September 23, 2016

23092016

Yesterday I managed to write a lot. I had to bin all of it. There are a number of competitions hitting my inbox at the moment (why they’re all coming through now I’m not sure – I haven’t seen a good one in months), so many in fact that I had to set up a proper schedule to make sure I had something for each of them. There’s five main ones I want to enter, all of which are due across October. The first is due on the 1st and the last is due on the 31st, with the rest scattered somewhere in between. Four are for screen, one for prose. I plugged when each one was due into my calendar then made a spreadsheet for when they’re due, what the competition is, what it entails, and what project I’m planning on entering for each competition.

Luckily, for a few of them, I already have some stuff written than I can throw their way, making entering a matter of filling out forms and maybe writing up a treatment or two. For the others they’re more specific in the theme of the competition and so I’ll have to write something new to match it, which is fun but puts me on a timeline; hence the spreadsheeting. The one that’s due on the 1st is in the latter category and so naturally I started with that one. I had two ideas for it that I spent most of yesterday outlining, first one, then the other. This was the writing that got binned. I can’t necessarily say why but neither idea fit the bill, and neither were exciting me much beyond the original spark, meaning they were unlikely to excite anyone else. So, I binned them. When I say binned them I mean left them in the digital folder they were born in, as well as the mental folder in my mind, where hopefully they’ll get better with age and I can maybe come back to in the future.

Funnily, when it got to the end of the day and I reviewed how I felt about this I found I wasn’t overly upset. This was because I realised I had achieved what I set out to do; sit down for a few hours and try to outline those ideas. Yes, the writing I did in that time turned out not to be my best, but that wasn’t my goal. It’s taken me awhile to learn this, and I think past ventures in other creative fields have helped, but my goal is only ever to attempt the thing I’m trying to do. Not master it, just try. For writing that means my goal isn’t to write the best thing that’s ever been written, or even write the best thing I’ll ever write, my goal is only ever to write. Simply that. To be disciplined enough to sit down, put my hand on the keyboards, and do my best to get some ideas down onto the screen. In other words do something, not nothing; that’s a victory. If I can do that the rest will come with time. Perhaps not me writing the best thing ever written but definitely me writing the best thing I’ve ever written. I’m a big believer in the idea that you’ve got to write the equivalent of ten crappy novels before you can write one good one. That’s just part of the process. Which means that no words written are ever wasted, they’re just the crappy words you’re getting out of the way before you get to the good ones.

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Now for some internet bits that I’ve come across this week.

First up is a novella called The Night Cyclist by Stephen Graham Jones that was published on Tor.com. It’s a horror story involving chefs and cycling that I found wonderfully written and engrossing.

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Next is another video from Futurism about how drones are being used to fight deforestation. That’s got to be one of the best uses for drones I’ve heard so far.

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Finally, this quick video from TED-ed which uses a number of examples to give an easy to understand visual of what one part in a million means.

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I’ll leave you with a thought of the week: We are made up of squishy bits so complex that our main squishy bit can’t understand them.

Talk soon

Damian

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