had to give. Readjusting to this new schedule is proving to be far tougher on my mind than I’d previously considered.

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My grail, I realised a while back, isn’t just getting a novel published, but the systematic improvement of writing skills across the board. That means learning better to write to deadlines, reacting to news, and most importantly of all processing complex data. It is improving: more time to react and think has already provided dividends, a shifting of priorities means that I now have the opportunity to plan ahead for the first time, but that is going to take organisation that does not as yet exist. However, the foundations have been laid, and now there is time to look forward and plan the journey, which means I’m aiming next week to assign days to certain tasks. It will start with simply getting a week’s worth of posting outlined on Monday, and then taking Tuesday to be a day of filling in details. Hopefully that will then reap dividends as the week goes on.

Most significantly of all this should afford more time overall for novel catch-up, editing and further fiction projects going forward.

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The biggest enemy by far in my journey is procrastination: I’m terrible at motivating myself, and a bout of mild depression this week has only made things worse. Sure, I can exercise and run myself out of the blues with treadmill and weight loss as distraction, but this is only going to work if I make the journey attractive to begin with. I think, with the subjects I’ve chosen to cover, I have a lot of potential on offer: what it means tomorrow is a day learning Twitter jargon, researching Warcraft news and getting two planners full of potential subject matter going forward. I’ve gotten into the habit of writing my long-form piece for MMO Games the day before, and if I can do that with one part of my life, the rest of it is eminently doable.

I hope you’ll consider joining me on the next stage of my journey.

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