Here’s what’s going on with the blog.

Woo, first post in a while… how many blog updates start with that. There’s a reason… read on and trust me.

So last time I updated this blog I was just starting an exciting new project to review all the Spider-Man issues, I was reviewing games, posts were regular, life was good. Then I stopped and all content died for about a month, the blog looks all different, and all the pictures are gone now.

Blame my web hosting. Basically I found out my web hosting was coming up for renewal, and I just couldn’t budget for a third year with the same host. If you’ve never paid web hosting before, they all follow the same format, the first year is ridiculously cheap and then it gets progressively more expensive with each passing year. The rely on the fact that most people don’t feel confident enough to move from one host to another once the site is set up to avoid people shopping around. Truth is, if I could afford it, I’d have stuck too but I just couldn’t. It was move, or kill the site.

With that in mind, as soon as I knew I was moving the hosting I pretty much dropped updates because I had no guarantee I could actually move all the content over, (this was all new for me) and it’s hard to really put in good work when you might be torching the whole place in a week or two.

As you can see, the blog is still here. Pictures are done, but the written content is all still alive and well, and updates are coming soon. I still need to tweak the settings and get the place looking nice but we have a safe home for the next 12 months here. When the 12 months is up, we might be moving again, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to in.

This whole thing has raised the usual questions about if I should even have a blog or not when most of the work I do these days is video production on Youtube or seen through Facebook, but I still like having a place to put my written thoughts down. I’d like to get back to using this place regularly, and now Christmas is over I’m going to try make that happen.

I’m paid up for another year, Blogosphere. Let’s hope we have a bright future ahead.

A Little Light Remodelling

Wow, this place is dead.

I should apologise. I wont because I’ve posted “sorry I stopped posting” posts so many times I made myself promise I wouldn’t do any more.

This is a little different. The blog has been derelict because I’ve been taking my life in a different direction. I’m a youtuber now! No. Really.

This blog was originally to showcase my writing, but last year I faced some hard choices. Writing wasn’t working. I didn’t feel like the same person I was when I started, and I didn’t have passion for fiction anymore. I can’t sit through editing a novel; I didn’t have the discipline. One day I might again, who knows, but what I did know is I couldn’t force myself to be that person. I wanted to try something new, a way to meet people and have fun, and talk about things that excite me.

Also, I was playing a lot of video games. So I made that my thing. I make Let’s Play videos and stuff here: www.youtube.com/owenadams

It’s small but growing, and I love the work I do. It has even got me wanting to write again. I want to script video game reviews and skits, I want to plan the work I do in more detail, but more than that, I want to write criticism, I love talking to my viewers about games. I want to write about them too. If possible, I want to do it for the rest of my life. I need a place to sharpen my skills, so this is becoming that place.

If you’re an old reader, don’t panic. The old posts aren’t going, though you’ll have to hunt for them. I’m just adjusting the front page to be more reflective of the work I do now, and the work I’m known for to most people.

That’s all for now, but I hope I’ll have something more to show for my efforts soon.

Owen.

Why I Find Blog Posts Hard to Write

1430928da07380d6bf49769a38be0013I love blogging as a medium. The written word is kind of my thing, and blogging fits nicely in that little gap between a well written book and a spontaneous, insightful tweet. Blogs are a place to share knowledge and personal stories. A place to formulate your ideas and take them public, while always remaining your space.

So why do I find blog posts so hard to write?

Part of the problem is non-fiction in general. I’m like most people, I have a lot of opinions on a lot of different subjects, but they’re not really developed. A few good ideas bubble to the surface when prompted, but if I had to discuss them at length, I would soon run out of steam. I’d start trailing off and before you know it, I’m thinking about to have in supper instead. There’s that bag of sausages in the freezer, of course, but then they’ll keep whereas the quiche in the fridge will probably only last a week. Sorry, what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, blogging.

This is one of the age old problems with writing, of course. It’s all well and good when you’re writing about the dragon swooping down into town and snatching villagers up with its claws, but when you need a good protagonist to go and slay the beast, and they need a name and a backstory, character motivations, a family, the plot needs to be well paced… well it all starts to feel a lot like work.

I don’t really like work.

Nobody does. Which is sort of a problem, but it shouldn’t be. I’m not one to suddenly start rambling about the problem with society today but if I were, I would probably say that we live in a time where it’s more important to be entertained and distracted than it is to be satisfied with finishing a task that was difficult. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I want to be amused through the bad bits, I want to find a way of writing that is always fun, and always easy. I want to be swept along as much when writing a piece as I am when reading one.

But writing isn’t like that. Writing is more like baking. Sometimes you’re whisking, or kneading. Nice automatic jobs that are satisfying for the fingers and time passes like it’s supposed to. Other jobs are more like measuring ingredients, checking temperatures and getting the crust right. Harder still if it’s puff pastry, I wonder what the pastry is on that quiche? I should definitely eat that tonight and… Oh sorry. It won’t happen again.

And then there’s the failures.

Another reason I find writing blog posts so tricky is that I’m unpracticed. Writing is like any skill, it builds up over time, and in the early days you need to force yourself to do it. You need to learn basic skills like just getting a target amount of words on to the damned page, to more complicated skills like making some of those words good, and forming sentences that people understand and contribute to your overall point. I can’t count the times I’ve written a post entirely off the cuff and posted it, only to go back and few weeks later and find that it is utterly incomprehensible. (In the art world, we call it abstract.)

So how do we get around it?

How do you continue blogging if you find it a chore? The same way you learn to do anything else that is difficult. You force yourself to do until it feels natural. There’ll be days when you want to pull out your hair, and there’ll be days when you don’t know what you want to write about, but then there’ll be the good days. There’ll be days when you find ideas you never knew you had, and communicate something you always felt but could never quite say.

And then one day it will be easy.

How I learned to embrace little habits.

I am a terrible procrastinator.

I always I have been. I’m not sure why. I suffer from a terrible discordance between the person I’d like to be, and the person I am. In my mind, I am a true renaissance man. Artist, writer, pundit and politician. Thinker, doer, adventurer. Equally at home publishing his own fine collection of short stories or painting pretty little still-lifes for the whole world to enjoy. In reality,  I fight a never ending battle against my own laziness. I have some achievements under my belt, a few things I’ve done I’m pretty happy with and a few ongoing projects that I really think could become something. The problem is I’m just not one of those people who finds it hard to do nothing. Some people get itchy at the idea of doing nothing, the get bored and irritable, they need to work at all times. I wish I was one of those people. I have to rely on other tactics. (Mostly guilt.) I’ve said it before, there are lots of things I enjoy, lots of things I quite like to do. I love the feeling of having created, of being proud of something and being able to put it out there. There are some things I love the process of. I can become totally absorbed in art. Drawing and painting would be enormous time drains, if only they paid the rent.

But getting started? Getting up in the morning with a to-do list and happily working through it until the sun sets. Working without pining for a time when I can put it all away and vegetate in front of Netflix while my waistband steadily expands. Well. I’m not that person. And I’ve fought against it. As a child, society helped. Go to school, do your homework, don’t be late. I was kicked and shoved begrudgingly into something the resembled an organised life, but the older one gets. The longer we are left to our own devices, the less we can count on society to mould our lives into shape. When the plaster is removed, some of us turn out to be exquisitely sculpted clay, but I ended up as something squidgier. I’ve been trying to mould myself ever since.

The first failure was in trying to fix everything at once. I would have phases of firing on all cylinders all at once. For a while, the shape would stick. I would work hard, without stopping, on everything I wanted to achieve all at once, and tidy the house at the end of the day too. The results were predictable. My life would stop and start, I’d oscillate between moments of giddy, productive joy and utter, depressing mediocrity.

Things changed when I went into writing. At first I tried to do it all at once, I was going to write the greatest novel ever written, and I was going to do it in three months, self publish it and live off the fat cheques that followed. It didn’t work out like that. I got half way through the first draft, burned out and never returned to it. My next attempt wasn’t much better. Eventually I realised I just didn’t have the stamina to write what I wanted to write. I was like a Sunday jogger trying to run a marathon. I switched it up, I decided to go into training. I set myself a very modest goal of writing 500 words a day. The 500 words became 1000, then 2000 and eventually 3000. (Oh how I miss those days.) It changed the way I wrote, and it changed the way I saw my own progress. For once, I’d stuck with something and I actually felt like I was growing. It affected me in other ways too, just getting up in the morning and writing first thing put a different spin on my whole day. Of course, I still kicked and screamed my way through everything else I had to do, but I had one solid goal under my belt already that day. It was a step forward. Progress, if nothing else.

Since then, when taking to something new, I’ve always tried to break it down into little daily goals. Little habits to build. I find it much easier to approach everything I have to do if I take it one tiny decision at a time, and at the end of the day, I can look back and see what those decisions added up to. If I let it expand, if I try too hard to worry about the big picture, I get overwhelmed. I shut down. The lazy gland kicks in and I want to hide from my to-do list. Over time, however, if I keep working at these little decisions, they become habit. The brain heads to them without thinking, until you can almost work on autopilot. After a little while, I found I was one of those people who couldn’t go too long without writing before they started to get itchy feet.

I’m still a terrible procrastinator. I have to resist the tendency to slack off every day. I’ve had to learn that what I want, and what I think I want, aren’t always the same thing. I want to draw comics and read great books, I want to tell stories and make art and connect with people through these things. But most of the time, I think I want to crash in bed and watch TV. I know I don’t really want to do it, because if I give in to that temptation I end up hating myself for it. I don’t feel happy again until I can work closer to that goal. I’ve been in a slump with writing for a few months now, I haven’t written as much as I should. I’ve started lots of other projects, but they’re all easier, more comfortable. I’ve let the challenging things slip while I worry about leaving my job, and where to go moving forward. It has been a while since I worked on my little habits, but I know where I need to go from here.

A little writing every day, a little blogging every day, a little around the house, and the rest will take care of itself.