Sunday 7th May 2017

I overslept today.
It’s a bit ironic that I’ve been tired for weeks and the one day I want to be up early, I wake up late.
I knew something was wrong when I woke up and didn’t hear the hot water on.  That’s usually around the time I wake up and given how light it was outside, I knew it had to be later.  I didn’t realise how much later.
I was supposed to start packing the car at around 9am.  I woke up at 9:06am.  Somehow I managed to pack swordfighting gear, camera gear, have breakfast and do a couple of other urgent things, get out the door, get fuel and only arrive 15 minutes late.  Although this did mean not editing The Climb (this is why yesterday’s edition was late!  Sorry!)
Not bad, even if I do say so myself.
The long drives give me time to think.  Usually they are about the next chapter I want to write, but given that I finished the draft, I instead thought about The Climb and what it’s achieved.  Starting vlogging is going to be an interesting experiment.  There’s a lot of overlap with The Climb and I’m not sure if they complement or contradict each other.  But therein lies the experiment.
It’s a lot of work and so, now I’m out of my post-novel blues, I wanted to think about what The Climb has actually achieved.
It’s definitely been an interesting exercise in confidence.  In putting myself honestly ‘out there’ it’s forced me to embrace my ego (with a small e) a little.  I’ve always been a bit self-deprecating and I’ve had a number of people that I sometimes do so to my disadvantage.  So by blogging my truth, it’s left me a little emotionally naked and forced me to find the confidence inside myself.  I’ve always said that people can’t hurt you with the truth, but still I’ve had to battle the urge to omit, worried that my views on even the most inane stuff will be judged.
I’m currently at the stage where I believe that there needs to be a balance between humility and ego, and I think the combination of the fear of putting myself out there, together with the willingness to talk about myself has put me in a pretty good place.  Not perfect, and it’s constantly in flux, but overall I’d say I’m happy where I am.  I feel very balanced, very focused.
But today I realised there was also a hidden benefit that I’d not considered before and it was in my writing.
By being willing to accept both the humility and the ego in myself, to embrace myself with self-awareness, and not be frightened to be me in The Climb… I think it’s translated to my characters.
Remember how I said that the character’s choice at the end surprised me.  I’ve realised that this is as a result of The Climb.
I’ve pondered all day how to explain it, and I’m still not sure I’ve got it succinctly down but it goes something like this.
Our protagonists, to some greater or lesser extent, are projections of ourselves.  I’m talking in wide generalisations so I know there are exceptions but just go with it for me.  Or at least, they are projections of elements of ourselves.  So when we / I write a character I want that element to be seen in the best possible light.  At a very simplistic level that would mean taking the story in the direction of A, because that represents my values and I subconsciously want my readers to like me for choosing A.
But in accepting that people are contradictions and allowing myself to be both polar opposites (humble and egotistical) I’ve found (for want of a better my word) my truth.
So the reason the character in book 2 chooses B  (and B isn’t the bad to A’s good… it’s a legitimate but more selfish option) is because I’m writing it without the fear of it being seen as a projection of myself.  The Climb has opened my writing up to different possibilities because I know my truth and am less worried about being judged for it.
The downside to this daily blog thing is that I don’t have unlimited time to take a view and boil it down into a succinct metaphor… so I may revisit this at some point.
But the main takeaway from my journey to sparring this morning was that I feel my writing has gained depth from it.
Sparring itself went pretty well.  I fought nearly everyone there with a combination of weapons.  I’m working on playing with the position of my body – either feinting with my body or stepping just enough offline to stop my opponent from resetting – and I feel it’s going well.
Thankfully no-one was doing the pub today, as I had things planned.  So I went and collected my brother and we went off on an expedition.
Our destination was the set for Jurassic World 2.  They’ve been filming it in the woods between sparring and my parents’ place and so we went to take a look.  Lots of people out and a lot of security around.  They seemed to get jittery because I was practising carrying my new bag and had the mic on my vlogging camera.  On one hand that was annoying because I wasn’t going anywhere I wasn’t supposed to (As I said to my brother, if they didn’t want us going to the top of the hill then they could have out the fences at the bottom).  But at the same time, I quite liked that my vlogging rig looks official.
We saw a gate and the back of a set but that was it.  We just wanted to say we went.
It was a useful exercise.  One of the reasons for starting a vlog this week is because I want to make my mistakes before I start chasing.  And I made some mistakes today.  With the mic on the camera I can’t use the flip up screen and as a result, a lot of the stuff I filmed by the sets was out of focus.  I also thought I was recording at times when I wasn’t.  So my takeaway from today is that I need to make sure (with my glasses on) that things are in focus before I start filming.  I need to practise now because if we’re on a storm and my adrenaline is pumping, I’ll be more prone to making these rookie mistakes.  Don’t worry vlog0002 will be good!
Dropped my brother off and then came back home and got yesterday’s The Climb up (finally).  I then spent the evening working on yesterday’s vlog.  I think it went pretty well.  It’s definitely basic and I know friends who will be editing for me in the future will complain I didn’t let them edit it (or made rookie mistakes) but I need to try and do these daily for when I’m chasing.  Plus, I want to find a style first and then get them working to that style.
The important thing is that the number of people who work in social media who have told me over the last couple of days that I need to start doing video now, is insane.  But hey, I’m doing it and vlog0001 is up on both Youtube and Facebook.
I’d wanted to get vlog0002 done as well but by the time vlog0001 was uploaded it was gone midnight.
I suspect I need to edit more heavily, despite really trying to cut chaff, as vlog0001 was 18 minutes and I was thinking it would come in around 5-10mins.  But these things come with practise.
But the fact that I don’t have vlog0002 done will mean I’m chasing my tail all week!  Oh well, it’ll be good practise for chasepalooza.
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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