Liking Who You Work With Is More Important Than Loving What You Do

Series Entry #2 – Engineering, School, and Writing

I am absolutely, positively, not the first person to state this.

The problem is that I can’t quite find anywhere that it has been recorded in just this way.

When I went looking, I found lots of articles and information about choosing a job that you love and I found lots of examples of how it’s important to work with people you respect, but nothing that quite captured the lesson I felt I learned.

Continue reading “Liking Who You Work With Is More Important Than Loving What You Do”

Camp NaNoWriMo Starts Tomorrow!

Reminder that the next round of Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, July 1st, and runs all month.

Not as grinding as regular NaNoWriMo, with different goals beyond “50,000 words” and hopfully, a more relaxed experience.

I will working towards of goal of 30 hours worked, since I’ll be mixing drafting a new novel and writing/sending query letters to agents. I might even count hours spent drafting new blog content. We’ll just have to see. 😉

Anyway, come join Camp!

Solutioning: I Do it All the Time

I said back in my SITREP:June post that I was going to get back into regular posts, though how regular that will be remains to be seen. So this post marks the first of new series I’ve wanted to do for a while.

Welcome to the Engineering, School, and Writing Series, which is going to be about me reminiscing on the time spent in school and in my job, taking the lessons I learned there, and examining how those lessons affect me today as a writer. I have no idea if this will be helpful to anyone else, but one thing I have learned through the power of the internet is that unique ideas are hard to come by, so I’m quite certain I’m not the first person to think of these lessons in this way. But I suspect there are plenty of writers out there who could benefit from these musings, if only because it may put into words something they have been feeling for a while.

So, today is Post #1 in that series. I hope you find it interesting.

Continue reading “Solutioning: I Do it All the Time”

One Chapter A Day

That’s not a commitment to writing a chapter each day, although my creative side is doing much better in the last week or so. Rather, that is the commitment I made to be better at reading.

One of the things I really enjoy about the community in which I live is the way the local public library tries to improve and influence things going on here. Part of the larger county-wide network, they have been great about supporting the numerous initiatives dedicated to improving access to books, reading, technology, information, and learning resources. Every summer the county-wide system sponsors the Tulsa City-County Library Summer Reading Program, and our local branch has been pushing hard to get people doing it.

The current head librarian is someone my family has known for a while when we first started taking our children there for story time and she was the children’s librarian. . The newspaper had a fun write-up a little while ago about the record numbers our branch has been signing up for this year’s Reading Program. The Adult Reading Program is to read 4 books by the end of summer.

As a writer, you’d think that would be easy for me.

It hasn’t been of late. My current job is such that I am constantly reading – taking in huge amounts of information to sift through, find what’s needed, make decisions, and do work. But that also means my brain has been retrained to think about words in a different way – deep enjoyment of the written word has been replaced by an ability to scan through reams of information, only to discard vast amounts of it. Much of it very surface level reading. Staying focused to just “read” is actually very difficult for me now and I’m shocked at how I’m only just now realizing how bad the situation has become.

I used to be very into using Goodreads to track my desired ‘to-read’ books. I recall at least one year were I read 41 books, and that was still a slow rate compared to my teen years.

SITREP: JUNE

One post a month feels to little, but life has been such that getting the energy and desire to post is…difficult. Discipline to keep up a blog/personal website is something I still need to work on.

That said, I have been busy with the writing world. Another round of agents submissions has gone out for my novel Betrayed and drafting on Junkyard Dogs is again in full swing. I have writing group meeting this week and am really looking forward to meeting with my tribe of writers. They are such good people.

I also realize that if I’m going to keep fostering a community of creators, I have to make the time to do that. I’ve been in a “consumption” phase for the last few weeks and it’s time to start working. So, hopefully, a few more posts coming soon.

Art Crossing Barriers

For anyone familiar with arts programs, it’s an accepted truism that art can cross boundaries which other types of human interaction can’t; or at least that art can do so more easily. A quick Google search of “art breaking down barriers” yields the following four top results.

Each looks at this concept from a different angle, and while 4 search results do not a scientific review make, its something I personally agree exists.

Today, I wanted instead to share a couple of examples of how I’ve seen of art, particularly of the entertainment variety, pulling communities together through the connection of the internet.

Continue reading “Art Crossing Barriers”

Managing Seasons

First up: SITREP

The most obvious if you’ve been to my site before is the change in theme – been contemplating a change for a while and then accidentally hit Apply while testing. So we’re going with it.

Next, this previous week has seen me returning to a good groove with regards to my writing, which had been very sporadic over the last few months. However, I’ve completed most of the planning work on my latest novel and am starting back into actual prose drafting tonight. I also sent some more query letters to agents. Daily writing is back to being the norm. /SITREP

All that leads to my thoughts for the rest of the post today.

I’ve noticed that my personal productivity, regardless of the area of my life, waxes and wanes. During some weeks and months I’m focused, committed, and driven – even if the nature of the projects themselves are slow, my dedication to working them doesn’t waver. Other times, my productivity seems tied to the accomplishment of tasks – if I can tick things off a list, see progress being made, or ship something off I have energy to keep working; but the desire to grind something out just for the sake of grinding depletes my energy = I don’t want to do it, and often won’t. And then last, I have those times where it is a struggle to get anything accomplished – distractions reign supreme, frustration and tiredness sap my will power, and a desire to do nothing permeates my thinking.

For a long time, I’ve tried to fight against that wax and wane, the push and pull. But in the last year, I have worked on learning to better embrace that aspect of my persona. I am not a Type A personality – I am not the extreme go-getter. In fact, like many aspects of my personality, I find myself of two minds with regards to work: sprinter and marathoner. I am both the tortoise and the hare.

By that I mean there are times when I spring ahead fast and furious towards a future goal, working hard until…something pops up. While at the same time, long term, I keep trudging away towards that goal, making small, meaningful progress over months and years. Writing is very much this way – I will hit a project hard and work myself to a standstill on it, then that project might sit for months during one of those wane periods. But during that same standstill period, I’ll be re-configuring my blog, seeking out agents, feeding my creative centers with story, recharging – always knowing that I’m coming back to the project that is waiting for me.

I find that more and more, I am embracing the truth espoused in Ecclesiastes 3:1, and popularized by Pete Seeger and then The Byrds in the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and learning to accept that seasons change.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

Seasons are cyclic. They come and go. And while each time we hit spring, we recognize it as spring, no spring is exactly like any other. Weather changes day to day. Climate shifts or butterfly effects cause each one to be unique. So while this time around I’m feeling productive, compared with the last time my productivity waxed I feel more secure in letting it be what it needs to be right now.

When I need to wane, I have started to lean very heavily into the idea of relaxation and rejuvenation, taking it as a sign that my mind, body, and soul have given all for right now, instead of fretting and trying to push myself to keep working on thing and mentally flogging my exhausted horse called “will power”. Really accepting that idea of “Now I’m going to rest,” and being truly intentional about it has started to pay very real and very precious dividends. Anxiety melts away faster, sleep comes more readily, play becomes more free. I don’t recover any faster it seems – those wane periods still last a few weeks. But I get more out of them in the moment.

Managing those seasons, learning to embrace the moments as they come and making the most of them when they do seems like a good focus and goal for me right now.

Battling

Two major themes in my life are a sense that I’m simultaneously not good enough to do something while also believing that I can do it, and overthinking what I should be doing. All of that together is a recipe for procrastination.

Combine that with a whole lot of work stress and fighting what is probably latent seasonal affective disorder and the last few months have been very unproductive, both from a writing standpoint and a blogging standpoint.

But unproductive just means I don’t have a product to which to point; it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been fighting in the various battles I have. And in several of them, I’ve been winning.

So, time to take that spirit of winning back into the writing world and start being productive with my books.

My Reflections on Writing Excuses 13.40 – Fixing Character Problems – Part 1

Ooo! Episode 13.40 looks interesting! I like this idea of having many teams answering the same questions, so I hope this works out. There’s been a lingering problem that Writing Excuses has had the last few seasons – the same answers to what amount to the same questions. At the end of the day, after a while, you find yourself in the same rut of questions about story as last season and the season before that. I think that was a big driver in past seasons to do the Master Class and the new teams this year.

But this year, we’re in a sort of twilight area – the new teams are great with energy, but their viewpoints are kinda…basic? Continue reading “My Reflections on Writing Excuses 13.40 – Fixing Character Problems – Part 1”