Update # 15 – Stepping Stones

Update # 15 – Stepping Stones

I’ve had a lot to think about these past few weeks, not least of all where I want to go with this blog.  I didn’t consciously decide to take any time away from the writing, but sometimes when life gets in the way of something it’s a good idea to use it as an opportunity to step back and really look at what you’re doing.  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but what it really does is put things in perspective.

Just to be clear, I haven’t stopped writing – far from it, in fact, because progress on my novel (quality-wise, not so much quantity) has been better than ever.  I’ve solved several plot-holes, laid the foundation for more solid story lines, and uncovered several key truths about my characters.  The work has been slow but rewarding, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  My writing isn’t in question: the blog is.

The last non-repost/scheduled content I published on this blog had me grappling with where I wanted to take things.  Settle for casual blogging and lose the expectations, or dig in and make it work for me.  Fight my writer’s ego and accept that this is just a hobby, or struggle with the stress and the anxiety that comes with the pressures of blogging out of necessity.

My little trip down memory lane had an unexpected consequence: I was drifting away from the blog long before I actually stepped away.  The lack of fresh material on my part made it a lot easier for me to disengage, and by the time real life got busy I was all too eager to use “no time” as my excuse for the lapse in blogging.  The truth is I’d lost interest, lost sight of my initial intentions for this blog: no intentions at all.

Back when I first started there were really no expectations – no outside expectations, at least.  No one was reading anything I wrote, and I didn’t give a damn.  It felt good just to put it out there, to get it off my chest.  Sharing my work was a bonus: what I really wanted was to share my feelings.  The blog showcased all the things I couldn’t say anywhere else, couldn’t tell anyone else.  It was a venting platform, pure and simple.

It was only as I began to get traction, to get regular readers and meet people whose own blogs I read in turn, that complications arose.  Soon I was tracking followers and likes, engaging with the community on a whole new level.  I was far from obsessive, mind you, and it wasn’t like it was a problem.  But I lost touch with that initial honesty, that quiet self-care.  If I’d upped and gone in those early days, no one would have noticed.  There’s something kind of beautiful about that kind of anonymity, about that level of casual detachment.

It’s only now that I realise just how much I miss it.  I’m not ignorant to the benefits of being involved: the feedback, the support, the friendship.  This blog has been instrumental in my growth and development not only as a writer, but as a person.  It will always be among my most important stepping stones in life, but I can’t make it my platform.  There are far more steps to take, and for all its charms this one is far too small for what I have planned.

I’m going to take this blog back to its roots: a casual place where I can express my thoughts and feelings without engaging any ulterior motives.  This doesn’t mean I’ll intentionally step away: it just means I’ll only do as much as I feel motivated to do.  If I’m not feeling particularly keen on checking in for a while, I won’t.  If I don’t feel inspired to write, I won’t.  If I feel like sharing more fiction, I will.  If I feel like keeping you up-to-date on my novel, I will.  The main thing is that I don’t feel required to do anything.  I refuse to be motivated by stress or my own fears of perceived outer expectations.  From here on out, I’ll only be checking in when and if I feel like I have something to share (or if I’m in the mood for some of my friends’ work).

Maybe I’m still uncomfortable with being tied down.  Maybe the modern leper in me is still itching for an amputation, and squirms at the thought of settling.  Maybe it’s his voice in my ear, weaving tales of romantic detachment.  It’s entirely possible this is nothing more than fears of inadequacy, doubts on whether or not I could handle taking things to new levels.  But if that’s the case then I need that casual safe-space all the more for it.  This is going to be the battleground on which I tackle my insecurities and anxieties, and I can’t be adding fuel to the very fire I’m trying to fight.

 

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Update# 14 – Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

Well there are (I think) 5 more fiction pieces to go in our little trip down memory lane, which is probably for the best because I’m feeling a little lost at the moment, and coming back to writing new posts on a regular basis might be good for me.  I’ve also come back to the Fiction Analyses, something I’ve been neglecting for some time now.  Right now I’m working on The Arboretum’s analysis, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be done anytime soon.

I’ve also come to a decision on Utopia, one which may change later.  I think I’m going to keep sharing it, at least for the time being.  Simply put: I like sharing it.  I know I got a little defensive when there was a lapse in the feedback last time, and I’m still wrestling down my ego to try and fix that, but you have to understand that this thing is my brainchild, and when have you ever known someone not to get a little crazy when it comes to their children?  As far as most parents are concerned the sun shines out of their kid’s ass, and metaphorical-writer parents are no different.  Still, it has less to do with that and more with my crippling insecurities, so I’ve got a lot to work on.

All that aside, I still enjoyed sharing it, especially when you guys gave feedback.  So I’ll resume sharing them in parts, picking up where we left off at Chapter 2.  This might not be for a while though, so don’t get too excited just yet.  I also might start sharing old posts on a more regular basis, because hey, why not?  They’re not doing anyone any good just rotting away in the back of the archives, so bringing them out into the light again seems the most logical course of action.

Okay, that’s all for now.  More to come later.

Good luck out there,

– TML

Update#13 – A Trip Down Memory Lane

Since returning from our road trip I’ve been a little slow in getting back into the groove of writing on a regular basis.  I had a nice run going before we left, and was clocking in some uncharacteristically productive numbers working on the book.  Unfortunately the trip sort of disrupted that, and it’s been slow going since.  I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things, so to help streamline that process I’m going to step away from the blog for a bit.

The break will actually give me reason to follow through on an idea I’ve been toying with for a while now, which is to repost some of my older stories.  Most of them were up long before I actually had any regular readers, and seeing as no one’s going to the archives I’m going to bring the archives to you.  Over the next week or two I’ll repost them in the order they first went up in, and maybe even slip in some non-fiction reposts as well.

I know some people are like vampires with the sun when it comes to reposts, but seeing as none (or at least most) of you have ever actually seen these posts, as far as your virgin eyes are concerned they’re still technically new.  As usual I’d love to hear what everyone thinks; feedback is always greatly appreciated!

Anyways, that’s pretty much it.  Thanks for reading, and good luck out there.

Update#12-ish – Overwhelmed and Underwhelmed

Though it may not seem like it, things are pretty hectic right now.  Between a lack of internet (freaking Bell), keeping up with everyone else’s blogs (freaking great writers), and delving into preexisting material on a handful of newfound blogs (freaking archives), I’ve not had much time to focus on my own writing.  Which isn’t to say I haven’t been trying.

I was on my road trip when it happened and since then it’s sort of faded into the background, but the entirety of Chapter 1 of Utopia (consisting of Parts I through IX) is now up on the blog.  I’ve got a lot to think about before I start dishing out Chapter 2, first and foremost of course being whether or not I will.  This isn’t me nursing some sore spot over my perceived lack of interest (honest), I just need to consider certain… alternatives.  Be that as it may, you’ll be the first (and the only) to know if I decide to start sharing again.

In the interest of helping me with said thought process, I’d like to take the opportunity to once again ask for feedback.  Again, this isn’t to reassure my wounded ego of your own interest in the project (although that will be a nice little bonus)- it’s simply to help me figure out what is and isn’t working.  Here’s what I’m most concerned about:

  • Formatting: several of you have pointed out that most of the parts are a bit too long.  If I continue posting sections would you suggest I break them down, even if that means rough breaks in flow?
  • Plot: was anything overly confusing?  Keep in mind this is still the very beginning of the story, but if there’s something you felt simply wasn’t expanded upon enough, please let me know.
  • Setting: again, anything overly confusing or hard to picture?  If that’s the case, any suggestions on what needs to be made clearer and how?
  • Characters: was it difficult keeping track of names and people?  I’m most concerned about overlapping characters like Andrew & Celia or Mike & Patrick.  When you read their sections did you recognise that they were part of the same plotline?  If not, is there anything I can do to fix that?

And of course if there was something you noticed that isn’t on that list I’m still very much eager to hear it.

Update #who-gives-a-shit – End of the Road(trip)

As the above gif and title of this post would suggest, I have officially returned from my road trip.  If this were anyone else the rest of this post would probably be dedicated to recounting fantastic tales of my adventure, but this is me, so instead we’re going to fly right past all that interesting stuff and move straight on to narcissistic self-promotion/self-deprecation.

First off I’d just like to make a little note of the fact that in my absence comments seem to have severely declined, which is hard to believe considering how low they were to begin with.  I’m being petty again, I know, but hear me out.  I can accept that not every post requires or warrants a comment, and certainly if it didn’t stimulate your thoughts enough to deserve such feedback then by all means don’t force it.  That being said, if (and I must emphasise the if) the reason you’re not commenting is because I haven’t been commenting on your own blogs, then we have a problem.

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I follow blogs because I enjoy and admire their content (and by default their authors).  There is not a single person on that list who I follow out of some misguided sense of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.  If I follow your blog, it means I like what you have to say.  If I like and comment on a post, it’s because it resounded with me.  Generally speaking I’m a pretty complicated guy, but in this I’m simple: I mean what I say and I say what I mean.  All I ask of you is that you do the same.  If you don’t enjoy reading my blog then fine: don’t.  I don’t want people following me simply because I follow them.  I don’t want pity likes or sympathy follows.

I’m not going to unfollow anyone just because they don’t read my blog.  Look- I get it.  I’m not an easy guy to like.  I’m insecure, petty, self-absorbed and self-loathing.  Shit like that gets old fast, and it can be annoying.  Hell, I know it better than anyone: why do you think I hate myself?  The last thing I need right now is to be constantly trying to gauge people’s opinions of me.  I could never tell where my old friends stood, so I cut them out.  So this is it.  If you’re not in it for the long haul, then this is the end of the road.  If you unfollow me now there won’t be any hard feelings.  You’ll still see me on your own blogs (assuming I’m currently following you) and I’ll be just as avid and involved a reader as I am now.

I just need to know where you stand.  If you stay, I’ll assume you really want to stay, and that way I’ll know the difference between when you don’t like certain posts and when you don’t like me.  I don’t want anyone’s pity, and this isn’t a cry for help or a cry for attention.

It’s just me.

Road Trip!

tenor

The family & I are headed off on a good old Canadian road trip for the next month-ish.  Unfortunately this means I won’t have a lot of time to write new content, although I will try to finish off posting chapter 1 of Utopia (only 2 more parts to go!).  Who knows, maybe I’ll even resort to the dreaded repost to keep the blog alive.

I look forward to seeing what everyone’s written on their own blogs when I get back!

Good luck out there,

– TML

Update # 11.5 – HOLY SHIT THE STORM’S A-COMIN’ WE WERE PROMISED A CALM BUT THERE IS NO CALM THE STORM’S ALREADY HERE

You know what?  Fack it.  I’ve been reading through what I’ve got written so far in my book, and I’m really liking it.  What’s more is that I’m really looking forward to what you all think of it.  So I think I’m going to start releasing it in sections on like a totally random schedule, just for the fun of it.

I REALLY want to know what you think, and I do mean REALLY.  Loved it, hated it, couldn’t get through it, printed it out and hung it over your bed, printed it out just so you could burn it in a symbolic cleansing, I want to know all your thoughts and criticisms.  Keep in mind I one day hope to release this as a real book, so if you notice something wrong or something that could be better or something that simply has to go, PLEASE tell me.  Your feedback is invaluable.

And so help me god if you like the post and say nothing I will hunt you down and force-feed you bleach.

Whew.  Sorry about that; I’m not sure where that came from.  Things kinda got really intense just there, huh?  Really makes you think about what a guy might do…

Stay posted for more details, and uh… I already told you good luck out there, so… I don’t know… happy hunting?