Random Update on My Life

So, I’ve got some things to say on books and movies… been struggling for inspiration blog wise, and I don’t want to just have space fillers and time wasting posts just to maintain some level of frequency. Benefit of not trying to make money off of a blog with advertising and sponsorship’s, I’m not beholden to the stats. It’s just my place to put down thoughts, ideas and share things I’ve learnt along the way, when I feel like it, it’s my space no one else’s.

So I’m back again, there’s at least four posts I want to write, not including this one. This one is a general update, there’s a lot of stuff going on in my life, which eclipsed both writing and blogging for a little bit.

To be honest, not writing was a mistake, I could have probably done with the release, write some random stuff just to get things off my chest, or explore what it is I’m feeling.

I’ll stop burying the lead, I’m faced with a massive life change as I’m being made redundant from a company I’ve worked at for 12 years. It’s not a bad thing, I posted round about this time last year about the need to make a change in my life regarding work, but it actually happened is something else.

I’ve got a plan, it’s a pretty good plan, it will allow me to keep earning, and given time, effort and dedication, I can prosper. Not only that, if managed well I will have more spare time, so I can really focus on my writing journey. It’s change though, it’s a massive change – and obviously that’s scary.

What’s interesting is, incredibly frequently in stories the characters have to go through serious changes in their lives as part of the story, and even when it’s something you want or are ready for, I don’t think I’ve ever fully understand just how emotional that can be. In fact, I think it’s something a lot of writers don’t necessarily appreciate.

So, this is where I find myself now. Exciting, but scary times. I just wanted to say something about it.

There’ll be a few more posts in the next few weeks, but for now I’m going to enjoy the Leeds West Indian Carnival parade, it passes by my street. I’ll add a photo of it. It’s a great event, one of the best things about living where I am now.

What I Blog About

So, let me make something clear – I’m in no way a successful writer, I’m not published, I enjoy telling stories and one day I may hit upon something I’d want to publish, but my craft is no where near where I would want it to be for that. I am an aspiring writer, hence the title of this blog, Aspiring.org.

I also really appreciate, and like to look at other people’s stories, which is why I’ve been adding in stuff about story telling from other writer’s, and other media. Now reviewing, or essaying about these is relatively new to me, and I’m early into honing it as a skill. I will improve though. I don’t think I’m going to ever be up there with the YouTube channel Movies with Mikey, who I highly recommend:

I can aspire though, and that’s what I’m all about. I will still be doing posts on the craft of writing, as I work out my way to becoming a half decent writer.

Clockwork

Site Update

So been doing quite a bit behind the scenes to sort out my blog.

My old hosting was a bit overpowered for my needs, about 8 years ago when I’d gotten it I’d had bigger ambitions than a blog, and over the past few years the performance on the site had been excruciatingly slow and frequently chose not to work.

Instead I’ve gone just for wordpress.com – all my posts and such have been imported and I’m just playing about with the look and feel of the site. The good news is it now runs nice and zippy, and can concentrate on writing and blogging.

If you were following the old blog, you’ll have to refollow again I think.

Expect regular posts from now on.

Admin Round-up

It’s been a while since I did an admin post, probably because I don’t use my blog nearly enough.

However I’m definitely doing better on that front. As part of my daily challenge there’s writing going into my blog every day. Not just the daily flash fic challenge posts, I’m also working on:

  • Book reviews (I’m not good at these so I’m taking my time on my first one to establish what i want to get out of my reviews – otherwise known as the first attempt is already 4,000 words long and needs a good editing massacre)
  • Already one additional flash fic not related to the daily challenge, there might be otehrs to come, especially as it’s the weekend and plenty of time to write
  • I’m wokring on a full short story based on one of my Flash fics right now, and there’s several others begging for promotion to short story status, (either by sequel, prequel, or retelling)
  • I’m going to try and cover off some news stories and such
  • I’m planning a hand ful of articles based on my experiences for the first couple of months of the new year

 So, now’s a good time to review how my blog looks, and how it works.

Since I used WordPress, themes are a dime a dozen, though finding one I like is quite difficult. I’ve temporary settled on one called Scrappy By Caroline Moore, but with a couple of modifications for a more readable font, a header and picture of Ilkley.

Decembers Theme

It’s absolutely lovely, but it still isn’t quite what I’m after. I just can’t quite find one. That’s fine though, it gives me a new challenge, along side writing more frequently. I’m going to try and design my own theme – as with many things outside of writing, and often including writing, it’ll be ambitious but rubbish. I’m willing to give it a go though.

Speaking of ambitious I want a nice theme that can handle variety too – that way I can use a plug in or something to give certain categories their own theme when accessed. I.e. a sci fi category that has very similar theme to the front page but maybe has darker colours with bright blue detail, and a header pic that’s a nice generic sci fi pic (royalty free or self created of course). Each of my main writing categories would have their own theme, ones I don’t use often would be left with the main theme, as would posts in other areas, (except maybe poetry).

It also comes with a second job, reorganising my categories and tags and stuff. Which is on my to do list anyway.

I may go through and hide some of my earlier posts that I’m really not happy with, and edit them up to be fresher, up to date, and not ridicuously awful – plus you know, quick win on new content. I don’t mean that purely as a cheat, but because genuinely they’ll need plenty of work, and be changed enough to be pretty much new.

I also need to go through clean up my plugins, and update my pages to be either more up to date, or less date specific.

Lastly, these jobs are not a job for my blog directly, but I need to go through and organise my Picaso account better, and arrange permissions properly. I’d like to use that as the primary source for my blog images and stuff. While i have plenty of bandwidth and stuff, it makes sure i have plenty, and should the worst happen and my site is wiped, not only do I have frequent emaled database backups, my iamges aren’t in the same place as my site.

Plus there must be a good plug-in somewhere that can conenct picasa to my blog to make it easy to share media.

I’ve also started a tumblr account, and a sperate twitter account, (thus seperating writing subject from my business/travel/random fun twitter account). While this may have no obvious advantages right now, next year I’m going to try and actually drive traffic to my blog.

Courtesy of the great people I’ve met on #NaNoYorks, there’s already been a big jump, (but in fairness they are lovely people, and will click most links you show them, even if it takes them to a animated gif of a man naked (facing away from the camera) jumping for joy).

visitor-chart

So, that’s my state of the nation speech, covered pretty well.

If you had no faith in me as a blogger, lets see if I can turn that around. If might fail to achieve my plans – but I’d rather fail spectacularly then never have tried.

A Neighbourhood To Call My Own…

Nostalgia is a funny thing – it’s always there, and so much seems better than it really was, in memory, but when you actually sit down and examine in it, suddenly it’s not so rosy. Like watching that old television show you remember as a kid, it might have seemed fantastic, amazing plots, brilliant characters – but in the light of day it was actually pretty shit. Of course, this is not always the case, and when it is not, it is a wonderful thing.

Right now, I am watching Magnum P.I., which let’s face it, is crass populist television, but at its best. I remember watching this show as a kid, and I’ve got to admit the Ferrari helped (I loved cars as a kid, mechanics son and all that), but even now it seems quite fun. It has aged better than say Knightrider.

That is not the reason for this post however, I am sure I could fire up a poem – but I ended up watching it after flicking through the channels in the mood for something nostalgic. It all started with an email, from Yahoo, they are closing down Geocities, and it was their umpteenth reminder that I should go and download my website there, or transfer it to their paid for hosting service.

Continue reading

Guess who’s back…

The site was down for a week, this was due to a small technical issue, which my hosts have fixed, very promptly. I actually waited a week, trying a few ideas to get the site working again, I reported the issues tonight, and they fixed it just like that.

Big thanks to Bargain Host for that.

Normal service will be resumed next week, and I’ll get some posts going again by mid-week. I’ll get some of the missing poetry from my daily poetry posted in a single post too.

I was getting a wee bit worried I’d have to rebuild my blog. I do have database back ups though, so somehow I would have saved my content (which probably isn’t great, but means a lot to me.)