Writing

I am a writer.  This probably comes as no surprise since I write a blog, but I consider it to be one of the core elements of my being.  I must write at least two or three thousand words every day, be it on this blog, fiction, diaries or textual communication.  This is something I take for granted, but every now and then I remember that people actually exist who don’t like writing and try to avoid it.  I can’t imagine how empty a life that would be, but each to their own I suppose.

Thing is, I like to call myself a writer but does simply writing a set number of words actually make someone a writer?  I seem to have a hierarchy when it comes to the importance of the words I write:

  1. Fiction
  2. Blogs
  3. Diaries
  4. Textual communication

Interestingly, the number of words I typically write for each category becomes fewer as you advance up the hierarchy.  There’s a similar pattern to the amount of effort I put in.  But surely, if I value the fiction I write more than blogs then I ought to prioritise that?  Yet I clearly don’t, considering blog posts regularly amount to over 500 words whereas the most fiction I’ve ever managed to write in one day, in the last few months, is 429 words (yes, I do keep count…).  This has sparked a bit of an internal crisis within me: How can I be a writer if I don’t write what I claim to be worth writing?  Do I like the idea of being a writer more than actually writing?  Am I a fraud?*

The natural result of this crisis is to focus more energy into my fiction, which is largely my current strategy.  That’s one reason why I’ve reduced the number of blogs I expect myself to produce each week, and it’s kind of working.  There’s been a gradual improvement to my progress in fiction, with my current project soon to reach 4,000 words.  I’m a writer once more!  But I shan’t neglect this blog either; it’s all about striking the right balance.

Arguably, there’s nothing more significant in the labeling of someone as a writer than getting work published.  Which brings me to the most exciting announcement of this post: I’m now a published author!  Well.  Sort of.  I’ve had a short story published in a local anthology, Wirds fae da Wastside.  I haven’t yet held in my hands a finalised copy but it will be pleasantly strange to see my name in print once I get that opportunity.  It all starts here!

*Intense self-doubt is another symptom of being a writer, so I hear, so perhaps I shouldn’t worry too much.

Beautiful Shetland Sunset

I took this picture earlier at the local cinema and music venue while hiding from a vivacious stag do.  As you can see the sky had gifted us with a glorious few moments of its beauty before the sun retreated behind the hills.  This was a very surreal moment; I felt as if I had stumbled into a holiday advertisement.  More interestingly, the splendour faded after only ten minutes, making me wonder just how fleeting the beautiful sites one often sees in travel ads actually are.  It might seem strange that the refraction and reflection of light can produce such pleasure for us, and I struggle to find an evolutionary advantage to such appreciation.  James Lovelock mused that this pleasure might derive from a subconscious satisfaction that we have an exact place in this perfect world, that we share a deep connection with everything we can sense.

Blog update: for the time being I’ve decided to blog at a pace of roughly three blogs a week, to be loosely published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays – plus whenever there’s anything particularly pressing to write about.  It’s likely I’ll again change this approximate schedule once I’m at university, but I don’t suppose any of this matters much.  I’m working on the assumption that, like market values, the quality of my blog posts will increase the fewer I write.  We’ll see.

 

The Problem with Reviews

This is an announcement to all 60 of my followers (60!  That’s incredible!  If even a fifth of you aren’t spambots I’d be thrilled) to say that I’m probably going to stop writing reviews for films, TV shows and books.  This is for a few reasons:

  1. Simply, I’m not enjoying them.  I find them a bit of a slog to write.  While it’s fun to completely hammer something I dislike or to highly praise something I love, there’s only so many ways I can say, “It was alright”, and it’s getting boring trying to think of them all.
  2. Perhaps I’m just not great at reviewing, I don’t know, but I found myself generally churning out the formulaic, “I liked this because…” “This didn’t please me because…” making sure to cover Plot, Characters, Themes, Style/Direction, etc.  It’s beginning to feel like if you replaced the nouns of my reviews you’d basically be left with identical templates.  A couple of reviews managed to break free of this mould but most don’t.
  3. They’ve brought out the worst of my obsessive nature.  When starting films or reading books I’ve been thinking, “Oh, I need to review this after.”  Which sort of adds stress and, when I’m busy, has actually discouraged me from reading or watching films – which is always a bad thing!

This doesn’t mean I’ll never write a review again, but I am going to stop churning them out as I have been.  It also definitely isn’t an end to my blog posts on literature and films; these are still some of my favourite topics and, I’m hoping, this will allow me to create more thoughtful and deeper analyses/interpretations of various works.  I still plan to publish at least one post a day until September and these will still largely be divided between the Topic Triumvirate of Social Sciences/My Life/Literature and Films.

What Do Adults Do With Their Lives?

So, four weeks ago today I left school.  I had feared that an unfillable void would consume my life for the following three months until I left for university in September (Edinburgh, to do English Literature and History – extremely exciting!).  Such a void didn’t immediately come to pass due to a couple of social events in the first week and then being involved with a great play.  However, in the week since that play finished I have found myself at kind of a loose end and I realised that I have no idea what one is meant to do with the rest of their life after they finish school.

Ideally, upon entering this adult world an individual would find a job.  In the last few months I’ve applied for a handful of jobs and asked in a multitude of local businesses if they were in need of temporary staff.  Of these, one turned me down (Boots, because I failed the online test – apparently stating men and women should ignore gender labels on perfume and arguing that make-up is pointless makes me undesirable?), and the rest simply didn’t get back to me.  Of these, I found out that one wasn’t hiring temporary staff so I’m hoping that’s the reason for the rest – I can’t really blame the national youth unemployment of rate of 20% because we’re generally lucky with low unemployment in the area I live.  So, yeah.  I’ve kept my eye out for vacancies but I’m starting to think there’s really no point getting a job for two months only to then move 300 miles away.  Instead, I’m planning to volunteer.  I’ve applied to the local credit union who will hopefully take me on but failing that I might stalk the charity shops.

As a result of this unemployment, I really have entered a mild state of panic as to what adult life actually entails.  Even with a job, unless it’s a dream job – which is unlikely – I’m envisaging adult life as a constant struggle for fulfillment.  I’m sure it isn’t, but I’m allowed my adolescent moment of terror for adulthood, right? (If not, how else do you explain The Catcher in the Rye’s popularity?  Certainly isn’t its groundbreaking narrative!).  For the remaining two months I’m planning to piece together various idea to try to fill up time.  Make crépes, travel to the northernmost point of the country, write a novel/dragged out short story, make more crépes… Oh, and I’m getting a piece of work published in an anthology at the beginning of September (probably)!

Well, I’m sure I’ll have more to do which interests me once I arrive in Edinburgh.  Museums, libraries, societies, the parliament, studying… Ahh… Also, I was wondering whether I should start making ‘vlogs’ when I get there.  My reasoning is that there will be so many visuals of my new life I’ll want to show off which words alone won’t be able to do justice.  I’m not that great a speaker, but perhaps vlogging would actually help with that?  Anyway, I’d put them onto my Youtube account if I do decide to go with that.

Stay tuned!

Offshoot: Introducing Alternative Histories

Because I now have a fair bit of free time for the near future (job hunting is an incredible pain when you only want seasonal work), I’ve decided I might indulge into my Nerdy side and play with some alternative histories.  I did consider just adding them to this blog, but I quickly realised that they just wouldn’t fit in here.  Through The Fringe seems to have developed into a bit of a serious, ‘tackling the issues’ style of blog, wheres Alternative Histories is entirely just a bit of fun.  I don’t want to fragment my blogs (and, cynically, my views) over too many websites, so I’ll keep the combination of reviews, commentary and life posts on here – unless that really irritates anyone – and ensure this is the last schism which occurs.

So anyway, please take a look.  It probably won’t be to your taste, but who knows – it might interest someone.

 

First Post

Hello, reader!  This is the first post of my new blog.  I am still getting to grips with WordPress, but soon this blog shall hopefully be full of content.  The types of posts I shall upload will probably include things about my life, thoughts about the world and some commentary on current affairs.  I hope for this to evolve as it goes along.