My last ever blog (probably)

So I’m writing this New Year’s Eve, deliberately, because I promised myself a few months ago that my blog wouldn’t continue into 2017. Why? I mean I’ve written about 50 of these articles, one a week every Sunday, for almost all of 2016. I’m going to take that achievement and run with it.

A year ago, I started this blog because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write; but I knew I did, more than anything, and writing articles on my interests was the thing I knew the best. My whole life I’ve never really known what I wanted to do – I sort of got channelled into science A-levels and then a Chemistry degree – but on my gap year (when it was too late to get out of doing chemistry) there was a moment when I realise I wanted to be a writer.

Again, didn’t have a clue how or in what way; I assumed again that I would end as a sci-fi author, first by publishing my weird little short stories (on this very blog) before graduating to full length novels. Being at university helped me realise that I definitely don’t want to do science every single day of my life (I mean it’s cool and all, but every day?) but also that film is pretty awesome. I want to write scripts and screenplays – knowing that means I’ve been able to drop down from the MSci to the Bsc course (and get out of my degree a year earlier).
It’s also allowed me to scout out writing opportunities writing and working on scripts, so this Christmas I’ve spent more time writing a pantomime than revising (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, coming to University of Bristol soon!), not to mention another panto I’m helping to script edit, and then a Star Wars fan film I’m scriptwriting. Before Christmas, it was mostly just my blog, my film reviews, and my work for the student newspaper Epigram that kept me busy; Christmas has been a bit of a wake-up call.

What I’m trying to say, in a long-winded sort of way, is that I just don’t have time to write blogs anymore.

Seriously, I’ve been working like 10 hour days this Christmas. My sleep pattern is shot to hell. Want to know my daily routine?
12am – Wake up
1pm-5pm – Revise
5pm-6pm – Eat
6pm-8pm – Sort out all the other things that always pop up
8pm-4am – Write. So much.
4am-12am – Sleep
(If I were a Westworld host, this would be my primary code)

I started this blog to get myself to actually write on a regular basis. You know what – I think it might just be working.

The truth is, I just don’t need to write a blog anymore.

Not to mention, I ran out of ideas a while ago; you may have noticed: the weird ones about nothing, the ones I’ve recycled from my days of writing for my school magazine, etc. So many of these blogs were written the Saturday beforehand (“I haven’t written a blog yet! AHH! Erm, what do I like? Oh yeah, I haven’t covered so-and-so interest yet. Phew; saved.”). I would’ve loved to have done more research on these; some, like my blog on the company 10,000 Hours, I knew nothing about beforehand and I got to spend blissful hours scrolling through websites and articles, making notes, compiling everything together and trying to understand what the angle of approach should be in the article, which ends up being like a summary of these collection of notes. Then there are articles I wanted to make good and got to find out new things about things I already loved, like my Manic Street Preachers blog where I found weird quotes, or the legacy of Lara Croft blog (did you know her breasts were initially so large because they accidently coded them as double size at first, and then thought that worked better?). Research is an integral part of writing – the more you know, the less time you spend staring at the screen wondering what to say, because you have more to say. That being said, a lot of my blogs were just fun – like my recent Tim Bustin 2016 film and TV awards. And of course there were the blogs which I’d forgotten to write because I’d had three articles commissioned for various student magazines and I dug into my own archives for blogs I wrote at school or articles I’d half written and quickly polished off.

I’ve honestly never known if anyone actually reads this blog. There’s a little side-tab on the website that lets me look at the stats for each blog; the view number is usually 10-20 (I once got 50, somehow) so I presume someone clicks on these other than me and my family. Occasionally a friend will come up to me and go ‘Hey, your blog last week on what it’s really like to work in a chem lab was really interesting. Keep it up!’ (and I’ll be thinking ‘Someone actually reads my blog? Yay!’).

But in truth, I don’t write for other people; I mean, you always want to share what you’ve written, but I physically can’t not write – even subconsciously I’ll invent stories in my head, just going for a walk or sitting on the train with nothing to do, or when my mind wanders in a lecture.
When I write, it starts with typing out my thoughts; whatever the subject is, typing channels the thought process and turns my messy thoughts into something much more coherent and subjective.
I write because for me it’s the way I prefer to communicate what I really think and feel; I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s opinion in the room is, about holding back, about whether my presence or power of speech will get across my argument.
When someone talks back, there’s little time to properly consider what they’re really saying before you have to respond – it’s more reactionary than thoughtful; at least more so than seeing the discussion written down and being able to analyse it afterwards. Obviously writing can be styled as persuasive or misleading, but I always see an argument or story for what it really is when written down; then it’s just ink or lights on a screen.

Writing this year has changed me as a person, and I think for the better. I’m focused; I’m passionate about something and hardworking towards it; I have direction in life now and I enjoy life too. There are downsides to doing so much writing of course: the lack of free time (all those films and shows I wanted to catch up on *sighs*); writing a pantomime full time means I see everything as a pun now; and I can’t watch a film now and see it as an experience, only the story the writer typed, meaning I judge films on the quality of their writing (check out my Epigram Rogue One review). But hey; it’s who I am. Can’t do much about that, can you? Also, I’m pretty sure my writing has become less passionate and more formal – sorry, okay! Is this better?! I’m shouting now on a screen! I guess it comes back to why I write – I like my writing to be measured and formal. You lay out your arguments clearly, or your topic clearly, without the bias of inflection and without a lack of time and you can dissect what’s there (if you want to see my passionate writing, read my fiction I guess?).

Maybe I will write the odd blog again in future; but it would only be if I wanted to talk about a subject desperately and had time to do proper research. But I don’t think I’ll be blogging again anytime soon. I may be also dropping my radio show, but I’ve still got three scripts to work on; then there’s January exams (oh god); and I’m producing the panto I’m writing next term, so I’m pretty sure I’ll have no free time; I help run Anime and Sci-Fi Society, I’ll still write for Epigram and I’m sure more projects will turn up to. Oh yeah, and then there’s that other thing, what is it… oh yeah, my bloody degree. Man, I really need a 2:1.

So, if you’re still reading this and have been over the last year, thank you very much. Seriously, it is lovely that you’re doing so; that you’ve actually clicked on one of my many irritating writing posts that fills your Facebook feed. I hope you learned something somewhere or at least had fun reading some of my work. Knowledge is a really cool thing to share and to pick up. Hopefully you’ll check out some of my future writing (I’m not going to stop filling your Facebook feeds, anyway). For now though, I’m saying goodbye – I’m saying here one last time to buy my novella (Infinity Paradox, 99p on Amazon – you know you want to); I’m saying check out my Sci-Fi radio show recordings on MixCloud; I’m saying check out my fun film review website; I’m saying do whatever you need to do in life; and lastly, as the real reason I write is for myself, I’m saying that if 2016 is a year many will remember with distaste, it’s a year I’ll always remember for how it changed me and how I couldn’t have lived without it.



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