You Oughta Know :: Two

Yesterday, quite frankly, was one of the most important days I’ve had since this whole project began.

trapdoor

Progress on the Novel had stalled. Twelve days of minimal movement, if at all. The problem, such as it stood, was my insistence that plot needed to go a certain way because that’s been the plan since I began in 2001. Except I couldn’t write what was needed, the narrative complexity was simply too much for my poor brain to cope with. This week, at the Gym, I’ve been doing negative repetition: this is when you make muscles work in a manner which feels contrary to what would normally build strength but in fact quite the opposite.

It was this reverse approach that finally allowed me to break the writing deadlock.

In the end, all the sparkle and glamour was unnecessary. What was required was understanding that showing and telling are far more flexible constructs than first considered, and I could do both without compromising anything. I don’t need to be at this point in the narrative anymore, and it is time to move on, and the cupboard allows all that frippery to become pointless. One more short scene and finally I’m into a bit of narrative that will be fun to write. That was the big issue: this bit needed to happen, but I didn’t want to.

Without the push to do stuff I don’t like, none of this would be taking place.

wtfishappeningnow

What looked like an improbable finish date of March 15th is now seeming far more doable. It will still require editing, yes, but only the second half. Completion totally with a measure of editing by Easter is now the next goal. This is totally unchartered territory to boot, close to 80k words of original work. I’ve already got people lined up to read once I’m done, too, and there’s no real fear or anguish over that either. Amazingly, I’m looking forward to feedback, and I frankly won’t care if people don’t like it. Right now, the bigger goal is to get to the end.

What matters more to me now than popularity is the completion. Writing has not become a means to change the World just yet. However, in my own part of that whole, it is more significant than at any point in the last 51 years, and that’s just amazing.

A reckoning is fast approaching.

You Oughta Know :: One

I’m not here for your benefit.

The more progress made, the further down the road travelled, comes a realisation that matters to nobody but me. Every time a personal record is bettered, or a target attained, this is not cause for celebration. A lot of the time, it isn’t fun either. Hard work is not, on certain days, its own reward, whatever the fuck the motivational posters might tell you otherwise. Those people who look comfortable and secure in their public personas… I have no idea how that happens. Faking it til you make it is a waste of good time and effort.

areyoufromthepast

I’m here to admit some days this is horrible.

‘If you don’t like cycling, then stop’ my husband says, each time I do a ride where it is a struggle physically. His advice is based on a sound concept: he enjoys what he does hugely, but has never struggled with shortness of breath or a lack of physical strength. He is not stressed by large groups of people or the perception others have of him. He is lucky enough to have that easy comfort in abundance, and it would be fair to state that is one of his most attractive qualities. I don’t, and all the things he takes in his stride can often just stop me in my tracks. Yet, I’ll be back on a bike, and I’ll keep working on all those things that vex me, because I don’t like them.

Life is not just about being happy.

nonofuckno

The most satisfaction gained, ultimately in my own head, is doing the stuff that’s difficult. That never used to be the case, of course, but as I’ve grasped the importance of using time well, that desire has risen and will not be quelled. Sure, it would be fabulous to just sit back and do nothing, but that achieves nothing. The real, tangible progress made on writing is in direct response to my determination not only to get fit but to stay there and do more. Without the physical exercise, none of this would ever have happened.

Sometimes to get what you want, you need to be unhappy.

escalated

There are two parts to this post for a reason, because the flip side of getting upset and angry when things go wrong is not, as my family sometimes believe, an attention seeking ranty pants moment. The oddest things count as motivation for writers, and I am only beginning to grasp the reality of why stories matter so much to me. It is creating worlds where I feel comfortable to live, that make sense in my head as not simply ideals, but what ought to be the norm going forward.

Writing is no longer therapy, but a way to gain long-term satisfaction.

GSME Special :: Baby I Don’t Care

social-media-asides

Normally I’d wait until Monday for an update on the GSME, but I feel that this needs to be written now, whilst the revelation is still fresh in my mind. I woke up to a mass of emails this morning, happily informing me that I’d almost exhausted the 500k’s worth of CoPromote shares I’d stored in three days. The results of that share, when you look at them, are pretty spectacular:

notcaring

50 plus retweets and 482 thousand people. WOW. That is indeed impressive, right up until the moment you translate that to my web stats:

scraped

That post was read 100 times. 31 times on Monday, 37 on Tuesday and 33 on Wednesday. Not a single person signed up for web updates, and (possibly) one person joined my Twitter account. I stopped the boost this morning because, honestly, I think there’s no point.

CoPromote’s entire business revolves around the understanding that if you’re willing to share someone else’s work, there’s a benefit to yourself. The problem, of course, is that many individuals simply won’t care about anything except what they stand to gain from the equation. As long as you can be seen to be doing something that appears to benefit others, it doesn’t matter about whether you take an interest or not. Looking at the people who shared me, and I have a long list, many undoubtedly did so so just in order to add my reach to their totals. How do I know this? Because that’s exactly what I’ve needed to do myself, sharing content that is not appropriate to my feed just to keep the numbers ticking over.

The truth of ‘sharing is caring’ is, in this case, pretty much a lie.

sharingiscaring

There’s a deeper truth here to be considered: I can see on my list people who shared my work with (it appears) nothing in common with me, except the fact I shared their posts previously. One assumes therefore their reasoning goes along the lines of ‘well if they did this for me and I do that back, maybe they’ll do so again.’ This is the moment that my husband would accuse me of being overly cynical and I’d look at that glass of water over there and know it is both half full and empty simultaneously. It would be lovely to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, right up to the point where you’re proved correct in your outlook. Assuming most people will be using this service for free, that means an awful lot of sharing to allow you to do the same. That means a feed full of stuff that could effectively be curated without you ever having to write a word. I can totally see the appeal of that for certain people, and then it stops being about one person hand curating their output and becomes something completely different.

greatjobguys.gif

What you have then is a Twitter account full of other people’s work making your output look both relevant and vibrant, that nobody effectively reads. The problem with CoPromote for me, like it or not, is that it’s not a network that meshes with my interests long term. I could use it to float the occasional general interest piece, maybe with lots of pictures or a lighthearted subject matter but honestly, it is not what I need to sell my extremely niche interest project. Fortunately to discover this only cost $40, so there’s really no harm done. If I’d have gone full out with Twitter I would ironically have a far better chance of reaching the exact audience I want, because I can specify the particular type of user I’m trying to reach, but if I attempted to spend the same amount of money doing so? I’d undoubtedly have gotten about the same return, probably less. Effectively, if I want to sell the IoW, I’m going to have to do so for myself.

When I sit here and think about that conclusion, it isn’t a surprise at all.

You Wear It Well

This is where we begin.

Before I start, everybody has homework. In order to understand what follows? You need to read this article on how not to say the wrong thing. If you don’t read that and then continue onwards? You’ve missed the entire point of this post.

One of the many problems currently with building relationships almost exclusively using social media is that of context. Just because you know something, doesn’t mean everybody does. Take that time for instance when my brother was taken into Hospital for a brain scan. Now, that sound pretty serious, right? I thought so, but did anyone in my family decide I warranted informing of this? Nope. The only time I found out was after it happened, and then only third hand. Sometimes, you are deliberately kept out of the loop. Other times, the stuff that’s common knowledge to Person A in Country B is lost on their ‘friend’ halfway across the world. Things that seem to happen with a matter of course in your State or County? Complete mystery elsewhere. The point here is simple: context matters.

Bye, Alan ^^

Now take that a step further, where something I write about in the heat of anger, relevant to stuff only I understand and isn’t really that well explained, gets taken completely out of context by someone else. If this just happened this morning I’d not be here, but I can count… well this week I’d need more than one hand to do so and that means its time to do some soul searching. Am I to blame because what I write isn’t clearly alluding to my point of view? Is this me being vague and indistinct as to my desires and reasoning. In at least one case, nope, genuine ignorance was the key. Complete, unabashed and total ignorance. It’s happened before too, this is not unusual. You just chalk them down to experience and move on. However when the conflicts are deeply personal, I’m sorry, but I don’t get to shoulder all the blame.

That’s where the diagram comes in.

Ziegler and me, sitting in a tree, VIRTUALLY INVISIBLY.

I cannot solve your problems. I’m not a doctor, and I can’t make you better. Guilting me into feeling bad when I can’t talk to you is wrong. Also it’s really not my fault I wrote something that you didn’t like. I’m not your friend either. I know you feel as if we’re close, or that I speak to you in a way you can grasp and understand, but if you look at that diagram above? You are in the middle of your own emotional storm and there I am, the outside ring, only a lookie loo to your issues. You cannot drag me into the inner circle without a LOT of work and possibly a divorce, and I’m really sorry, I didn’t write this about you. If I reach out and talk, I do so because that’s what you do when you’re bought up to be polite and not a twat to random strangers. The fact remains, I cannot help you get better. I cannot solve your problems, I’m not a therapist and I’m certainly absolutely not an expert on anything other than my own personal feelings. So what does the girl who wants to help but knows she can’t change everything do in situations such as this? Especially when she knows people are aggrieved and potentially upset because their context and hers don’t even overlap?

There’s not a fucking thing I can do. That’s your job.


Ain’t that the truth.

When I make factual errors, you can be all over me, and that’s what happens now because when you reach a certain threshold, people will make it their task to correct you. When it happens you apologise, profusely and with absolutely no hubris whatsoever. Facts are intractable. You just gotta live with your stupid, and although people will tell you not to be so hard on yourself, that’s actually quite healthy, because so many people never even stop to think why they may have been wrong to begin with. However, for all the other times? No, I didn’t mean to drag all this up, but now its here it’s not a bad idea you try and deal with it, rather than pretend it doesn’t happen. Because if you genuinely want me or anyone else to get past that first circle? It’s your job to bring the walls down, and then to deal with what happens if it all goes wrong. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve desperately wanted to know better and who have completely shut me out. You don’t get lucky every time, trust an expert on failed relationships here. Just because I lucked out with a significant other early on doesn’t mean it was smooth sailing either. Everything requires effort, people more so.

I am not your salvation.

For many people, social media is both a blessing and a curse. It allows you to interface with like minded souls when none exist in your town or city. It can often substitute for reality, but ultimately you need both sides of the coin to exist, and that’s hard. I struggle in my life to balance everything: work, home, school, net, games… and undoubtedly at times, things suffer. Then you have a week like this when all you do is sleep and eat and work and try and feel nothing because everything just hurts when you touch it. You fuck up. But instead of just moving on, occasionally, you use the moment as a line drawn. You resolve to be better, you work on forward and not static or reverse. This is my 50th year on the planet and I urge all of you who look to me for guidance and support to start with yourselves. You are the strongest person you know, and the kindest, and the most determined if you only allow yourself the opportunity to believe in your own worth. You don’t need other people to reinforce this, you need only to discover the belief inside yourself.

Go and be the awesome you are, and let yourself believe this is possible, because it is. When you fall down, undoubtedly, you’ll find me here too. Everybody fails. That’s just a part of life.