Procrastination Deathmatch

So it’s almost time to start writing (for NaNoWriMo). It’s a bit late now for preparation but I have one final tip for those trying to catch up on chores they won’t have time for next month and finishing an outline that they will probably throw out the window sometime during week two.

Don’t do all of the chores. Leave a couple that you really don’t want to do. The ideal chore is something menial, boring and important. Whether it’s deep cleaning the fridge or sorting out the 800 pieces of malware that your mother has somehow downloaded it should be something you loathe.

These chores will be joining your novel in PROCRASTINATION DEATHMATCH. When you should be writing your novel but you’re putting it off these chores are the only acceptable procrastinations. Snacking, Netflix and computer games are for writers. If you owe your novel words then no fun for you. If you haven’t hit at least 1667 words that day either get back to the keyboard or go hack the ice out of the freezer or steam clean the George Foreman grill.

That was an excerpt from one of the messages I have to write as a NaNoWiMo municipal Liaison. I am going to be super busy for the next month. I will be writing a new novel (well the first draft of one), shepherding the members of the Fife forum through their attempts to write and trying to prepare for Christmas.

Usually I don’t post much to my blog during November but this year I’m going to try to continue to post three times a week. However you can expect these to be shorter posts. I will still post the weekly diet update and I will try to post more playlist stuff. I might repost the ‘motivational’ messages that I send to my region. There might also be at least one rant on the subject of how much I hate my fucking novel.

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Behold my shiny new look

Check out the new theme. I liked the old look but I felt that it was a bit bare bones now that more people are visiting and I have multiple pages. I’ve also updated the About page since I think it’s more likely that people will visit it with the new layout.

In other news I sent off another query email. Since that’s almost certain to fail I’ve lined up the next Agent that I will start procrastinating sending a query to just as soon as the current one emails my rejection. It’s important to chain your rejections for maximum damage. I swear this paragraph made sense in my head.

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us and I really haven’t done enough prep. I’m about to spend a couple of days in Edinburgh with my Mother, which is great, but it does get in the way of the traditional last minute scramble of outlining and research. It could turn out to be useful since the story is partly set in Edinburgh. I just have to remember to take lots of photographs.

 

Looking ahead

I’ve been thinking about the best way for me to use this blog to tell my stories as well as using it to talk about the process of making them. I have thought about putting excerpts from my work up here but that feels a little like cheating. At the moment anything I put up here would be a work in progress rather than the finished article and that smacks of short changing my loyal readers.

But then I realised that I have a dimensionally transcendental pub in my stories and that means that anyone, including me can go there for a quiet pint. So I could nip in for a chat with my characters. I could interview them.

Or would that be weird? Would you rather read about crime and dark deeds than terrible pub banter?

Also be on the lookout for Zeppelins. I feel another forecast coming on.

A request for Zeppelin sightings

It’s an old trope of science fiction that you can always tell if you’ve slipped into an alternative reality because there will be Zeppelins. As I’ve mentioned before I tend to nip outside and do a quick Zeppelin check whenever weird stuff happens. You know, stuff like a reality TV star getting elected president.

Things have been getting so weird recently that I think it’s time to produce a regular Zeppelin forecast. That means I need to collate reports of weirdness. I don’t mean the sort of weirdness I normally look for, like that time a goat was kidnapped from a petting zoo and then returned wearing nail varnish on its hooves. I’m thinking more of the rumours (now denied) that Sinn Fein MPs would be taking up their seats in the Westminster parliament for the first time ever.

I’m asking my readers to send me links to the sort of news stories that make them look to the skies in search of airships. I’m looking for mainstream news stories that are as weird as that time a guy in Florida tried to eat someone’s face but also weirdly mundane like the news that two of the Grenfell Tower victims had been threatened with legal action for campaigning about fire safety. One of the weird trends recently is elected bodies and individuals behaving like pantomime villains. I’m sure that used to be really rare.

So if you, my loyal readers, send me links via Twitter (or Google+ or Facebook if you prefer) I hope to produce a weekly Zeppelin forecast. That way we’ll all know if it’s time to break out the helmets and hide from our new reptilian overlords or whatever else we have to expect when we are all shunted into some strange parallel world.

Good luck.

Pointless filler post.

This post is just to let you all know what kinds of things to expect in the coming weeks. Unfortunate I am currently deep in negative spoons so this might be gibberish. Good luck making sense of it.

I’m going to start a series of posts offering advice to young creatives. The posts are mainly aimed at aspiring writers but I will try to make them useful to people pursuing other arts.

There are more Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 posts coming. Sorry but I am not nearly done with talking about that film. It’s just too good. How dare it be so good.

I also intend to write some stuff about Doctor Who. Because I love Doctor Who, that’s why. It’s my blog and I will blog what I want to. Even exceptionally geeky head canons about peculiarly British scifi.

I will almost certainly continue to whine about how hard it is to get published. Eventually I might try to crowd fund self publishing since I can’t afford to professionally self publish properly.

Also if the Conservative party wins the forthcoming General Election in the UK then you can expect more salt that the dead sea from me. There will be language so foul that if you read my blog while drinking milk it will instantly turn sour.

I also have an idea for some stuff I want to write on modern witchcraft. Not airy fairy new agey kind of witchcraft and not the ‘I don’t actually know the difference between witchcraft and satanism’ stuff either.

I may even get my finger out and finally write some steampunk psychiatry stuff.

Anyway. If any of that seems interesting or intriguing to you then leave a comment. Preferably on the actual blog rather than via twitter or Facebook or Tumblr. If you comment on the blog then other people who read the blog will see it. If you comment via social media the only person guaranteed to see it is me. Which is great for me but less likely to start a conversation.

Something weird is happening to this blog

For the last three days this blog has experienced a massive uptick in page views and possibly a very small uptick in visitors. It seems like one or two (possibly new) readers a day are each viewing a huge number of pages.

I have no idea what this means, if anything. If you’re reading this and you’re new to the blog and have a strong desire to read loads of posts please drop me a comment and say hi. If you have a blog that is currently experiencing the same weirdness then please let me know. And if you know anything that might be causing this, or have any theories about it, please share that in the comments too.

It’s probably not actual people… Right? It’s probably bots. It’s probably Google or some similar internet leviathan doing something really technical.

Is it that time already?

I logged on to WordPress to be greeted by an alert wishing me a happy anniversary. Apparently it’s been eight years since I first signed up. Eight years – that’s a lot of whining.

I didn’t start with this blog though. That was at least two blogs ago. I’m not sure I want to go back and look at my older blogs. Just like I rarely go and look at my old diaries unless I’m already pretty depressed and looking for an excuse to wallow. It’s always alarming to be reminded just how successfully I’ve sought out and plumbed new depths of misery and pain.

But I’m still here. Still the undefeated champion of me.

It made me think about just how much writing I’ve done online over the years. I’ve been on the internet regularly since 1994. I caught the tail end of usenet. I’ve been on a lot of forums (or is it fora) and I’ve been pretty active on some of them. My first WordPress blog wasn’t my first blog.  That’s a lot of words.

Someone told me that Neil Gaiman once said that you have to write a million words of shit before you get to the good stuff. I sincerely hope that blog posts and forum posts and social media all count because between them I have definitely written several million words worth of shit.

I’d be tempted to say that I’m owed some good stuff but I’m old enough to know that the world doesn’t work like that. Perhaps it’s enough to hope that I’ve exorcised some of the shit for good.

Nothing to say

I’ve been trying and failing to write a blog post for over a week now. This isn’t that post. In that imagined post I had something to say. I don’t know what it was but I’m sure it was interesting. I’m usually pretty interesting. Or so I like to think in my rare moments of positive self esteem.

This is not that post. This is a post to say sorry for not posting because I couldn’t think of anything to post about and I don’t like to say anything if I have nothing to say.

I don’t have any news. I did tweet some pitches for a tweet pitch event (yes that’s a thing and not a euphemism). I haven’t heard anything back and I don’t really expect to. I’m starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with my novel because I can’t easily boil it down to less than 140 characters. I’m pretty sure that I could describe Lord of the Rings in less than 140 characters – Heirloom inspires epic journey and much soul seeking, also eagles – There, did it. Why is it so much harder for something I wrote?

Also still wrestling with the difficulty of finding an agent/publisher that likes the kind of things that I write. I actually left the house to go to the Library to consult a copy of The Writers and Artists Yearbook 2017 so I could create a list. Shockingly there are no agents with entries that read “Seeking 100,000 plus words of horror/detective/sci-fi/occult story set in modern day London, must include demon sex and artificial intelligence.” Mind you the entries are in quite small print. Maybe I just need new glasses.

But at least I got round to cleaning the kitchen so that’s something.

Can I tell you a Secret?

Can I tell you about how I’m feeling? Can I tell you what I’m thinking about? Can I relay my deepest, darkest truths? Can I put down the terrible burdens I carry with me every moment of the day, at least for a moment?

 

No. No I can’t. And that’s a problem.

There are things I can’t write here because it might be read by people who know me and I don’t want to worry them. And this blog is supposed to be entertaining and there are somethings that I just can’t make funny. But I could write them on an anonymous blog.

I could write some of them anonymously but there are things that are so toxic and dangerous that I can’t put them anywhere online in case someone vulnerable read them and was further damaged by them. I could write them down in a pen and paper diary though. Of course eventually other people might read my diaries but by then I’ll be dead and some of the sting will have gone out of the words.

Some of the sting. There are things I can’t write anywhere in case some day my children read them. And even if I could write things down somewhere no one would read them that’s not the same as telling someone.

Maybe you’re wondering why I don’t just see a therapist or a counsellor. I can’t afford to pay one and, though I live in the UK and we have free medical care, the mental health services are badly underfunded. My doctor wont refer me to anyone because I’m not sick enough. The life-long battle with depression hasn’t killed me yet so I must be doing OK. My doctor also wont give me pills because reasons.

There are free counselling services. The local one had an 11 month waiting list last time I checked. With so little coverage I’d feel guilty taking up their time. There are certainly people around who need it more than I do.

So I’m stuck here thinking things I can’t write down or say out loud but I need to talk about. I’m worried that I might get frustrated and say something to the wrong person and then I’ll have hurt someone. If I keep silent the only person I’m hurting is me.

Greetings

I’ve picked up a few new readers over the last couple of weeks so I thought I’d take a moment to say, “Hi, how are you, and how the hell did you find this blog?” Not that I’m hiding it or anything. I’m just amazed that anyone finds it.

I’m sure there’s another introduction post from a while back that I wrote the last time I had a bunch of new readers but I can’t find it because I am an idiot. Well, I’m not really and idiot. I just play one on the Internet*.

Anyway. Hi to the new readers. I’m a fat, middle-aged Scottish woman. I come from Aberdeen but I live in Fife. I write, I play computer games and I crochet. I mainly blog about writing. I’m also a Spoonie** and sometimes I blog about that. I will occasionally post about mental health generally and depression and eating disorders in particular.

The name of the blog comes from the Stick o’ Doom. Which is my walking stick. Which I threaten my creative friends with whenever they’re blocked.  This started out as a joke but then someone gave the stick a name and people claimed that the threats inspired them and then people starting requesting that I formally threaten them.

I should make it clear that I don’t threaten to hit people with my stick. The official Stick o’ Doom threat is: If you don’t finish your word count for the day (work on your novel/finish your painting/edit your film) then I will come round to your house and stand behind you poking you with the stick until you do.

I have some planned posts that involve Zombies. Just so you know.

We have now reached the audience participation part of the post. New readers, feel free to comment about how you found the blog and why you’re sticking around. Old readers, feel free to tell me why you’re still here because I’m constantly amazed that I’m still here never mind the rest of you. RL friends feel free to share tales of the Stick o’ Doom if you ever found it helpful.

*And occasionally in real life.

**A person with a chronic and life limiting condition. For an explanation of Spoon Theory follow the link.