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March Update

March 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Man, that was a crazy month. PHEW! We had some great times here on The Cheap Ferret these past few weeks. I posted so many great things, and we all had a blast, right?

Oh…right. Yeah. I didn’t post anything at all. Well, this is awkward. Um…I was busy?

In fact, the answer is yes, I was busy. In the past month, I’ve been making a serious attempt to step up my attempts to become a professional writer, by attempting to improve how I’m advertising myself, applying for actual jobs outside of just pestering people for freelance work and also doing something for a co-worker who’s setting up his own business.

I’ve also been working a lot more shifts in my day job (it’s actually an evening job, but whatever), and this has restricted my free time to work on my own projects a bit, and I got extremely stressed out over this blog as a result. My intention was to slow down after making an update on the situation, but I skipped the update step and went ahead and stopped posting.

Sorry about that, but here is your much-deserved update. Basically, I will be changing how this blog operates yet again. While I would love to keep the current setup, with a blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on specific subjects, it sadly isn’t feasible right now. As stated, I’m putting greater focus on my efforts to Become A Grownup and Become A Freelance Writer For A Living, and while this blog is certainly useful in that area, it isn’t essential.

But I do love this blog and hate the idea of leaving it abandoned. I want to chronicle my efforts to become generally awesome and talk about video games and other subjects that interest me, and also show off my writing to the world.

But sadly I can’t become awesome and I can’t present good blog posts to you all if I’m stressed out trying to squeeze out highly specific blog posts every other day when I don’t really have time for that.

So, here’s the deal. At least once a week is the new deal, and the primary focus is on my attempts to become awesome. I want to get better at turning my experiences into stories, so reducing mandatory updates to only one a week allows more focus and reflection, which means better planning and editing in writing terms. And that means better stuff for you to read! Everybody wins!

But by doing away with the current setup, at least for the time being, also frees me to update whenever I want about whatever I want. So if I still feel like writing a ranty piece on something terrible in the news, I can do this and you can’t stop me!

In fact, I may post some occasional updates on my backlog clearing attempts that I’ve been doing lately. In my downtime, I’ve been working to get through the many unfinished games and unread novels I’ve had sitting on my shelves.

I counted and found 50 unread novels. I won’t bore you with the full list, but needless to say I’ve set myself a challenge to read them all. I’ve currently read three so far, and I’m thinking of potentially posting little mini-reviews to give my thoughts and recommend the good stuff to you all.

As for games, I chose not to attempt every single unfinished game, and instead picked out a good selection that I have every intention of finishing. This is a list that includes the likes of Final Fantasy VII (which I’ve only ever finished up to the crater at the end), the original Silent Hill and the entire Resident Evil and Devil May Cry series (sorry, Capcom!). At the moment I’m playing through Dark Cloud, an old Level-5 RPG for the PS2 that mixes god games and dungeon crawlers and it’s pretty nifty, although a tad clunky in places.

Again, I intend to post little mini-reviews when I finish these games, so stay tuned for that!

But, to prove there’s still activity, I’ll start reblogging reviews for SvTM here as well, to turn this into more of a hub for my work in general, and if there’s anything else I ever put out there, I’ll post something about it here too. Sound good? Why yes, I thought so. And sorry to anyone who follows both blogs, since that will mean both blogs turn up in your email and/or reader.

And that is that for the time being. I will see you next week where I will have an exciting post for you to read!

Categories: Updates

Welcome To 2014

January 6, 2014 1 comment

And so, the prodigal son returns, fresh from his latest visit to the United States of America, ready to come back and kick ass and make this blog an exciting place again.

While in the US, I’ve been acting in a way that definitely hasn’t been Grownup, since it involved making scrapbooks and building forts in living rooms and failing to cut down a Christmas tree. This doesn’t affect my plans to Become A Grownup in any way, however, since I’ve already stated that part of that plan is to still maintain a childlike sense of curiosity and fun while still being responsible and independent. So there.

And after all that, I’m back. Well, I say that I’m back from the US, but in actual fact I’m still here, I’m just no longer officially “on holiday”. I’m still here because the winter storms currently being experienced in the Midwest and, to a lesser extent, the Northeast, are delaying flights and preventing me from returning to the UK until Sunday, which is the day my flight has been rebooked for.

Read more…

Christmas Is Interesting

December 24, 2013 Leave a comment

I don’t normally type out my blog entries directly into WordPress, but this is a quickie, so I’m breaking tradition. Also, this isn’t a typical entry. It’s a special one.

I just want to wish every one of my readers a very merry Christmas, since tomorrow is the day. Christmas is the main reason I haven’t been updating much lately, since I’m currently in the States and preoccupied with enjoying myself. That said, next week I aim to at least get up my Games of 2013 on New Year’s Day, and if I find myself getting ideas for anything else, then I shall post those too.

For now, eat, drink and be merry and I will see you all again in the New Year!

Categories: Updates Tags:

Less Becoming A Grownup, More An Update

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

You may have noticed a new kind of post turn up the other day here on The Cheap Ferret. For those who missed it, here it is

What’s the purpose of this, you may ask? Well, as part of my ongoing mission to Become A Grownup, I am trying to gain some freelance work with PR companies, providing copywriting and proofreading services. I’ve already done a bit of this in the past, but I want to do more and ultimately turn it into a job.

I’m rather inexperienced in the field of marketing and PR, but I do believe I have the ability to write well within that field, particularly in people-oriented businesses. It’s also something I’m just enthusiastic about and can talk about with some degree of knowledge. I may not be an expert, but I am willing to learn and I want to succeed and find work in this field, as part of my ultimate goal to become a freelance writer for a living.

So it’s up to me to prove that I have some idea what I’m talking about. I need to prove that I can write well and I need to prove that I have an interest in marketing. Good news! I already have a blog that I’m making a big push towards updating more regularly, so why don’t I add a new feature where I talk about marketing issues by relating them to big business news stories? Yeah, that’s a fantastic idea, and it’s exactly the kind of thing a functional adult would come up with!

But it’s also part of my aim to bring everything together a little better. This week I’m going to experiment with reblogging SvTM reviews over here on The Cheap Ferret, as a way of better linking the two together. I am still trying to come up with a way to connect the blog to my YouTube channel as well, so Gaming Wednesday connects up permanently with gaming videos over there, but I still don’t know what I want to do with that channel yet.

That said, the issue I discussed in that marketing post is also making that integration easier. If I do come back with videos on gaming, I will be redirecting everyone to comment on the Gaming Wednesday post, with the video embedded in the blog post, since any future videos will have comments disabled since I simply cannot figure out why or how to use Google Plus. It’s absolutely terrible.

You might wonder what all this has to do with Becoming A Grownup. Simply put, this is how I aim to improve my output and ultimately my promotion. If everything’s all centred around this here blog, it’ll be easy to find everything else I do. As I get fiction out there, that’ll all be linked around here too.

I still need to work on the procrastination issue I raised a couple of weeks ago, but I’m slowly making progress. I have been a bit slow with getting stuff done today, so that’s disappointing, but I am still aiming to improve on that as the week progresses.

And I hope I do progress, because the next thing I’ll be aiming to improve is my ability to be sociable and friendly and chatty and stuff. More on that when it happens.

So that’s all for this week. Pretty short one, I know, and it’s more a general “here’s what happened on the blog” than anything self-improvement related, but it serves its purpose.

Categories: Updates

Quick Update & A Question

June 7, 2013 4 comments

Hello, sorry for the lack of regular updates lately, I’ve been a little all over the place. But all is well and I aim to be building up a bit of a backlog of gaming and writing updates later today so things will improve over the coming weeks.

But while I’m doing that, I’ve gotten curious. I have about 28 followers on this blog (not much yet, but I’ll get there), and my question is, what makes you follow this blog? What particularly catches your interest? Anything you’d like to see more of? Anything you feel I can do to improve the blog in any way? Let me know!

Also, as a regular feature, every Friday post will feature links to the two SvTM reviews of the week. This week, nostalgia wins out with the childhood reminiscing of Stand By Me and George Lucas saying “man, it was great being a teenager” in American Graffiti. Next week, fictional wars and the death of a real princess!

Categories: Updates

Changes To The Cheap Ferret

May 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Hello everyone, here at The Cheap Ferret(TM) we aim to provide you with the best content we possibly provide, and quite frankly, we don’t believe we have been. Updates have been sporadic at best and, let’s face it, the blog has no real purpose or direction.

Well, time to change all that!

Yes, I’ve decided that it’s time to make this blog better, and turn it into something people from all over the world will want to read. Not just because I’m making them read it, but because they want to. And to do that, I need to decide what to achieve with my entries.

Here’s what’s happening. On Mondays, there’ll be a news post. This news post will be about a story from the last week that’s caught my eye, where I will offer up my opinions and generally make the news into something fun to read about. Consider it similar to a news column in that respect. I decided on Monday for this because Monday just seems like a news day.

On Wednesdays, I shall be indulging my love of gaming with you all, and it’ll be a day to talk about whatever’s on my mind in regards to games I’m playing or things happening in the gaming world right now. Like the news post, I aim to make it fun to read, something to make the gamers in my audience laugh, and still keep it accessible to those who don’t play games. In theory.

And on Friday, it’ll be time to turn my attention to the original purpose of the blog – to showcase my abilities as a writer and share both the fun and pain of writing with the world. Posts on this day will include updates on my progress to get out there as a freelance writer, but also looking back on my influences and some of the terrible stuff I wrote as a child/teenager. I may even bring up some events in my life that helped shape my decision to become a writer. But don’t worry! This won’t be some self-indulgent exercise in seriousness. Again, this will be a way of taking my experiences and making them entertaining for others.

So, as you can probably tell, the focus is on comedy and fun over anything super serious. I’ve written a few serious posts on here in the past, and there will absolutely be a place for those should the need arise, but primarily I want to make this blog enjoyable to read. I want The Cheap Ferret to be a place where people can come along, have a giggle, and then keep coming back because they enjoyed it so much last time.

When do these changes take place? Why, they take place immediately. It’s Tuesday today, and tomorrow the first gaming post goes up.

Also, I could do with some names for these updates. I’m thinking “Freelancer Friday” (it’s alliterative, y’see) for one of them, but if anyone reading this can suggest anything better, or can suggest something for the other days, then let me know! All suggestions are welcome, and I hope you enjoy the new direction of the blog.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by The Cheap Ferret in association with myself. Thank you for reading.

Categories: Updates Tags: , , , ,

General Update 09-01-2013

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! Gosh, it’s 2013 already and we survived the Mayan prophecy. How amazing. Anyway, I’m back again with an update of what I’ve been up to, what I’m getting up to and what I plan to get up to with both this blog and with my other projects.

First off, I’ve been in America for the past few weeks, and I’ll hopefully be making a few posts about all that very soon, including my thoughts on The Hobbit, which I saw while I was over there. No, I didn’t go to America just to see a film. That would be silly. But I saw it while there, and so it seems suitable to offer some views on it.

Speaking of movies, Sven vs. The Movies was updating while I away, since I’d deliberately completed a whole bunch of reviews. My Christmas review this year was Babe, which I’d picked since there was a distinct lack of Christmas movies in the 1001 Movies You Must See book. However, that seemed a suitable family film for the season, particularly as there are scenes set at Christmas and all.

Fantasia was also deliberately picked for New Year since Disney World has a tendency to put on a big Fantasia-themed show every New Year and figured that reviewing a fairly simple film would be good immediately following a night where people worldwide are getting very drunk.

Sven vs. The Movies is going to see some improvement over the coming months, I hope. I’m no longer watching and writing reviews on the fly like I used to, and my little push to get films out over Christmas showed me the benefits of forward planning. So I have planned out what’s happening over the next couple of months, and I aim to be very specific with what films I post.

Now, there has been a small gap in my update schedule, since the last two scheduled days (last Thursday and yesterday) didn’t get an update. The reason for Thursday was enjoying myself too much in America and forgetting to update (oops), and yesterday was due to a spanner being thrown in the works (already!) and me running round to try and figure out what to do. So what’s happening now?

Well, tomorrow is getting the review that should have been posted last Thursday. As usual, I’m not going to say what it is, since I never do, but to narrow it down, it’s another silent movie and one that’s had a huge amount of influence on an entire genre of film. Pretty exciting, yeah?

Next week will see two films which I have on DVD right next to me as I write this. The first is a French movie from the nineties and the other is another animated movie. There has been a very family-friendly theme going on lately, I know (although Avatar was pushing it), and this particular animated movie won’t help, but the French movie will significantly change that, I believe. It has some sexy stuff and some gory stuff from what I hear.

The following week I’ll be posting reviews in honour of Australia Day and India’s Republic Day with films from those respective countries (or at least from directors from those countries…), and I also have films planned for Chinese New Year (yes, it’s a Chinese film, how’d you guess?) and Valentine’s Day. I missed Valentine’s Day last year, regrettably, and ended up posting my review of Inception since I didn’t think to get a romance movie ready (the perils of no forward planning!), so this year will be corrected. I’m also planning an Irish movie for St Patrick’s Day. Basically, I’m going all out on themed reviews this year, so keep an eye out for that.

I’ve got all films planned for January and February, and I’ll be dropping hints on here as I go along. I may also offer some more thoughts on the reviewing process here and there just to make things more interesting, although all non-review posts will be over here on The Cheap Ferret.

In terms of my novel project, I’ve completed the second drafts of both and I’m now steadily going through them to figure out how I can seriously flesh them out. In both cases, they’re basically meandering plot vehicles with limited characterisation and description, and even some downright terrible attempts of moving the plot forward that make little sense.

But that’s the point now. Got to figure out where those major issues are and boost them into something genuinely good. After all, I want to be able to write something I’m proud of and I’m happy to release onto an unsuspecting public.

Whenever that will be.

But my ultimate aim is to keep this blog updated more regularly. I’ll be using it as a dumping ground for basically anything I can think of. Mini-reviews that don’t fit into Sven vs. The Movies, thoughts, progress updates on writing, whatever I can bloody well think of.

All this while simultaneously working on some other non-writing projects too. See you around!

Categories: Updates