Waves

It was blustery as fuck, but the skies warmed my heart, even it the wind was enough to take my breath away. Came back with a handful of flotsam, and a river-worn piece of glass I’m tempted to set as a pendant. There’s going to be a lot of time spent here in the months that follow. A plan is already in place, going forward, to make this part of the landscape into a part of my existence.

Video is also locked into the outlook, as of this morning. There needs to be a bit of organising next: everything is still far too nebulous to be healthy. Next up in the ‘General Scheme of Things’ is taking video at the Estuary, but I’ll probably want a tripod and camera for that. Yeah, honestly I require some kind of proper direction and as it’s already Tuesday lunchtime and this is the first blog of the day?

Extract the digit.

Rip It Up

The Patreon’s been running for a month, and I already think it is time to rearrange a few things. One of the biggest issues last time this project was undertaken was not really thinking through what worked (and didn’t) as I went along, which ended up causing me stress in the long term. This is different, however: after a lot of effort, there are copious notes being made. I know what’s possible this time around.

Therefore today, after the scheduled content is prepared for delivery and I’ve thrown some abuse at my video editing programme (again) there will be discussion, with my Patrons, of a new set of ‘stretch’ goals. Going forward, I know already that at least one of my goals is unrealistic, looking at the amount of time it has taken to produce content in the first place.

Time to be sensible and not destroy this new momentum.

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I’ve ended up adding some stuff to the first ‘proper’ PE rather than taking anything away or sticking with a LANzine that felt ‘light’ on content. Every page has a purpose, which was the point of all this in the first place. Whether I can garner any new patrons on the back of it is yet to be seen, but I don’t feel it’s unrealistic to maybe pick up someone new this month as a result. The poof of the pudding, as they say…

That means I really shouldn’t be here at all, but with another hat on, in another virtual department of my burgeoning Digital Empire…

Burn Baby Burn

It’s taken a few days, but normality is restored. It all began with the (now banned, previously cancelled) trip to Prague that should have happened this week but hasn’t. Then, yesterday, listening to two hours of people talking about the ramifications of cancelling all football for four months really pushed home what an extraordinary place we all now find ourselves living in.

That thing when people say ‘I don’t remember it ever being this bad’ is a coping mechanism, I now realise. That’s how disaster operates.Β Humanity draws a line in the sand for itself, past which apocalypse can clearly be seen. As long as that never gets crossed, we all cope and survive and thrive, but once disaster strikes, that same marker is increasingly difficult not only to see but to redraw back in place.

Welcome to what is now undoubtedly an Apocalypse Simulator for the planet.

It took a while yesterday to get my head around everything, but the fact I can now write coherently without internal panic consuming everything’s a real, positive step forward. The last time my own world collapsed, it took months to recover the equilibrium, yet each time since (and there have been a few, let’s be honest) that time scale reduces. It’s almost as if I’ve developed an emotional muscle memory along with my physical ones…

Of course, there is a far larger than average chance that disaster’s a lot closer now than it was a month ago: if that’s the case, reacting fast and sensibly has to be the priority. We have food and essentials now for a few weeks, so if everything did completely stop, nobody would either starve or have a dirty arse. After that, the car’s got a full tank of petrol, we own a working thermometer and have drugs.

Anything else will have to be dealt with on a priority basis.

Two long-form fiction works got pulled out of the files late last night. I suspect both of them are gonna get some love next week, because honestly I need to be able to live in worlds I feel safer in than this one if things get a bit sticky. However, Patreon is now slowly beginning to gain momentum: this is the time to help people get through chaos and uncertainty in positive, entertaining ways.

The more I think about it, launching now might end up as a stroke of genius.

Feeling Good

Everything has changed. You won’t notice it, but I have.

Whilst you wash your hands today, consider chucking me a monthly amount. It doesn’t have to be much: $8’s about the equivalent of a sandwich, crisps and a drink for lunch, or maybe one of those posh coffees and a danish. $15 is a pizza and the sides, $35 a meal out with your mates. I know money’s tight right now, and I’m asking a lot, but a girl has to do SOMETHING in order to get by.

It’s not Twitch or YouTube, I know, but the principle is the same. I PROMISE you’ll get value for money going forward. Plus, you allow me to actually LIVE MY DREAMΒ and seriously, what’s not to like about that? I also solemnly swear that after today, I won’t press you for cash here again. This goes back to being daily whittering about everything and anything, giving you a rest.

For today however, CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION AHOY.

Follow my Patreon at
http://bit.ly/2IFxKzj

Symmetry

Yesterday, I started a project to reboot my online life.Β It could have been quite simple to keep going this year without such massive upheaval, but on reflection this all has to change. I’ve been spinning this line for the last fortnight, but here’s where the hard work really starts. I have a plan, and lots of places that need a redesign. There are new projects too, one of which inspired me to take the plunge to change direction.

There’s a story too, about how I decided to move this way, which would normally be told here. Instead, today, I’m going to tell it on my Patreon, and ask you to go read it there. Except, like the smart woman I am, it will go behind a paywall.Β That’s what’s going to happen from now on with the best articles created, and although some will decry this as another sign of western civilisation’s imminent destruction, it has to be done.

Please consider supporting my Patreon.

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This will, I’m sure, be impossible for a lot of you. The survey responses I’ve had so far tell a damning story: we’d love to support you, but we can’t afford it, and there’s total understanding of this stance. However, I’m also in the position of being unable to support anybody else’s Patreon right now unless I can find cash from somewhere. Something has to give. This is the thing I do best, so it’s time to monetise.

The ‘official’ launch is March 10th, for reasons that makes sense on paper: I’m able then to build up a stack of articles for people to read, plan ahead a bit and iron out what are a number of issues with my page. However, right now, all the stuff is up there and ready to roll. I’m reasonably confident that if you wanted to become a patron today, you could. If you do, it’s the means by which I take the next step in my online evolution.

I am on the way to becoming something that already makes me extremely happy.

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I have over half a century of history as yet unexplored in this new state. There’s a love of ideas and concepts that is re-emerging after decades in darkness. The ability to discuss this, describe it and produce unique, varied content has been a skill set I’ve worked on now for over a decade. This is absolutely the moment for everything to come together in a perfect storm of creativity.

It will happen regardless of how many Patrons I end up with, I suspect, but I’d like to think I could persuade more people to come along for the ride just by sheer force of will, and there are early signs that this might actually be working.Β The only way to ensure that impetus doesn’t get lost is to plan, and be ready for anything. I know the people who won’t listen, have seen them and understand why.

Not everybody is going to like this, and that’s perfectly okay.

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I’m here, talking to the people who do. Entry Level on the Patreon is a fiver (or about $8 for the US people) That’s the equivalent of a decent bottle of wine, a good book or a takeaway. I can guarantee you’ll get more value for money spending that money with me. You might even learn something along the way. Take a chance on me, just this once, and when everything takes off, you can say you were there at the beginning.

The lowest tier also guarantees your name will be remembered for the rest of time as someone who took a chance on me, via a special piece of my website. If you go highest tier, you’ll be forever remembered in the acknowledgements of my first self-published collection later this year. I won’t ever forget the kindness of everyone who supports me at this crucial juncture. Of that you can be utterly assured.

Time to begin a new chapter.Β 

Perpetual Motion

Sorry this is late, I’ve been editing poetry.Β It’s done now. Once husband’s completed the obligatory grammar pass, off it goes to undoubtedly be rejected.Β No matter, it gets published this year, with or without anybody’s official sanction. I know how good it is. I am aware how important it will be as a line in the sand for my long-term literary progression. This is no longer about other people’s validation.

I spent most of yesterday as a result putting down the foundations of a NEW EMPIRE. It is, in essence, a lot like the Old Empire was except a bit better organised. What you get is what is possible, with constraints of time and other responsibilities. There’ll be a lot of questions asked in the next few weeks, and I hope you’ll be good enough to provide some feedback. It really does matter an awful lot.

This is part of the process of moving forward, over time.

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I am ready to do things differently. Lying awake last night, planning the path forward, was absolutely the right thing to do. I’m going to write a letter to a lot of people over the next few weeks in the hope to persuade them to come on board with funding. If that’s possible, then many things will happen as a result. It is going to be a lot of gentle yet determined persistence to get this started, after which? More of the same.

It is obvious money is tight for so many people, and asking for support will be a tough ask. However, if what is made is good enough, there has to be the hope that someone would bung a tenner a month my way. The result of that will be doing my best to foster a helpful and accepting writing community, to support those people who in turn do the same for me, and then just hope that momentum can do the rest.

All there is, I can but hope, moves forward with everyone’s support.

Do Your Thing

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Being your own brand is hard work.

I am only now beginning to grasp the amount of work involved in doing everything I’ve promised to the required standard. Don’t get me wrong, there is no regret involved, but at officially T+1 Month into my writing adventure, it is becoming apparent an awful lot of stuff will need a rethink come August. That’s the problem when you’re working from scratch, with a staff of one. What is achievable becomes almost painfully obvious, and overreaching just leaves you tired and grumpy. This weekend therefore I’ll be calling a Staff Meeting, looking at myself and deciding what is doable going forward and what has to be rearranged. Now I’ve managed to sort out a static front page for the IoW site? Those Graphics are gonna have to go, they look awful.

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Its not just that either: there’s no news in my gaming sphere to support daily posting, and I can lose today’s post (and for the next few Wednesdays) whilst I’m running a poll-based series of interactions via Twitter. That then frees up vital time to write fiction. I imagine this must be how it feels to do logistics for a living, the constant reappraisal of every variable on a daily basis as one shoves the unexpected into the mix whilst trying to deal with a historical backlog of maintenance. What I need to do most of all is drag my arse to the Gym to work out the aches in my legs (which are still complaining) and do some heavy lifting. Once my body’s back to normal, brain will run far more productively and I could do with being physically worn out.

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I am also now mindful of other projects that were put in motion months ago and could soon begin to bear fruit. If they all hit at once (and I know that is entirely possible, and should be planned for accordingly) then I’ll need a new plan. I may have been accused of a lack of spontaneity in the past, but I am getting really good at turning my personal requirement on a sixpence. With that in mind, I’m ready for whatever might get thrown at me. I’m going to go schedule a ton of shit, exercise, upload this week’s essay for a 5pm PST launch, make sure it gets at least three scheduled RTs along the way, and then start again tomorrow. I’d be lost without my planner now and the innate sense that what matters most of all is social media engagement. Without that, I’d have no Patreons to begin with.

This is a tough job, but I am more than up to the task.

New Life

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This week I’ve watched the weight closer than I’d normally do, which before in my mind would have been a tad unhealthy. This time around however it is to see how the strict carbs/sugar regime is affecting my body, and I’m beginning to notice what can only be described as shrinkage. As body sea-saws between the same scale points, body begins to lose fat. Under arms, at the top of my legs, around waist, across the stomach. All of these places where before fat was obvious and often frustrating have reduced in the last week. I don’t normally look at my body at length anyway, but right now the state of arms and shoulders is cause for celebration.

This is what was wanted when I was younger but never knew how to achieve.

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Today is a self-imposed rest day, because yesterday I did 26k steps, which is almost eleven and a half miles. It also doesn’t help that one of three bites I got on Friday’s gone full on zombie apocalypse near my knee joint, with a blister the size of a five pence piece. I’m assuming this is as a result of recovery from surgery and the fact I’m now pretty much dormant in the hormones department: my body loves to overreact at intrusion, but that’s always been the case. The blister’s healthy, no infection as yet and so I think this is a way of entry site saying ‘just take it easy today, ‘kay?’ I’ll do my 250 hourly steps, and probably grab a nap after writing is done to help with healing.

I suspect today will involve minimal physical effort.

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The first week of ‘proper work’ has gone incredibly well. Looking at the planner to my right, apart from Thursday where Twitter drama rearranged the schedule, everything has gone more than totally to plan. Once done here I’ll turn the page and start on next week, which already has a number of things planned (apart from the scheduled work) that I can honestly say I’m quite excited about. Then I have Patreon pledges to complete, the first of which I started on yesterday and will be continued with today.

I decided to test yesterday whether it is possible for me to write ‘in public’ and it was, rather usefully, a very good exercise in concentration. This is the first time that I’ve applied real process to writing in this way, going through several forms in one place so that my ‘thinking’ can also form a physical reward for the $10 Patreons. It is worth at this point stating I’ve managed to pass the $100 pledge mark:

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The next yardstick is $180, which is how much I’d earn a month with the paying gigs I gave up to commit to this. I couldn’t do both, and so in my mind I was going to give myself to the end of this year to make that figure: to have reached over that total in what is effectively less than a month is beyond staggering. It gives be real hope I can achieve everything I want.

Time to start planning for the week.

Paranoid Android

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(I’ve been listening to the Radiohead OKNotOK remaster all week. No Surprises as to what keep cropping up as lyric prompts.)

I lay awake at 5am this morning, as has become something of a habit of late. It’s not bad,Β  looking at the daily sleep cycle: I went to bed at ten because EXHAUSTED and seven and a bit hours has become a ‘normal’ night. However, a return to sleep was possible, safe in the knowledge that everything that needs to be done this month not only is doable, but will be completed. For the first time in many months I think I’m strong enough to produce what is asked everywhere, without collapsing in a massive heap, though there were a few points yesterday where panic physically manifested. They were all dealt with, however, and now comes the nuts and bolts.

The plan going forward is to produce enough quality content in the hope to attract someone to sign for a higher tier of participation, to break the $100 a month threshold. The job I gave up to do this paid approximately $160 a month, so that will be the next metaphorical achievement… and then if I crack $200 I can give up the other part time writing projects still involved in. I’m enough of a realist to grasp this will take time, and a phenomenal amount of effort on my part, but working hard has never been something I’ve had a problem with. As this morning shows, it is dealing with the paranoia that accompanies starting something from the ground up which is a far bigger issue. Today, nothing seems quite good enough.

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Patreon keep sending me emails instructing that content creators should play up positivity and optimism in my work. This is the single biggest thing I struggle with. Knowing work is good enough, that your heart and soul is being poured into every word and post… of course there is a firm belief in everything being produced, or this journey would never have been begun. That’s not the problem: I fucking suck at self promotion. There is nobody else to blow the trumpet except me, and only now is it apparent what a huge place the Internet is and how tiny one feels in comparison. The hope, of course, is that my distinctive approach is niche enough to attract total strangers. When that finally happens, then there will be a belief that yes, there is mileage in this.

Getting people I don’t know to take a chance on me is the next step.

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I have lost count of the number of ‘friends’ who promised earnest support for projects over the years yet conveniently vanished when help was needed the most. In fact, I should thank those individuals for teaching the lesson that, in the end, the only person one can truly rely on is yourself. This next few weeks is about being confident in conviction, and not being swayed by those who just turn up to start a fight: after all, that’s my job anyway. The people who matter most already grasp the significance of this project, and have been kind enough to stand up as support in the vital early months. Everybody else, like it or not, isn’t interested, and if that can be changed? Well, there’s a point to aim for.

Perhaps if I can aim to sway one mind a day, going forward, 365 minds by the end of the year is a massive achievement. Small steps is all I can hope for.

That’s how all good journeys begin.

Time

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My life is coming to a fairly significant crossroads. In just over a month, I commit myself at 50 to becoming my own arbiter, attempting to create a new career as a 21st Century Nonconformist.Β In a World where so many shout their mantras into the ether, which some believe rotates far too closely around circles of electronic Hell: will I be seen as any different to the heretics and fools that embrace diversity, speeding us all towards the World’s end?Β This historical period is as close to chaos as many will remember, but for me I am reminded first of the early 1980’s and before the 1970’s: the Cold War and the Three Day Week are memories I carry a world away from what now passes for normal daily life. If the last few days of dreams are any indicator, my subconscious grasps only too readily that these are turbulent times ahead.

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I have always been considered as a troublemaker: however, I never really wholeheartedly embraced the concept of rebellion until I hit my late twenties. I’ve come to most things later than others, I realise now because of the ability to properly grasp implication behind those actions involved. With the benefit of time, an environment was created which allowed me to both develop and evolve at a pace that suited mind and body, and that was not dictated by circumstance. Only now is it becoming apparent how useful that has become in order to be able to see a larger picture. It is also a daily reminder of just how lucky I am as a white, middle-aged woman to have the opportunity to begin with.

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If I went to the Bank on June 1st and asked for a loan to become a full-time digital writer, they’d laugh at me. I could submit articles to a hundred online sites and be rejected for every single one. This is a profession that is so subjective as for it to be impossible to quantify what matters on any given day: the way in which we devour, create and even transmit our communications alters sometimes on a daily basis. My online newspaper of choice doesn’t simply provide written commentary any more, there are short video ‘articles’ peppered amongst the headlines. If you want a novel to be a success, having robots recognise your website is as important as a set of good reviews. My ability to communicate in 140 character bursts is as important as long form mastery, and textspeak. It isn’t about being ‘down with the kids’ and more either, there are languages for every part of the Web. If you don’t know your Deplorables from the Untouchables? You won’t last long in the Digital Wild West.

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What I bring to the table in this Digital relationship is time: not only have I been here since inception, but I’ve grown with trends and diversification. I am very much anti Facebook and pro Twitter, but it doesn’t mean I don’t grasp the commercial implications of both. I may avoid SnapChat because of the filters and vanity, but it doesn’t take an idiot to grasp how significant the platform is for a generation of users, for whom instant information is key. Learning how to be a better person might seem a waste of time in a place where nobody needs to know who you are, but when you’re willingly giving away personal details to anyone with a contact form? Consequences will matter. In fact, there will be a generation of Internet users for which the repercussions of digital immersion will only truly become apparent if we can survive the next forty years without the Planet disintegrating around us, mostly because lots of people failed to pay attention to Science when it mattered. Of all of this, in the digital world around us, a grasp of Biology, Physics, Chemistry and every sub-branch in between is more important now than it has ever been.

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I’d love to say that telling stories is the real reason I want to be a writer, and although that is true, I’ve realised in the last few years it isn’t all that now matters. I can still spin fictions in the manner I choose, but not at the expense of ignoring bigger stories. The Internet of Words is my way to do many things at once: fulfil my dreams, yes, but also expand the potential of others, because without learning to better communicate as a planet, we are all doomed to failure. It cannot just be any more that you work towards your own ends, making individual success matter. Without everybody being able to win, frankly, there’s not much left to live for. If you think the future is living in your own, safe and consequence free bubble, I suspect there’s some major shocks coming very soon indeed. One of the races in my favourite computer games have a phrase: ‘Time is money, friend’ and this morning I realised that’s more true on an intellectual level than I’d ever previously grasped. The time I have lived is indeed worth something, what I have left to use so precious that not a moment should be wasted.

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I’m now sitting on a lovely pile of CoPromote reach and on Monday I’ve decided to use the IoW site to officially launch my concept to a bunch of total strangers. I have no idea how this will go down and frankly, I’m not that worried if the interest is minimal. What matters most is having the confidence to stand and fall on an idea, and nothing else. Bringing unique perspective is what I’ve always done best, and I’ve ever been afraid of being unpopular as a result. After all, as I never grow tired of reminding anyone who’ll listen, the reason why you fail is to learn how to succeed. Once you know what not to do, the options become less complex to grasp.

Then all you need is courage to take that first step.