Magnificent (She Says)

I have finished my impromptu project: I need to talk about why it needed to be written now.

You see, NOW is when I do my best work. It’s not perfect, by any means, but it is beginning to become apparent that if I want to have an immediacy and vitality to what is being produced, miring myself down in self-doubt is what is ruining a lot of current output. It stops sounding like me, because There’s this obsession that to be successful, I ought to sound like other people. Confidence is the biggest single issue here, to be able to produce quality amongst quantity.

I’m also not the kind of person who can wander around for months and just wait for the right things to emerge. Patience isn’t an obstacle to progress either: this has become like learning to be a better cyclist or a more competent weightlifter. A daily practice is required, constant testing of spaces around me to see if they are more or less capable of supporting progression. I’ve spent a quite painful couple of months mired in emotion. This collection marks the transition from that space, into a new one.

There’s still a bit of emotional baggage to drop, it must be said, but without doubt there is more optimism for this group of poems than has ever existed before. To capitalise on that means a focussed effort towards change, growth and expansion. It also demanded a rearrangement of my priorities without the world collapsing as a result, and (mostly) that has taken place. I’m a bit behind, but nowhere near as far behind as when this last happened.

Everything is slowly becoming clear. That’s the end result in all of this: having a sense of evolution in a manner that allows further writing to develop without the need for everything to fracture. I’ll be editing this at leisure, and then we’ll send it to the place that inspired its creation.

This is a VERY good day as a result.

Free as a Bird

On my day (which let’s face it is most of them) I am a world class procrastinator. The problem with this, looking at the calendar, is that we’re already three months into 2019 and this bid for World domination is not going to move itself. So, how do you push past failure and remain focused?

The top of those two monthly planners (intentionally blurred so you don’t get to see what I’m working on) has a very clear set of outlines. Next week, without fail, I was gonna push out some poetry (despite telling myself I was done for a bit, which was clearly a lie.) Except this morning, whilst desperately looking for a way to avoid having to tidy up, brain informed the Poetry Department it had a couple of rather useful lead-ins to the work that needs to be done. An hour later, I’ve written two out of four of my initial submission plan.

What occurred to me as I was hoovering up the floor avoided an hour previously was the rearrangement of mental priorities which is freeing up more creativity. What used to be the case is that there’d be no real grasp of what needed to happen when: this would lead to a ton of last minute panics, with work being rushed. If there’d been sufficient planning, more effort could have been put in at the outset. Having used wall planners now for about six months, it’s a far more effective means of getting deadlines to stick, and not panicking over outcomes.

The visual is a really big deal, which should have been more obvious than it was. There’s a third planner up on the wall, a 12 month one, on which deadlines are slowly being filled.It allows my brain the space to grasp what there is to do, what’s coming and where everything fits together. It also, crucially, allows me to plan for surprises. That’s what, if I can do something well before a deadline, it is far more sensible than leaving everything until a week before when inevitably, there’s more pressure.

It transpires that this is how I work best.

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Of course, none of this wins me anything, but that’s perfectly fine. The satisfaction I now feel in being able to manage and feel comfortable in my own skin, to recover from disappointment to get back into the process of writing is worth considerably more to mental well-being long-term. In that regard, this is far more significant a win than anything else that’s likely to happen for a while.

Finally, there’s a freedom just to be that didn’t exist before.

The Test

This year is important for me, not just for getting work out into the world. It is high time an attempt was made to expand the remit beyond words, beginning to explain more about myself. I’m not just a writer, after all, but an advocate for better mental health awareness. I enjoy playing computer games, and love music. All of these things are intrinsically part of my being. You don’t  just separate one thing from another.


Therefore, starting with Time to Talk Day on February 7th (a day before my Poetry Society gig ARGH NOT READY) there’s gonna be a bit of time and effort placed in how music makes my mental health issues more manageable, and some sharing by the medium of Spotify (see above) of the pieces that matter most to me. This generic playlist’s the starting point, but in the time leading up to February 7th I’ll have a ton more pieces to share.

It’s part of a commitment to share, and by doing so (hopefully) help others feel more confident to ask for help.

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The second leap in the dark today is a little more esoteric: a mutual on my Social medias is hosting this conference in April, and I feel there’s stuff I could contribute. It’s a step forward from the Poetry Society ‘gig’ and is a bit public speaking, a bit graphical nous and an awful lot of confidence. It has been good for me just to enter a submission, so if rejected the good work is already done. There’s a part of me that wants to do the entire eight minute presentation in verse. 

If we are lucky enough to get considered, I’ll bring it up in conversation 😀

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This is all part of the recovery process, back from lowest point to a series of high points. Life is, after all, the sum total of experiences and for me, that means trying to do things differently.

Today has definitely moved that plan further forward.

Welcome to the Cheap Seats

Those of you paying attention will notice that the website looks a bit different to the way it did on Wednesday. I’m quite pleased not only with the layout, but that it also allows room for expansion and addition going forward. Now, it is time to fill it with suitable content.

The Posts

#Blogmas is planned and (as I’ll be out tomorrow at the first of two Christmas dinners in the next two weeks) the first post will appear by the wonder of scheduling sometime tomorrow (probably about 5-ish as that’s a good time to maximise traffic.) All the other bits of my December plan are well into production, which includes a vital couple of hours editing a novel so it is complete and to my satisfaction.

I can do this all leading up to Christmas, right?

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A large majority of content can be knocked off beforehand, which means Sunday will be a bit hectic, but it will be worthwhile for the free time that will then be produced. After that? Just gotta remember to sleep and not scoff all my Advent Calendar Chocolates at once, that’s eminently doable. There’s even the possibility of some unscheduled poetry seeing the light of day: there’s a couple of pieces from rejected submissions earlier in the year that can be spruced up and shoved out again for a second try…

From Me To You 2018

Oh, and that reminds me, I have one more placeholder to stick on Twitter before I start writing my personal blog… the first dozen haiku are written. Now it is time to pick the backgrounds and get started with artwork…

Vogue

Arguto is an Italian word, which roughly translates as sharp, witty or clever. I’ve chosen it as the title for a fanzine because I’m not comfortable borrowing or punning a title of anything else or trying to pretend this whole project is something it isn’t. The initial idea has been kickstarted by the fact that this year, after several decades of wanting to travel to Italy, I’m going to finally make it there. The birthplace of the Rennaisance in Europe has generated the same change within me.

This is the moment to create something truly special.

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Arguto will combine my love of photography, writing, music and fiction in one place. It will be a Fanzine portal for a number of photography projects, plus other audio-visual gubbins. It has all the backend organised (although Google’s being a bit problematic, no change there) and will begin to propagate next month. I’m not saying anything else right now, but it is me attempting to evolve.

If you’re interested at this early stage, bookmark arguto.net and follow @ArgutoFanzine.

Sunrise

In six hours I’ll take the last of my new course of drugs and (everything crossed) that will be it, the chest infection that poleaxed me will be gone. In fairness, it wasn’t that which caused the majority of the issues over the last few weeks, but details are largely tenuous. Normally I’d be dissecting the consequences of all this somewhere, but frankly, it’s a pointless exercise. There are far more important things to be doing with my time.

I’ve taken some time to think about what happens as a result of all this, and am really excited about the possibilities on the table. For now, however, I’ll spend the next three days getting everything back up to date and then we’ll carry on with April’s content.

You can expect more pictures going forward, that’s for damn sure.

Tell it How It Is

This month’s theme is well underway, but I’m hoping to add to the output with the addition of some additional items. This will (hopefully) demonstrate I’ve organised my time effectively enough to be able to write extra content. As we’re in the month of love?

Time for some long-overdue erotic fiction.

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The first of the two short stories were inspired by the current UK renaissance of the Women’s Institute: to give you any more details will spoil the plot, but the visual clue should be enough (hopefully) to pique the interest. It’s also based on a favourite piece of Black Lace erotic fiction, which I’ll see if I can pull out and link to once the piece goes live.

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The second piece concerns a much overdue Italian holiday for a recently aggrieved and divorced middle aged woman. It is a story of awakening but at a cost. Again inspired by a Black Lace short story, it’s my attempt to examine the stigma of body confidence, and how belief in yourself is far more significant than anybody else’s desires or affirmations.


I’m hoping to have the first of these two available to read on Valentine’s Day, with the second on the 28th… so, until then…

Unputdownable

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Having taken a week off to undergo important surgery, I’m back today to start the countdown to the Internet of Words ‘going public.’ It is genuinely exciting looking at the journey ahead, and in the next week we’ll be giving more details on the tiers and rewards available via Patreon, what extras you can expect to be rewarded with for participating, and how to prepare for the following months of discussion and content.

For now, here’s a quick reminder that content has already begun on the @InternetOfWords Twitter account (which includes a Haiku every day at 7am and Micropoetry at 5pm BST) which will extend this week to include suggested videos and ‘extra content’ around our first Book of the Month choice, ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger. If you’d like to read more about how the project will work, please see this blog post for the outline and further details.

This week will also see dedicated pages for the IoW ‘portal’ and the current Blogging 4 Noobs project be established and taken up to date. There should be no interruptions to current site operation, but if (for any reason) the site needs to go down, we’ll give you plenty of advanced warning. For now, sit back and get comfortable, as the structure of the project is effectively constructed around you.

GSME SPECIAL :: Who are You?

This week, I was blocked by an Influencer for the first time. I know they’re important because they have a six figure twitter account (though not verified, which is a useful indicator to whether a particular @ ‘handle’ is considered by Twitter to be legitimate.) They followed me on the back of last week’s Blog post, so it is understandable they consider my work important. I’ll not be taking my tongue out of my cheek for this whole post, so we’re clear, because I’ve learnt the lesson that often the last thing other people want to you to tell them on a public forum is that you’ve seen through their blag. Oh, and for those of you who don’t know what this means?

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So, to the tweet that started this all:

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I saw this and was genuinely interested. That is the thing to make clear from the outset: I didn’t decide ‘oh let’s see if this person’s being genuine or not’ I assumed because of their reach and their output (more on this in a moment) that this was someone who was selling a service. As an artist (after a fashion) I thought it would be great to check this link out and when I clicked through to the URL?

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Nothing. Zip. NADA. Most people would have probably left it at that but I was curious: eleven favourites (but nine at the time I noticed) two retweets and nobody bothered to check the link? I found this a little concerning, and so I tweeted the owner of the account directly:

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The first thing that rang alarm bells on the last tweet was the timestamp: this person was supposed to be in the same time zone as me, but obviously wasn’t. The second thing that rattled the writer in me was how capital letters completely vanished from the second tweet but were very obvious in the first: however, if it’s 6.30 am for that person, maybe they needed more caffeine. However, I’d not get another chance to engage them because after this polite and informative exchange? They immediately blocked me. That’s when I logged into my second Twitter account, took these screenshots and started digging.

My six figure Influencer spends an inordinate time posting complete and utter crap, it must be said: proverbs with lifted internet pictures, silly news stories, plus stuff that might actually be useful but could also turn out to be a lie. Effectively, a user with hundreds of thousands of followers is filling Twitter with noise. The sad thing is, of course, is that your feed and mine relies on accounts such as these for an important and often vital component of daily life: the inspirational quote account, the personal wellness account, or cats/dogs/chickens/animal of choice daily spamathon. Unless you can prove the person behind the picture is who they say they are however, how are you ever to trust their validity?

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Remember how there’s that one person you know who keeps warning you that the world is being taken over by robots and you think they’re just over-reacting? They’re not. Right now robot accounts form an unspecified percentage of a lot of Social media: posting those cheesy How To Life Hacks and telling you how to lose body fat with a neat trick is all part of a massive algorithmic network that knows what you buy on Amazon and can find you hot singles in your area. All of this following and favouring and even sharing of data is less and less about how hard you work and more about how much you’ll stump up a month to get the reach for. I’m staring at an offer right now that guarantees me 500,000 people who MIGHT read my blogs for the low low price of $19.99 a month, and it is easy to see how attractive that could be.

The other thing that’s scary, of course, is that nobody will talk about it, because it’s the Wild West out here right now with everybody and Mad Grandma Josephine on the take. In these situations, integrity becomes a useful beacon in a storm of often intentional deception. The streamer you’re watching with 100k followers is likely to have a higher proportion than most who are real people, but they too will be towing robots along for the ride, like it or not. Working out who is real is often as simple as spending five minutes reading their profile before you press ‘Follow.’ Today’s take away from this is simple: don’t assume everybody is real on the Internet any more. Do your homework. If you think something is wrong? It probably is.

Most importantly, never be afraid to question anything you see.

The Visitors

Ignore the video, take the song 😀


We’re already into February, and I realise I need a Social Media Policy.
I’ve picked up quite a few people via that there Twitter thing in January, and they fall into two distinct categories. There are those people I assume read The Other Blog and turn up with an actual, genuine interest in what I’m doing… and then there’s everybody else. This includes people wanting to build their follower numbers by following me and the rest of Twitter to see who bites and sticks them back on their list. There’s the You Tubers and Twitchers desperate for followers that they’ll promise you just about ANYTHING to get you added to their total. Except I see through all you ‘personalities’ who are fuelled by algorithms. I will seek you out and remove you. I look for real people curating Feeds, and they are surprisingly easy to find. If I think *at any point* you’re employing Robots to do your dirty work, away you will go.
That means, Rule 1 of the New Policy is simple:  Make me WANT to Follow you.

Often I will follow people for apparently no discernible reason. This is because I did some homework, and the person has given me enough of an online paper trail to justify my initial investigation work as being worthwhile. So, if you follow me and I like the look of what I see, then I’ll open the door for communication, however if nothing comes from this I will walk away quietly (normally when nobody is looking.) I keep quite a tight rein on the stuff that goes in and out of my Feed, mostly because I actively use the format as a writing tool. This has surprised a few people in the past, and I’m now a lot more careful as to what I use in terms of direct interaction with others (via Tweets or quotes.) So, if you have a conversation with me over the medium, and then the same subject turns up in a Blog Post, don’t be surprised, mkay?
Which leads onto Rule 2: My Feed, My Rules.

Says it all.
Wil has it covered, mostly. If you’re gonna turn up and start throwing shade knowing you’ll piss me off, out you go. If you think it’s cool to try and get a rise out of me on summat controversial, you’re having your ass handed to you on the way out to boot. I know how hard and cruel the Internet is, I see it every bloody day, and frankly if you think you’ll get anything out of me to fuel your fire, you are very much mistaken. On the flip side, I’m getting used to offending people with my style. There are clearly those who would like to think reality isn’t their issue and when I wade into situations throwing Real World chaos everywhere, they just get nervous and run away. That’s cool too, I get that. This is both sides of the same coin, after all. I personally don’t see the point most days in pretending that Reality happens to other people. This IS the Future, girls and boys. Like it or loathe it, you will very soon be hard pressed to even pretend to ignore it.

That then finally brings us to Rule 3: I’m not here for the Numbers.

A SEXY CURVE


I’m not here for exponential growth. I may occasionally joke when I hit a 100, or comment on a 1000, but only because I am continually amazed that I watched ever person come in and leave. I don’t ‘do’ this Social Network the ‘right’ way, that much becomes more apparent every day I write. I don’t have a deal with this, and actually as time goes on it becomes progressively easier for me to get a handle on bigger pictures I simply couldn’t grasp before I started dealing with data the way I now do. Twitter is an educational tool, a learning curve all of it’s own, and a peculiar marker for early 21st Century Life. Most importantly for me, it means the people who I really care and love are closer, even if they live thousands of miles away. That apology this morning via DM? MADE MY DAY, it did.

If you want to come play this game with me, there’s only three rules to remember. Any more, and I’d get confused.