Twelve Months Writing: A 2017 Review
This year I started to explore my writing a lot more and in twelve months writing in 2017 I’ve written more words than in any other previous year since I began.
Although that wouldn’t be too hard, and by some standards it’s not that impressive.
However, including this one I’ve written over 120 articles or short stories this year alone. That doesn’t account for drafts, unique articles or re-published articles on Medium or elsewhere.
I like 1000 words as a minimum and although the odd article might be less than that, say those accompanying a podcast for example, the majority are roundabout 1500 – 2000 words or more.
That’s about 180,000 words – a couple of books right there. Something I’m pretty happy about.
In April I started writing every day and I kept that up for about 80 or 90 days, after which I scaled back to 3 or 4 per month.
It was an experiment that forced me to think about what was important to me and on reflection I can see what I was focused on.
I figured out that I have plenty to say and that there is no shortage of ideas to share.
In May I penned The Artist’s Manifesto, something that serves as a reminder for me of what I’m doing and why.
September saw the launch of The Larb podcast and although I’ve been a little inconsistent with episodes I enjoy the process, one which I’m committed to developing further in 2018.
I do other things to pay the bills so to keep my writing up and to develop the podcast further I’ll need to practice some discipline with regard to my time.
There’s plenty of stuff to read in the archive here for 2017 and the years preceding. You can read articles on business & marketing, Society & Culture, Art & Creativity and much more.
I imported stuff from other sites of mine too, from 2016, 2015 and 2014.
Some of that was so below par. So it’s gonna stay in draft from. It may form the basis for future writings but for now I’ll leave it on the shelf.
Here’s a breakdown of articles from 2017 and previous years. Click into each year to view articles for that year.
The Best Things You’ll Experience Are Surprises
It’s been my experience that plans for the large part don’t work. Or perhaps it’s something else that doesn’t work, who knows. But I’m certainly not going to stress about it.
You see, I’ve learned there’s no hard and fast rule to these things. There’s no template out there in the world that can be successfully applied to everyone.
I’ve figured that out the hard way despite it being in plain sight.
You see we get to row our boat whatever way we want. When you hit a flow, then you go with it.
That’s my approach.
All the planning I need to do happens right now. The more I focus on doing what I want then the better the stuff I make and the results tend to be.
Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers. – Ray Bradbury
Others will say that’s flakey and scattered.
But they don’t know what’s right for me, or for you. They only know what’s right for them.
It’s easy to look at commercial or worldly success with hindsight and declare to the world what actions brought that about.
But when we look at the action alone we miss the bigger picture.
I say focus on short term goals such as what you will do today. Focus on that which you will make, write, paint, fix etc. today and decide to do that with as much passion and vigour as possible.
Next thing you know you’re 20 years down the road and all of a sudden you’re an expert in high demand. That’s how it appears to me these things work.
Effort to succeed just takes us away from what’s important.
My goal now is to get in a good place for as long as possible and make stuff from there. Then good shit happens. I don’t need to control the outcome.
Besides, as I’ve written before, most of the best and worst experiences I’ve had were surprises.
The 2018 Plan
My only plan for 2018 is to keep doing what I’m doing and get better at it. I will not write for other people, I’ll write for myself.
Jeff Lynn from ELO said something like this in a documentary I was watching last night. He said he made all those songs for him and it just so happened that everyone else loved them too.
That’s my plan.
I’ll refine and rewrite The Artist’s Manifesto this year and use select articles from the blog archive to form a self published book of the same name.
That’s the broad brush strokes.
It’s like that when I draw. I just have an idea to draw someone and then I start. Initially I’ll plan a bit of an outline but after that I’ll just go with it and see what happens.
I’ve made moves to publish work beforehand, namely The Illusion of Time, but that work is not completed or ready yet. I have further research to do before it’s finished.
So it’s likely to be a couple more years before I that fleshes itself out completely.
Why so long for The Illusion of Time?
Well you see I’ve more to uncover on this. Although I’ve had many insights on the subject, I feel I can add a lot more value by taking my time (bit of a pun there).
That fruit is not ready yet.
I’ve a ton of material on the subject but that material is not my own. Simply summarising other people’s work is not my idea of what a book should be.
It should have integrity. It should be my work with the work of others as a compliment.
I’ll cover the subject of time further in my degree studies after which I’ll be closer to publishing something with some solid findings, conclusions and ultimate merit.
Stories & Articles
The last 12 months have primarily about opinion articles. Commentary from yours truly on art, work and creativity, and subjects of a societal nature too.
This year I feel I have some stories to tell.
I’ll write others like this and I’ll be aiming for one per month at least. Think of the stuff published on the blog as first draft. I’ll then compile them with some editing into a book for release later in 2018.
We’ll see where that goes.
Self Imposed Pressure
I fallen foul in the past to the pursuit of goals not built on what I wanted, but on an idea of how I wanted to be perceived by others.
Now it’s all about doing what I truly want. It’s about making stuff for the sake of it, for the enjoyment of it. Sounds familiar that.
It’s what The Artist’s Manifesto is all about.
You know what? It feels like a relief, to realise this I mean. To drop the need to look good in the eyes of other people.
I recommend it.
But the funny thing is we can’t simply decide to take this road. We’ve almost got to stumble across it.
There’s no faking not giving a fuck. We’ve got to give a fuck for too long before we’re faced with the realisation that doing so doesn’t work.
Giving a fuck what others think doesn’t help us unless we wake up and see that it does.
Know what I mean?
Don’t get me wrong, I care about plenty of things. I care about my wife and kids, I care about creativity and doing a good job, I care about standards, honour and integrity.
I care about making myself a good cup of coffee and for peeling carrots and potatoes in a certain way.
I care about loading the dishwasher right and about ironing a shirt so I don’t get shiny seems.
These days it’s more about doing things that make me feel good and less about how I think I might be perceived.
No self imposed pressure.
Always The Work, We Have No Choice
I can’t explain fully this state of mind I feel. But I do know that I had to feel its opposite for a long while before something happened.
That something was spontaneous. It came about by virtue of all my effort in the opposite direction then a subsequent giving up of the need to make it happen.
That’s how it happens.
No I should say that I don’t always get things right.
Today I made my eldest son cry. Something I’m not very proud of. I have some mending of things to do.
So I like you have some work to do. The truth is it never ends this work.
I promise to keep making mine, whatever that happens to be if you keep making yours. And maybe one day something we make will resonate with millions.
Or maybe it won’t, but let’s keep doing it anyway. After all, we’ve no real choice in the matter.