Saturday 1st April 2017

I had a long list of tasks to do today, mostly brand related.  One of the things I’ve been investigating is running a live poll as a way to build up your Facebook Fan Page.  Inbetween everything else, I’ve spent weeks researching as technically it’s quite difficult to do and earlier this week I finally figured out all the pieces.
So I decided to try it over the weekend.  The important thing about these things isn’t so much to get a success or failure result from them but to understand them better so you can know when best to use them (if at all) for your particular circumstances.
Marketing is one of my weakest areas.  That might seem surprising given how much time I seem to be putting into it right now, but I’m enjoying educating myself.  This time before the book is sold is perfect for experimenting and learning.
I ran a poll on favourite Fantasy Series.  I wasn’t sure if that was a bit clickbaity so I decided the best course of action was to be honest and ask whether people thought it was.  It took a bit of work to get it all up and running but I have to say that I was mighty pleased when it went live.
It felt like a particular accomplishment.  I’m really trying to embrace the digital age and use cutting edge social media to enhance my personal brand.  And as much as that might sound like shitty marketing talk, that phrase is going to be as commonplace in 5 years as “you need to have a blog” and “you need to be on Twitter” is today.
As a result, there was some real validation when it went live.  A lot of the time I try things and wonder what it is I’m doing.  Have I taken it too far?  Have I completely lost the plot?  There are plenty of times when I think I should just stay safe and do the tried and tested things.  I’ve forced myself to step outside my comfort zone in the last couple of months simply because I think the best in their field innovate rather than just do what everyone else does.
So today I felt good.  I felt that all the hard work I’ve put in over the last couple of months has now resulted in me doing something no other author is currently doing.
Whether it ultimately ends up a success or a failure is neither here nor there, the fact is that I am doing.
I cross-posted it to Fantasy-Faction.  I felt given that it’s an experiment rather than some hard sell I wasn’t advertising.  It worked to a degree, except people liked my post to the group rather than the actual video post.  I put some notes in the original post and in the comments but people either didn’t care or didn’t read.  Again, I’m not too worried.  It would have been nice if the poll had run smoothly but if people are just having fun with it, that’s enough for me.
To celebrate I went into town.  I planned to stop in and see Swindon Writers but when I got there no-one had turned up or had already left.  Not a problem as the main reason I’d come in was to get my hair cut.
I’ve been growing my fringe now for a year, but it’s now down to my eyes.  I’d thought of getting it trimmed but the barber was saying that with my thin hair it’s starting to look a bit like a comb-over so I got it lopped back a bit.  It’s funny, I’ve never been worried about going bald, my reasoning being that I’d just shave my head and be done with it.  But now I’ve lost weight and look good, I’m much more concerned about it.
There was a long wait at the barber so by the time I came out there wasn’t much time to look around the shops.  You see, I was quite excited to see that thunderstorms had been predicted for Swindon around 4pm and so I was eager to get home and set up my kit so I could test out my lightning detector before I go to the US & Canada.  But the trouble with thunderstorms is that they’re a little unpredictable where they form.
I have website links where I can look at rain radar and lightning strikes  (because I’m a weather nerd), and so I dashed home to look at those.  I could feel the sun warming the air as I walked so I was quite excited.  The clouds also looked like they were building.  But it looked like the storms weren’t firing until they’d crossed the channel.  So that ruled out a bit of lightning chasing this afternoon.
One of the big problems with the clocks changing last week is that it remains lighter outside for longer and as a result I always think it’s earlier than it is.  So I watched some Youtube videos until it gets dark only to then find it’s gone 8pm.
I played some more Star Wars The Old Republic.  Only a couple of hours but I just want to finish off this planet so I can move onto the next one.  During that time I came to the conclusion that in my novel chapter plan I have the wrong person discovering our hero talking to a major secondary character.  It was one of those revelations that as soon as I thought, “Oh, X should discover them”  it seemed completely right and the end of this chapter suddenly felt like it had a bit of tension.
I’m pleased with that seeing as I’m currently in one of the parts of the novel where the writing is difficult.
I am starting to find that with my creative process.  Sometimes when I’m stuck on a novel-related problem the best thing I can do is go off and play a game, or watch some TV, or procrastinate in some way.  Taking my focus away from the novel for a while allows my brain to back up a bit and look at the problem afresh.
Trouble is, I’ve not got to the stage where I can tell the difference between a creative break and pure procrastination.  I’m not sure they are even different.  I’ve seen some talk that says procrastination is part of the process and that the rabbit warren of links you follow rather than work all somehow contributes to the finished work.  I’m not sure I agree but I definitely think there’s something about any creative activity you do needing consumption of art or information to fuel it.
Either way, I managed to progress with the chapter.  Again, not a huge number of words but now knowing who discovers my hero and secondary character made it a lot easier to write.  I got pretty much up to the point of them being discovered and stopped.  The main reason is that I’m unsure whether to go for the classic being interrupted mid-sentence to find a gang standing there with pistols or whether I want to do something more creative.  I think I want to do something more creative but I’m not sure what.
I’ll think about it over tomorrow.
Whilst it has been in doubt, I had it confirmed that there is sparring in Reading tomorrow.  And in a bit of a shock twist.  I’m considering not going!
A good length of the M4 is shut so the A4 is going to be rammed, plus someone picked up my rapier glove so I do not have it to fence with.  Whilst it was an accident, I am really pissed about it.   I tried to justify it to myself that I could spend that time at home working on the novel… but that’s probably not going to happen.  So…  I’m going to wait and make a decision when I wake up.  I’ve done more difficult journeys to fight people and I might just be able to get another glove into it.
And whilst I’ve also done a load of my tasks today.  I still have a huge number yet to do.  Plus, I’d like to get to the gym (which was going to happen this evening and never did) and even go out and film some blog stuff.  But even if my only big win this weekend is the Facebook live poll I know I’ll still end up feeling satisfied with my accomplishments over the weekend.
It never stops being busy, but the ToDo list does change.
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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