A long overdue Critical Commentary:

Hello again… Yes… It has been a while, I hope that this piece finds any and all who read it, in good health and fine spirits. Devoid of the unhappy thoughts that have been my constant nighttime companions of late. To those that know me, it will be no surprise, that the pains in my stomach that have prevented me working and the prolonged and so far uninformative period of medical investigation that has followed. Exacerbated pre-existing discontent with the progress I was making on projects I had begun at university and hoped to finish, within a year or two. This discontent, in partnership with the near constant discomfort and pain combined with isolation both due to health and coronavirus, has led to a rise in my depressive moods. I bring this up not out of any desire to seek pity, but to stay true to the exercise I have begun here. It occurs to me that now might be a good time to explain the purpose of this piece.

Somewhat selfishly dear reader, though you may, and indeed I hope you do find the contents to be of interest to you. That is not the primary purpose of this piece, and will not be the primary purpose of any subsequent entries in this series of Critical Commentaries. So what am I defining a critical commentary as, well for the majority of people I suppose a Journal of Self Reflection might be a more familiar term. Why not use that term then? I hear your hypothetical voices quick to query! And fret not for there is, I hope a satisfactory explanation to that question, I shall be quick to type. There are two main reasons for straying away from this form.
The first is a minor technicality. The term self reflection itself. When I think of self reflection although I feel a degree of objectivity is required, I’ve always felt the outcome to have been influenced by excuses. Clouding potential progress with disappointment in what has not been achieved. Perhaps I’ve always been doing it wrong but there we are.
The second is that the form of the critical commentary was a part of University Assessments when I did my MA and BA in creative writing. With every piece of work, we would submit a critical self commentary. The objective of this was to assess the process, discuss decisions and evaluate what we may have done differently. It wasn’t, however tempting an excuse to say well this didn’t work and sell your work short, in fact the opposite was true. It was there to show recognition of successes and things that didn’t work out so well and then discuss a better way forward for future attempts at the project. In short, I have always found it to be a constructive exercise. One focused on moving forward, learning from and taking mistakes as fuel towards future successes. (Cliched I know, but forgive me, it is 5:41 am and I’ve always been prone to romantic sentiment.)

So with that out of the way I want to begin to lay out the projects which I will likely use these blog posts to evaluate. The first and perhaps most core to my life is that of my writing. The second and important in its own right, is that of my Twitch channel. Any other projects such as a game I seek to improve in, or smaller projects will likely find themselves in this category as well. But in order to evaluate results one must first set a goal and so I will use the remainder of this largely introductory post to lay out my intent or set goals.

So why my novel? Cause I want to finish it, duh. For a long time I have lacked the structure created by a university environment without deadlines, fellow writers and tutors on hand to bounce ideas off of. I hope that by implementing these weekly commentaries on my progress I can hold myself accountable and in doing so make more significant progress than I have seen in many months. As such I will be setting, what I hope to be achievable targets every week and striving to meet them. The purpose of this commentary will then be to ascertain whether or not these goals have been met. As well as to look at what worked, what hurdles I encountered and how I dealt with them, as well as any problems I feel were unresolved. This will not only serve hopefully as a stimuli to productivity but as as a record that I can go back and review when planning future edits or redrafts of the novel.

As for Twitch I find this one a little bit more difficult to define, set word counts or easily quantifiable chapters to use as goals don’t exist in this domain. Follower counts and subscribers are an indicator of performance but an unreliable one, a raid could lead to several follows in a day and then a drought for a few weeks. No, for this the criteria for success will have to be somewhat more nebulous. I believe these will more likely be focused on ideas around stream content, do I feel that I provided good commentary this week, if not, why not, what stopped me, how do I address that. Do I feel that a new game is lending itself to my strengths? That sort of thing. However beyond that I plan to try and create more for my channel: community nights, collaborations with other streamers, using social media to promote my stream more effectively etc, so expect to see these things discussed as well.

So that, as they say is that, I’ve done it, typed the blog post, signed myself up for the long haul. Two reflective blog posts a week minimum + the twitch streams and work on my novel. But I have to admit that work on the novel will be slow probably a chapter and a discussion of a chapter per week. To be frank, my health is not good, I struggle to move around too much and even sitting upright for long periods of time can be exhausting. However, I hope that by doing this, and taking these steps I can do more to help myself in my current situation than just take medication and wait… and perhaps in doing so regain some of the parts of myself that have slipped away over the past year.

So to recap my goals are as follows:

One 1000-1500 word critical self commentary on my twitch channel.
One chapter of my Novel draft.
One 1000-1500 word critical commentary on my progress.

Expect to hear from me soon.
Shieldbroski out.

Why I’ve found writing a script useful:

As I mentioned in the last update I’ve been writing a Sitcom script for a university assessment. Whilst something I am brand new to, I have found that it has improved my writing for other projects and helped with writers block. As such I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on why I’ve found it helpful. Continue reading “Why I’ve found writing a script useful:”

Writing Update: Re-structuring

Progress:

In my last post I talked about the editing process and what I would be doing to improve my first draft.  Having done a good chunk of reading, collating feedback and re-writing over the last couple of days I thought I’d update you all on my progress. So far I’ve learned a few important things. Continue reading “Writing Update: Re-structuring”

Writing Update:First drafts

I’ve just completed my first draft for my dissertation with a little over a month to go to the deadline. I’ll be honest, I’m more excited about the project now than when I sat down to write it. Usually I don’t have this problem with my creative projects; I sit down hammer out whatever it is that is in my head and then when the novel or short story is finished I run away from it until it’s time to edit. Continue reading “Writing Update:First drafts”

Writing Update:

So those of you that follow what I post regularly will have noticed that I fell off the grid for a week or so. That’s because I’m in the process of moving house, managing a university assessment and working. I should build some more time in to create content but honestly haven’t felt able to. So given that I can’t sleep at 4am with a full day of moving furniture tomorrow I thought I’d give you all a quick update. Continue reading “Writing Update:”

Writing Journal: Dissertation

To be honest although I’ve had two months to get on with my dissertation I must somewhat unhappily admit that I haven’t done nearly as much work on it as I wanted to. Life got in the way. Continue reading “Writing Journal: Dissertation”

Writing Journal: Module Assessment

For a module entitled Contemporary Writing, I wanted to do something a little different. Play with some of the themes the ‘Contemporary’ texts I was reading for my course had highlighted

In the last update I gave you a brief overview of what I was working on and my plans for a module assessment. My plan for the module being to write something focused on experiences of the Trojan war. This is no longer the case. Continue reading “Writing Journal: Module Assessment”

Soo I got myself published!

Hullo! Exciting news!

Those of you who follow my Facebook and Twitter likely already saw the news that my submission to Beyond the Walls had been accepted for publication. It feels slightly surreal, now with the book in my hands, realising that I actually did it, I got myself into a professional publication being distributed potentially world wide by Valley Press.  I’m not sure why but the small publishers logo at the bottom of the cover makes everything seem so much more official. (That and signing contracts and things once my submission had been accepted)

So yeah that’s me, chuffed to be in it with a number of amazing creative writers studying at York St John University.  I would like to thank all those whose hard work went into making the publication a reality and those friends of mine who pestered me into submitting my work on time!

For those who would like to, here is a link to the Valley press page on which you may purchase a copy.

http://www.valleypressuk.com/book/102/beyond_the_walls__new_writing_from_york_st_john_university

Thanks for reading!
Hugh

Writing Update:

Hullo!

Hugh here with a quick update as to the projects I am currently working on. I’ve got two major projects on the boil at the moment, both of them assessments for my MA one of which I am a little less certain of than the other.

My dissertation project, which I’ll talk about first is fairly simple in premise; take the High Fantasy genre that I love and adore, and update it using allegory. To do this I am taking recent events, tragedies and disasters, studying them and the effects that they had and implementing a version of this in my novel.  (Sadly the world is throwing me a number options but more on that later.) For example Grenfell tower will become a slum wide fire reflecting the poverty of the area and the responses to this will be based on arguments made by politicians, landlords and survivors of the Grenfell tower fire. Obviously it wont be word for word but a general gist or sentiment will hopefully be distilled should I be successful. For this I am completely revamping an old universe to the point of non recognition, the only thing it has in common is names at this point, will likely post some draft work when I have something I would consider half way decent to show.

The second project is for a module assessment and for this I was hoping to do a false biography focusing on different experiences of Troy or the Trojan war growing up. Taking the reader through from cartoon books to studying the Iliad for an A Level in classical civilisation. I’m still not 100% sure how I’m going to approach this, or whether or not this will be the final idea. Right now I’m leaning towards having a narrator introduce the different experiences interspersed with bits of prose and biographical style writing, but we shall see how that goes.

Outside of these two project the main form of writing I am doing is the blog, I’m trying to get at least two posts up a week at present, maybe more depending on how much of a backlog I’ve built up at any one given time.

So that’s me, what about you? Are you writing anything? Let me know in the comments section below.

Take it easy guys!
Over and out.