jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)

I've been so busy the last few days that I've lost track of time. Day Jobbery keeps me on my toes, especially when an apocalyptic snowstorm hits the east coast and shuts down not only the print facility but the both USPS and FedEx delivery hubs, and clients still want to know why their checks are late. *headdesk* Plus I seem to have given myself a much tighter editing schedule than I expected in regards to The Persistence of Memories, which at this point may be pushed to end of February. As much as I hate to admit defeat, it's still much too long (it's about 10k longer than A Division of Souls...which, by the way, has been getting rousing applause by readers but has the same problem: it's also far too long). Since the ending is in sight for this one, I'll finish this run off and start over ONE MORE TIME to see where I can cut.

Which brings me to a related thought...I will, at some point, need to head back to ADoS and do the same. As much as I love the deliberate pacing for this trilogy, it's not for everyone. I will admit that there are definitely some scenes that can be cut, shortened, or sped up. I'm not entirely sure when I'll be hitting that one next, as I'd like to work on The Balance of Light after I'm done with TPoM. We shall see.

And what of Walk in Silence...? *sigh* As much as I'd love to get that out by April, my schedule isn't playing fair, so that one may not be released until autumn. I don't want to put out a half-assed book I'm not proud of, and I do my shittiest work when I kludge it together and call it done. I will of course keep everyone updated on this.

So...what else is going on? Well, I'm currently living the bachelor life for a few weeks, as A is currently in Manila on a work-related trip. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the time difference (9am today here in SF is 1am tomorrow there), but we make do. She's been tweeting all kinds of really tasty food she's been buying and eating, which is making me jealous. And believe it or not, the apartment has not degraded into a messy mancave. In fact, I spent most of the first day doing some serious cleaning, and plan on continuing with that next weekend. And yes, I have been eating well! Or reasonably well. I've only ordered out once so far, and that was due to having forgotten to get something out of the freezer to thaw. The only thing I've been bad at is going to bed at a normal time, but that's due to my wanting to get some serious writing work done. I guess I'm at that age where becoming a slovenly slacker just doesn't have the appeal anymore.

Speaking of of last Friday, I am now the same speed as a seven-inch single. And I am fine with that. No, really, I am! :p
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
WELP. So much for doing the laundry downstairs. Looks like the washer shit the bed again. Which means I'm going to have to head over to Rainbow Wash again. I'm not complaining, though...I'd gotten so used to heading over there the last few months that it doesn't bother me. In fact, I kind of look forward to it in a weird way. I get to do some serious longhand work while I wait for the cycles to finish. And I can get snacks from across the way and coffee next door if need be.

In other news, I finally have a phone again! Yay! I'd brought it to the Sprint store down in the Mission, where even the store manager could not figure out what the hell happened to it (it was stuck in a power-up loop, and the only way to stop it was to take out the battery), so they gave me a replacement for no charge. I've decided I'm going to continue with curbing my dependency on it. I've added a few apps on it so far (Twitter, Instagram and Dropbox, three that I know I'd be using with any regularity), but I'm trying to keep it as spartan as possible. I'd like to depend on it more for its intended purpose -- communication -- rather than distraction.

In writing news, I'm a little less than 140 pages left in the final line edit of The Persistence of Memories. Thanks to the few of you who commented on the previous entry for the cover! I kind of like the cityscape one better myself. It's more colorful and retains the skyline imagery. I'll have to tweak it some, or see if I can use a similar picture, but we shall see. I'll probably be working on that tomorrow or maybe next weekend. Also, the soft date for release, I've decided, will be 2/15. It might be earlier or later, depending on if I can get it finished on time. I'll let y'all know.

As for WiS...I'm still a bit nervous about that one. I still have the soft date of late April for that one, but I'm not sure if I'll be finished in time. That one may not be done until summer instead. If that's the case, the release may end up being in autumn instead, and that means it'll end up switching places with The Balance of Light in terms of release date. The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards that schedule. Even though TBoL needs some serious editing, I can at least have that one ready by summer the latest. Again, we shall see...

Hmm. This Seatle/Carolina game is really one-sided. If this keeps up, I may end up heading over to the laundromat now instead of after the games...!

Hope everyone is having a relaxing weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Somehow I managed to finagle Friday off as a Personal Day, so Emm and I drove down the coast to Monterey/Pacific Grove and had a nice relaxing mini-vacation at the Gosby House Inn. Pacific Grove is literally next door to Monterey, a tiny bedroom community that has its own mini downtown of restaurants and shops, and has a lovely coastal drive. We hit the usual places: the yarn store, the used bookstore (BookBuyers in downtown Monterey has an excellent used SF/F section), the restaurants, and so on. We also took a quick drive over to Carmel to visit the beach for a short time as well. An insane amount of pictures were taken, of course!

I deliberately did not write anything, although I did reread what I had of the new Mendaihu Universe story so far, just to remind myself what I had and where it needs to go. That one's been on the back burner (one of the closer ones, currently on mid-heat) while I get the trilogy prepared for release and get some serious writing done for Walk in Silence, which is still aiming for an April 2016 release. The new MU story needs a LOT of work, so I think I'll be doing a lot of outlining and plotting before I get back to it. It's definitely salvageable, just very disjointed at this point.

Also, it being December, this is of course the time of year where I start thinking about my end-of-year compilation and best-of lists, so you will most likely see those within the next few weeks on the WiS blog.

The Day Job, I should add, has been rather quiet as of late (knock wood), which is expected. It usually dies out from about Thanksgiving to around the fifteenth or so, where clients are loath to start any new banking and have paid nearly all their outstanding invoices, leaving me with naught but reading the various system reports that kick out throughout the day. Can't complain. There will be a quick surge of busy time as we get closer to Christmas (the usual last minute OMG that goes on), and then it'll be dead again for the last week of the year. So in short, I've got it made for the next few weeks (I hope). Which gives me a bit of time to sneak in some writing and editing. Heh.

Hope all is well with everyone this season! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Wow, that weekend was much too short. Then again, we had all sorts of things going on... Saturday was about going to see the Benedict Cumberbatch eat up the scenery in the National Theatre's production of Hamlet at the Kabuki, making a mad dash* down to the Mission thereafter to say hi to [ profile] kateelliott at Borderlands. Sunday was shopping and laundry day (the old washing machine in our building is still kaput, so I've been hoofing it over to the laundromat down the street). Granted, I did get a bit of TPoM editing done, and I even got a page or so of longhand work done for WiS as well. I'm getting better at the time management again.

Speaking of writing, the new whiteboard schedule is working out quite nicely. Since the TPoM work is done at night, I don't need to worry too much about that. It's the other bits, the blogs and the 750, that I've needed to make sure I hit. My trick to make sure I do them has been simple: bring up the webpages and keep them open as tabs, so I can't help but see them. And once I'm able to get to them, I close the Twitter tab and jump right in. No opening Twitter back up until I'm done. And so far, that's worked pretty well for me!

As for WiS, even though I've given myself the full weekend to work on that project, I think I need more time on it. That'll be a bit tricky, but I think I might have found a spot for it. I have two fifteen-minute breaks during the day apart from my half-hour lunch, and during the morning break I've been writing in my daily personal journal. The afternoon break has been empty with not much happening, so I think that would be a great place for it. We'll see how it works out.

Meanwhile, back to the Day Job. Woohoo! :p

* Said mad dash included leaving the Japantown parking lot and getting stuck behind a car moseying along at walking speed up Post and taking half a block to change lanes; turning at Gough and a few minutes later getting stuck mid-intersection behind another car with an old lady and her daughter yapping away and not paying attention to the car-and-a-half length they're keeping between them and the car in front of them; making it to Mission only to have to weave around multiple illegally double-parked cars and a major fleet of parked MUNI buses; not being able to turn at the street I needed due to PG&E maintenance; and finally going around the block and turning at the street to get to the parking garage...only to be stopped mere yards from the garage entrance by an extremely ancient man with a walker cane jaywalking across the street at snail speed. I was in tears laughing at that point, it was so comedic.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)

Oh, here's a shock. It's Wednesday and I'm listening to KSCU online playing The 80s Underground show, and now I've just gone and emptied out one of my mp3 players to throw a bunch of 80s albums on there. And it's not the first time I've done it, either...I did it a few times previously as part of my Walk in Silence playlist.

I'd put that project aside to put all my focus on releasing A Division of Souls, and I think it's high time to bring it back. Even if I only work on it on the weekends, I need to pick it back up and get a final draft done. Why? Because I'm aiming for a release of late April 2016.

Why a specific date, you ask? Well, it just so happens that the week of April vacation (do kids still have that nowadays?) in 1986 was the week I discovered college radio.

Yeah, that's right. I've been obsessing over the alternative rock genre for thirty years.

I think I'd better make a big party out of it, no?

[And yes, I'm well aware that I'm going to be releasing The Persistence of Memories somewhere around the same time. I'll try to keep it spread out.]


So anyway, what's with this rebel thing? Eh, just something that's been floating through my head lately. Over at Welcome to Bridgetown, I talked a bit about how far I wanted to take the whole DIY process in self-publishing. [And as I'd said there, I don't come to this as a way to make myself believe I don't need an editor or beta readers or what have you, or that I consider myself above such things. I just want to see how far I can take it completely on my own. If I fail miserably, I only have myself to blame, but I've also learned things as well.]

I'm half-jokingly thinking of it as a bit of personal rebellion, really. Not against anyone in particular, but a process that's been in place for decades. There's an understandable bit of frustration in the traditional publishing process -- writing, rewriting, revising, finishing, submission to an agent (repeat as necessary), submission to a publisher (repeat as necessary), finally get accepted, wait in line to be printed, wait for the release date -- particularly the time spent waiting, as well as the gamble that you may or may not even get a response.

Self-publishing has done a lot to minimize a lot of that frustration. Sure, there are a lot of questionable e-books out there, but there's also some pretty nifty ones as well. And on a product level, I'm finding that the novels may not contain Manhattan-level editing, but there's some equally fascinating story ideas. This is where my half-joking rebelling comes in: I'm the punk band that's just recorded an EP using their older brother's copy of SoundForge, done a spot of fine-tuning and mixing, and set it out on the world via Bandcamp. [Or if I really want to date myself, I borrowed time at my buddy's friend's uncle's tiny studio (which actually records PSAs and light entertainment music, and paid for after-hours time by doing their yardwork), made a cassette tape of a demo (and recycled the master reel afterwards) and sent copies of copies of copies of said tape (using a few bricks of Memorex tapes I bought at Radio Shack) out to various radio stations that I found listed in Maximum RnR.]

Come to think of it, I think this is actually a healthy way to look at it, at least personally. It gives me stable ground in which to base my methods of writing and publication, and it appeals to my own natural temptation to avoid doing something the way everyone else does. It clears my mind, and it clears my path, and that works for me.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's Saturday morning and we're on our second pot of coffee while A. catches up on some Day Job work and I keep myself busy with things and stuff. Tonight we'll be heading to the Symphony again (another of $15 a ticket deal, this time featuring Thomas Adés and Dawn Upshaw). Tomorrow is...up in the air. A. may need to do a bit more Day Jobbery stuff, and if I've nothing better to do, I'll once again use that day as Errand Day. Such excitement, very wow. :)

Last night was spent writing query letters to potential agents to get A Division of Souls out and about! This will be attempt numbers 2 and 3 for 2015, as one of my primary aims for this year is to find a home for the Bridgetown Trilogy. [This does include indie publishing if it comes to it.] And speaking of the Mendaihu Universe, I will freely admit that my writer brain is absolutely clamoring to get another MU story up and running. Even as I'm attempting to work on Walk in Silence and Blogging the Beatles, the ache to return to that universe and start writing more stories within it has been nagging at me for quite a few years now.

It all boils down to tricking my mind.

On the one hand, while I can easily multitask, I don't always find multitasking an entirely positive thing to do. It comes from my Day Job: I hate having to stop in the middle of one method of problem solving so I can jump to another issue that has risen to Threat Level OMGWTFONOES. That is due to the fact that many clients have differently tweaked setups, so what might be logical for Client A may be highly illogical for Client B. I waste time and energy adjusting myself to a different situation which, in my mind, should be similar but isn't.

On the other hand, with my creative endeavors, I can switch easily from one to another without a problem. I can do my daily words, do some drawing or squeeze in a blog post, and work on my main project at the end of the day, with little frustration and not that much time in between.

I realized this was due to the number of things I was working on, and which kind of thought process I was using. I've a good analytical brain which helps me in manuscript revision and plotting, but gets rather annoyed when I have to stop on a dime and restart in a different direction. Or in a different light...I'm happy when I'm in charge of my thought process.

My point being, it's a matter of tricking my mind into switching from one writing project to another. This is why I have the whiteboard; it's a deadline schedule to make sure my multiple projects are getting done in a reasonable time frame. And from my point of view, I should have the time to balance WiS, BtB and the possible new MU story.

Now? It's a matter of getting and staying off the damned internet and DOING them.

I blame the cats, I tell you. Evil, cute furry things!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Oh hey there! Been busy the last few days with writing and other errands, so I'd temporarily forgotten to update here! Oops. Some updates:

ITEM: The daily 750 Words are working out quite nicely. There are days I'll just spit out random ideas that may or may not go anywhere, and then I'll come up with an idea that I'll riff on for a good number of days. The latest one concerns a family that used to be a band--sort of like the Osmonds in size and following, where their heyday was in the 80s--and what their lives are like now. This was another one of my ideas inspired by a snippet of a dream, and I've been playing around with it all week. I may or may not continue working on it, but we'll see.

ITEM: Related, it occurred to me last night that if I keep hitting the daily words in the form of this ongoing story idea, by six months I'll have a full novel. A roundabout NaNo project, if you will. I'm not going to call it a real thing, but the idea is out there. We'll see.

ITEM: Also related, I'm finding sneaking in the 750 in increments during the day works out nicely as well. I can log on multiple times, and in the process I've not only been hiting 750 a day, but more like 900 or 1000 words. This bodes well.

ITEM: Yes, this is including my regular writing work at night. [Noted: also good that I moved the 750 to earlier in the day, this gives me more flexibility for the main projects.] Blogging the Beatles and Walk in Silence are slow going, but they're going.

ITEM: Daily journaling is working out well too! Some days I'll write six short paragraphs, other days, like yesterday, I'll write a good two pages. Sometimes it'll be random bloviating, sometimes it'll be trying to figure stuff out. And art? Art still needs more love, but it's getting at least weekly dedication, so there's that. And music is still offline, but near-daily guitar noodling is at least counting as practice. Heh.

Not too much else to report here...doing a book store run later today, and we have the symphony tomorrow, so more busy weekend fun! Whee!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
So how does my newfangled whiteboard schedule look at this time? Definitely a few rough patches remaining, but other than that it's working out just peachy.

I've been hitting my daily words consistently since Day One, but over the last few days I've fallen into the trap of doing those words after dinner, which is cutting into my actual writing session time. This is a problem I've had for some time, especially since I *want* to be hitting those daily words plus my regular work; if it cuts into my session time, that's less work I actually get done. Recommendation: do what I did in the first few days, sneaking those daily words in throughout the day and getting them done well before 4pm. That seemed to work out just fine. I'm well aware there may be work days where that won't be able to happen, but I can adjust when and where necessary.

The WordPress entries have been consistent so far, and I'd like to think that's because I'm actually starting them a few days early, well before the due date. That's part of the whole whiteboard project this time out--I'm trying to wean myself off the old school habit of doing my homework at the last minute and get it all done early. I have a Welcome to Bridgetown post due on Sunday, so I'll most likely be starting up something today so I have it ready for finishing, editing and posting then.

Monday's 'storyboarding' day worked out pretty well--I let my mind wander and come up with some new angles on the Mendaihu Universe that may be worth looking into. This has also leaked into my daily words, so all told I'm happy that the well has not in fact run dry, it was merely dormant.

Everything else has worked out pretty well so far, though of course I am being super hard on myself to get something of worth out of all this. I've been playing my guitars and trying a few different things, but no recording so far. I've drawn a few preliminary visual storyboards for a personal project (more on that sometime down the line) but they're pretty much remaining very basic pencil tests. I've gotten a good amount of word count on the Beatles book revision, but it still seems quite rough. Point being, it does feel like I'm flailing and getting nowhere...but that's just it: it's only nine days in. I'm just starting out here, and I've got to be a bit more patient.

Onward and upward!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
October was kind of wonky for me, writingwise. Ups and downs, sidetracking and procrastination, updates and changes, vacations and superbusy workdays. Again--I've learned not to let that bother me at this point, because there is no point of me doing so. I may have had a brief anxiety attack while attempting to fall asleep last night, in which my brain decided to play out the "I'm merely adequate and will never be a good author" and "I'll publish my work and not one person will ever read it" and all that typical bullshit writers go through. [For the record, I used my personal mental trick of angrily saying "No, Just STOP. Just fucking stop it." in an angry 'I'm-in-charge' voice to my anxiety brain. That seems to work quite nicely, actually.] As is usual, I'm calm and much more in reality upon waking the next morning.

It's probably obvious by now that I'm not even going to attempt NaNoWriMo at this point. I just don't have the time or the inclination right now. Too many things on the laundry list.

The whiteboard schedule looms, but I'm not scared of it.

Some writerly updates:

WordPress blogs. As I'd mentioned at Walk in Silence, I've decided to change these up a little bit. First, I changed up the layouts a bit to make them easier and more enjoyable to read. Second, I started thinking about the content. My blogs tend to be quite beefy in wordcount, and sometimes that makes sense (especially if I'm waxing poetic about writing processes or analyzing a favorite album), but I'd like to try out some shorter entries as well, which will work twofold: I can whip those out in less than an hour which means I can sneak those in at any time, and in the process, I may be able to do more updates throughout the week.

Current, Ongoing and Upcoming Writing Projects. I won't go into too much detail, as I keep forgetting that Posting About Best Laid Plans usually ends in Best Laid Plans Going Wonky. I need to do a bit of high-end scheduling and writing work on multiple things at once, and I'll leave it at that. Point being, you may or may not see me online as often, depending on what I'm up to and how far I get.

...aaaand, that's about it for now.

Other than that, it's a relaxing and mundane Sunday, in which I do all the errands such as food shopping, doing the laundry, and getting the car washed. Because I'm boring that way!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
*sigh* It's Sunday afternoon and the last day of vacation, so now I get to look forward to two months' worth of Q4 ridiculousness at the bank. On the plus side, Q4 in EDI is nowhere near Q4 in retail, or any tax season for that matter, so while we might get waves of OMG requests (usually in the form of "something broke HALP"), it's not as if I'm forced by guilt to work hours of overtime. And as long as the systems don't get all jacked up for some ridiculous reason, I should be okay. Still--it's kind of weird that on the one hand, I'm kind of sad that our final vacation of the year is coming to an end, but on the other hand, I'm totally fine with heading back to the grind tomorrow. We got a lot done, had a lot of fun, and we're looking forward to visiting places old and new next year already.

So did I get anything creative done over the vacation? Well, yes and no. I did keep up with Inktober for the most part, missing only a few days but catching up quickly thereafter. I did finally get a response from Angry Robot (rejection), which has given me some food for thought as to where the Bridgetown Trilogy will go next. I did another Two Thousand reread to remember where I am. But other than that? Not a sausage. No poetry, no journal, no 750 Words. Though I did bring those notebooks with me to Portland, I chose not to break them open, mainly because I wanted to take a mental break from it all. I can afford a week's distance every now and again, I think. Besides, with all my extraneous creative energy going nowhere, it ended up in some of the drawings, so I managed to reawaken my love of art pretty quickly. I even chose to buy some quality drawing pens. All my art pens and some of my pencils are now in a repurposed takeout container under my monitor, right next to my journal and notebooks.

So! What's next, once Monday rolls around? Back on the horse, of course of course. Back to hitting the daily 750 Words (aka the New Idea Playground), back to working on Two Thousand and Walk in Silence, back to weekly WordPress entries, back to the whiteboard schedule. I'm ready to go!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
The official return of Jonc' Whiteboard Writing Schedule worked out pretty well for September, all things considered. The output was a little lower than I wanted it to be, but on the other hand I am using the non-project exercises to a good extent. The numbers below give me a good idea where my strength is and where I need to adjust.

Numbers and Plans below this here cut )
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Okay, summer technically ends tomorrow, but Q4 is already here. School has already started, retail has started to ramp up their sales, and soon enough we'll start seeing holiday-themed things in the stores. And of course, it's time for the big-name bands to release their albums.

So what's in store for me this autumn? I mean, aside from me getting all wistful and thinking about 1988 (more than usual, I mean), and writing bad poetry and yet more nostalgic blog posts?

Well, Q4 pretty much kicked in at the start of September for me, and that's when I restarted the whiteboard schedule, and I'm happy to say I've been sticking to it pretty tightly. I've had a few days where I don't get to a poem, or I missed a day of writing my 750 Words, or some such...but I'm okay with that. In most cases (aside from the 750), I can make up for it a day or so later, and I'm okay with that. In fact, I may not get to the schedule today due to the fact that we have plans with the in-laws later today. But the point of the schedule is not to assign myself strict deadlines--it's to ensure I get off my duff and do these things.

So for the long-term goals? That's a good question. There are a few book-related things I have in mind that I won't go into here just yet. I'm still near the beginning of Two Thousand so I can't quite tell when that one's going to be finished. Walk in Silence will also take much longer than anticipated, but on the other hand that one's a lot further along than I expected it to be. And do I have any projects that I'll start after that? Well, good question. I'm not focusing on that too much just yet. I have a few vague ideas, but that's about it. I'm not looking at them for the moment because I want to devote as much time as I can on my present projects.

Other than that? Having a pretty relaxing weekend! Hope everyone's doing well!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)

As mentioned earlier, I felt a need to return to the whiteboard writing schedule. Not because I was getting lazy, but because I'm once again feeling the need to kick it up a notch. Since I'm no longer balancing a major revision with other projects, I have quite a bit of time on my hands and I'd like to get more productive. This will give me more practice and experience in the process, which is always a good thing.

I'm okay with Two Thousand hitting on average around 500-600 words a day--that's actually pretty good for a project that just started last you can see in the picture, I'm reserving work on that (abbreviated as 2K) for the weekdays, the primary writing sessions at the end of the day.

Most of this schedule is actually copied from my early 2013 schedule, with a few tweaks here and there. It worked quite well in the past, so I figure I'd try it again. This time I'm playing it a bit differently:

--Two days of writing poetry, which will be offline for the most part but may be posted here or elsewhere if I feel like it. I still have my Dreamwidth account, but I've chosen not to post there anymore (the main reasons being that I just don't use it all that much, and it rarely gets traffic).

--Taking and/or posting a picture midweek, most likely to my Tumblr. I can of course do this any time I like, but I'm choosing to use Wednesdays as a deadline for posting.

--Art! This I'm keeping up in the air...this could mean me playing around with my Wacom, or it could be drawing something in the art moleskine notebook I have. As long as it's something drawn, that's all that matters. Again, this will probably stay offline unless I feel like posting.

--Music: I left this one deliberately vague, as it means two things:
1) Guitar practice. I do this almost on a daily basis anyway, noodling around on one of my guitars for a few minutes a day, but this will be a dedicated time where I'll play one of my instruments here, be it the guitar, the bass, the ukulele, or the keyboard. As long as it's something.
2) The Walk in Silence WordPress blog. I find that I really enjoy writing the music-themed entries on the weekends, as I can take my own time to work on them, give them a quick edit and revision, and then post them at the end of the day. Sundays seem to be the best time for those.

The only things I did not add were:
--750 Words. I want to start this up again, it's been awhile. I still get the daily email reminder as I never turned it off, and it's a lot of fun using it as an infodump or a playground for ideas.
--Journaling. I still do this every weekday during my 9:30am break, so no reason to add it here.
--The Welcome to Bridgetown WordPress blog. At the moment I'm lumping that in with the "Music" header, as I tend to write those on the weekend anyway, but I may add those on Saturday.

This schedule is of course subject to change, but at this point in time, I'm happy with it.  It'll definitely keep me busy!

Looking forward to a creative Q4! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
So it's the end of August...the end of summer vacation, the time to head off to college, the end of Q3 and the start of Q4, or just the end of another month, depending on who you are and what you do. It's a long weekend with Labor Day letting us get away with one last day of slacking off.

Our apartment is near a few schools, both high and elementary, so we've been seeing a lot of neighborhood kids getting ready for the new semester (or already disappearing off the streets and into the schools--I never know when the first day of school is around here). It got me thinking about the various things I used to do over the course of my school years.

Each year I'd start off with a weak but well-intentioned goal of "doing better this time out". I'd end up doing my usual slightly-above-average grades, but I could never quite push myself to ace the courses. There's many and varied reasons for that--inattention, distraction, emotional issues, frustration, boredom, what have you--but I managed to pass each semester and move on to the next grade. I graduated in the top quarter of my high school class and somewhere in the middle of my college class. As long as I didn't stay behind.

I recently thought about some of my personal tics and habits when it came to school. By fourth grade I was one of those people who wanted to have their desktop clean. A little compulsively so, to be honest, but I would get twitchy if I'd accidentally marked the desk with a pen or something. And in a fit of irony, the inside of my desk was embarrassingly cluttered. I mean cluttered, stuffed with homework and papers and what have you dating back to the beginning of the semester, so much so that at one point when the teacher wasn't looking, I moved some of it to an empty desk across the room. It was wacky mixture of obsessive cleanliness and compulsive hoarding, come to think of it. My bedroom was always a mix of clean and clutter, depending on where you looked. It pretty much explains my music collection--always in alphabetical and chronological order (and cassettes almost always rewound back to the beginning), and always growing. [Thanks to my collection being nearly all digital, I have no reason to obsess over the order, as my music software does it for me. I have had a years-long project going on where I've been cataloging my entire collection, though, but I'm taking my time on it. I'm two-thirds through "R" at the time of this writing, and it will probably be completely caught up by early next year. It's both an exercise in obsession and tempering the same.]

During the HMV Years I had the schedule of Wednesday comic runs across the state and the daily longhand writing before my shift. During the Yankee Candle years I had the schedule of the same comic run and the Newbury Comics cd purchasing, and writing the trilogy on a daily basis (usually 7-9pm). I kind of lost direction for a few years when we moved out to California, but I'd say once we moved again to the Richmond District in 2009 I got my groove back. My job has been 7:30 to 4pm without change. We hit the gym by 4:15. We have dinner upon return. By 6:30 or so I'm in Spare Oom, ready to write until about 8pm.

I still get a bit OCD about things, but I've managed to balance everything out. I'm okay with letting some things sit for a while. My writing time fluctuates but I always manage to get around 600 or 700 words a night, more if I'm in the zone. I let things pile up and then do a mass cleaning. My desk is relatively clean, but I do have the need to tidy up now and again. I miss some writing sessions, and I get lazy and distracted during some as well. But I'm okay with that.

It's also why I have the calendar whiteboard for my writing--if I didn't set myself a schedule, well...I'd get stuff done, but at a much slower rate, and I'd forget to do things for weeks at a time. I don't follow it to the letter, but use it as guidance. And it being September tomorrow, I've decided I shall start fresh again with a new schedule.

I'm returning to the Busy Creative Schedule of Many Things, because I want to work on a lot of output again. Adding music, drawing and poetry one or two days a week, journaling every day (or at least every weekday), timely posts at my two WordPress blogs, working on Two Thousand as my primary project during the week and Walk in Silence on the weekends. Posting pictures, especially now that I have my shiny new camera. We will (hopefully) be getting back to the gym schedule again, after a month of rarely going due to one thing or another (read: two weeks in the UK, me dealing with a slight cold, and just plain laziness). September is San Francisco's summertime, and the weather is gorgeous. Not to mention football is back in season!

All things to look forward to.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Two weeks in London is clearly not enough time to take it all in. SO MANY NEAT THINGS! We went there partly due to it being Worldcon, but also because, y'know, LONDON. A city I've wanted to visit for years, especially with me being an utter music nerd who followed Britpop over Grunge back in the early 90s. [If you go on Twitter and look up the hashtag #joncsbritpopmeme, you'll see pictures tied in with various songs from the UK.] And yes, I was able to make my way over to Abbey Road and see the crosswalk (it's a narrower street than the album cover lets on) as well as cross it and leave a note at the Abbey Road Studios wall. In the next day or so I shall post many of my pictures. Some will end up on the Tumblr, but I'll also be posting the music-related pix at my Walk in Silence blog. It was quite the awesome vacation, and we are already planning on going back at some point.

So you're probably wondering...did I even get any writing done over the last few weeks? Why yes I did! I chose to do some work on a possible Mendaihu Universe book (or trilogy--we'll see about that) by way of writing a few pages' worth of notes. Nothing too chunky just yet, just a lot of questioning, throwing ideas around, and seeing what resonates. It may take a bit more time before I get anything solid, but I at least have some ideas. A lot of these notes had been written during a few convention panels, which I find to be one of the best places to do so. It's partly inspiration, partly keeping my mind in focus.

I also worked just a tiny bit on Two Thousand on the flight over (a few paragraphs, which I'm going to toss because it's not at all what I wanted), but also worked on a few pages' worth of character building for that as well before the trip. This one will be my first non-genre fiction in quite some time--in fact, since the original version back in 1994. I have some neat ideas on this one, so I'm hoping it'll be fun.

Which also brings up the question: What about Walk in Silence? Well, that one seems to have stopped dead for a little bit, and there's a reason for that: it's about 20k of crap so far. Okay, maybe not that bad, but I've come to the conclusion that it's not the direction I want. There's a lot of work there that I could use in a much smaller form, but I need to refocus and restart. I'm going to put that one aside for a little bit and come back to it at a later time. On the plus side, I just finished reading Bob Stanley's Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé, and it's inspired a new direction for WiS in the process.

Which also begs the next point: I really should stop announcing what I'm currently working on, because as soon as I announce plans, they disintegrate! Sheesh.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Woo, vacation coming in less than a week!! We'll be flying out of SFO on Saturday and across the briny blue to the UK for Worldcon and much sightseeing, and I'm totally looking forward to it. A and I both have a list of places to visit--the many museums, the usual tourist traps, and of course a few Beatles-related points of interest. And I'd be kicking myself if I didn't spend two weeks in London and not visit the famed Abbey Road, right? We even picked up a few tickets to see a play at one of their many theaters there. I'm really looking forward to this trip, gonna be a lot of fun!

Looking forward to Worldcon as's going to be one where I know quite a few people who are also going to be there, so it'll be a lot of fun to stop and say hi to everyone! Interestingly enough I haven't yet read through the entire con schedule yet (partly due to the fact that I completely forgot to do so until a few days ago), but I've come to the conclusion that cons work even better for me if I don't overplan it. There are always a few definites as far as panels are concerned, but keeping my plans relatively fluid means I'm less concerned about possibly missing things and more open-minded about panels I stumble in on at the last minute. I've discovered new books and writers that way too!

So yes...this weekend has basically been all about the planning. Getting a shuttle to the airport, getting London transit cards, buying travel books, mapping out a schedule, working out a to-do list, stopping mail delivery for a bit, and so on. All the usual steps one takes pre-vacation. And now I'm at the point where I'm making a mental list of what I'll be bringing on board the plane. This is one of those rare moments where we can bring a carry-on with us but not an additional bag to be put overhead. Not complaining about that too much...I'm sure I can figure out a way to arrange the necessities in my satchel--you know, the tablet, the mp3 player, book to read, notebook for writing, possible change of clothes (you know how it is), camera, and all within the confines of the space they're giving us. It'll be tricky, but I think I can pull it off.

In other news...what have I been up to the last few weeks? Aside from a three-day cold that annoyed the hell out of me, I've been keeping busy. I'm not as far along with Walk in Silence as I'd like to be, and I think it's because I've hit a slow muddy segment that will most likely need to be heavily rewritten. I'm at the point of why the hell am I writing this anyway, and is it really worth the work? second-guessing, which is annoying. The words don't exactly suck, but I'm perhaps at a point where I'm getting bored with the project. Or that I'm at a point I don't want to write for some reason and would rather not deal with it. In other words, I've got the writer's typical mid-project don't wanna's.

If anything, I'm going to utilize this vacation for two things: a brief break from the writing to get my thoughts back on track, and a distraction to plan what fiction project I'm going to work on next.

So yes...going to be a busy week of last minute plans, packing, and everything else under the sun. I may even post something here or at WordPress before I leave, if time permits. We'll see.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
I spent most of yesterday needing to remind myself that it was Friday and not Saturday, even though we did many weekend things such as having lunch in Japantown (and of course doing some manga tankobon shopping while there), walking, and a bit of laundry. Today is actually Saturday, last I checked. Plans for today include driving up to Petaluma to have lunch with the in-laws, and perhaps a bit of shopping at the newish Target up there as well. Other than that, not much else.

I was originally going to post something yesterday, but chose against it...I realize I'm at that point where I'll sometimes type out some kind of rant, or maybe just some longwinded blathering, and I'll just lose interest before I hit the Send button. I'm thinking a lot of it is due to my coming to terms that everyone else is going on about the same thing, so who am I to add to the noise? Either way...we all have our own thoughts and opinions, and I'm just choosing not to broadcast them anymore unless there's a good reason. That would most likely explain my low online profile as of late.

Anyhoo. What's going on in JoncWorld, anyway?

Walk in Silence is moving ahead very quickly. Not only am I already on Chapter 5 already, but I've finally broken the 10k wordcount, and I finally did more than 1k in a single sitting. Woo, go me! Heh. I've already come to the conclusion that I'll be done with the first draft a hell of a lot quicker than I expected, and that I'll be doing some serious rewriting and revision afterwards. There are a lot of points that I've merely skimmed over, and a number of points that I should make endnotes for, and will do so during the second go-round.

Not much else going on in the creative world at the moment, but I'm hoping to squeeze in a blog post or two this weekend, and maybe even a few other personal creative thigns as well. I believe we are planless tomorrow, so that should give me some time to work with.
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)
*checks calendar* The Ides of June, I see. Coming close to the halfway point of 2014. And what have I been doing all this time?

Quite a bit, it seems. If I can't for the life of me remember what the date is unless I look at a calendar or my watch, that's a good sign that I've been keeping myself way too busy. Two weeks of double-duty at work (not in hours, but in responsibility--one of my coworkers was on vacation), writing nightly, including a 1300-word article for someone that was due today, and having consecutive weekends packed with events, plus meeting up with the in-laws midweek, and I tend to lose track of time, in a good way.

Our ninth wedding anniversary is arriving fast, and yes, I have in fact ordered my present for her. It states that it should get here with much time to spare, but in typical Jonc fashion, I would not be the least bit surprised if it's delayed for one reason or another. At least I know it won't be a repeat of the typewriter debacle! What other events...let's see...we'll have the symphony next Saturday and the opera the Friday after that (both via discounted tickets!). Past that, July is quiet, with only a show at the end of it. August is the big one, with our trip to London for WorldCon.

Speaking of which, I need to make a personal list of song lyrics that I can take pictures of. For example, taking a picture of a subway entrance on an overcast day ("I emerged in London rain" from Berlin's "The Metro"). Because I'm a dork, that's why.

Walk in Silence is picking up, slowly but surely. The opening of Chapter 1 definitely drags, but I'll edit that later. The point here is to move ever forward. The word count has been surprisingly high, closer to 700 or so words a night, as I'm just letting it bleed out rather than trying to be a word economist. Like I said--I'll edit and revise later. Do I have a deadline for this one? Not entirely, but I'd like to get through it as quickly as I can. I'm also itching to get some fiction work done as well, letting my brain percolate a few ideas here and there. We'll see.

It's also been nearly six months since I sent A Division of Souls out to Angry Robot's submission opening, and I'm curious as to where it stands. I definitely understand they were hit with a giant amount of submissions (around 500 per their website) and they're still slogging through them all. With this being one of the smaller but still significant publishers, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and let them be. I've got patience.

I still haven't jumped on the WordPress blogs...but I'm hoping to sneak in some time this week to have them updated by next weekend. Goddess willing and hoping that nothing explodes at work (*knock on wood*), I should be able to sneak in some time for a bit of creative blogging.

Other than that, it's been quite the lovely and restive weekend, and I'm sad to see it go by so quickly. Hope everyone else's weekend has been spiffy!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Got SiriusXM First Wave playing--if my PC isn't completely stuck on KSCU's online feed, it's playing 80s alt.rock goodness--and preparing myself for some serious writing in the next few days. On tap:

--A 900-1500 word essay about my hometown. One of my former high school teachers (and current antique seller and small indie publisher) reached out to me a few weeks previous and asked if I wanted to write something for a book she's putting together, and I thought it would be fun! Considering I'm now in the writing phase of Walk in Silence, I felt this request was quite serendipitous as well, so I'm going for it. It's due next Sunday, and after mulling over various ideas, I've come up with a few that I'll be working on tonight. I should have it done and polished by then.

--Yes, it's true! I am now in the writing phase of WiS! It's been kind of slow going, as I'm still attempting to get myself back in the groove of writing new stuff, but 1600 words with just a few hours' work isn't a bad start. Once I find said groove, it should be smooth sailing again. Yay!

--As you may have seen on my Twitter/Tumblr/WordPress feeds, I've been woefully neglecting my two blogs, but I'm hoping to get them updated by week's end, Sunday the latest, and give both of them a regular schedule. Various impediments and obstacles have finally cleared, so things should be back to normal this week. Woo!

--Poetry. Yes, I've been threatening to write new poems for at least a few months now, and I'm ready to start that up again as well. As schedule should be clearing, so I should have time for this again.

More soon! :)


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