Play to Win

One of my jobs on Monday (21st) apart from finally starting the long-overdue Spring Clean of the house is to make a list of the various Poetry and Writing prizes I would like to start aiming for in the months that follow. Twitter has become quite useful as a means of working out where such things exist, and is slowly allowing me to build a plan of attack in relation to what is possible in the time frames available. Right now, there are two poetry prizes and one short story prize that are eminently doable. There have to be more.

Then, it is a case of believing I’m good enough to try.

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There are people around me (in a virtual sense) whose self-belief and inability to be blindsided by their own shortcomings is frankly astounding. I read blogs and posts and tweets from people who seem to believe they are capable of anything, with parts of my brain wondering how this is possible. I’ve become my own worst critic when it comes to ability, and that needs to change, but this only happens by decoupling the fear and doubt from my equation. All this stuff about how you are supposed to sound a certain way, or project a particular persona is all well and good, to a point.

I am proud of my work, but I’m not an idiot.

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There is a list of dates and deadlines, things to do when on holiday as distraction. There’s a Long List of projects to complete, clearing the decks as planning begins for a new route forward. I think I’ve found an alternative to Patreon that will work for me.

Now to start building a framework to support this change.

Building the Perfect Beast

I am beginning to see areas in my organisation and planning schedules that require improvement. One of them is having content ready before it needs to be published. This has meant a quite significant re-organisation of how things work and what is written at certain times of the week, leading to a provisioning of days for each particular part of the scheduling process. For now, things are working quite well, but there are holes and issues, especially when the desire to write effectively evaporates. The plan in these spaces is to try and capitalise on the periods when I am productive, and ‘load up’ content then.

That’s why you’re seeing this post on a Friday when it should have been here on a Tuesday 😀

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This means today I’ll be catching up on the backlog, but at the same time planning forward. Friday is now Poetry day so there’s not a panic at weekends about content. YouTube’s often complicated, organic development from the original concept is now scheduled on Wednesdays (and was, quite successfully) whilst Thursday covers the long-term #WarcraftMotivation project. This then frees up Tuesdays and Thursdays for writing and Mondays for forward planning, and once exercise is successfully inserted on top…

Yes, this will all work, but just needs some time to bed in.

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Once it is all established I can begin the process of expanding and stretching the writing muscles a bit more. The house will get a bit cleaner too, and my personal interests will finally be given some much-needed love.

If only all this stuff weren’t so bloody difficult to organise successfully…

The Grand Tour

Welcome to 2018. It is high time I started making you work for yourselves, because THE DEITIES KNOW I have enough content lined up for the next 12 months to keep the most discerning of individuals sated, entertained and challenged. So, strap yourselves in lovelies, because it is TIME TO GET STARTED.

In order to upset as many people as possible, I’ll be spreading content this year across both of my Twitter accounts, with a view to promoting both as funds allow. There will be some inevitable overlap too, but in most cases that is because the longer form will take a bit longer to produce. The plan, such as it is, includes the following:

  • 12 Short Stories, serialised via Social media and then published via the site the month after their Twitter premieres.
  • 52 Poems and 365 Haiku (minimum), same deal as the short stories.
  • A monthly selection of found music and interesting digital ephemera from whatever subject is currently intoxicating my brain.
  • 365 Comic strips. This is the leap in the dark I need to do in order to push myself mentally. You’ll see the results via the IoW Instagram.

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There’s other stuff too: gotta finish the NanoWriMo, want to write some short stories to enter for contests as well as poetry, and I need to fit in a fairly serious exercise schedule on top of everything else. I think this is doable, or else I wouldn’t be standing up here saying it was. On top of all that will be the blogging, which is now an inescapable part of my existence.

The Way Forward

I have plans afoot for people to become supporters of my work (if they choose) but there’s nothing set in stone as yet. As soon as that changes (and I’ve had a chance to return to normality post Christmas break) you’ll hear about it here. For now, we’ll spend a month settling into the new routine, and see where that takes us.

It’ll also give me a chance to clean up this desk a bit, because BOY does it need it.

What’s my Name Again?

Origins

I have been working REALLY hard the last couple of months, and there are days when I will be honest, things just happen on autopilot. Last week’s National Poetry Day endeavour was not what I expected it to be: part of me felt a fair amount of disappointment. I didn’t get a single retweet for my work, and I felt the exposure gained wasn’t worth the effort expended. Then, on Friday morning, something odd happened. I was driving back from dropping the youngest from School and, sat waiting at a set of traffic lights saw a girl in her 20’s in an outfit that, at a casual glance, beggared belief.

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have chastised myself for such a casual condemnation of personal taste. This time, however, I did and when I got home there was a sudden and rather unexpected need to write the moment down: not as a blog post, but as a poem. You can find The Girl Who looked like a Sofa here and that moment has somehow unlocked a part of my brain that used to exclusively thing in terms of prose and nothing else. Now I find myself wanting to willingly write poetry as a supplement to my stream of consciousness written output. This is a new sensation.

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Previously, I’ve been producing output almost to order, mechanically in some cases… and somewhere between this being considered requirement or relaxation, a seed has germinated. I’m beginning to think differently. There’s a need to produce poems not just as words, but in a more visually appealing manner. That’s how the idea for the 31 Days of Haiku Challenge was born, after all.

Every day, I have determined, will be different. I’ll try my hand at design using pens for some days, find suitable locations to present thematic words on others. I want to build a picture not only of my life but the place I live and things that matter to me. Poetry has become another means of expression as a result. It is also producing surprising subsidiary benefits, mostly in the means by which I express myself normally.

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I want to do more visual work. If this can be successfully combined with words then so much the better. Almost overnight, I have a completely new means by which to express myself.

You can totally guarantee I will make the most of it.

Take the Long Way Home

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Those of you paying attention will know that Thursdays are now intentionally quiet on the Blogs because I’ve decided to dedicate an entire 24 hours just to writing fiction. The positive effect this is having on mental health is not to be underestimated, quite apart from the actual progress being made. 40 pages of editing was managed on MMXCI and the hope is to double that this week, but that’s not the whole story. I also forced myself to hunt down and seek out half finished works, notebooks full of treatments, and to track down fragments of documents saved on various back up CD ROMS.

The result is a new found confidence over what I have produced, and what can now be built from the foundations in place.

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Not all of these ideas are great, lets be honest. I’m not about to start shouting my proficiency from the rooftops, but there are elements from some stories that can be co-opted into others, for example. There are ways to take ideas and adapt them elsewhere, but the key is that everything is written down. Learning how to notebook, or if I’m on a treadmill write notes on my Phone has become a thing of great usefulness, and I’d argue that any artist benefits from not just working in their familiar spot or favourite space. Taking yourself out of comfort zones makes for interesting writing. By far the biggest buzz I got writing poetry this year was at a local festival. Sometimes, it helps to mix it up and do stuff that’s scary.

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What has been the most significant takeaway from all of this however is that I can write a decent story (if I say so myself.) What hasn’t happened is experimentation, or any kind of extension outside of what were very long-established comfort zones. That’s why I’ve picked the oldest story to start with, because in effect it has the most potential for re-imagination available. As a result, a major character’s changed sex, and a number of key scenes are being replotted in my MMXCI edit, to better reflect what I feel is the true diversity of humanity that should be presented. It seems odd now, looking back on what I feel had to be normal, realising that my own blinkered imagination was only reflecting back the circumstances I was trapped within.

Needless to say, I’m beyond excited at what is potentially possible with all of these works going forward. I’ll be keeping you up to date on progress, and am hoping to pick a completely new work to serialise on the website starting next year.

Things to Make and Do

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There’s a To Do list currently for IoW that’s quite long, but for now is not getting any larger. Tomorrow is my first major day for content deployment, but I’m now going to have to fit in both a Physio and Doctor visit to the timetable, so this afternoon is going to be an attempt to plan everything in advance (on paper) so I can just slot everything into the right position on site come the morning. Once this is done I can get to work on re-reading the first book I’ll be using as inspiration for our journey and preparing the various strands of content that will spring forth from it (I hope, there’s half the fear I already have, that this isn’t going to work and I’m about to make a fool out of myself.) The only way to find out if all this floats is to launch it. That’s T- 27 days now.

Yes, I might already be getting nervous.

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The Patreon rewards are sketched out, with physical elements themselves well on their way to being manufactured and delivered ahead of time. I’ve managed to slip in an extra reward for promotional use during June, too. Then it is all about extras: maybe getting some publicity shots done, designing some logos around books and computers, and for this I have half a mind next week when both kids are better and back at school to go visit the local library. It will all depend on the results of my Doctor’s visit tomorrow, one suspects, and whether I have any major medical issues to factor into the equation. Whatever happens, I think I’m ready to face it.

2017 Schedule

This graphic is my next thing to change because, starting tomorrow, is the real possibility of keeping 3 blogs running 24/7 which does in fact sound like lunacy considering what else I have on, but will be far more doable once the scheduling kicks in. So, we’re gonna give it a go, and see how long that works for. It means being brutal with the time I have, and organising myself better still than is already the case. Yeah, I’ll give it a go. I mean, honestly, what’s the worst that can happen?

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Right now, I’m confident all things are possible. After that, we’ll just take each day as it comes.

Calling all the Heroes

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Today was fucking huge, and here’s why:

A Schedule has been Established.

I have scheduled Haiku and Micropoetry until Thursday, which is fantastic because it now grants a couple of days clear air between me and more content. I have everything ready to start introducing the strands of my Project, and the Patreon rewards… well, nobody has said anything bad. I’ll assume that if anybody complains, I’ll hear about it soon enough, but as (right now) I’m preaching to those already converted… they’re going to be happy.

I Feel less Guilty about the Gaming Site.

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Completely by accident, I’ve worked out a way to go back to seven day a week posting and to cover quiet days when there’s no Warcraft news. This also requires scheduling, but I’m already planning to start this on Thursday. It makes me happy because I’m not disappointing what remains a small yet loyal audience. This matters more than I realised, and having a means to keep my small yet dedicated audience interest remains important.

I Can Do This, People.

I don’t care that nobody ‘likes’ my poems. I just need to write them, one after the other, so that I can learn to trust my voice. I need to use different forms, be clever with construction and content, for my own happiness and nobody else’s. I don’t need the validation what I’m doing is popular or accessible. These are my words, in my own way, and if someone notices the multiple layers of subtlety? So be it.

I have taken a strong and confident first step and that is all that matters right now.