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Aug. 20th, 2017

Writing life: July wordage, still-stubborn Muse, and not enough time

"The problem is . . . how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.

"What is the answer? There is no easy answer, no complete answer. I have only clues, shells from the sea. The bare beauty of the channelled whelk tells me that one answer, and perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some of the distractions. But how? Total retirement is not possible. I cannot shed my responsibilities. I cannot permanently inhabit a desert island. I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat, perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life."

--Anne Morrow Lindbergh: "Gift from the Sea."


(I wrote this post last weekend but didn't post it then because of the tragedy in Charlottesville.)


What I've been up to )

Jul. 3rd, 2017

Daily life: Unwitting research for a novel, my criminal ancestor, and June wordage

"Brain: Look at this plot twist I just came up with! It's so great!

"Me: It's unsolvable.

"Brain: That's what makes it GREAT!

"Me: You do realize that, as the author, I have to solve it?

"Brain: SO GREAT!"

--Stephanie Leary.


What I've been up to )

Jun. 19th, 2017

Daily life: Wordage, The Three Lands, and the Epic of Gilgamesh

"The most important thing is habit, not will. If you feel you need will to get to the keyboard, you are in the wrong business. All that energy will leave nothing to work with. You have to make it like brushing your teeth, mundane, regular, boring even. It's not a thing of effort, of want, of steely, heroic determination. (I wonder who pushed the meme that writing is heroic; it must have been a writer, trying to get laid.) You have to do it numbly, as you brush your teeth. No theater, no drama, no sacrifice, no 'It is a far far better thing I do' crap. You do it because it's time. If you are ordering yourself, burning ergs, issuing sweat, breathing raggedly through nasal channels that feel like Navajo pottery, you're doing something wrong. Ever consider law? We definitely need more lawyers."

--Stephen Hunter (via Advice to Writers).


Thank you to all of you who sent your best wishes concerning Jo/e. He's out of the hospital now, feeling fine. The exploratory surgery revealed absolutely no problems with his heart. He's still having periodic chest pains, so he's going to be exploring with his doctor what are causing those.


What I've been up to )

Jun. 4th, 2017

Daily life: Jo/e's health, jammed writing schedule, monthly wordage, and current events

"The dilemma of evil is that even as it carries out its dark, sinister work, it always ends up strengthening good."

--Roberto Miranda.


What I've been up to )

May. 29th, 2017

Daily life: Anniversary, stubborn Muses, rebellious characters, and "Star Trek Beyond"

"There are certain pitfalls you might fall into [when writing m/m fiction], especially [if] you decide to write historicals, but don't panic, I'm here to help. . . .

"When creating a historical character, it's vital to give him morals and sensibilities that the 21st reader will easily comprehend. He must eschew slavery, be entirely politically correct (for the 21st century, remember, not the times in which he lives) and fight to correct injustice like a historical superhero. He will be outwardly proud of being gay and will not attempt to hide it. He will - if he can - marry his beloved in church."

"Whatever you do, don't get bogged down in the era where your hero lives. Don't hesitate to call him Lance, or Calico or Lennon. There's nothing nicer than having a really unusual aristocrat, like Lord Amber or Baron Damocles."

--"Spare Us the Details, Please!" by Erastes, who goes on to note the value of using weather names like Frost or Storm or Zephyr or . . .

(Um. Well. At least I didn't foist my nickname on any of my characters.)


What I've been up to )

May. 21st, 2017

Daily life: Jo/e's health, editing, writing, Internet addiction, and Dreamwidth

"You can't archive on tumblr, can't find anything later, and it takes to serious discussion rather like airplanes take to lakes: Sure, it can be done, but even when it works, it's pretty damned obvious to everyone that it's not how things were intended to happen."

--Elf.


What I've been up to )

May. 7th, 2017

Daily life: Wordage. Wow.

"She put down a tentative line or two and crossed them out. If the right twist would not come of itself, it was useless to manufacture it. She had her image - the world sleeping like a great top on its everlasting spindle - and anything added to that would be mere verse-making. Something might come of it some day. In the meanwhile she had got her mood on to paper - and this is the release that all writers, even the feeblest, seek for as men seek for love; and, having found it, they doze off happily into dreams and trouble their hearts no further."

--Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night.


Writing )

The problem I'm beginning to possess is how to post my overload of Three Lands fiction. I currently have four novels in the series to post (three of which are already issued as ebooks). Two of the novels are mega-novels, and one can be fairly characterized as super-sized, being the length of a couple of novels. In addition, I need to post five novellas, a novel that's nearly finished, and heaven knows how many Three Lands novels and short fiction will be composed by the end of the year.

And that's just The Three Lands. I'm also trying to get the rest of my Turn-of-the-Century Toughs stories online. I don't know how many words that represents: Half a million? A million? Also, a few stories from my archived series.

There are definite disadvantages to having high word counts. Do any of you folks have suggestions for a smooth manner in which to release all this fic?


Research )

Apr. 30th, 2017

Daily life: Wattpad, Tuesday Serial, and word count

"More than anything else, I think writing is just a lot of fun. It's a great way to revisit that rollicking, playful space where we spent our days in as kids. Back then, making up stories was our chief occupation. Give a seven-year-old a blank piece of paper and a marker, they're good for hours. There are a lot of adventures and people and animals and kingdoms and trucks and battles and princesses in a piece of paper.

"Somewhere around adolescence, though, most of us stop visiting those imaginary worlds. We get self-conscious. We see that other kids are much better writers or artists than we are, so we cede that creative space to them. And they in turn cede it to others who are better still. The blank page stops being an invitation and becomes intimidating.

"But the impulse to create and make and dream is still with us. It doesn't go away. It just waits, patiently, for us to find a way back to it again. For some adults, it happens through art classes or music lessons. For me, it was through NaNoWriMo. However you get back there, it just feels pretty incredible when you arrive."

--Chris Baty.


What I did this week )

Mar. 26th, 2017

Daily life: Wordage galore! | #writerslife #wordcount

"In April 1870, a twenty-eight-year-old [William] James made a cautionary note to himself in his diary. 'Recollect,' he wrote, 'that only when habits of order are formed can we advance to really interesting fields of action - and consequently accumulate grain on grain of wilful choice like a very miser - never forgetting how one link dropped undoes an indefinite number.' The importance of forming such 'habits of order' later became one of James's great subjects as a psychologist. In one of the lectures he delivered to teachers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1892 - and eventually incorporated into his book Psychology: A Briefer Course - James argued that the 'great thing' in education is to 'make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.'

The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.


"James was writing from personal experience - the hypothetical sufferer is, in fact, a thinly disguised description of himself. For James kept no regular schedule, was chronically indecisive, and lived a disorderly, unsettled life. As Robert D. Richardson wrote in his 2006 biography, 'James on habit, then, is not the smug advice of some martinet, but the too-late-learned too-little-self-knowing, pathetically earnest, hard-won crumbs of practical advice offered by a man who really had no habits - or who lacked the habits he most needed, having only the habit of having no habits - and whose life was itself a "buzzing blooming confusion" that was never really under control.'"

--Mason Currey: Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work. (Alternative subtitle: How Artists Work.]


Writing )
Everything else )
Reading )
Finances )

Feb. 26th, 2017

Daily life: Health, writing, Internet addiction, & my day job | #writerslife #amwriting

"Until the Web came around, I'd successfully avoided the addiction gauntlet. I'd steered clear of any trouble with gambling, booze, drugs, and porn. To be blindsided by the Internet (my helpful and wonderful friend!) doesn't seem fair."

--James Sturm: Life Without the Web.


Health )
Writing & publishing )
Day job & web addiction )
Homemaking & decluttering )

Nov. 25th, 2016

Surgery update

My foot surgery went fine, but there've been a couple of minor complications since then that have delayed my recovery. Except for meals and bathroom breaks, I've been spending my days in bed, with my legs propped up, ice on my foot, and my smartphone in hand. Digital technology makes even lengthy convalescence bearable.

I'd like to report that I've taken this opportunity to write lots of stories with the aid of my Bluetooth keyboard, but the combination of the World Series (I'm a Cubs fan, having been born near Chicago), the presidential election, and the increasingly pressing need to launch my new business soon have all kept me distracted. Also, Twitter. I did write a couple of short stories, though.

I hope the rest of you are having a more fruitful NaNoWriMo. Any tales to share of your writing life?

Oct. 9th, 2016

Daily life: A day in my life | #writerslife #amreading #amresearching #amwriting

"I used to take vacations from writing. You know, it's healthy to take breaks, to breathe different air, to gain a new perspective. I'd finish a novella and not write for three months. Really! I'd do that deliberately and not because of the dreaded Writer's Block. (I feel really uncomfortable even typing that. Nice muse. Good muse. The Muse is My Friend.) Now, the thought of three months without trying to write makes me shudder. I. Wouldn't. Know. What. To. Do. With. Myself."

--Intervention Needed?, a post by Jenna Hilary Sinclair on writing addiction.


The day )

Sep. 18th, 2016

Daily life: Jo/e is fine! Plus writing, reading, homemaking, & web addiction | #internetaddiction

"Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more."

--Jon Kabat-Zin: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life.


Writing )
Reading )
Mentoring (i.e. Jo/e's surgery) )
Homemaking )
Web addiction )

Sep. 11th, 2016

Daily life: Jo/e's surgery, a library booksale, and a change in my writing lifestyle | #writerslife

Thanks to my new job, I'm going to be online more often, so I'm switching to weekly, more bite-sized Daily Life entries.


What I wrote this past week )
What I read this past week )
What I did this past week )

Jul. 19th, 2016

Daily life: My summer so far

The full messiness )

Since somebody (I suspect it's my body, in conspiracy with my online laptop) has decided I'm not going to issue any stories this summer, I'm spending this summer writing stories instead. (Yes, despite the cubital tunnel syndrome.) Expect to see my next update in the fall. It'll be a good one, I promise.

Apr. 11th, 2016

Daily life: Writing productivity! Publishing productivity! (Tons of work.) | #amwriting #writerslife

"If quitting Twitter and ditching the iPhone was relatively easy, Facebook made it as hard as possible, tugging on all the virtual heartstrings they could dredge up from their data. Having selected 'deactivate account' from my settings, I was faced with a gallery of family and friends who I was told would miss me. Fortunately, as someone had tagged the contents of a barbecue grill with my friends' names, this was less of an emotional strain than was intended ('Andrew will miss you,' pleaded a photo of a forlorn and slightly singed chicken drumstick)."

--Mark Hooper: Back to reality: giving up the Internet.



My professional work last month )
Thoughts on the state of my writing and publishing )

Mar. 22nd, 2016

Daily life: Trying to get back into the writing habit

"There was an odd kind of mood lift that came with privation. . . . It was something seen during long, long nights of corporate projects where no one slept and where eating was done from half cold takeaways while you worked. Sometimes the cheer was called 'punch drunk', but it was as if people began to concentrate on anything that in a seriously uncomfortable situation gave them any kind of comfort, particularly the most primal things. The intense sensory pleasure of hot coffee and the sweetness of donuts, which on an ordinary day you'd eat without noticing. A kind of pride and celebration that said this was a hell of a night, but we got through it. Dale knew the feeling too from his experience of being what Flynn and the others called grounded. When your day was severely simplified and restricted, you began to notice and take real pleasure from anything good, from the smallest of privileges that usually you'd barely notice. The human spirit, in circumstances of hardship fought back, and a little rough living cleared both your head and your senses."

--Rolf and Ranger: Silver Bullet - Ranch.


My professional work last month )
Teasers from e-books I've published during the past week )
A writing day in my life )

Daily life: Trying to get back into the writing habit

"There was an odd kind of mood lift that came with privation. . . . It was something seen during long, long nights of corporate projects where no one slept and where eating was done from half cold takeaways while you worked. Sometimes the cheer was called 'punch drunk', but it was as if people began to concentrate on anything that in a seriously uncomfortable situation gave them any kind of comfort, particularly the most primal things. The intense sensory pleasure of hot coffee and the sweetness of donuts, which on an ordinary day you'd eat without noticing. A kind of pride and celebration that said this was a hell of a night, but we got through it. Dale knew the feeling too from his experience of being what Flynn and the others called grounded. When your day was severely simplified and restricted, you began to notice and take real pleasure from anything good, from the smallest of privileges that usually you'd barely notice. The human spirit, in circumstances of hardship fought back, and a little rough living cleared both your head and your senses."

--Rolf and Ranger: Silver Bullet - Ranch.


My professional work last month )

Feb. 1st, 2016

Daily life: Venturing into YA fiction; parental control restrictions

"This is where someone in the back of the room grouses about how when he was a young reader they didn't have young adult books and he read whatever he could get his hands on, by gum and by golly — he read the Bible and Tolkien and Stephen King and Henry Miller and Penthouse and he did it backwards, in the snow, besieged by ice tigers. 'In my day we didn't need teenage books! We took what books we had and liked it! I once read a soup can for days!'"

--Chuck Wending.

(As a teenager, I was once stuck in a country cottage in England that had no books. For days, I read the telephone directory.)


My professional work last month )
I'm going to publish my young adult fiction )
Little snippets, professional and personal )
Progress with my Internet addiction, or yay parental control restrictions )

Daily life: Venturing into YA fiction; parental control restrictions

"This is where someone in the back of the room grouses about how when he was a young reader they didn't have young adult books and he read whatever he could get his hands on, by gum and by golly — he read the Bible and Tolkien and Stephen King and Henry Miller and Penthouse and he did it backwards, in the snow, besieged by ice tigers. 'In my day we didn't need teenage books! We took what books we had and liked it! I once read a soup can for days!'"

--Chuck Wending.

(As a teenager, I was once stuck in a country cottage in England that had no books. For days, I read the telephone directory.)


My professional work last month )
I'm going to publish my young adult fiction )
Little snippets, professional and personal )
Progress with my Internet addiction, or yay parental restrictions )

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