And now for Music Mondays

Better known as day one of me deliberately finding ways to create horrible, cheesy alliterative titles for each day’s over-arching theme. That was the compromise I made with myself to help justify any sort of set organizational system. The more you know?

This is the first of many Mondays in One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0, and the first of many Music Mondays. This was actually one of the first idea-bits that inspired me to revisit this horrible, painful experience.

Right. Moving along.

Jonathan Coulton is to thank or blame for the inspiration that gradually evolved into this first post. I found myself in need of a new CD in my car. I threw together an assortment of songs from my iTunes library, popped a CD in my laptop, and almost forgot to retrieve it before I left for work.

It turned out to be the antithesis of what I was hoping to end up with, so that’s unfortunate. At least that’s how I felt about it until I got to one track in particular. “Nobody Loves You Like Me” from Jonathan Coulton’s CD Artificial Heart. I’m one of many people who were introduced to Coulton’s music thanks to “Still Alive” at the ending of Portal. I could probably go on about why I think his music, overall, is spectacular, but I really want to focus on Artificial Heart. First: if you’ve not listened to Artificial Heart before, I’d suggest taking a moment to buy it, listen to it, and probably fall in love with it. Continue reading

The revenge of the return of me self-destructing through writing

It’s almost a month into the new year. I’m seven chapters and a couple of dreadful, pained paragraphs into chapter eight (because killing a major character is proving more difficult than I’d expected, so that’s regrettable). I’ve also watched three seasons of The Legend of Korra and a whole lot of Parks and Recreation, which is just great for not being productive.

Brianne and I had a delightful conversation about my writing, by which I mean she reminded me to stop focusing on what I haven’t accomplished. There was a specific mention of One Hundred Days of Blogging, the details of which are a bit blurry because I vaguely recall words intermingled with me screaming internally, and then an idea happened. It started as only a couple words, which was enough to lead to it finding a spot in my Miscellaneous Shit Notebook That Deserves a Better Name.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I hate myself so much for the words I’m about to type.  Continue reading

Misadventures in writing a second novel

Oh, wow. How far is it into January again? I’m pretty sure the year just started yesterday.

Unless I’m actually a time-traveler who doesn’t realize he’s a time-traveler…

It goes without saying that I’m a little dazed and confused. I’d like to shift the blame to being a time-traveler, but I think this gloomy, post-Christmas gray-and-frozen weather is to blame for my inability to remember what day it is. What I do know, however, is in this haze of work and naps and new things brought along with the changing over to a new year (or a New Year) has also got me working on something new and exciting, and that’s lead to an interesting couple of revelations.

The something new is a new novel-project-mess, which I may have mentioned. It’s another new novel. I lose track because I start too many projects only to let them wander around My Documents, alone and bored until I remember they exist. All of this is especially worth talking about now because it was around this time last year that I went absolutely crazy in terms of cranking out new pages of material for Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King, a title I have grown to regret as it might as well read Joshua Harkin and the Paragraph-Long Title.

Progress is a bit more slow than with Joshua’s Nightmares (I’m aiming for brevity here, people), taking into consideration I have a different job than I had this time last year, complete with different hours, responsibilities, and so on. I am also, I’ve found, more prone to taking naps. That’s something I still need to work on.

What I’m also noticing, however, is that this novel has already taken on enough of a life of its own that it’s impossible to really compare it to its predecessor in any real, meaningful way. Joshua’s Nightmares was general fiction in the broadest sense. It features elements of sci-fi, fantasy, humor, horror, and so on. Current Novel Without a Name (the file name, which doesn’t really betray much in terms of plot, is currently The Princess, The Lich, and Some Murders) is more restricted in that it’s a blend of humor and fantasy, skipping out on sci-fi (read as “this will be lacking in epic battles between space pirates”).

The plot itself is taking more time to unfold, as I don’t want to rush getting the major players where they need to be. Events need to unfold over the right amount of time, and getting that figured out is taking up…well, more time.

Fortunately, I can say I’m starting the year off with plenty of writing instead of plenty of slacking, as even on my worst days I’m still adding to this project’s word count.

Of course, there’s always Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King to keep busy with until this book is finished (and eventually published, I hope). Definitely just a little proud of having a four-point-three star rating for my first novel. Please check it out and, if you’re feeling extra generous, write a review once you’re done. I’ll be donating 50% of the money I earn from book sales to the American Cancer Society via Relay for Life.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re creating, and no matter how many days you forgot just what point in the week it is, I hope you’re all having a good start to this new year so far.

Today’s writing tools and companions

While I am not overly fond of handwritten notes and so on, as typing has always been the far more effective method for me, I’m trying to see if using a means of writing that lacks internet access will help or hinder my usual productivity (or lack of productivity, as it seems to be at times).

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The notebooks and pen. Not pictured: access to millions of pictures featuring cats doing silly things.

And, of course, I need some company…which is where these come into play, I guess.

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Confession: I may have just gotten bored and picture-happy.

Without further delay, I’m off to hopeful productivity. Ignoring, of course, that I have just been chosen as Marceline’s snoozing spot. Happy writing, folks. Try to stay warm.

Hibernation season has arrived

At some point, through some cruel twist of fate, it has officially become winter. I know. Shocking that the weather has taken a turn for the cold and disappointing in January of all months. Today was the first day of my favorite multi-month event, the Fishtailing of the Cars. My lovely little black Toyota handles snow pretty well in the sense that it usually doesn’t go three different directions I don’t want it to before correcting its course.

I had a post planned about how things didn’t go quite according to plan in regards to my more writing, more reading, less naps, etc., plan, but there’s something about this weather that makes me want to curl up underneath a thousand blankets deep within a pillow-fort (note to self: find a way to build a pillow-fort that incorporates the TV; only leave the living room for food and bathroom use) and slumber until the first signs of summer are upon us. It’s supposed to be eight degrees or less tomorrow, which is at least twenty degrees colder than should ever be acceptable.

The bigger problem, at least for me, isn’t the cold or the snow, or even my inability to cope with weather conditions I’ve been exposed to my whole life living in Pennsylvania (the keystone to the frozen wastes of Northrend). No. My biggest conundrum is how this cold weather, with its oppressive chill, saps me of any energy to really use anywhere (beyond the aforementioned cover-cocooning).  It becomes a vicious cycle of frustration over not accomplishing much only to realize that it’d be a lot easier to meet goals if I didn’t feel borderline comatose thanks to trudging through this dreadful cold to and from work…all ten feet of parking lot that I need to walk, at any rate.

However, that’s not to say I don’t realize I need to brew up some tea or cocoa (or perhaps just a hot toddy, but probably not since I want to actually be coherent while writing), sit my partially-frozen ass down, and get back to writing. I’ve got a notebook of ideas, more notebooks practically begging for ideas, and a relatively new Moleskine pen that is powerful enough to make me push past my typical distaste for handwritten notes and the likes.

To my fellow creative types, in whatever partially iced-over dwellings you find yourselves in: how are you coping with this polar vortex horseshit? What tricks and tactics are working best to help keep the creativity thawed?

Standard New Year Hullabaloo

Happy New Year! To those of you reading this in the year 2015, on January 1st, in a world that hasn’t devolved into some sort of post-apocalyptic Hellscape, I bid you good tidings. To those of you who are in such situations: best of luck, and embrace your new robotic/insectoid/alien overlords in hopes that good behavior will be rewarded.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day mean a number of different things to a number of different people, of course. That’s a fairly obvious statement, I should think. There’s the easy way of viewing New Year’s Day as the start of a new calendar year. Another day that will, in all probability, be followed by three-hundred-sixty-four similar days. It’s a series of weeks in which the previous year sneaks into dates on virtually every document until, damn it, those guilty of such forgetfulness finally move forward and accept not being time-travelers. Some people view this as a time to enact change, small or large in their lives via resolutions while others view it as a time to continue with more of the same. Neither of those options is particularly bad on its own. It’s all a matter of how the resolutions or staying the same (which, in itself, is a resolution of sorts) are carried out. I’ve established I prefer to set goals that feel more achievable and moving forward from there. Such behaviors, I feel, were instrumental in the completion of my first novel, achieving my first paid publication (upcoming at a presently-unknown date), and surviving one hundred consecutive days of blogging, among other victories. However, I did allow myself a fair few more naps than I care to admit, more cheat-days with my writing, and other grievous creative and personal sins. However, I aim to make gradual, and hopefully very productive, changes this year. My goals for the year, as of now, will follow. Before that, I’d like to encourage the sharing of goals in the comments as well as the sharing of encouragement. Continue reading

Christmas Cheer/Pox

It’s now officially Christmas day and I still have all the eagerness of my much-younger self when it comes to presents. The key difference now is I am very excited to share something special, carefully selected after a mix of gift-hunting and procrastination, in hopes I make at least one person’s Christmas a little brighter.

Unfortunately, the only thing roasting on an open fire seems to be this writer. I’m fairly certain I have a case of the Christmas Pox, complete with fever, aches, and a generally bah humbug sensibility. Fret not, as I am at least fighting that last symptom tooth-and-nail as I refuse to bring down the mood today. Continue reading