Tag: Blogging

I’m sorry, this blog is no more.

(this is my last bold-faced, bracketed subheading)

Sorry for the silence.

I won’t go into detail here because this blog is now dead. It’ll remain online for people to check up on that Geographical Pickup Lines post, but there won’t be anything new here.

Instead, I’d encourage you to check out my new blog, with its own fancy domain!

Hope you see you there,

Casey

See you in a month

(I don’t always take a break, but when I do…)

Long story short I can’t be doing this blog at the moment. I’m not doing so well currently, and am basically in the process of stripping down my life and rebuilding it somewhat from scratch. And if I’m gonna do a cold reboot of my life, I don’t want something like this blog bridging the gap, stopping me from moving on from my old, shitty way of doing things to a newer, less shitty method.

So I’ll see you again at the start of December.

The Blogger Recognition Award

(I’m certainly a blogger; not sure about being recognised though)

You know those boss battles where you’re down two party members, have run out of PP on your designated healer and your jack-of-all-trades protagonist is suddenly left isolated, their weaknesses exposed and their lack of specialisation hamstringing, as your HP dwindles yet you guard and physically attack for a desperate last few turns; and then you get three critical hits in a row out of nowhere, find a perfect recovery item in the lining of your knapsack to revive your heavy-hitting mage, and suddenly you’re launching fireballs like a pyromaniac on speed as the battle music picks up at an eerily appropriate time? Well, I had the blogging equivalent today; I couldn’t think of an idea for a post, only to stumble into the welcoming awarding arms of this cleverly-named blogger.

With that in mind, let’s get on with the award, shall we?

Select fifteen other people or blogs to give the award to

Fifteen!? Alright then.

  1. Dan Marino
  2. Littlekuriboh
  3. Joseph Stalin
  4. Noodle from Gorrilaz
  5. Egil Skallagrimsson
  6. NicePeter
  7. Gandhi
  8. God, as portrayed in Milton’s Paradise Lost
  9. Amen from Lordi
  10. Rick Astley
  11. Anton LaVey
  12. Nona from the awesome Bowling For Soup song
  13. King K. Rool
  14. Duck Dodgers
  15. Your mum

Write a post to show off your award

Nah, I’ll get to it next week.

Give a brief story of how your blog started

I’d been interested in writing since I was literate – seriously, my shed at home is 90% full of old exercise books I scrawled worlds and little stories into – and wanted to pursue writing as a career from when I was about fifteen or so. When I was seventeen, having written nothing but school essays, I decided to broaden my range of writing, and start writing things regularly that I liked. On the 5th of October 2013, I set up a WordPress account, on the two conditions that I’d write whatever I felt like, and would post every day, exams, hospitalisations and fatigue providing. I’m still here two years later, and while this blog isn’t my most important creative outlet any more, it’s been the springboard for almost all of my larger projects, and remains one of the closest projects to my heart.

Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers

Write for your ideal audience. Obviously, hearing people disagree with and suggest improvements to your work is a vital part of writing – and being creative in general – but it can’t all be criticism, criticism, criticism. Most of the ‘writing’ process consists of being bogged down on a miserable afternoon in February bashing your head against a laptop as rain clangs with a discordant crackle outside your window, and you feel like shit. Having a perfect reader, one who gets your references, likes your style of writing, and finds you the greatest of god’s creative gifts, really helps get over that hump.

Also, share your crap all over social media. You’ll feel like The Person Who’s Whoring Their Inane Shite Over Facebook for a bit, and this is certainly a part of your identity you’ll have to get used to, but presenting things for people to read, and broadening your pool of potential readers, is never a bad thing. Don’t headhunt people, asking them specifically if they’ve read your stuff, but remind people that you’re still artistically relevant, which is a big challenge for even ‘successful’ creators; look at Game of Thrones, which is struggling to still be entertaining and shocking five years into its run. This year, around 1/5 of all my views have come from my mates clicking on the links I post on Facebook every day.

Thank whoever nominated you and put a link to their blog

Thx m8 (y)

Attach the award to the post

‘Attach’? What is this, an email?

The One Lovely Blog award

(I don’t really do ‘lovely’. ‘Spiky’ is more my thing)

This fine personage has nominated me for an award I didn’t even know existed – a measure of my inattentiveness towards my fellow bloggers of late – so let’s get to answering the questions and jumping through the hoops, so we can all put off writing real content for another day by slipping into the false security of a cut-and-paste post structure that exists entirely to satisfy our own egos.

Thank the person who nominated you

Thanks for the support, asshole.

Add the award logo

I’m gonna follow Odd’s lead here and say nah.

List seven facts about yourself

  1. I prefer soya milk to almond milk
  2. I’ve never broken a bone in my body
  3. I’m starting to reject the idea of gender identity being one of two fixed binaries
  4. I pee sitting down (not necessarily related to the previous point)
  5. I’ve not read anyone else’s blog posts in about three weeks
  6. I accidentally posted regular updates of me making a lasagne from scratch on my Facebook feed the other day. I tried to keep it all on Twitter, but I made a terrible mistake.
  7. There aren’t seven facts.
  8. That last fact is now true.
  9. The following fact is not.
  10. There are eleven facts.
  11. The ninth fact is now untrue.

Sayonara.

 

I used to be an idiot misogynist

(operative word there being ‘used’)

I don’t think I’m an idiot misogynist these days. I don’t want to engage in an infantile Top Trumps-style game of ‘Who’s the Bigger Feminist’ by comparing my attendance record at Gender and Fem Soc events to yours, because it’s pointless, but I try to perceive people based on their actions, not randomly-assigned wobbly bits; in all honesty, I think I’m pretty successful in this approach as I’ve not managed to alienate all of my female friends by making strings of vulgar sexist remarks, which is a relief.

But Younger James wasn’t so open-minded. From the ages of about twelve to fifteen, after I had realised that gender was a thing one could discuss but before I met people worth discussing it with, I was an idiot misogynist. I had taken the perspective that all women acted for the attention of men (which is already homophobic and probably transphobic but those are stories for another day), and from this came a number of cringeworthy opinions: of course it’s the victim’s fault in cases of sexual harassment, she (invariably ‘she’) provoked her harasser in that womanly way of hers; of course unmarried, adult women are in some way flawed, they don’t have a man in their lives.

This all stemmed from my early impression that femininity is in some way artificial, destructive, and forced. The two women in the life of little me – my mum and my sister – weren’t typically ‘feminine’, and even rallied against gender norms, complaining angrily to my early primary schools that my sister wasn’t allowed to wear a pair of trousers like the boys. But instead of seeing their valid criticisms for what they were, I rubbished them, simultaneously seeing them as not important, and dismissing all other women (about three and a half billion people, by the way) for choosing to engage with this shallow, needlessly impractical carnival of ‘being feminine’. I was a very practical kid, and saw no reason to have long hair, because it gets in your face, or wear a dress, because it’s harder to run in than shorts, and so people who liked these things became weird, with backward, superficial priorities.

This was all exacerbated when I went to a single-sex secondary school. Women fell into three categories: my family, who were unfeminine and so we weird; my teachers, who were teachers first and foremost and so served a functional role rather than a personal one; and the women I saw in games and on TV, and endless parade of wimpy caricatures and tits. For Younger James, women were simple beings, ones that could be understood and categorised by the clothes they wore or the men they were associated with, and I honestly didn’t see any reason to change this worldview for a very long time.

Then, however, I was saved by actually meeting women. I’ve referred to my two-month stint at a youth centre’s music group as a turning point in my life for years, but this was perhaps the most profound impact of that stay; here were women who were feminine but not ditzy, complex but not uninteresting, vibrant but without being archetypes. It took me until I was fifteen to realise that women are people, rather than some kind of makeup-wearing deviant from men, who had previously been the default for all humanity as far as I was concerned. Now, I’ve not only realised the idiocy of my stance, but have pulled a few 180s; skirts tend to look better than trousers, and I think that me and my males friends could all do with a bit more affectionate hugging and platonic pet name-calling in our lives.

There’s a reason for me telling you all this. Today is the second anniversary of this blog, the day 24 months ago when I decided to sign up to WordPress and start pissing off all my friends by insisting they read my garbage to validate me as a writer and a person. And just as I’ve changed from being an idiot misogynist to a near-raging feminist in my personal life, I’ve improved as a writer and a thinker in my creative life; I write for magazines, bash out funny emails for UCL societies, and may or mate not have a notebook of poetry that I’m not horrendously ashamed of. In two years writing has gone from a pipedream to a skill that could plausibly become a career; that might not be as broadly important as realising that women are people too, but on a purely internal level, that’s a pretty big change.

So cheers for reading this stuff; here’s to the next two years.

Is this blog a good thing anymore?

(an existential blogging crisis!)

I started this blog to write. To put words to paper every day, as an exercise in self-disciple and improving my writing skill through the medium of endless practice, backed up by review and interaction from readers; to these ends, this blog has been nothing but a success beyond my wildest naff metaphors.

But in many ways, it’s gone too far. This is no longer my chief writing project: in terms of academia, that honour goes to my degree; in terms of fictional prose, that’d be my novel; for poetry, my writing blog; for journalism, Public Pressure and Sportsemic; and for gaming, the greatest of my passions, I have The Game Shelf. However, it is the project that takes up the greatest amount of my time, and is one I feel obliged to contribute towards every day; at this point in my life, the input is greater than the output.

This isn’t to say that this blog, and especially the people who read it and engage with it, are somehow worth ‘less’ to me now than two years ago, but the rest of my life has changed around it. I feel obliged to hammer out a new post every day, regardless of its quality, while there is less motivation to write a new journalistic piece regularly, when I’m better at, would benefit more from, and perhaps enjoy to a greater extent, the latter.

I feel like this blog is a very seventeen-year-old James project, an ambitious attempt to hone a largely theoretical skill through discipline and personal commitment. This blog reflected that strange marriage of the creative and the relentless skills that go into working towards an A-level in English, but my life isn’t about such a singular goal any more. These days, I flit from wanting to be a novelist to a gaming critic, to a game designer, to a poet, and occasionally a punk bassist or rapper; this blog is an island of needless rigidity and obligation in a turbulent sea of ideas and experimentation.

But is there a solution? If I change the posting schedule – say, weekly, instead of daily – there’s still the imposition of an arbitrary schedule, and if I abandon a schedule altogether this blog becomes a totally different beast. Could I scrap the blog altogether, and go in all with the pretentious journalism?

Definitely worth a think.

In the short-term, obviously, nothing will change on the blogging front. It’s good to have some kind of creative obligation like this, especially on days where I can’t think of anything to write about NOFX or the World Karate Federation, because it makes (and has made) writing into my life, rather than a hobby within it. I may have to reconsider the importance of this blog – as it’s no longer my main creative project, I might ease up on the need to write every day – or at least the length and format of my posts to make writing every day easier, but for the time being there won’t be any changes in how I write.

There’ll be lots of changes, however, in the way I approach and think about my writing; and that may be the most important consideration to take away from these 23 months and 600 posts’ worth of words.

I’m as successful as a single bad YouTube video!

(or at least as popular)

I know that my last post wasn’t particularly inspired, and this one won’t be hugely amusing, but today is a rather momentous day for this little WordPress-suffixed writing world I’ve been bashing my fingers into for the last two years or thereabouts; today, after 602 posts, and three days shy of our second anniversary, we’ve hit 20,000 views! (which is, in very general terms, the threshold for a YouTube video being considered just about watchable, in my estimation)

I’d like to say thanks to you – obviously, you may have noticed I slipped into the first-person plural ‘we’ for a second there – for making me a writer; obviously I would have completed the task of writing had it not been for this blog, but ‘being a writer’ is, to me, a broader definition, encompassing producing things that people want, and engaging with the people that read them. It’s a far more fluid, communal affair than the archetypal writer I aspired to be when I started this project, stoically sitting atop a perilously tall tower, writing social commentary on an old Macbook while aggressively  and paradoxically distancing myself from that society.

And, honestly, it’s made writing into a far more human, and interesting, pastime than I could have imagined. As much as I love the sound of my own voice, I can’t write 600 pieces just for myself; I take greater pride in the fact that comments are at an all-time high, than I do shame in that views have dried up recently. I think and write, and you read and think, which is a wonderful relationship that I wouldn’t change for anything.

So you’ll e stuck with me for another 20,000 views, and 20,000 after that. Sorry, but if you reckon I’m an annoying tit by this point, remember that you made me this way.