Discover, sounds like a prompt better suited to the New Year when people can reflect on what they discovered over the previous twelve months and how it made them a better person. Well Ok I’m due a murder story by the new year so I’ll play this game early and tell you what I discovered this year.
First off lets get rid of the personal discovery. I discovered you need family to help you go through a mental illness, but ironically it’s quite often factions of said family that contribute to the mental illness and for that reason the mind often tries to shut out the whole of the family including those who can help. I’m not going to go deep into my twisted mind and start getting all personal because this isn’t the place I need to get personal information out.
My depression started after failed surgery for a workplace accident, was compounded by treating doctors and insurance companies not helping unless it suited them, compounded further by said doctor screwing me over royally several years after the injury and surgery was long forgotten and then becoming a recluse to hide from the world I thought hated me. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t think my family hated me and that’s what made becoming a recluse in my own house so much easier. What I didn’t realise until it was too late was just how bloody easy it was. Anyway enough of the gloom and doom discovery, I got some help, I don’t suppose I’ll ever be ‘cured’ but I’m doing the best I can do. Just how fucked up my life is going to be remains to be seen, but the one thing I do know is I can’t fight invisible ghosts of others when I have my own.
The one last thing I will mention is just how hard it is to talk to family about depression. Certain members of my family contributed in a big way to my depression but talking to them was impossible, while other members of my family I felt I couldn’t talk to. Not because they wouldn’t understand but because my mind told me not to burden them with such shit. It doesn’t change how I feel about them, but when one doesn’t understand their own mind how can anybody else? Quite often those with the problem say they don’t want to be helped, but the only thing worse than asking if they need help and being knocked back is not asking at all.
Something else I discovered was a new way of writing, sure the poems are new (to me) but I discovered a better way to write and in some ways WP is to thank. I got my first WP account in about 2012, back then it wasn’t about writing it was about web design and knowing what clients wanted, it wasn’t until about Feb/Mar this year I got my first WP blog for writing. It was a short lived thing because I put a typo in the web address and after two months I decided the typo was too much to live with and started this blog.
What WP has taught me is to write differently, WP for me is short, unedited dribble, any topic any how, any way. I tried writing a few longer stories for WP and they weren’t well received, not that I live for likes but it appeared the WP audience just didn’t have the patience to read long (4000 words long) posts before tuning out, the audience much preferred shorter serial type writing they could take a break. After speaking with the person editing my novels I also realised that writing in detail for novels is not just words on a page, putting 150K words into a story is not difficult, it takes time but it’s not difficult, putting 150K readable words is. WP is not conducive to this kind of writing, that’s not to say it can’t be done, just that when writing a novel turning off WP can be extremely beneficial.
I’m not going to go into massive details about what writing techniques I discovered, but needless to say my writing for novels has taken a big change and that change has been reflected in the third draft of my current novel which the editor has told me requires a lot less editing that previous versions. Some will say that’s the idea of drafts and I agree but had I known what I know now when I started the current novel two years ago draft one would have been a hell of a lot more readable.
One thing I will say is that if you want to be a writer spend time writing, sure WP posts help but actually writing a novel helps more. Turn off WP, turn off YouTube, turn off forums and turn off emails, make a time for all that later, whether it’s meal breaks or after hours, but turn that shit off and write. Everything you write may not be a best seller but emails, WP posts and forum posts have less chance of becoming a story, concentrate on the goal of writing not just writing. There is one particular blogger I’d love to share this information (and other writing tips I’ve learn and wont divulge, an author has to keep some secrets) with. Their writing is so much better than their blog displays, their writing is better than mine and should be published, but for reasons that shall remain unwritten this person doesn’t respond to me. Anyway one can only but keep trying, just like with mental illness, you never give up trying.
One last thing I discovered from WP, if you don’t constantly ‘like’ and ‘follow’ others many stop doing the same to you. Ok that sounds like a plea for likes but it’s not, I write for myself not for others. Like many people I started out looking anxiously every day at my followers and likes and hoping they increased every time I looked but I soon realised I was relying too much on writing for likes than writing for myself so I culled my follower list and changed my style. On a different blogging platform I do the ‘reciprocal like and follow’ routine because that blog is used purely from an authors perspective and one of the first things publishers ask is whether you have a source of followers that read your writing. They probably understand that you can’t really expect more than about 10% of your followers to actually read your stuff but they still like seeing followers.
(Before anyone asks no I’m not telling you my other platform because the whole idea of that one is to remain anonymous and see if it stands on it’s own merit closer to that of my novels than my blog.)
Interestingly enough by culling my followers the WP reader started working better because it didn’t have as many posts in it (how some people’s readers work when that have 500 followers and some of those people post multiple posts in an hour is beyond me, mine hasn’t worked properly for ages). My actual viewing stats haven’t changed much since I did the cull, looking at the server stats (not WP stats) my page views have dropped by about 10% but my likes and comments have dropped by about 35%.
So if you live for likes, like everything you see whether you read it or not, if you aspire to have more followers than brain cells follow everyone you possible can. However if you want to write, write for yourself and don’t care what others think. For me when a reader takes the time to comment on a post rather than just like it it’s worth 10 times any like, but that might just be me.