Blue Sky Thinking :: Guilt

[INT; Alt’s Brain. This place resembles a badly-organised office, with filing cabinets open, paperwork strewn across soft, padded desks, chairs and work-surfaces. In the middle stand GOOD and EVIL, both dressed in matching white and red suits respectively, staring at the mess, before turning to look at each other…]

GOOD: Okay, so we’re in agreement: cessation of hostilities until this place is returned to some form of functional order, yes?

BAD: Agreed, and it might be an idea to locate the staff. After all, it’s only been a month away and her brain resembles an explosion in the Amazon ‘Back to School’ section…

[A pile of papers next to a filing cabinet shifts and falls, revealing a woman fast asleep. She’s dressed all in black, with a cloth mask wrapped around the lower half of her face.]

GOOD: Well, there’s someone, what is she supposed to be doing?

[BAD pulls out a small tablet PC from his pocket and hands it to GOOD, who scrolls through a document. Her face crinkles, then enlightenment is located.]

GOOD: That’s Guilt.

BAD: Bet they’re not the only one sleeping on the job. I’ll handle the rude awakening, you see if you can locate Organisation in this mess and we might have a fighting chance of getting somewhere…


It is said that guilt is a strong motivator. I prefer my life not to be ruled by such toxic emotions, but eventually there is always a reckoning. When yours arrives, make sure you’re ready to deal with the fallout. No emotion, just facts and truths are enough.

Always know your exits.


Guilt

If there were memory
these accusations thrown,
hate, recriminations
annoyances unknown:
something more than disquiet
undoubted disbelief
at least complicity
not seeking your relief.

Your histories held close
forgotten in my time
both grief and anger burn
your torture not sublime.
Removal of our past
choice, history rewrites
compassion isn’t lacked
our countless nasty fights.

Happy to play villain
easier coat to wear
feel free, feign ignorance
that part of you not there.
These toxic memories
have always been the case
renounce harsh hate for love:
put feelings in their place.

If this means loneliness
an ostracism made
decision instant, right,
my cards already played.
Your guilt will not redress
through other’s words and deeds
leave now, and close that door
only your heart that bleeds.


Words

As a writer, I commit any number of heinous mistakes whenever words are committed to a screen. Over time, those have become easier to spot: word repetition, bad grammar, a real problem knowing where apostrophes go. Earning a high-grade English degree, back in the day, is no guarantee of competence: nouns are naming words, verbs are doing words, but a lot of definition points in between will need to be double-checked with Google for reassurance. The point to be made at the end of this paragraph is that nobody is perfect.

As a writer, other people place a level of expectation on your ability. Publishers will expect you to know how to present work to them for assessment. Although it might not need to be edited to a plateau of confidence, knowing what flows and works is a bonus. Understanding there is more than one way of stating ‘I woke up and went to kill a dragon’ is useful, but that statement in itself is perfectly acceptable as a final draft if placed in the correct context. Learning how to write is not just editing your work, or knowing which version of your prose is the one you stop fiddling with as a perfectionist.

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I’ve needed nearly a decade writing about a video game to finally feel comfortable with the words that are produced, but it will never be a perfect world. Even with autocorrect and multiple edits, the stupid still gets through. A testimonial was written in the week for the Physiotherapist who has returned my left arm to pretty much the state it was before the incident with tripping up over my own legs. It was sent with one word missing, which pretty much altered the entire point of the piece. I’d read that word in my head, but it did not exist on the page. The best writers still fuck up. This is a constant process, and will never end.

yeahyoufailed

The one area I’ve not really explored is experimental, off the beaten track kind of wordplay that Arguto will give the opportunity to muck about with. This site now becomes a place not just for the Twitter-related content but for the exploration of how writing can and should evolve, expanding to fill countless spaces available. With the capacity to write being combined with photography and digital devices, new technology and old ideas have the means by which they can be redefined and improved.

However, at the heart of this all there is tradition and comfort to fall back on. Learning how to be a better writer will continue until my last breath.

GSME #4 :: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

This experiment is now a month old, and if you measure success by growth… well, we’re still getting there.

thisweek_march20
What ought to be mentioned at this point is that I’m spending less time on Twitter than I have at any point in probably the last year, especially at weekends. I’m conscious of filling feeds with pointless ranting (which did happen a lot before, it must be said) and as I’ve focussed on quality over quantity, the numbers have dropped. However, undoubtedly this was one of my best weeks of social media for quite some time, because I have learnt all about how devoted my current audience remains, and that there is a willingness to support me as I move my personal endeavours forward. Here, if I needed it, is the assertion that numbers are not what matters in your social media feed, but commitment.

gladiator

The biggest single reason why people press unfollow for me is posting frequency: it is a delicate balancing act to maintain, after all. How much is too much promotion? Of course you want to engage with an audience but there can easily come a point where they get sick of the sound of you, if yours is the only content they’ll see: this is especially true of those who actively curate and don’t necessarily engage actively, but will take an interest if a subject matter stimulates sufficiently. Blogging gives a chance for people to read at their speed and in their own time: tweeting is pretty much about immediacy and quick impact. Getting the two medium to mesh is not impossible, however, as I have discovered this week to my surprise and pleasure.

This was the week I discovered that a graphic can do more for my front facing interests than any number of ranty Tweets will alone. What I should have done here, and will do going forward, is add the Warcraft site’s URL to the Tweet for maximum exposure. I’ll be looking at this as a means to build an audience going forward, but there are other ways to increase exposure. I’ve taken a rather unprecedented step and, for a month I’ll be paying $19.99 to see if I can use somebody else’s software to increase my audience. In the interests of full transparency it makes sense to do this because, as a writer, my subject matter only gets a small showing across the current base of readership I have. If this helps in any way stick me outside of the niche I currently inhabit? Then it is worth the effort. I could have stuck with a free account, but I am reliably informed that now I have a 500,ooo ‘reach’ for my work. It’s all part of the Experiment, after all, so we’ll see how this works going forward.

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That means I’ll be shifting the personal blog posts off for promotion, plus the weekly Blog Guides, and seeing where that gets me. If there’s any improvement (or otherwise) in my reach, it should show in the next week’s figures.

I look forward to seeing if paying for aggregation is worth my while as a niche content producer.

Shut Up

We interrupt your normally scheduled fiction this morning with an important aside.

I’m quite late to the Social Media game, if truth be told. In fact, I can remember when Twitter launched and all my mates were jumping on the bandwagon thinking ‘seriously who the fuck wants to talk in real time what’s THAT about’ and now? Well, I get the appeal, and the usefulness, but I also understand that a lot of the time, people do genuinely get lucky. Unless you are an ACTUAL REAL CELEBRITY with, you know, movies and presence and history? Being a long term media fixture doesn’t happen. [*]  Life’s too full of cats and GIFS and all that other stuff. To make that leap you need to be an actual icon and there aren’t too many of those any more. Mostly, if you can manage 15 Minutes of Fame? I’d be more than satisfied.

ALMOST SIX FIGURES

Now, you’d think, looking at this Tweet of mine from last week, that actually 99k impressions (where that’s your Tweet making it to someone’s feed, but they may not actually read it) is pretty good. Except actually, that’s woeful. The official Warcraft Twitter account has approximately 793,000 followers, so that’s about an eighth of the fanbase there, and there’s no idea of who actually read the post. Fortunately, Twitter provides a girl with metrics, and if you thought the impressions were bad?

OH MY GOD :O

These stats are frankly WOEFUL: basically, approximately 100 people took any kind of interest. Four replies is less than most of my Blog Post links get in a day from a regular audience and FIVE FOLLOWS? That’s just stupid. What this proves is that even when you get retweeted by a major player, the impact is often minimal, if at all. What matters more is what you put into your feed to begin with, and for most that means keeping a 24/7 stream of content and comment. Just having more people follow does not make you a significant player, because of the 793K followers Warcraft have I’m betting quite a few aren’t actually real. Many will be selling gold, or using this feed as a means of creating their own content. A fair few won’t listen unless there’s an Expansion or Patch imminent, and even more simply follow because it’s an ‘official’ account and therefore that’s what you do.

Maths however, it must be said, has a tendency to make certain types of people act like idiots, because of the notion that if you have a bunch of numbers, this must always be in some way equatable with actual facts. Yes, metrics are great, but as Ford will tell you, all the marketing and statistics in the world won’t mean you’ll never get an Edsel. Ironically World of Warcraft itself could well have suffered this same issue with the current Expansion, but I doubt we’ll ever know. My point this morning is twofold: being ‘popular’ is really horrendously relative, and thinking you ARE popular is even more dangerous, because then you believe you have the right to go off on all manner of ridiculous self-propelled rants, and that’s just WRONG. That also goes the other way too, for all the people who like to remind writers like me we should allow everyone a voice and the right to use it.

Personally, I only believe that’s true to a point.

THE BEST .GIF EVER.

Tact is becoming a lost art in the Virtual World, and this makes me sad. When everyone else is offering their tuppence worth on something, should you even bother with a response? Some days I’d say yes, others I’d say no, and the fact that I’ve written this post at all says to my own sense of right and wrong that some people don’t think nearly often enough before they go off on a rant. Personal indignation is all well and good, but soapbox posturing only really works if you get up, walk away from your PC, and then do something about the issue in reality. Virtual change is a lifetime away from actual difference making, and that has to extend to every part of your life: actually eat better, don’t say it, walk don’t drive, make changes that are reflected in all walks of your life. Respect other’s privacy, treat people as you wish you would be. You know, all that basic common sense stuff. But mostly, most people don’t give a fuck about things until they see them personally causing detriment to their own existence. Then the indignation flares.

And with Social Media as a soapbox to potentially millions if you hit the right combination of luck and positioning? You’d better be damn sure you can justify yourself. Mostly, I’d like a lot of people to never press Tweet right now. I am as guilty of this as the next person, especially when it comes to contentious issues. It’s the need to make a point in the conversation that never ends, and never gets tired.

Except after a while, it does.

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[*] No, those people aren’t celebrities. NO, they’re NOT.