Welcome to my adventures and experiments in creativity. Where writing is like running: sometimes I know where I'm going, and sometimes I see where the mood takes me.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Baby, You Ain't Seen Blogging Yet

Oh dear. Last post in November? That's, like, so last year!

Ah well, onwards and upwards. Or, at the very least, sideways. Let's see how many excuses I can come up with...

Great Expectations

When I relaunched this blog with a fresh identity at the start of that month, it was with good intentions as well. I didn't expect to post two or three times a week, but I hoped to manage one short post every seven days.

Now here I am, more than three months since I last posted anything online, no closer to claiming my place in the pantheon of great writers (!) (or bloggers!).

Or am I? I haven't been lazy; a fact which gives me cause for optimism.

Optimism that I am still right to pursue 'Option 1' - building my creative identity while flourishing in, and wanting to keep, my 37-hour-a-week day job. Where that 'regular' job is concerned, colleagues are starting to make use of my creative abilities. I've had a technical article published in an industry magazine, and I'm writing content to support my employer's redoubled marketing efforts.

Excuses, Excuses

I'll also be inflicting my inimitable style on people via the medium of Powerpoint in the near future! I'm not here to blog about all that corporate stuff, though. Instead, this is a quick round up of the creative work I've done in my own time:

- Written and submitted a 2500-word entry for the Jeremy Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing (which, as it happens, I've had an email about today. I haven't won).

- Written and submitted an 800-word entry for the We Said Go Inspiration Travel Writing contest (which, as it happens, I've had an email about today! My entry will appear on the website on March 17th and a winner is due to be announced in April).

- Submitted an application for the Room 204 Writer Development Programme run by Writing West Midlands (successful applicants due to be notified by end of March).

- Most importantly, I have been working furiously on A Tour of the Indies. I've employed the services of a professional editor: the brilliant Joy Tibbs, from Joy of Editing, who has improved the manuscript with her suggestions and given me confidence that the tale I've got to tell is one that others will want to read. As a result, I will shortly be submitting the finished 35,500-word book to publishers.

As excuses go, I think the above are good enough reasons for not putting more effort into blogging. The Mogford Prize entry was a full three weeks of work; the We Said Go entry, a mere three days. Three full evenings on top of one normal working week, though, is exhausting - and doesn't leave much room for projecting a creative identity to the wider world.

Value For (No) Money

Blog posts are supposed to provide the reader with value, and I'm concious that this one so far might read like:

'Boo hoo, I'm too busy'
'Hey! Look how productive I can be! (sometimes)'

Neither of those scenarios are intentional. Rather, I'm keen to show that writing (or any creative practice) can be done concurrently with a regular day job, and I'm keen to help people who feel worn down by their job try and achieve more with their spare time.

I can't tell anyone how to get noticed - because, currently, I don't get noticed! - but I think I can use my endeavours as the basis for advice on being more creative more often. While A Tour of the Indies sits on the desks of publishing people, that's where I plan to focus my writing next.

Getting Out Into The World

Applying for the Writer Development Programme, too, is my way of showing that I'm serious about being seen as a writer, and connecting with the outside world a lot more than I have been doing. Time is a precious resource, and if I can tap into the knowledge of people who work with writers day in, day out, then it can only help make the fullest use of the hours I have available.

To that end, I'm working on a new online presence too. A website where a blog is not the central feature, but where I can present myself professionally and showcase my projects. At the same time, I hope to post a couple of times a month about the challenges of balancing work with ... well, more work.

Enjoyable work!

Dodgy Metaphor, Ahoy!

This blog in its current form is unlikely to last much longer, then. But it has been a useful stepping stone on the tricky journey across the river of establishing my creative identity. I've got a clearer vision of what sustainable online presence I think I can have, and which I think can help achieve my goals.

It's a good example of the benefit of experimenting; of thinking out loud. Rewards may not be instant, if rewards are desired at all. But for anyone who has ever been unsure of their creative identity, or who hasn't come up with a fully formed vision of their ultimate online 'brand', then refreshing a blog or adopting a change of approach is far better than stagnating and becoming resentful.

Even if you do then neglect it all in a desperate chase for competition success...!

Do you balance creativity with a day job? Is your day job exciting or mundane, and does that help/hinder? If you've got any thoughts on the above or examples of your own, please do get in touch either by a blog comment or by email.

And if you're interested in A Tour of the Indies, why not pass the time until it becomes available with my first book: We Will Write Them on the Pitches. Click the link for more information and where to buy/download.

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