First Anniversary

There are two pretty big anniversaries covered today, both from a year ago.  The first, which is probably of most relevance to readers, is that this blog is now a year old!  365 days, 220 posts, 10,548 views and 107 followers; it’s not famous yet by any means but has gone much further than I ever expected.  The blog is continuing to go through an unfortunate slump in activity as I continue to get to grips with university (my timekeeping seriously lacks something to be desired) yet I still seem to be getting views.  Views don’t equate to quality, of course, but it’s humbling to think people are even looking at the blog on a daily basis.

views

Although posts may be less frequent, I hope to return to posting about topics which interest me and engage further with the world community of bloggers.  Posts I currently have in mind include ‘What is Anthropology?’ based on my less than favourable impression of this bizarre subject, a look at the ages of world leaders, a fresher’s perspective on career prospects, a review of 2013 at New Year and intensive coverage of voting events ranging from by-elections, the European Parliament elections in May and the exciting Scottish independence referendum in September.  It’s a big year – watch this space!

The other anniversary marks a year of vegetarianism.  Despite the stray gelatine and one unfortunate incident where I tucked into half a chicken pie before thinking, “this doesn’t taste much like soya…” it’s been a remarkable success!  I charted my progress here and here, but even then I never expected to last so long.  “I could stop tomorrow,” I wrote back in December, while in January I admitted “I still believe I’ll eat meat again one day.”  The latter remains entirely possible, of course, although I find it difficult to imagine how it would occur.

So here’s to another productive, meat-free year!  I’ll see you next November 18th.

I’m Still Alive

Hello!  It’s been a very long time since I last wrote a post on here and I have to admit I’m really missing this poor, neglected blog.  Unfortunately time management at university is something I’m taking a while to adapt to, and the blog has sadly had to suffer as a consequence of this.

Rest assured, however – I am not dead!  I have some ideas for posts coming up, which may begin to trickle through when I find time.  Also, I’m rather impressed that people are still reading the blog – I’m getting something like 15-25 unique visitors each day!  I’d like to thank everyone who’s even just skimmed across an article for taking the time to have a look; I’ll try to produce something of more substance soon.

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.