Goodbye 2013 Hello 2014 Winds of Change Continue to Blow

Goodbye 2013 Hello 2014 Winds of Change Continue to Blow

Hello my old friend. I’ve had a wonderful ride here and the past year has been one of change, challenge, camaraderie and catharsis. Enjoyable yet disconcerting, 2013 has been an amazing followup year to 2012. Events that took place in the year prior to ’13 are still resounding in me and their long term affect has yet to be realised. Still, at this point, the beginning of another new year, sees me bidding goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014. It is already apparent that the winds of change will continue to blow and that my “tumbleweed” like lifestyle  will keep bouncing from one exciting event to the next.

A short recap is in order. I’ve discovered that writing professionally is possible. My earlier queries about getting a paying writing job from blogging were proven to have answers in the positive. My blog, which kept me busy in a most tumultuous time in my life, did indeed lead me to paid work. A job that allowed me to further develop a style, that is constantly changing/adapting, and that nets me thousands, and in a few cases millions, of people who read my printed words.

I am able to write about the things that interest me and for the first time in my life I have found that “perfect job” the one that I would do for nothing, and indeed have done, that actually pays me for my labor of love.

The only drawback is that I have ignored you, my first love, with only the smallest of inputs in the way of linking to my articles. Do I feel guilty? Most assuredly. In my neglect, you have gone on to pass the 100,000 mark in terms of page views. Followers continue to support your existence and the count surpassed 800 quite some while ago.

I also have little time to read the wonderful posts of those whom I’ve followed since the beginning. My loss completely. These bloggers have often taught me new things and entitled me to a point of view that I may never have considered if left to  my own devices. I miss you all, my dear WordPress family, even those who have never quite agreed with my ramblings.

But management of one’s time is itself time-consuming. Working professionally means that little time is left over for the more fanciful musings. Even reviewing films falls under work now. When faced with the reality that the most views an article about a recently viewed film on my own personal blog will never go over a hundred, as a rule, and that one reviewed on my professional site will/can get thousands…

There is no real contest. We write to be read. When I started, I was, and still am to some degree, happy just to write. Later, when I found that readers responded well to my ramblings, the focus shifted. As it naturally would. But…I am not saying goodbye to my blog, just 2013. I wish to continue stopping by occasionally writing; not just linking to my other articles. Saying hello to 2014 means following the winds of change, which continue to blow incessantly and moving my life forward. A life that, until recently, I thought was pretty much over.

Another huge leap; a life changing episode, has again become part of my life. I cannot yet get into details of this latest event yet.  I can, however, say that it looks like after four years of, sometimes, life threatening actions that have put me in a place I never dreamed of being in my life, that I am reaching a crossroad that, regardless of which route I take, has brought me to yet another new beginning.

I will not ramble on. I stopped by to say again just how much I love all those folks who have followed, supported and interacted with me. The members of the blogging community who took me in and gave me…what? A place of belonging? A forum to tell stories or formulate thoughts? A place of refuge, when things in my real life got too difficult to face alone?

The answer is yes to all the questions listed above even the incompletely constructed ones.  There have been those of you who have definitely changed my life. Marilyn over at serendipity and Natasha at Films and Things are just two examples of folks in the blogging community who have brought much to the table and shared experiences with me.

I reget deeply that I’ve not had time to follow all the folks who have take the time to follow my blog, just as I feel guilt for not delivering more in the way of written recompense. I will, however, promise to keep dropping in and adding my “two cents worth” on a more regular basis and not just provide links to my “paid work.”

Saying goodbye to 2013 via my little blog, has given me a chance to say how much you all mean to me, and if I didn’t mention you by name, it is only because of the time. It keeps moving, you see. It marches forward resolutely while, if you believe in physics, moving in all other directions at once. I’m moving on a path that I never dreamed possible and I hope to let you all know how it turns out. For now, I’ll stop at saying hello to 2014 and with a little prayer: May your new year be filled with winds of change that continue to blow in  your favour.

My Summer Vacation
Author

Michael Smith
United Kingdom

January 1, 2014
Norwich
Norfolk

Blogging Challenges Finding the Time to Write

My work desk.
My work desk.

Since I moved over to WordPress last year in April, my personal circumstances have changed dramatically. I’ve been the recipient of two live changing events and my life has gone in directions that I never would have dreamed of. Well, except in the area of acting, that’s a dream that never went away. Now I find my personal challenges of blogging all have to do with finding the time to write.

The vast majority of my day is spent writing. I attempt to post at least six to seven articles a day for my newspaper and often exceed that number. But unfortunately I also have to fit in cleaning the house – which I’m abysmal at – and going on my healthy heart walks. I also have to fit in “house” maintenance, another area I’m failing badly in; my grass is getting tall enough that is could harbour escapees from the Serengeti. I expect to see Tarzan and his sidekick peering back at me from the foliage.

The other part of my day is spent collating the over 1,500 pictures I took in South Africa for the writers at the paper who are putting together our trilogy of recent events in that country. I also spend a great deal of time talking to new writers who are joining our organisation and combing the internet for new stories to write about.

I can honestly say, hand over heart, that I am busier now than I’ve ever been in my entire life.  I am still struggling to find time to visit my friends blogs and leave comments. My interest in their output has not waned, but I’m struggling to write enough to ensure that I can live without having to ingest cat food to survive.

And my  professional writing, has taken precedence over my “creative” writing. Sometimes the two are combined, but very rarely, and my newfound love of investigative journalism has knocked creativity into a very solid second place.

I still enjoy writing the “fluff” or entertainment as it’s really categorised, but it’s harder for me to get excited about it. My mind keeps going back to South Africa and all the “hidden” stories there that are just waiting for me to uncover and write about. But that may, or may not, happen. Money, as always,  is the motivating and ruling factor in all travel plans and I won’t know if I’m returning until later this month.

Gold Mine Dump
South African Gold Mine Dump

In the meantime, there are films to watch (and review) stories to tell and news articles to write to ensure a decent wage. I can safely say that the two life changing events (and my divorce the year before) have put me in a very strange, yet happy, place. I am busier now than ever and I find myself in the rather unusual position of being in demand; not to mention much being a much appreciated member of  my ruling organisation.

I am being recompensed handsomely for the fruit of my labour and I have dreams of clawing my way out of the debt that my divorce landed me in.But the daily challenges of blogging are difficult to overcome. Finding the time to write own personal creative blog posts is becoming ever more difficult. I am, admittedly, struggling. Not that I’m complaining.  But the handsome remuneration doesn’t make up for my absence of mixing in the blogging community.

I am  concerned for an old friend. Marilyn over at Serendipity. She  is in a bad place at the moment. If I had been reading my all my friend’s blogs I would have known, but as I haven’t had time, it took an email from my good friend to alert me of her latest problem.

When I got the email, I felt shock, guilt, and dismay; all in equal measure. Guilt did finally become the winner of the gamut of emotions that I felt when I read what was going on. I almost missed what was happening to her and it upset me terribly. If you have a minute and haven’t done so already, follow the above link and read this amazing ladies blog and offer some support.

I can only say that I’ll try to do better, I’ve already tried to schedule my day to at least continue to write a daily blog entry and now I realise that I need to make time to visit my friend’s blogs as well. I have mentioned before that I am basically a lazy bugger, so all this increased activity is difficult for me to adjust to.

I am trying though and the challenges of blogging right now have to do with me struggling to find the time to write. It is yet another development in my ever changing life that I must adapt to. I want to publicly thrash myself with brambles to apologise to one of my dearest friends in the blogging community and I ask that everyone head over to give this remarkable lady some love.

Michael Smith

Cheers!
Cheers!

United Kingdom

8 August, 2013

Blogging With Purpose

Blogging with Purpose
It has been almost a year since my nearly fatal brush with death. A lot has  changed since then. My “life-changing” event seems to have caused a lot of things to change in my live. Like the proverbial pebble in a pond, the ripples grow ever larger from this life and death experience and these ripples show no signs of stopping. These changes have led me to this post and blogging with purpose for my own blog that has suffered a bit from the effects of these pebbly ripples.

I’ve already relayed a lot of the things that have happened since my almost meeting the  ” big guy”  and I’ve found a wealth of new opportunities have come my way. It makes almost dying seem worth it.

For a start, I am busier than I’ve been in years. I write, on average, eight to ten articles a day for the Las Vegas Guardian Express who, as far as I know, are the only news site to pay their writers (and Deputy Managing Editor/Senior Entertainment Editor) so handsomely for their labour. The chap who owns the paper has gone from recruiter and  mentor, to friend in a very short time, he has joined my growing list of people who have been influential in changing my life for the better.

And busier.

And more profitable.

But it isn’t all about the money. It’s about realising dreams. I feel a huge amount of satisfaction when people ask me what I do for a living and I can answer, “I’m a writer.” It is nice to be finally welcomed into the professional realm of writing after so many years of doing it as part of whatever job I happened to have at the time. Writing adverts for companies, even the USAF, wasn’t exactly how I saw writing as fulfilling my creative side.

Unfortunately, my “personal” writing, which means this blog and my inputs to it’s daily dietary requirement for film and book reviews, is suffering. I am getting better at trying to do a post a day, but my poor blog feels starved. I used to do several posts per day as well as visiting my favourite blogs to read and comment or just to stop by an like. That has all suffered.

But I do not despair. Well, not for long at any rate! I am getting things scheduled better and trying to keep my input up. The reading and commenting and liking and following will soon catch up. If you are among the many wonderful people who’ve taken the time to follow my little blog, which is growing oh so steadily, I thank you. I also wish to pass on that I will eventually get around to reading, commenting, et al, very soon.

I do need to shout out the lovely Kate over at Katie-Marie Lynch (FilmPunk) for giving me the Epically Awesome award of Epic Awesomeness! I am truly grateful for the gesture and regrettably I am unable to participate in the furtherance of this lovely award. The rules are simple and very straight forward, but, time consuming.

In my attempt to keep blogging with purpose I’m only just finding time to do daily posts on my first-born blog with WordPress this week! I am trying to do other things as well, but my poor brain is struggling after too many years of “minimal” living to cope.

Which brings me to my next fawning gesture of gratitude, one that includes Kate. The opportunity to get in front of the camera again after all these years was wonderful and I will be forever indebted to Natasha Harmer, the writer/producer/director of the film Once Bitten, Twice Shy, she blogs over at Films and Things and is an immensely talented individual. The lovely Kate was part of the crew that day and she impressed me mightily. As did Meera Daji and Fiona Lockwood on the day.

I owe them all a great big hug and thank you for taking it easy on an old fella who’s forgotten more than he remembered about the craft. They made a wonderful team and I hope to work with them again.

The “Big Guy” willing!

So that’s my “personal output” for today. A not-so-short post about, among other things, blogging with purpose. If you’ve got a bit of spare time, have a read, but please don’t nominate me for anything. I just haven’t learned to schedule my time well enough to respond properly! I’ll read you later!

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Guest Post from Author Tim Waggoner

Tim Waggoner

Author of

What Once Was Flesh

From the Anthology Collection

of

Michael West’s Vampires Don’t Sparkle

Guest Post

Vampires don't Sparkle

The Genesis of “What Once Was Flesh”

“Where do you get your ideas?” is the most common question writers are asked. (Followed closely by “Do you know Stephen King/Stephenie Myer/J.K. Rowling?” and “How much do you pay to get your books published?”) Sometimes it’s a question we can’t answer because we simply don’t know. Some ideas just pop into our heads fully realized, and all we have to do is sit down and write. (Too bad that doesn’t happen more often!) But sometimes we know exactly where and how a story idea is born, and that’s the case with my contribution to Vampires Don’t Sparkle, “What Once Was Flesh.”

Continue reading “Guest Post from Author Tim Waggoner”

60,000 and Rising

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It was with great joy this morning as I squinted with sleep filled eyes at my stats page and saw I’d finally crossed the 60k mark. With one hand on my ubiquitous coffee mug and the other on my Macbook mousepad, I scrolled down and also saw that my following list had increased.

All was right in the world; God was in his heaven and my blog was continuing to grow.

On a more serious note, I’ve got to say that I am really overjoyed with how things are going with my blog and my writing. On the topic of my blog, I can only say thank you from the deepest part of my repaired heart to all the folks who keep reading and commenting and following my site. You guys really make my day. Nothing is better than waking up in the morning and seeing that my site is continuing to grow while I sip my first of many cups of coffee of the day.

While I still don’t have a huge grasp on what my particular “niche” is, I’m happy with continuing with what I am doing. It seems to be working and I don’t want to rock the boat too much!

TourBadge-AnthologyExtravaganza

I do need to say that my input will be slowing down. Instead of the 3 to 4 blog posts per day, I will be dropping down to 1 or 2. I will also be using some blog space to promote upcoming Tomorrow Comes Media (TCM) hosting events, which I have just started doing and the first one up will be Michael West’s brilliant anthology Vampires don’t Sparkle on May the 16th.

VampiresDontSparkle-Cover

I’ll be featuring a guest post from one of the contributors to this brilliant anthology and I’ll have another event on the 19th of May.

I am currently spending a lot of time writing articles for the web magazines Guardian Express and What Culture! Added to that is the review work and interviews for Rogue Cinema and the research I’ve been doing for my book, so my attention is spread pretty thin at the moment.

I am getting requests from new authors to review their newest work and if you know of anyone who exchange a copy of the latest and greatest book for a review let me know!

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So, intense (for me anyway) workload aside, things are going well (knock on wood) and the film Once Bitten, Twice Shy is still on for filming on the 6th of July this year and if you want to know more about this click on the link above and you’ll be redirected to the film’s website.

So before I sign off here today, I will reiterate how pleased and  grateful I am for the time that you lovely folks in the WordPress community spend supporting my blog. While I am not very good at visiting other sites as much as I should, I continue to try to repay the kindness that you’ve shown me.

Photo on 27-03-2013 at 09.03
I know, I need to update this picture, the chin scruff is gone!

Skoal!