Tag Archives: blogging

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.

Slow Progress

Positivity Link: Another fire rescue, but with a surprising hero.

Told you I was fairly disorganised: Saturday’s post has been missed. On the upside, it’s led me to realise that two posts in a row is not a good idea. Therefore, Progress Day will now occur on Sunday. Unfortunately, if you read this I must inform you that today’s post is very simple, lacks a ramble or a rant and is literally a summary of my personal progress and findings-out this week. It puts the “log” in blog. It’s Chuck without the Norris. It’s Boris Johnson with tidy hair.

And without further ado (if you still dare to read on):

  • It’s difficult not to feel like I’m moving backwards with school. About a month ago I let you lovely readers know how anxious I was about school. Surprisingly (well, to me) I’ve made quite a few friends, and I always have someone to talk to in and out of classes. I get along well enough with my teachers, most likely because 4 out of 5 of them are as crazy as me. My target grades are high. I no longer fall asleep upon arriving home out of exhaustion. Still, the workload gets me down. It feels like I plough through one pile of work only to emerge at the beginning of another. I guess they didn’t say that the transition between high school and college was hard for nothing.
  • My novel is going reasonably well. It might be ambitious (and crazy, what with all the complaining I’m doing already) but I’d like to have it finished before June 2013. Hopefully. I’m disorganised and I can be lazy, but I’m determined to finish the novel.
  • If you live in England, you might have heard of an event called Stoptober, which basically encourages smokers to give up smoking throughout the length of October. I don’t smoke, but I have given up on drinking Pepsi and Coke for the month (my family affectionately call me a coke-head, though it’s not a joke we make in public). I’m a week in, and just have…24 days to go. Jeez.
  • In looking for a good article about this post’s positivity link, I stumbled upon an white nationalist forum which referred to the heroic boy only as a jigaboo. If you’re not familiar with the word, it’s a derogative term for a black person. I won’t bother linking to the website because I don’t want to give them the attention. Slow progress. Slow progress indeed.

Blogger’s Block

Positivity Post: Positive Art on the London Underground

I’m in a curious position at the moment. It seems that now my creative writing muse has reawakened, my blogging muse has gone to sleep. It’s very odd. I’ve written 500 words of my novel this week (at the end of this post, if you’d like to read it), and yet the last time I posted was another four days ago. I’m sitting here now, with my room in a mess and my revision undone, anxious to get a post written. Yet the only thing I can write about is the fact that I’ve nothing to write about at all.

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This is an Addictive Blog…

Positivity Link: A picture with an inspiring response

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..according to Nicolite, and one-hundred and sixty something followers! Thanks again for nominating me for this award. 😉

Why do I blog?

Why does anyone? I didn’t begin the month of August intending to get into blogging. I began it thinking that my Summer was coming to a gradual end, and worrying about my progress into another stage of school. I did intend this return to education to be different; I wanted to push myself more than I had at high school. I also decided, that month, that I wanted to be more honest to and about myself. A big part of that was tied up with the issue of revealing my sexuality, but another big part of it was allowing myself to fulfil my potential. You see, I’m lazy. I am. I’m smart, but I don’t push myself as much as I should and I convince myself that I can get good results with little work. That’s a form of dishonesty. Or it should be.

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The Perils of Being an Anonymous Blogger

Does it ever strike you as odd the breadth of imagination you find on the internet? All the blogs, the websites, even the occasional oddly-poignant Tweet or mysteriously wise comment. There’s a lot of talent to be found online. The internet is a playground, and we are its children. And a lot of us are wearing the face of anonymity.

If you’re anonymous, why? Was it necessary or not? And if you aren’t anonymous, why do you use your own name?

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Writing and Pop Syndrome

DISCLAIMER: I don’t actually own one of these. But I really want to.

This was meant to be a novel-writing blog. Well. A blog geared around the idea that I write, with dashes of other subjects too. It isn’t quite, but I like it that way. Motivating myself to blog motivates me to write. Just last month, I entered a writing competition, and I await the publishing of its longlist tomorrow with bated breath.

The novel I’m working on almost died an early death. I was 57,000 words in, nearly at my goal of 72K. I had but a vague idea of its ending, and could not muster up the creative energy to finish. I was absolutely stuck. I spent two months trying to figure out what was wrong, and I had my epiphany last week: the chronology of events was badly mixed up. I hadn’t even decided which chapter was the opening one (Yes. You’d think that might be key). The resolution: I’m rewriting it word from word to string events together coherently, while making minor edits along the way. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, because I’ve recaptured that urge to finish and the sense of direction I had at the beginning of the project. And that is a wonderful feeling.

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Now for the odd part of the title, because I didn’t want to make two posts in one day (and this won’t be long, anyway). This little ramble-rant was inspired by a question I was asked yesterday. I’m not exactly old-fashioned and I’m not one of those hard-line feminists, but am I the only one who is sick and tired of all the scantily-dressed pop stars? Why do you have to be half-naked to be famous? Our society’s obsession with sex and women is so ingrained and overt that Madonna, trying to rake back the fame she had when she was young, is now flashing her breasts at fans to emulate pop “stars” like Rihanna and Katy Perry. God, I feel embarrassed for her. I’m not a great fan, but the only female pop star who seems to have a sense of decency and class is Beyonce. The male stars are guilty of the same thing; they all boast about sex and money to appeal to male fans, and toughness to appeal to the female (along with same old love songs). And thus I’m glad for people like Adele, Emeli Sande and Florence Welch, who can sing well without relying on sex to sell themselves.

Fresh Starts

Don’t you just hate fresh starts? Or is it just me?

On Wednesday, I will be thrown into a new school to join the mass of hormone-driven young adolescents known as Year Twelve, a.k.a Senior Year if you’re American. 😉 Sure, I go along with a bunch of high school mates I’ve known for just under two years, but the majority of the student body will be strangers to me. There will be new teachers, a new floor plan to get used to, five lessons for me to scramble around finding, and glass doors to walk headfirst into (I almost always end up doing this in a new building). Most importantly, I will fail horribly at introducing myself.

I always feel incredibly helpless when I’m thrown into a new environment. The confidence I’m told to muster up never arrives. Does anyone else feel the same way, whether it be at a new school, workplace or town?

I’m very bad at meeting new people. I’m rather introverted, so I tend to be shy around people I don’t know. I do try to speak more, yet it rarely works. I’ve noticed that extroverts tend to start conversations by talking about some aspect of themselves, and I can’t do that well because I’ve always found talking about myself boring (and a bit narcissistic). I can’t start things off with my name, either, because people always mispronounce both my fore and surname. The first they never seem to hear properly, the second they notice is African and so they attempt to pronounce (I have never understood why) with some strange accent. They never get it right.

But perhaps I worry too much. Perhaps by some miracle someone might one day pronounce both names right; perhaps at the end of two years, someone might even be able to spell it correctly. Perhaps someone might find my oddness somewhat endearing, and maybe when I walk into that glass door, nobody will be around.

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Hopefully, school starting won’t disrupt to a great extent my ability to post frequently. I know I’ve been a bit sketchy during the past week just attempting to get ready for it, but the thing about the school period is that it tends to help me get organised, oddly enough.