Run for Home

For as many days as it has been possible this week, I’ve dragged myself into the Gym. Amazingly, only on two days has this been about exercise to a point. On the others, I’m there to use the treadmill as a writing tool. 

This is probably going to require some explanation.

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Once upon a time, I’d have real trouble trying to work out how ideas would develop past that first massive burst of creativity. I then developed a means by which I’d use pieces of music effectively as the backgrounds for ‘narrative videos’ that would run in my head, roughly corresponding with the pace and timing of actions that would then be written down. It is the reason why that whenever I now hear ‘Whoops, I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears I don’t think about the music video that accompanies it, but my fanfic-created Bond heroine Ronni Flemmings bursting out of a control room using a chair as a shield and summarily killing Ernst Stavro Blofeld completely by accident.

I’ve ruined a lot of pieces of music this way, but the destruction of meaning is always worthwhile.

Before I got as serious about exercise as I have now become, being on a treadmill with a musical soundtrack used to be the means by which I’d sort out the kinks and holes in narratives. Returning to my novel over this last six weeks has made me grasp that there was no longer the time to do this: suddenly, whenever I’m doing physical stuff it is to meet a target or complete an objective. The simpler days of just walking and thinking have somehow gone amiss. Therefore this week, re-instigating the treadmill as a writing tool required a massive twenty-five track playlist, constructed in chronological order to match my action. Most significantly, none of the music must have been made after 2005.

On Tuesday I went into the Gym, plugged myself in and thirty minutes later had managed to solve three major issues that were holding me back in plot terms. Today, the last quarter of the book is blocked, with each major sequence ready to write. There’s also been a piece of music added, that forms a vital part of the late narrative, section I’ve been frightened to write for over a decade because of the intensely personal nature of the content. It is the means by which I tie past back to present, and remind the female protagonist of the life she once knew but has lost contact with. This track was the crack which burst the dam of writer’s block, once and for all, and I’ve not been able to stop writing since.

Every writer is different: how you maintain focus and drive as individual as eye colour or shoe size. For me, music is at the heart and soul of every piece written. Without it, I would be considerably less than a whole.

I predict a considerable amount of treadmill in my future.

Get Off

Today marks a significant line in the sand for my ability to plan. It is the first week since I started this journey that a complete seven days worth of Social media output is scheduled in advance. In the case of the short story, that’s a full ten days to end on the 31st (a week on Wednesday.) The plan today is to begin February’s story so I can get it to be beta read before next week, and if the planning for THAT works out, it should mean that 28 days worth will be up long before the month is done, thus granting me even more planning time. 

This expansion of the ability to fit my available spaces is having knock-on effects too. It should allow poetry to be scheduled tomorrow for weekend viewing once the daily ‘postings’ are complete… as will be the case with Conjoin. However, as is becoming apparent with each new day unless I write these things down, I do (and will forget) so it is especially vital to keep a running total of what needs to be done and when. My planner has expanded as a result to take in more space for daily notes and, so far, it appears to be working.

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Tonight, therefore, after cycling and domestic tomfoolery, I will throw down the first draft of February’s short story and complete timelines for both The Sayers and Contractus, so I can check I have events in the correct order. This is also the means by which I don’t just sit and stare at a screen for hours on end with no discernable work to show for that time. It is pushing both mind and body to make the most of the time available and not allowing procrastination to gain the upper hand. If that is able to happen for the rest of the week, there will be much rejoicing.

I wonder if this is what being a grown up really feels like?

Stop

It’s been a while since I lobbed this graphic on the top of a post, but you can expect to see it a bit more in the weeks that follow. It’s a New Year, after all, and that means that people are using Social media as a means to prove they are capable of change. I have to admit that the major change I’m implementing is to spend less time taking part in discussion, and more time working. It was during that period yesterday that a couple of minor epiphanies took place.


You Know I Can Hear You, Right?

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It is clearly apparent that a couple of people on my feed aren’t aware that if I’m friends with the same people they are, I get to see their conversations. If you have a dialogue directly with someone, this won’t clog up anybody’s timelines except the people involved, which is great. There’s an exception to that, but we’ll deal with that in a moment. However, if Person A posts a non specific tweet into my timeline and then Person B replies, it’s there for everybody to see. Sometimes I watch people reply to these with the belief that it’s a ‘private’ conversation.

You wouldn’t have said that in public otherwise, would you?

I watched a couple of people fall foul to this yesterday and learnt some quite interesting stuff about them that wasn’t clear otherwise. The other one is when someone does a lovely soapbox speech about X in one place when I’ve seen them say the exact opposite somewhere else to appease the friends groups they’re now hanging with. All those people who wish Social media wasn’t like High School are, amazingly, the exact same people making it just that way due to the fact they think other people don’t pay attention. You’d be amazed how many of us do, dude.


Please Don’t Include Everybody in your Replies

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As it’s Friday, I’m hoping mentioning this in a cheery, helpful fashion might have an effect. This is traditionally the day people on Twitter do #FF (Friends Friday) and shout out all the great people they interact with. The problem isn’t those initial tweets, let me be clear, but everybody that then hits reply to say than you, inadvertently cc-ing in EVERYBODY ELSE. Except, for some people, I suspect this isn’t an accident, and they enjoy the brief dopamine hit all those messages make in their Notifications.

I use Twitter to write, and communicate. I’m not here for the popularity contest, and have made a habit of force-unfollowing people when I no longer feel we have anything to say to each other (no, it’s not the main reason but I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t happened.) I don’t #FF any more because of it. I also appreciate that for some people it is an important part of their existence online, but if you’re going to live here long term it might be an idea to either learn how to respect other people’s spaces or grasp how much noise thinking before posting can reduce.

You could thank the person who does the #FF in a separate Tweet. You don’t have to show everybody else you did that, just them. I won’t lie, when I end up in a #FF userpile I politely thank the person concerned, and then mute the original conversation, so I can get on using Twitter in the way that works best for me. If this flagrant disregard of your #FF motivation removes me from your Friday mantras, I will not take it as a slur or unfollow you in disgust. If you fail to communicate regularly or stay stuff I find uncomfortable, or assume that because we spoke once three years we remain friends? Then I might have reason to press the button.

In the end, you can rest assured, it wasn’t you. It was most definitely me.


The Overnight Mass CC gets you an Instant Mute

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If you cc-me in on a conversation when I’m asleep and I wake up to 100+ Notifications on my arrival the next morning which constitute nothing of value, I’m gonna mute yo ass.

Sorry, but I didn’t sign up for that when I joined.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to start working on getting the poetry archived and scheduled for the weekend…

Moving On Up

As was the case in 2017, every Thursday for the next 52 weeks I will focus on writing plus getting both old and new projects finished and started. It seems an appropriate moment therefore to put up a list of intent for January, that we can revisit in four weeks to see how I did. Also, saying all this stuff  ‘in public’ makes it more likely to happen, as I discovered (rather usefully) last year. Most importantly of all, I GET TO DO A SWANKY GRAPHIC 😀

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IN PROGRESS

NaNoWriMo Novel (Revision Stage): I’ve reset my Goal tracker to start from today at 9am. We’ll see how much I can get done. I’d like to have it in a workable form by the end of the month and this is not an unrealistic goal.

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Poetry and Haiku for January: This week’s poetry was all produced ahead of publication, a habit I fell out of towards the back end of last year, for various reasons. The plan is to try and have the two scheduled pieces for Twitter written and ‘complete’ well before Friday, and then schedule today the publication of both pieces to this site across the weekend. This then upgrades the site to having content for 365 days a year, which has been my goal since at least the latter part of 2016. It took me this long to get arse in gear, but is totally worth the effort.

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February Planning: It’s the Month of Love coming up, with Time to Talk day scheduled for February 1st. This means subject matters will Love Poetry, Erotica, Depression and Self Care. This seems to me a decent combination of bases to cover, all of which I can write about with a measure of confidence. Also, apropos of nothing at all, I’ll have been writing my Warcraft blog for nine years next month. Might have to do summat about that…


So, that’s the plan, except I’ll be honest and admit I will be nipping for a quick kip once I’ve written my blogs for the day. I’m carrying some kind of throat/ear based virus/infection thing and I’d really like to stop it getting any worse than it is, so a brief break to recharge the batteries is in order…

 

NaNoWriMo :: Day 13

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Well, here’s a thing. It is all going REALLY well. I’ll grant you, some of my writing is shonky as hell at this stage, but the plot is golden. I’m confident with where everything is heading, there’s no panic over motivation or characterisation. When I write my two leads (and right now this is simply a two character affair) they sit in my head with glorious clarity. There is reassurance and comfort in familiarity. All that needs to happen now is to keep the momentum going. The only fly in the ointment is that I forgot to update my word count over the weekend and therefore won’t get my ‘updated every day for 30 days’ badge. I’m a gamer, come on, this shit matters to me.

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That gap’s gonna annoy me, you know…

However, as you can see, I’m over halfway to completion… but I doubt I’m actually halfway through the novel. Looking at where I am the final total’s gonna be around the 70k mark, and I’m being pretty economical with exposition. It just happens to be a long and complicated story, and I need to tell it complete before I can go back and consider chopping stuff out. Right now, however, according to the stats, I’ll be done with 50k around the 23rd, which still allows time to get the thing finished at my level by the end of the month. I hope to put some extra work in today and tomorrow in order to push myself to about 35k. That’s what I’d like to happen anyway.

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I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself because I know how important it is with the limited free time available before Christmas. Most importantly of all however, I need to prove to myself I can go from start to finish and make this happen, because there are so many other half finished projects I could be working on apart from this novel, and they all could potentially make me some money. It has become a bit of a personal crusade now to show I’m capable of sticking with this through to the end, as that’s always the part of the process with which I fail. Saying you’ll create something is one thing, having the courage to complete the task is a different ask entirely.

Today’s going to be a lucky day. I’m going to make sure of that, and take a huge step towards a major goal.

Everything Now

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Sometimes, I get bogged down in the sheer enormity of stuff I’d like to do. It is not just writing fiction, but poetry and blogging… and that list could really go on. That’s where I’ve come to rely on better organisation and the acceptance that sometimes, there has to be a means to say no. When you’re full of enthusiasm and desire, it can be very easily diluted if you allow multiple objectives to sway your planning. That used to be a major issue for me in the past and led to some fairly angry confrontations. Not anymore. If I have learnt anything in the last 10 months it is that if I want to get anything done, there has to be a plan.

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It is why NaNoWriMo matters so much more this year than any other that has preceded it. I have ever had the confidence of my own convictions to take a story and try and sell it after the fact, it’s just been about the writing and nothing else. This year, that has changed. There’s a desire to take the best idea I have and make something concrete and saleable with it. I feel I can sell myself too, and that’s probably the biggest difference between last year and now. There was not the self-belief that now exists. More significantly, there’s an ability to discuss these emotions and plans without feeling they are in some way irrelevant or pointless.

I have to believe I am capable of all these things, or there is no way to succeed.

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That means competing in Contests, even if every fibre of my being screams against it. My entry for the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition is ready for a final pass and then will be sent off. I have no illusions as to success, but that is not the point. The key here is to have the confidence to enter in the first place. These are good pieces of work, my best work, and they are being produced in order to show myself that this is possible, that I can be a success. Winning is not the aim. I can quote countless authors whose work was initially rejected, whose success never happened until after death. The here and now is only part of the picture.

My writing is strong and only gets stronger via practice, repetition. Working hard, every day matters far more in my mind to build a brain able to better describe what I see, use the right words to translate what matters to me onto the screen and page.

The words matter more than anything I have ever done. [*]


[*] Kids, marriage and certain relationships excluded.