Posts tagged ‘writing’

November 28, 2012

portrait of a beginner blogger: please ‘like’ me

Tuesday 27.11.2012

As soon as you wake up you check your email to see if anyone has ‘liked’ your latest blog post. Your mood for the rest of the day depends on a) whether anybody has noticed you posted, b) how many people have ‘liked’ it, and c) who they are –  are they just ‘liking’ you in order to drive traffic to their blog, or might they actually have looked at your post? You spend all day constantly checking your email in the hope that you’ve received more ‘likes’.

You care so little about the self-promotional side of blogging – you are above that sort of thing, of course – that you don’t actually know why or how your posts get seen by the random people in the blogosphere who seem to ‘like’ your posts.

You don’t actually read other people’s blogs, or only the well-established ones, by people who actually know how to write. Your time is far too precious to waste reading people’s rambling, poorly-articulated efforts.

Gosh, 10 people are ‘following’ your blog. What does that mean? Who are they? According to WordPress they think your latest post was ‘awesome!’ WordPress is suggesting you click on links to ‘awesome’ things these people have posted because you might like them. Ok. Who’s this? Oh, this takes you to pictures of scantily-dressed young women. You’re clearly not part of this blog’s demographic. You don’t think you’d like this person who ‘liked’ you. Ok, who’s this? A self-styled, self-help guru on achieving mindfulness, fulfillment and inner peace through a macrobiotic diet. You don’t believe for a second they read your post about wine tasting. You don’t ‘like’ them back. The next one sends you to a post about being a missionary in an African country. What could you possibly have in common? And the one after that links to a post about eliminating swearing from his writing, and your posts are full of what he calls ‘f-bombs’. You are beginning to suspect that WordPress pays people to sit in front of a screen all day watching blogs being updated and randomly ‘liking’ posts. They’re like drug pushers, getting you hooked on being ‘liked’.

Look at this guy’s posts. Quite well-written, but no way are you going to read to the end. You toy with the idea of making a helpful suggestion in the ‘comments’ section about keeping posts short to ensure they’ll be read. But then you remember that you are not in this for the self-promotion, all that sordid, mutual back-scratching. You will attract readers to your blog because of the quality of your art.

You haven’t told anyone you know about your blog because it’s not ‘ready.’ When you’re satisfied that you’ve achieved a sufficient level of excellence in your art you’ll notify them. You’re not sure how. You’ve tried dropping hints to a couple of friends and family members about what you’ve been spending all your time doing but they’ve shown no interest in finding out the address of your blog. You long to belong to a community of mutually-supportive quality bloggers, who always read and comment on each other’s work.

In the mean time you guess you’ll settle for being ‘liked.’

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November 22, 2012

the point of journalling

110309 Wednesday

I’ve just spent the morning harvesting my ideas from my recent journalling. I realized that the purpose of journalling, or rather, what I get out of it, is ‘braingasms’ – and I had one when I came up with that thought, a little shot of dopamine from my brain, rewarding me for my efforts.

There are days when I write pages and pages of crap and nothing happens, but then things start to percolate and float to the top in subsequent days. I wonder if I could graph the relationship between the number of ideas I have and the amount I write, to see if quantity really is more important than quality.

Finding ideas in amongst all the crap is like panning for gold – except far more unpleasant, and I don’t know if I can compare what I find to gold. The main gratification is the braingasms, and you get those whether the ideas and images are good or not. There’s no quality control in the brain department responsible for rewarding ideas.

November 7, 2012

it’s all part of the process

01.03.11 – from my journal

This morning E. is coming around. When things aren’t great we have a tendency to depress each other. Or maybe it’s that I bring her down. She’s never been unemployed and the thought terrifies her. How can I not bring her down?

I just don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do. I wonder if I wrote this 100 times, I’d feel better?

So far today I’ve watched 2 and a half TED talks, and it didn’t help. I did a search on innovation in Milan and got to a couple of interesting-looking websites. I looked up networking events in Milan and have put Toastmasters, British Chamber of Commerce and PWA in my diary. It made me feel terrible. I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to. I don’t want to go to these things with the express purpose of meeting people.

All these things make me feel like such a freak. Ok I’m in a relationship, but I own nothing, I don’t have children, a mortgage, a pension plan. How dare I be a consultant, who am I to tell anyone anything? I feel like I’m going mental. This isn’t helping. I’m giving free reign to my demons and they’re setting the tone, taking over. God, I’m so scared. I’m so scared. I’m so scared. Is this helping? So the refrains of today – and it’s only morning, 9.51 to be precise, are: I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to, I’m scared. My brain is in “flight” mode.

Why did Toastmasters work for me? Because there is a point to the public speaking thing. It’s challenging – in a real way. I’m not sure I ever “sold” myself, but it does force me to show myself, even to myself. Ok, I need to start doing it again.

What would my future me tell me? Don’t worry it will all sort itself out. I mean, it has done in the past, always, something’s happened, I’ve made things happen, things have improved, dramatically. But, honestly, I don’t know what to do. I really don’t.

October 18, 2012

morning pages

Journal 21.02.11

The trouble with journaling on the computer is that it’s easy to get distracted by emails and all the other things I could be doing on it. I need to decide that all I’m going to do for a period of time is journal, write randomly like this. It’s got to feel like doing floatation tanks, like nothing can touch me while I’m doing this. Of course, it’s particularly impossible today with A around, but he’s glued to this Spiderman cartoon I downloaded for him. Now Alan’s sent something boring-looking. Ooh, the pull to read the document is strooong, but I will resist, as it’s very unlikely to contain any earth-shattering revelations. Now I want to watch Spider Man with A – it’s a really good episode, about when Peter Parker gets a costume from outer space which is an actual alien. A is sitting on a chair with his eyes 5cm from the TV. Please God no-one ever read what I’m writing. This is absolute stream of consciousness stuff which is why I sound so retarded. Even when I’m conscious of what I’m thinking I can’t help sounding retarded. Obviously I am a bit. Trouble is I pass for normal in most situations. It was interesting seeing Massimo (Alessandra’s) yesterday. His voice sounds like mine, like it was never used when he was growing up. I wonder if he recognized a fellow introvert. I hope the bloody dish-washer finishes soon. It’s going to be quite hard to cook without any pots and pans. God, I am such a bird brain. Maybe I’m more like a bird than a snake. Andrea compared me to an eel, but that was only because of the slippery part. I feel like a snake or lizard because I need to lie around re-charging my batteries before engaging in intense bouts of activity which completely run my batteries down. I’m not very mammalian. Birds are not mammals, but they’re warm-blooded. Are birds reptiles? As dinosaurs they certainly bore a great resemblance. I suppose they’d have to have a warm-blooded metabolism to generate the energy to fly in a constant way, rather than being forced to depend on heat.  Why don’t I just trust my reptilian tendencies? I could accept that I’m going to be unproductive a lot of the time, that it won’t be “efficient” to hire someone like me if you need to see your workers constantly at it. If you want to see results you should hire me, but don’t expect to understand the processes I follow or to see how I deliver the work. It’s just not like that. Ohh, Peter Parker has his clothes off, and looks very sexy. I have about 15 minutes before I really should start cooking. I wonder when the bloody dishwasher will be finished. I wonder if –

October 18, 2012

dad’s writing voice

17.02.11

On the rare occasions I’ve been able to bring myself to read dad’s notebooks and scribblings to himself I’ve been horrified by his writing – and him an English teacher. His language sounds so affected, like he’s trying on some kind of persona that never fits. He never got to find his “voice”. I remember thinking when I was growing up, when are you going to do something? When are you going to write your novel, publish your volume of poetry? I asked him when I was about 21 what kind of writing he liked best, and he said “the aphorism”.

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