Busy by Choice

Happy Sunday, all (unless it’s been a shit day, in which case I’m sorry that tomorrow is Monday, a day of inevitable suffering).

Installment #3 of Follow the Ashes is drafted and now ready for editing. Still on schedule. Thank god for small miracles. Book 3 in the Dissonance trilogy, which I haven’t quite settled on a name for, is coming along nicely. This is in no small part thanks to my wife and her unyielding support of my writing, which is only matched by her patience with my bouts of writing-related moping.

Speaking of Dissonance in Harmony, some news on that front. It isn’t exactly some secret that I want to get another book published. That’s a rather crucial step towards my goal of writing for a living, which in turn is a step towards my masterful plan for global domination. Obviously. I’ve gotten good, over the years, at starting new stories. I’m improving at finishing first drafts, and I’m slowly getting better at editing and proofreading my work. An abundance of gratitude towards Lindsey Vath, my dear friend and beta reader, for all of the help she has provided with Dissonance in Harmony.

However, all of the above falls a bit flat if I don’t look into querying publishers. I could have the most well-polished, well-written story on the planet and it would be positively worthless without trying to find it a home. Spoilers: I don’t have that story, but Dissonance in Harmony is a fantastic story all the same. I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago and submitted it to a publisher. Then I submitted it to another recently. And two literary agencies. Because when it rains, it pours? Because good things happen in threes…er, fours?

I’m playing the waiting game, focusing on Follow the Ashes (share the installments to show your love, please – it’s a tremendously fun series to write). Wish me luck?

Oh, and I’m on Vero now. New social media sites mystify and confuse me, but feel free to follow me at Philip Wesley Gorski.

PS: When choosing categories, I never fail to cringe at my Hundred Days of Blogging self-inflicted challenges. I may take another crack at that some day, but those were rough.

Writing, and gloom-induced gloom

I love rainy days, but only so long as I can spend them at home. I realize that’s a bit of a tall order as I have to be at work on most-such days. That said: I love laying on the couch in the back room of my mom’s house and listen to the rain fall against the two skylights. Really dislodges the bullshit from my brain.

That said, I’m tired of the sky being a joyless gray as of late. I could easily attribute that to the dark days of a Trump Presidency (and, Hell, I am really, because he’s a thin-skinned, orange-faced puppet with a bad habit of taking to Twitter). They’re bringing me down.

Something more cheerful, however: I completed the first draft of Babel, Restored – the sequel to Dissonance in Harmony and what I wrote for NaNoWriMo. I’ve returned to working on Dissonance. It’s fun, but I can’t help but smile at the realization I’m probably unintentionally shitting up continuity without realizing it. The editing process should be…interesting.  Continue reading

A gradual journey to a new normalcy

Some of you folks may be wondering where the Hell I’ve been. May was, of course, my month-long hiatus from Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, and it was definitely a learning experience. And then I didn’t blog for the entire month of June, which was a bit less intentional. Plenty of events transpired between the last post and this one; the world continued turning, people kept writing, and life went on (and I have so much to catch up on in my subscriptions that it actually gives me a headache thinking about it).

This post will be about the good, the bad, and the ugly, but not necessarily in that order. Don’t worry, though. A lot of this will be shortened up for everyone’s sake. Plus, really, the good outweighs the bad. It’s a lot more enjoyable to read the good stuff.

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Final preparations

Free Comic Book Day is practically here, which is nice because I’m feeling glum in a way that only free comics, Indian food, and watching Ultron wreck the Avengers’ collective shit can fix. I’m excited about a good few things that are coming up in May, actually,

I deleted the Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter apps from my phone already, which went a little something like this…

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I was going to be a wise-ass and compare this process to starting the first night at Five Nights At Freddy’s, but when I opened the game only to discover my save data at Night 4 was lost I kind of lost any desire to make that joke. Yeah, I’m not super-thrilled with that.

On that unfortunate note, I’ll see you folks in a month. Take care. Wish me luck.

Winding down for my break that’s not a break

Yesterday was a great start to the week, and I only have tomorrow and Thursday before I take my hiatus from being tethered to the internet. (Because that’s something I complain about so often, obviously.)

As I get closer to this self-imposed hiatus from my various distractions (Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Tumblr, and so on), the more apprehensive I am about the possibility of failure. I’ve pointed out that I’m allowing Messenger and Instagram to avoid cutting myself off from the world beyond Altoona, and I will be using the internet for e-mail, searching for publications accepting submissions, and to help with writing, but I can’t help but worry I’ll manage to slip up. One month, though months seem to fly, is a rather long time when that time isn’t being flushed down the digital toilet.

It occurred to me this morning, however, that there’s no real point in worrying too much about it. Not using Facebook gives me time to focus on writing, reading, and actually enjoying my video games. (I mean, I’m spending money on them and not actually making use of them. That seems a bit counter-intuitive.) Without having to worry about coming up with a topic for each day for my blog, I’ll have more attention to devote to writing the short stories that are rattling around in my brain, the novel(s) I’ve put off for how long, and so on and so on. Strangely enough, I’m gradually discovering that worrying about everything isn’t really a viable solution. That is by no means me admitting that I’m going to up and stop worrying; I’ve got far too many energetic, highly active neuroses for that. What I am saying is that this break is exactly that: a break to wind down and focus on other things that matter.

Well, that and enjoy several amazing events throughout May. Why fret when I can finally work on getting more of my work published, more of my games conquered, unpack and clean up more of the apartment, and generally feel less high-strung?

Bracing for the hiatus

Today’s a sleepy, do-nothing sort of day, which would work out far better for me if I didn’t have work in about an hour. (Well, in an hour from the starting time of this post, anyway.) I also can’t help but feel a bit obligated to actually try writing posts with actual depth to them, as I have four days (three after today) of blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, and so on, before I start my self-imposed month-long hiatus from most social media and blogging, operating under the assumption I’ve probably reached the goal of One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0. Given that I started this back in January, I’ve probably exceeded that goal, and this might be a small admission that it’s actually quite difficult to keep track of if I’ve blogged for one hundred consecutive days. I imagine I could have crossed off days on a calendar, but hindsight and whatnot.  Continue reading

Back to work, and reflections

Sometimes I change my mind in the middle of typing a title, panic, and try to backspace and change the words before WordPress automatically generates the Permalink for the post. It doesn’t always work out, and depending on the level of laziness I’m experiencing at the time. Tonight was one of those times when I barely managed to backspace the words and correct the title before that happened, so I’ll chalk that up as a victory. After the day I’ve had, it counts. Trust me.

Things worthy of noting before I dive into the reflections part of tonight’s post:

  • I bought a fountain pen yesterday, and I love it. My handwriting isn’t exactly the most legible at all times, but it’s tremendous fun to write with, so that counts for something probably. Also, I feel a need to use it to write letters, so I’ll probably end up doing that at some point.
  • I’m back to maintaining my journal on a relatively nightly basis, because why not?
  • Alternatively, I’m still feeling pretty burnt out on writing otherwise. Fiction is a slow and painful crawl, and I may actually resort to writing personal essays if that keeps up. However, next month’s Facebook, Twitter, and blogging hiatus (I’m going off of made-up math here, as I’m pretty sure the end of this month will be past the Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0 mark) is sure to help things out. Or drive me mad from addiction withdrawal. Time will tell.

Right. Today kicked my ass something fierce, as I returned to work to face several issues that gathered in a way that resulted in me working a nearly eleven hour day. I realize this is something a good few people do on a regular basis, and it’s nothing really new to me either. It’s more that I just returned from a magnificent week of vacation, and even though I built up to going back to work by cleaning up around the house over the days prior to this return I still was not ready for quite this much…well, work. I’m a weird mix of exhausted, hungry, and grumpy (that last one is from a headache, which I can confirm is thanks to a mix of sinus problems and my unfortunate habit of clenching my jaw when people irritate me).

However, as a counter to such things, I’ve taken to making a point to find magic in little things and writing down thoughts on as much in a notebook. It’s for my eyes only, which removes any pressure I might otherwise feel about it needing to be reader-worthy or publisher-worthy. The kind of freedom this notebook allows me is all sorts of great, and I think it will prove an effective means of staying positive despite my tendency towards cynicism. (What? Me, cynical? No ****ing way, right?)

The idea seemed even more appropriate because I’m writing this stuff down in my Mickey Mouse Moleskine notebook, which is probably a bit magic itself. I’m also using my shiny new fountain pen. I should probably be embarrassed that I spent $20 on a pen, on a whim, but it was easily the highlight of my day yesterday. In other words, it was totally worth it.

The dangers of repetition leading to babbling

I feel 100% better about writing this post now, as I’m doing so with a glass of rye whiskey. If anything is t be written about degenerating into babbling, it should be done with the company of a good spirit. I’m half-joking, and I must once again clarify that I only occasionally indulge in drinking alcohol as I have apparently caused people to believe I have alcoholic tendencies. Good god. Pardon the slightly grumpy tone, as I spent a good portion of my day cleaning, yet I feel there’s still infinitely more to do somehow.

Fun, well-known fact: if you repeat a word enough times it eventually loses its meaning and degenerates into nonsense. Babble. Or, if you’re stupid enough to prove this point to yourself by repeating the word repetition, as I did earlier, it becomes a tongue-twister. It makes sense, really, because you’re essentially reiterating the same piece of data over and over to the point where it stops holding a meaning and just becomes noise.

I would argue that the same could be said about approaching a task the same way. The act of repeating one thing over and over again, such as writing, eventually causes it to become noise. Babbling. However you want to put it. What if, however, there was just a little bit of a change to the repetition so it’s not quite repetition but a variation on the same thing? Take, for instance, the verb forms of to be. It’s not quite repeating, but it’s still the same thing in essence, and so instead of saying “I am” ad nauseam I would be going down a list of permutations (I am, you are, we are, they are, he is, she is, and so on and so on). The point is that changing things up, in probability, helps prevent from reaching that babble point.

This was actually going to be two separate topics, but I felt it might work better to combine the two. Topic one was about repetition, its impact on regular tasks, and how to potentially avoid that.

The other half is how I’m going to try switching things up in a big way next month, hopefully to the benefit of my focus as a writer. One of the biggest problems I have, and one that I’ve not really addressed any way, is my frequent use of social media as a distraction. To put it bluntly: I spend too much time dicking around on Facebook, Twitter, and other web sites when I could be writing, proofreading, editing, coming up with ideas, and so on. April showers bring May flowers, and for me they will also somehow bring a self-imposed month-long ban from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The one exception I will be making to this is Instagram, as I don’t follow a tremendous number of people and it’s far less of a time-sink than the others. I only make this small concession as I will be going on vacation at the end of May, and I know myself well enough to know if I ban myself from EVERYTHING I’ll manage to shit it up. This, of course, also means I’ll need to uninstall the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone at the start of May, so that should be interesting.

Admittedly, I still need to hash out details like if I’ll allow myself to use Messenger or not, as what few social interactions I have take place on there and via text message, but those are details that can wait. There’s still plenty of April left.

I’m curious to see how a lack of Facebook and Twitter will impact my time management, my writing process, and how I handle my computer time.

Confession: I may be addicted to Twitter

Anyone else feel like this week was actually two weeks worth of suck crammed into the giant-sized Monday of a mega-sucky week? My car got stuck in my yard because of snow, which is annoying. Some very Howard Dean screaming later and I managed to get snacks. Unfortunately, I had no idea that the Sprecher Hard Root Beer tastes a whole lot like Robitussin. That isn’t what I was hoping for when I made such a purchase.

Welcome to the first Free-For-All Friday, which would have been called Cluster-**** Friday but I want to pretend I have some capacity for classiness. And I have relatives who read my blog occasionally and I’d rather let them live with the understanding I would never use such language ever. Even if I’m fairly certain I’ve dropped my fair share of f-bombs on here in the past.

Today is also another Follow Friday on Twitter. I have more fun with that than I should. Embarrassingly enough, this is probably indicative that I spend too much time social media. Or not enough? Probably not enough, in reality.

Let me just say this much: I may be addicted to Twitter. Please note that I don’t mean to make light of actual, serious addictions, as I have seen their effects firsthand. It’s hyperbole. That said, I consider this to not be such a bad thing. Before I can really go into why it’s good, at least for me, I should probably provide a brief history of my weird approach and eventual sort-of-but-not understanding of Twitter. Continue reading

Social media brings out the weirdness in people

I may have lied a little about the planned posts, if only because inspiration struck and I’m prone to whim decisions the same way my cats are prone to napping on tables despite being told tables are for glasses and not for kitten asses. Oh well.

There are plenty of commentaries on social media, and I’m almost entirely certain I’ve written posts on the topic before.

Let me make something entirely clear before I continue: I am by no means a master of social media, nor do I always behave according to whatever arbitrary guidelines are set-up to dictate the best ways to Tweet, Facebook, and so on. At no point have I, or will I ever out of self-respect and not being able to take such things seriously, claimed to be a social media guru (or maven or expert or whatever). Twitter is fun, it provides me with a platform to interact with other artists, and I’ve met some pretty awesome people thanks to it. I also live-tweet entirely too many shows far too often, but let’s not talk about that here. Continue reading