In July 2014, I started an experiment with a blog called “Science | Fiction | Technology”. On December 31, 2014, I wrote the final post on that blog. Today, I killed the blog. Well, I didn’t exactly kill it. Clearly, you’re still reading a post on http://www.sftboox.com. But SFT now stands for “Sort | Filter | Tipple” and I will do things a little bit differently henceforth.
During my six-month experiment and recent reflection, I learned some important things – including the key to my relationship with writing and how to do this blog better.
Way Too Contrived
“SFT” (the working title of my novel) actually stands for “Science Fiction Thriller” – not “Science Fiction Technology”. From this came my first lesson: by limiting myself to researching science and technology, I was missing out on the most important part of any good sci-fi novel – how the fictional science affects us as human beings.
It was a theme that recurred on respectable sci-fi websites for story competitions and submissions. We’re not as interested in your tech (though of course, it’s still important and needs to be internally consistent) as we are in your characters and your plot. It’s not as much about your science in the future – it’s more about your insights about humanity today. So I will be introducing more than the three categories.
Focus is essential, but I don’t imagine running a marathon with a rubber bands around my calves would lead to success. And let’s face it – I can’t just dump everything to do with reading and writing under “Fiction”. Contrived categorisations strike again.
I also learned from site stats and interactions that the posts that did better were the ones that connected directly with some aspect of my life. You know – the posts where I kept it real. I then looked at my “About Me” page and realised that I was trying to eschew my past and reinvent myself completely. Separate my past face and future face and “professional” face.
So I tended to over-think. This post about cities is more on the economics side – do I categorise that as “Science” or “Technology” or wait! Do I post it on my old blog (which is economics- and finance-focused)? But what worked for my last major career change and was a compounding identity, not a reinvention from scratch. In fact, SFT the novel is an amalgamation of everything I’ve seen about people throughout my entire eclectic career. My past is an asset, not a liability.
In addition this attempt at forgetting Jax-from-the-past, I had also set myself a programme. A schedule of topics to publish on these dates and those times to catch that audience… And even if I’m researching and writing scenes on the future of programming, I shouldmustwill publish a post on optogenetics, damn it, because that’s what my programme says! See? Right here!! And I’m three weeks behind on that topic! Then guilt from the unwritten posts and flagging blog stats collided with the guilt of not having touched my manuscript since November 28, 2014 and it all snowballed from there.
Conclusion and Action Plan
But you know what? This isn’t a website. This is a blog. And I’m not a Blogger with a capital “B”. I’m just a writer and this is my web log. MY WEB LOG. As in:
Captain’s Log, Stardate 68648.8. I’m in the common kitchen area and we are at a a scoreless halftime at this quarterfinal. Why am I not watching this match? Hmm. I am thirsty. There is a pub with a screen across the street.
So let me break it down. I’m just an expat housewife who is trying to get a book together, that’s all. Trying to make 567% returns, too, just like 2Pac and the gang (uncertain whether I will achieve that rate of return or not). But I will get a book together and I will keep this blog up.
Not because anyone else is making me do it. I’m funemployed, for goodness’ sake. Not by separating the different parts of my life – I’m not me when I do! But because I love it. Love it so much that I’ll set myself up for success with what I know and what I have learned about myself thus far through the experiment and the reflection. Love it so much that I show up every day, even when I feel empty and dead inside – as long as I write something. So:
I’m just going to be myself, keep it real and give myself one rule for the blog: write in it twice a week about how I’m getting on with my novelling at that time.
Timely, relevant and accurate information.
And what about the new name? The blog is about SFT the novel today, but it will be about another book and TLA after that. So essentially, the blog is about me trying to get a book together. These are my three steps (to be repeated daily):
- I sort through a ton of info that I’ve experienced, seen, researched or imagined
- I filter into the page what’s relevant and chuck in the recycling bin what’s not
- I gather inspiration, drown sorrows or celebrate success with a cup, a glass, a pint or a dram
before I do it all again the next day.
Sort, filter, tipple.
Speaking of which – I have a second half to get to.
And PS – My novel draft is whole. I put the two very rough-hewn parts together into one manuscript. I finally cut the bits that needed to be cut. Will rewrite more. Game on for SFT-the-novel.