Slave to the Rhythm

This time next week, I’ll already be on holiday. Before that happens, however, there are some plans being rearranged. There’s also some other things that it would be lovely to start working on. The biggest single problem, undoubtedly, is time. Most carers will tell you that if you’re parent first and writer second, the latter will always take precedent because of the importance of individual responsibility.

Therefore you find time, whenever you can. 

After counselling, my attitude to a lot of things has inevitably altered, process that is still being considered and refined as time goes on. Sometimes it seems amazing that I finished that journey only five and a bit weeks ago: it feels like months, years since that ended. The reorganisation of factors has also presented both benefit and disadvantage. I know what needs to be done however. In that regard, nothing really has altered at all.

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It does feel like a trip into Wonderland, when all is said and done: doing a weekend in Leeds, re-organising my leisure time, having confidence to stand up and be honest about what bothers me. The plan, going forward, was to do a certain set of things in a particular order, but the reality is that there isn’t enough time available to do so. Therefore, the plan has changed.

Vanity projects have become considerably more important.

I don’t want to talk any more about it just yet, not until I’ve been able to work it what it is I want to do and how it happens. However, there’s a lead in now available in mid-September to this next phase of existence, and that’s what I’m going to aim for. After that, it’s all about how well my knowledge will spread to accomplish what then needs to happen.

If this does work, I’ll be really very happy indeed.

Look out any Window

Sometimes, I can be a little jaded. Considering the number of submissions made since January, the amount of work that’s been outputted (and already rejected) it is probably no surprise there’s an element of ‘oh, I wonder what I’ll fail at this week’ in the mindset. Except, when I look closely at what’s been learnt in the first four months of this year, there is a phenomenal amount to be pleased and proud of.

Most of that shift involves improvements in organisation and presentation. Learning how to make things sound more seductive, enthusiastic, being able to plan and block time effectively are undoubted steps in the right direction. Add to this an increased determination not to do anything other than my absolute best work for everything, however small, is altering my outlook with each passing week. 

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There are other, more subtle changes too. Setting sensible time-frames to complete projects, beginning to learn how long things will take are all helpful. Crucially however, it is my problem solving skills which have seen the biggest leap forward since the start of the year. What do you do when a muse just won’t co-operate? How do you make something happen that patently isn’t taking place and you have a deadline looming?

The key, undoubtedly is being ahead of the game.

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Next month, a lot of things will happen differently to accommodate a project I’ve been working on for some time. The planning’s been underway since the end of March, and is now beginning to come to fruition. I’m insanely excited about what’s coming, and hope you’ll consider joining me on the journey as we enter an area of creativity as yet undiscovered. Trust me, it’s going to be awesome.

The Long Kiss Goodbye

Amazingly, we’re seven days into January already, which I have to say feels more like a full month of brain pushed to the literary grindstone. Amazingly, there is break scheduled at the end of this week, as there’s two major submissions on the board. Number one went this morning, after more than the usual portion of existential angst last night… [WARNING: Contains Swearing]

The brief, that’s sat on that wall [points] for two weeks since January calendars were created, was a 3000 word short story. Firstly there’d been flirtation with taking an existing work and refreshing, and that was still the plan on Saturday morning when I arrived in the kitchen for my pre-planning cuppa. Then, summat remarkable happened: a title hit me, followed shortly afterwards by an opening visual, fully formed in my head.

In the end, planning became largely unnecessary.

There will be those of you who will be looking at this with open-mouthed horror: you can’t write anything of note like this! On any other day there would be a definite, distinct agreement: stuff takes time to plot, then to write and finally bed down as complete or polished. This story, quite literally slapped me in the brain and DEMANDED to be written there and then, so that’s what happened. When it comes back having been rejected, then there’s an indicator it can be reworked. Now, the story’s submitted as is, because the whole thing begged me to do just that.

It also didn’t help that Mr Alt (the go-to proof reader and normal barometer of awesome) didn’t like it. Amazingly, it wasn’t because it was poorly put together or presented, it simply did not click with him. What isn’t clear is whether that’s because it needs more work, or whether the plot itself is not up to what he’d consider as a decent standard. Lying awake at 4am this morning, brain still wrestling with the comments, came a significant epiphany: I love this story.

The flow is strong, descriptive imagery complete and believable in my head. The plot is a spin on the ‘alternate histories’ of this here planet that derive such pleasure when explored and exploded as potential reality. Every major player is a woman, except one. Am I being blinded by confirmation bias, or is this indeed the best piece of fictional reality that’s been created in a decade? No, this is really good. I know it, and as a result it’s gone to be judged, and I’ll know it’s fate in a few months, because this stuff takes time.

I have two poems to finish and then edit, and the last pile of scheduling for the week.

Maybe this whole thing really is doable after all…

Stones in the Road

This should have been published on Friday, and although it’s sitting in the blog with that date, I’ll be honest, it was posted on the night of the 11th. I managed a week, with accountability, and then reality crashed the party. Thursday and Friday became a blur. I took a previously-scheduled and much needed Mental Health day to London on Saturday and, waking up this morning, any desire to write had summarily evaporated.

However, all is not lost.

Changing tack at the last minute, when there was a different a plan ready to go, might be partially responsible for the sudden disintegration of purpose, but I know myself much better than that. This is about knowing what is going on, and the hastily-sketched timeline produced on Friday is no longer enough. There needs a space to plan on, some Post Its and some string. Tomorrow, once the domestic issues are addressed, and there’s been some lifting of heavy weights, we will get into Work Mode.

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I’ve never tried to tackle something this technically complex before, which is part of the problem. However, with the organisational skills that are already possessed, it should not be too much of a reach. I’m betting other people struggle with this shit too, or you wouldn’t have people joking with GIFs about it. In fact, if I remember rightly, I’ve seen at least one movie where the author uses all this stuff to sketch out what has to happen in their fictional opus. That happens for real all the time, right?

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So, the next time we talk, there will be a narrative that not only a) can be understood by yours truly but b) allows me to continue the process.

Yes, there will.

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.

Play to Win

One of my jobs on Monday (21st) apart from finally starting the long-overdue Spring Clean of the house is to make a list of the various Poetry and Writing prizes I would like to start aiming for in the months that follow. Twitter has become quite useful as a means of working out where such things exist, and is slowly allowing me to build a plan of attack in relation to what is possible in the time frames available. Right now, there are two poetry prizes and one short story prize that are eminently doable. There have to be more.

Then, it is a case of believing I’m good enough to try.

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There are people around me (in a virtual sense) whose self-belief and inability to be blindsided by their own shortcomings is frankly astounding. I read blogs and posts and tweets from people who seem to believe they are capable of anything, with parts of my brain wondering how this is possible. I’ve become my own worst critic when it comes to ability, and that needs to change, but this only happens by decoupling the fear and doubt from my equation. All this stuff about how you are supposed to sound a certain way, or project a particular persona is all well and good, to a point.

I am proud of my work, but I’m not an idiot.

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There is a list of dates and deadlines, things to do when on holiday as distraction. There’s a Long List of projects to complete, clearing the decks as planning begins for a new route forward. I think I’ve found an alternative to Patreon that will work for me.

Now to start building a framework to support this change.

Believe

On April 14th, the @InternetofWords Twitter feed is a year old. When I started this project, there was the belief writing could be successfully funded long-term, and that would probably have remained the case were it not for the fees issue that made me pull the project in December. Four months on from that, I’m grateful for a chance to sit back from obligation. Without the shift in emphasis, my novel would never have been finished, because a continuous sense of being beholden to patrons would have put that work ahead of personal desire. I still want to find a means to make money long-term that includes the processes that are being developed here, but what matters more right now is evolution.

The creation of my Patreon was done with the best of intentions but ultimately ended up stifling creativity. Part of the issue was not knowing exactly what it was I enjoyed doing, and not having enough of a portfolio of work to back up those assertions. This year, therefore, has become an exercise in building foundations, via the website and on Social media. Slowly but surely a body of work will emerge that reflects this personal journey, development along lines that I am able to dictate and command as an artist. Once that groundwork is in place, it will be time to look again at sustainable funding.

There Was No Glory

By far the biggest success story in all of this has been the development of my poetry, and if all goes well, I intend to crowdfund a project at the end of the year to translate both haiku and micropoetry into book format. Assuming that all goes well, we’ll look at other ways to maintain the momentum. Right now, they are all baby steps, but once we hit the one year Anniversary of the IoW in June? The only way is forwards and upwards.

I look forward to expanding Outlooks and Universes for many years to come.