Wednesday, June 26, 2013

06/26/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone! We've made it to the half-way point of the week. It seemed like it took years to get there, but we did it. I've been enjoying the ridiculousness of weather up here and also the looks I get whenever I giggle like a crazy person at the sound of thunder. I can't help it, I think it's neat. I feel kind of bad because after being excited about how close I was to finishing Phase 1 of editing, I have managed not to get any done since. Fate has forced me to take a 'minibreak' which is what I'm calling forgetting the binder at home on Monday and that blog I told you about last week demanding my attention yesterday. Today will be better though...I demand it.

Coming to a point when something is going to be considered 'finished' in one sense or another is difficult. I don't just mean that the process getting to that point is either, though it is and never let someone tell you differently. I literally mean finishing something is hard. Think about it; you've spent potentially months occupying part of your time doing this one thing pretty much daily that it has become a piece of your everyday life. Suddenly you know it's going to be over, and there's this moment of panic as your brain now needs to figure out what to do with the time once that happens.

I've seen the effects of this, and they are not always good. It's similar to finishing a really good book or video game; you like it so much that you don't want to it end, so you just don't do it. Endings are difficult, no matter what kind, which is why so many people never get to them. I'll admit that I am a 'victim' of this as well, because quite frankly some TV shows do something I don't like to characters that I have grown attached to, and then I get angry. I would put up a list, but that will put me on a tangent. Writing is the same way, and take a look at your own process; do you tend to start writing slower once you're getting closer to what you know is your end point? Do you become easily distracted by things that will prevent you from working on it? Do those things ever end up winning so much that when you return to your work you have no idea where things were going so you chuck it out the window? Long story short, the brain is a jerk.

I mentioned this previously, but I believe that it is important enough to warrant a further discussion. You've made a new habit, which takes about 30 days to actually 100% form in your head, and now you are getting close to either ending it, or having to change up that habit. Your brain is going to come to a grinding halt in an attempt to make this change not happen. At first the slowing down will start, and this can be coupled with those distractions I mentioned previously. They can range from cat videos on the internet, pretty pictures, movies, to other pieces of work, either way your mind will begin to wander in an attempt to make you not finish what you're doing. Sure you can force yourself to stay on target, which is eventually what you end up doing, but what also helps for me is making a plan. You prepare yourself for what comes next so your brain can focus on that as you get closer to your completion.

It's kind of weird to spell it out like that, but you are basically manipulating yourself. It seems strange, but that is really what you're doing. In the end you'll be working on the same project, but your brain is going to be gearing up for whatever Part 2 is. The real dilemma comes when you are actually done with everything. You'll sit there and go for your notebook or your laptop ready to write the great American novel and then hesitate, because you've already done that, you finished that yesterday and now you need to find something else to do. While at first this may seem like relief, your brain is about to be crippled by choice and you'll soon find yourself looking at all those cat videos you missed. Sure you can start a new project, but that will take a new set of habit-building-days, and right now you just need to let your mind melt a little. Enjoy that, because this is a stage so many people find hard to get to. Finishing something, while giving you the awkward moment where you don't know what to do with your mind, is incredibly hard to get to.

When it gets to that point, take a moment to reflect on everything you've done, and just be proud of yourself. Give yourself a little break, pull out a video game or something and just enjoy that. Then when it comes time to start something else you will be at 100% and can give it your all. It's an uphill battle, so don't decide to turn around half way through just because walking downhill is easier. We're all in this together!

Thanks everyone for stopping by again, I really do appreciate it. If there's ever anything you'd like to have discussed or you have any questions, please leave a comment or send me a message. I do everything in my power to be available, so I will be able to reply relatively soon afterward. I'll be back on Friday though, and I look forward to it. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, June 24, 2013

06/24/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Good day everyone! I hope the weekend saw you all well. Mine was nice to me, but far too short in my opinion. It's one of those days where you wish it was just one day longer, but unfortunately the passage of time is a harsh jerk and won't let me have something like that.

My weekend attempt at relaxing was brought to an abrupt halt when I came to the discovery that I may have been scammed. This has never happened to me before, and while I know there's a path that needs to be taken in order to get it resolved I am very angry that it happened. If it had just been me there is always the fleeting possibility that it was an accident on the act of the seller, however this was all brought to my attention by reviewing feedback left for them and saw what had happened to someone else that had purchased the same thing I had. Right now I'm sure it will all get resolved, however there is the worry that nothing will come of it.

I'm sure by now you're all sick of hearing about my editing progress, however I am excited to say that I am down to the last handful of chapters. There is a lot of revamping that's going to have to happen with 'Rending the Seal' and some of it I'm still not 100% sure how to approach it, however I'm going to get it done one way or anything, even if it pushing me over that insanity edge to get there. It's a lot of fun revisiting this world after pretending it didn't exist for so long, which is the part of editing I actually do enjoy.

I'd also like to report that my cat seems to be doing better. I think he's a little tired of having to take medicine all the time, but overall things seem to be going better than they were. Though honestly I can handle whatever they throw at me after they told me he doesn't have cancer. He's been wrestling with the other cat again and while he seems to be a bit lazier I can't tell if that's from his current problems or because it's getting warmer and he has three layers of fur to become way too warm with. I'll still say this is good progress.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope to be more awake as the day progresses, but it's Monday so I suppose that may be a fleeting dream. For now I hope the start of the week treats you all well and I'll see you back here on Wednesday. Have a good day!

Friday, June 21, 2013

06/21/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. We made it to Friday, which after thinking it was almost Friday for most of the week, I'm going to call a success. I'm looking forward to feeling like I have a real weekend, mostly because I will, but also because I have family coming into town, and that's always fun. Especially because I can just go to my parent's house and visit them and not have to worry about anyone staying with me. Anyway, let's get to the reason you're actually here.

Today I bring you 'The Miracle' by KN Schultz. It tells the story about a small town, so ravaged by drought that the local priest is hoarse from his daily prayers. The drills to dig more wells and irrigate water from other locations has broken, leaving the people there scared and weak. Eric is the elderly blacksmith who makes it his duty to protect the residents of the town he loves so dearly, and when a spontaneous river brings hope back to the people, but also monsters that are feeding on the townsfolk, he takes it upon himself to find out where they came from.

Eric is also joined by the priest's wife, Mary, in this quest. She is young, adventurous and also wants to find the cause of the monsters if for no other reason her husband can rest. Together they gear up and follow the river to the local mine to hunt the monsters. When they discover the cause seems to be a portal to a world beyond their own, the decisions that must be made are difficult and costly.

'The Miracle' is available on Smashwords for absolutely free, so please check it out and tell the author what you think. The writing style is a bit different from what I'm used to, which is one reason why I kept reading. Rather than the 3rd person past tense, it was 3rd person present tense, which gives you a sense that everything is happening at that very moment and also helps convey the gravity of the situation. I believe that works out quite nicely.

For now I hope you all enjoy some weekend reading. I am going to try and keep myself awake for the party thing we're doing at work today. I hope you all enjoy yourselves and have a great weekend as well. Enjoy the start of summer, and I'll be back on Monday!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

06/19/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! We are past the half-way point for June, which is all the more crazier if you realize I almost typed 'March' back there. This year is full of change and ridiculousness and so far I'm enjoying it. I think, from what I remember I'll say I like it more than I dislike it. However which June technically almost done it means it's time to start planning ahead, especially of this year is going to try and get the best of us by breezing by.

That being said, I wanted to talk about NaNoWriMo today. I know you're thinking that it's a little early to start planning for November, but I will also remind you that WE'RE SERIOUSLY ALMOST DONE WITH JUNE ALREADY THIS IS MADNESS! So I don't believe it's too early, especially since most of us have a lot of other stuff going on too, so making sure it's worked in properly might actually be a good thing.

Now in most years I start planning a couple months before November, but not this year, mostly because I'm in the middle of editing and likely will still be there at that time. As we all know November is the month where everything else goes on pause. Even if the video game industry also decides they need to throw stuff at me and tempt me to destroy my hands some more...jerks. Joke's on them though, because at E3 they announced they moved Pokemon's release date to October (remember, I'm 12 at heart) so yeah! The thing I'm actually trying to get at is you need to be prepared, because there are going to be things that will desperately try to pull you away from it. I'm not talking about things like work, money, and children, but the more unexpected things like the crazy things children sometimes do, or your cat pulling down your TV, or fire tornadoes.

My plan for NaNoWriMo is to actually finish the story I started last year. I know it sounds like cheating, but whatever you're not my supervisor (been watching Archer). It's still going to be 50,000 or 60,000 words that will be written in the month of November, and with everything else that I've been working on it's seriously the best time to try and finish that thing. I need to get that one finished, or as close to it as possible if I actually manage to release 'Rending the Seal' this year. So that's basically step 1; figure out what you're doing. If you go into November with the thought of writing a novel and have 100% no idea what it's going to be, you'll open that Word document and stare at it with existential horror because you know something is supposed to be on that electronic piece of paper, but nothing is happening. Planning ahead can avoid this!

The other part is to get your loved ones prepared early. I have to do this every year, and while I feel like an ass, they always seem to understand, at least on some level, what I'm trying to do. They will feel neglected and sad, and you'll feel like a jerk, but there are ways to multi-task and get this done so you're not a complete one. You can try and do more one day so you can take a break the next, work out your schedule so you do some writing in the morning, more in the afternoon on your lunch break or something, and get the rest done in the evening. That's what I started doing, and at the very least my wrists were thankful...until December, but whatever. The point is if you start November and don't at the very least remind them that your work is going to be your computer, paper, notebook, or whatever you use for the next however many days it takes you to make that quota. It makes them feel better and tells them that you don't actually love writing more than them.

I hope this was helpful, because I know things are nuts for a lot of people and hopefully planning this early will relieve some of the stress that might come later on. NaNoWriMo is not meant to be seen as a chore, but something fun you do to challenge yourself. Remember it's not a race (unless you make it one) at least not in the technical sense because there is a finish line...and an end...ok so it's kind of a race, but whatever. Just go at your own pace and enjoy yourself. I guess it's more like a marathon actually...

For now I'll head out and leave you all until Friday. In the meantime, after you read this and if you're into analyzing the potential paranormal, stop by Devin from Fact or Faked and Haunted Highway's new blog It's super fun and also kind of neat to break down the videos with other people. Have a great rest of your week and I'll see you on Friday!

Monday, June 17, 2013

06/17/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone! I hope the weekend treated everyone well. I am happy that there is little to no buyers remorse on my end, even if I'm still sad my Yaris, my cute little Yaris, is gone. Now it's time for me to drive awesome. The only problem I'm having right now is absolutely sleepiness. Not because of the car, directly, but that little panic that comes with knowing the budget is going to change, and also that I don't feel like I've had a weekend in two weeks. So sleepy!

I've made a lot of good progress editing though, which is also a bit exciting. I don't have much left to go in that binder and while there is a lot of pink on those pages I'll need to work with, I think it'll be good overall. I just hope I can push myself to move to round 2 when done with that part because seriously, there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

My injury from Vegas is still being an absolute jerk. It was doing a lot better on Friday however the discovery of the car I was getting meant that everything needed to be cleaned out of my Yaris that evening, and with little time to do that in I was basically forced to make the problem a bit worse. It's still uncomfortable but I'm needing to wrap it less and less, so I'm going to take this as a win. I just wish any shoes were comfortable though, because they're not, and sadly work doesn't like the idea of me just walking around in rainbow colored socks all day. For...reasons...something to do with safety or whatever.

I'm still convinced that I 'do Vegas' wrong, but that's fine. They are building this ridiculously huge Ferris Wheel there and I super want to go on it. It's right next to the monorail and when we got next to one of the supports we could all see just how massive it's going to end up being, and that is exciting. Luckily the plan when going back is to stay at the Venetian or the Palazzo, which means we'll be really close to it. Don't know when that'll be though, since for right now I'm still tired and am fine with not going back for a couple years.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I know it's just Monday, but I'm sure the rest of the week will be nice for everyone. I'll be back on Wednesday, so please come stop by then as well. Have a great start to your week!

Friday, June 14, 2013

06/14/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone! I hope this week has been nice to you. I think my ankle is at about 90%, which is good because wearing the bandage with my shoes was getting amazingly uncomfortable. Yesterday was exciting in that I was able to negotiate for the car I want, even though I had to compromise on the price a little. I didn't back down no matter how much they were trying to convince me to. Super excited, now is just a matter of waiting for it to be built so that when I do get it, it'll be 100% brand new.

For today, I've decided on doing a little shameless self-promotion, since I realized I hadn't done it since I did the new edition and there are a lot of new people coming here. So with that, I bring 'The Light Rises' written by me! It follows four companions in 1890 London and their journey to prevent a biblical apocalypse.

Keagan Gillette had almost considered himself retired when he returned to London after two years of being MIA. The event of losing his sister Maria for a second time had been too much for him to handle and so he'd ran to America to drink his sorrows away. He barely used necromancy anymore, and somewhere in the back of his mind he'd almost wished he's forget about it entirely. London was a lot more welcoming than he'd expected and he was almost convinced his life would become somewhat normal until he saw a man create a blizzard in the middle of August. Now Keagan knows he must confront his greatest fear; the wrath of his companions for his disappearance, and they must all work together again to save the world from annihilation.

'The Light Rises' is available on Smashwords and other fine retailers for $2.99, and the reason I picked it today was because I need to be better about reminding people of its existence, but also because I want to get everyone ready for when 'Rending the Seal' comes out, hopefully later on this year. It's a mix of alternate history, magic, and a bit of steampunk tossed in with some mythological and metaphysical theory in there to keep everyone engaged. I would really appreciate everyone taking a look and letting people know about it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I am super ready for this week to be done, but sadly I work tomorrow so not just yet. Again, I hope this week has treated you all well and I'll be back on Monday too. In the meantime have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

06/12/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hi everybody! I made it back from Vegas in mostly one piece. I had a lot of fun even if the first day and a half was spent being sick and I ended up spraining my ankle on Sunday. Didn't actually realize it was sprained until I got home, mostly because I'm stupid sometimes, but it happened. Before you all go making assumptions, I'm not one of those 'crazy Vegas people' and I am in fact quite the opposite. I think I 'do Vegas' wrong...but whatever, I had fun and got to hang out with my friends, so that was cool.

As I get closer to the end of my binder I just keep thinking about going onto the next phase of editing. It's a big step and one I have mixed feelings about. Part of me just wants to go back to actually writing because that's the fun part, but I know what will happen if I do that. There are a few things to keep in mind when getting through a part of the process you don't necessarily care for, and I thought I'd bring them up today.

First, if you don't like something, even a little bit, your brain will try and distract you from it. At least mine does, but mine's also a jerk and demands that things on walls be straight and parallel with other stuff, so it might be a bad judge. Either way think about when you were little and it was dinner time, everyone has something they didn't like eating and their parents would make them do it anyway. Some people went through the stages of loss before actually eating it. Whether it was vegetables or steak, as was the case with me, you would be angry you were being forced to eat it, try to bargain your way out of eating it, try to think of ways to not eat it that would super totally work and there's no way your parents would ever notice, depressed that we have to eat something we think is so terrible, and finally acceptance of what's going to happen. They might not happen in that order, but acceptance is generally at the end. Sorry, went on a tangent, either way your brain will try to help you not do the part you don't like. Say there's a video game that's coming out around the same time, your brain will start hyping the game up so much in your head that if you don't play it on release and obsess over it as much as possible you'll feel like you're doing it wrong. Same goes for anything else that you enjoy even slightly over that specific part. You need to make sure you don't let it win.

Also, keep in mind that depending on what process it is, unless it's finishing the project, it's going to be repeated. The writing portion is the first draft which hints that it will be the first of however many you feel is necessary. Editing is the same way, and as I mentioned previously, sometimes even finishing the story happens a few times. Now even if you need to repeat the process until it's perfect that doesn't mean it's an unending cycle, no matter how much your brain wants you to believe that. There is a real end to it, the process is just time consuming and you need to be prepared to handle it. Just remember to be patient and persevere, no matter how badly you think it's hopeless; the project will eventually end.

The moral of the story is, I guess, that the brain is a total jerk when it comes to doing something that is difficult. Humans like doing things the easy way, because easy is easy obviously. The other thing that's happening is that you are forcing your mind to adjust to a new habit, which is always difficult, and the brain doesn't necessarily want to do that (it has enough going on anyway, being a brain and all) which means that you are going to have to put a lot of effort into getting everything done, especially those places you don't like. There's a part of story writing that everyone doesn't care for; some people might love the crap out of editing while others like world building, but not so much writing down all the fluff, and there are others that are the exact opposite. Not liking each and every part doesn't mean you're a bad writer, it just means you're a person and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Go at your own pace, but make sure that you don't let yourself get too distracted from what needs to be done, because if you don't you'll never feel the satisfaction of having a finished product.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I should be back on schedule for the rest of this week. I had a lot of fun but I am really happy to be home, and not just because of the 40 degree temperature difference. I hope you have a great rest of your week and I'll see you all on Friday!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

06/05/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back everyone! I am knee-deep in pre-trip panic which means that right now I'm to the 'remind that guy I live with how to feed the cats even though he totally already knows how to' point. I'm also thinking about how my orange tabby's world is going to fold in half while I'm gone...having cats with abandonment/separation issues is complicated...Anyway, you're not here for this, you're here for writing! So let's talk about that!

Writing! The smart ass in me wants to say that we're done, but that would also be mean and I wouldn't want to do that to anyone. The thing is that writing is never actually 'done' no matter how much anyone ever tells you. If it was then you wouldn't have revised editions of anything, director's cuts of movies, re-releases of books with new words in them (I'm looking at you Gaiman!), even movies that are based on books a lot of the times have the original author's input and sometimes even writing the screenplay, which means it give them a chance to do things a little bit differently this time around. For an example, please look at Jurassic Park (the ORIGINAL, the Lost World movie can be ripped from reality for all I care.), Michael Crichton, think I spelled that right, wrote the screen play for the first movie even though they had a perfectly good book to base everything on. Now I'm sure you're all saying they did that so they could have sequel potential, but if that were true they could have done everything strictly by the book and just had the sequels focus on Dr. Grant, however the Lost World movie (shudder) focused on Ian Malcolm (tiny yay!) instead. (Please ignore the fact that Dr. Grant was actually the focus for Jurassic Park 3, and also that movie is dead to me. Also, the Lost World, the book, is pretty awesome.)

So that was my mini rant/hooray for Jurassic Park, but I still feel it was a good example of how writing doesn't actually end once the book is completed. This is something that you are going to have to come to terms with as you work on your wonderful vision of completing your book. Much like I am convinced my trips down the editing highway are right now, it is a long-term process and you need to be prepared for it. It's tiring and difficult and sometimes painful (paper-cuts are your nemesis now, never forget that) and also emotionally draining, but always focus on the payoff and how satisfying it's going to be.

Lets say you have a problem with finishing things; sometimes that happens. You'll start something then either lose interest or things might get away from your original vision, or some part of the world might have a disaster you have to clean up and coming back to it is just too difficult. I get that too, and the important part to remember is to take everything at your own pace. Everyone works at different speeds and unless you decide to make it one, writing isn't going to be a race. Not everyone can be that psycho robot Stephen King and pump out a novel the size of a small hamster cage every year. So please, even if things get tough and you can't look at what you were working on at this very moment, take a break can come back to it later because even if there is a lot of work to do on it that doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

I hope this post helps as I won't be back until next Wednesday. For now I am going to return to panicking about my trip and hoping I have everything I need (shoes cost too much money!) and once I'm down in Vegas I will be able to the fiery hot pits of heat I was never meant to endure...yay for air conditioning! Anyway, have a great rest of your week and start to your next. I'll be back Wednesday for a full report! See you all then!

Monday, June 3, 2013

06/3/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Good day everyone! June has started and I am starting my 'OMG I LEAVE IN 5 DAYS I HAVEN'T GOTTEN EVERYTHING READY' panic. I apologize in advance to anyone that might have to deal with me until Friday morning while I sit around 100% convinced I forgot something incredibly important. I hope the weekend saw you all well. It was a lot less stressful than I had anticipated, though that isn't to say there wasn't any. The cat we're pretty sure is allergic to his food is deciding that the food he's supposed to be eating is gross and now he doesn't want it. I agree with him, it looks icky, but he also needs to eat and he is more stubborn than some people I know.

Editing is going well, in that I haven't thrown the binder out a window and vowed to never look at it again. I've gotten past the half-way point and can already see parts that will need to be changed heavily or removed entirely. I'm trying not to think about how to work around them if they do need to be removed, mostly because I know that will distract me from the goal at hand, but it's something that may end up needing to be done. I am really excited to see that the pages on the other side of the pen are becoming less and less each day, even if it's a slow process. Once that's done I'll get to start working on my laptop again, and hopefully Round 2 (or would it be 1.5?) will go smoothly.

It's around this time of year I start trying to work out my November schedule, and I have decided to be good this time around and see what video games are coming out that I know I will want play at the same time. I almost flipped a table when I discovered that not only does Pokemon X/Y (yes, I'm 12 at heart, shut up) comes out not just in November, but on November 1st. I assume this was done just to spite me since last year it was Persona 4: the Golden, and while that came out later in the month, my desperation to obsess over it meant that I rushed through NaNoWriMo very quickly, and then played that game pretty much non-stop after release, which lead to me needing to take a month off of doing anything major with my hands outside of work. I keep telling myself that it won't be so bad...that game doesn't require me to hold my hands in such a way that if left in that position they'll be stuck that way forever...but we'll see. Seriously...November-frickin-first...ruin my life why don't you...

Anyway, you've all politely put up with my ranting long enough this morning. I do appreciate you all stopping by. I will be back on Wednesday with something that is actually somewhat important, so please come and take a look. Remember Friday I will be out, hopefully awake-ish (have to be at the airport that I think the jail system made up to punish criminals) and maybe winning/losing all of the money in the world. Until I come back on Wednesday though, have a great start to the week!