Category Archives: Blog

JennyK and this sundered world – What’s happening?

It’s a new year. Now, let’s do it all again.

And so much more. This is my first post on Studio Chaotic since July of last year and I have no good excuse for that. But it has been busy and many things have come my way that I will tell you all about. But it will be in bits here and bits there. I am working currently on an album on
Kompoz.com
It is a blast, I get to write lyrics, and sing my heart out. Along with various other collaborations on Kompoz it fills my days. I will post new music right here, right shortly.

Instead of talking myself blue about what I’m doing, let’s see what’s immediate and current while getting a sneak view on what we are doing and where it’s at. So listen to Bill. And, if that drummer is you? Come talk to us on Kompoz.

Be awesome, happy, and always supplied with coffee.

Jenny, Bill, and Jordi

Polish that turd. And if it doesn’t shine, flush. Why edit that puppy?

Editing — Don’t wanna, don’t wanna don’t wanna.

I suppose I should. 🙂

I just started looking over a novel I’ve had lying around for a number of years now. It’s one of the few finished longer works I’ve written. But it needs editing. As I read over a couple of chapters I realize that I’ve committed what i now would consider a deadly sin as an author. I assumed that the reader needed to be lead by the hand. There is a tendency to tell instead of show. To my annoyance I find far too much information about things that either don’t matter or that the reader has already learned. This novel needs serious editing mainly because I treated the reader like an idiot. And that’s just where the work starts. Because I’m not even mentioning the bad grammar littering this novel. The excerpt below is one of the better ones.

So here’s my short but critical list of things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t treat your reader like an idiot. I, as a reader, don’t like to be told three times in three different ways what is going on. Chances are that you said it already but in such a context that it becomes just a hint and the reader creates his or her own image of what’s happening. Mystery is nice and I love the feeling of “figuring it out”. Describing all physical attributes does not do your characters any favors. Let the reader create the world based on your framework and it will come to life much easier.
  • Don’t be afraid to cut, delete, rewrite, and rearrange. Editing is what makes the story shine. Sometimes it feels like polishing a turd but other times it’s like extracting a precious gem out of rock. If a paragraph simply won’t sit right and you just can’t make it work for you; consider if what you’re saying needs to be told at all? Is it redundant? Does it add to the story? Or does it distract from it. It could simply be better placed somewhere else in the story. Rewriting is another option. But if it really does nothing for you it will not do anything for the reader and it needs to go away. In this story in particular I realized today that the prologue has to go and I will hate to kill it. But it really doesn’t do anything for me and killing this one part may just save the entire story.
  • And that’s that. Keep writing.

    Excerpt

    Shadowlands

    Bob Teller stepped out of his car. He hurried around the hood of the brand new Honda and stepped over a low fence. He was in a hurry and it was nasty cold out here. He shivered and the corners of his full soft lips pulled down in an expression of distaste mingled with desperation. Bobs face was the kind of face that made people around himn comfortable and for the most part trusting. He was well aware of it and used it to its full extent. Many deals had been signed to his satisfaction because of it. That is what he believed and for the most part he was absolutely right. If the potential customers could see his face right now though, crumpled up in dismay and disgust, perhaps they would have glimpsed just a fraction of Tellers true nature. Today though, it had gone as planned and he was satisfied. Until this moment.
    Bob snorted and surveyed the ground carefully before settling his perfectly polished shoes on the slope leading down in a deep ditch. His carefully combed over hair fluttered in a cold wind, exposing his much hated spot of shiny scalp. He was overdressed for this specific occasion and he glanced along the road. He wouldn’t want to be caught dead in a predicament like this. He opened his pants and shivered again as he exposed his private parts to the empty road and dark forest. It was bad enough that he had to go to this shit hole of a town and when he hadn’t found a single washroom that he could enter without disinfecting himself and the facility first, he had panicked.
    With the town hall meeting concluded, not at all a waste of time when considering the nice little bonus he could expect from the finished deal with the town of Omni. Coffee, always coffee. That blonde thing had been very persuasive though. He would have shugged another couple of cups just to have that chest bobbing in that way , just so, one more time. A lady like that was wasted talent in a small time town like that.

    Bob grimaced as he considered the unavoidable marks and dirt on his shoes. If you have to go you have to go. Hail nor rain nor snow can stop that, it was cold though. A piece of fluttering fabric caught his eye. Behind those shrubs, just inside the tree-line beyond the ditch with its toxin covered sand and gravel.
    He couldn’t quite see what it was, a bundle of, something. He cursed when he thought of the glasses still lying on the passenger seat in the car. He never drove with them actually on, but kept them close by just in case. He leaned over further as he relieved the pressure and squinted.

    A pair of pants, a pair of shoes, a coat. The man took a step back and caught the railing with his knees. The final squirt of yellow urine splashed over his shoe and the hem of his suit trousers. He scrambled backward while putting himself back through the fly on the silk boxers and closed his pants. He didn’t look away from what stuck out of one sleeve. The hand was bony and gray, too thin and lay curled half in and half out of a new looking brown leather glove.

    He reached out to move some branches out of the way. He needed to see. His attention was drawn to something else though. Something that made him pull his hand back and take a step backwards. Something that wouldn’t have bothered him in the least on a normal day. This was not a normal day though and he wished he had never accepted that third cup of coffee. A leather band, three quarter of an inch wide, ending in a loop, lay wrapped around what he knew for sure now was an arm. A glint of silvery metal half obscured by the glove. The glove that he knew now contained something he knew he didn’t want to see.
    gingerly moved a few br , flat. There was definitely a pair of dark brown pants, a coat and, .wasn’t that a hat?
    It dawned on him. A scarecrow. He looked away the man sighed, people throw the most weird stuff on the side of the road.
    The image had been fuzzy but for sure, there was no person inside that outfit. He decided without thinking too long about it not to fetch the glasses from the car, he decided not to make his way through the bushes to take a closer look Those branches could after all end up wrecking his new suit. He also decided that what he saw was a scarecrow and nothing else. He hurried back to his car. Perhaps the speed was slightly too high when he passed the exit leading into Omni, perhaps the odd feeling in the back of his mind stayed for a while, but only for a while.

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Life is a work in progress. Why the rush to be done? A reflection.

What’s the hurry?

There’s a man in the area. He is obviously retired and spends most days adding rocks to a stone wall. This is all I know about this man; He builds this seemingly endless stone wall and I think to myself: “There is no way he will ever get done that wall.” Because he is taking his time; placing a few rocks in place each day, not hurrying, seemingly not working particularly hard at it. I instantly have another thought:
“When this wall is ever completed, he will sit down in the grass next to the end of the wall and die.”

Maybe I’m totally wrong. Maybe not.

It seems to me that the society I live in these days focus on finishing. To be done. Complete this or that project, make enough money, learn everything about this or that subject, to reach the end.

I think that’s a great attitude. Half-assed work is not something I want to deal with. But is that really what we should focus on?

Are you done? Did you finish? Is it complete?

Well no. I’m not done. because when it all comes down to it. I don’t want life to be done because then I would be dead. I don’t want all projects finished because then I would have nothing to do. I don’t want to know everything because there would be nothing more to learn. I would be finished. And in that sense, the word “finished” takes on a totally different connotation doesn’t it?

I’m done for, this relationship is finished, I’m at the end of my rope, finished, finito.

I see life as a work in progress and those who say they are as good as they ever will be; have already started to go stale. This doesn’t mean that contentment is a bad thing. Not at all. But if content means the end of learning and ability to change, then it is.

Being human must never be considered a finished project because once society settles with “Good enough”,; it will immediately start to crumble.

So, take your time and finish when it’s ready, not when the deadline says it should be done.

Its good that it’s better but it would be better if it was good.
Paraphrasing Bo Eriksson.

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Submit is The point of no return. The introvert bloggers dilemma. Intentional blog 05

Break the status quo before it breaks you.

I’m not sure what’s worse, the dread before hitting that button for fear of being exposed as someone seeking attention or approval; or the realization that there is something wrong in what I just sent out to the world for all to see and judge. Or, the feeling when I let it slip and nothing ever does make it out of the drafts folder. It’s the same tired old narration going through my mind. Same old stories; equally bothersome but for different reasons.

The creation, the preparation, and the declaration.

So here is a creation. Let’s jump into the middle of that process. Lets just for arguments sake say it’s a short work of fiction. It could be anything really; in my own case it can be blog, fiction, music, or any combination of those. But in this blog let’s say it’s a great funny story about a family of woodchucks finding an orphaned porky-pine they name Spike.
(Ah, a childrens story. Now we’re getting somewhere even if we’re completely sidetracked. Making a U-turn right here gets us back to this blog. . )

Okay, the story is done. It has been lovingly crafted, edited, picked at and rewritten multiple times. It is finally perfect. Noone has been allowed to read it. Not even a mother, brother, best friend. Nope. It’s too personal. That story is special. It’s so close to the heart. There are so many hours of frustration and creative bliss poured into that family of woodchucks. . So noone has been allowed to view the miracle of Spike.

Because once it leaves the safety of the harddrive and word processor; It won’t be the same. It will never be the same again.

My precious!

Enter submission anxiety disorder.

This is the point where a decision needs to be made and different people view this in vastly different ways. Today, I’m turning to those who can relate to what I’ve just described. It is most likely someone commonly called an introvert. In the spectrum of introvert I suppose it can be someone that is simply shy, with low self confidence, maybe someone with difficulties dealing with people in general. A loner perhaps. Call it what you will. I’m all of those myself. You know better than I do who you are. I try not to generalize and clump all of us under one label. This is a tricky territory to walk so , bare with me. 🙂

To publish or not to publish.

Now, that is the question. Publishing is easy so that’s not really a problem. A free blog, Facebook, selfhosted website, wordpress.com… you name it. The question is if it’s worth the anxiety, the fear of rejection, the potential negative critique, the internet trolls.

Is it really worth all that crap just to let others read that stupid little story. There are millions of books online and they are all written by better writers and all those books are worth reading by someone, or they wouldn’t have been published. Right?
And who would care shit about Spike anyways. What’s the point.

Isn’t that a sad recital? What a bloody waste.
Because people do want to read what you write. People do want to know your thoughts, hear your talent, and I would say that the worst thing that can happen is that nothing happens.
It is however what that voice in the back of the mind keeps saying and it is very convincing. And whether it is lacking confidence or true support from family and friends that in the end makes the potential future author leave things as they are, chances are drastically higher that the introvert is the one choosing not to push that button.

Status quo is comfortable.

But that’s not where we want to be. Status quo means that nothing changes.* Nothing is moving forward. Lessons are not only not learne; they are not taught to start with. There is no gain without some risk and as far as the act of revealing Spike to the world goes. It can be very scary. But I’ll tell you what;

Status quo will kill Spike and his family!

So, get over it. Push that button. And the next one, and the next one. When you’ve pushed that publish button a couple hundred times and exposed yourself and your creations to the world; it will be a little bit less scary. But you gained friends, knowledge, confidence, a network, a presence. So push that bloody button and break out of the status quo. Spike deserves his audience. And so do you.

After the fact anxiety disorder.

It will come. If you are the type that found it physically hard to push the button. (You did push it didn’t you?) Your heartbeat quickened, your hands started sweating, stomach clenched. You were a bit out of it. Exhilirated and devestated all at once. Out of your comfort zone like a fish on dry land. You clicked it. You published. If your case is severe, your thoughts go around and around and it may sound something like this:

Oh my god. I did it. Damn it. why? I didn’t have to. I finally did it! I could have made it better first. Who’s going to read it. Will there be feedback? should I take it down before anyone reads it? I should! No, I can’t now. I’m not an author, not a blogger, not experienced. That’s stupid. I shouldn’t… I have to check to see if there’s comments. should I tweet that? Is that presumptious, Arrogant? But I want to know. But what if they don’t like it? It’s stupid. i should have read it one more time before. I should have, could have, would have. Wish I hadn’t.

Sigh! Tiring isn’t it?

The bad news is that it will happen again. If you are like me; it will happen for another couple thousand times. Hopefully you are not quite like me.

The good news is; after just a few outbreaks like this it does get better. It gets a little bit easier to handle.

A typo will not end the world as you know it!

Trust me, it’s not going to happen. A mistake will not kill you, torture your pets, your kitten, or get you locked up by the Internet maffia. So, get over it. If you find a mistake after the fact, do correct it. That’s just good form. Look at it this way: If you find a blog or a story with a mistake of some sort. Do you really think less of that person? How much do you truly care about the level of perfection of that thing you just read. Truth is; if it doesn’t interest you; you will simply click onto something else and you won’t give it a second thought. Why would anyone think of your published work any differently? If someone likes it, they will hopefully remember you, share your story, and leave you a comment. You win! They win! It is a true win win situation.

There will be mistakes made. You can trust me on that too. I’ve made all of them. I’m still here, my world is still functioning. Think instead:

I did it! and I’m going to do it again.

Yes, you did, and you will.

And now, since I am an attention junkie, I want to talk about me for a moment. 😀

Heh. This brings me to the dilemma. I am the kind of introvert that loves and loathes attention in equal measure. Over the years I have come to accept myself and how my brain works. I have published stuff online for over a decade now and I have never become completely comfortable with it. I started out with uploading music on mp3.com. That just shows how old I am. lol.
I think those first few clicks on the submit button paved my path up until this day. I was terrifyed. The anxiety hit the roof. But I was exhilirated and so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. What happened was that I got instant feedback. And it was all good. I was lucky. If I had been ignored, rejected, flamed, or put down in any other way; I firmly believe that I wouldn’t be writing this today. I became an attention junkie and I have been fighting it since then.

Here was the thing back then:

I wanted to be looked at but not really seen
I wanted to be understood but not really communicating.
I wanted nice feedback but not be critiqued.
I wanted everything to be perfect but was too hurried and anxious to make it so.
I wanted attention and recognition but was too ashamed to admit it
I wanted the answers but couldn’t ask questions.

I want to bee seen and heard because I think I might have something worth someones time.
I love nice feedback and I even dig critique because it all teaches me something.
I want everything to be perfect but it’s okay if it’s not.
I want recognition and attention and I’m happy to admit it.
I ask questions even when they make me feel like an idiot.
It’s all good!< Just go for it.

It is what it is. I’m afraid of many things but that is not going to stop me from trying. My creations are not everyones cup of tea and even if I would want them to be; I can’t please everyone.
I will not let Spike turn to dust and sad memories in a drawer anymore. I’m letting Spike out.

Just as I’ve let
Chrissy out to play,
Kate and David, Sky, Kristina, That guy in
A gal eerie of desire who I can’t remember the name of,
Marcy, Denny and all the others. I have decided not to trash my online presence again. Finally I’m at the point where I can say:

It truly is all good. Scary or not, I will do what I love, no matter what!

And I hope you do too.

And now that I’ve gotten that out of my system; Just push that button will ya?

It’s scary, but it will be okay. Whether it’s starting a blog, showing off your music, telling the world online or offline what you can do, it’s the best thing you can ever do. There may not be an undo button anywhere, but more importantly; there is no Redo button when there was no Do being done to begin with.

Huh?

So if you could wrap your head around that sentence; Go ahead! Push that button.

Leave your comments. What’s your story?

Jenny K Brennan
Ontario Canada 2014

*”Status quo” is a Latin phrase
meaning the existing state of affairs.

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Reasons not to blog. Motivation drives the message. Here’s why that can get messy. — Intentional blogging 04

Should you really blog?

There are many bloggers out there and so much great content. It’s huge. Basically, it is a new world and now is the time to be a part of it. The reasons to start a blog and let your voice be part of this global conversation, share your voice and views are numerous. I, for one, do want to take part and create a presence online that matters and that people will find interesting and engaging. Condensed in one simple pitch the message says: Write great content, find an audience, network, and good things will happen.

Yeah, damn right, just do it!

It’s all good and fine and very very tempting. But…

There is a but. A few of them in fact. This is a list of thoughts that should never be a main reason to throw a blog out there. Here are thoughts that, when they pop up in my mind, I stop what I’m doing. Just stop, rewind, and rethink what I’m doing.
because when it comes down to content here’s what I think I know:

Intention, conscious or not, changes the message.

Some articles simply make me feel a bit uneasy. I feel manipulated and sometimes I’m not clear why. It could be that the motivation of the author included one of these statements:

  • “I’m gonna make me some money!”

    I’ll just write some list blog and put ads and links about what I’m talking about. If I put them between that bullet point and that link, and schedule a hundred tweets. Some idiot is going to click that link. What about an old fashioned pop up and a form that won’t go away. I need that email address. and if i place this picture with the product there and force visitors to that page and… Okay, what am I gonna do a list about? Hmm.

    Personally, I hate ads. I hate poorly written blogs where ads are intrusive, in your face, and all that junk. A blog listing the five best ways to lose weight in time for Christmas. And there’s that ad for diet pills, miracle foods to boost the metabolism, wondrous exercises that will make you slim in ten minutes.
    To be blunt: Pages like that make me sick to my stomach and if I could erase me ever ending up on that page I would. My visit endorsed that garbage just slightly and sometimes I think, like the child I am deep in my heart of hearts:
    “I take it back! I’m sorry, I take it back. Please tell me I didn’t just go there. I wish I hadn’t.”

    It’s just so obviously fake and manipulative. But I know it works. Crazy as it is, it bloody works. But is it worth it?

    In my opinion, making money is a bonus that may end up happening with time. slowly.
    If you believe in a product I see no problems with it; I’m not a total purist as far as that goes. A great add thoughtfully placed might get me clicking on it. But an auto generated ad for male enhancement pills injected in the middle of a blog about women’s sexual health is neither.

  • “I’m gonna be famous!”
    I don’t know how to say this; but I will give it a try. 🙂 I would love your opinion on this because my feelings about the “fame” factor online are strangely conflicting and I don’t have room on this page to dissect all of my thoughts. But here is what feels obvious to me:
    If content is great, the personality is interesting, the ideas and conversations are world class superb. and if the audience is with you. If there is enough substance in the material to feed that hunger that is all of us watching what you do. Then maybe. Just maybe.

    But the thing is, in my opinion, famous today is not the same thing as famous was thirty years ago. True recognition comes slowly but steady if you have what it takes, work hard, and create something that does matter.
    I do think that famous is subjective and changes so fast that if the motivation is fame…. It’s not going to happen for the vast majority of us.

  • “I’m gonna tell those suckers out there that their wrong!”
    Picking a fight to get people to respond. Disrespectful, ignorant, and arrogant.
    Making a statement is fine and even sharing an opinion that may be controversial to get a conversation going is great. There are things we need to talk about in these complicated times. I think that is a great start. But the key here is conversation. If the assumption is that there is only one opinion that counts is just a terrible starting point.

    Make it a question instead of a statement and be open for debate. If you know that nothing will change your opinion, then just leave it in the draft and start over.

  • “I can say whatever the hell I want. They’ll never know!”
    Thinking that the net is still anonymous.
    I do hope that we all know by now how untrue that is. There was a time when one could get away with pretend names and hidden identities. It’s not like that any more for good or for bad. The thing is that deception doesn’t work. Whether it’s poor research in a subject or a bold lie about yourself, who you are and what you’ve done or not done it will come back and bite you in the rear. If you can’t be more honest than not, just don’t bother saying anything. It reeks of disrespect and people can smell that stink from miles away.
  • Motivation colors the message and the audience can tell.

    I seem to come back to the same thing in each of these items and that is honesty. Be true to what you say. A blog may be deeply personal or a review of the latest i-device or pure entertainment for fun; it doesn’t matter. What you say matters. How you say it matters. But your motivation matters just as much and if it’s forced, manipulative, confrontational, or simply arrogant, it’s not going to appeal to people.

    Great content comes from heart as well as mind.

    It may be a niche audience or millions of followers. That makes no difference. What I’m thinking is that fifty subscribers that love what you do is worth so much more than ten thousand twitter followers that just followed a link and did the expected click as a matter of course.

    Don’t blog because you are supposed to blog. If it feels like work it’s probably not for you.

    Tell your story in your own words and good things will happen.

    And finally

    Respect your audience even if the audience is just your dog sitting next to you waiting to be fed, your mother, and you.
    You know that both your mother and your dog will know when you’re bullshitting, right?

    Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think about this. Do you blog? Why did you get started? Have you thought about it forever but it just doesn’t seem to happen? Is there something I should add to this list? Please do tell. Leave your comments.

    Jenny K Brennan

Don’t wait until it’s perfect. It never will be. Intentional blog 03

If perfection is your goal, you wil wait forever.

In other words; don’t do what I do.

I had it in my mind to write something every day. Mostly to get into the habit of writing something every day and to make myself accountable for it. I would publish something. Not something quick and hurried. No, nothing silly and lacking of substance; I wouldn’t sink that low. It has to be something I wouldn’t mind reading. I was aiming for something like a chain of thought or a little something I’ve discovered about myself, my blogging, or the world in general. Not revolutionary stuff maybe, but interesting to me in my journey of finding my focus. Well, that was the plan.

But what happened in the couple of days after my last blog was that I started to think. I thought about a subject that instantly felt like an interesting idea or perspective on this intentional blogging challenge. I basically had the blog for the day ready to type, develop, edit, and publish. Then I started thinking’ Nah, it has to be better than that! That’s not enough. And it fizzled out and I didn’t get around to writing anything. So, I didn’t get my daily practice done, I started doubting myself and my abilities, and my path through blogging jungle grew just a little bit tighter and more inpenetrable.

I wanted it to be perfect so it became nothing.

Why is that.?

One answer is that I’m a perfectionist with absolutely no organizational skills.

I don’t think that’s it. Hm. Just writing that sentence made me wonder. Yes, I am a perfectionist. I find it hard to schedule my time because that means following a rule, a deadline, a should would aught to have to must state of things. Obviously that is what I don’t like. Because I love organizing things. Sorting stuff, making order out of chaos and all that. I dig it; Strange as it may seem.

So, it seems simple; I don’t like following rules that I myself setup for my own benefit. Really? I really need to think about that.

Now it’s getting complicated and I really think I need to abandon this chain of thought as it is not all that constructive. Sounds more like an abstract type of excuse for some inner resistance I can’t express. Quit your belly-aching JennyK!

So now what?

Back to it I guess. The plan is the same. I stumbled but avoided a head on collision by writing this very blog. Phew! So I’m back at it.

Catch me tomorrow for “Reasons not to blog.”

Why blog? Continued weed whacking in search of specifics.

Why blog – Continued.

In my previous blog I talked about entering the intentional blogging challenge posted by Jeff Goins – Writer. I still ask myself the same questions and have the same doubts about my own purpose for blogging. My conclusion was that I needed to find my path and narrow the field where I search aimlessly for specifics. Today’s lesson from Jeff talked about focus. And I have given this some thought today. This was my intention; to really figure out what I want to say, how I want to say it, and to whom.
I’m not quite there yet. What I have promised myself and also talked about in a recent podcast is a promise to spend some time on this every day. This is not at all a condition for this blogging challenge but I believe that writing something every day, even if it is just a rant of random thoughts like this very post seems to become, it will loosen up my thought processes and with each pointless blog I will come closer to finding that purpose. I had one thought today that I think brought me a little bit closer. Just one little step closer to finding the overall subject. What I haven’t quite come to terms with is that it brings me back to my original problem of being a non-specific blogger. I will tell you what my thought was.

What do I want to say?

Q: What do I want to talk about?
A: The small things, the personal tiny struggles, the beautiful little details.
Q: Who do I want to say this too?
A: Anyone. It’s not educational per se. It can be motivational by proxy. It could raise questions and emotions that encourages anything from a mild smile to a philosophical puzzlement. Or simply silly, childish, naive, or just dumb. It’s not for someone expecting easy fast hitting entertainment. It will take some thinking.

Q: How do I want to say it?
A: It needs to be entertaining. Hopefully funny. Possibly sarcastic. Told in the guise of a story, a poem, a strange essay.

Those were three of the questions in today’s lesson and I decided to focus on those now and as I’m writing this I’m feeling it coming together. I am going to leave it at that for this time. I have already done much weeding on my endless field. I’m deciding what not to blog about. I’m figuring out who I don’t want to speak to. And I’m slowly learning what implied blogging rules I will end up ignoring.

Tomorrow I will continue this and pick apart the reasons why I should not blog. I do believe that if the motivation is flawed, the end result will be broken even before it’s finished.

And it goes on. See you tomorrow!

Jenny