This Week In Goals: Week One Recap

One week into the new year, and one week of goals tackled. It’d be easy to say I did great or poorly, but I’m stepping back as far as I can and trying to assess my progress this year in terms of efforts made versus efforts that could have been made.

Similarly, I’m also trying to give myself distance from my goals because I briefly toyed with the idea of doing a third Hundred Days of Blogging, but almost immediately realized that is a horrible idea that will only end in misery and sleep deprivation. Lord knows I need less of both of those things.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Make, and support, art

My post-work goal for the night was to get a little writing done (likely in the form of adding to Dissonance in Harmony, of course) before playing some Pokemon Moon and going to bed at a moderately reasonable hour. I love some quality video game wind-down time, but after seeing more news regarding President (using the term loosely here) Trump’s intention to move forward with defunding PBS…Pokemon will have to wait.

It would be easy to throw names at the Man-Child-in-Chief. Too easy.

What I want to do is, instead, charge you fellow artists to create. Keep creating, keep spreading art and encouraging (and supporting) others to do the same, and keep spreading wonder and joy and love that is otherwise being snuffed out in the name of further crushing critical, independent thinking in favor of lockstepping along to the wrong side of history.

Make art that is wonderful, and make art that is unsettling. Challenge the ever-loving shit out of people who dare question the value of art. Know that if Mr. Rogers were still around in this time of taking away PBS, a source of learning and magic for many children and the stuff of fond memories for how many, there would be Hell to pay.

Above all else, continue. Whether these next four years are great or bad material for art (with the former seeming more likely), it’s imperative that art continue, that easy access to educational programming be fought for, and that simple-minded, would-be dictators be challenged at every turn.

Hello, Old Friend

It’s that time again. Time to dust off Misadventures In Fiction, evicting spiders and so forth, and return to giving it the attention it intermittently deserves. While I certainly can’t claim to have forgotten this site–quite the contrary, in fact, as I think about what I could be writing almost daily–I must admit I haven’t done the best job of keeping it alive. Or the most mediocre job, really.

However, I am moved back to Carnegie as of a couple months ago (living partially out of boxes and bags is moved back in, right?). Life has gone on, and in ways I couldn’t have necessarily predicted but I’m entirely okay with (and no, I am not suggesting I won the lottery, so don’t start asking for yachts or anything). Tonight, when I have an overnight shift to work tomorrow and relatively unlimited time to stay up, I find myself frustrated. I am, as often is the case, in the throes of a creative funk. Continue reading

Artistic what-ifs

It’s really easy to ask someone what they do for a living, and the typical response to such inquiries usually revolves around their job. Sometimes, and I emphasize sometimes, the response will have to do with something a person is passionate about (IE: I consider my writing how I make my living, while my day job is the way I afford said living). As I’ve said a million times before, and will continue saying forever: there’s a certain magic when a person talks about what really makes them tick; the thing they’re most passionate about doing in the whole of all creation.

However, I would argue that everyone also has at least one other passion, but one they’ve never gotten to pursue (or, perhaps, one they’ve not gotten to pursue to the extent they’d have liked). It may be something they talk about openly, with a sense of longing, or something that is quietly yearned for in those moments before sleep. I’ve talked about wanting to act before, so I figured I could offer a little more insight into myself. And, of course, I’d love to hear what you folks all wish you could get around to learning, doing, and so on.

If possible, and I realize there’s the small matter that everything is possible with the right amount of time, money, and patience (and other things, but that money one is what really kills me), I’d love to learn how to play the cello. I’d be very happy to really sit down and learn any instrument, really, which is one regret I have from not staying with my piano lessons. There’s something about cello music, though. I’m having a hell of a time really describing the feelings cello music cause me, so instead I’ll just share this:

I think the first time I heard that was on House, M.D., and I was hooked. There’s something inherently soothing, I think, to cello music, and so learning to play it would be like a nice, musical form of meditation. That all said, cellos are really goddamn expensive and, quite frankly, I have a hard enough time finding…well, time to accomplish all of the things I need to in a day without adding learning an instrument into the mix. Or perhaps those are just excuses.

What kind of other adventures do you folks dream of embarking on? Are they things you really can’t achieve, or are you, too, just making excuses?

Losing track of time in the name of progress

Or “I could have slept last night, but I failed to realize I would end up staying awake until 5:30 in the morning to finish a short story”. That certainly makes the chosen title for this post look a lot more concise, doesn’t it?

Last night, having recovered from feeling moderately sick for most of the earlier portions of the day, I decided I needed to accomplish something in terms of my writing goals. Having decided to take a short break from working on A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (a break I am failing at, as I’m still sort of working on it though I said I would step back for a bit), I focused on giving attention to one of the short story ideas I had recently. I had already started working on Cordelia’s, which was based around the idea of a restaurant that had no menus and served exactly what its guests needed without having to question them, and so that seemed like the right route to follow.

I haven’t pulled an all-nighter in quite some time. I dare say such events haven’t happened since college, but I’m almost too certain I’m wrong in that statement. It’s a mystery. What I do know is that I started by deleting everything I wrote, which is the opposite of making actual progress, and I began anew. Two false starts and a lot of deleted words later, I was well into page four. There was a brief diversion involving last night’s blog post and some live-tweeting of The Bachelor (I detest that show, but it has so much value as a terrible comedy of sorts), and suddenly it was nearly midnight. Conveniently, I had today off and so I figured I would continue to plug away until I got tired.

And then I didn’t get tired until shortly after I finished writing, which was around 5:30 this morning. My internal clock doesn’t typically allow me to sleep later than 9:30 on my best days of sleeping in, so…I can’t exactly say I got my whole eight hours of rest.

Despite having a meeting I need to be at in about an hour, I’m still convinced this is the polar opposite of a bad thing. As it is now, I feel like Cordelia’s turned out to be a tremendous success, far better than I had hoped. I’ll have to wait to see what my wonderful, kind, typically-benevolent proofreading friends will have to say on the subject. Most importantly, it was some of the most fun I’ve had writing since the completion of Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King. It’s also one of the first short stories I’ve completed since summer of last year, which is a bit more embarrassing than it is a positive thing. Oh well.

My questions to other writers and creative types out there: when was your last all-nighter? Was it worth it, or did you end up feeling like you’d have better served yourself by getting more shut-eye? What inspiration struck to lead to such a creative spree?

Self-induced madness

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to celebrate and damn the progress I’ve made! This week feels like it has been an eternity, which is unfortunate. Has that prevented me from getting writing done? Nope. Am I particularly excited about how much I did get done? Also nope.

In Progress

A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (working title) – It’s also waiting to be approved for posting on Authonomy. I’m also still actively adding to the page count, enjoying suggestions and edits as beta-readers provide them.

Cordelia’s (short story) – Still screwing around with plot details so this doesn’t turn into pointless rambling

Woman Seeks Vampire for Dinner and a Movie (short story) – The title exists, and the basic plot is sort of there

One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0 – because that should be mentioned since it is taking up fair bits of time

Authonomy stuff – Presently this only consists of A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (working title), but has the potential to turn into a means of getting more attention for other works as well, such as things that will be mentioned in the next section. This is what happened to my HarperCollins goal, by the way, as it’s the most likely way I’ll ever get published by them (even if the odds aren’t exactly in my favor)

Backburner Projects

A picture is worth a thousand of my terrible jokes.

A picture is worth a thousand of my terrible jokes.

Warpt Factor (the novel) – At some point, this means I will have to remove the existing material and use it for source bits. Sorry! However, a certain aunt has requested/demanded this happen, and since I’ve lost the original notebook full of information from Warpt Factor (the series) and I wasn’t about to just let this die, I figured “Why the Hell not?”. Keeping in mind, of course, that this isn’t going to be happening too soon. Probably. We’ll see how thin I can stretch myself before I go completely crazy.

The Lodgers (novel) – Yes, this still exists. Yes, it’s going to happen eventually. No, I’m not going to scrap it. However, even if I were to choose to work on two novels at a time (something I’m on the fence about)…this wouldn’t be one of them. It’s not really in the forefront of my thoughts, even if it is a fun bit of fiction to write. It’s also far more of a shift towards purely adult reading, what with the characters and their tendencies toward expletive-heavy speech.

The Devil Sort of Made Me Do It (or whatever the Hell I titled this) – I haven’t forgotten this one either. A good friend of mine has made forgetting it impossible, in fact. Hah.

Submitting more short stories for publication – Most certainly needs to happen. Strongly considering Cordelia’s as a possible submission for The Literary Hatchet.

These posts are actually very therapeutic, as they help put things into perspective for me. Especially on days like today, when I feel like I’m accomplishing so little. One book published, and onward towards getting a book published by HarperCollins. To that last end, if any of you have an Authonomy account and would be so kind as to read, critique, and support my novel (if you like it, of course) once it’s available, I would be immensely grateful and most assuredly return the favor.

Ninety days remaining.

Become your own hero

And other one-sentence platitudes straight from the School of Shallow-Thinking Drivel-Poop.

I jest.

A very big influence in my writing, which is the same very big thing that can be applied to most any artist and their works, is the works of authors I hold in very high regard. Pratchett, Gaiman, Moore, and so on. People who have written works (books, short stories, and anything else) that have left me wanting to create something just as amazing as what I’d just read. Writing with words blended in such a masterful way that I just had to sit down and get to my own creative processes. This is both a wonderful and treacherous thing as it makes creating a balancing act.

On one hand it would be very easy to follow in the footsteps of one or more of the previously mentioned writers, borrowing bits and pieces of their styles and voices as it suited me. I imagine, with the right level of effort and patience, such writing could yield a very strong end result that would read almost entirely (but not quite) like a work of my own hard labors. Continue reading