Disconnected

This little corner of the Internet has been gathering dust over the past few months. Sure, there’s been theatre and music reviews which have kept things moving forward, but the previous schedule I used to have on The Life of a Thinker is pretty much non-existent.

As I write this, I wonder if my lack of posting falls under the wider creative block I’ve experienced since leaving university. I’ve been able to produce more journalistic articles now that I’ve finished (today saw me hand in my keys to my flat – I am now completely finished bar my graduation in September), but returning to blog posts and structures which existed prior to my third year of university feels weird and alien to me now. Uni life has led to a break and sense of disconnect that means any chance of me picking up where I left off is minimal and slim – my memory of a regular blog schedule buried underneath all the recollections of my dissertation work, exams and more.

I think I probably need some time to think about how regularly I blog and what type of content I write about. Life updates and music reviews are the two main types of content on The Life of a Thinker and for the longest time I have considered just turning this into a music blog, but to do that would require saying goodbye to the more journalistic articles that appear on my blog from time to time.

At the moment, with music reviews and life updates taking up Fridays and Sundays on my schedule, that still leaves Mondays and Wednesdays free. One could probably be filled with more opinion pieces (which I need to get back to doing) but the other is still blank. I’ve considered more TV reviews on this blog – would that be of interest to you? Let me know.

I apologise that this probably isn’t the most substantial blog post or explanation as to where I’ve been or what comes next, but I hope that with time, my ideas for what happens next to my corner of the internet will become clearer.

Thanks for sticking around.

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A change long overdue…

The start of a new year often prompts people to seek change, but in my case – and the case for this blog, The Life of a Thinker – these are improvements I’ve considered for many months now, and finally want to put in place.

Since the early days of this site, music reviews (under the Music Monday or Musical Discovery title) have, as the former name suggests, come out on a Monday. However, with ‘New Music Friday’ becoming a thing and most artists and band releasing music in time for the weekend, my review a few days later felt a bit late. Whilst I don’t obsess over numbers, it would make much more sense if such things were timely, and so, for a while now, I’ve considered moving these posts to Friday.

Yet, such a move would affect my Friday Article pieces – my weekly opinion pieces often on politics or disability issues. Naturally, such a series with a name based on the day of the week on which they’re published can face some problems with the change. Although, upon having a look at other opinion pieces, most headlines tend to adopt the approach of ‘HeadlineAuthor Name‘ (The Guardian is a good example of this), and if I want to get my name out, then following a similar style may help with that. From now on, such pieces, complete with a new feel, will be published on Sundays – tying in with a lot with those end-of-the-week political shows you see on television.

So with music reviews on Fridays, and opinion pieces on Sunday, what about the spaces on Monday and Wednesday? At the moment, nothing particular is set in stone, but then again, Wednesdays have often been a day for me to publish something different (most often a book or theatre review) so if reviews become a regular thing for me, that may just be Wednesday’s ‘thing’. I’m still keen to have a slightly personal theme for one day of my schedule (something which was taken up by my A Thousand Words series last year), but I’m looking to try something a little more different and creative for that. We shall see what happens.

Other than that, thanks for reading the occasional blog post in 2017, and apologies for content being a bit infrequent. Whilst the start of a new university semester does offer a moment to get other tasks done, it isn’t long before the work builds up again in the run-up to the final sprint. Hopefully this will still allow me to blog nonetheless.

Either way, here’s to another busy year…

Where have you been?

I’ve always liked structure in my life, and whilst that’s not to say I don’t like spontaneity, breaking a pattern which I have been maintaining for the past few years does feel a little disheartening. In the middle of April, my blog schedule fell apart and the ‘post every other day’ theme crumbled. So, what happened?

The simple and short answer is university. As the course geared up for the May deadline, every module had at least one final essay or piece of coursework to complete before the academic year was over. As a result, The Life of a Thinker had to be put on the back burner until now, when the final exam for second year is done and I have the long summer months to look forward to.

After a decline in posts, I’ll be back to my normal routine – at least until September (for I am yet to know how much time I’ll have to blog in third year). Whilst I’ve been away, I have realised is that surpassing last year’s 16.1K views this year is unlikely. At present, the blog has reached 5K views, which could mean that I end the year with 12K – a disappointing drop when The Life of a Thinker has been on the rise year after year. Now is the time to get back to writing.

As you may have seen over the past few days, since Friday I have been posting every day and for the next week, that shall continue. Each post next week – except possibly for The Friday Article – will be a music review, as there’s been a lot of good music which has come out whilst I’ve been away.

Normal scheduling will resume soon – including music reviews and more political posts.

Stay tuned…

Vote for The Life of a Thinker in the UK Blog Awards 2016

I still remember attending my first awards ceremony, when I felt somewhat underdressed amongst other student journalists at Austin Court in Birmingham and was Highly Commended in my category. The Midlands Student Media Awards marked a significant turning point for my blogging; a few months before the event I decided my blog was to move away from boring babbling lifestyle posts and it was going to be an online portfolio of sorts, where I could practice my journalism. After I was Highly Commended for a journalistic essay (over 1,000 words long, might I add), I felt like my decision to take The Life of a Thinker in this new direction was the right decision to take.

Ever since then, I’ve pushed out more journalistic content. My Musical Discovery reviews have become more analytical, my Friday Article opinion pieces have explored new political topics, and my Sunday posts, A Fictional Reality, are allowing me to rediscover my love for creative writing – which has returned after a lengthy absence.

Since the Midlands Student Media Awards, I have been searching for other blog awards to enter. Previous attempts to find anything which I was eligible to enter or were relevant to my blogging style had failed, but one time, I found the UK Blog Awards – an awards ceremony I feel bad for only just discovering. This year, I decided to enter.

Photo: UK Blog Awards

If the Midlands Student Media Awards told me that I was right to pursue a more journalistic style, then being successful at the UK Blog Awards will mean so much more. It will show that there is such a strong community around The Life of a Thinker, that my blog is improving and it would enable me to meet and network with so many new people. It’s the biggest awards ceremony for UK bloggers, and to even be in a position where people can vote for me to win is amazing.

You can find my entry in the Individual Entrants section, under the PR, Media, Marketing and Communications category, on the UK Blog Awards website, and you can vote for me – if you like.

If you’ve already voted, then thank you so much. I really appreciate every vote I receive. Do feel free to share the above link with friends and family members who may also like to vote.

Thank you all as always for reading my posts on this little corner of the Internet. My next blog post should be up on Friday.

Intermission…

I’ve been rather busy. As a flurry of university assignments come my way until the end of this year, I fear that the time I have to put into other creative commitments will be somewhat limited. Journalism is a practical subject and so are the tasks, where I have to conduct interviews, take photos and so forth. As a result, there’s a lot more work involved as opposed to essay-writing. Of course, my academic life must come first and so unfortunately for the next month, the number of posts on my blog may dwindle. If so, I apologise.

Photo: Creativity103 on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode.
Photo: Creativity103 on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode.

Aside from being occupied with other things, it’s almost as though my creativity has taken a hit too. Of course, it hasn’t gone completely, but as I work on my radio shows, assignments and other commitments, I get a sense of confusion (perhaps even a feeling of being ‘burnt out’) when I start to think about uploading another YouTube video or blog post.

For example, I had no idea of what to write about on Wednesday this week and for my Friday Article, whilst there were big political events happening (e.g. the Autumn Statement and others), I didn’t have a specific argument to make or enough time to conduct further research.

Looking ahead to next week, I do have an idea for tomorrow’s post, but I have nothing in mind when it comes to Wednesday, Friday or Sunday. I don’t want to abandon posting completely until the end of the year, so I will be uploading blog posts when I can. However, my weekly schedule may not be happening for a few weeks or so. I hope you understand.

Normal scheduled posting will resume soon.

I made a mistake…

A while ago, I said that I wanted to change my schedule around a little bit. I wanted to move my Musical Discovery reviews to Fridays (as this is the day most new music is released) and push back The Friday Article to Sunday. I gave this new schedule idea a trial run last week, and it’s safe to say that I made a mistake.

As you may have seen, I missed a post last Sunday. It was meant to be a political post and a ‘pilot’ of The Sunday Article. In the end, I just didn’t have time, and the confusion that came with mixing around my schedule meant my creativity took a hit.

Granted, whilst there’s a few Sunday politics shows on TV which discuss the latest news over the past week whilst keeping it relevant, I don’t have access to these MPs to continue the conversation further. So, when I considered writing an opinion piece on scrapped A-Levels for last Sunday, it soon felt outdated without a fresh new angle. That being said, I probably will still end up publishing this post on Friday this week.

As for Musical Discovery posts on a Friday, it’s great that it fits with the day that most new music is released, it’s a bit of a rush to formulate an opinion in the morning before the post goes up at 12pm. The Monday slot gives me a weekend for a song to grow on me and for me to gather my thoughts. I like to think that I end up with a better review as a result.

Whilst the new schedule won’t be going ahead, the trial run did give me some ideas as to what I could write about on Wednesday or Sunday.

Since I’m quite protective over my poetry and works of fiction, I’m still not too sure about this, but I’d like to go back to writing regular poems on this blog, along with the occasional short story. In particular, I was thinking of doing posts where I would describe my week in a narrative style you’d hear in a book. I’m thinking about calling the series A Fictional Reality, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen yet. If I do try it out, it should add to the range of writing styles which I showcase on The Life of a Thinker.

What do you think? Should I write more poetry and fiction on this blog? Comment below!

Liam

Goodbye to Sundays

It’s a problem I’ve been trying to sort out for a while: posts on Sundays. When The Life of a Thinker was in its infancy, I’d upload my Weekly Updates, but it wasn’t long before I had weeks where I didn’t get up to much, or couldn’t think of a catchy title for the post. In the end, I said goodbye to Weekly Updates.

In its place came a style of post which doesn’t fit on my blog that well. Over the past few months, Sunday posts have become more personal – they’re articles about the blog and how it’s changing, and that gets repetitive after a while.

For example, I continue to talk about how my blog will become more professional and journalistic in tone and how I want to change my schedule, but that’s not actually happened yet.

I want to get rid of Sunday posts completely, yet at the same time, weekends are the best time to post something.

I’ve also talked about how, with music coming out on Fridays, that moving my Musical Discovery posts to that day of the week would be more appropriate. But then The Friday Article would have to move (thus making its name redundant), so I’m really not sure.

To stop me from repeating myself further, I’ll say this: I’ve decided that soon – in the future – I’ll do a ‘trial week’ where things are moved around a bit. It may stay that way, or the schedule may revert to how it was originally. It’s down to how I feel at the end of the week, and what happens to the stats.

But that doesn’t address what will happen to these Sunday posts. With music reviews, book reviews and political opinion pieces all taking place on my blog, I’m looking for a new writing form to use for another hobby.

As I write this, I already have one idea, but I shall keep you posted.

Liam