Thursday, December 11, 2008

Maybe I should be a writer.

That title. That's the dream you see. I used to be a journalist and over the last year I've managed to get three (count 'em) commissions for freelance articles but, to be perfectly honest, I haven't been in a very good state at all and pretty much incapable of putting any effort into it. The ever-present laziness doesn't help - is there a pill for this? And, no I don't mean speed.

Anyway. I'm going to try and make a better first of this from now on.

Before I got my job on the newspaper I signed up for a correspondence course in writing - they're called the Writers' Bureau and they advertise quite heavily. I only completed two assignments, but got excellent feedback - more fuel for the I'm a genius I don't have to try to do anything fire that destroys so many of my dreams.

Well, on Tuesday I emailed them and was thrilled to learn that I can simply start up where I left off. I've still got all the course materials so that's another little project to try and keep me busy and it should also be something I enjoy doing.

The, this thing comes easily, sounds terribly egotistical I know. But, it is to an extent true. I'm a terrible talker, and writing is my natural form of communication. I wrote incredibly quickly and easily when I was reporter, but, it must be remembered that everything I wrote was sub-edited and proof read before cast before the lucky old newspaper buyer. Left to my own devices, I just do the first bit and don't bother with the rest. I've sent off articles which are probably absolutely awful, first draft material in need of a hell of a lot of tweaking and very obviously not worthy of publication.

The same is true of this blog - although, I think spontaneity is accepted in this sort of writing - I never read through what I've written, I just spell check it and press publish.

So, that's another thing to try and learn a bit of discipline. I'm going to try and take a bit more care about these posts - please bear in mind that I don't so much build castles in the air as whole civilisations where men live in brotherhood and peace, so we'll see how that goes. I've got an idiot's guide to HTML, and I would like to do more in terms of links and the like.

A real inspiration has come from finding so many other mental health bloggers out there. I was getting a bit disillusioned by the blogosphere having spent far too long gazing, gob open, at right wing and libertarian hate sheets.

The first inspiration was The Secret Diary of A Manic Depressive: it's on my blogroll. The writer is a natural communicator, I'd go further and say an absolutely excellent writer - honest, beautiful prose, thoughtful, moving - and, if she doesn't get a book offer from her blog, well, then publishers are fricking idiots. It is, by the way, quite possible, that publishers are fricking idiots - most other professions are, so I don't see why publishers shouldn't be.

Do have a read of it.

I heard about her blog on Radio4, and through her I've discovered a whole network of bloggers writing about their mental health problems: sometimes they're inspiring, sometimes less so. But, I'm trying to join these networks and any other way I can use to promote this blog (I did warn you I was a hideous egoist - a self hating one, but one nonetheless - I looked up 'the addictive personality' on the internet once, only to find there isn't one (apparently) and what people like me have is a narcissistic personality - makes sense I suppose.)

So, I'm going to try and jazz up my blog a bit, I'm going to try and get back onto my course, and then I'm going to try and start submitting proper freelance stuff and then I'm going to write a novel, radio play or screen play. And then I'll wake up.

We'll see. It's a fine intention and the road to hell is this way.

All the best.

The Cardiff Drunk. I think the plumber's arrived. What joy!


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Drunk in Cardiff.

I had a bit of a read of your blog and I noticed you mentioned meditation.

I don't know if I qualified as an alcoholic (I doubt it to be honest) but I certainly used to be a piss artist and would frequently (every day, I think) get that 'must have a pint feeling'.

Then, out of curiousity, I learned to meditate and the 'must have a pint' feeling disappeared.

That was 17 years ago and I have had the feeling on so few occasions since (all associated with extreme stress) that I can remember them all.

I hope you find this helpful.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just tracked to your blog from the Guardian website (yeah, I waste too much time there too :P) and consider having read it a much better use of my time. You are clearly very smart and very self-aware (Which you seem to feel is a bit of a curse, understandably, but which actually sets you a fair few rungs up the emotional-evolutionary ladder than a lot of folk) and I wish you extremely well.

Good luck with the new job - I have worked in a call centre as well, for a bank who shall remain nameless, and although at the beginning it seemed complicated, you soon get the hang of it (then, alas, as the terror recedes the boredom begins, but what can you do :P)

Best wishes, your newest regular reader!


Anonymous said...

I just misread your comment as being about 'right wing and librarian hate sheets', which I found a tad surprising. There really is a place for everything in cyberspace...


The Drinker said...

Cheers for the comments, it's always nice to know someone is out there.

I'm really gonna give meditation another go Anonymous 1 - I've tried some very simple breath counting things and, in the past, that helped. I do have a real problem with racing thoughts and a continuous (very loud) internal dialogue. Did you use classes or a book, the one I have is by Leshan I think. Mrs Cardiff Drunk does a lot of yoga - and she's given me a couple of tips, so I'll get onto that soon too.

Thanks for reading anonymous 2. I waste far too much time on CiF and I knwo it's a bit wanky 'promoting' my blog on there, but I'm glad you came and I hope you find it interesting.

You're right WG, there is a place for everyone, I was just struggling to find it and - I don't really know why - was spending a lot of time looking at those sort of blogs. T'was Stoopid, and I'm stopping. Cheers for reading anyway.

All the best,

the Cardiff Drunk.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Drunk in Cardiff.

In reply to your questions, I initially learnt Transcendental Meditation (TM), which you get from a TM teacher. The teacher teaches the technique over a few days and does a little ceremony where they sing something in sanscrit and make offerings of fruit and flowers before a picture of long dead guru.

It had such a profound effect on me, that it really freaked me out. I went from a stressed out wreck to fully understanding the word 'content' in the space of about 2 weeks. I was so surprised and amazed that something so simple could have such an effect that I did actually wonder if I had been brainwashed or something and kept the TM teacher at arms length while I checked out other forms of meditation - whilst continuing with the TM because I was so impressed with its effect.

I checked out tibetan buddhist meditation (which I was quite impressed with) and also some new age type stuff - which I wasn't very impressed with. However, the buddhist stuff seemed a lot of messing about so I stuck with TM.

TM is easy, as the TM people say. It is a very simple mantra based technique. But you must get it from a teacher, at the very least because there are certain subtlties involved. It is easy to do it wrong, and not get the effect.

TM is expensive though. Also, if you hunt around the web, you will find sites saying TM is a cult. I will happily admit that (depending on how you define cult) this is quite fair comment. However, you don't have to buy into the whole belief system, you can just do the technique. There is no mind control.

I also went to yoga classes and have a little stretching routine which I sometimes do which seems to help the meditation and chill me out generally.

As I am on the subject of cults and you mentioned internal dialogue, I picked up some useful stuff on dealing with internal dialgue from something called the Landmark Forum and also a follow on course they do called Communication Access to Power or CAP as they call it. Also from Tony Robbins Unleash The Power within weekend. Tony Robbins uses Neuro Linguistic Programming.

As you can probably tell, I'm quite open minded and will have a go at anything but I found all these things to be tremendously helpful. The only thing to be aware of is that they all want your money and don't sign up for anything whilst you are on the quite massive high you get from these weekends. This only applies to Landmark and Tony Robbins, TM doesn't give you a 'high as such.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I should have mentioned, that both the Tibetan Buddhist meditation and the new age meditation I got from attending classes.

The Tibetan Buddhists hold these classes all over the country. They are good value and I also think the buddhist philosophy which they teach at these classes can be helpful for the troubled mind.

Also, meditating with others does seem to very much enhance the effect.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I should have mentioned, that both the Tibetan Buddhist meditation and the new age meditation I got from attending classes.

The Tibetan Buddhists hold these classes all over the country. They are good value and I also think the buddhist philosophy which they teach at these classes can be helpful for the troubled mind.

Also, meditating with others does seem to very much enhance the effect.