Daydreaming

So, yesterday. Let’s talk about that for a minute.

I wrote a blog yesterday for the Other Place which was, it has to be said, a bit of a surprise. It comes on the back of picking up yet another failed writing project at the start of the weekend and trying (unsatisfactorily) to make something of it. Yet again came the familiar and damning grasp of terror around both brain and heart. You’re not good enough.¬†Stop trying to fool yourself that you are.

Except fuck you Impostor Syndrome, seriously, just go get in the sea and stay there.¬†These ideas are more than good enough, I’m just not mentally capable of the editing task right now. It is like wading through my past, laid out in print, being forced to relive the circumstances behind when these pieces were written, time and again. I am incapable of going back there and doing the work. It hurts too much.

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Therefore, it might be an idea to take something totally new and fresh, from scratch, and just see how we can make something worthwhile emerge, using all the skills I’ve learnt in the last eighteen months.¬†No massive plan, just taking an idea I’ve loved for decades, and putting my unique spin on it. Therefore, yesterday, Provocatrix was born. It’s pretty much at the ‘I’m writing this for you stage’ too, and there’s already an ending.

Key to the success of this narrative is that the key plot hinge has been knocking around for over a year, but my brain had ring-fenced it for another project that would have been totally and utterly wish fulfilment. That’s the key, I think: writing needs to be fun, something you enjoy, the ideas not a chore or a concept you think other people might find interesting.¬†If you don’t have fun in the creation, boy does it show.

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This isn’t a total about face for me but it is a shift in course. Accepting the shortcomings is normally not as easy (or satisfying) as this has initially turned out to be. Cautious optimism is most definitely the key to progress now but I have the three key protagonists sorted. Who they are and what they do is now their task to show me. I’m looking forward to seeing where we all go, how they react to the narrative’s challenges.

I’m genuinely excited for a long form project, and that’s not happened for some time.

The End

Today is the end of a significant portion of my exercise ‘life’ as my long-standing PT leaves the sector completely for pastures new. It’s been interesting watching how other people have reacted to this departure: some have angrily blamed her for ruining their lives by leaving, others have demonstrated quite frightening levels of passive-aggressive resistance. For me, although there is considerable sadness at the loss of someone so influential, there cannot be anything other than joy and happiness that she’s off to make her life better.

She has taught me so much about myself in that regard.

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This is a woman who flat-out refuses to use any kind of social media. She is kind beyond measure, and immensely thoughtful. Her capacity to organise is often staggering, but it is her warmth and consideration that rank higher than anyone else I have ever met. It is unsurprising, given the frankly unpleasant and thoughtless nature of many of her clients, that she’s picked this moment to leave. Very few people seemed to be prepared to do the work, despite the fact they were paying her to do just that.

There’s a lot of sympathy for her frustration with other’s inability.

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I have a new trainer lined up and promise not to take too much personal baggage to our relationship. It’s an opportunity to start fresh, without expectations, and should be considered a new set of challenges. My left arm’s at about 80% right now but there are press ups in me plus weights to be lifted, so it is all good. Plus, the rehab is going remarkably well, and my cycling is getting stronger every session.

This is the start of an exciting chapter of my life.

New Sensation

I’m involving myself in a number of new things this week, allowing creativity to mix with a bit of risk taking. The first one of these is writing for an aggregation service, for want of a better term, that pays me on a per click basis. I know that I’m initially making nothing on this, but I’ve not signed up with the lure of easy money to begin with.¬†This is about exposure on parts of the Internet where I’m not currently able to reach, and understanding that sometimes, principles will get you nowhere.

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The plan is simple: I’m giving it three months of ‘articles’ (and for the record I intend to stack these up and schedule them in free time so I’m not wasting ‘important’ time earmarked¬†for other projects) and then we’ll see if there’s any real mileage. This is the equivalent I suspect of getting people to buy stuff on Amazon via a link on your website, and I will be interested to see what the other parts of the ‘conglomerate’ are like in terms of views: there’s a range of sites I can write for, all which (presumably) have their own Twitter feeds and reach. If it all ends up as a massive bust? Hey, at least I gave it a swing, and the Internet exists currently on far less worthy means of making money.

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The advantages for me are that I can produce my own header images going forward, that I have a grasp of a¬†range of subjects which can be used as subject matter for articles, and that really there’s nothing here to lose. I will 100% agree that artists should never take on huge projects simply ‘for exposure’ and that down that way mental ruin and exploitation lies, but having spent a while working on a range of ‘copywriter’ websites I know that sacrificing principles for a ¬£5.99 paycheck is neither fun nor sustainable long term. As long as I am in control of what has my name on it, that’s totally fine. If the exposure gets me possible notice elsewhere? That’s even better. Most importantly however, if my words aren’t being used by other people and remain my own? I’ll take that over having to demean myself any day.

There’s an awful lot of places that need more than a lorum ipsum copy/paste¬†to fill their spaces right now, after all, and as I’m already doing that with a selection of websites of my own? I really don’t see a problem.

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The future for me is being flexible and understanding that whatever happens, I’m the one that matters the most. Trying everything once just gives a sense of confidence that the unexpected is not a problem. I realise that if I pinned all my hopes on this and wrote obsessively for a month as if this was the answer to my problems, then disappointment could be both swift and damning, and I’m not that stupid.¬†It’s another feather in a cap that I want to show others is vibrant, varied and unafraid.

For that alone, this is another positive step forward.

Big Time

Welcome to the first day of a new world. I’ve been promising myself that at some point I’ll stop fucking about, simply pretending to do this writing lark. Inspired by various friends who are making significant life changes and forging new careers for themselves later in life, I knew this was the moment. I think we’re in a position to make something¬†stick.

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I’m never going to be a streamer. You and I both know I do my best work when not stuck up the front, after¬†consideration and planning is allowed. Therefore, I’m pushing the personal agenda to the fore¬†for the first time in eight years. There’ll still be Warcraft posts, but I feel that maybe if I stop lying to you that’s what I’m really here for then it will be easier to cope with life myself. That means this place and my writing is getting sold more, and I’ll be pushing my remit further afield. You’ll see absolutely no changes on the Twitter feed however, that remains exactly as is. It’s simply a redefinition, albeit subtly, of the rest of the stuff behind it.

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That means, going forward, I’ll be rearranging a lot of the back end, shifting project priorities and generally having a tidy up. This place, however, is now the key focus. I’m still writing a weekly Warcraft column and my stuff for the Community Mag but there will be days now when there’s nothing on Twitter from that Blog except a link to a previous post.¬†The biggest trick in making time to write is prioritising what matters, after all. It also means I’ll be considering what is placed here with a bit more care in the months that follow, and to that end there’s already a boatload of planning to my right to support the change. However, for those of you who think this might mean there’ll be skimping on the fiction front, I’m here to reassure you that’s most definitely not the case.

The novel remains a major project and one of the reasons all this stuff’s being moved is to give me more time, not less. I’ve got my version of the book cover’s main graphic ‘in production’ right now and as soon as my commissioning artist is done I’ll be launching a section dedicated to it on my writing site as I go through the process of completion, editing and then attempting to find a publisher. That’s one of the goals from last year I’ve not hit, and until I do, we’re pushing forward with all speed. There will also be other projects: I’ve got a number of things sitting on the sidelines, I just need to organise myself away sufficiently to get them all moving, plus completion on the stuff that’s already started.

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There you have it. Most people who are only here for the Warcraft jazz won’t take a blind bit of notice of this, and that’s just fine. If you want to support me in my venture? There will be ways and means going forward, but not just yet.¬†For now, we’ll do this for a while and get everything established, and once that’s done?

Anything is possible if I can do the work.

Swimming with Sharks

I have a new writing gig. It’s voluntary, but¬†is rather¬†important because of what it is and where it reaches. I really don’t give a flying fuck about getting paid for a lot of what I do (as we have discussed at length) and part of me would be happy to do this forever. However, what this means for the grown up bit of my brain¬†is¬†a new communication platform to get the¬†head around. For my current Writing and Podcast gigs I use Slack, which is a marvel for someone on GMT who’s basically working to US timezones, or who often does stuff outside of ‘normal’ office hours. Yesterday I was introduced to Discord, which appears to use Slack’s functionally with voice comms on top. However, there’s a problem which has nothing to do with the people I’m working with and pretty much everything to do with me.

I find these platforms disconnect me terribly from the job they’re supposed to do.

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Here, have a Dick Pic.

Twitter’s a real-time chat conversation I started, and therefore I feel more comfortable in that space. I am not new to the territory, and can at least make a lame pudding-based gag without thinking everybody is staring at me. When you come into a large, established group of people who clearly know each other well? How do you deal with this as a grown up without running away screaming? I tend to stick close to the people I know, and only get involved in conversations when a) its necessary and b) when I have a decent, universal gag. Otherwise, I am the Introvert in the room. ¬†Actually, that’s what I am regardless, and maybe I ought to stop trying to live up to everybody else’s expectations and just settle with my own level. Then I remember I’m supposed to be working on change, and it all gets a bit difficult to cope with.

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Except, and this is also the case with Twitter like it or not, you still have the disconnect to a point, unless you break the surface of the platform and actually reach out to the people who you communicate with. And therefore, yesterday, an idea was born. I’m going to reach out to people through a common interest, and see where it takes me. Obviously I’ll need to trust the people concerned, and as a result I’ll be communicating with a select group of Twitter ‘friends’ with whom I’ve already made a connection. However, this is a chance to create summat special and unique for a lot of people and to share writing with people in a manner in which was the case for all those years before the Internet happened: letters.¬†It also by definition is a means¬†to reach out to the World, which I need to do far more than currently¬†happens.

Needless to say, Watch this Space.