Enjoy the Silence

It is a VERY long time since something consumed me with this voracity. It doesn’t matter either how good (or bad) it is because the story is what matters, above everything else, and we are coming to the end. Now I’m technically done, I’m gonna convert this to a PDF and send it to my tablet, read it over the weekend and work out where stuff needs to be added.

A lot has gone down this week, most of it good. I made a decision last night that, if it works, will finally get me to the place I want to be physically after quite a fair bit of hard work, and a couple of work-related changes have also given pause for considerable reflection. Once I’ve done this I’m going to go and delist a video; a second one will get done tomorrow and not today.

We’ll be back to a semi-normal schedule once NaNo is done.

Telegraph Road

NaNo continues to write itself. I also have absolutely zero desire to do anything related to submission at all, right now. This won’t last but really, truthfully, we are not out of the woods yet, and there is a lot that could go horribly wrong by the end of the year. Eyes on the prize, people, which is not winning, but changing everything so it is better. Winning is a construct, never forget this.

Mostly I am here, healing. That’s what I’m doing. Moving onwards, forwards, with purpose and determination. Words must be written.

Bombs Away

The story is making me very, VERY happy, almost ridiculously so. I’ve spent a long time trying to take this seriously, and maybe that’s part of the problem. Now, I’m just having fun, and it is GLORIOUS.

Also, I’m already at my day three total. Don’t say anything, I don’t want other people to feel dispirited. This isn’t a contest, it’s a fun diversion. It’s a way to forget the shitty stuff in the real world. Most importantly, it is the means by which I can just unplug my brain.

Blues Walk

I no longer have an office chair. I’m typing this whilst sitting on a yoga ball. Over the years I’ve trued various things in an attempt to deal with a back problem that stems from my first pregnancy, and a hastily-applied epidural before an Emergency C-Section. The ball, amazingly, is turning out to be not just a revelation, but the writing accessory that keeps on giving.

Of course, this isn’t going to be for everybody. However, the benefits to posture and general productivity since I blew it up 72 hours ago are significant. Most importantly of all is not the times I’m sitting and using it. I used to idle hugely in my chair, sometimes for hours without making any progress. If this keeps encouraging me to move, and it is, that’s the biggest gift of all.

Slouching is constantly being corrected, and I am here for this.

There is a lot to do, stuff to reply to, and things to write and archive. This is, all told, how I’ve wanted life to be for some time. Everything is largely under my own auspice, with me making the important decisions. All that really needs to happen now is a better form of income, and then I know I’m getting somewhere. We’re working on that today too.

Expect something to purchase from me by the end of the year.

Back and Forth

You’ll no doubt remember the mini mental issue that happened at the end of May/start of June around some poetry. I got the rejection letter yesterday, but it wasn’t like previous ones. Over 500 manuscripts. I made it into shortlisting, roughly 10% of that total. I made it to shortlisting. I understand why people shove that in Twitter bios: you’re close. What I don’t grasp is those who don’t then capitalise on the knowledge.

Once I’m done here I’ll be splitting up that body of work into three pieces. All of them will go off to different places. I’m going to reorganise another collection instead of something half-written for summat in August. This failure has inspired me to greatness, and if all this fails again we’ll just pick ourselves up and start again. An important transition has been completed.

That’s all there is to it, I suppose. There is nothing else to do now than get on with it.

Time to do the work.

Cough, Cough

It is becoming apparent I can still be who I was at the start of 2020. There was some thought given to the idea the ‘old’ me would need to be retired for good, because it was becoming impossible to be heard. Then, yesterday, an important online epiphany took place. This was never about me. That’s the point to so many things that only just registered.

When I am truly honest and authentic, people listen. However, when I enter other people’s conversations and suggest a contrary opinion to the one they are expounding, dynamics changes. A conversation yesterday in which I did this was, on reflection, created as a speech and absolutely did not invite disagreement.

This happens a lot when I challenge people in a certain age group. It happens even more when men are involved. ‘This is my statement of why X is wrong and you will not argue’ has become a stance on Twitter that I never get tired of picking to pieces. It’s the people who expect to be heard, respected and never challenged because they are in charge.

We all know someone like this in our timelines.

I am really enjoying rocking up into other people’s conversations at present. If it’s on Twitter, it’s a public forum, and I am absolutely allowed to be involved. Unsurprisingly, this often does not go down well. I have a job to do however, and it is high time I got on with it without the constant concern that I am somehow not worthy or qualified enough to do so.

This is my aesthetic going forward, and I love it.

Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Once upon a time, I was horrendously inflexible as a writer. The ideas would supersede everything, including good sense, and in those days a great deal of spontaneity and honestly was lost. However, in the last few years, relaxing away from the rigid forms that a past would often forcefully impose as being right has begun to bear quite fragrant and juicy fruits.

Someone I respect a great deal has also pointed out in the last week that I can commit myself to too much too quickly, and often end up spreading myself quite thin, a sentiment that was echoed by my family after the poetry meltdown in late June. As a result of all of these disparate factors, this week has steered me into a new form of discipline.

Welcome to a game plan that understands that less is more.

The format for the Patreon, which was started without really knowing where I was heading, only that I needed to be online and offering content during Lockdown, has now established itself. A poem a week, a piece of long form fiction and some flash fiction. A LANzine and two newsletters per month. All of this can (and is being) organized far enough in advance to not overwhelm.

There are extra bits, which will sit in the IoW Website, but can easily be slipped into the schedule. It also keeps space free for other ventures: everything placed in a sensible, thoughtful manner. Some stuff won’t happen, and quietly other things will be removed from view, making this whole journey as stress free as possible.

I’m really happy with the way things are working out.

Today I have two grown up Zoom meetings: both will be significant steps forward in real life attempts to become a creative. I hope one day to pick up Patrons from outside the Internet I consider my home, and to do that the content will not be enough. There has to be more depth and breadth to my output. Patreon, like it or not, is only a smaller part of a larger whole.

Being my own boss however is the best feeling in the World.

Yesterday’s Men

I was rejected yesterday, twice. Normally, this would have been the cause of much angst and hand-wringing: now there’s simply not enough time to stress about it. I’ve got fingers in so many places that being told I’m not good enough for awards/prizes I could have told you is true is far less of an issue than it ever was previously. I’m never gonna have a fair swing at at least one of these things until there’s a far bigger CV to waft, for starters.

Realism’s a great leveller, when you’re on the right side of it. By that, I mean you can get upset when work is rejected, of course you can, but knowing what you’re currently producing is not consistently good enough to stand beside your peers… Looking back on one group of poems, written back in August, it really is a bit of a wake-up call. So much has changed, for the better, in just over six months.

That thing about practice? It’s so utterly, honestly truthful.

thisisgood

There’s therefore six poems, sitting to my left, asking to be repurposed elsewhere. I have a whole pile of early poetry to print out this morning, all of which is going to get reworked in April. There’s a lot to be said for having a well-organised collection, and with one of the two days this week I get to work in the Arts Collective in Southend, I will be systematically trawling through my stuff to see what can be recycled going forward.

The other day is the first proper re-write of a series of poems that are incredibly dear to my heart, and which will form the basis of my first self-published work this year. I’ve already scoped out a path with which to produce these, now it’s about getting the work to a stage that I’m happy with. They will be sold in association with Patreon, via the medium of Gumroad. 

I’m already looking forward to the process.

reading-icarly

After that, there’s the redesign to work on, of which more shortly on the writing blog. For now, however, I have two days in Leeds to look forward to, a number of new and interesting places to go take photographs in, and a kids’ 15th Birthday to plan for. It’s all go here, and I’m having to do it all whilst struggling to be able to type properly. All that exercise yesterday has made me ache, rather a lot…

I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Symmetry

Yesterday, I started a project to reboot my online life. 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. 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.

thatsbait

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.

spaceman

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. 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.

skateboarding

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. 

And So It Goes

This is a funny game I’ve played, for a couple of years. Willingly, money I can’t really afford to give is handed over to people in the vain hope someone will like my work enough to publish it. Only by being published does one have any hope of being noticed, and it is virtually impossible to self-publish without cash, which I’d have more of if I wasn’t entering all these contests.

Then, the ultimate irony comes along. A poem I wrote for myself, part of a selection that was meant to help me improve as a writer, gets picked to be published in an anthology. No cash needs to change hands, they even pay me. Who is the more foolish, I wonder to myself this morning as months of hard work finally vanish into the ether, the writer or the writer not writing for themself?

Except this work breaks the mould, for so many reasons.

partyhardreindeer

This one IS mine, and when it fails (as it undoubtedly will) I will publish it myself. Then I will sell it myself, and nobody else will make money apart from me, because there is only so much artistic stupidity I am prepared to accept in the name of progress. So what if other people consider the pinnacle of success is to be published by this or that company… I’m not here to fulfill someone else’s notion of achievement.

I’m here to be happy.