Category: Information


Proof-Reading

Dear Saul,

I’m proud to say, when it comes to writing, I know my way around it. I’ve still got a hell of a lot to learn, but I’m optimistic that I can string together a coherent sentence. Maybe I’m not the fastest at typing, but I get it done, and maybe it’s not top notch quality, but it’s entertaining (I hope). But even me with my mastery of… mediocrity… cannot help but sin every once in a while. And I’m afraid it’s a big ‘un. I dun goof every once in a while, and I’m not proud of it.

I never proof-read my work properly. And I mean never.

Before you start lighting your torches and grabbing your pitchforks, let me say that I do not recommend doing what I do. Proof-reading your work is one of the most important skills when it comes to writing and editing your own work. If you don’t proof-read for grammatical errors, typos, and simple mistakes, you make you work come off as just a little bit shit.

Just a little bit.

“But why would *someone* (and I’m not saying who) choose not to proof-read their own work? Surely they practice what they preach.” Well, to answer this, you need to know how much of a lazy git I am. I procrastinate a lot, and I’m afraid of missing deadlines, so everything is usually done in a last minute panic (which is such a good mindset for a writer, I might add…). As such, proof-reading isn’t as high up on the list as “getting the work done, and getting it done well” is. Of course, getting it done well requires me to proof-read my work., but I’m too busy “getting the work done, and getting it done well” to proof-read…

See the paradox I’ve created? I’m trying desperately to climb out of the rut I’ve made for myself, but no luck so far. The simple answer is, I’m lazy, and if I want to fix the issue of me correcting my own work, I first have to fix the issue of me not wanting to do anything except sleep in and play video games. And for a teenager, that is a steep hill to climb, my friend. Why not stay at the base of the hill and eat chocolate, you ask? Well, believe me, as soon as you bring yourself to check your own work, you’ll soon notice the quality of your writing is improving as well, and not just the little things. You may notice huge plot holes you managed to overlook originally. You’ll see scenes and characters that don’t work, and you’ll get a feel for your own style of writing, one that will continue to improve as time goes on.

So surprise surprise, being lazy hasn’t really helped me accomplish anything, or make me better in my craft, and chances are, it won’t work for you either. So get off your backside, put down that controller, and go read your own work. But what can you do to stop yourself from caving in and just being lazy all day?

Well, give yourself an incentive to work, and reward yourself for getting to a certain goal you’ve set. Just try not to overdo things too much:

Also, get a schedule, and stick to it. If you get into a routine, it’s easier to break that habit of  going off to procrastinate. Give yourself a set amount of time to do something, and give yourself some short breaks throughout the day. If you’re finding it difficult to stick to your schedule, start later or just have a shorter amount of time for work, then slowly build it up over time. Don’t just rush into things expecting to break out of your old habits straight away.

Finally, hang a nice “Hang in there, baby” poster on your wall. It’s the single most important thing for breaking out of laziness. Seriously.

Well that’s all I’ve got. Any thoughts on being lazy? Do you have problems proof-reading?

I have to go proof-read this post now. Maybe.

Best wishes,

-Fiachra

Dear Saul,

Hope you had a good Halloween, because November is gonna get busy. Real busy. I ‘moustache’ you a question, (geddit?) ever heard of Movember? Movember is a charity event that takes place throughout the month of November, in which brave men (and possibly women) shave their face on the first day of November, then duke it out to grow the most fabulous hair on their top lip, all in the name of raising funds and awareness for men’s health.  It’s a hilarious event. and it goes towards a good cause.

Obviously, given my teenage gumption and stubbornness, I shaved off my peach fuzz of a beard, and got to work, sitting there, slowly straining until my face went red. I kind of gave up after that, and just sat there looking slightly disappointed in myself for not being able to pop out a luscious comb of hair over my mouth. But, I still have a month to go, so it’s not all bad.

Want to have a go at it yourself? You can sign up via their website. Even if you can’t grow a moustache (You big girl’s blouse), you can support the more manly of the human race in their endeavours to make men’s health a nicer, fuzzier topic.

Don’t feel like growing a moustache? There’s always NaNoWriMo. If you have even the slightest interest in writing, then I’m guessing you have an idea of what NaNoWriMo, or National November Writing Month is.  30 days to write 50,000 word novel alongside tens of thousands others. This one isn’t for anyone else but yourself. If you succeed, it’s a testament to your dedication to the art of literature.

If you should fail…

Well…

We don’t mention those who fail…

Actually they do fine.

Seriously. And if you think you can achieve his goal, and forever be entombed in the annals of writing history, sign up on their website, and get cracking.

I’ll leave you with those for now Saul, I have to get my stache goin’.

-Fiachra

Dear Saul,

I’m baaaaaaaaaack. Did ya miss me? You can put down the pitchfork and torches now, I know you’re pissed…

I hope. Wouldn’t be much of a homecoming if I didn’t stay long. But yes, even though school sucks the life outta me (I swear, I have a life), I’ve found the time to do a bit of writing. Even though school sucks the life outta me, I managed to plan out a few things. And even though school sucks and will suck the life outta me (I’m a little sore over this), I managed to make a list of things I wanna update you on:

  • I’ve been working alongside some really amazing bloggers and writers, picking up some skills, and hopefully bringing you guys better content. Some of these folks might make the occasional appearance here, and I’ll be updating the friends section so you can go annoy them for me 🙂
  • I completed The President’s Award! I’m really happy to have completed this, and the blog is one of the ways that gave me the drive to finish it. Thanks for the help.
  • I may-or-may not be working on a fully-fledged novel, which is in very early planning. More to follow…
  • I’ve been working on the first few episodes of The Downcast, a new podcast where sit down with a friend and chat about video games while we wait for one to download. The first episode is already up. Quality is, well, crap, but give us credit, it’s passable crap 😉 I’ve also been working alongside other writers, and maybe, in the future, I may have a writing podcast for you to (maybe) enjoy.
  • I have a fun idea for a series of posts, provided I have willing volunteers. I believe it could be called ‘Writing Tennis’. I’ll essentially have a second person, one person writes the opening paragraph to a story, or post, puts on their blog and the other one follows on, either furthering the plot or idea. They post their response, and the first person will follow on from that. Repeat for hilarity. Any volunteers? 😉
  • I have a maths exam Friday. Bugger.
  • Wait that last one wasn’t really interesting.
  • I should probably stop this.
  • Jesus Christ I can’t make lists.
  • What am I doing.
  • Fiachra.
  • Stahp.

So, yeah, that’s, in a slightly broken sense, what I’ve been up to. I have lots of stuff planned for you, and I can’t wait for you to see it all.

Glad to be back,

Best Wishes,

-Fiachra

Math

Dear Saul,

Are you any good with geometry? I hope to god you are, I’m gonna need a bit of help. It’s strange, the way life can give you a second chance or two.  It’s even stranger that those second chances can be a little… intimidating. Sure, you’d like a second shot, you wanna get back in the ring, throw at least one more punch. Then the weight of the task at hand can be a little bit of a reality shock. Things might be a little more jarring, a little bit bigger than anticipated, and honestly, it’s okay to feel a little intimidated at first, I’m sure most people would, and I’m no exception.  For instance, lemme give you a little backstory to my school.

I am, currently, shit at maths. Or math, however you wanna pronounce it. I somehow believed in second year that I could handle higher level math pretty well, and… well… the big fat ‘D’ on my Junior Certificate exam speaks volumes as to how that turned out.  So I took a year off, did something called Transition Year, which kinda was a non-exam year meant to prep you for the next major exam, the big one, the one that would decide whether colleges and universities would except you as a paragon of society, a useful, productive human (that’s what it sounds like to me, at least). The Leaving Certificate. I kinda forgot about my troubles in math, until nearing end of the year, I began to wonder if I would remain in higher, or drop down to ordinary, also called lower level.

Welp, I believe I’ve either dodged a bullet, or jumped in front of one, because, on my very first day of fifth year in secondary school (think second last year of high school), I’ve been put into higher level math. Because a second chance can be, and is, a bitch.

This, naturally, filled me with doubt. At this point, my drive to succeed in maths was pretty much gone, I needed to focus on the subjects I could actually pass. This sounds ridiculous, but higher maths at Leaving Cert level is hard. Really hard. And I barely made it past higher maths in third year. Naturally, I was worried, especially given that the new teacher I had was one I had never interacted with, never met in the corridors, and one I might not have felt comfortable being taught by.

This teacher, as it turns out, found me my drive. By inadvertently calling me dead weight.

After being sorted into our classes, each teacher gave their own prep talk for what they would do for the exam. Mine, as it turns out, had the same effect as a Drill Sergeant. That is to say, I’ll learn, whether I hate them or not. But a few of the remarks they made kinda stuck in my head, one of them being ‘I’m looking at the class now, and I can tell you now, there’s some dead weight here’, as well as ‘I can guarantee, by Monday, not all of you will still be in this class’.

Hmm

‘Okay, well, in the first period I’ve had her, she’s referred to the slackers and, looking at my own difficulty in maths, what I can only guess, me, as dead weight holding back others from learning, and she’s hinted at the class being cut down.

Well, it’s on now.’

This was pretty much, as silly as it is, my thought process. I mean, them telling me I should go down to lower is fine, but being kicked out when I’ve already, against the odds, made it into higher? Nuh-uh, nope, no way, it’s on like Donkey Kong, now.

I guess, at that point, something just snapped, a good snap, but a snap nonetheless. At this point, it was no longer about studying for an exam, it was no longer about points, and it was no longer about being dead weight. Now, it was about proof. Proof to myself that I can and will pass, and not just pass, but succeed. I needed to prove to myself that I could beat maths. No more laying back, no more worrying about exams, at this point, the only thing that mattered in maths, was the fact that I would beat it.

And for that, I thank you, drill sergeant maths teacher.  You helped me find my drive. Before this, I was apathetic, I didn’t know how it would go for me, and frankly, I didn’t care. Now, I’ve begun to realise what I’ve missed out on, what I could have done, and dammit I’m pissed. Now, I have a goal, a reason to do something about this. I’m not doing it for exams anymore. I;m doing it for me. Because I’m sure as hell not letting numbers on a page beat me anymore.

The buck, as they say, stops here.

Best wishes, and wish me luck,

Fiachra

 

 

 

Time

 

Dear Saul,

It’s been a while. Where have I been? under a rock for the most part.

I’m sorry for not keeping up with the letters. With work on That’s Horror-ble, the new series on the blog underway, stuff happening in real life, and my lack of writing pretty much anything these past few weeks, I’ve hardly had any time to talk to you. And as my muse, I really should be. Unfortunately, time hasn’t been my friend on this one.

Strange. You plan everything out, you have the ideas in your head, the resources to pull it off, but when it comes down to it, the only thing that stops you is the fact that, well, that there isn’t enough time to do it. And it’s infuriating. Intensely planned events and well thought out plots are obliterated, purely because there isn’t enough hours in a day. As a content creator, it’s hell, especially if you’ve been working on something for so long. People who call themselves fans scream at you to release the latest episode of your hit web cartoon, and no matter how hard you work, time prevents you from releasing it on schedule.

But here’s the part that doesn’t seem to get though to some:

It’s not your fault

So many people cave to the pressure put on them by fans, or bosses, or anyone claiming that it’s your fault you haven’t been able to release something. I’m sorry, do they think we control when the suns sets? Do they think we decide when the day ends  and we no longer have the mental capacity to stay awake and work? If they do, I feel so sorry for them.

Maybe you haven’t been able to file that report, maybe your latest youtube video can’t be uploaded yet. Tell those who scream at you to get it done now to wait. If they truly care, either about the work or you, they will.

In essence, this will be the excuse I use when people ask me why I haven’t written much.  😉

Glad to be back Saul.

-Fiachra

 

Well, it’s a new record, I made 2 posts, then decided to bugger off again for a week.

Nonononononononoooo, it’s not you, it’s me. Okay, it might be you, but it’s at least, 40% me. At least a fifth.

Sadly, I’ll be out of town for a week, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to upload something, even if it’s merely another old ‘That’s Horror-ble’

Oh, haven’t seen yet? My latest upload was from an old tumblr series I wrote on horror tropes, from zombies to found footage. It’s was pretty good, and I thought I would bring the series, cleaned up and re-written, to here, along with some new ones. Hopefully you guys’ll like it and not castrate me, and call me names, and all that jazz. The first one is about how horror had changed nowadays. Sadly, it hasn’t gone well, but maybe I can’t make things a little funnier as it spirals down the toilet.

Guess you could say I…

took the piss…

Lastly, do you like fame? Do you feel triumphant from crushing other contestants under you heel? Are you, like Charlie Sheen, fond of the concept of ‘winning’? Then do I have the competitions for you!

Several blogger friends of mine have decided to host several contests, and YOU CAN ENTER THEM ALL.

the contests and prizes are various, but I would strongly recommend you enter them, not just for your own personal glory, not just to promote healthy competition and make friends, but to batter each other down so that I can sweep in and claim glory for myself.

And I’m sure you’ll do a fine job too 😉

Catherine Ann’s Art Competition

alessergod’s Fiction-Writing Competition

Have fun, don’t send me the prize or anything…

-Fiachra

Day 31, Friday (The Final Day): A vivid memory

My most vivid memory isn’t really a memory, because I’m not even sure it really happened, considering it was so long ago.

In this memory, I’m on a  beach. I used to live near one back in a town called Tramore, playing around sand dunes on sunny days off with the family. But on this particular day, the weather was terrible, grey, cloudy skies, it had rained earlier, but there was no wind. It was… calm.

I had run off a little bit from the rest of my family that day and I remember just standing there on the shore, on my own, just… taking it all in. The salty air, the ominous clouds, the almost grey water. It was more than scenic, it was like something out of a book. I think, looking back, that might’ve been what made me choose to become a writer. Just seeing it made me want to recreate it, to share it.

Maybe I’ll go back there one day, write something by the sea.

Thank you so much for sticking with me during Blog Every Day in May. I’ll be taking a short break to get my bearings, celebrate a birthday, and you can expect me to come back real soon.

Fiachra



picture005 picture006 picture007


Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

Well, here is a comprehensive list to all my favourite posts I’ve made over the course of 5 months. It was tricky, but I narrowed it down to 5:

A Tourist’s Guide to The Brute

Inspiration

Humour

Karma

Casual Fridays

-Fiachra



Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you’re struggling with right now.

I’m struggling with talking. To be a little more specific, I’m having trouble telling someone something. I thought writing about here may help.

I don’t want to go into details, a little awkward, but I’ve been having trouble owning up to something. I’m not a pathological liar or anything, so if they were to confront me about it I’d probably spill my guts to them. But as it happens, it seems I need to be the one to stick my hand up and say ‘it was my fault, I’m so sorry’.

Therein lies the problem. I kinda chickened out at that part, much to the chagrin of, well everyone involved. It’s strange, usually I’m pretty open about these things, ready to explain myself. This time around though, things are different. I can’t actually bring myself to talk to them about it.  Call me a coward, but it’s difficult.

But I’m sure, if I can talk to random strangers about it (to a degree) on a blog, then what”s to stop me confessing? I honestly don’t know. But maybe this is the start. Maybe I’m one step closer to coming out with it. If you have any advice, to be shy to leave it 🙂

-Fiachra



The Cardinal

UCD's finest news source. Preaching the truth since 1854.

DEPRESSING DOUGHNUTS

"New mysteries. New day. Fresh doughnuts"

softchap

A band. Plus the writing, poetry, and art of J.C. Grennan.

igotboredoftumblr

it's true, I did get bored of tumblr. Here shall be a hodge-podge of creative endeavours past, present, and future.

Jacob H. Baugher IV

Writer, Photographer, Musician

The Byronic Man

We can rebuild him. We have the technology... Drier. Hilariouser. More satirical than before.

If Books Could Blog

The written word is the only saviour this world needs.

feedmyreads

A place for authors, bloggers, illustrators, publishers & fans

After Dark Gaming

the red eye gamer

Tipsy Lit

the publishing imprint of author ericka clay

Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

lasesana

From my disorganized mind

Teens Can Write, Too!

Changing the world's opinion... as soon as we finish this math homework

The Life and Times of Sevner Red

A general blog about writing, games and all things tech

bloodoverithaca

We aim to amuse.

Lucien Maverick's Blog

The ramblings of a creative intellectual

Cut The Crap Movie Reviews

...for people who don't read movie reviews.

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

CURNBLOG

Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.