I Hereby Name Thee Miguel

I was scrolling through my Tumblr likes just now so I could dredge up some capital-C content alongside promotions and I came across a post my friend Tatchiana did in 2015 recommending this very blog. I can’t find the post now, but it gave me a fuzzy warm feeling that lasted long enough that I thought I’d come and say hello. I think I’ve been writing here now for nine entire years. That’s longer than most prison sentences, innit. Mad. 2015 doesn’t even feel like that long ago but I suppose it must be.

Sooo how have you been since 10 days ago? I’ve been good, cheers. Started another job (weekends! Retail! Say hi if you see me – wait no don’t make eye contact). Got to hang out with Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. Ish. Sort of. We said hi. I haven’t touched dragonnovel since I sent it to my cuz, but I am itching to make improvements. Not itching as in, I have eczema, itching as in, that feeling of when it’s almost the school holidays. I’ve already started sketching out ideas for my next book, which makes me feel like I’m cheating on dragonnovel. But I have to be realistic that a) dragonnovel might not get picked up, in which case I should start on the next, better, thing as soon as possible and b) dragonnovel might get picked up which means I need to look like I’m serious about this writing thing.

I just spent five entire minutes looking for a suitable dragon gif, no fucking dice. Come on, Shrek. First thing I’m gonna do if this book picks up is commission some cool dragon art.

While I’m thinking about it, it occurred to me the other day that since dragonnovel is actually nearly done (or as done as it can be without professional editorial insight), I’m going to have to stop renaming characters soon. Seriously, this one guy has had about four names. I think the first one was Pablo. Or it might have been Paolo. Then I think I tried to name him Raphael, but I already called someone Raphael. Anyway, my point is that if you were ever thinking of pledging to ye olde Patreon page in order to see a character named after you, you should probably do it soon because I need to start remembering characters properly or my synopses (that’s plural of synopsis, right? I’m scared to Google it) will be way out of whack. Oh, I think this guy was called Miguel at some point.  Miguel.

He’s so not a Miguel.

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Brownout 2.0: the To-Do List from Hell

Tom and Jerry goldfish bowl head

Morning! I don’t usually write blogs before lunchtime because mornings are for Serious Work but a) I have to leave the house soon and can’t get my teeth into anything in case I forget to leave and b) I’m feeling a bit pffft. I would like to blame the weather, but I think I’m getting a bit of brownout. Again. And this time it’s a peak first world problem, because I know exactly what’s causing it. I have so much to do that I don’t know where to start, and then I end up doing none of it! I probably should have learnt how to get over this during my GCSEs (how did I cope with TWELVE SUBJECTS?) but I didn’t, so this is what my internal monologue was like at 9am:

Do I start off today working on an Etsy plan for 2018/19? Do I do some ads for my freelancing services? Do I go back to my Giant Writing Project for a stage of edits and the next draft? I’m really excited to get back to that! Or do I rework my Patreon plans? Do I write another blog post? Is a blog post going to translate to cold hard cash? Probably not. Maybe that’s why I should focus on freelancing or Patreon. Except, I want to use Patreon to support my writing and blogging, and no one will support me if there are no new stories and blogs! Wait, what about Etsy. Oh and the printer needs rebooting and the car needs petrol. Go and buy petrol you idiot you literally can’t get to work otherwise. You have an appointment today. The end of the tax year is coming up. That feels momentous.  Hang on that means you were in Asia a year ago. A year?! God that went quickly. Have you finished that blog post about Laos yet? No, because blogging about Laos won’t make any money and you’re trying to focus on money stuff, remember? Go and work on your Patreon! By the way you’re behind on your uni course.

[continue for half an hour, break for coffee, start again]

Tom and Jerry goldfish bowl head
from Twiter

So I’m here. Definitely not making any money, but not tearing my hair out either. What do you guys do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Usually I am a big fan of the list, because it helps me prioritise, but I don’t know what to prioritise! I want to work on my Giant Writing Project but if I’m going to spend time on that, I need to have more traction on my Patreon because otherwise I can’t really afford to write. I also need to keep up with my uni course because it’s good for my brain development and future prospects, but I have to finally work out what’s up with my printer because I can’t keep putting it off and I want to write that Laos blog but I can’t keep justifying all the time I spend on blogging when I have the Giant Writing Project to finish. Ughhhh.

Right, I have to get ready for my appointment, and I’ll get petrol on the way. I can tick writing this week’s blog off the list, ha, and Google the shit out of fixing my printer. I’m actually doing a bit of market research about Patreon and crowdfunding in general because there’s no point having a Patreon if I’m not using it properly, so if you have three minutes to spare I’d really appreciate if you’d let me know your thoughts. I’ll go from there. And Etsy… I’ll spend half an hour today on a plan for that. After I’ve done some course work.

Hang on. Did I just make a list? HAHAAAAA HELL YES. THANK YOU BLOG. Maybe I’ll keep you around after all. Spiritual nourishment and all that. That being said, I’d love to be able to work this blog into my Patreon plans as well (two or three or ten birds, one crowdfunding stone) so if you have any ideas about how to incorporate blog posts into reward tiers, leave a comment! And/or do that survey. Please and thank you.

Seven Years of Self Deprecation Whoop Whoop

So. Big day. Ish. I don’t really remember doing it, but today is this site’s seventh birthday. SEVEN. We’re talking horcrux numbers here. Substantial marriage numbers. A long time.

I was going to celebrate with a Tweet, but I figured that I might as well get my money’s worth over here… also I just noticed that the current header that I don’t hate is wonky, because the photo I took is wonky.

Indifferent Ignorance dodgy header

I am going to leave it there to see how many people notice. Happy Halloween!

In Which My Dog Cleans His Teeth

Today I learnt that in the three-and-a-half years they’ve been open, my WordAds adverts have earned me a total of $14.74. I feel this is representative of my career as an artist.

As you may have noticed if you’re reading this onsite instead of in the email inbox (does anyone still do that?), I’ve made the banner slightly brighter. It’s now the same shade as roughly one-fifth of my hair on a good day. I’ve also added a little cookies info banner for visitors when you first arrive, because it’s an EU law thing and although my instinct is telling me to vote stay, it’s also telling me that we’ll go and I want to get my money’s worth of widgets before 23rd June. Stay tuned for a couple of other little changes; I have been thinking about my ideal blog and right now, the colour pink and more widgets are on my to-do list. I kind of want a blog personifying this:

Top 10 Gay Bars in Los Angeles/My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way Made Me a Better Person
laweekly.com

 

But that’s enough about me. On Sunday I went to clean my teeth and noticed a small daddy long legs nestled on the handle part of my toothbrush. Had it just wandered in from the bathroom window? Was it the first of a scouting party? Was there a nest of baby daddy long legs ready to move into the sink area? Could I remove it from the room before it got to the tooth-brushing part of the toothbrush?

No.

Out went the spider. Out came my travel toothbrush. Out came my grumblings that I only bough the old toothbrush a fortnight ago this is why I’m an atheist. Yesterday evening I bought a new one.

Yesterday evening Donnie got bored or hungry waiting for us to come home from the supermarket so he raided the bathroom bin. I found very chewed half of a toothbrush on the bathroom floor. Presumably he heard me bemoaning his disgusting teeth (he’s not allowed those teeth-cleaning bones because of his kidney problems, and he does not understand the point of chewing rubber tooth-cleaning dog toys. Ironically my toothbrush was made of the same material they use in those rubber toys) This morning Mum found bristle-filled dog vomit on the floor.

Donnie’s teeth are as grim as they were yesterday morning. Our carpet is a little grimmer. The only thing any of us have learnt is that it’s high time we bought a dog-proof bin.

I am prepared to bet the spider has snuck back in.

Questionable Late Night Ideas/Blog Challenge??

Do you know what I feel like I’m lacking? Apart from a crowded bank account and my Christmas shopping?

Reading blogs. I was thinking about the blogs I follow and although they’re quite varied and interesting, I don’t feel like I’m immersed in a community I’ve been a part of for six years.

And I know there are a million blogs out there, because every time I look at a piece of Internet-based journalism, I read that there are a million blogs. Or a billion. Or one hundred thousand. Can’t remember, I hate those articles (they always continue with success stories about people who recommend eyeliner to teenage girls). So they’re out there. Maybe a blogger is reading this right now. Maybe you’re hilarious and intelligent and insightful and maybe in five years’ time you’ll be in an article alongside the eyeliner hustlers. But I don’t fuckin’ know it because I spend my free time eating peanut butter and wondering what it would be like to go on The Graham Norton Show.

So, at 11pm on a Friday when I’ve nothing better to do, I’m setting myself a challenge. A game. I’m going to find 50 blogs, and I’m going to actually read them. More than two posts per site, more than the about page. I’ll actually comment on them, I’ll follow them if I’m in the mood to commit and I’ll share them here if I reckon they might be up other people’s streets. The 50 blog challenge. It might already exist but I wouldn’t know, because I’m oblivious to my blogger neighbours.

I might even make a spreadsheet to organise myself. Really fill the hole in my life that’s usually stemmed by peanut butter.

I guess it goes without saying that if you know any bloggers, let me know? I don’t feel comfortable talking to strangers, so introductions would be useful…

If I Took a Holiday…

Good morning darlings, I hope you had a pleasant IMCRD. I did, thanks for asking – I did paperwork in front of the TV and found a spider living in some socks. Rock ‘n’ roll!

I’ve had this page open for maybe ten minutes, which isn’t long in blog terms, and do you know I can’t think of a single thing to say. Not a thing. It’s been happening more and more: I open a tab, I think about something in the news or my life or both, and I haven’t got a clue what to write. Sometimes the tab stays open for an hour – again, that’s not long because the biggest part of writing here is editing my swear words – but increasingly I get two paragraphs in and spend the rest of my time looking for a GIF with minimal relevance.

Maybe it’s burn out. I really, really, need a holiday. I took on a lot of freelance work in March, and I’ve been trying to work maximum hours, cramming in two or three clients or internships, Etsy admin, design for Etsy, copywriting and this. The most I’ve ever made from here directly is 72p on The Little Book (thanks Ruby!), so it’s not a priority. Maybe by the time I get to here I’ve run out of words. I get paid for about half of the work I do, which is okay most days… usually at the start of the month, when I send invoices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in this job to buy a Lamborghini and a house in Belgravia. But when you’re trying to work out if you can afford to meet a friend for coffee when they’re home from uni, it grates. Don’t read this as a sob story – I chose it, and if it doesn’t work out financially then I’ll just turn it all back into a hobby. But the most irritating part, other than having less cash flow than people who elected £27k uni fees, is that when I finish every evening I have zero inclination to make anything except dinner. Financially I can’t justify spending a lot of time on things that don’t pay, so my fiction writing and here have both declined in quality to the point where I’m half-considering a ‘normal’ job just so I can enjoy myself when I open a computer tab again.

God, I sound like a whiny gap year kid who’s got an office job that doesn’t finish at five on the dot. Realistically, I think I just need a break. Maybe take a month or so away from blogging, which I’ve never actually done (how the fuck did I come up with shit to say when I took 12 subjects and spent half my life in a classroom?). Maybe I need to rediscover, or redefine, what this place means. It used to be somewhere I could talk about anything I fancied with my friends – and, weirdly, members of the public – but they’ve moved on. Motherfuckers. I know it’s narcissistic, but my favourite part of this whole thing has always been the conversations it starts, even if the kid at the other end just tells me I’m full of shit. I’d love to say I’m totally fine with faceless stats pages – if I was in this for the international fame and fortune I’d be talking about fashion and kale – but even though I started Indifferent Ignorance for me, and will end it for me when the time comes, I really miss comment threads. Is there any point in spending two or three hours of my already overly-Internet-focussed time on an essay no one with a name will read?

But I also don’t want to be someone who uses other people’s validation as currency. I don’t want to be the person who only ever asks for comments and who talks about nothing but work in real life (for the record, my job is really interesting. If we ever meet in public, ask me the logistics of posting to multiple Instagram accounts. I’m a professional hipster). If there are any of you who come here regularly, I don’t want you to feel like you should respond to every word I write. I’d like you to say hi or tell me what you think of a topic I talked about, but I shouldn’t have to ask you to.

So part of me wants to be really outrageous just to garner a response. Part of me wants to go to blog school to learn how to write better pieces. But most of me just wants to stop feeling bad about the things in my life that aren’t going the way I want them to, to cut my losses and to focus on what’s actually important.

When I work out what those things are, I’ll let you know. Or I’ll write a blog about my pets and/or the socio-economic situation in Ukraine. I have no idea.

Holiday Countdown

Happy Monday darlings. After six-plus years, today I realised the merits of iTunes over YouTube streaming. I’ve also remembered how much I love The Fratellis… It’s a good thing I don’t claim technical brilliance, innit.

Speaking of the Internet, I’m trying to work out decent posts to magic up while I’m away. Does anyone have anything they’d like to see?

Just kidding, I know not a single person will tell me if there is… so I will probably mass-dump videos I like and talk about my favourite stuff, as per tradition.

There was actually something serious I had to say but I’ve completely fuckin’ forgotten it, so it was either not that serious or is completely pointless so doesn’t need worrying about. Either way my memory’s going so it’s time to go cuddle a dog and double-check my clothes for when I go on holiday. Did I mention I’m going on holiday? And I’m going to spend ten days of my life without the my phone beeping at me? I’ll be there in a week. I can’t find a GIF smug enough, so you’ll just have to imagine my shit eating grin.

In Which You Can Drink at School and Not Get Kicked Out

Is it raining where you are right now? Unless you are in Australia I think you are completely justified in saying ‘f u weather bye’.

I’ve been on Tumblr too much. But seriously if this is summer then I want to be a theist just so I know where to lodge a complaint.

Yesterday some friends and I went back to our old school to collect our certificates of 13 years of unpaid slave labour education and it was pretty weird because a) I left a year ago but it felt like 15 years and five minutes, and b) they let us drink wine which was disconcerting to say the least, not to mention you could speak to teachers almost like they were real people

I just skim-read the post I did last year about going to school when you don’t really want to, and it reminds me of how bitter I was about my school experience. In retrospect I should have seized the day and all that shit, and appreciated how lucky I was to have free education until I was 18, but at the time all I wanted to do was leave, become a writer and set my own hours.

Now I have in fact done that for a year, and to be perfectly honest I don’t feel like I’ve magically got everything together. ‘Becoming a writer’ was a great plan, but that was all I had. I didn’t really know about personal finance or budgeting or product research or good rates for copywriting or the importance of self discipline, and all those other little things that you learn as you go but wish someone had warned you about. I didn’t appreciate that consistent income is something you only miss when you don’t have it any more, or that building a portfolio career means sticking with projects for months on end even if they pay absolutely nothing… and it’s only been a year. In another year, if I’m still doing this, I’ll have (hopefully) learnt a lot more. Maybe I’ll even have a consistent, national-average income, although I looked up the living wage versus the minimum wage yesterday and nearly fell over, so I’m not holding out too much hope.

screw jackets sunshinethekatt.tumblr

I do hope I’m still doing this in a year, though, and not just because a lot of people I saw yesterday for the first time in a year thought my job was cool. (These are people who are studying mechanical engineering and foreign languages and medicine full time for a £40k debt holy shit they are the ones with steely determination.) As hard as it is to make sure I’m doing copy and freelancing and trying to improve my Etsy sales – hint: you can help with that one – and blogging and not ready to pack it in and move to Tibet, I know in my gut that I made the right choice between this, a ‘regular’ job and uni.

Or I think I did. Let’s see in another year.