Short note today – longer posts coming later this week.
But I am looking forward to attending the Nimrod Conferences for Readers and Writers this weekend. Several of the panels and discussion groups this year seem right up my alley. Also looking ahead to an editing session and a query feedback session included in this year’s conference.
Quick SITREP – drafting continues apace for my current work, Junkyard Dog, though I’ve been mixing in more from the homework from Story Genius. Queries continue to be sent for my first novel (and I’ve managed to earn first rejections too). NaNoWriMo looms in the near distance and I’m starting to psych myself up for the push. And I’ve been beta testing the next Windows version of Scrivener; I think I shall be quite happy with it.
I’ve been a little quieter this last week due to taking a road-trip family vacation through parts of the American West. And since it was rather a lot of time cooped up in a car, I’m needing a break from my vacation. So nothing forth coming from me as far as posts until next week. I’ve got day-job work and writing work that needs caught up on first, then I can make a return to blogging.
So, enjoy a slight break to our usual programming.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TLDR: Corporate computing takes some adjustment, new layers might be needed even months later, and odd habits can take a long time to switch, but I’ll never go back from split programmable keyboards.
It’s been over eight months since I contracted split keyboard madness and purchased the Ergodox EZ as my primary driver at work during my day job. Fully programmable, tilt and tent capable, weirdly shaped, and definitely a conversation starter, I’ve have loved getting used to, then thriving with the Ergodox EZ. I’ve talked quite a bit in my previous installments about the features I like and how I’m using the keyboard day to day, so this one is going to focus more on long term impressions and how it’s changed my daily computer use both as an engineer and as a writer.
My cut revision to remove 10% of the words from my first novel has been completed. My target final word count was 98,792. I finished at one word below target. Cutting 11,000 words from a story that I already felt was reasonably solid has taught me a lot about concrete writing and about removing redundancy. If you’re a writer and haven’t yet tried doing an extensive cut, I recommend it. From a craft perspective, it has already changed the way I write, and made it for the better.
This is also the point where I tease that I will be asking for beta readers of the completed cut to make sure I haven’t gone too far and ruined what I had. So be watching for a post recruiting beta readers.
Up next, for the next two weeks will be business related writing – I need summaries, queries, and bios built as I start sending this book out for representation. And I’ll be returning to blogging on the series I have planned – writers productivity, mechanical keyboards, and podcast reactions.
And most especially towards the idea of what constitutes a trustworthy writer and what I can do to foster a community of them.
So, expect a few more posts over the next few weeks as compared to the recent past.