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Thursday, 31 October 2013

HALLOWE'EN COMES AROUND AGAIN AND I'M STILL BLOGGING.

How many times did I decide to kill off this blog? I've lost track. Something comes along, and I add the topic to my list of things to waffle about.
   The blog abides.
   Properly, nay, improperly, the blog's official start came on Hallowe'en. I sat in a public place frequented by junkies, jaikies, flakies, druggies, sex-offenders, dog-beaters, people recently-released from jail, and people who had a tenth of a clue about somehow avoiding a return to prison real local characters.
   Most of those people are not judged, except on the matter of noise-level. Some of those people are judged harshly. In and out of court.
   On that night, I merely contended with the infrequent distraction of children playing an interminable computer game. Oh, and I also wrestled with this blogging platform - which eventually decided to play ball.
   Rain fell. Gremlins died. Words were published. The blog began. REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE ran, semi-structured, in themed pulses of six weeks. I blogged ahead of the game and automated publication.
   Now, I publish these posts from home. (I recollect a brief phase in which I blogged from my portable telephone. Not a pleasant experience.)
   Begone, telephone blog. Farewell, public library.
   Many a time, I felt like shouting THIS IS A FUCKING LIBRARY FOR FUCK’S SAKE, AND I DON’T FUCKING CARE THAT I’M FORCED TO UNDERMINE MY FUCKING ARGUMENT BY FUCKING SHOUTING, YOU FUCKING FUCKERS…
   Pardon my nostalgia. I have the internet now.

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The ability to blog at any time didn't destroy my capacity to blog ahead and automate. That method of blogging has fallen by the wayside, though I may pick it up again.
   I have adopted the notion of storing blogs for use as and when, without automating delivery. What's in the blog larder right now? Oh, this and that.
   So far, under the new regime, I've been caught short once. The network went down, and I didn't have an automated blog post to hand. Delaying an item by a few hours...that's no delay.

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I'm blogging and Hallowe'en still comes around again. What to talk about? Writing. I cast my net wide across the digital sea. What do I see?
   Writers who feel they must produce so many books in a given timespan to consider themselves successful, as though an arithmetical formula will wipe away unsuccess.
   Authors who are obsessed with the nature of reviews.
   Scribblers who care far too much about hurting the feelings of an unknowable audience by turning in stories that may just run contrary to unfathomable audience expectations.
   Wordsmiths who think it normal to rewrite books after publication.
   Storytellers who permit the non-concept of Great Literatureto shackle their ability to write a good tale.
   There's a lot of doubt out there - and that's only right and proper. But you can take things too far. Don't let the idea of writing a story stand in the way of writing a story.
   First. That point about manufacturing umpty books inside a given period. There are only so many tales to write within a lifespan, but, other than that, don't tie yourself to a number. Just write. Don't just write. Read.
   I made a point of getting more reading done this year, at the so-called expense of writing. But all that reading fuelled my writing. The expense was really a trade.
   In the first year of self-publishing, I managed to put out a million words of material. Somewhat a little over that, if I misremember rightly.
   And in this second year of self-publishing I did much more reading. A lot of thinking went into reorganisation. Learning was done. Some of that was even fun.
   Sad to say, so far I've only put out around a quarter of a million words this year. I've written far more than that. Projects are stacking up.
   I steered well-clear of burnout. Yes, I could write and write and write and write. But I need to read, too. And I really must think as I write, otherwise writing becomes mere typing.
   Don't grow fixated over putting out this many books or totting up that many words, or works. It's easy to grind out oceans of shit, if you are caught up in a game of numbers. Play the game of words, instead. Stop counting them. Enjoy writing them.
   Second. Authors and reviews. You mustn't care what people think of your work. As long as you are thinking of your work, that's what matters. SEE THIS BLOG POST.
   Third. On a related point, don't skew your story around to cater to an audience. Just write the piece. Tell the tale. True, you may aim your rocket-ship arrow at a rocket-ship audience.
   That werewolf tale is for the lycanthropists in the crowd. But don't guess, second-guess, double-bluff, or go mad considering what the audience might be thinking. Just write.
   Fourth. Write your story. Edit your story. Cut loose of that story by publishing. And then, in the great thereafter, only fix typos or appalling plot screw-ups.
   Don't alter a tale's essential fabric after publication. If you aren't satisfied with the way things went, shrug and write a new tale.
   Fifth. Great Literature™. I find much difficulty in saying what that is. More importantly, ponder the delusion involved in telling yourself you are writing Great Literature™ as you are writing. If you set out to write Great Literature™, you'll only succeed if you type G-r-e-a...
   Sometimes there's everything and nothing wrong with obvious humour.
   Overview? The more books you write, the easier it is to write another and another and another. With failure comes experience and with experience - especially the experience of failure - comes confidence. Confidence aided by persistence.
   I shredded the first novel I completed, thus sparing the world - on the off-chance that some damn-fool publisher damn-well published that atrocity.
  The more you write, the more you write. You'd like to think that the more you write, the better you write. Who is to judge? Everyone and no one. Perils of the writerly life.
   On pleasing the audience. Well. You shouldn't allow yourself to be caught in that particular tangle. Really, you shouldn't. You really shouldn't. Really, you really shouldn't. How to find a way to emphasise that...hmm...repetition?
   Okay, clarity. It's a good thing to please your readers. Doesn't mean you are doing something right, though. Proof is often less than concrete. It isn't necessarily a good thing to want to please your readers. That's different. Ask yourself. Why do you want to write stories?
   I love writing stories. They are puzzles that I have to solve, as no one else is there writing them with me or for me.
   Eventually, the story is done. And I cut loose of it. I'm aware of the need to make my story readable, but I never set out to please some unknowable audience. The audience is thoroughly unknowable and unfathomable.
   So yes, cliché, it's just me and the blank page - and I am left to get on with it. As for success. Is it about producing X number of tales in Y amount of time?
   Not for me. Success in writing is about feeling I've created a story that works. It's intensely personal. And I'm not saying this to slyly state that an alternative view comes across as impersonal.
   Some writers live by the notion of writing mechanically. If that works for them, I can't wholly condemn...
   That approach is not for me. It feels better, nicer, to hear what reading and writing means to all you scribblers out there in the dark. What fires you up about writing? Something that runs deeper than sales or reviews, I'd hope.
   There are many tangled paths leading through the writer's life. Follow a few. Get lost in the woods, and see how you feel when you are unlost once again.
   Worrying over churning out books? Unworry. Disappointed in the tale you wrote? Pen another. Obsessed when it comes to reviews? What happened to being obsessed when it comes to writing?
   Fail. Spectacularly. Shred that tome. Begin again. Earlier I was looking over another writer's words, with a view to quoting her and providing some sort of authorly inspiration on this here blog.
   The sentiment I spotted wasn't an original one. It is all over the internet, like flies all over a cheap suit all over the waterfront like sailors all over.
   To some of you, writing becomes a mire filled with landmines and diseases. It's easy to slip into the morass, blow up, and come away with the plague. There's a 35% chance of catching cold, too.
   The points I mentioned are all points you should not be caught up on. There are many other points on which you may falter. Keep writing. Get stuck. Learn. Become unstuck.
   In finishing, I'll quote the late, great, Missy Biozarre.

I understand what you mean by stuck. The only advice I can offer you is: writing begets writing.

   She wasn't wrong. I'll go further. Bad writing eventually begets better writing. Better get writing.

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Of course, I really have to finish on the point that gremlins once again attacked the construction of this blog post. Must be a Hallowe'en thing.
   Update. Yes, rain is absolutely pelting down. As though you had to ask.
 


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