Category Archives: Blogging

Absence

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It’s been almost eight months since my last post. Explaining why I left so abruptly is difficult to do, but in a nutshell: life’s thrown a dozen curveballs my way and I’m not always the best batter.

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The Great Joy of Criticism

…rock. Sometimes.

One of the hardest aspects of creating something, whether that is a novel or a blog post, is being criticised about your own creation. Because when you make it, it might seem the most perfect thing in the world to you, or something at least acceptable. Criticism, if not well-handled, acts as a swift, demotivating kick in the teeth. It’s why so many new writers, new bloggers, new artists, new <insert creative individual here> give up so quickly. They don’t yet know the secret of the successful people: criticism is the true chisel to your block of marble, not your own fanciful ideas and original ventures. That kick knocks you down, but to get anywhere, the frustration of it better make you get the hell up again.

Everyone’s been there. On WordPress, it’s the beginning of blogging and the stage where the novelty wears off, where you’re waiting for a like or comment. And one comes along, but it’s one of disagreement. Or you’ve settled on one topic for your blog, and someone comes along who says that they dislike the way you do things, that the way you write seems forced or unnatural.

And you get mad. Don’t deny it, you get mad.

Maybe you’re sure that you’re blogging about what you’re passionate about, and you think this guy’s obviously come to the wrong blog. And maybe you’re right, he has. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use his criticism. You can use it strengthen what you write, maybe to give readers notice about your blog’s focus, or to examine other opinions whilst maintaining your own. Because there is you, the blogger, and there is also your audience. Blogging is an exchange between blogger and audience, and wider opinion only means more is learnt and shared.

Many of you likely realise that I’m still working on my NaNoWrimo novel, which currently sits at around 59000 words. That may sound like a lot, but its still about 13000 words off my target goal. Recently I ventured back to an old writing support website I used to hang around, and posted a chapter excerpt to be reviewed. And I did get that kick in the teeth. And it was painful. Painful because I’ve kept the majority of my manuscript to myself, not shown it around to anyone, and somewhere in the process of writing I’d forgotten that creativity needs an audience. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’m determined to correct my mistakes and keep on working. The same thing happens in my college essays, but each time I get up again to try again. Eventually, I’ll get it. Eventually, you’ll get it. And if even one new creative mind elsewhere could get it, then that’s one more artistic and individual mind we have in our society. One more person who did not give in.

And yeah, sometimes criticism is just not constructive. Sometimes its just a load of crap, and you’re justified in ‘accidentally’ deleting that comment. While there’s a great joy to be had in criticism, the joy of improvement, sometimes it’s easier to ignore something non-constructive than to get in a mutually-degrading shouting match with what is more often that not a childish troll.

2012 in review

So this is my ‘End of 2012’ post. Four months on this blog and I like to think that I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve managed to rack up 10000 views, a small but loyal following and even more importantly several friends. It’s been so freeing to post and express myself on this little blog, and I just have to thank God and my lucky stars that I took the leap and started it. WordPress is a great site, and I really have to thank the WordPress team for finding my one post all the way back in August and helping me meet other great bloggers like yourself (yep, I’m talking to you. 😉 ) Thank you people. Here’s to a great 2013, no more Mayan prophecies and success in our never-to-be-completed New Years’ Resolutions. Happy New Year or Xin Nian Kuai Le!

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Fight or Flight?

Look too closely at the bottom-right corner and that’s your appetite gone.

This isn’t a direct response, but this post is certainly inspired by today’s Daily Prompt. Fight or flight, eh? This entire month has been an exercise in that dance for me and many other writers. Four days left, and we’ve shed blood, sweat and ink in an uphill battle to write 50,000 words by the end of the month.

I’ve quit and returned to my novel three times this month. I keep getting that soul-crushing feeling that whatever I write does not matter to anyone and never will, that I am just another 16-year-old trying to hammer out a mediocre novel. My plot bunny, once long-lost, has returned over the past few days. It doesn’t make it easier to get out the words but it does tell me where they’re going. Exam pressure makes me want to run and give in to the weird side of YouTube and my gaming console. Even new friendships make me want to run away (yes, I am something of an introvert.) But I’ve decided to fight, even though it goes against my instinct to run.

Movember (yes, MOVEMBER) was an international fight-or-flight struggle. I say this because everyone knows what a touchy subject men’s health is. There’s this general consensus that men dislike discussing their health; they’re almost afraid of the subject. This month, thousands of bloggers and people around the world joined forces to bring this problem to the forefront. We’ve joined forces to encourage people to fight instead of run. It wasn’t easy. I’m sure the main campaigners and fundraisers were plagued more than once with the depressing thought of minimal interest, little outcome and overall failure. But they’ve fought anyway. And if you’ve even done the smallest thing to help that effort then you know what a great thing that is.

This month of November has woken me up. It’s kept me in the fight for my dream to be a writer, it’s helped get me involved in encouraging the fight in others. It’s helped people around the world wake up too. Heck, in one way or the other it might have helped you. Because for me and many other people this month’s been the difference between facing our fears and doing what we always do. It’s leaving this:

–and facing life like this:

Well, okay. Maybe we don’t look that good.

Movember!

The best Movember ‘stache I’ve seen yet.

Yes, less than a week to the end of the month and here I am talking about Movember. Aren’t I punctual? Well, I’m not so much talking about it as showing you five of the most famous writer moustaches in history with tidbits of commentary. Without further ado:

5. William Shakespeare

Arguably the most famous writer in existence, and yet his moustache is decidedly less impressive.

4. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One of my favourite authors–his moustache gives him more of a friendly grandfather look. Or an uncle. I think Garcia would make a pretty cool grandfather, if you could understand the madness of your bedtime stories.

3. Thomas Hardy

Ah, the quintessential British moustache, the mark of a proper gentleman. Odd, because he appeared rather feminist in his writings.

2. Salvador Dali

Best known as a painter, but it turns out Dali put his fantastic mind to a novel or two as well. More importantly, his ‘stache is too magnificent not to be included here.

1.Mark Twain

Visually, the Albert Einstein of the writing world. I mean seriously; they could be twins!

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Alas, NaNo has taken away my last bit of writing magic and writing a poem was not viable. Also, my intention to add J.K. Rowling to this list did not come to fruition, as I am that bad at photoshop. There’s only a week left, but you can still support Movember through donations, likes and of course visiting the site of the fantastic Le Clown (if, by some misfortune, you haven’t heard of him already.) Zaijian until Monday!

Tales From the Dark Side of NaNoWrimo, and 200 followers.

I’m sure both Nanoers and non-Nanoers alike must now be sick of all the Nano posts and memes. Only 18 days left!

It’s been more than a week since I posted (as one Mr Peter Monaco reminded me.) I’ve had exams and NaNoWrimo to deal with, combined with a dodgy Internet connection. But that’s no excuse. It’s been an interesting week, however. I missed two days of NaNo, and on the second day, I decided to give up. Yup. And then I also told myself I’d give up blogging. Yup. And that was the point my second voice kicked in and woke up my sanity. It happened like this: I carry around papers with the last five pages of my novel printed on them, so that I have something to do when lessons are slow. It so happened that some of my friends read these papers (I had not done the thing where I told everyone I knew that I was participating, as you are meant to do), and had positive feedback to give. And then the sanity kicked in and reminded me of how much I loved writing, and how much I needed to do it, as summarised in this quote:

Oh, I almost forgot about the second part of this post. I’ve actually somehow managed to attract 200 clearly misguided individuals to this blog! Yay! Somebody break out the champagne and forget that I’m 16.

Actually, champagne is pretty bitter. Who decided it would be a celebration drink? Why don’t we all have chocolate milkshake instead?

It’s now been three months of blogging and eleven days of NaNoWrimo. Once again, godspeed to anyone else participating out there (I’m looking at you, Pete and Contrary.)

Wow, I can’t remember what I was actually going to blog about. However, I do know that in honour of Movember and Le Clown I will at some point this week be writing either a bad poem or short story about, well, moustaches. Talking moustaches. Who spout philosophical wisdom. And if I write it up and it is too ridiculous then I will settle on something more serious. To do with moustaches. Also, I have readied something of a rant, partly about celebrity culture and partly about the BBC–I don’t know if anyone outside England has heard, but recently our national television corporation shoved a list of alleged paedophiles into the face of our Prime Minister. Yes, you read that correctly. No, I don’t know why either. But I most certainly have something to say about it.

The crow is back.

What Inspires You To Creativity?

What inspires you to creativity? Do you use pictures or prompts to help you blog, paint or write?

If you are undertaking NaNoWrimo, I salute you. Three days in and it already feels like one of the most mentally-taxing things I’ve ever done. I haven’t had time to reply to emails or comments, and I’ve been putting off school-work due on Monday (terrible, I know.) Whatever muse I had on day one has deserted me, and I’m finding creative inspiration through music and photos (and getting by on Pepsi, seeing as my mother’s finished all the coffee.)

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