Sunrise

In six hours I’ll take the last of my new course of drugs and (everything crossed) that will be it, the chest infection that poleaxed me will be gone. In fairness, it wasn’t that which caused the majority of the issues over the last few weeks, but details are largely tenuous. Normally I’d be dissecting the consequences of all this somewhere, but frankly, it’s a pointless exercise. There are far more important things to be doing with my time.

I’ve taken some time to think about what happens as a result of all this, and am really excited about the possibilities on the table. For now, however, I’ll spend the next three days getting everything back up to date and then we’ll carry on with April’s content.

You can expect more pictures going forward, that’s for damn sure.

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.

CONJOIN.jpg

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?

alone.gif

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

wtfishappeningnow.gif

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

Lokisquashed.gif

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…

Seconds Out

I made it through an entire week of content. I’m not sure whether I should celebrate or not, because this means I am now obliged to do the same for the next 51 weeks, and that might be a bit of a stretch… except the process of organising myself is already reaping unexpected rewards. Instead of feeling sorry for myself whilst unwell yesterday there was a bike ride and some really satisfying application of energy to improving the World around me. All that stuff about individuals being unable to change their circumstance is only true to a point.

The more sharp-eyed amongst you will notice that there’s now a page dedicated to my poetry (in graphic format) which started to appear on Twitter in the second half of 2017. I’m hoping to write at least a couple of these a month for 2018, and when they get an airing on Social media you can expect to see them archived here shortly afterwards. I hope at some point to shove all of these together in an e-book or some kind of more formal presentation format, but don’t hold your breath on that.

Traffic Jam Remix

After that, this week is about getting ahead on posting and making some clear air for editing and back-end work. That means you may not see me about as much on Social media but you can rest assured I’ll still be around, working hard. I am looking forward to sharing with you what is coming up for February too, which I’ll be revealing this time next week.

For now, it is on with the grind.

Blogging For Noobs :: Find Time

Blogging for Noobs

This post was due some time ago, and the irony that Part 4 of the 10 Stage Guide to Blogging is all about scheduling is not lost on me. You see, there are times in your life when things inevitably go wrong, and even the best organised of us fall foul of ‘the curse of Real Life.’ It is that moment when you’re simply too busy to plan or write the content you need, and your blog becomes a cultural and content wasteland.

tumbles.gif

For me its been a curious mix of reality and a change in personal focus that’s caused the issues, but I’m addressing them by scheduling this post back in time to where it should be in the chronology: that means this post was written on May 8th, but gets published back on April 28th to remain in the continuity. You see, unless you publicise every post on the day, many people will come to your work long after the fact, and for them it doesn’t really matter that stuff is not in order, rather that you finished the Guide in the first place. This is the real beauty of organisation: nobody is telling you there needs to be content daily but if you want that, it is perfectly possible using scheduling and just one evening a week.

scheduled2

The key to cracking this process is, for me, twofold. First off, you need to make the time. That means a couple of hours tonight to catch up, and tomorrow having provisioned the morning to write three posts and then schedule them for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. That expects you to be able to bring the goods as well: for me, scheduling to do all of one kind of post is the best way. I’m now writing five days of poetry (haiku and micro versions) in one block and scheduling that to Twitter, for instance, and knowing you have a target to hit allows my brain to expand to ‘fit’ the target time available.

Then you have to decide how often you want to post and how that happens. Both Blogger and WordPress have the scheduling function: just make sure the blog is set to your current timezone before you start. Twitter allows you to schedule posts using Tweetdeck too, outside of the remit of the first post, if you want to sell a particular post over an entire day. However, if you want total control a programme like Hootsuite (which works on your phone and tablet too) gives you a lot more flexibility. I pay $10 a month for this, and it’s some of the best cash I’ve spent to get everything working when I need to be doing other stuff.

seeyouinthefuture.gif

What scheduling gives a blogger is the ability to extend beyond the moment, if they choose to do so. Then it is about making the time, doing back end work, and being prepared to stick in the hours. With a couple of focussed bursts, you can transform a couple of evening’s work look like a weeks, or in my case balance work and pleasure and write about them both.

planning_weekly.png

The biggest single obstacle to getting this whole thing to work is time. I have an A5 Moleskine that runs from July 16 to February 17 before the pages simply got too small for everything and I had to go up a size. Before that I filled a year and a bit with notes and plans. I’m still not good at this, but every day it improves, which is the best I can hope for. Eventually, perhaps I’ll have people writing for me… who knows, but I’ll still use this system to plan my life because it’s more tangible than an online equivalent and it means I still write everyday in longhand.

In summary therefore, it really doesn’t matter what you write. What matters more:

  • You write something at least once a week to begin with
  • If you can do one post in an evening, try two a week, and then three… and so on
  • If you can write more than one post in a night, great, but DON’T POST THEM ALL AT ONCE. Learn to use the time you have effectively. Three posts in a night is a week’s worth of blogging (Mon, Wed, Sat)
  • You do this every week for a month, or you write three times a week, or every day at 8am… and you establish a routine that works. Once you have a routine, it will be easier
  • Learn to plan posts beforehand
  • Learn how to go back and fill in gaps using scheduling too
  • JUST LEARN, AT YOUR OWN PACE

blewmymind.gif

The key this week is to just write, and use your time in the most effective way possible. I’m not going to tell you what to write, quite obviously, but next week’s post (or in my case the one I’ll write straight after this and send back to the past) will remind you that when you do write, there are some things you ought to consider when doing so. Amazingly, in the Wild West of Social media, there are some responsibilities that come with blogging: ignore them at your peril because if you want to be a success, you will have a day when your words return to eat you alive.

For now though, start that weekly process of routine. It will be utterly worth it.