D4D

It's better to stay quiet and be thought an idiot than to speak up and leave no doubt

Archive for the category “Writing”

More Posts in 2017?

One of my aims/hopes for 2017 is to write more stuff here.  It slackened off massively for a while, and I’ve never really got back to the same levels as back in the first few years. I’m not necessarily aiming to go back to those levels either, but it’d be nice to write more here, and it’ll be related to other stuff that’s planned, so it kind of makes sense.

As part of that though, I did wonder about my annual post counts, so through the wonders of databases, I came up with the following…

  • 2002 – 411 posts
  • 2003 – 987 posts – the busiest year
  • 2004 – 882 posts
  • 2005 – 950 posts
  • 2006 – 823 posts
  • 2007 – 666 posts – the year of the beast, obviously
  • 2008 – 491 posts
  • 2009 – 535 posts
  • 2010 – 362 posts
  • 2011 – 43 – all time low, for reasons known to regular readers
  • 2012 – 141 posts
  • 2013 – 245 posts
  • 2014 – 233 posts
  • 2015 – 179 posts
  • 2016 – 151 posts

I’m not disheartened by that – I know I’ve had other things going on in the last couple of years, and that 2016 in particular has been madly busy with stuff that I haven’t written a lot about, so it all works out somewhat.  And even then it still works out as about three posts a week, which isn’t abysmal.

We’ll see, come the end of the year, how things have gone.  But for now, the plan is to write more here, as well as elsewhere.

2016/17 – What’s Next? The Coming Year

As usual, following on from my posts about what’s happened over the last year, it’s time to think about – and write about – what I want to do over the coming year.

Similar to last year, I’m going to keep it fairly simple and open, rather than being too detailed. I’ve got better details in my head, but they’re not going to be written down.

The basic goals are going to be :

  1. Continue rebuilding the finances, and keep boosting the savings
  2. Exercise, improve health, lose weight
  3. Complete September’s walking marathon – ideally in under seven hours. (My target is more ambitious than that, but I’ll be happy with 7 hours)
  4. Write more. (And ideally complete/publish some)
  5. Do more of the ideas around my own business
  6. Get out less.  Ideally, some kind of middle-ground between being ultra-quiet/sensible, and the idiocy of the last year
  7. Look more at some political ideas, and see how that goes. (This one’s the random ‘maybe’ one, I don’ tknow if anything will happen with it or not)

I could go into more detail – although that’s handled more in my notebook of to-do lists and ideas – but for now this’ll cover things.

On first viewings, it should be an interesting year.

 

Inspiration

I’m just leaving this here as a remind to myself, on occasion…

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.
All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.

(C) Chuck Close

This came from Zack Arias’ DexPxl blog, a piece entitled “Get the F*ck To Work” (his asterisk, not mine!) which also included the clip below of David Bowie’s advice to musicians…

A transcript of that is :

When asked if he had advice for musicians, Bowie replied: “Yes, never play at a gallery. [Laughs] I think. But you never learn that until much later on. But never work for other people at what you do. Always… always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt, that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society. And I — I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations; I think they produce — they generally produce their worst work when they do that. And if — the other thing I would say is that if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in, go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

Again, just a reminder for me, more than anything else – but if anyone else finds it useful, that’s grand.

Planning Stuff

As well as slowing down a bit for the second half of 2016, I’m also starting to plan stuff where possible for the first half of 2017. For me, that’s scarily organised.

Part of it is looking at stuff I want to do – and places I want to go – and starting to put things in place for those to happen. I’ve got a couple of breaks booked for the second half of 2016, a week in Cornwall at the end of September, and a weekend in Dorset at the end of October (in which I’m hoping to break the back of some writing ideas – that’s the current plan, anyway) but I’m also looking at what I want to do in 2017, and starting to book it up where/when I can.

So far, that’s looking like a long weekend down around Bath and Bristol (an area I like, don’t know enough about, and want to know more) and potentially a week each in Lake District and somewhere in the North-East. I may do something abroad as well, but we’ll see.

I’m also looking at things I don’t want to carry on – in particular the restaurant project I’ve been doing this year, with at least one Michelin-starred place per month for the year, part of my whole thing about eating alone. I’m still really enjoying it for this year, and I’ve no intention of giving it up completely – but it might go down to a quarterly thing, rather than monthly.

There’s a bundle of other stuff getting prepared for next year – but not stuff I’m going to write about just yet. Most of this is just in the contemplating and planning stages, rather than actually happening, but I’m going to spend time this year sorting out next.

Which, for me, is disgustingly organised…

 

Slowing Down

The first half of this year has been particularly barmy, and has felt close to non-stop. It’s safe to say, there’s been a lot of life going on!  I haven’t written here about a lot of it, because while it’s been fun, it hasn’t been massively newsworthy – but I think even here it’s been fairly clear that I’ve been doing a lot.

All told, there was only one event/thing that I wanted to do that I didn’t get to do – and that was more from an overdose of sanity and reality than any form of timing clash – and that was that climb up the Gherkin.

However, as a result of it all, I’m pretty wiped out – so the plan for the second half of the year is for me to slow down a bit.

I’ve still got loads planned, but I do intend to also have some more peaceable weekends, ones where I’m not all over the country and generally running round like a pillock. I know that September is insanely busy, so I’m definitely going to pad out the weeks either side of it.

There’s a lot of other stuff I want to do as well, which is part of why I’m trying to settle a bit and not be covering the country quite as much as I have been.

That’s the plan, anyway. Whether it’ll happen like that, only time will tell.

Shakespearean Reservations

As I alluded to in a previous post, I currently have some reservations about the Shakespeare plays I’ve seen.  Admittedly, I don’t have a great depth of knowledge on the subject, and I’m pretty new to it all, so I may revise these thoughts at some point. Anyway, it’s based on the current state of things – and I’m seeing a lot more over the next year, so we’ll see.

Anyway.

At the moment, while I enjoy seeing the plays, I do find myself thinking that they’re a bit… am-dram. Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch had (in my opinion) quite a weak cast, Cumberbatch excepted. No-one else was up to scratch – I saw it twice, once live at the Barbican, and once at the cinema from much further into the run. Both times, that was how I felt.

Seeing King Lear in Manchester over the weekend I felt the same – while it was good, and engrossing, a number of the actors were again very am-dram, over-enuniciating and so on.

It might be that I’m expecting too much from the actors, that I’m mixing ‘am-dram’ for just ‘theatrical’. I don’t yet know.  I didn’t get the same feeling with Faustus though, so the jury really is out.

Over the next few months I’ve got a number of theatre things lined up – not just Shakespeare (although I’ve got Romeo and Juliet, and Tempest on that side) but others from all walks, including Jesse Eisenberg’s new one, Jonson’s The Alchemist, and a Pinter play with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

So there’s going to be a lot more thought going into this, as I figure out more about whether it’s Shakespeare stuff in general, or whether I’m mixing up other terms and so on along the way.  It’ll be interesting, either way.

Writing More

This year, I’m trying to write more – both here (which so far seems to be pretty successful) and also to get more fiction stuff done as well.

Here on D4D I’m aiming for at least a couple of posts per week, getting back into the swing of things.  I don’t know that I’ll ever go back to the daily (and multiple-times-a-day) updates of a few years back, just because I’ve changed, life’s changed, and I just haven’t felt the need to update this stuff as often anyway.

On the fiction side, I’m hoping to write a short piece a week – short-story level, maybe a thousand words at a time, and see how things go.  If it all clings together into something more, then even better.

There’s also the chance of writing something bigger, but I’m not going to guarantee anything on that one so far.

We’ll see what happens – but for now, at least it’s starting off pretty well.

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