I’ve come to an important conclusion after last week’s poetry: I’m not producing content ‘live’ any more. Once upon a time it would be possible, but now I think there’s more merit to editing beforehand. I suppose this is a logical progression in writing skill, that desire to manufacture a better standard is greater than simply doing the work. As a result these two pieces are far more uneven than I’d like.
As each week goes by I’m reassessing how I take prompts too, and have introduced an interactive element to the process that will continue during the Autumn. If you’d like to offer some inspiration, please follow me on Twitter @InternetofWords and look out for the prompt Tweet next Friday. For now, here’s the final (and in the case of the micropoetry) complete offerings. I’ll see you bright and early on Social media tomorrow where the whole process will begin again.
Go Home! :: Haiku Edition
Yes, I’ve had enough
Of your stupidity: take
These things and leave now.
We tried together
An impasse is reached.
Moment has arrived
There is no other way, our
Lives will now diverge.
As we say goodbye
Time will recall: it was here
The truth blamed us both.
This home broken by
Joint inability: lost
In sadness and pain.
Go Home! :: Micropoetry Edition
No-one here asked for drama
And it’s making us sick,
Nothing good comes from anger
Please say this is a trick.
It would be easier to
Walk away and pretend
Relationship is over
No fences left to mend.
Now’s the time to draw a line
Ending the affair:
Positives can still remain,
Allowing us to care.
Bags are packed with boxes taped
Lives decanted down,
Books divided, CD’s split
No longer time to frown.
This is how our story ends
Lessons will be learnt:
Don’t look back, and move ahead
Bridges being burnt.
Hyperbole is a wonderful word. It sounds like a leisure destination but in reality is the ultimate in overstatement. It gets thrown around a lot of late too, because people have become far more theatrical and expressive in both praise and condemnation. I read a testimonial yesterday which described a particular product as
“The single most effective social advertising platform in existence.”
which, if you don’t mind me saying, is a pile of utter bollocks. It does look good when you’re attempting to sucker the gullible into buying your product. Making anything appear indispensable, however important you believe both it and you are, remains a professional advantage. It’s hyperbole on a microcosmic scale, creating significance from the mundane. However, in a world where individual perception matters so very much more than it ever did because everybody is watching, this definition can hurt. If it matters to YOU, then that should be enough, but rarely is.
We all like to be loved, and everybody would hope to be considered unique.
Writing saved me. This is neither an exaggerated claim or an overstatement. For a period of approximately 18 months, writing prevented me from taking my own life. It allowed the means by which, coupled with a virtual world and my own psyche, I was able to rationalise a justification for being worthwhile as a person. I’d drift close to the edge and then young children and husband would remind me that there were reasons to remain. Friends would reach out and point out that I was important, helpful, that my words had merit. In the darkest nights where I couldn’t sleep and felt totally devolved from existence, I wrote about attempting suicide. Those words remain and, over a decade on, I have revived them with intent to finish the work.
That extended sequence forms a part of the novel I first began back in 2001, after my son was born, which has been picked at and prodded ever since. It’s never been finished because, I now realise, there’s a phenomenal amount of pain wrapped around the idea. Rationalising what I went through and going back to it remains difficult, but this week I will pull out original manuscript and do just that. I feel I owe it to myself to challenge this period head on, not shirk from the state I was in and do something positive with what was, in effect, one of the most negative and damaging portions of my life. I effectively created a world where a broken person became the heroine, and found her happy ending.
Bringing positives out of this has proved difficult until this point, because I have simply not possessed the tools required to deal with the baggage that exists around those passages. Finally however, this year has bought a measure of emotional maturity which I feel means the time is right to be truthful: there’s been plenty of attempts to restart this narrative since it began, but never the honesty within to admit the truth behind this process. Now I can (and I have) lay those cards on the table, all the other poor metaphors can also be re-written and cast aside for good. The story, I believe, is incredibly sound. It is time to prove that, once and for all.
I’ve placed a notional time limit on this re-write of three months, which includes the fact I’m working on NaNoWriMo solidly in November. Now I’ve overcome the psychological barrier of admitting its significance in public, it is a far easier road to travel. I’ll have a clearer picture by the end of September of whether this is an underestimation or not, but for now this is where my long form writing career began. I’ll share more details of what MMXCI entails in the weeks that follow, but for now I can tell you I tried to make a book cover for it a while ago and failed in what I wanted to do. The tag-line however is solid.
Once I have the real cover set in my head, I’ll know I’m truly in the correct mindset to finish the journey.
My mini break seems a lifetime away, it must be said, after the last week, but I am now almost in a position to feel organised again. As a result, here’s the changed layout to the Website week as a result of the leaves on my Gym walk already beginning to change colour. It may not be September until Thursday, but Autumn is definitely on its way.
The Great Social Media Experiment’s about to shift up a gear: as of midnight tonight my first legitimate ad campaign begins to run in an attempt to generate interest for Patreon. We’ll be following its progress, looking at how my attempts at engagement are going and continuing to demystify the sometimes murky practices within Social media. I’m also widening the #GSME’s remit to cover a lot more stuff with general interest to those of you reading and using Twitter on a daily basis.
The Alt History Channel is shifting to Tuesdays, and with it comes the introduction of Great Fanfic Wot I have Wrote to pad out the fact my life’s not that interesting. Watch out for the first piece of fiction coming next week…
Yes, I KNOW I still don’t have titles up for September’s Book of the Month, but there is at least a text chosen, so that’s progress. 😀 This week’s task in what is a free Wednesday is to get an archive page up for the old Essays and Short stories.
— Internet of Words: Fiction, Non Fiction and Poetry (@InternetofWords) August 16, 2017
I’ve been struggling to get content up post essay days (as you know, brain dead after a deadline) and it seems sensible to schedule in some breathing space amongst all the work so, from now on, Thursdays are my WIP days. This means making valuable time for novels, poetry and everything else I want to be working on but normally can’t find the opportunity to. If I make one day a week just for writing the stuff I love? How can this possibly be a bad thing?
PS: Don’t use this time to write more Bond fanfiction. WALK AWAY NOW.
This has become the day when I scrape my Haiku and Micropoetry off Twitter and stick it here, and hopefully this will also give more time to explain the reasoning and process behind my writing. We’ll see how that goes starting this Friday, and work from there.
That’s the schedule that will run from now until the end of October. We’ll have some special events for the UK’s National Poetry Day that happens in late September, and I’m intending to take a month out of the normal schedule completely in November to make NaNoWriMo really count for 2017. More details on those will be available closer to their start dates.
The plan remains to still take weekends off, but that may change depending on projects and desire. For now however, I have a contest deadline to hit with a 40 line poem by Thursday, so time to get back to work. I’ll see you back here bright and early tomorrow morning.
Today’s story is about how a portion of the Internet really is a secret society, run by a select few individuals who know the rules for success. If you choose to enter their world, you might become ‘rich’ beyond your wildest dreams.
The problem is, that success grants no guarantee that you’ll survive outside Cyberspace.
It begins with a guy I ended up blocking on Social media several years ago because he was just too honest for his own good. The time he took great joy in telling me how much of an idiot I was (he was right), it was time to walk away for good. It was a shame because I got on well with the woman who’s now married to him, and I miss her warmth. In the end, however, his toxicity was too much. It was this man who told me that if I truly wanted success online, my URL needed to be #1 in Google’s search rankings.
If it were not for him, I’d have never jumped down this rabbit hole to begin with.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the holy grail of successful online marketing. It relies on what used to be known as ‘spiders’ but which are more commonly referred to as search algorithms, which effectively act as the arbiters of all online information. Search Engines produce increasingly relevant results when you’re looking for an answer to your question, based on what it gleans from your webpages. To make sure you have the absolute best chance of being noticed and ranked above everybody else, all your back end code can be tweaked to ensure it is as attractive and engaging as possible to the algorithmic harvesters. WordPress offer this service now as standard if I chose to upgrade my blogs to a business plan. It is pretty much accepted business practice that if you want to even start being successful online from scratch, you’ll need a robust SEO plan.
This does not simply extend to the web: social media now operates under the same rules. The hashtag, which celebrated it’s 10th ‘Birthday’ as a tagging device is now being used alongside other metrics and indicators to allow smart programmers a way to offer the potential of instant overnight success to anyone, assuming of course they’re prepared to pay from the privilege. You know those annoying auto Direct Messages that people sometimes send when you follow them on Twitter? This is the next step up: employ increasingly sophisticated algorithms to precisely target your exact audience, use the bots to follow them, and then wait to see if they interact.
If the searching were done by real people, there’d be no worries about unemployment, but this isn’t the case. The future is less and less about people talking to each other organically and more around what robots THINK we should talk about, or what is needed based on the mechanical analysis and breakdown of billions of conversations each day. I’m about to start a Twitter ad campaign for the Internet of Words tomorrow, and am all too aware that my search terms need to be spot on in order to allow their algorithms to find the right audience. I’m spending £100 on my ad campaign: for the same amount I could use software from the company above and simply follow everyone I think might be interested before selling at them.
Except I’d argue that’s not how true success is generated.
The problem right now is that people follow me because I hashtag, based on nothing but the desire to exploit their niche. They completely miss the point of how Social media works best, and that automated traffic effectively strangles the strength of the network itself. None of these companies, none of the SEO experts or Social media gurus talk to each other at all, they just retweet each other or content they think will be popular, in the hope that people will fuel their continuing development. Actual conversation is pointless, because you can’t schedule it. Talking smack about your mates is worthless, when it wastes good bandwidth and makes you look like a real person. Nobody wants that on Twitter. You’re here to sell stuff, not have relationships.
I’ve started asking people who I suspect are playing the Algorithm Game why they’re following me, to see if those ‘using’ these systems will be honest or not. Amazingly, there’s a lot of honesty from the people behind the facades: some admit the platform being used, others try and hook me into their schemes by targetting content directly at me. So far, in what must be several hundred accounts of this type, only one person’s done a decent job of selling at me, and she remains as my sole reciprocal follow. We’ve not exchanged a social word since she followed me, but her advice has been more helpful and gratefully received than anyone else’s in that time.
Many of these people don’t like being asked what they’re doing when you challenge them for filling the Internet with what is often crap. Until Twitter cracks down on the automated component of the interface, and removes those who are effectively gambling and exploiting the genuine population of the platform? You need to be vigilant, and look at any follow that doesn’t appear as if a decent conversation is going to occur from your follow. The biggest issue, of course, is that most people think the only way you’re a true success on Social media is with a bazillion followers.
Until that bubble is comprehensively burst, this story never gets a happy ending.
I’m here today in an attempt to sell myself. Normally, this does not end well, because as a typical Brit the process of self promotion is often difficult and fraught with doubt. One of my best friends (who is an American) does her very best to try instil within me a sense of self worth, but often I won’t listen. I’d like to say however that after several years of trying to foster this concept, there’s a measure of success, or else I wouldn’t be here on a Saturday afternoon on the closest thing to a mission that’s ever been undertaken during my fifty and a bit years on Planet Earth.
I’ve been blogging for seven of those, and for the first time yesterday heard someone describe me as ‘edgy.’ The reaction to this was firstly surprise, and then a scramble to Google to make sure the definition in my mind was the same as what counts for current parlance. Amazingly, I wasn’t far off:
The first one is more true than I’d care to admit on any given day but it was the second that briefly buoyed my confidence, right up until the moment my twelve year old almost gleefully proclaimed ‘well that’s not the definition of edgy I’d use to describe you’ before waving a phone in my general direction whilst quoting from Urban Dictionary:
What this exercise brilliantly demonstrates is that definitions change fast in the modern world, and making sense of change without making a fool of yourself is pretty much a mug’s game. The truth for me, like it or not, is all these definitions have a relevance to what I am. In the confusing and often confrontational world of Social media, grasping what the hell is happening needs more than an infinite supply of caffeine and patience. That’s one of the reasons why I started the Internet of Words, and why this is a very thinly veiled attempt to get you to fund my plans for the future.
Twitter is not just GIFs and memes, though you’d be hard pressed not to believe that. The anger, foolishness and stupidity has, in the last year, threatened to submerge the platform completely. However, people like me see a future in using it to educate and illuminate via thoughtful discourse, and possibly the occasional forays into edginess as defined by the second part of that Google definition. Though I’m often accused of nervousness and irritability, undoubtedly drifting on occasion well beyond the realm of possibility, there is very much an earnest objective in mind. Since I was a kid, I had a dream of being a writer, and never had the ability or means to make that a reality.
Now that’s changed, you bet I’m going for it with absolutely everything I have.
Over the years people have offered to throw money at me to further my ambition, but inevitably would stop short when prompted. This time around, I’ve come to the table with a plan: Patreon allows me the opportunity to present a plan, work for long term objectives and present the people who support me with a constant stream of unique content. It began as blogging, but now there are short stories, poetry and essays in my portfolio, and although I’ve not been going for long, I’m already addressing a small but loving audience. I may never adequately find means to thank them, but I’m going to do my damnedest to try. I’m now asking you, person who’s randomly reading this, to take a chance on the woman trying to launch a career when most people would be thinking about early retirement.
I have big plans for the future: entering poetry contests would have been a pipe dream a year ago, yet I’m about to submit to two this week. Applying for mentorships might seem ridiculous at my age, but I’m well aware I have an awful lot to learn about writing. There are no pretensions about being accomplished or any kind of an expert, either. Writing is a constantly evolving, living part of every cell of my being. With each day I blog, things improve: I gain confidence and a sense of satisfaction, which I hope is evident in the work I produce. This is NEVER about sitting back and thinking something is good enough: always room for improvement, every day is a School day… these are not empty mantras, but the way by which I live my life.
So, I’m here on a Saturday to ask you to consider taking a chance on the unknown. If you want to see what I’m producing on a weekly basis, there are three sites for you to browse first:
Internet of Words is where all the Patreon content is housed, plus all manner of other writing projects;
Alternative Chat is where I talk about Activision Blizzard’s MMO ‘World of Warcraft’
All that I am is pretty much laid out here for everybody to see. If that’s something you like the look of, then please consider a pledge to my Patreon. There is a $2 entry tier, and rewards begin at $5 a month.
I’m getting better at selling myself. As I do, the content presented will only become more accomplished and compelling. I promise not to overrach or promise things that cannot be achieved. What you’ll get is honest, forthright and at least edgy according to one of those three definitions at the top of the post.
Come and join me as I find my way though the perils of Internet living.
I’ve been back from Holiday for a few days, but I’m yet to get myself back to full capacity, and thought you guys deserved an update on what you can expect as we return to ‘normal’ working. There’s now two loads of Haiku/Micropoetry due to be brought over and published from Twitter, and that will fill up slots for Tuesday and Thursday of this week (you can expect to see them live at some point on Saturday.) Then, we’ll go back to a revised schedule of content on Monday, which I’ll post up on Sunday evening.
Mostly, I wanted to point out that a) I’m still here (but RL has priority in the short term) and b) I’ve got some new and interesting things planned going forward. Until then, here’s a GIF of what ladies exercise equipment looked like in the 1950’s to distract you from this blatant lack of actual anything.