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

I write versus I am a writer

Today served as an unfortunate foil to yesterday in that I let myself succumb to shitty moods and so forth. As such, this post’s chosen title is particularly relevant, so instead of talking about what made my day shitty we’ll just get to that instead. You people, thank the stars or the Gods or whatever (Xenu? Praising Xenu is an option, I guess), aren’t my therapist. Moving on.

I find myself contemplating the difference between saying “I write” and “I’m a writer” (I shy away from contraction in titles whenever possible; don’t judge). It’s a very small difference in phrasing that holds a substantial meaning, to be sure. I’d like to be able to say I’m a writer, for example, but lately I feel it’s more appropriate to say I write. It’s something I do because I can’t envision life without writing, but I also don’t write for a living. I’m willing, of course, to say I’m probably splitting hairs in terms of writing versus being a writer. 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.

The hundredth day

I’m actually fairly sure this is probably day hundred and ten or something, but because I wasn’t particularly detail-oriented with all of my mobile posts they weren’t all properly filed. And so this marched along, a proud little soldier, until the very bitter end. My god this has been a long time. It was, if nothing else, a very impressive learning experience in what I’m capable of (and not capable of) as a blogger.

This was certainly a study in self-torment, make no mistake there, but it was really more of a study of myself overall. How I could, and would, handle daily posting despite work, a move, several major life events (I’m looking at you, journey to Chicagoland), and so on. It involved lots of pictures, a good few thoughtful posts, and a good few lazy posts to just meet the quota. And a fair bit of cheating by fudging the time-and-post-based rules. That last bit let me pretend to be something of a time-traveler, which I won’t let anyone take away from me (save for, perhaps, an actual time-traveler, but only on the condition I get to see all of time and space; ahem).

Coming up with consistently high-quality content is not my forte. Doing so on a daily basis proved quite impossible for me, especially given the number of other events life threw my way. Like the only semi-expected move that turned into an absolute shit-show for a number of reasons, the least of which being my rather sudden ankle sprain. Ultimately, the whole thing taught me I can’t force these posts to happen without some sort of eventual detriment to the overall quality of what I’m creating. Surprise.

This paragraph is starting with another word than however, because when it lined up the way it was with the WordPress post builder it spelled out BITCH and that seemed both hilarious and inappropriate.

Eventually, perhaps if only because of this intense and crazy hundred days, I will be taking a short hiatus from regular posting to recharge.

And partially because I am now embarking on the adventure of exploring the possibility of grad school. But that is a post for another day, I think.

Go out there, folks, set your goals and slay them like dragons.

The question of NaNoWriMo revisited

I hesitate to admit this, but apparently it’s almost November already. I’m fairly certain it was mid-July just last week, but perhaps time has gotten away from me. At least I didn’t somehow miss Halloween. Yet.

November means NaNoWriMo, which I’ve brought up relatively recently(ish). It’s that special kind of self-inflicted torture writers endure/enjoy for one full month, attempting to produce a 50k word novel before November wraps up. This is only appropriate as The Thanksgiving Food Coma usually spells doom for writers who have failed to maintain a moderate to intense level of daily writing discipline throughout the month. Nothing about NaNoWriMo is easy, from balancing writing against other obligations to fighting against the madness-inducing 50k final word count.

This begs the following question: why in the Hell am I thinking about throwing all caution (and reasonable thought) to the wind and giving it yet another go? It would be in the shadow of the ass-kicking, brain-draining Hundred Days of Blogging (which is so close to being over but still so far away). The holiday shopping season will be upon us too soon, and I still happen to work in a retail setting that is going to get absolutely stampeded. There’s also the small matter of my birthday happening at some point next month, which I imagine will involve plenty of its own distractions as well. I’m still considering it, though. Not a damn clue why. Brianne posed a reasonable question in response to me voicing my interest in tackling NaNoWriMo: “Do you want to torture yourself?”

Perhaps? On one hand, it could be a good way to really kick-start my currently-unnamed novel project. On the other hand, I know too well that working under pressure usually doesn’t make for my best creative moments (although, to be fair, it’s hit or miss because sometimes it lends to me producing my best work). I think the answer will have to wait until November. Around midnight, November 1st. We’ll see where this ends up from there and then.

A necessary break

I moved about ten or so boxes of stuff into the new place, but I still have plenty more to go before this month is over. I’d say that’s a pretty powerful reminder that Brianne and I have a lot of stuff, that moving is quite difficult, and that time goes far more quickly when there’s a limited amount of it to accomplish things. Says the guy who is playing WoW while he writes this.

What I’ve discovered is this: all the good intentions and changes to my schedule can’t actually make balancing this move with writing any easier. I know, I know. That sounds an awful lot like an excuse. It probably isn’t much more than just that, but here are my thoughts on the matter.

My next novel project, which remains unnamed as of now, and any short stories I want to get to writing aren’t going to receive the attention they need, for the lengths of time they need it, while I’m busy finding time to move stuff from current dwelling to new dwelling. The only way I could really give any creative writing the attention it deserves is by using the time I normally set aside for sleeping, eating, and personal grooming. None of those things can actually be cut out of my day-to-day without a risk of serious harm to myself or others. There’s also the not-so-small-matter of me being quite behind on proofreading, so I’d feel quite guilty about doing my own writing before tending to that.

You might say, “But Phil, you found time for video games. Why not time for writing?” This is a fair question, I’ll admit. However, it’s pretty easy to counter with “I moved over half a dozen large, heavy boxes full of miscellaneous personal belongings from my current house, which requires travel up and down stairs and an awkward hill, to my new apartment”. It means I’m made of sleepiness and laziness right now. I know I’ll be like this up until the move’s complete.

Yet here I am, still churning along with the hundred days of blogging. At some point I should check what day I’m on, probably.

For now, however, I’m okay with taking a short break from creative writing. Maybe I’ll return super-charged and ready to go? Related to that super-charged comment: I’m still debating what to use my Warlords of Draenor 90 Boost on.

And dreading how badly my current graphics card will handle the new expansion.