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Tag Archives: Planning

Okay. I know that it’s been a busy summer. There have been a lot of things that I’ve been meaning to get done that haven’t been happening, at least just yet. Reviews I’ve wanted to write, books I’ve wanted to read, etc. I’ve been stretching myself a bit thin, and I’m starting to feel it. Still, if college taught me anything, it’s that I function very well when that last-minute-panic-feeling hits. I’ve decided that I need to do a bit of reorganizing in my life.

Right now, it’s just turned into August (Happy Birthday, Colorado!). That means that the Renaissance Festival is coming to an end, and my girlfriend will have a little bit of time for a social life before the school year starts up again (she wants to be a teacher, and I’m a little jealous of the fact that she will continue to have summer breaks for the rest of her career, not going to lie). I’m personally hoping she gets to write a little bit, but we’ve got a joint project coming up that’s going to take a lot of time. See, we’re both making our own costumes for our cosplays for NDK this year, and I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m pretty new to the sewing machine, and I’m very serious about making my costume myself, though I’m also very willing to accept any and all help. We have some absolutely amazing friends who are already doing more than they should to help with this. Now I’m not saying what the cosplay is, not just yet. I know many of my readers already know, but those of you who don’t get to be surprised. So, shhhh. It involves a haircut. That’s the only hint you get.

Cosplay stuff aside, I still have a lot of things to get done. There’s some job opportunities that I’m likely to be applying for, as having a single full-time job would be a lot easier to manage than the two part-time things I’m doing now. A set schedule would also allow me to better handle a daily writing schedule, particularly useful since November is coming. I’m still working on a purge of my book collection. I was able to unload some of my duplicate titles onto V, which was a great help to me. Now I just need one more bookshelf, and I might be able to have space for everything that’s in my apartment at the moment. Just one more. Then I can get more books, and the cycle can begin again. Book addiction, folks. It’s a serious issue.

Also up this week is the accomplishment of a life goal. Tomorrow night, I’ll be in Denver to see my all-time favorite band live for the first time. Rush is coming to town, and I am not about to miss it. I’m going to listen to Moving Pictures again this morning, and probably work my way through as much of the discography as I can before I fall asleep tonight. In the meantime, I’ve got to go to work. The patrons at the library need me.

The writing process varies from writer to writer. There are no guarantees that this is what writing is like for you. There are no guarantees that my process even remains the same from one piece to another. However, this is a pretty good breakdown of how most of it goes for me.

1.) Get an idea.

2.) Decide if it’s a short story or if it needs to be a longer piece.

3.) Start writing. Get around two hundred words.

4.) Change narration style. Rewrite initial two hundred words.

5.) Consume caffeine.

6.) Take a break to play video games.

7.) Try to write again. Get fifty or so words down this time.

8.) Eat dinner.

9.) Consume alcohol, usually 1-3 beers or a White Russian.

10.) Lose all track of where I’d been in my writing.

11.) Watch TV instead.

12.) Get new idea. Decide if it needs to be written down tonight, or if it can wait til tomorrow.

13.) Begin again.

In February of last year, I got the chance to spend a week aboard the USS John C. Stennis, and to my great joy I found the ship’s library in my wanderings of the corridors. This opened my eyes to the surprisingly high number of libraries that exist on ships around the world. Apparently even the Titanic had two different libraries on board. This has made me think about some of the opportunities that would be available to someone who has a Masters of Library Science degree. After all, cruise ships need librarians too… I could work on my tan AND help to educate the masses. There are similar libraries everywhere. This is twenty different kinds of motivating to continue my education. Travel the world without leaving your favorite books behind. Hell, even the Semester At Sea program has opportunities for librarians to serve on their ships.

The MLS degree is still far more relevant than a lot of people think. This article from the American Library Association discusses the outlook for the degree, in contrast to a Forbes article which listed it as one of the worst choices for grad school programs. It may not be the best job line from a purely financial perspective, but, like teaching, librarianship is something people do because they love to do it, not because they want to get rich.

I’m looking at my school options for an MLS degree. I’d like to go back to school this fall, and there are two different programs that I’m considering, both of which are 100% online. I know that it’s something that I’ve talked about for a while now, so it’s time for my words to become my actions. Who knows, maybe I’ll find myself running one of those mobile libraries in the not-so-distant future.

Well, NaNoWriMo has come and gone, as has No Shave November, and I’ll tell you I was a lot more successful at one of these than the other. I barely made any ground in my writing this time around, and I am not going to make excuses. I didn’t sit down to write every day, and that’s all there is to it. There’s always next year for NaNo, but I’d really like to get more writing done in the time between now and then.

The big advantage of my attempt at NaNo this year? I got a lot of planning done. It’s been a few months since I put a good effort toward Aurellis, the novel I started last NaNo. Arsus and Rime are being very patient with me, though they’ve been changing up their stories a bit of late. More on that, and new microfiction soon!

The biggest downside to returning from a vacation is trying to get back into your everyday rhythm. Case in point: starting to blog again after nearly two weeks without writing anything other than my travelogue aboard the Stennis. I kept a journal during the entirety of the trip, logging my experiences as my father and I traveled across the country together, but now I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing things for you. Fifty plus pages of journal about a ride across the ocean on an aircraft carrier? Totally doable. Five hundred words about what’s going on in my life and the literary world this week? That’s a little bit trickier. Nevertheless, I’m here to try.

Let’s see. I want these, first of all. Something about being surrounded by officers in their dress uniforms just makes military fashion seem right, even if the Nintendo version is a little silly.  Second, there’s this thing right here, one of many places I’m going to be submitting a short story. Got a microfiction piece that’s n0t been published elsewhere? Send it in. They’d be happy to see it. V tipped me off about it a few weeks ago, and I am quite grateful. On a related note, has anyone ever heard of The Rag? I’d not, at least until recently. It’s worth a shot, I suppose.

One of the things that I did miss while I was gone: Sonia M’s February challenge. I intend to make up for that with the March challenge, which seems far more targeted toward writers like me than the February challenge did. It’s the first one I’ve missed since I started doing them, and I’m a little sad that I didn’t get an entry written, but there has been a lot of progress elsewhere that more than makes up for it, at least as far as I’m concerned.

So, yeah, my writing projects continue. One of the best things about my recent trip was the opportunity to have a LOT of time to myself, for my writing. See, Arsus and Rime have been pretty quiet lately, so the progress on my working title, “Swords of the Ancients” has been stalled. As such, I have been venturing into the darker side of my imagination, contrary to the advice I got from my father last week. Dad told me that I should write a wholesome story, and be more of a Tolkien than a Stieg Larsson, for example. That’s all fine and dandy from the outside perspective, and I really do appreciate his concern for my writing, but if you pretend that the shadows never exist, you’ll never see what hides in them. The things that hide in the shadows of my own mind are what I find fascinating. Human nature isn’t as clear cut and good as we would like it to be, for whatever reason, but those bits of darkness are so compelling… Just imagine the stories we might learn from the things that go unseen in our world.

I dunno. Maybe it’s just the stories of the great writers of the past, but I feel like there’s got to be something more than just heartwarming tales of puppies and stuff to write about. Even Tolkien had to embrace a little of the darkness to create the depth of the villains in Middle Earth. I guess I’m just talking about not just a casual embrace, but making passionate love to the darkness and getting into a committed relationship with it, and maybe even moving in together, and getting a joint bank account, or at least a two-seater bicycle. Yeah. It’s exactly like that.

It is a fool who does not set goals for himself. A greater fool still is he who fails to accomplish said goals.

This much being said, I’m setting some goals for myself. Some of these are short-term, others may take a little longer, but ideally, all will be met within the next year.

1.) Employment. Gainful employment. I love my part-time job at the library, but it’s only part-time. Granted, I have time for writing and whatnot, but that’s not really all that useful at the moment, when I’ve got student loans and whatnot to pay off. I’d like to secure a full time position somewhere, or at least a 2nd part-time job that will work around my library schedule. This is step one, because a great deal of my goals will be derived from income earned via said employment.

2.) Living arrangements. I want to be in my own place (or at least a shared place) before Thanksgiving. Seriously. Having a little bit of space to myself would be a great boon to my writing/editing plans. See step one. Work arrangements will probably precede housing, since I need to know where I’ll be working to know what I can afford each month, and have a good idea of what kind of commute I might be facing,  especially with winter approaching.

Ned Stark gets all scientific-like.

3.) Get a new computer. I love my Dell, but it’s over four years old, and is a pretty well-traveled laptop. It’s holding up remarkably well, but I’m afraid that it’s nearing the end of its functional lifespan. I’m planning (admittedly probably too far in advance) to replace it with a desktop/netbook pair. I want a custom-built desktop for all my gaming, music, videos, and whatnot. The netbook would be for portability. That way I could write on the go, and still have a couple of decent games with me as well. The price keeps dropping on the little guys, and for what I spent on my current laptop, I could get said desktop plus a netbook that would have all the memory and functionality of my current machine. Crazy how that goes. Again, though, see step one.

4.) Propose. She’s incredibly patient, that girl. The biggest boon of financial stability would be this. I could finally feel like I can ask her to marry me, and know that I can support us both.

5.) Get published. This one’s in the works. We’ll have to see what the editors at Strange Horizons think. Getting any industry notice is big. If they say no, I’ve got other options.

6.) Write a novel. This one is also in the works, thanks to the upcoming NaNoWriMo event. I’ve had the idea for the main plot and most of the characters in my head since January, and they’ve been sharing a lot about their lives with me. When November gets here, I’m going to do my level best to get them all out onto the page. Step five will have a great impact on this novel’s future.

7.) Get in shape. If I can schedule time for writing, I can schedule time to work out. It’s not that I need to lose weight (those of you who have met me in person can attest to this), but that I want to be in better condition. I’m not exactly the most athletic person in the world. I’d like to at least get to the point where I’m not so apprehensive about exercise. Stupid P.E. classes screwed with my self-esteem way too much.

8.) Take full blog control. Those of you who know wordpress know that I’m doing this strictly via the free version of things. I’d love to be able to have the income to toss toward the upgrade, and have my own domain. It’s not that much, I know, but all the same, it’s an extra expense that I can’t quite justify right now.

9.) See Rush in concert. Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it? Still, who knows how much longer the guys will be touring? Right now, they’re at the absolute top of my to-see list, and I’m still kicking myself for missing a couple of opportunities recently.

10.) Travel. I’ve not done any real travelling since high school. I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before, whether it’s here in the U.S. or another country. I’ve still got 2 1/2 years before I have to renew my passport. It would be awesome to get a couple more stamps in it first. England is near the top of the list (thanks to English teachers and certain friends getting to go there). Germany is up there too, even though I’ve already been. I’ve got a lot of family there that I would like to see again. Then there’s the ever elusive Japan… I’ve already admitted that I’m an anime geek, haven’t I? Even if it’s just booking the trip, I’d like to get out of Colorado and go somewhere I’ve never been before.

Is ten enough? Too many? I dunno. I’ll figure it out, I guess.

Today’s been decently productive, writing-wise. I’m hammering out some of the big plot details of my upcoming book in the days before NaNoWriMo, and my characters are growing more vocal again. I’ve also found some really cool stuff. I’m sure you’re all aware of the Occupy movements that are going on around the country. In Boston, they’ve found a pretty awesome way to keep all of the Occupants informed and entertained. Behold, the tent library. This is quite possibly the coolest thing that’s ever happened at any protest, at least from a reader/writer perspective. If only all protests could be this well-served by the public. If only all protests actually made some semblance of sense. Well, we can dream, can’t we?

It’s nearly Halloween, which means a few different things. First, it’s the time of year to start watching one of my favorite movies of all time as I gear up for my favorite holiday. I love Halloween. There’s something incredible about a holiday where perfectly responsible young adults can put on crazy costumes and wander the streets in search of candy. Barring that, there’s always barricading oneself in the house with a good supply of booze and hand out candy to the younger ones. Speaking of booze, I finally got to try Left Hand Brewing Co.’s Milk Stout Nitro. Well done, folks. That one’s a winner.

Second, the impending end of October means that it’s nearly November. It’s time to wrap up a couple of projects before National Novel Writing Month officially kicks off. I’d love to be able to use NaNoWriMo to put a coherent draft of my book together. I’m in the process of collecting my notes. I’ve got a couple of moleskines full of them right now.

Third, it means it’s a perfect time to be reading this:

Hellboy by Mike Mignola. Cover of Volume Ten, The Crooked Man and Others

It's always a good time for Mike Mignola.

I’ve been working my way through the Hellboy comics, finally. It only took me, oh, seven years after seeing the first movie. Now, thanks to the sheer awesomeness that is the public library system, I’m holding the first ten collected volumes of Mike Mignola’s greatest bit of genius. Those of you who have not read them (or at least seen the movies) are missing out. Mignola blends classic myths from around the world with his own, unique characters. The adventures of the members of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense are not to be ignored.

Anyway, I’ve got another job interview and two more applications to turn in, even though the thought of another Christmas in retail terrifies me. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. I had an interview on Friday at one of the smaller library branches in town, and it would be better pay/more hours than I currently have. Good luck with your ventures, dear readers.

And back to the blog.

Here I am again. After managing to somehow survive work today, despite a crazy man who claimed that I stole the $5 change I was supposed to have given him (a quick count of the cash register proved him wrong, thankfully), I am back at home. It’s nice to be able to come home to the apartment after a long day and finally get some dinner and a drink or two.

I’ve been spending a good deal of time thinking about this story I’m writing. I kind of wish I had more of it planned out in advance, but at the same time, I like to think that my first journey into this world will be far more similar to that of my future readers. Ideally, this means that I will be able to keep things from becoming too overwhelming/confusing for anyone other than myself. I want people to know how it felt as I was creating this world. I want it to feel lived in and rugged, but inviting to people who’ve never experienced anything quite like it (ideally, this will be all of my readers).

I hate when I read a novel and get overwhelmed with crap. I like something I’m reading to be accessible with a minimal level of extra effort required, especially if it’s the start of a series. If it’s a writer I’ve read before, there will be some level of tolerance. If it’s something that I already know, again, there will be tolerance. After all, “A Clockwork Orange” is still one of the best things I’ve ever read, despite the crazy dialogue and narration that goes along with the story of Alex and his droogs. I don’t, however, tolerate this kind of writing when it’s done pretentiously. If someone takes the trouble to create a language, they should make it useful, not just throw it in your face to say “OOOOO, look what I came up with!” Everything should have a purpose. Don’t give throwaway details. Make people question the intent of every line of dialogue, every description of every lamp and every passing dog. Create a visual that your reader can not forget. Forge something truly memorable. That’s my goal. I want to give my readers text that they desire. I want them coming back to my book every couple of years after they first read it and have them find something that they didn’t notice the time before.

At any rate, it’s time to write something before I fall asleep. As conviction becomes content, I shall post more.