Torn

At the end of last year, I quietly announced via Social media that 2018 was the year I’d learn how to draw. I suspect that a number of people will have seen the intent and expected this was happening because of a desire to produce art for people in exchange for cash. That has, and never will be the point. The only reason I’m here, lets be honest, is for me.

I’m looking for various means of expression this year, and Inktober awoke in me the understanding that art is not just a full torso shot, or a lovely picture of a dog. It is the means by which I am finally able to take the mess of feelings and emotions inside my brain and makes sense of them in an environment that is non-threatening and helpful. I picked a comic strip format, it is now apparent, not because it needed to be filled with my slowly evolving sketches. I already know that the process of even basic visualisation is having definite and positive effects. So what if I’m beginning with boxes and easily createable metaphors I’m comfortable using? It is still drawing.

Admitting any problem, after all, is the first step to solving it.

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I’m also REALLY conscious of stepping on other people’s artistic toes. This is not an attempt to try and ride coattails or steal other people’s thunder. I don’t admit to being an expert at anything except my own feelings (and even that is stretching the definition at present.) What this daily process allows me to do is make sense of a part of my mind I’ve simply been too frightened to address… and already this is having a positive affect not simply on workload, but the means by which I can become happy. There’s a desire of course to help other people out and try and make thinking more attractive on a wider stage… but the comics need to remain mine. Just for me. It’s satisfying if someone else can associate with them, or compliment me on them but honestly, that’s not whey they’re here. This is not a Twitter account set up just to cash in on the concept. I’m not here to make a story and ask you to back it.

I’m here to learn to live with myself.

The J Word

I made a graphic so when I upload all the art to Flickr at the end of each month I have a space to store it all, and can archive it here. After that, I can look back on the first real and tangible effort to deal with my mental fitness for several years and know this should have happens a LONG time ago.

You live and learn, if you’re doing it right.

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.

Moving On Up

As was the case in 2017, every Thursday for the next 52 weeks I will focus on writing plus getting both old and new projects finished and started. It seems an appropriate moment therefore to put up a list of intent for January, that we can revisit in four weeks to see how I did. Also, saying all this stuff  ‘in public’ makes it more likely to happen, as I discovered (rather usefully) last year. Most importantly of all, I GET TO DO A SWANKY GRAPHIC 😀

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IN PROGRESS

NaNoWriMo Novel (Revision Stage): I’ve reset my Goal tracker to start from today at 9am. We’ll see how much I can get done. I’d like to have it in a workable form by the end of the month and this is not an unrealistic goal.

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Poetry and Haiku for January: This week’s poetry was all produced ahead of publication, a habit I fell out of towards the back end of last year, for various reasons. The plan is to try and have the two scheduled pieces for Twitter written and ‘complete’ well before Friday, and then schedule today the publication of both pieces to this site across the weekend. This then upgrades the site to having content for 365 days a year, which has been my goal since at least the latter part of 2016. It took me this long to get arse in gear, but is totally worth the effort.

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February Planning: It’s the Month of Love coming up, with Time to Talk day scheduled for February 1st. This means subject matters will Love Poetry, Erotica, Depression and Self Care. This seems to me a decent combination of bases to cover, all of which I can write about with a measure of confidence. Also, apropos of nothing at all, I’ll have been writing my Warcraft blog for nine years next month. Might have to do summat about that…


So, that’s the plan, except I’ll be honest and admit I will be nipping for a quick kip once I’ve written my blogs for the day. I’m carrying some kind of throat/ear based virus/infection thing and I’d really like to stop it getting any worse than it is, so a brief break to recharge the batteries is in order…

 

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.

NaNoWriMo :: 50 K DUN

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Except… I’m not finished, not even close. I’ve provisioned two days next week to knock the last 20k or so off in a couple of sittings. I’ll make sure I commit to the Revision Camp that happens early next year. I just want to write more fiction now, not less. This entire process has revitalised my desire to tell stories, and will now serve to help me totally redefine how the Internet of Words goes forward. Mostly, I’ve enjoyed having to think again in a Universe of my own creation.

Let yesterday be remembered as the one which began the redefinition of my writing adventure. Let today be filled with the memory that I need to sleep better, and relax more too.

NaNoWriMo :: Day 13

Nanowrimo 2017

Well, here’s a thing. It is all going REALLY well. I’ll grant you, some of my writing is shonky as hell at this stage, but the plot is golden. I’m confident with where everything is heading, there’s no panic over motivation or characterisation. When I write my two leads (and right now this is simply a two character affair) they sit in my head with glorious clarity. There is reassurance and comfort in familiarity. All that needs to happen now is to keep the momentum going. The only fly in the ointment is that I forgot to update my word count over the weekend and therefore won’t get my ‘updated every day for 30 days’ badge. I’m a gamer, come on, this shit matters to me.

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That gap’s gonna annoy me, you know…

However, as you can see, I’m over halfway to completion… but I doubt I’m actually halfway through the novel. Looking at where I am the final total’s gonna be around the 70k mark, and I’m being pretty economical with exposition. It just happens to be a long and complicated story, and I need to tell it complete before I can go back and consider chopping stuff out. Right now, however, according to the stats, I’ll be done with 50k around the 23rd, which still allows time to get the thing finished at my level by the end of the month. I hope to put some extra work in today and tomorrow in order to push myself to about 35k. That’s what I’d like to happen anyway.

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I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself because I know how important it is with the limited free time available before Christmas. Most importantly of all however, I need to prove to myself I can go from start to finish and make this happen, because there are so many other half finished projects I could be working on apart from this novel, and they all could potentially make me some money. It has become a bit of a personal crusade now to show I’m capable of sticking with this through to the end, as that’s always the part of the process with which I fail. Saying you’ll create something is one thing, having the courage to complete the task is a different ask entirely.

Today’s going to be a lucky day. I’m going to make sure of that, and take a huge step towards a major goal.

Communication Breakdown

Origins

Those of you paying attention will know that yesterday was my 51st Birthday. These events are often odd affairs: I can remember my 40th as one of the darkest periods of my life, whilst a decade on I was in Paris, with my family and staying in the fanciest Hotel I’d ever experienced. As human beings, we tend to put a lot of emphasis on these celebrations, and it is only this year that I’ve begun to understand why that is. Those revelations will undoubtedly serve as personal blogging fodder for several days: for now, I wanted to spend some time explaining how a very particular group of people have influenced my journey to this point.

You see, without exception, it is those who take time to be critical whom I respect the most.

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Being positive is, for a writer, often the coward’s way out. I can remember moments when asked to critique other people’s works, I’ve struggled to find anything positive to say. In those cases, the compliment sandwich becomes a difficult meal to make. You know how this works: two positives that act as the bread to a filling where you get to lay bare all the bad stuff. Except sometimes, there is only filling. As a society, we are now pushed to be positive for a lot of very good, noble and totally correct reasons. There are extremely sound foundations for encouraging this behaviour… except when your sandwich is sans filling…

It is a balancing act I’ve always found hard to maintain because I was made a blunt instrument. I’ve had to learn to communicate a balance, and over the years on my three blogs you can, if you take the time, watch this evolution take place. There will be days when I continue to say ‘fuck you’ to various sections of the establishment, and that remains the case because there is the realisation that these people just don’t listen regardless. If your idea of criticism is the passive-aggressive format that at least one of my stalkers took in an attempt to try and make me feel guilty for ostracising him? I can see the difference now. That ploy’s not going to work anymore.

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With everybody else, I can find a working relationship. Language differences do not matter: I can Google translate now if required (and I do when the need is there) and honestly if the willing exists on both sides, everybody wins. The best criticism I get, consistently, is that which simply holds a mirror up to my own failings without fear. It happens far more than most might realise too: the exchanges via Social media, realisations that are highlighted by (often) the most unexpected of people. The number of individuals who still DM me when typos turn up in posts is a true joy and is never going to get old. It isn’t pedantry, but a physical manifestation of care, and I will forever remain grateful.

Being online is becoming less dangerous with each passing day as a result. Those who are annoyed enough to block me from their lives have done their job in teaching the lessons around how sometimes, however hard you try, people will just hate what you are regardless. Occasionally those blocks, however, are for sanity, and the understanding that someone isn’t listening to anyone but themselves. For the people who really matter you just mute and allow them the chance to vent, because they give you that respect in your space to do the exact same thing. Having taken all my Twitter mutes off this morning after a period where I just needed to breathe (metaphorically speaking) there a readiness to engage again.

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Writing isn’t just an exercise in self-satisfaction, despite what some authors might say to the contrary. It is as much about being able to grasp and accept the critical responses of others as it is being able to do the same to them. I am happy to be edited, which was once not the case but only to a point. If I feel someone’s suggesting the removal of a point I feel is crucial to an argument or a narrative, it will stay intact. If someone sees the World in a differing way to me that is absolutely fine (and I can respect this) but not at the expense of my own view or indeed feelings on the matter. If it is obvious someone is not prepared to compromise… then you walk on. With too much else to do, some fights are simply not worth your time.

However, I listen to all the criticism I get. Good and bad, positive and negative, I have found the means to assimilate it all. That is something I know many people just can’t do, but for me, it has become as much of the process as the writing itself. I have been forged in the heat of decades of pitched Internet abuse, attacked by trolls and fools as well as finding some of the best and most brilliant friends a girl could ever ask for in her journey to enlightenment. Sometimes, you take it all because there’s the understanding that on some days, you get nothing at all.

This is what I have become, and it is glorious.