jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
This past weekend was one of shopping and erranding. We drove down to Palo Alto (why yes, as a matter of fact I do get the Radiohead song stuck in my head whenever we're down that way, why do you ask?) to Fry's Electronics so I could suss out cameras. While I do have a nice compact Samsung 15 megapixel point-and-click camera, I've been wanting to step up my photography game and try something a little more high end. I ended up with this Sony A58, and I'm loving it so far. There's a bit of a learning curve with all the bells and whistles that come with it, but it's gotten big reviews as a perfect starter camera if you're looking to level up.

[You can see one of my first experiments here at my Tumblr.]

In other news...Spare Oom is finally clean and back to normal, many things shredded, and all the cleaning done. I even managed to squeeze in two WordPress blog entries in yesterday! Woo! Not much else to report...the local YMCA should open back up today (it was closed for its annual powerclean and fix-broken-stuff time) so we'll be back on the treadmills again...also need to start getting some SF Symphony tickets as they finally go on sale today.

Also--HOKEY SMOKES WE'RE GOING TO LONDON IN A FEW WEEKS. Worldcon is gonna be fun and we'll get to meet up with a lot of our friends again, and I'm also really looking forward to exploring the city too! I do of course have a list of places to hit that are Beatle related. Many musical photo-ops have been planned. :)

Hope everyone has a nice week!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It took awhile, but my writing habits are becoming solid again. It's obvious that my best course of action when this needs to be done is to use a schedule, and to stick to it. Nearly every weekday morning at my 9:30 break, I step away from my work PC and my home PC, grab the moleskine notebook under the monitor stand, and write a journal entry. I write about pretty much everything there...whatever's on my mind, unedited. This space in particular, I try not to let the internal editor interrupt, so my sentences might be wonky, there's a lot of scribbled-out words, and questionable word choice. But that's one of the reasons I started doing it--to write something and not edit myself in the process. No one's going to be reading it except myself, so why hold back?

There's also the weeknight sessions writing Walk in Silence. The funny thing is that I'd completely forgotten what it felt like to jumpstart the creative juices when the session starts--I've been revising and rewriting the trilogy for so long that it feels like a new process again. Given that I'm currently writing about my teen years, every night has started with the same exact feeling that homework is due tomorrow, and I haven't started it yet. But about fifteen minutes in, once I push myself to keep going, I feel the pistons catch and I'm off to the races. I've been doing just shy of a thousand words a night, and I'm already about halfway through chapter two.

This is by far the fastest book I've ever written, even more so than The Persistence of Memories, for a few reasons. First, it's not going to be nearly as long as the trilogy books. I'm thinking the first run-through will be close to about 50-60k, give or take? And I'm at 7k now. Much editing and revising later, but at this rate, I could possibly be done before summer's out, which surprises the hell out of me. I guess that's what happens when you're not writing epics!

I've also scheduled myself to start blogging at the WordPress sites again. As said last week, my schedule has cleared somewhat, so I'm able to resume work on them again. I've already posted a few, so it's a matter of keeping it up at this point.

There's still a few other things I need to start picking up again--the drawing and the poetry, in particular. I know, I've been slacking and/or putting it off. But these are like the journaling and the blogging--for me, it's just a matter of shutting the hell up and doing it already. And given that our weekends will be relatively quiet for the next month, I should have more time to devote to it as well.

There's another action I need to take as well, to get these things in motion: making it obvious that I need to work on them. I have a terrible time with distraction, the "out of sight, out of mind" issue where if I don't have a to-do list or a schedule or have it written on a calendar, I don't always remember to follow through. I have the moleskine sitting on top of a new composition book just waiting to have entries put into it. And both of them are sitting on top of the Wacom tablet. And next to the monitor is another moleskine--this one unlined and just waiting to be drawn in.

Again--the only thing that's missing for those is the schedule. I like schedules. They keep me from slacking off and guilt me if I don't follow them. So what does this mean? Perhaps adding these things to the whiteboard again?

Maybe so.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's less than ten days before the end of 2013 and oddly enough, I'm caught up.

More to the point, I'm not rushing and freaking out trying to get stuff done by year end. Okay, there are a few writing-related things I was hoping to get done before then, but I'm okay with them going over by a few weeks. No, this is more about the fact that I've pretty much done what I set out to do this year:

--finish revision of A Division of Souls and submit
--rearrange and clean up Spare Oom and sell/donate things that have been taking up space
--step up on the health care (getting teeth fixed, going to the gym, cutting down my sugar intake)
--step up on the mental health (dropping a lot of stress, avoiding things I don't need to worry about)
--clarify focus on creative endeavors (upping my guitar chops, drawing, and of course writing better)
--expand travel experiences (more on this in a later post)
--more focusing on future endeavors and less focusing on past failures and near-misses

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how 2013 panned out. I'm seriously looking forward to next year, as I have quite a few neat things in store! :)
jon_chaisson: (The Norm Hairy Dream)
This past year has been an interesting one, personally. In a way it seems the Mayans got it right--it seems a lot of things going on in my life are finishing a cycle. I've done a lot of purging of things that have had a negative effect on me over the past few years--bad habits, stress triggers, toxic things. Stepping away from politics online. Changing mindsets. Realizing I just didn't care about certain things anymore. Not a willful ignorance or giving up, but a realization that I didn't need to have this stuff constantly on the front burners of my brain. Life will indeed proceed as normal if I let them go.

And with such endings come new beginnings. I realized over the course of the last few years, especially where creativity is concerned, that what I needed to do was start over from the beginning. This showed up quite often with my revision of A Division of Souls. I found that instead of trying to rework scenes I already had, I had to back up even further, and treat this revision as if I was completely rewriting the novel over, much like I did when I wrote it the first time. In doing this, I was able to pay full attention to how I was telling the story, as well as being able to see what I was doing wrong. I was also able to reach that level where I got the story, where it clicked in my head and I knew what I needed to do with it.

I started using this "start over from the beginning" mantra elsewhere, not just in my writing but with life in general, and I started reconnecting with more positive things--good habits, knowing when to let things go, creating things I enjoy creating, being more thoughtful about my ideas and actions. [Of course, [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon hasn't seen the full extent of this due to my penchant for joking; I enjoy coming up with increasingly ridiculous excuses for not going to the gym or eating badly!] Mantras ended up being a good idea for me, actually. One of my worst habits is that my brain gets stuck in overdrive when I'm just about to fall asleep, and in the process I get all twitchy and restless, which frustrates Emm to no end. Some months back when I caught myself doing this, I'd just repeat "Okay, just stop. Just STOP it." in my head, and after awhile, it started working. The stress would vanish and my runaway brain would come back down to earth. I still twitch and move around, but I'm not as bad as I was.

Part of this "start over" was brought on by trying to rechannel what it was that got me into 80s college rock in the first place, for my Walk In Silence project. There is that long-lasting love for the genre and the memories that came with them, but I wanted to try to reconnect with what it was that got me interested in it in the first place. I wanted to try to remember what I was thinking at the time and what my outlook on life was, what I wanted my future to be. The trick was not to see it as a "what could have been" meandering, but more to reconnect with my original wishes and plans and see if they were still feasible.

Surprisingly, a lot of them still are, given a bit of updating and tweaking. Some of them I've already achieved, but there's more for me to do.


The next year promises to be interesting in a number of ways. I've got a lot of things planned, things I want to do, changes I want to make, projects I want to finish. I'm in a place where I can do that, so I'm not going to pass up the opportunity.

Here's to hoping 2013 is positive, creative, and fruitful.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
More on Joshua Foer's Moonwalking with Einstein...

One of the things he talks about is the 'OK Plateau', in which, after we've learned a task such as typing, we go from the beginner level (slow two-fingered tapping) to a somewhat higher one (the Qwerty or Dvorak system), until our brain goes to autopilot. Once we're reasonably comfortable with doing the task without having to think about it, we don't focus on the actual performance, we just do it.

Sometime ago I had this niggling feeling that I'd hit that plateau with my writing, that I was afraid I'd hit my limit, and I was just going to have to make do with being a reasonably adequate writer and not a great one. Not great as in Pulitzer prize-winning--I mean this in terms of writing something I'm especially proud of that I think is my best work, and something that would be professional and publishable. This is on a personal level too--I consider myself "reasonably good" at a number of things, but not really "exceptional" at any of them. There's nothing wrong with that at all, of course, as that's pretty much normal for a lot of people...

...except if it's in your field of expertise. Mike Holmes is exceptional in his work because he's an expert in home building and inspection, and who wouldn't want to have him on your side if you're having house problems? And would you trust someone who's "merely adequate"?

Of course, that's an extreme example, but it kind of states my point here, in regards to writing. I've been working on my Eden Cycle trilogy for close to ten years, and though I've made significant strides, I still have that niggling feeling that it's just not a great piece of work. It's a damn sight better than the original stories, but it could be so much better, and I'm vividly aware that it could be. At this point I'm at that OK Plateau, where I know I can do better, yet I'm not exactly sure what needs to be done to break that barrier.

This is often where beta-readers and critiquers usually come in handy, and this is why it's terribly important to have the right beta-readers and critiquers on hand. This of course can be tricky when all you have is close friends and family who will enjoy the story, but may not have the ability to go over it with a fine-toothed comb and find plotholes and weak language. This is why I'm thankful that writers like [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse have offered their services as readers...I've learned quite a few things from her, and while I'm still not quite there yet, I can see where more work is needed, thanks to people like her.

But how do I overcome the OK Plateau on my own? What is it that I need to do to write the best damn novels that I can, instead of writing half-assed and calling it good enough? Do I need to start challenging my own vocabulary? Do I need to be less emotionally involved with my stories and become more clinical? Do I need to force myself to write not just a little every day but a lot every day? Do I need to find a job that doesn't demand nearly as much clinical thinking, but perhaps more creative thinking? In all honesty, it's a little of everything here. It's not just one thing, that's for sure.

This is partly why I've given myself such a full plate this new year. I'm trying to force myself out of passive mode by getting out of my comfort zone. I suppose for some, that would be doing something crazy like mountain climbing or bungee jumping or something silly like that, but for me, it would need to be something that's more than a one-time event. I'm 'reasonably good' at music, art, and writing--things I've loved to do since I was a kid--and I'm in a good position where I can actually do such things in my spare time. If I can turn it into a paying gig, all the better.

As long as I'll be doing something I love doing, and getting better at it as I go along, I'll be happy. And I'll have finally gotten past the OK Plateau.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
On the first day of 2011, I posted my writing schedule for the year. It included the picture of the whiteboard on the wall above my desk that I referred to over the course of the last twelve months. I tried to even things out so I was always doing something every single day, even if it was something quick and easy or fun, like posting a picture or writing a poem. The post also included a suggested schedule to work off of, similar to the whiteboard but in more detail. It wasn't something I had to adhere to, only a suggestion. I tried to include my multiple open projects when I could.

So, how did it work out? Let's do a review:

--The whiteboard schedule worked out nicely and to my advantage, actually. It was a great daily reminder to get something done, even if it wasn't exactly what I should have been writing on. If I was already in Spare Oom (usually if I'd been working from home that day), all I needed to do was pop my head up and see what I needed to do on that day. If I was out in the living room instead, I'd just pop into the room to review.

--The 'suggested schedule' part of the post didn't quite pan out the way I wanted it to due to different reasons (wanting to catch up on something else, lack of time/inspiration, etc.), but in the end I'm looking on the positive end of it. After awhile I dropped the "project #2" (at the time it was the Love Like Blood revision) and focused most of my time on the major revision of A Division of Souls, and I'm glad to say I'm about halfway done with it already. I also got a lot farther with Walk In Silence than I expected, even though I have a lot more writing to do for it. I didn't get as much poetry written as I'd wanted (I'd originally planned on twice a week), but 51 poems of substance over the course of a year is actually pretty good for me, considering I only wrote about twenty total over the last five years. The writing LJ (the one with my name on it) kind of fell by the wayside too, and my last post there is two months old. All that said, I'm not exactly frustrated or annoyed that this part didn't pan out. I just need to adjust it more to my abilities.


So where do I go from here? What should I change and what should I keep? What should I adjust? More to the point, what are my goals?

Well, more on that tomorrow, when I post a new Day One writing schedule for 2012. For now I'm doing something slightly different here...I'm playing around with my schedule by using a legal pad and working it out longhand (longhand itself being another goal). I'm aiming for this coming year to be more creative than ever, and I'm really looking forward to it.

For now I'll just say that my plan for 2012 is to take It would be a neat idea to eventually _______ and reword it to say _______ is a neat idea--let's find the time to do it!
jon_chaisson: (Default)
If anyone asks me how 2011 was for me, I'd really have to think about how I'd answer that. The short version is that I'd say it was a pretty good albeit stressful year. The slightly longer version? Personally, I think I've made some life decisions that were for the better (going to the Y, eating better, etc.). Creatively I got quite a bit done (the revision of A Division of Souls is about halfway done, and I've mapped out most of 1984 in Walk in Silence and also established a few contacts for said project), with room for more improvement. Workwise, well...I'll just say 'stressful but I'm dealing with it' and leave it at that. So yeah, I think for the most part the year was good to me.

Online
I've really been thinking more about what I want to do with my "official" website (the WordPress one), and I have a few ideas. It's still in embryonic stage and I probably have one other reader aside from myself at the moment, but I have some good ideas of what I'd like to do with it in the new year. One of the things I was thinking about while off the radar is how serious I'd like my online footprint to be...I of course have my LJ, Facebook, Twitter, Dreamwidth, and Google+ accounts (and others that I keep forgetting about, of course), and it is fun to pop on and talk with coworkers and friends on those sites, but as a writer I don't have much to show professionally. I have a few excerpts at the WordPress site, and a few long RTS posts that are here at LJ (plus the older versions of the Bridgetown Trilogy at its own LJ), but nothing much else. I'm thinking that starting in the new year, I'll be posting my more serious writing over there and keeping the LJ for more personal and lightweight things. I'm also thinking of using LJ as a daily/weekly aggregator of links to my various writings--this makes sense as I can then have the link post mirrored at Twitter and Facebook.

Writing
As mentioned above and in previous posts, I spent most of this year revising A Division of Souls and not much else aside from Walk in Silence prep work and a bunch of poetry. I think that 2012 should contain at least one NEW project, though I'm not sure what yet. It could be one of the backburner ideas (I'm thinking either Angela Death or Can't Find My Way Home, or work on the next Eden Cycle story/stories, or perhaps even something completely new), just to keep the creative juices flowing. If anything, I proved to myself that I can multitask projects if I manage my time correctly. In addition to that, during the next year I should also make some serious submissions. Part of that decision is tied in with the SFWC, in that I will be talking with a few agents/publishers about the two major projects I want to push: the Bridgetown Trilogy and Walk in Silence. I would also like to look into submitting some poetry to various places, as I know I have more than enough that are worthy of submission.

Music
The next year should also be creative musically. The last bit of new music I recorded had to be the next-to-last jeb! session back in 2005, six years ago. I've been picking up my guitar, bass and uke off and on over the past year, and I think it's time for me to start recording some of it. I have the software for it, I just need to sit down and do it. I'm not sure where I'll post it, but I think it's time. I may even do what all other old musicians are doing nowadays and do some rerecordings of Flying Bohemians tunes. Music has always been part of what I am, and I think it's time to share some of it.


So I'm pretty much coasting for the last week of this year...I'll be writing and whatnot, but I won't be too worried if I don't get much done. It's been a long year, and I'm just going to treat this last week as a Christmas vacation of sorts. I'll be posting my Best of 2011 list sometime over the next few days (which of course will include videos again) and adjusting my writing schedule to fit some of the new changes.

Hope everyone has a great holiday season!
jon_chaisson: (Default)
After quite a few off-days of weird weather or nice-but-cold sunny days, it looks like we're about to finally hit a stretch of warm spring days here in town. Can't complain there! So once we finally decide to get off our butts and get out of the house, we'll be doing a bit of walking, because hey--why waste a perfectly nice day? And yes, I will be bringing my camera, so expect to see a Tumblr post o' pix pretty soon!

This weekend is also when I finally (FINALLY!) finish polishing up the A Division of Souls synopsis, make one quick glance at the two first chapters, and email them off to [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse for a critique. I want to get that done by tomorrow, because I've made her wait much too long for it. I suppose I have a few typical writerly worries--that the synopsis is a bit too long, yet it is a large novel with a lot going on...that this story could either be a brilliant multi-character event, or just an overcrowded mess...but at this point I'm just shutting that voice up and going with my instincts. I think it's a good story worth trying out, and I'm going to stay with that.

Other than that...we both were convinced most of this week that we had something scheduled or wanted to do, but for the life of us, we couldn't remember what it was, if anything. We have a few things going on in the next few weeks--a Mahler concert at the SF Symphony, the Maker Faire, and BayCon--but nothing this weekend. So! Looks like we'll have to make do with just relaxing and having a bit of fun. :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
As promised...

in which Jonc goes on about life, liberty and the purfuit of happineff.* )

* Why yes, that was a joke from Cheers. Yes, I'm old. :p
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Writing novels, on the other hand, is something I am entirely in control of (Step one: Put ass in chair; Step two: Write until said ass is sore; Step three: Repeat steps one and two for 100,000 words) and so it’s what I plan to do. --John Scalzi, Whatever post from earlier today.

I can grok that. Not a bad idea, actually. :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
To Do This Weekend:
--dropping off the keys to our old place (after I go back in to take down the hooks I forgot to take down earlier)
--shopping at the Marina Safeway while I do said dropping off (Emm will do this)
--continue unpacking/rearranging stuff in the apartment
--watch football!

Wow...no big event, no opera or symphony? O_O
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Well, here I am, wide awake, having woken up just before 7am on a Saturday morning. I've got the local news on while I browse the internets, contemplating what I'll have for breakfast or if I should start making the coffee. It's a little overcast (but knowing SF, it's probably jsut low-lying fog and will burn off midmorning), and a bit chilly, but otherwise all is good.

It's going to be a busy weekend all around...it's Fleet Week here, so we'll have the Blue Angels buzzing our apartment current apartment sometime today. There will also most likely be many tourists clogging the sidewalks (and the roads) too, but we're used to that. However, most of today I will be driving between here and our new place, dropping off boxes and other stuff. Not sure how many trips I'll take, maybe three or four, but it'll make a nice dent in what needs being moved.

On Sunday we have Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, which should be fun (although getting there may be a trick due to the Italian Heritage parade partially blocking off our normal route to get to the Opera House). Depending on how tired/in pain I may be (not from the opera, of course :p), I may move some more boxes then as well.

And Monday? Unfortunately Emm has to work but I have the day off. w0000t! Which means even more packing and moving!

So yeah. Lots of moving stuff this weekend. Hopefully I won't pull or break anything in the process! :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Not too much on tap this weekend...no operas/symphonies/museums/movies to go to... BUT!

We're going to the SF Library's BIG HONKIN' BOOK SALE tomorrow morning, where we'll be spending more money on books that we don't have room for! :)

Other than that...an attempt at sleeping in, and some housecleaning. Seems we've got some pollen and/or dust around here that's getting us all stuffed up so some dusting and vacuuming is in order.

And also tomorrow--call the Honda dealer so I can set up an appointment to give our car a once-over. It's been awhile, and we should probably get the brakes checked, oil changed, and whatnot.

--

Oh, and also? WRITING! I need to finish posting the rest of the chapters so I can jump in and plan the rest of The Process of Belief. Then I'll be posting new chapters at [livejournal.com profile] edencycle IN REAL TIME. Ain't that a pip? :p
jon_chaisson: (coffee favorite things)
Got back a little while ago from a tasty brunch at Pat's Cafe on Taylor (a few blocks from us)...surprisingly the place was hopping when we got there a little after 9:30! Which is a good thing, since it's a really good restaurant. :) I talked to the waiter on the way out and noted this, and he said it's been consistently busy for the last few weeks, so he (and Pat herself, who handed us the menus in the first place) is quite happy about it.

Not much going on today...we're being lazy. Laundry is started, I'm planning on typing out some of my Eden Cycle notes I'd made during Worldcon, post some more TPoM chapters, and perhaps I'll post some vacation pix too, but other than that, it's going to be a lazy Sunday afternoon.

It's been pretty much the same this entire weekend...we decided after two weeks of driving everywhere, taking a weekend off doing nothing sounded like a good idea. The most we did yesterday was pick up some books at the library that were on wait for Emm (and where I dropped off more books to donate). And of course there was FOOTBALL! :)

Which reminds me...I need to play around with the internets soon to see what college stations are streaming that I can listen to. I know WAMH does now and again, but not often...and I know KUSF here in town is always up too. Yes, it's getting close to autumn, my favorite time of the year, and I should start making plans again. :)

Coming up in the near future:

Next weekend, California State Fair up in Sacramento! Which means nasty-yet-tasty fried goodness! :D

And the weekend after that, the King Tut exhibit at the De Young here in town. You do know, of course, that when I heard it was coming, my first thought was "Well, when I was a young boy, I never thought I'd see people stand in line to see the Boy King..." ;)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Okay, so planning to sleep in wasn't the best of ideas, considering A)we had our usual handful of late-night revelry outside our window and B)Bay Street suddenly became The Strip, with loud traffic going by at least until 1AM. (Oh, and C)Apparently Bay and Stockton were test strips for motorcycles sans mufflers.) On the other hand, we did go to bed insanely early due to exhaustion, so it kind of evened out. I woke up a little before 7am and scanned the internets and watched the morning news until [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon woke up and demanded coffee STAT. ;)

So now? It's just a bit after 10am and we've already showered, dressed, and done our weekend food shopping! Now what...? We might do lunch a bit later, perhaps at Tiernan's, and stop at the book store on the way back, perhaps head up to the local library as well. Because we're both book nerds. :p

Speaking of which--I'm one chapter away from finishing reading Endgame 1945. It's a very interesting nonfic, in that it's the days after WWII from just before VE day up to the Potsdam Conference, as seen by at least a dozen or so people. A good selection for someone interested in that chapter of history. Not sure what I'll read next...part of me wants to read something lighter, part of me wants to jump in on another history book. We'll see.

Also--my commute reading is Le Morte d'Arthur, something I've been meaning to read for years. Fun read, but I feel that the characters' passion for jousting borders on pathological. Honor besmirched? JOUST! A fair maiden kidnapped? JOUST! Somebody burped in the front ranks? JOUST! At least it turned into an actual war when they smited the Evil Roman Emperor. ;)

Other than that, nothing big planned for the weekend...although next weekend we have the NoCal Cherry Blossom Festival. We're really looking forward to the parade again (you remember we came upon it a few years ago quite by accident and enjoyed it). And the Grand Marshal for this year's parade? George Takei! w0000t!

My only other thing for the weekend, of course, is writing. But I'll go on about that in a post at my writing LJ. ;) We should probably head outside, too, as it's BEEEEYOOTIFUL out there at the moment. Nary a cloud in the sky, even if it is a cool mid-50s. :p
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Morning all...another cold morning here in San Francisco...yeah, I know, 45 degrees isn't exactly cold in New England terms, so I can't complain too much, but when it's normally a good twenty degrees warmer on any given day, that's a cold morning! :p

Our sleeping in this weekend actually worked for the most part, unlike a few weekends ago when neither of us got much of a wink. We were both happy to get up closer to 7 or 8am rather than 5-ish. The only problem was last night at 3:30am when some obviously-drunk woman with some serious issues got in a catfight with some other person who, by the time the drunk woman shut up, was all the way up the other end of the block, ignoring her. Yeah, that was special...

Also: Christmas shopping nearly done for the most part! :) I just need to pick up a few things online and we're good. We tempted fate and went to the mall yesterday and it wasn't nearly as insane as I'd expected. We got some sweet deals at Kohl's and spent way much more money than we'd expected at Target, but at least we've got a good headstart on the holiday shopping. I think the fact we ordered everything online--and early at that--is the reason I keep getting this feeling we're forgetting to order something. :p

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[Writing]

Geh. Now I understand why Connie Willis went on about how frustrating writing a time travel novel is, when we saw her at WorldCon. Over the course of the last few weeks I've been questioning my sanity for wanting to come up with a storyline like this. Trying to come up with an interesting time-travel storyline while keeping logic in mind is one of the most mindbreaking, aggravating things I've ever done writingwise. It's a hell of a lot tougher than one thinks. But on the plus side, the outline is nearing its end--hopefully I'll get it finished by the end of the year--and with some tweaking and cleaning up, I think it will work.

In other news...I've been bad and not doing anything big with Love Like Blood lately. Well, not entirely bad...I've heard from many editors and agents that sending right at the end of the year isn't always the best of ideas, since most of them consider this their weeks off and, honestly, a good time to clean off the desk. So as much as it pains me, I'm going to wait until early-to-mid January to send it off. I should have sent it off earlier, but I won't go into that...still, I have a few places in mind that it will get sent to.

More writing news...it's still early in the game for the Eden Cycle website, but I need to get started on that as well. I'm up to Chapter 9 in the edit/once-over, partly to fix up a few things but also partly to refamiliarize myself with the story itself...that's going pretty well, and I'm still happy with most of it. What I need to be doing is coming up with some introductory passages and/or reference posts to start with, and take a weekend (or week) where I'm not doing much else and work on the layout of the site. I'd like the site to "officially" go live in January, with some sneak-peeks this month, so I'd better get cracking on this.

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[Writing: Online]

As said in the past few weeks, because of all these projects I'm working on, I'm planning on backing away from LJ and other online things for a bit to get stuff done. I'm not going to completely disappear, and I will occasionally pop onto LJ to make a few comments, but for the most part I need to get more serious about my work here. So this will probably mean a few things--some quick flyby LJ posts during work hours, and long, drawn-out posts both here and at [livejournal.com profile] jonchaisson written on the weekend. I won't x-post to both, since most people who read this LJ read the other, and I won't subject you to twice the boringness. ;)

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[The World We Live In...]

I need to back away from the Kos for awhile...maybe not cold turkey, but I've definitely been spending more time on it than I should. Sure, I like being on top of things political and whatnot, but it's eating into my writing time. In fact, now that the election season is over, I need to back away from the news for awhile. I'm getting all worked up again about everything, and I don't need that. I'll keep on top of things, of course, but not to such an extent as I have over the last few months.

-------------

[...and Life in General]

Yes, [livejournal.com profile] head58, I used those headers on purpose. My apologies ahead of time. :p

Seriously, folks...things are going well. Health is good, work is okay, I'm keeping busy...there's always room for improvement, of course, but I can't complain.

Next year I'm hoping to get more serious about health. I'm not exactly ailing badly, but I can stand to lose some weight and get more exercise, and cut out or down on a lot of bad things I've been eating/drinking lately. Kind of funny how the worst and toughest habits to break are the ones that affect the body... Anyhoo, I want to get more walking in, focus more on keeping good eating habits at work, and not being as lazy as I have.

Of course, this also includes mental health. I don't have many worries, but I need to rethink how my thought processes work. I'm thinking about my plans for 2008 that I posted back in January, and while my list may have been wishful thinking (let's admit, there was a lot in there), I'd like to think I got at least some of it done. That makes me happy that I got more done that I'd expected, but I need to do more. I have a bad habit of being passive, and while that's not exactly a bad thing, it can lead to a lot of frustration. I need to ramp up my determination to get things done.

In short...while I thought 2008 was a vast improvement over 2007, I'm hoping that 2009 becomes more of a banner year. We'll see....

-------------------

[Music]

You were warned: I'm most likely going to be doing a very large music post in the next few days/weeks as the year ends. I have a few ideas that I'm working with, including working on yet another end-of-year best-of list. This being another year ending in 8, there were a lot of good albums...although I'm surprising myself by realizing it didn't stand out nearly as much as 1988 and 1998 did. Then again, my connection with music isn't nearly as intense as it was over the last few decades (sad but true), so I wasn't as involved.

That said, though, there were some great albums that came out, and I'll be going over them in a later post. :)

------------------

Okay, time to make most of my day and get stuff done! How was your weekend? :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Okay, so it's November first, and pretty much all my writing friends here on LJ are jumping in on NaNo, so I commend you all and hope you reach all your goals!! :) Even [livejournal.com profile] emmalyonis getting in on the action, doing NaKniSweMo this year!

As for me...? Unfortunately it looks like another year where I'm too busy with other things to be able to write a novel in a month, so I've decided I'm going to tweak NaNo to my own purposes, and it's twofold:

--Use the month of November to finish off the projects I'm working on
--Train myself to speed up my workflow

The first one would be the kinda-sorta NaNo challenge for me, as this would include not only the Can't Find My Way Home outline but getting as far as I can with the trilogy website planning (finish reading/tweaking A Division of Souls, write up a few teaser posts, etc). If I still have time left, I will add the various Love Like Blood 2 projects. The main goal is to finish off these projects, or at least get as far as I can on them before the end of the month.

The second one is sort of more important and is kinda the outcome of the first...although I've been a lot more consistent with my work, which I felt was more important to focus on for awhile, I feel it's nearly time to work on volume. I can do a lot more than a couple hundred words a day...I just have to work at it. And the outcome of this one is to train myself out of procrastination and getting easily sidetracked.

So all in all, not exactly writing and completing a novel, but I'm aiming for similar goals, and that's good enough for me. It's going to be a busy couple of weeks all around, and I doubt I'll be posting much around these parts, or at least as much as I normally do (with the exception of November 4th--that's a given, whichever way that day ends up), but I'll try to check in either here or on [livejournal.com profile] jonchaissonwith updates!

So!
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Good luck NaNo'ers!

See you at the finish line!

:D  :D  :D  :D
jon_chaisson: (Default)
I know, I know...I just got back from a vacation and only worked for three days--two of them at home--but it feels like it's been one loooooong week. I'm pretty sure it's a combination of jet lag, long plane rides, and three fun-packed days of a FUBAR system at work. So yeah, the weekend is a welcome sight. :)

We don't have many plans, being that this is the first weekend where we don't have something set up, so we've decided that doing as little as possible is a good thing. We don't need to do much food shopping (we did that on Wednesday), the laundry's okay for now...I don't believe there's anything important we need to do.

That said, my to-do list:

In LJ-Land
--post vacation pix
--write political post I've been threatening to do (or at least start it as an MSWord doc)
--post things to [livejournal.com profile] jonchaisson (I have a few things lined up)

Writing
--work on CFMWH outline
--worldbuild/play with ideas for LLB2 story
--read first few chapters of A Division of Souls (aka trilogy book 1)
--make more plans for trilogy website

Real Life
--relax


Short and sweet, and manageable. :)


ETA: I hate to add this, because I know it's going to eventually piss me off, but I've GOT to figure out this damn printer problem. All suggestions so far have been all for naught. Everything from fixing registry keys, replacing possibly bad programs, and even restoring a formerly quarantined item that affected said programs. I'm going to contact both HP (for the printer) and eMachines (for the PC) to see what they can do. I REALLY don't want to have to reformat the drive...but I will if I have to. I'll use the new external for that, once it comes in. *sigh*
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Thanks again for all who chimed in with this ginormous project I'm about to regret doing as it will suck my brain dry embark on. I'm still in the planning stages, so I'm not about to go live just yet. I would like to have everything, or at least a good portion, ready to go by the end of this year, and will most likely go live in January.

This will give me time to whip up some ideas for shameless publicity--that is, creating some fun banner ads that people can pass around and put on their own LJ/MySpace/etc pages if they so choose. Those will most likely become available in December. If anyone's interested helping out with art, let me know! :p

If anything, I'm looking for a long, narrow shot of a cityscape at night--very much like the famous view from Mulholland Drive, only with a GENOM-type tapered tower in the middle of it (though a lot less, er, 'stocky' than GENOM Tower ;) ), with a reddish cloud circling at base level but a good few blocks away. And room for lettering, of course. ;)

As for webhosting, [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon and I still have a Yahoo-hosted site we haven't done anything with for awhile, so we'll see what we can do there. I can always do a move later if I want to upgrade/need more webspace/etc. So we're good there for now. And it has a neat site creator that I can use too.


More as this evolves!! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
The Eden Cycle Trilogy
(this section x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] jonchaisson--sorry if anyone's seeing this twice)

First off, after reading a certain passage in John Scalzi's You're Not Fooling Anyone You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop about his posting Old Man's War on his website before it got published, it's kind of made me think about possibly doing that myself. And yesterday [livejournal.com profile] bonniers mentioned the same thing on her LJ. Out of all the writing I have, I believe the Eden Cycle Trilogy is prime for this same thing.

Of course, it's a double-edged sword: there are those who are going to say that this will nix any possibility of it being professionally published (read: it's free on the internet, why should we lose money publishing it?), but at the same time there's the possibility (like Old Man's War, actually) where it does eventually get picked up and published.

I'm going to be blunt and honest here--as much as I love the trilogy and think it's one of my favorite projects I've ever written, it's far from being my best work, and I doubt I'll ever be able to find the time to completely rewrite it to the point of it being picked up by a major publisher. I've come to the conclusion that if I do end up publishing this online, then it will have found a good home and others will be able to read it. Many of my writing friends out there have already read at least the first book, and while it still needs work, they did enjoy it, so I know at least someone out there would check it out.

I also want to bring up the fact that the trilogy has a considerable amount of backstory, worldbuilding, maps, notes, reference and outtakes (its original idea, The Phoenix Effect, included). Utilizing these things as multimedia "extras" would be a lot of fun to work with. I could even keep an ongoing separate blog tied in with it, explaining how the scene was written or thoughts and memories about writing it. If you haven't guessed already, I could easily see the whole trilogy project as the online version of a Special Edition DVD--a director's cut with commentary, outtakes, pictures and other fun easter eggs. I mean, why not?

Am I annoyed that I possibly wouldn't make one thin dime out of it? I was for awhile, and to an extent it still feels like I'd be giving up in a way, but I've been over it for awhile now. Am I shooting myself in the foot, effectively throwing this ginormous project away, all this work for nothing? Maybe, but that's looking at it from the point of view of novel-as-potential-paycheck. I don't think I'm throwing it away; in fact, this is more along the lines of giving it the outlet it desperately needs. It's not doing anything, its paper versions gathering dust on our bedroom bookshelf and closet, and the digital version sitting around doing nothing on my hard drive (don't worry, kids--I have it saved elsewhere too).

I would love to hear what people think about this idea...

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