Ooh it’s back to double-meaning headline time!!
But, Ian, what the hell are you warbling about this time, I hear you cry! Well, I don’t, but in my mind my blog is insanely popular and people want to hear what I have to say. Oh, to dream my band of followers!
Which brings me to the topic of today’s ramble. For my recent posts have deviated quite a bit from how I started. This has helped to grow my follower numbers significantly, but the original purpose of the blog seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. But I have legit reasons for this which I’d like to share with you.
Why the hell did I get into this nonsense in the first place!
So why did I start this? What was the madness behind sharing my madness? Simply put, I wanted to have a platform on which I could write regularly. Writing is one of the things I love to do the most. It’s my creative outlet. As other posts show, this manifests largely in writing Harry Potter fan fiction of a dubiously questionable standard. Here’s the cover of my latest one, which is told episodic-style an hour at a time, mimicking the format of 24, one of my all-time favourite TV shows. Click the pic if you fancy reading it.
Then I saw a magazine article about blogging and thought ‘that might be fun.’ What would I write about? Who knows. I’d deal with that problem later.
Now, at the time of launching, I was writing fiction like an out-of-control machine. I mean literally. I’d be at my laptop 8-12 hours a day, mostly encamped in my suntrap of a garden. It was a scorching Summer, I was energised, it was a beautiful thing. Even quitting my job was a good thing. My militant attitude stirred me, I was confident that I was in the right over that and I’d be well compensated and back in work in no time.
And that was where my problems started.
But by that time I’d already paid to go premium!
I have to just insert here that this isn’t about money. Or, at least, not making any. I don’t expect this to become popular. Hell, I’m not even a household name in my own house, so I don’t envisage me ever making a quid off of this. But I did pay to get a premium package, and I’m a complete Scrooge. I knew I had to think of some content or I was literally peeing my dwindling cash supply up the wall.
It was Money for Nothing – and I’m no fan of Dire Straits
Now when I started I had a few things to write about. I was in a grievance battle with my employer, they were dicks and I could rant away about them safe in the knowledge that I was right and all would be okay. I could also look forward positively to new job prospects, as I thought I was so awesome I’d need a pimp to sift through all the people who wanted me.
Therein lies the reality folks – pimpin’ aint’ easy.
Or necessary, in my case. I’ve had so many ‘thanks, but no thanks’ chain rejection letters that I’m thinking of including them, myself, with each new job I fruitlessly apply for, just to save the recruitment officer the time of digging one out. It’s actually soul destroying. To be told you aren’t good enough to say ‘Can I sell you insurance (that you probably don’t need) with that?’ just because your 10 years management experience wasn’t on the end of a frickin telephone line. It’s enough to make you question the point of it all. If there is a God up there he’s taking the bloody piss now!
Not that I was totally devastated by that particular rejection. The idea of a Call Centre job fills me with a deep sense of cold dread. Telesales, telemarketing, cold calling – I’d rather stab myself in the eye with a rusty fork. It wouldn’t even have to be rusty. One of those little wooden chipshop forks would do. Don’t see them much anymore, do you? Probably for the best, always went through me when they touched my tongue, nails down a chalkboard time.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the job market sucks and I have no skills or prospects. But at least I have the outlet of my writing…
Oh wait, that vanished too.
Which is where my legit reason for post changes originated. Now back in the Summer, when I was writing like it was my personal form of Crack, I felt I could write great stuff in my sleep. 10k words a day? 15k? No sweat. I was writing a hugely popular fan fiction story, I’d started some short originals and come up with some interesting ideas for the forever unwritten novel. I would stroll around the city thinking of great exposition I was going to write, and I’m pretty sure the staff of my local Sainsburys thought I was schizophrenic for the amount of times I caught myself acting out dialogue in the aisles!
I was at the peak of my powers and I couldn’t get the ideas down fast enough.
Then my amazing former employers threw my grievance back in my face, told me it was all my fault and that I had no solid grounds for complaint. It sent my self-confidence plummeting. It was hard to take, I wont lie. And confidence is key to art, as you are often all alone in the process. The reality hit hard and suddenly things weren’t so rosy.
It’s incredible how easily doubt can infect your mind when it’s vulnerable. Suddenly, I was actually unemployed, not between jobs, as I’d been telling myself. And writing became a topic of contention, not the release valve it had been till that point. It caused problems with my partner, who only saw it as my way of avoiding online job hunting. It caused friction that seriously endangered our 20 year relationship. Thankfully, that’s all been resolved, but it was a close thing.
But my ability and will to write literally stopped overnight. If I opened my laptop for anything other than job searching I became wracked by guilt. I couldn’t write creatively for ages. It just felt wrong to do so. The voices of my disapproving partner and family, the slow ticking of my ever-diminishing bank balance serving as constant reminders of the pressures to sort myself out.
And the overriding knowledge that I’d paid for a blog that I wasn’t doing anything with.
I said I was a Scrooge, right? Tighter than a Nun’s Crotch me. Literally. I’m the kind of guy who will happily stroll up to the coffee counter in Wetherspoons or Burger King and swipe all the little UHT milks and as much sugar as my fat hands can carry! All for use in my mahossive tent. Have you seen my mahossive tent. Check this bad boy out:
I have literally stayed in hotel rooms that aren’t as well equipped or as big. Best £200 I ever spent, though by this point I have pilfered enough milk and sugar to start a pop-up coffee stand. Maybe there’s a career idea in that.
But I had to have content and structure. It’s all very well swinging around as random as a compass in the Bermuda triangle, but to make the blog worthwhile I had to have something I could post regularly. One post a week was one of my New Years’ Resolutions. The others were the ones I made last year but never got round to doing.
Oh, and finding a new job, obvs.
Anyhoo, that’s the root cause behind adding some simple photlogue-ing to my blog repertoire. It’s easy, quick and as my ability to write witty observations on my life has plummeted off the same cliff as my career, it justifies in my mind the financial outlay I’ve made. And when I researched blog topics, Travel and Photography rated highly. And I do tend to go to odd places. So I will be posting about my upcoming weird experience Iron Forging. I’m going to make a bottle opener. Not exactly Valyrian Steel but baby steps, eh.
It could be worse. I could be posting pictures of food. Now I’m a diva in the kitchen but don’t fret – I wont be asking you to Rate My Plate or any of that horse-shite any time soon! I don’t kill my own cabbage, but butchering an onion last night did reduce me to tears!
Legal Disclaimer: No Cabbages were injured during the writing of this blog 🙂