Tuesday 28th March 2017

Today has been an incredibly busy and productive day.
I woke up late this morning.  Thankfully I could pretty much start the day job by rolling out of bed.  It’s probably a sign of just how tired I am.
I logged onto my personal computer to find a load of comments about the feedback on the videos that I left last night.  There were a number of very adult discussions had about branding to such a depth that I did start to self-doubt myself.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it but the plan is to see whether a vlog would work., sort of a Youtube version of The Climb.  My thinking is that being a writer is pretty boring visually (which is why The Climb is a blog) and whilst I storm chase and swordfight, those things are either concentrated to a couple of weeks a year or quite repetitive.  As a result, my gut feeling is that a monthly vlog seems to be the right cadence.
But we’re doing an experiment at the moment.  I’m filming myself, passing on the footage to friends and seeing what they can come up with.  I have to say I was really impressed with the two movies they came up with… which is why discussions have moved onto the sort of branding discussions marketing agencies have with their clients.
Now there’s a huge part of me that’s massively outside my comfort zone.  It’s taken me long enough to get used to taking selfies in public for The Climb posts, and even then when in public I have a habit of snapping them so quick the images end up a little blurry.  Vlogging would take it to a whole other level of pretentious.
Yet, studies show that video content is on the rise and not doing something because I feel a bit stupid is not a good reason to avoid trying it.
Am I charismatic enough to do video?  There’s certainly part of me that’s a little extrovert but that doesn’t mean I would come across well on video.  This is the reason to do the trial.
Yet, despite my reservations, there’s something that feels right about this.  It seems like a good tactic, at least to try.  And so I’ve been filming a mix of footage to see what my two editors can come up with.
By having someone else edit it, I do feel far enough removed to get over the cringe factor (although I don’t think I’ll get over it whilst filming for a long time).  The results were good enough to convince me that this is a strategy I need to try.
As a result, I walked to Currys this evening and picked up a new camera.  I’ve gone for the Canon EOS M3, mainly because it has an audio input and I can fit an external mic on it.  My plan is to use it for purely for vlogging.  One of the things my videos from storm chasing last year missed were pieces to camera giving some insight on what was going on.  This is small enough to fit in my bag and allows me to do this whilst chasing this year.  So even if the vlogging turns out to be a bad idea, the camera won’t go to waste.
Hopefully, this time next year I won’t be sitting here with my stormchasing 2017 video still not done (*cough* 2016 Storm Chase video *cough*)
My Rode mic fits nicely onto the new camera, although I did have one disappointment when I discovered that the screen did not flip down.  It’ll flip up but as someone who still stares at the viewfinder rather than the lens, it’s enough to be noticeable.  I guess I’ll just have to learn to look at the lens.  It’s not a big deal really.
Of course, one of my big worries about this vlogging venture is that because it is cool and new and more than a little egotistical, I’m in danger of focusing on it rather than actually doing the work of writing.  That’s the one thing I’ve constantly said to myself about these marketing experiments.  They’re fine until such time as they eat away at writing time.  I’m keeping a close check on it.
What with the walk to pick up the camera, going to the gym and doing food prep for the next couple of days, I am feeling totally exhausted.  The gym went really, really well with another two personal bests broken.  On the cross trainer, I hit 100rpm average for the first time.  That’s a 3% improvement on my previous best.  And on shoulder presses, I managed to get to 40kg, which is a 2.5kg increase.  My squats were also pretty good.  Apparently I’ve hit 120kg before but I squatted lower today and did a couple of sets at that weight.
The net result is I ache like hell this evening.  My back feels sore without it feeling like I’ve done an injury and if it wasn’t for all the caffeine I would have been asleep hours ago.
I listened to another short story as I did meal prep this evening.  This one was called Mortal Eyes by Ann Chapman.  I quite liked it but as usual I always feel like the endings are not conclusive enough.  I think that’s where I really struggle with short stories.  I want closure and meaning, and whilst it’s probably there, I don’t think my short story reading is nuanced enough to really understand it.
I also heard bad news from the US.  It appears a number of prominent storm chasers were in a traffic collison and killed.  It looks like it was caused by one of them running a stop sign.  I’m sure plenty of people will judge over the next few days, but knowing how heavy the rain can be in the middle of these storms and how you adrenaline rises to an almost uncontrollable level  I see it as nothing more than a very tragic accident.  Storm chasing is dangerous and despite the public always labelling storm chasers as reckless, maybe it says something that more die in traffic accidents than tornadoes.  That doesn’t make it any less sad though.
Despite such a busy night and feeling so knackered, I did manage to get not one, but two writing sessions on the novel tonight.  I wrote a total of around 3000 words on the chapter  I discussed yesterday, getting to the second scene.  And best of all, the reference to the secondary character revelation mentioned in the first scene not only helped glue the chapter together, but works as a really good way to move the second scene forward to conclusion.
I still have a little more work to do on it.  I seem to like starting with a half-finished chapter as I think it helps get me into a flow.  Whenever I complete a chapter one night and start a new one the next day, it feels like a lot more effort to make progress.  I know some writers leave sentences unfinished as a way to ease them back into the writing… and this variation seems to work for me.  I just need to remember to plan the next chapter tomorrow as it won’t take me long to finish this one off.
So again, I finish the day shattered at a little before 3am.  I’m certainly putting in a lot of hard work at the moment, but I’m especially proud that despite everything going on, the novel was the thing that got the most attention and progress today.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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