So. Farewell, then, 2018. I’m on the sofa rewatching Luther before my friend’s New Year’s Eve party. I never know if I can be bothered with anything later than 7pm these days, but my friend’s NYE parties are always excellent, as most events are once I’m there, which is what I’m hoping will be the case with 2019.
I didn’t do the Indifferent Ignorance Awards this year, because I’ve had more pressing things to do, but I think we can sum this year up as notasbadas2016but2007wasprobably less stressful? I finished dragonnovel, got a bit of sun, played with my dogs (one is leaning on me right this very moment and I clearly can’t get up until he does so bye party I’ve been blessed). No one in my immediate family or friendship group has died, been critically ill or pledged allegiance to the Republican Party, so let’s count 2018 as one of the good ones.
Last year I wrote ‘new year’s intentions’ which are supposedly more realistic and better for your mental health than new year’s resolutions. Goal 1 was to learn to do my hair. I mean, I’ve grown my hair. I brush and wash it occasionally. It’s difficult to plait, okay, there are a lot of layers. I consistently forgot to take good pictures, but it’s looked ace this year regardless. Lots of purple. I’ll change it up soon because you can’t bleach the same bit of hair too much but possibly in 2019 I should take more pictures for proof of Cool Dyed Hair? Unlikely, I bloody hate taking my picture.
Goal 2 was to look after myself a bit more. I did not bother with a running club, but the blue light blocker is on and I miss my Pilates class when I don’t do it, which must mean it’s good for my brain so CHECK CHECK.
The third goal, basically, was Get Money. And, check again. I got a weekend job, found another client, smashed my stationery business goals over Christmas and learnt that geeky mythological pencils are really, really popular. Onwards.
Luther’s getting tense so I will leave this here. Also, Donnie’s ear is on my keyboard. Hit me up with the fun things you did this year, or want to do next year, or heard of someone else doing something nice. Happy new year!
Afternoon! The dogs got me up at half five this morning so it feels wrong on a molecular level that one of those dogs is asleep on my bed this very moment while I try to prise my eyeballs open with tea and willpower.
I left school four years ago, and yet September always feels like the prime time for a Fresh Start and New Things. It probably helps that I’ve got leftover holiday happiness, although it’s also mingled with that disgruntled feeling of ‘why am I never as relaxed at home as I am on holiday?’, the preoccupation of which always makes me… less relaxed. But! September! A fresh start! Also I have been 23 since last Wednesday which means I have extra fresh start feelings. LET’S MAKE THIS YEAR A FINANCIAL AND SOCIAL SUCCESS, she hisses as she drowns under paperwork, teacups and pissy late payment emails.
There isn’t really a point to this blog, except to hopefully pass on some lovely September vibes, but I felt like I should write something because my domain just renewed. Got to get my £15 worth! I thought about sharing some Greece photos but I’m too bleary-eyed to think up funny captions and do I really want to contribute to the Internet’s collective ‘my life is better than yours look what a great time I’m having’ bullshit brigade? Um, no. But here is a picture of bougainvillea, because bougainvillea flowers are a colourful spec of papery innocence in this world.
Does anyone have any September resolutions? Eva over at What Eva Wears wrote about hers, and it reminded me of all the times I’ve written resolutions on here. I found a couple of posts… in this one from January 2016 I wanted to learn to take better photographs (they are definitely improving), read more varied news sources (to be honest, in the last few months I’ve just read less news. I’m happier for it), learn to use Facebook (done, except now Facebook is dying WHAT A SHAME) and ‘chill out about this blog’. Well I kind of have in a way – there was a time when I would tell myself off for not posting twice a week, but these days you’re lucky if you get two posts per month. It’s taken 18 months (and I kind of did ‘move to Cambodia’ for a bit, ha) but I think I’m getting there.
Resolution 1, the ‘vague gesture’, was to learn to do my hair a bit more. My hair is even longer and even more purple-tinged than it was in December, and I still only wash it twice a week, but I do put it up a bit more. Occasionally. Look, it looks nicer when I ignore it completely…
Resolution 2, the SMART goal, was to look after myself more in a measurable way. Hahaaaaa haaaa haaa. Ha. Ahem. Well, I did download a blue light blocker. I do exercise fairly frequently (not running though, Pilates is my limit). I do take extended breaks from Instagram, not that you’d know it. I could do more, but I also could have done less.
Resolution 3 was to make my work, work. This was only 8 months ago and everything I wrote is still true: if this financial year doesn’t go my way, I’ll probably go and get a salaried job or retrain in a sensible industry or something. But I’m creeping in the right direction: I’m working with the Prince’s Trust to improve Francesca’s Words, my Patreon is slooowly gathering momentum – and dragonnovel is cooking away! – and I have regular-ish work. I have more to be thankful for than to be unhappy about.
So my September resolutions are to continue with everything I said I wanted to do in 2018. It’s tempting to start something Completely New, but Francesca’s Words could be twice as big next January as it was last January if I play my cards right. If I play my cards sneakily, I might even have a book or a cool French plait as well.
I said there wasn’t a point to this post: I turned out to be completely wrong. Looking back at the last couple of years has made me realise how far I’ve come. I’m always harder on myself than anyone else ever could be – I never sit back to appreciate how much work I’ve put into something; I only ever berate myself for not working harder. But I’m doing okay. Pretty well. Better than I could otherwise have been doing. That’s not too ‘my life is better than yours’ bullshitty, is it? You would tell me if it was, right?
HELLO 2018. I AM WINNING THIS YEAR SO FAR. Okay so technically I woke up 45 minutes late this morning and am wearing a pair of unflattering tracksuit bottoms that I actually said I was going to stop wearing so much last July and technically I embarked on my new year’s resolution on Boxing Day. I also went back to my office job yesterday and thought I was actually going to die when my alarm went off.
Hell yeah 2018.
Who else is feeling good about themselves? Who wants tips? Of course you do.
Remember when I wrote about new year’s resolutions? I thought about them a lot over Christmas and the only one I really wanted was the third one I talked about: making my writing and art succeed financially. So I worked backwards and thought about how I use my time and the level of discipline it takes to really focus on achieving something important. Then I decided to get rid of my smartphone.
It sounds drastic, but my phone is on the blink anyway and those old-new Nokias with no 3G are pretty nifty. I decided to use a non-smart (stupid?) phone generally and use my computer or iPad for Etsy and social media a couple of times a day. I WILL BE FREE OF BLUE LIGHT AND DISCIPLINE WILL BE MINE, I announced. I WILL SUCCEED FINANCIALLY.
Francesca, pointed out my entire family, you really need Google Maps. They had a point, so I’ve decided to just get a cheap and cheerful smartphone with a mildly-working camera and enough space for Google Maps. And my banking app, because I have no idea how society functioned without the ability to check their balance whenever they fancied (also it’s probably good to know your cash flow when your heart’s desire is financial stability, ha).
Midway through my thousandth free-from mince pie on Boxing Day, I faced up to the uncomfortable truth: the issue with me having a smartphone isn’t that it’s a smartphone. It’s that I use it too much. Buying a stupidphone might stop me from checking the Internet, but I’d just become obsessed with checking my iPad instead. I never go online on Christmas Day except to message people – I don’t think I ever have – and every year I think ‘why don’t I do this more often?’ So since Boxing Day I’ve been trying this thing where I only use the phone for five minutes at a time. I’m not rewarding or punishing myself for sticking to it or going over, I just wanted to see if it freed up my time. Shocker: it absolutely does! The general Christmas holiday notwithstanding, I reckon I’ve done in three days what usually takes five: I’ve got loads of studying done, written about 1000 words of a super secret writing project and even remembered to order contact lenses. DISCIPLINE IS MINE.
So there you have it: to WIN AT 2018, you just need to put your phone down!
In the spirit of finding success, I am linking my Patreon page again. I love to write and make art, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to try to cover my blog or portfolio domain costs via the very blog I’d like to fund. I will absolutely consider 2018 a roaring success if I reach $6 a month in total pledges (the grand sum of my domain costs), because then I can focus on blogging and not on how to pay for the blog. I can also focus on the super secret writing project but it’s only 3rd January so I’m staying super secretive until it’s progressed further. Watch this space, literally.
I got a pitch email earlier from an SEO company saying ‘your Instagram is great and deserves to be seen by more than 186 people!’ I nearly replied with ‘actually that’s 185 people, get with the programme – some new bookstagram account followed me yesterday and has since disappeared back to the Instasphere. Thanks for the encouragement though!’
It’s funny that should happen today though, as I was already going to talk about goals and growth. 2017 is drawing to a close, thank god, and although 2018 will probably be another tyre fire of bullshit, I would like to start it off with good intentions. Case in point: new year’s resolutions. I didn’t have any last year, because I had already resolved to get the hell out of England and did so in the first week of January, but twelve months on I have the itch to resolve… something. I also know that I’m more likely to keep to the resolution if I talk about it publicly, so I thought I would talk about different types of resolutions and the things I’d like to do in 2018.
Resolution 1: The Vague Gesture
My resolution: learn to do my hair? A bit?
I think I may have mentioned my hair is sometimes-often-frequently partially purple. It’s also getting really long, because I enjoy the illusion that I’m a princess in a kingdom with favourable tax laws, but I do nothing to it. Literally nothing. I wash it twice a week, comb out the knots with a tangle teezer and tie it in a bun or ponytail if I’m working. Then I ignore it until it needs another wash. I read somewhere that the longer your hair is, the less you do with it and I want to call bullshit on that. I also want to channel Daenerys Targaryen wherever possible, so in 2018 I resolve to learn how to, like, braid my hair or something. That’s not a huge commitment, and if someone says ‘hey Francesca nice fishtail plait’ I’m going to know it’s working. It’s also not the end of the world if life gets in the way and I don’t learn a fishtail plait, because my hair looks great they way I wear it already (there’s a reason I never brush it dry and that reason is frizz).
So in theory, the Vague Gesture is a good resolution to have. There’s no pressure and I won’t feel bad if I get to June and realise I’ve forgotten it. I suppose a similar one would be something like ‘eat less processed sugar’, because instead of saying ‘eat no processed sugar’, there’s no line to cross, no crushing disappointment of one’s self esteem. It’s something that would be nice to do in the long run but no one cares if you don’t do it, including you.
Resolution 2: The SMART Goal
My resolution: Look after myself better? Look after myself more? Practise self care a day a week until I achieve nirvana?
I looked at a bad website today – not bad as in broken links but bad as in the two thirds of the page was bright pink and white diagonal stripes. My eyes hurt. I’m not even going to link it, it was so hard to look at. Good for marketing, bad for retinas. Especially bad for retinas that already require glasses. And since I am heading into my 23rd year of life and already have to run a bath to get my bones to stop aching when it rains, it’s about time I sopped complaining about my ailments and found a form of exercise that wasn’t physiotherapy. It’s about time I got some sort of blue light blocker on my computer. It’s about time I stopped overriding the Freedom app to check Twitter at 10pm. My 185 followers clearly do not care if I am tweeting at 10pm, so I probably shouldn’t either.
The problem with the resolution to ‘look after myself better’ is that there’s no qualifier. How do I know if I’m looking after myself? I will never not need glasses and I’ll never not ache when it rains. Realistically I will need stronger glasses and more baths year on year. So maybe I should take a leaf out of every business blog’s book and set specific goals I can measure in an achievable, realistictime frame. Something like ‘I will download a blue light blocker to my PC by January and I will sign up to a running club that requires payment in advance because the only thing I hate more than running is wasting money.’ (I actually don’t hate running. I hate that feeling that I’m about to puke up my lungs while I run. Aren’t lungs supposed to keep calm and carry on in those situations?)
I’m going to sleep on the running club, but this type of resolution sounds like one of those you should set if you want to get to December and think ‘fuck yeah I want to high five myself for SMASHING IT’. I kind of think everyone deserves that ‘fuck yeah’ thought.
Resolution 3: The This Has to Work and I’m Going to Make it Work Come Hell or High Water
My resolution: earn more money from my work? Earn increased amounts of money? Don’t sell a kidney to support a hobby?
This is the hardest type of resolution, because it’s a mix of the other two. Saying ‘I want to earn more money’ could just be another way of saying ‘I earned some money this year and would like to continue earning next year’. Realistically I will; my stationery and accessories will still be for sale and I will still crowdfund my writing. There will be money! But I don’t just want to continue, I want to expand. I need to expand if I’m going to continue to justify putting time into both those things. I know the numbers I have to hit if I’m to continue publishing writing with no upfront fees (about $10 a month would cover my website expenses, and $30+ would cover some writing time contribute to my bills). I know I need to double my stationery sales – and grow those follower counts, damn it – to justify using prime space in my bedroom to store stock and to justify spending my evenings and weekends thinking up jokes about Greek gods.
I also can’t ask people for anything other than moral support, because most of the people I know – in real life and online – are as broke as I am. A short story or a funny print is a luxury and if people won’t buy or pledge, there’s nothing I can really do about it except plug away until they go up a wage packet or change their priorities. So going into 2018 I know that, if I don’t get more sales or pledges, I will be shutting up shop eventually – and that’s shutting my Etsy shop, my stories blog and possibly even this place because my spare time will only ever decrease and my bills will only ever increase. I’m not 14 anymore and I have to be pragmatic about where I put my energy – especially if I want to look after my health, because running a shop is eighty per cent adrenaline and twenty per cent pure relief when something goes right. There’s a reason most successful entrepreneurs retire early. They want to spend as much time as they can with their remaining nerves… There’s also reason most novelists have day jobs and eke out books on the weekend – statistically I am not playing a winning game.
So although my resolution is to make my work fucking work, I also know that ‘hell or high water’ will come in the form of a bill I can’t pay in my current status as an intern/freelancer/stationery designer/storyteller. Or in a final argument with one of my parents. Or when I finally decide to trade following what teenage me wanted for adult me and start following what other adults want for adult me.
That took a dark turn there, I didn’t actually mean for it to. I want to know about your resolutions! Tell me the ones you’ve succeeded in keeping, the ones you stopped caring about, the ones that didn’t make it past 1st January. Tell me what you want for 2018, what you don’t want for 2018. Tell me what you did in 2017. Other than swear at the news and drink a lot, presumably…
Evening. To continue with the new year’s intentions theme, I feel like we should talk about the importance of fucking up within the first week. A personal NY intention, for example, was to use my new hula hoop until I got abs or it broke. Although I’ve learnt that I can use it indoors (trying to keep the hoop from hitting the couch is actually a really good way of testing my currently small stomach muscles) I have so far missed two days. Yesterday didn’t really count because I did some impromptu Pilates in my pyjamas and exercise is exercise even if it’s five minutes before breakfast in your jammies, amirite. Today I got up so late that my main exercise was pulling on a jumper faster than usual… so now I am aware that it’s 7pm and if I don’t do something soon I am in danger of FAILING.
Except that’s bollocks, really, and I refuse to beat myself up for it. Because:
I already exercised today when I walked the dogs and around town (and I dropped massive effing books back in to the library which let’s face it is free weightlifting)
There is no way in hell I will exercise ‘officially’ every day for the rest of my life and I may as well get used to that now
I actually bruised my hip the other day from the weights in the hoop so missing a day or two during the week while I’m learning is probably smart in case I accidentally overdo it and pass out from overexertion or something (unlikely, since I can’t currently keep the hoop going for more than thirty seconds).
So 2016 is not ruined. I keep sleeping through my alarm so I have no idea if I’ll get up in time to do it tomorrow, or if I’ll make time in the evening, but the hoop isn’t going anywhere. Neither’s my skipping rope, which I can’t really bring in the house and don’t want to use in the rain in case I slip and crack my head, nor my Pilates mat, which I can actually use whenever the fancy takes me, providing I remove denim clothing first.
I will exercise again this year. Hopefully tomorrow. Maybe today. And if not, well…
So if you’ve already missed a day of your new serious homework schedule or your timetabled revision or your new year’s housework routine, chill. You survived 2015 without your new habits, and missing a couple of days won’t form bad ones. That being said, if anyone has any tips on not sleeping through their alarm, please do share. I do not enjoy rushing through my morning shower.
Late last year, but not so late I remembered it, I signed up for WordPress’s Blogging 101 2016, a blog community thing designed to encourage new bloggers to blog and old bloggers to, well, avoid getting old. Today’s assignment is to write an post introducing yourself and your manifesto, or to revisit your manifesto from when you started. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to write about when I started Indifferent Ignorance other than knowing that ‘indifferent ignorance’ sounded cool and that I wanted a platform to say whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted… but I need not fail at the first hurdle of blogging 101, because coincidentally I was going to write about new year’s resolutions.
Generally I try to think of resolutions as intentions, because let’s face it, no one who startsadietbeginsexercisingchangestheirhairandgetsanewjob in the first fortnight of January will be keeping it up by March. I did once know a girl who gave up chocolate for a year with nerves of steel in the face of Lindt, but she is the only person who I can remember sticking to her resolve. Also I am far more a fan of short term goals than I am long term plans, because how does one plan life? I thought I could plan what I’d be reading this autumn, then The Raven Cycle came along and my other books gathered dust. No regrets. As we are in a new year, my diary is clean and my room full of new toys, I feel that although a massive unkeepable resolution would be a waste of time, Christmas and January is a good time to take stock of one’s life and desires, and to set new short term goals. So I have compiled a short list of my blogging intentions for the coming few months:
Learn to Take Better Photographs
Some photos in my shop are lovely. Many look like they were taken in someone’s lounge at 10pm with the flash off. Maybe they were. If I’m going to become a trillionaire then my product images need to improve, and I’d like to take more original photos here too (there are only so many times I can dig out that Gerard Way GIF). I got a light tent for Christmas and I intend to use the shit out of it. I apologise in advance if you follow me on Instagram.
Read More Varied News Sources
I think I mentioned I was thinking of bringing back the Six O’Clock News? Since I left school I’ve been terrible at keeping up with current events, basically just tuning into Radio 4 when I wake up and ignoring the world for the rest of the day. Not very conducive to my desire to a) take the piss out of politicians or b) use real life as inspiration for art.
Learn to Use Facebook
I know, I know, it’s my job. I recently started doing more marketing on Facebook and I’m realising that Pages are actually far more interesting than I’d given them credit for. Everyone needs to see something on their timeline that isn’t their aunt’s best friend’s cousin’s poppy appeal poster. Having ignored the Indifferent Ignorance Facebook for a good four years (18 likes? Come on Francesca, you have a reputation), I resolve to post there more. I’ve no idea what… anything that’s longer than Twitter but needs less tags than Instagram?
To Chill the Eff Out
This is a bit self-centred, but I think we’ve all seen how completely plagued I am with doubt about this blog. Do I want it to be political satire? Do I want to write essays? Do I want to tell you all that my mum’s Poldark calendar can be viewed from the street? I never know. Some days I want to blog for a living and consider sending out applications for advanced reader copies of novels or taking paid reviews for art. Some days I want to close it down and move to Cambodia to write screenplays. So my intention for the next few months is to try blogging new things, to let myself poke around with the theme, to write terribly, to make an effort to write well, to stop worrying that I lost my mojo at 16. I already have a weird and varied job(s); there is no reason why I can’t also have a weird and varied blog. I don’t know who I want to connect with on here, I don’t know what I hope to have accomplished by 2017, I don’t know what I will consider success or failure. So I intend to try to be okay with not knowing… especially since that is probably when I will find out.
My Blogging 101 instructions are to now write five tags that will show the world this post. I just came up with 15 and they’re shite. Would it be unethical to just put ‘x rated video’ or ‘baby panda sneezing’?
I am busy trying to think up new year’s resolutions for the blog, because I think it would be fun to see if I can keep them past 8th January. So far I have come up with:
Learn to cook and share the horror stories with you guys to dispel the cookbook-perpetrated myth that you need to skin a unicorn and boil fairy dust to feed yourself.
Advertise that I’m open to sponsored blog posts and paid reviews and see what happens.
Try to make indifferent ignorance more of a plot point; do regular posts where it has been spotted in the real world. You guys would have to help with this as I don’t get out all that much.
Annoy UKIP more by sending them lots of letters using the 1p stamps I purchased yesterday. You guys would also have to be involved because there is only so much a person can do by themselves before they get disillusioned. Especially where UKIP is concerned.
I haven’t got much further than that, although a brief list of short term goals is usually more realistic than lots of big ones, like “TAKE OVER UNIVERSE” or “MAKE DOG CUDDLING AN OLYMPIC SPORT”.