A Steaming Pile of Internet

There’s another reason I didn’t post anything for two weeks. It’s because I didn’t have anything interesting to talk about. Nothing I was doing was particularly interesting at the time. I wasn’t reading anything worthwhile, I wasn’t examining any fascinating new articles. I was staying inside and playing video games and watching television. I needed a break from brain thinking, and loaded up my mind space with cerebral junk food. There’s nothing wrong with that, except, it left me with nothing to scribe about and no desire to make something up. I own a small slice of the internet, though. Not a very big slice, mind you, but a slice non the less. As the proprietor of this tiny slice of web zone, I’m now considered a “content creator”. This is where we enter bullshit territory. So pucker your assholes, because Mr. Charlton is going to rant for a bit.

See, before the internet, the world was filled with musicians and writers and designers and inventors and artists and a whole mess of crazy people who made things. They usually worked with marketers, entrepreneurs, publishers and another heap of humans to package and sell these things. These marketers, entrepreneurs, and publishers were the gatekeepers. They decided who got to be successful, and who didn’t make the cut. For years, this seemed to work in favour for the latter group. There’s always been this undercurrent of hatred for this group, these so-called suits. They’re business people at their core, and they’re interested in making money, not making dreams happen for artists. Fair enough. Then the world wide web took off, and soon it became easier for the painter, the poet, or the filmmaker to create art and sell it without the middle man, these so-called suits. We entered a new world, where people who created things got to deal directly with their fans and the purchasing public. Awesome, right?

There’s a problem, though. Back in the day, the artist used to think “You know what, these gatekeepers have shitty taste. If the people could only hear my music, then I’d be able to be successful. I’d make it if I just had the chance.” Those artists were wrong. It wasn’t the gatekeepers who had shitty taste, it was the people. I wrote a post years ago, on the old blog, about how people have lousy taste. That includes me. I have abhorrent taste in music. I have a soft spot in my heart for terrible movies. My idea of decorating a house is minimalist, in which I don’t decorate my house (the added bonus of not having to dust shit is also nice).

The internet is steaming cesspool of pop-culture refined sugar, not because that’s what people want to make, but that’s because it’s what people want to consume.

I’m going to give you a choice. You can either get a fast food burger once a day, or you can splurge at the end of the week and get a three course meal at a fancy restaurant. The only caveat is you can’t have both. Most people are going to go for the first option. There will be a few people who’ll wait for the crazy amazing meal, but not everyone is into fine dining. The internet is taken this to heart, and the term is ‘content’. In order to be a viable website, you need to have new content. Every. Day. Even if it’s not particularly good content, people still need to be able to come to your space and find something new.

Truthfully, this has less to do with people’s shitty taste, although I will defend to the death that I’m right on the money with that. It actually has to do with how the brain is hardwired. The brain likes being rewarded with stimulus, and will fire some dopamine in your direction when it gets what it wants. The same pleasure centers fire up when you get a message, or a text, or a Facebook like, or browse a site and get something new. That’s why websites like Facebook and Instagram are constantly updating. It’s why people are constantly checking their feeds every ten minutes.

If you’re a massive organization, like let’s say Buzzfeed, you just need to churn out crap everyday. And that’s what Buzzfeed does. I’m not certain how many people contribute to Buzzfeed, but it’s got to be a couple dozen. If you’re flying solo, like myself, you have to make a conscious descision. Do I churn out crap everyday? Or do I try and have some standards and at least put together a legible article?

Here’s the thing. Even what I’ve just written here is pretty trashy. I haven’t solidfied my research, but rather just took a bunch of ideas I’ve been pooling in my head and vomited them out onto the page. Which is maybe why I haven’t been writing as much, ’cause I hate churning out crap.

The internet is both a blessing and a curse. The artist isn’t just an artist anymore, they’re a ‘content creator’. They now have to be selling themselves at all times. I like putting shit down on paper and online. I do not like adding a million hashtags to what I’m doing to try and whore myself out. Anyways, rant over. I’m going to get back at something more interesting later this week. I promise.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. You know what happens if I break my promise? Nothing.

p.s.s. Maybe it’ll be ’34 ways people are using the internet the way junkies use heroin’.

p.s.s.s. #writing #writerslife #doIreallyhavetodothis #Igetitsaneasywaytopromotemyself #anditsfree #butseriously #everytimeIseeapostlikethis #Iwanttostaplemydicktothebackofacar

Mastering Procrastination

If you haven’t noticed, ol’ Mr. Charlton hasn’t exactly been posting a whole slew recently. Now, I could give you a bunch of excuses as to exactly why I haven’t been writing. You know what? Let’s try out a few excuses. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had to give an excuse, and it couldn’t hurt to flex that muscle. Just in case I ever actually have to start blaming things other than myself, like circumstances, scenarios, the weather, or other people.

  • I’ve been busy. (False. I’ve been getting caught up with season six of Game of Thrones and playing a lot of Fallout 3. )
  • I haven’t been feeling well. (False. I feel like the God/Prince I normally feel like)
  • The dog requires a lot of attention. (False. Pookie is about eighty-four in dog years, all she does is sleep and eat)
  • I’ve been learning new things. (True! Teaching myself some more programming junk, as well as a very specific program that’s used to write called “Scrivener”)

Long story short; I’ve spent a small amount of time learning some new skills, but most of my time in the last two weeks has been games and television. Some of the time, though, has been setting up a profile for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org). Time has been also spent learning Scrivener. I’ve been doing research for this novel I’m going to try and complete in a month. That’s also work, right?

Here’s what’s probably what’s going through your mind right now.

“Why the hell is Mr. Charlton telling us he’s being a lazy dickbag?”

See? I love it when you ask questions. Totally makes me feel like I’m not talking to myself. Here’s the reason. I’m making a point that procrastination sometimes tries to disguise itself as work. While I’m doing research for writing, or learning an incredibly complicated writing program, or getting setup for a writing contest, there’s one thing I’m not doing. Writing. Sure, it feels like I’m doing something, but truthfully there’s no actual work getting done, no words are being written down, no ideas from my mind brain are being chiseled onto the stone sitting on my desk. If I’m doing everything in an attempt writing

I like to write. I find it an enjoyable, and there’s a lot of people who find the hobby enjoyable as well. Musicians are the same way, there’s something incredibly satisfying about taking a song from your head and getting it onto an instrument and have it come alive. At the end of the day, though, whether your writing or making music or sculpting or whatever you’re doing creating stuff, it’s still work.

When I sit down, shit doesn’t just magically appear, I have to work to make it appear. There’s this weird idea (which is perpetuated by a number of pretentious folks) that creative endeavors just pour out of people. There might be a handful of geniuses that have absolutely had to write or paint or whatever, but for the 99.99999 percent of us regular folk, you actually have to do work. I love to write, but there is a slew of things I would rather be doing than writing. I would rather…

  • do nothing
  • eat some food
  • play a game
  • read a book
  • watch crappy television
  • go for a walk
  • put intoxicating substances, like scotch, into my body
  • touch myself inappropriately
  • touch someone else inappropriately (with their consent)
  • pretend I’m writing by mashing the keyboard

Procrastination goes even deeper. Sometimes, I’ll work on one project to avoid working on another. I lovingly refer to that as ‘Procrastinception’. It’s incredibly weird to think that sometimes you’ll do work to avoid other work. There a common theme in this ‘doing work to avoid work’ scheme. You’ll say to yourself “Hey, you know what? This place is messy, totally unorganized. I’m not going to be able to focus on the task at hand until I get this junk in order.” You’ll spend the next four hours arranging your bullshit into piles where you think it belongs, pat yourself on the back, then tell yourself that when you get some more free time, THEN, then you’ll get down to brass tacks and start working. If you’re a creative person, you’ve probably done this once or twice.

The secret is, there is no good time to start writing or painting or picking up the guitar. That’s a luxury many people can’t afford. Your home is always going to be a little messy, there’s always going to be interruptions, and there’s always something that’ll come up to pry you away from writing a book, or painting a picture, or laying down a track. In fact, try to learn to work when there’s chaos around, like when you’re at your job on your lunch break and everyone is yelling at each other.

I constantly see images online of people writing in nooks, with tea and paper. But if you’re like me, life is going on around you. You can try and fight the stream, telling yourself you’reĀ  justĀ  waiting for the right moment. Or you can get to work and learn to write or paint or play when

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m done binging on media for a while, maybe I’ll get some actual shit done now.

p.s.s. Seriously, if you’re into writing, check out Scrivener. Completely solid writing tool.