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For those of you who don’t know, and for those of you who are interested, here’s a little bit about what I do with myself now…

I write for a living! I am the Writer and Web Producer for Fuel Brand Inc/Carbon Ads. Click on the picture to find out what that actually entails!

I’ve actually been doing this for a couple of months now, but haven’t blogged about it – unsurprising really when you consider that my last personal blog post was in July…

In short: I couldn’t be happier about this job. Huge thanks to Joshua Smibert and Adelle Charles for giving me this opportunity.

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So… it has been a looong while since I blogged here, and for that I sincerely apologise. Since taking on the role of Co-Editor at Fuel Your Writing, as announced in my last post, I’ve been busy editing and running the site, along with something else.

That something else being: writing some things in exchange for money.

Last week I received my first ever payment in return for something I’ve written – and I’m really, seriously made up about it. The pieces in question are simply press articles, new pieces, written for Fuel Brand Inc, the company behind the Fuel Brand Network, of which Fuel Your Writing is a part. They’re not the most exciting pieces of writing ever, but they do the job. And I’m excited about them, and getting paid for them, and this is my blog so I’m going to shout from the rooftops that someone (thanks Josh!) gave me the opportunity to write something for payment.

Besides these articles, I also was invited to write some copy for some marketing materials, for a project that I actually can’t talk about yet because it isn’t up and running yet. I’ll let you all know what it was when the project goes live. It was awesome and exciting to work on it, especially as I was thrown in at the deep end on quite a tight deadline. I want to do more of this. Lots more!

I got paid for some writing I did. This is what I want to do with my life, whether fiction or non. I may be on the bottom rungs, but I can comfortably say I’m on the ladder now.

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Hopefully I’ll be back on the blogging wagon from here on in. For more regular updates on what I’m up to – check out my new blog on Posterous. I’ll be updating there quite often, as it’s just so easy to blog using Posterous (by sending an email) so I can do it from my BlackBerry really easily. I’m also going to be using that blog to host any pictures I would otherwise send to TweetPhoto or similar. As Posterous updates my Twitter when I blog, those of you following me will still be able to see any pictures I publish.

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… and it’s me!

After six months and six articles at Fuel Your Writing, I’ve been offered a Co-Editor position, working alongside current Editor Eden Tyler. I accepted immediately, as I think it’s an awesome site, with a really great community of writers.

I’ve been dying to tell you all about this! I was offered the position nearly two weeks ago now, but there has been a lot of things to sort out since then. But now everything has been finalised, signed an online contract today, and I can officially tell you all about this.

So, what does all this mean? One thing it will mean is that I won’t be writing as many articles for Fuel Your Writing, so I apologise to everyone who has been reading and enjoying them. I shall still write some articles, but it won’t be as many I have been writing recently.

The job is going to involve not just editing (of the articles that are submitted by the regular contributors and guest posters) but also helping to grow the site. The community of people who contribute and read FYW is expanding all the time, and is really thriving. Lots of the readers like to comment on the articles, and many of them are hoping to join the team and write for the site. I’m really looking forward to helping some of these writers find a home and a voice at Fuel Your Writing, and taking the site to new levels.

And… who knows what else this new role will lead to? This is a big opportunity for me, and I intend to grasp it with both hands, and be proactive with it. If I do, being an Editor at FYW could lead onto some new and even more exciting things, perhaps even a whole new career!

You never know, but I can’t wait to find out.

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How many times do you check Twitter or Facebook in a day? In an hour? How many times do you check your phone, or log into your emails to see if you’ve got something more interesting than the latest offers from some website you bought something off once? How long do you spend slouched in front of the TV – watching nothing in particular? Friends repeats? Loose Women!?

On Sunday I’ll be taking part in Lifehack.org’s 24 Hour Digital Fast. I’ll be spending 24 hours completely free of the digital devices that take up our lives. That means none of the things in the paragraph above. No Internet, no laptop, no phone, no TV.

Of course these things are great, and in many instances vital to the busy lives that we live now. But we do (most of us, I’m sure) become too connected, checking our various sites and devices far too often. We need to disconnect every so often, and learn to be able to function without your social networking site of choice for a while. No more being a slave to your phone either. Sure, we need to be contacted sometimes, and mobile phones have become indispensable for contacting people quickly and easily when needs be. But, on Sunday, I’ll be letting mine ring. Actually, it won’t ring at all, because it will be switched off. All day.

So, what am I going to be doing all day? Well, for those of you who follow my novel-in-progress here will know that I hardly wrote anything last month. I’ll be using some of my time on Sunday to get some good writing done, written of course in my Moleskine with my Lami Safari fountain pen, given that I won’t be allowed to use my laptop. I’d love to write 2000 words on Sunday, which if I do achieve that goal will be more words in a day than I managed in the whole of March!

Also, I shall be going out for a run for the first time in quite a while. Rain or shine, I’m off out for a jog. In fact, if it is raining – bring it on. I love running in the rain. Once you get running, and start becoming a little out of breath, and you fall into a comfortable rhythm, running can be quite a zen experience, which is part of the appeal for me, besides the obvious health benefits. It can clear the mind, and having the rain battering down on you can numb your body and help disconnect the mind. As part of my Digital Fast, a run will do me the world of good.

I will be spending some time with my family too. If the weather is in fact reasonable then some sort of gardening work shall be undertaken, and I shall assist in this labour. Again, being outside, and spending time in the company of “real” people shall be thoroughly good for the soul.

After all this I shall be cooking dinner. Cooking something proper, not just moving something from the freezer into the oven. I make a mean chicken risotto (if I do say so myself) but I’ve rested on that laurel for quite a while now, and it is time to really get into proper cooking and learning the craft. So I’d like to try something new on Sunday, currently browsing through our various cookbooks (and the Internet) for something that grabs my fancy. Will blog on its success (or lack thereof)! next week.

Something else that I shall definitely indulging in on Sunday, perhaps into the evening with a big glass of red wine, will be reading. Currently I am reading Matter by Iain M. Banks, and it is just brilliant. Epic and glorious and has me completely immersed in the universe he has created in his series of novels concerning the interstellar society of The Culture.  I am getting towards the end (it’s a long book) and cannot wait to finish it.

Why don’t you join in too? I know this is short notice, and maybe you are doing something on Sunday that requires the use of digital devices and the need to be in contact with others through their use. That’s alright. But consider it, pick another day! Any day. 24 hours is a decent length of time to go when we are so used to using things like our phones and laptops, but not too long that our lives begin to suffer from our being disconnected. So, join me on Sunday?

Wish me luck in disappearing off the grid for a day. I shall blog next week and let you all know how it went.

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So, I’m a few days late, but HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Two thousand and Ten, eh? Or is that, Twenty Ten? There seems to be some debate on this (let’s not even get into the argument on whether the past ten years should be called the Noughties…) and, for what it’s worth, I quite like the latter, but let’s not get hung up on such small things. It may be a new year, but the rules of this blog remain the same – Never Too Serious. Hopefully you’ll see me continue that ethos throughout the next year. I hope to make you laugh, make you think, and make you keep reading.

The first big news of 2010 – a reminder that the Duel is under way! I’m sure you all know by now (please follow the link and read the opening post if you don’t) but I have challenged my good friend Rob to write a novel over the next (now) 363 days and counting, in a writing duel that will end when the clock strikes midnight in just under a year’s time to close 2010. One of us will become published, and one of us will turn into a pumpkin. Or something like that. In any case, it promises to be a lot of fun, with the added benefit that we should both finally write the novels that we have been putting off for a while now. Please follow along – here, at the Duel blog, and @chrisvsrob for those of you on Twitter. Updates shall be signposted as usual, on our own respective blogs, Twitter (just me), and our Facebook pages.

To kick us off, Rob has just written a short post to whet your appetites, outlining the theme and story of his novel. He gives nothing away, aside from a few typically brilliant character names (Rob is a genius when it comes to naming characters) and the general idea that his story shall be a Steampunk story WITH SUBSTANCE – something the genre seems to be lacking. His novel The Invention of Steam will chart the origins of a Steampunk era, where history veered off course and ended up in a world of clockwork gadgets, ray-guns and aerial Zeppelin battles.

I’m really, really excited about this Duel – and I hope you all are too. If you’re not, you certainly will be after reading what Rob has in store! I definitely have a fight on my hands. What will be interesting is that mine and Rob’s fighting (writing!) styles are very different, and so are our proposed stories. Stay tuned to this blog, and the Duel site, for the introduction to my novel in a couple of days.

Hope your resolutions are going well – we’re already 4/365ths into the New Year!

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Thanks to my very awesome friend and writing duel opponent, Robert Smedley, Never Too Serious! now has a logo.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE it. Rob made it without me even asking him. I hadn’t even considered having a logo for the site, but he felt that it’d be nice if I had one. And what a logo! I hope you all like it as much as I do. I genuinely think Rob has managed to capture me and the spirit of this blog in one simple drawing.

Thanks again Rob!

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A few weeks ago, I laid down a challenge to my good friend Rob for us of us to write a novel each in the space of a year. With the new year and new decade fast approaching, 2010 seemed like the perfect time to do it. Rob accepted my challenge like the gentleman that he is, but it is to be pens, not pistols, at dawn.

Hold your breath, and count the 10 paces, for the New Year Novel Duel!

Over the next year, beginning immediately on the 1st January 2010, me and Rob shall be writing novels. One each. There are no rules, and no word counts. The challenge is to complete, to a final version, our novels – that is the goal. As far as a winner is concerned (for all duels need a victor), that shall be decided… somehow. When me and Rob figure out how this whole thing is going to be ‘judged’. But for the meantime we shall be locked in an epic literary battle, fighting and writing our hardest, motivating and inspiring the best out of each other.

We have both been putting off writing a novel for a long time, ever since we graduated from our Masters in Creative Writing a little over a year ago. And neither of us have really written much in the way of short fiction – I know I haven’t done so for ages. I’ve been kept (barely) satisfied with the non-fiction writing that I have been doing – on this blog and my recent (and continuing) articles for Fuel Your Writing, but my true love really is fiction.

The duel, and the progress of the two novels as they are written, will be chronicled throughout at The New Year Novel Duel blog. Both myself and Rob will post monthly main updates on our experiences, as well as posting the odd short excerpt to whet your appetites for the final stories, and to attempt to scare each other with our writing brilliance! The blog also has a ‘Scrapbook’ page, where smaller things like quotes and pictures will be archived. There is a ‘Duelists’ page too, detailing the vital statistics of us Writing Warriors.

To run alongside the blog (and to highlight when new content is posted) we will also be running a Twitter feed. I know not all of you are on Twitter but those of you who are, please consider following. We won’t be flooding it, so don’t worry about that. It’ll just help to keep you up to date, blow by blow, sentence by sentence, of the duel as it unfolds. Subscribing to the blog will be easy too, just click on the RSS icon that is on the home page.

So, come the very beginning of 2011, the duel shall be over and the dust will settle.  I hope you enjoy the duel and, in advance, I hope you enjoy the stories.

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