Dark City

Ooh hang on, I don’t have a March Content header, lemme go fix that…

Today is all about the things that stop me doing what needs to be done. Some writers would consider them as ‘inner demons’ but they have many names: procrastination, fear, Imposter Syndrome… and the list goes on. This week, I can’t focus on completing tasks, and am limping through the week on a day by day basis. Each morning, I slowly chip away at a rapidly decreasing list of Things to Do and if by Friday that means that half the month is planned, I will probably still not be satisfied.

You really are your harshest critic.


If I use an exercise metaphor here, these are the days when you just have to do the miles. It becomes a rhythm, after a time, that is progressively easier to grasp. Call it muscle memory, simple familiarity in repetition, but the process of a daily blog post for many years has allowed the foundations of routine to grow from many different places, not simply with my writing. Putting in the words, even when you don’t want to, is not a waste of time if the next day you throw all that work away. Without the effort and impetus, nothing changes. It took me a while to grasp that intractable truth, but now I have it you can bet your life I am not letting go.


I have this slogan on a favourite, battered green t-shirt, bought for me by my husband at a cycling show. It is the reminder to me that it does not matter how long something takes to do, as long as when I start it is finished. This is the impetus to complete the Novel, to keep chipping away at entering contests, to refine my poetry technique and try new stuff like the Aesthetic Haiku. If it’s worth the time to think and plan, then it is worth the effort to complete. This has also taught a separate lesson over time; knowing when to stop something when it isn’t working.

You cannot be an expert at everything, however hard you try.

I started the J Word project as a means to learn to draw. Three months in from that start point, I’m still no closer to that goal… and it won’t happen, despite people’s assertions that it could. Ability is not holding me back. The problem, such as it is, comes from knowing that to do this well I’d have to stop writing to do so. There are simply not enough hours in the day left with everything else, and so then I have to make a choice. If asked to choose between drawing and exercise, or writing and drawing, there will only be one winner in both cases. Exercise and writing are what matter most right now. However, there is no denying the importance of the strip as a creative outlet (and stress relief) and therefore it stays… but in a different format.

This is part of the miles that needs to be done right now, so I find a way.


Therefore, I will limp my way through the week, celebrating the victories whenever they happen. Hopefully, by Friday I will be able to see the end to at least a couple of the long-term objectives on the table, and a sense of accomplishment as a result.

Whatever happens, the words will continue to make me stronger.

More Than Words

Everybody’s a critic.

The World I choose to inhabit is not kind, a lot of the time. When I see people talking about abortive suicide attempts being thwarted, I remember every argument and back-biting row there’s been, often over the most stupidly trivial of subjects. I cannot forget the ‘oh you shouldn’t follow them, they’ve done X’ messages I’ve had from people over the years. For every bright spark of joy and positivity there are many, many darker corners where people say they don’t want to go. Except they do, and they keep returning to kick people while they’re down, and then stuff just gets raked over and over until it bears no resemblance to anything you previously thought you knew.

This is the reality of Social Media as abuse, and it bothers me.

It bothers me because I am now aware of dragging abuse to places where it did not previously exist. One of my Podcast ventures this week received an anonymous e-mail which basically poked me with something I’d said the previous show. Then I had a run-in the same recording session with someone who took issue with the way I handled myself in the chat room. Neither of these are any major big deal to blow up over, but the fact they happened at all gives me pause for thought. Because when you choose to be a certain way, inevitably, stuff happens. If you are the kind of person who demands the World revolves around you, inevitably there’s going to be conflict and collision with those simply being what they are. When that happens, it will get messy.

And however good you think you are, it doesn’t pay to assume you’re the one in the right.

Visual displays of achievement piss people off. FACT.

I have come to realise that what I consider as motivational screenies of my Workouts are actually resented by some who can’t do what I am able to. I didn’t grasp this until recently and then stopped posting for a while, until it occurred to me that actually it really doesn’t matter what I do, on any subject, regarding what I stick in my own social media feeds. So, the reports are back with the clear understanding that I’m not actually the one who has to change how I act in this equation. However, I need to be mindful of consequence if I tread this path. So, you don’t go and rant at people until you know the facts. You don’t post anything you’re not prepared to stand by with irrefutable evidence. And you NEVER LIE. Which for many, pretty much completely defeats the point of Social Media existing in the first place.

Sometimes, there is innocent and pure 100% ignorance of circumstance. I’ve been there and done that: if I’d had known that in-game item was named after your friend I’d certainly not have used it in the way I did, but the name was so not related to anything I could grasp and the reference so obscure? Maybe I just didn’t realise it was what it was. The assumption is always that you’re attacking someone, which is utterly and totally wrong. There’s never any thought that you’ve made an innocent mistake, because that would just be too easy. And heaven forbid you be given the opportunity to defend yourself. However, if you don’t think and dig yourself a bigger hole when you could have simply sat back for a bit and considered your position? If you give someone the ammunition and motive they need not only to shoot you but to escape from the crime scene scot free? Frankly, you only have yourself to blame.

History should teach us everything.

I am very deliberate in how I approach things, especially when it comes to the Internet. I wish more people thought first before just ranting. I wish more people were polite, including me. I know I shouldn’t post when tired or at certain times ‘of the month’ and the skill of learning when to walk away? I have to say, even though I agree some people need to speak their minds? Others so definitely do not.

The best thing you can ever do for yourself is to know that anything you say can be dangerous, and to plan accordingly as a result.