Shortly after attending the taster session that was painstakingly described here, I decided to send a link to the University of Winchester via Twitter and see what resulted. Upon checking my tweets this afternoon, I was excited to find that they had indeed read the post – and, as a nice little bonus, they’d seemingly enjoyed it too! When I was writing it, I wanted every last drop of pure enthusiasm and joy to seep through the text, and to leave no stone unturned so that no reader could be in any doubt as to how much I was buzzing before, throughout, and after the day. It was clear that to some extent, Winchester must have got what I was trying to say. My sincere thanks go to them, first of all.
What was less clear, and therefore more of a surprise, was what their engagement with my little blog and one of its many entries led to. As it is hosted by WordPress, this has its own Stats page, on which I can check the performance of the site and the views that its content, tags and categories have had. At this point, just bear in mind that there must be millions of blogs on the Internet, all jostling for space and exposure – mine is a tiny dwarf planet in an infinite online galaxy of bigger rivals. I have a long way to go with Third Time Enabled before I can even begin to compete with them, so imagine how delighted I must have been when I noticed the 36 views it has had so far today. This must be due in no small part to Winchester’s interaction, and it is a monumental figure compared to what I can usually expect in a day. As a matter of fact, I don’t always get that in a week. Furthermore, the “University of Winchester” tag I attached to the post received 50 views, and whilst I like to showcase my own writing and experiences, I mostly wanted to convey just how awesome a place it really is, full of friendly and passionate people. If you don’t think I’ve managed to do that in any of the last three posts, my mission obviously isn’t accomplished yet – but if you have read this and my point has resonated, thank you very much indeed. You might just have made my day!
Recently, I was asked to name one or more of my pet hates by a friend. Aside from the obvious things we all hate – racism, sexism, homophobia, snobbery and the like – every single one of my peeves escaped from my mind at that very moment. I definitely have them, but I couldn’t think of them when they were needed. I was, however, reminded of a particularly elusive pet hate through a chance remark someone made in front of the TV soon afterwards. As a Mastermind contestant sat down in the show’s famous black leather chair, they revealed their chosen specialist subject to the host, and it was to this that my companion uttered two highly infuriating words: “That’s sad”.
Upon hearing this, I felt an instant hot flush of anger. Sad? How dare you! To suggest such a thing is to fail miserably at looking big or clever, and to ruthlessly belittle someone else’s passion. Yes, there are plenty of differences between us, and we might struggle to understand what other people see in their respective areas of interest, but it is immature and needlessly disrespectful to criticise them for enjoying what they do. The mentality that leads someone to do this must be of the “glass half-empty” variety, and incredibly cynical. I pity those who are like this. Wouldn’t it be much better for them to listen and learn about what they don’t know rather than dismiss it immediately? Let’s not forget that this would have an added bonus, in that you’d be indulging their enthusiasm whilst doing so. What’s not to like? Above all, make sure you remember that the people who are unlucky enough to be ridiculed as “sad” are actually – and very ironically – the exact opposite. They will engage with whatever they love the most regardless of where they are or who might be watching, and it’s all because they’re not sad in the slightest. They’re drunk on pure, undiluted passion, the best possible natural high. There can never be enough of those in life, so if you don’t have anything nice to say when you witness them, don’t say anything at all. Especially nothing so childish!
Fandoms are truly amazing things. There’s one for seemingly every franchise nowadays, and whatever the product they exist solely to bring fans of all ages and backgrounds together in a comfortable and familiar environment. They are capable of lifting, inspiring and even saving lives, and so their importance to millions around the world – including myself – must never be underestimated. As you will know by now, my chosen fandom is Doctor Who. It has definitely shaped my life to a significant extent, as I may never have chosen to write without it, and watching it has filled me and many others with seemingly endless wonder. It pleases me greatly to see fellow Whovians freely interacting online and indulging in what they love so much – and even those of you who are not fans can surely appreciate how expansive this international community of enthusiasts is.
That said, however, I do see an underlying problem that I feel compelled to address – not with the Who fandom itself, but with the perception that some non-fans have of it. I was inspired to write this post just a few days ago, when – being very excited to see the unveiling of Jodie Whittaker’s new costume – I suddenly thought about how these people have reacted to my declarations of love for the show. I can’t help but think that I occasionally feel looked down on in a way that people in other fandoms, such as Harry Potter or Supernatural, never seem to be. As soon as this occurred to me, I knew that I had to find out whether this perceived reaction really was an established thing, and what people’s reasoning – if any – was behind it. I posed these questions to some of my friends, Will included, who I thought might be able to relate to my Whovian predicament — and one in particular gave me a very intriguing response.
It was Lauren who said that, as a Doctor Who fan, there can be some very complicated scientific concepts and plots for one to figure out, meaning that those who can (and don’t be fooled, because I’m not always one of them) are stereotyped as being more nerdy and less cool than fans elsewhere. Believe it or not, I’d never considered this before. I suppose it makes sense, although the apparent implication that non-Whovians are less intelligent in some way does make me a little bit uncomfortable. Maybe the people who look down on or criticise us but have never seen the show are put off doing so by assuming you have to be clever. It’s not essential at all. In fact, I’d say that the reason I had never about Lauren’s opinion is because it’s not why I fell in love with Doctor Who in the slightest. I love it because of that wonder I mentioned, the ever-present notion that anything is possible, and the Doctor’s relentless message of acceptance and equality that is so clearly present everywhere he or she goes. These reasons might all sound clichéd, and maybe I’m repeating myself in giving them, but that’s only because they’re never ever untrue. If you’re reading this, you have a few pre-conceived ideas and you’ve never given Doctor Who the time of day thus far, all I ask is that you give it a try. One episode. You might surprise yourself, and gain a few million new friends in the process.
So, Third Year. The year where everything gets serious. Where your work suddenly becomes important and should be given a lot of attention. I should probably get to it then. Yeah…
My work ethic is terrible. This is evident as Mason asked me to write this post weeks ago. For some reason, even if it’s doing something I love, I can never build up the energy to do it. I have a feature length script, a dissertation, a monologue and a script report to write. And yet I can’t bring myself to get started. I can sit down in front of my laptop to start writing, and yet my mind will wander away from the task at hand. This is all well and good until you spend 15+ hours in the library to write the end of a script. That’s an example I made up. It didn’t actually happen. Honest.
When it comes to writing, nothing makes me happier. Except when it doesn’t. My low self-esteem and sometimes crippling doubt often lead to me questioning myself. Am I a good writer? Have I wasted my life? Am I a failure? This doesn’t help my motivation. I can be in these slumps for a couple of days. And then I’ll watch a brilliant film\TV show, or I’ll think of an idea that I just can’t wait to put down on paper, and my passion will return. And then I’ll sit down in front of my laptop and the cycle will begin anew.
This blog post isn’t a ‘how to avoid procrastination’ guide. If I knew how to be more productive, I wouldn’t have to write this, and I could go back to calling giraffes bastards. Hopefully, over this next year, my resolve and motivation will increase, and I can write a more cheerful post. I’ll get back to you on that.
“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” – Christopher Parker