Tag Archives: writing

Keyboard tech HOOOOOOO

I have just spent actual, real life minutes reading about keyboard technology. And you know what? I enjoyed it. I just had to quickly check I knew what a mechanical keyboard was (1. Shut up. 2. Of course I knew, I was just double checking) and ended up reading about… well, other keyboard tech. And it’s interesting.

And then I got irate for no real reason, because I remembered I have been mocked – to varying degrees – for giving a shit about my keyboard and what I type with.

Admittedly it’s not a great situation with this laptop. While I am used to the action it just isn’t as comfortable or good for my hands as a proper, well made ‘board (that’s a shortened version of the word ‘keyboard’) would be. And the G and / keys have to be jabbed to work. But it does a job.

But my keyboard at work is – for typing – excellent. It would be no good for gaming, but who can play any games at all on a four hundred year old iMac? NOT ME. It’s comfortable, functional and helps me do my job better than a normal keyboard would.

Yet I have genuinely, by real people, been mocked for using my own keyboard. For having the temerity to purchase something specially suited to my hands and job.

Would you go out and laugh at a builder for buying a hammer? Mock a baker for purchasing a bread oven? Dance a merry dance of mirth around a stockbroker for… wait, what the fuck do they do?

Anyway. No, you would not. It isn’t there to be silly, or different, or make me stand out or whatever. It is a tool. Like a nice pen, a reliable pencil, a great Dictaphone and a collection of notepads. Writer’s tools. I have them all.

Wait, shit – does that mean I’m a writer? Ohhhh crap.

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Writer’s… something

It really is quite annoying when you suffer massive brain-death in the day and suddenly lose the ability to form coherent sentences full of… um… hmm…

Words, that’s the one.

Especially when your job is to make words appear out of nowhere. I mean, I could just sit and put random words in any order, but that doesn’t make for good reading. Usually. Let’s do a test:

Beef gammon ham steak sausage

Oh wait, no, I just ended up naming meat products. Try again. Less delicious this time:

Bottle hammock plinth jockey battery nuance pejorative homonym boxed able France other never

Actually that’s pretty brilliant, even by my usually-high massively high mega-standards. But the point remains: it’s not good to get a block in the ol’ noggin when you’re supposed to be doing a job that involves writing.

I can’t imagine this happening much if I worked down the pit, say. See, there you’re literally breaking through blocks on a day to day basis (at least if Minecraft has taught me anything). If you have a bit of a mental block, you just remember to hit shit and you’ll be fine.

Similarly I couldn’t envisage suffering problems like this if I were a fireman: stop the flaming thing from being hot and burny, or simply retrieve the feline from the deciduous natural feature. A mental  block wouldn’t stop me from doing much there.

Maybe it would have some negative effects on me if I were a blacksmith, but I could just hit my anvil for a while to act as if I was doing something, so there’s that.

I’ve been figuratively hammering my anvil at work today. The brain isn’t in it, and I’m not sure when it will be again (probably tomorrow, or after I’ve had RICE FOR DINNER AGAIN).

Seriously – it’s hard work when you have to rely on your brain so much to help you out and it refuses. You people who get to hit shit and throw things for a living don’t realise how lucky you are.

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I can write like Tarantino. Piss easy. Ahem.

I just watched True Romance for something like the ten billionth time – even though it wasn’t on yesterday’s list, shocker I know – and it’s got me in something of a romantic (ha ha ha!) mood (ha! I said “romantic”!) (like “romance”, like the name of the film!).

Not in the way where I’m nice to someone until they bore me, or whatever it is that kind of romance is. No, just a mindless ‘I should write things’ romance. Because Tarantino’s screenplay/story/whatever the fuck he wrote of it is on a level I could actually manage.

Alright, maybe not the setting, the likeable characters, the fact it’s utterly ridiculous yet strangely normal or really anything about it at all. But seeing as I’ve just said I could manage it, I’m not about to delete that sentence and try again. In fact, I’ll just tell you how I’d be able to manage it by showing you how to emulate Tarantino’s writing (by way of Tony Scott).

Make reference to some shit film nobody has ever seen. Simple. I’ve seen loads of films no one else has seen, and if needs be I can just watch some now. I hear this ‘Citizen Kane’ thing isn’t very popular. How could it be? No fucking colour in it.

Have lots of Mexican stand-offs. It’s not a racist thing, but I am under the impression they happen all the time in Mexico, hence the name. It’s some kind of tradition related to drinking tequila and wearing a sombrero. You do those two things then you all shoot each other. Anyway, it’s a simple case of making sure everyone’s stood there pointing guns at each other. I CAN WRITE THAT.

Have people talk about inane, insane or otherwise banal things in a way that makes them interesting, compelling, cool. Now I may struggle on this bit, but I’m sure I can make mugs interesting. Tea mugs, coffee mugs – the size matters, the weight has to come into consideration, it’s a huge part of the hot drink drinking process that seems to pass many people by. And don’t get me started on favourite spoons. SEE I’M WELL GOOD AT IT I’VE MADE SPOONS COOL.

Violence. Easy. There’s a lot of violence in my mind. I can just write it down. And once I’ve served my time after the police have read what I’ve written, I can carry on writing.

That’s about it, really. Maybe put some fast food in there too. But that would mean going to America, because I don’t know anywhere around here you can get a damn good fast food burger (note for people itching to correct me: I don’t want nothing even approaching a gosh darned restaurant).

Yeah, I can do this shit. Going to take a week off, do it and sell my script for £32. THIRTY TWO SMACKAROONIES. Then I can go out and flash the cash to all the HOT TAMALES. TAMAAALLLLEEEES.

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How to write succinctly, part one

How to write succinctly, part one:

There are some things you really can’t put into brief snippet headlines, and that’s one of them. In the case of me, it’s most things: I am nooo a good person when it comes to writing briefly or succinctly.

In fact, I was once sacked from a copywriting job (read: horrible advertising shit) after less than a day for not being able to… do it. I just can’t make my brain boil things down enough to their constituent parts.

Alright then, I can sometimes – I’m not clinically dumb. It’s just a bit of a struggle, and seems to be harder for me than it is to just churn out par upon par of nonsense shit like I am doing right now. “Par” means “paragraph” – are we learning yet?

Anyway, there’s no unifying theme to this here blog. I just saw that headline a few minutes ago and it made me laugh, and I wanted to put it on here but justify it by putting some text along with it.

And now you know. And now I’m done, I can eat and play videogames in my pants (I’m not in my pants it’s too cold for that).

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Come forth and be judged

One or more people, who will remain nameless, have brought up their reluctance to take part in or progress with One A Day for an interesting reason: other people will read what they write. It’s a feeling I know all too well, and one I’ve been battling with since I started putting words out to an audience beyond whoever went rooting through the papers stashed under my bed. So… 2001 then.

Wearing your heart on your sleeve can make you look unfashionable, I’m all too aware of that. In fact, just writing a pithy 200 words about a popular television show can make you look like an outcast if you don’t choose your words absolutely perfectly. But that’s not the point. The point is that you’re writing – you’re writing.

If your style is to write for other people, impress them and get them on your side, then that’s your style. If you find yourself drawn towards crafting lengthy, comma-and-hyphen-rich sentences, stacked to the gills with attempts to encourage people, engage those reading your words and raise a slight smile in those that realise you’ve decided to take the piss out of one of your own sentences halfway through writing it, then that’s who you are – it’s just, who you are. Just like your face is your face, your style is your style, your words are your words and your beliefs are your beliefs. No matter who or where you are, people will judge you for your words.

But that’s a good thing. I have had positive feedback, gained the respect of some people and even received job offers on the back of the words I have scrawled on my PC screen*. I have made people laugh, got them angry about the things I’m angry about and had them cry on the back of a collection of verbs, nouns and other things (I forget what they’re called. Wordsmith.) I have hastily cobbled together. I have shown people who know me that I am capable of more than monosyllabic grunts and I have shown those that don’t know me the very same thing.

I have also been relentlessly slated, had my integrity called into question more times than I care to remember, I’ve had my sexuality questioned even more times, I’ve been told I don’t know what I’m talking about when I absolutely do know what I’m talking about. I’ve been told I’m not funny, I’ve had jokes fall flat and I’ve had hasty pieces about apparently “not ill” celebrities blown right back in my face after they died. I’ve genuinely made mistakes as well as outright got things wrong through laziness and I’ve almost always been pulled up on this – though usually in unreasonably aggressive terms. I’ve even had death threats – genuinely. All because of things I’ve written. It’s cliché, but it is a simple case of taking the rough with the smooth. If that’s not for you then fair enough, but if you’re the kind of person who can learn to concentrate on the positives, or who can turn the anger against you into motivation and inspiration, or you can simply ignore the negatives then you’ll find that pumping your brain out onto a page for all to see is an infinitely rewarding thing.

Anybody who says blogs are shit is an idiot. Even if they are shit. The best advice I can offer, as if I’m some wizened old jedi of writing and not just a two-bit hack with some time to kill on a train is this: don’t listen to anybody, whether they’re supportive or not. Just get on with it. That’s obviously aimed at the One A Day crew, but it applies to writing as a whole. I still hate the fact people read what I write, but I just get on with it. Simple as.

*’On’ doesn’t mean with permanent marker, physically on the screen. Numbskulls.

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Routinely complacent

It’s difficult to realise that you’ve become complacent – if only a little – when you do the same thing day in, day out. My job is ace, as I may have mentioned ten billion times on here*, but there is routine at points. With routine comes similar actions, and when those actions involve writing, a distinct style develops.

Now a lot of people like distinct styles – I like them in other people – but when it’s you personally doing it, it just doesn’t sit right. At least, that’s how I feel. I didn’t even know I felt like this until I stepped out of my comfort zone today – if only slightly – in writing about a film. Aside from a few blogs here and the odd forum post, I’ve never really written down my thoughts on a film before.

Granted, I only did 300 words on one today, but it was enough to both make me feel refreshed and make me realise I could do with putting a bit more effort and thought into the sentences I tend to churn out in the day job. That’s not to say I don’t make effort, as I clearly do, but like I said – routine sinks in.

Maybe it’ll have an effect on how I write here, too. Or maybe it won’t, and I’ll actually just end up with the exact same setup/pull back and reveal tripe I’ve been churning out for however many months it is now. Yeah, routine is more comfortable, after all. I think I’ll just stay here.

*No, I don’t have anything else to talk about. I lead a shockingly boring life.

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This just in: I’m not a good writer

This may come across as fishing for compliments. It isn’t. It may come across as faux-humility. It isn’t. It may seem disingenuous, false and downright twatty of me to say. It’s not intended to be.

I don’t think I’m a very good writer.

Now, I bring this up right now for one particular reason. I’ve had this post mapped out in my head for a while, but I’ve put off writing it up because I can’t see it being seen as anything other than an “oh look at me, I’m the unwitting genius” kind of thing. But yesterday I was complimented by four separate people who all said I am a “good writer”, and today I received an email telling me a children’s story I have written has been selected for recording on a website dealing in that kind of thing.

It brought the thought to the front of my mind and made me think it hard and strong once more: I do not think I am a very good writer. I find what I do to be very much by the numbers, I rarely make myself laugh anymore and I don’t try nearly as hard as I should.

I read things by other people – I won’t name names as I’m not nice enough to – and I see it as the kind of thing I would find impossible to even come close to emulating. I’m not an intelligent writer, I have little in the way of flair or panache about what I do – I find my copy very workmanlike. I don’t think it’s bad, but I just don’t see why people think I’m particularly good.

Still, I must be doing something right. So I reckon I’ll just carry on as I am. Maybe one day I’ll be ballsy enough to grow an ego. When/if that day comes, you’d better watch out. The few things I am arrogant about, I am fucking arrogant about.

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