Come Home Billy Bird

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Last night I pulled out a half-finished NaNoWriMo idea from a while ago and read it though, just to reassure myself that writing skills have improved sufficiently for me to have a decent chance of finishing this year’s work. As it transpires, the thing’s pretty good in terms of plotting and direction, just weighed down by a sense of misguided self-importance.

That can easily be fixed as things go along.

The same goes for my poetry project: current focus is not about producing work that fits somebody else’s criteria. They either like my voice, or they don’t, simple as that. The last few months of 2019 are not about me stressing over whether ideas or outlook fits somebody else’s agenda. I am here to rediscover the fun that exists within the process of writing.

It’s going pretty well thus far.

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No really, actual work is getting done. It’ll be talked about more on the writing blog, because that’s what the thing is there for. For now however, this is a really good place mentally for me, considering how bad a spot we were potentially heading for last week. It is possible to alter outlook. You just have to want the outcome enough. In this case, there’s a real desire to change a lot of my life for good.

Let’s see what can be reinvented with what is available, shall we?

Material Girl

This PC is many MANY years old and finally I have realised it needs replacing. As my ethical standpoint has issue with buying such things new, I’ve got a reconditioned, older machine waiting for the weekend so that things can be swapped over with the minimum of fuss. It means watching videos on my machine will become viable again, which I miss greatly. A tablet is fine, but bigger screen = WIN.

Whilst we’re waiting for the weekend to turn up, a lot of stuff seems to be causing outrage of late. Gaming companies, police forces, football crowds, awards for books… all of these have caused Outrage Culture to enter my timeline. Once it would have been easy to be Outraged, because there was a right answer and a wrong answer and never the twain would meet.

Life these days however is not so simple.

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It’s never been simple, of course, and seeing the world in grey-scale is, apart from being aesthetically far more pleasing, simplest means by which everything is rationalised. However, in the last few days, something important has altered in my brain. In it’s simplest form, the process works like this:

  1. Read contentious opinion on Twitter
  2. Allow myself to knee-jerk a reaction IN PRIVATE
  3. After doing so, DO SOMETHING ELSE not related to thing that was totally engrossing my mind at Step 2
  4. Completely forget about the contentious thing whilst doing summat I enjoy/gain personal satisfaction from or is useful for someone else’s benefit AND STOP THINKING ABOUT STEP TWO COMPLETELY
  5. Return to Twitter where contention continues, apparently unabated
  6. Give a reasonable opinion based on having had time to allow personal contention a chance to dissipate

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What’s changed since last week? Step 4 didn’t exist. I knew I was getting sad last week, that pressure from the last couple of months was not being properly dealt with. The answer normally would be to throw myself into some pettiness online, or get obsessed with the current Outrage du Jour but not any more. I’m done with allowing others the opportunity to sour my mood. This girl finally got a clue, has other was to fill her days.

It will also provide some important content for my writing blog, which is really what matters more going forward. Before that however I have to work out how to get my D Drive out of this machine and into the new one, whilst ensuring nothing important is lost during transit. I know there are tools for this, but that process always concerns me slightly until everything is working smoothly again…

I’ll appeal for luck when the time comes.

Singularity

Okay October, there is a plan now. I’ll sort calendars tomorrow, as dates are coming together. In the depths of what has been the hardest couple of weeks for probably a fair few years, words have emerged to save me. Odd how that works, but starting a new project today has shifted the intellectual blockage that’s been plaguing me since August. There is a path to follow out and then forward.

Two years ago I did 31 Haiku for October. This year, I’ve released myself from that rigid framework to embrace micropoetry. I’ve no idea how it’s gonna go, to be honest, but it is something to help me ease back into the process of working with words. There’s a lot that needs to be learnt and worked on too, that’ll be talked about at length on the Blog. For now, lots of lessons have been learnt.

I’m entering a new place for written work.

Broken Dreams

I have misread a vital submission guideline. I am 1000 words too long on a short story, and the world’s worst editor. I would like to crawl into a hole and die right now, but amazingly brain is not letting me do so. Instead, thought is being given to making this work. If there were ever proof needed that life has changed between January and now, this is probably it. No, you can’t give up. Find a way to make it work.

However, some stuff has been done right today. There was a ton of good shit in the Gym. I have loads of ideas for October. It’s certainly not world-ending if nothing goes out but it should not be a huge ask to trim 4000 to 3000 words: the question is whether that improves the story or not. In this case, honestly, cutting out some flab is not going to harm the narrative that much.

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Mostly I am annoyed with myself. Let’s be honest here, it’s a dumb thing to do. 

Be less dumb in the future, doofus.

Immigrant Song

Day 1 Proper of the Summer Break [TM] because we’re not counting the two and a bit days last week, for lots of reasons. I have a lot that needs fixing, not simply because it is August on Thursday. Nothing ever gets really better without some pain and real effort. I grasp this, always have, yet never really bring the business to the table: maybe now it is time to once and for all fix my shit.

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In a very particular order, here’s what is going to happen:

No Weigh Ins, Lots of Effort

I won’t weigh myself again until September 2nd. This isn’t so I can eat and not stress, it’s meant as a conscious decoupling from the scales and the way my life seems to constantly end up revolving around them. I am aware of what needs to be eaten more of, and what ought to happen less. There’s not been a real effort in that department since the start of the year. Time to finally make a change.

There’s a lot of body image stigma that needs addressing this Summer.

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A Realistic Workload

Last year, I tried to do everything, and wasn’t successful with most of it. There’s enough intelligence to realise that a lot of that was my fault, and that I really wasn’t mature enough as a writer with technical skill. That’s changed now: there’s a lot of good in my ability, as the last month has adequately proven. That means that picking and choosing what gets done becomes a priority going forward.

Therefore this week, as well as planning for August, I’ll be working out what is realistically possible with the portfolio of work that’s currently on the hard drive. Some only need a polish, others probably a re-write from scratch. It’ll take a while, but the effort will be worth it. Plus, today it’ll be time to get back to novel-ing. There are at least five days this week with potential for work to be done.

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Learning to Relax

As specified at the weekend, there’s a real deficiency here. I’ve got the Pokemons on the phone sorted, some cats on my tablet, and a to watch list longer than the Amazon (river not retail outlet) to watch. It can’t be impossible to do all this and still say sane, right? Course it isn’t, just gotta realise that there’s a balance in everything to be found and then maintained.

If I’m going to learn ANYTHING about myself in the next six weeks, this is the bullet point that matters most, which is why it’s last in the post.

Time to do the work.

Rubber Bullets

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School is out on Wednesday. I’ve got a date with Daniel Craig on Thursday. This is gonna be a busy week, but most importantly of all there’s a novel to write. It’s utterly blasé, saying that in Paragraph One, knowing full well exactly how much work there is involved in this project. Except that’s not how any of this works any more. Many, many things have changed since the start of the year.

My plan is to have a first draft complete by the end of August.

I see you people, laughing over there, except you don’t know me well, do you? This is the most determined and ready mind and body have ever been in this situation. That timescale is utterly doable. In fact, it’s already begun. It helps that bones of idea already exist, meat is already quite easy to place. What isn’t as clear yet is what form this work will finally take but I know my idea’s already golden.

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That alone makes this whole thing worth pushing for.

There also exists a number of notional deadlines for other work in the next couple of weeks. They will act as my distraction and breaks between the novel. An hour was required on Sunday matching WIP’s to potential awards and contests. Then I had to sort laundry for at least the majority of the evening as distraction. Sometimes, you don’t get to choose the form of your penance, it just has to be served. That’s totally fine with me.

This is where it all begins to work together.

3am Eternal

I’ve left the chair on the landing so when I go buy the replacement battery shortly my tired arse does not have to drag it up and downstairs twice. THAT’S thinking ahead, kids.

Today, I’m done with my poetry project. It was gonna be yesterday, but I have some corrupted photos that need retaking and then BOOM I’m finished. I’m gonna miss the deadline for the short story contest I started writing for in March because, sometimes, you can’t do everything and it is foolish to try. What have we learnt from all this? Everything happens for a reason. Learn from every single one of them.

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This is not about the prolific output, but knowing what matters most and focusing on that. I’ve got more third party exposure in the last month on my own work than has ever happened at ANY point previously. That’s how this works. You do the miles, and you get stronger. It isn’t just via exercise. It happens everywhere. Success is measured by others in vastly different ways to your systems for notional achievement.

Remember this going forward.

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Whatever happens, here is the best period of output since this journey began.