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After a frustrating week on the Day Job -- no stressful situations, just a ridiculous volume to slog through -- my best laid plans for having a writing session on Friday evening fell by the wayside.  Instead we watched the insanity that is Nichijou (a good example of the inherent absurdity of this anime can be seen here).  Ten out of the thirty some-odd episodes.  It's quite ridiculous and fun.  And the opening and ending themes are very catchy!

That said...having a nice relaxing weekend so far, recharging and planning ahead.  We'll be heading to London for a few weeks at the end of the month so we're both going through our projects to see what to bring along and what to put behind.  I will most likely be working on Secret Next Project during this time, as I won't be bringing my laptop but will be bringing along my tablet and/or Nook.  Sure, I'm a little nervous about being away from the Lidwells project for a couple of weeks, but I'll at least have access to it via Dropbox so I can give it a read-through and make notes on things I need to fix/revise 

In other news, recently I did a bit of cleaning up and rearranging in Spare Oom, straightened up a few book shelves (and pulled off some titles I can donate), broke down a lot of boxes, and put away things that needed putting away.  The access to the closet is a bit wider now, and the guitar stands have been angled to take up less room.    Now I just need to get myself back into the habit of playing that keyboard more often instead of using it as a temporary table to put things on!  [Come to think of it, I should probably change the batteries in it as well, as I'm sure they're old and on the verge of getting sketchy.  Also: do we have a power cord for that thing?  I should see if I can find it, or order one from somewhere...]

This ties in with my plan to get back into my other two creative loves: art and music.  I still fiddle around a lot on my guitars, but I haven't written many new songs in years.  I'd like to try my hand at laying down some new tracks with some cheap mixing software, just for the fun ot it.  And for the art, I'm hoping to get back into that as well.  It's been far too long since I've done any art of substance other than maybe a few maps and whatnot.  I have the supplies and the art pads...I just need to do something with them.

That's in store for the latter half of 2017: time to come back to my love of writing, art, and music, and dedicate more time to them.

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There's a small bird that I think as nested on our roof that Will. Not. Shut. Up.  No specific birdsong other than a consistent 'chip....chip....chip...chip...' all day long.  It'll start up at first light, start up again in the afternoon, and once more in the evening.  Suffice it to say, I was up by 5:30 this morning and up and making coffee by just before six.

Meanwhile, it's finally dawning on both of us that we'll be heading off to London in just a few weeks for vacation!  We've both been making soft plans for places to hit -- including a possible day trip outside the city -- as well as a few definites like going to see one of the Proms at Albert Hall (we were both pleasantly surprised at the affordability of the tickets!).  I don't have that many requests of places to hit other than a few record stores and Waterstone's in Piccadilly.  I do love stopping by Sister Ray every time I'm there, as it's a fantastic shop, but this time out I'd also like to check out Rough Trade's Brick Lane shop as well, as I've heard many good things.  Other than that, I'm open for anything.  Visiting a few of our our friends there is also definitely in the cards!

Also noted: the Hugo voting is due by this Friday.  This was a rare year in which I'd already read a good portion of the titles that ended up getting nominated, so I didn't need to cram this time out.  There are definitely some strong stories that I really enjoyed that I'm hoping will win.

Writing:  I believe I've just entered Act 3 (of 3) for Meet the Lidwells, which means I'm doing pretty good.  Already having thoughts about things to fix in the revision...good things to make it better.  For a first draft it's coming along quite nicely anyway, so most of the revision work will be to make it stronger and tie it all together.  Also: the Secret Next Project has a lot more world building than I expected.  I may have to resort to some flash fiction for it just to keep it fresh in my head.  Also: trying something old again for my poetry/lyrics -- experimentalism.  I'd started it off that way so many years ago but along the way it became more introspective (and that was partly why I put it aside late last year...I had to grow back out of that).  More on that later.

Plans this weekend?  Not much, other than looking for new sneakers and grocery shopping.  I'm thinking we may have to do something outside, as it's supposed to be quite a nice couple of days!

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This past week I had the fun task of finishing up my mid-year self-review for the Day Job.  I'm sure I speak for others as well by saying we all know what these reviews are for, but none of us really knows what the hell to say in the comments section.  Do we celebrate the fact that we were able to avert a catastrophic system failure?  Do we celebrate finally making a ridiculously complex process shorter and easier?  I suppose so, but it always feels weird to talk about it, because more often I do those things because it's actually part of my job.  Celebrating it seems just a bit...weird.  I guess it's just me, though. :p

On a writing note, I think I've done pretty well in 2017 so far.  Starting Meet the Lidwells in March, I'm already at the halfway point in the story, so I'm still relatively on schedule.  I'm pretty sure I can hit the late September goal if I stick to it, but I'm okay with it being pushed to mid-October if need be.  As long as it's going in the right direction.

The Secret New Proejct is coming along quite nicely as well.  Working on two completely new and unrelated projects in tandem to this degree is a relatively new process for me.  I don't count Love Like Blood because I wrote that when I put the trilogy aside.   Same with the side projects recently, because those were more about writing new things while working on trilogy revision; those were distractions to keep me from going crazy, and to keep my creative (non-editing) mind moving.  Regardless, I know I've been able to write tandem projects like this, given that I've been juggling projects and exercises for a good few years now...it's just that I haven't had the chance to put it in motion with two new projects.

So how does it feel?  Well, it's definitely a juggling act.  The temptation to work on the shinier one to the detriment of the less exciting one is quite high.  Especially when the less exciting one is actually a lot of fun to write, but just needs some rewriting and revision.  At the same time, the two projects are so different that it would be pretty hard to get them confused.  The trick for me has been to assign specific times for working on them, which a) keeps them separate by a few hours, and b) gives me enough time to switch from one to the other.

So what about other stuff?  What else has gone on in 2017?  It's been a slow slog in some respects...a few non-writing things I've either put aside or pushed into the future that I really should get around to.  Personal things that I really should get around to doing.  Not a failure here, just a matter of getting these things up and running is all.

Other than that, I think I've hit a Meets/Exceeds rating so far this year.  Can't complain.

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When I was in high school, particularly junior and senior year, I had an ongoing experiment with time management.  You know how it is when you're a teen -- all the boring classes go on for eons, the study halls (where you're doing homework that you should have done last night) are far too short, lunch period doesn't start until 11ish and you're hungry by 10.  That sort of thing.  I wanted to better manage all that.

More to the point, I wanted to even it all out a bit, if that makes sense.  Make my day a little more consistent.

Somehow I worked it out by always being conscious of the time.  I got pretty good at assuming I was coming close on the halfway point of a class period.  I figured out the best times to run to my locker and switch books and so on (which, as it happened, was pretty far down one hallway and not that close to some of my classes).  I got quite good at this, to the point where I stopped using a book bag; by the end of the day I only had the needed textbooks and notebooks for that night's homework.  Everything else (pens and my pocket calendar where I wrote down my assignments) was in the pocket of my green trenchcoat alongside my Walkman and tapes.

It seemed to work pretty damn well for those last two years of high school.  My time management, not to mention my grades, got a bit better near the end there.

As for college...?   Well, that's another story entirely.

Anyway...I forgot about that process for a while, mainly because my work and life schedule didn't really need it.  I revived it a bit in the early 2000s when I was working at Yankee Candle.  The reason then was because my Day Job schedule was in fact quite strict by design, to ensure the warehouse floor had unbroken coverage.  It also let me find pockets of free time during the Day Job where I could sneak in some writing prep in the form of short-term outlining.  You all know the rest of that schedule: the mid-afternoon punching-out, the Wednesday comic/cd run, the afternoon anime watching, and the two solid hours of writing work down in the Belfry.


I say all this because I've been thinking about revisiting the process once more.  Sure, I'm kinda sorta doing it already, with my whiteboard schedule, taking strict scheduled breaks at my Day Job (again, same reason -- unbroken coverage), using said breaks for writing exercises, and sneaking in some extra writing during slow moments.

I still feel like I could better manage my time, though.  It's partly the distraction of the internet, but that's easily fixed and I'm not going to dwell on that part.  I've gotten much better in the past few months, especially now that I have my new projects to work on and a solid blog schedule, but I still feel like I'm sort of passively letting time waste away, especially during the Day Job hours.  Even during busy days, I feel I haven't quite managed my time that well.  Perhaps it's time to revisit my time management process again.

Does this sound like being a bit too anal retentive?  Well, maybe, maybe not.  I only get aggravated by screwy schedules when it totally messes with something I really need to get done ASAP.  

But other than that, it's not really about adhering to a strict schedule.  It's just about being more aware of where the time goes and what I do with it.
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I don't know what possessed me, but I took Friday off from writing.  I just sort of happened...I'd thought of working on my Daily words and new Lidwells words....and didn't even try to get to them.  It was like a conscious choice to take the day off.  And I took Saturday off as well.   After all these years, I'm still not used to doing that.  The funny thing is when I do take a day off, everyone around me will invariably say "Good for you!  You should take a day off now and again."  Never fails. 

It's not that I actually needed it this time out.  I'm not exhausted or overworked.  I'm not feeling creatively drained at all.  It was just an 'I don't want to work today' couple of days.  

Which of course means that, like being in school again, it's Sunday and I probably should stop procrastinating and get some work done.


In sort of related news, I'm quite proud of myself for coming up with a possible idea for Secret Next Project while falling asleep on Friday and remembering it the following morning.  I have a few secondary characters that need a lot of fleshing out, and as I've pretty much got the four or five major ones nailed down, I needed to work on these people as well.  The neat thing is that this is the second time around where my world building work on one project has been in tandem with the main draft writing of the main project.  I just sort of fell into this new way of working, and it's working quite nicely, so I'm very happy about that.  I'm really looking forward to sharing SNP with you soon, but alas, I need to finish Lidwells first! :)


Hope everyone is having a good weekend!  Happy Pride! :D

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Oh, it's Monday again?  Our weekend kind of flew by, considering the two of us went on a road trip up north sort of as our little anniversary vacation (it's our 12th as of the 28th).  We drove up to the Mendocino/Fort Bragg area and had a lovely time.  It's a LOOOOONG drive -- 230 some odd miles round trip, per our odometer.  It was also stupidly hot at some of our destinations, which we're no longer used to.  Still...lots of picture taking, lots of drinks, lots of tasty food eaten.  And even a few good local radio stations found!

In other news, it's kind of sad yet amusing when an online troll ends the argument with a version of 'you make no sense you're stupid whatever bye have a nice life'.  It usually means I've not only won the argument, but I've also cut off all their avenues for clever comebacks.  FTW!

In other other news...during this weekend I also read what I have of Meet the Lidwells as well as the Secret Next Project outtakes and I'm glad to say I think both are coming along quite nicely.  Both need a bit of correction and revision work, but for the most part I'm really happy with what I've got so far.  I'm really looking forward to getting these out into the world.  MtL is (hopefully) going to drop in September or October, and Secret Next Project will most likely be released next summer the latest.  Suffice it to say, I am so not used to quick turnarounds like this (given that my last project took two decades...!!), but it looks like I can handle this speed and output without too much stress, which also makes me happy. :)

OKAY.  Time to get back to the boring ol' Day Job.  Woohoo. :p

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Wait, it's Saturday already?  When did that happen?  It was a fast week of Day Job stuff and catching up on writing, and not much else of import, so time seemed to fly by rather quickly this week.  Not that I'm complaining.  Midweek had some crappy weather as well, but currently there's no clouds in the sky so it looks like it's going to be a really nice weekend all around.

I'm still concerned that I might not make my autumn deadline for Meet the Lidwells but I think that's mainly because I'm having a bit of trouble at the moment.  The first act is done (creation of the band up to their initial success), and now I have to shift from that to act two (the highs and lows of success and creativity), and it's a bit harder than I expected.  If all else fails, I think I'll have to just make a hard shift there for now, and smooth it out in revision.  We shall see.

Secondary Project, aka The Apartment Complex story, is slowly evolving via the 750 Words site (much like I did with Lidwells a few years ago), and this one promises to be a lot of fun to write.  I'm coming up with some really fun characters and story ideas for it.  I don't think I'll be outlining this one as strictly as I did with Lidwells, but I should at least get the characters and places down. 

Related, I think this might end up being my writing process for a while.  I like the idea of working on new ideas in a playground atmosphere to let them grow and expand (thus letting me work on them during slow points of my day), while dedicating more serious writing time to the current project (which I'll have given a deadline for finishing).  This not only gives me a quicker turnaround, but also lets me work on and self-publish more projects.

Which of course brings up the question, do I want to keep self-publishing?  Well, funny thing about that:  yesterday I got a completely unexpected email response from an agent.  It was a rejection for a submission of A Division of Souls and I couldn't find the date of my original response...so I have no idea when I sent this.  This was before I ultimately decided to self-publish, so this must have been at least around 2015, possibly earlier.  I'll be honest, I'm amused and touched that they got back to me even after this long, even if it was a rejection!  But at the same time, it really put things into perspective: I simply don't want to spend all my time waiting for a yes/no from an agent or a publisher and not knowing either way until then.  I don't seek vindication...I just want to know if I'm Doing It Right or not, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to go that route.  Sure, self-publishing means a hell of a lot more work, but I've already proven to myself that I'm willing to do it all.

Anyhoo...going to have a relaxing weekend here, hope you have the same! :)

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Another sleepy Sunday arrives and I'm up with the sun as usual.  Sunday mornings I'm usually up around 6:30ish and head into the living room, check the internets, and watch some of the morning news.   And of course start the first pot of coffee.

This weekend has been less frenetic than the previous weekend, as our only plan was to go see Wonder Woman at the Alamo Drafthouse in the Mission.  And yes, it was indeed as excellent as everyone's making it out to be.  I only had one or two writing-related issues with it -- a couple of clunky bits and two underused characters -- but other than that, we loved it.  Would totally see it again and buy the DVD. ;)

Also:  the Drafthouse is indeed an awesome place to go see a film.  VERY comfy seats, really fun atmosphere, great sound and visibility, and good food that gets delivered straight to your seat during the film!  [And if you're concerned: the seats are all high-backed and the food servers are well trained in crouching, so you don't actually end up missing much of the movie at all.]  Extra points for having completely silly PSAs about safety, not talking during the movie, and so on.

This past week has been kind of an odd one in terms of productivity.  I've been dealing with some kind of allergy that's left me with an occasionally sore throat (although I think that may have been by cereal going down the wrong way last week, but that's another story entirely).  Allergies usually mean my sleeping habits get all wonky, leaving me exhausted during the day.  I did what I could to get my work done, but there were a few days where I felt I didn't get as much done as I'd wanted to.  It took enough energy for me just to get through the workday, so my word count was kind of low this past week.

I did try to turn it around, though, and I'm glad to say I did get a few thousands words across two different projects.  Yes, you heard me correctly...even though Meet the Lidwells is still my main project at the moment, I've been playing around with what will most likely be my next project after that.  It's sort of inspired by Studio Ghibli, a story about a teen growing up in a family-owned apartment complex that houses all kinds of beings -- monsters, angels, dragons, aliens, vampires, and so on.  [Yes, it was inspired by a dream I had.]  I posted a rough outtake on my Welcome to Bridgetown blog on Friday if you're interested in checking that out.  Anyhoo, I'm feeling a bit better this weekend, so I'm hoping to be back on the high horse come tomorrow.

Hope everyone's having a lovely weekend!

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This past week worked out pretty well, I think.  My original intent was to take the week off from blogging at my WordPress sites just as a mini-break, but in the process I ended up doing a lot more head-clearing than I'd expected.  A new way of approaching various things in my life (or as I'd been hinting, a return to an old way of approaching said things that makes a lot more sense to me).  This past week was a trial run to see if I could actively make it a real thing instead of yet another Best Laid Plan.

All in all, it went pretty well except for Wednesday night, in which A and I are woken up at almost exactly midnight by two young local policemen (about whom A commented that they looked young enough to be our kids).  Allegedly there had been a hit-and-run in the neighborhood in which a few local cars had been sideswiped by a possible DUI and the offending person may have entered our building.  Aside from not recognizing the car (which they'd shown A via their phone), life went on, and neither of us were able to get back to sleep until about 1am.  The both of us spent most of Thursday in a sleep-deprived loopy haze and multiple cups of coffee.  Thankfully we were back on the ball on Friday!

So what *did* I do creatively this past week?  Well, I'm glad to say that I've been consistent with getting some good solid words down for Meet the Lidwells, still averaging about 500-700 a day.  This is all first draft, pre-revision and pre-editing work, of course.  I'm a little nervous that I won't hit my hopeful deadline of mid-autumn for a release, but I think if I keep this up and not overwrite (an issue with the trilogy) I should be okay.  I'm already at 13k words and probably about 1/5 of the way done...this is going to be a short novel compared to my last three!

Also, I took the time to retune all my guitars -- the weather changes have detuned them all at least a half-step -- with the intention that I will pick up and play at least one of them once a day.   This is a change from my usual default, which is to pick up my electric and play it unplugged, which is all fine except that everything else is gathering dust.  I should also probably start using my little Danelectro HoneyTone mini-amp I bought recently at Tall Toad Music.

I may have even returned to the poetry, after deciding to drop it some six or seven months ago.  That may or may not have to do with the current administration, but it's also part of the creativity reboot I've been working on this week.

One last creative thing I must kickstart again:  the art.  I really need to start doodling and sketching again.  Finishing up the Trilogy Project really took a lot of time and energy out of me and it fell by the wayside for far too long.  I even got a nice case for all my art pens and pencils so they're not all hiding in forgotten nooks of my desk.  Really must make room for that again.

Thankfully, the weather has decided to turn gorgeous here in SF, with most of the morning fog burning off rather quickly and revealing lovely blue sky and warm temperatures.  We did our grocery shopping and went for a walk earlier (filling ourselves at the Korean/Japanese fusion restaurant for lunch).  We'll be going to the Symphony tonight to listen to some Mendelssohn and Schumann, and tomorrow I believe we'll be going to see a movie at the Vogue down the street.

Other than that, it's been a nice weekend so far.  Can't complain!

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...not that that's a problem.  Our local indie bookstore (Green Apple Books) is quite awesome and fun -- and they sell my e-books on their website! -- so it's quite worth it.  I bought this year's Bad Citizen Graffiti Stencil ("Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice" - Henry Louis Gates Jr), Michael Nesmith's new book (Infinite Tuesday) and the new Cory Doctorow (Walkaway), and A bought a number of things as well.

Lately I've been reading Peter Hook's Substance -- his book about being a part of New Order -- and it's quite an interesting read. Let's just say that I can summarize it into one sentence: Who the hell thought this was a good idea?  Between Hooky being "off his face" for most of the 80s (his phrase), the amount of illicit substances partaken by most of the people involved, and the fiances of both the band, the Hacienda night club they owned, and Factory Records (the label they were on), it's amazing how anything and anyone lasted as long as they did.  It's a hilariously told story, but it's also a story of what NOT to do businesswise, EVER.  Heh.

OH!  I finally officially started Meet the Lidwells the other night!  WOOT!  Yeah, I basically just did what I always do:  tell myself to STFU, stop finding ways to distract myself, and just WRITE THE DAMN THING.  Getting just a few hundred words the last few days, but hey, that's better than nothing. As long as it's going in the right direction, I'm happy with that.

Writing tunage lately has centered around the 1990-1991 era, aka my first couple of years in college and living in Boston.  A mix of latter post-punk, early Britpop, early grunge, and a bit of holdover 80s-style pop.  There's a lot fun music that came out around that time that gets pushed aside because of the bigger scenes that came before and after -- Jesus Jones and EMF, Dream Warriors and Naughty By Nature, 808 State and The Orb...not to mention Chris and I reviving the Flying Bohemians as a duo and writing some of our strongest songs at the time.  It's probably when I was the happiest during my college years as well.  That's the feel I want for The Lidwells' discography: full of positive energy, danceable and fun.


Hope everyone's having a good weekend! :)

Meanwhile

Apr. 27th, 2017 09:55 am
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Okay, I really need to stop dithering and get this damn novel project off the ground.  No more excuses.  [Okay, there is the fact that my in-laws are coming in to visit this afternoon and we'll be having dinner with them.  I'll let that one go.] 

In other news, still adjusting to the new glasses.  They definitely help for clarity's sake, but I'm still getting used to the slight prism correction with the new prescription.  After a few hours I barely notice the difference, which is good.

In other other news, this Saturday is Indie Bookstore Day, which means A and I will be walking to Green Apple to celebrate, have some of the free beer, and spend far too much money on books.  I expect all of you to find your local indie bookstore and let them know how awesome they are.  Hop to it! :)

[Other other other news has been redacted.]

That's all I got for now.  Hope everyone's having a spiffy week!
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Yesterday A. and I went downtown to the March for Science.  This is the second time I've walked down a considerable length of Market Street from the Ferry Building down to City Hall.  Technically it's just over a mile, but it's up a very slight incline most of the way (going from the edge of the Bay inland) and at the speed of everyone else in front of me.  Not to mention a good hour standing at Justin Herman Plaza beforehand.  Or standing on a VERY slow and VERY packed N-Judah train.  And walking a few blocks to the bus stop to head home.  And that we got up and did our shopping today, at the speed of every other person in front of us (and leaving their cart dead center in the aisle, natch).  And walking over to Sakana Bune afterwards for a sushi lunch.

Suffice it to say, mah dogs is barkin' something fierce.  I'm even at the point where I don't want to do the laundry today, even though the machines are open at the moment.  [I usually do it Monday or Tuesday during Day Job hours anyway, when most everyone else in the building is out.]  I walked down the street for some coffee, and that's about as much as I'm doing physically for the rest of the day.

Writingwise, I've gotten caught up with outlining the original 750 outtakes for Meet the Lidwells and at this point I'm just filling in some gaps.  I had a lot of holes in the band's discography (which I'm using as the chronology anchor to the plot), not to mention the barest of endings in mind.  BUT!  I've gotten those squared away for the most part.  The only big thing I need to lay out is the timeline -- in particular, the ages of the band members, when the music was recorded, that sort of thing.  It's not set in stone, but it does make for better continuity.

In other writing stuff...as much as I'd love to pick up the 750 Daily Words again, now is not the right time.  At least not when I'm trying to get a new project off the ground.  It's annoying, yes, but I must be patient.  Once I get into the groove of the Lidwells project, then I'll be able to set aside some time and brainspace for it.  That doesn't mean I can't play around with some new ideas, though.  My hardback moleskine is starting to gather a bit of dust with the lack of stuff being put into it.  Again -- I just have to be patient.  Soon enough.

In the meantime, going to enjoy the lovely weather we've been having lately!  Slight breeze, but it's nice to be able to have the windows open to let in fresh air!  This is the time of the year when San Francisco has the nicest weather -- mid-60s, sunny and clear, slightly breezy.  Just how I like it. :)

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...is something I'm QUITE sure my mom would be saying to me if I was a teenager now instead of the 80s.  [As it happens, substitute 'internet' with 'radio' and then it's spot on IRL.]

I looked at my calendar today and thought two things: it's one of my sister's birthdays today, and OH CRAP APRIL IS ALMOST DONE AND I'M NOT EVEN DONE WITH THE LIDWELLS OUTLINE.

I was this bad when I was a kid in high school.  I'd have the best of intentions to finish off my homework early so I wouldn't have to worry about it, but Best Laid Plans and all that.  I'd get distracted by my obsessive radio listening, my wanting to write whatever story I was working on at the time, or I'd want to hang out with my friends instead.  It's not that I didn't want to do the homework.  It's just that it bored the hell out of me and I'd rather have been doing something more fun or creative.  I'd put it off until last minute, or it would be late, or I'd write something half-assed and be done with it, just to get it over with. 

I was the same in college, sadly.  The prerequisite classes bored me to tears (this includes the film classes...I wanted hands on, not boring theory), and my grades were usually average, just low enough to keep me from being able to sign up for internships or missing out a semester being on the radio crew.  I was craving hands-on experience, which I quickly realized is where I learn a trade the fastest and most successfully, but I couldn't get at it, not without having to jump through hoops first.  Suffice it to say I have a love-hate relationship with my alma mater for that reason.

So what does this have to do with today?  Well, I'd made a goal to have the outline for Meet the Lidwells! ready to go by the end of April, and here we are, already on the last half of the month, and I have this dreaded feeling that I haven't even made a farking dent.   That's not entirely true, to be honest, considering I 'm looking at my notecards right now and I can see I've got quite the collection already that's ready to be put in some semblance of order.

Part of me is just nervous because I'm thinking of all the time wasted futzing around on Twitter and elsewhere on the internets. All that time lost, and when I do get work done, it's rushed and sub-par.  And oddly, another part of me is just as eager to shut down the internets anyway.  That's part of what I was trying to say in my Bridgetown blog this morning...I feel the need to change my habits and get my act together.  Changing over to DW has been partly successful...posting here not only means less time spent reacting to or bloviating within the Twitterverse, but more intent and meaning is put into whatever I type.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'm doing what I can to be organized, but I'm sure I could do a hell of a lot better.

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Friday is finally here, and I'm not entirely sure if it's been a long week or not.  I woke up on Monday thinking it was Tuesday, and my sense of time just kind of went downhill from there.  I've had a busy couple of days at the Day Job as well, so that just added to the confusion.

Anyhoo, Friday is here, the Day Job volume has subsided considerably, and I plan on making today an 'I'll work at a relaxing pace' day.  Oh -- also, I get to have a long overdue eye exam today!  That should be fun.  The last time I had one of those they did some light shining and dilating and when I walked over to the corner store for some needed stuff afterwards, they must have thought I was high or something, considering I couldn't focus or keep my eyes open that long. Heh.

In other news, I think I'm slowly approaching a breakthrough on the Lidwells project...right now the story is still a string of events but it's still in need of a strong theme that ties it all together.  I'm on the verge of figuring out just what that is (read: I have a few ideas already, I just have to decide which one and run with it and see if it works), and once that's down, I'll be able to get to the main writing.  Woohoo!

Do we have anything planned this weekend...? Not that I can think of.  Maybe that's a good thing. :)

jon_chaisson: (Default)
With the few people I've started following over the last day, I'm noticing a bit of a theme...a few have mentioned that this latest transference from LJ has rekindled thoughts of posting more often than they used to. It made me think about it as well.

To be honest, my Weekend Update posts over at LJ were fun but mindless filler. It's like I was posting there out of a sense of duty, even as my readership there dwindled. I did the bare minimum required though, a short What I Did This Weekend (or alternately, What Is Jon Writing This Time?).

A fresh start does sound like a good idea.

I've been thinking about trying to find a different speed to write at. What I mean by that: I've never found trying to stay on top of the latest trending topics all that enjoyable. It half feels like I'm jumping on a bandwagon, whether I'm prepared for it or not. The other half feels like I'm doing it more to stay caught up than I am riding the flow. I get entangled in the maelstrom of whatever indignation or Latest Hip Thing is going on.

Most of you have already heard me talk about this in previous blog posts.

My WordPress blogs have helped me detach myself from that, as has my personal offline journaling. I find my own pace, my own topics. I'm writing about what I'm thinking about, what I'm not reacting to. So perhaps this newly-minted account here might provide me with a similar avenue.

So what would I post about? Well -- good question. All sorts of things, really. This is my personal blog, separate from my writing blog or my music blog. I'd talk about what goes on in my personal life. Possibly where I'll post my photography (when I'm not uploading it to my Instagram feed). Whatever happens to be on my mind, at my own speed.

Let's see where this goes.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Another year, another tax season. Just did my taxes earlier this afternoon (and yes, it's an annual tradition for me to put on The Beatles' Revolver whenever I start...I managed to get them done before "Tomorrow Never Knows" this year!), and as usual we owe a bit. Apparently in California it's completely impossible to game the system and overpay on State taxes so we can get a refund. On the plus side, we paid a lot less in Federal this year (thanks, Obama!), so that's cool. And now I can cross that off my To-Do list.

So! These last few weeks have been quite exciting in terms of Big Changes. Well, not OMG excitement, but more like It's High Time We Changed Things changes. After the fesking nightmare that was dealing with AT&T, we finally got rid of them and changed to a New Kid in Town called Sonic for both our internet and landline. So far the change has been quite noticeable. The internet is a hell of a lot faster and more reliable, for one. And Sonic's customer service is MILES better. We also got new cell phones recently; after having Androids for ages, we now have Google Pixels, and we're quite happy with them as well--the quality and usability are both quite the step up.

We've also had some really nice weather this weekend so we got a lot of walking in...we had a nice long walk through Golden Gate Park on Saturday (with a side stop at 9th and Irving in the Sunset for ice cream and lunch -- in that order), and today we headed to the other end of Clement to shop at our local farmer's market. And it's supposed to be nice the rest of the week, so I'm sure I'm going to need to get off my duff after work and get outside!

Speaking of work, I've thankfully gotten past some heavy deadlines I had to deal with, so hopefully I can now take things a little less frantically. I've been meaning to adjust my writing habits as of late, so with all that stress taken away, perhaps I can finally focus on that more. Woo!

One last thing -- I'd completely forgotten that April is A to Z Blog Challenge month, so I found myself completely unprepared for it. I'm okay with that, though...I've decided to skip on the blog challenges this year and keep my options open. Take a year off and relax, take things at a normal speed. I do like doing them, I just want to keep my schedule open and easily accessible for a while. It's not often that happens!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Friday afternoon and I'm already out of gas. Not exhausted, just sleepy. A busy week at the Day Job and a gloomy rainy day will do that to me sometimes. On the plus side, I just had a super tasty and super filling meatball sub from Appel & Deitrich around the corner (our little mom & pop grocery a few blocks down) -- Chico there makes the best damn sandwiches in the neighborhood!

The Bridgetown Trilogy project is winding down to post-production and marketing now...the other night I finished the formatting of the trade, which I will make available by the end of the month. I'm going to be playing the long game on that project, to be honest; I'm not looking for huge-and-consistent sales right out of the gate, but longevity and availability. The focus now is to share it more proactively with the public. That includes advertising as well as going to cons and other things.

Which completely opens up my schedule for my new project, Meet the Lidwells!. A non-genre, lighthearted litfic story about a musical family and the ups and downs of fame. I've got a very loose story already written for it, but I need to tighten it up considerably. Which means....index cards! This is a new process for me, one that I avoided in the past for whatever reason, but this time out I want to see how organized I can be when it comes to working on a novel project. I'm also giving myself a strict deadline: instead of just writing it and saying "it'll be done when it's done", I'd like to try getting it done on time. I actually work pretty well with deadlines when I put my mind to it. So far I've laid out that I want to get the outlining and index carding done by end of April, spend the summer writing and revising, and putting it out by early to mid-autumn. Will I make it? Who knows...but it's worth a try!

So, what's up for this weekend? Not much, I think. We might go see Sword Art Online which is playing around the corner. Food shopping, maybe some housecleaning...and that's about it! Boring ol' us. :p
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
I've been a lazy sod all week, and I don't feel guilty about that one bit. Yay, vacation! :)

Well, that's not entirely true. I kept up on the blogs, and I've finally gotten caught up in cleaning up my personal emails. [Work emails is another thing entirely. I'll be checking that tomorrow.] But no, I didn't do any writing work. No editing, no formatting work for The Balance of Light, no work on the Lidwells project. No personal journal entries.

All I've been doing is enjoying our vacation the way I should: by not having anything prodding me on the shoulder screaming for attention. Road trips, shopping, just enjoying the day.

That'll probably change tomorrow as both A. and I dig our way through work email detritus and prepare for heading back to our Day Jobs. I'm sure I'll have a backlog of stuff to do (including five or six compliance courses due at the end of the month), which is irritating but part of the script. I'm just hoping that the items I wasn't able to get to were reassigned and weren't just sitting there all week.

That said...I'm looking forward to getting back into the creative groove. I want to get back into the Daily 750 (again), do some serious plot building for the Lidwells Project (time to break out the index cards!), and start planning out what I need to do for BayCon on Memorial Day Weekend!

In other news...our internets are now running at breakneck speed, thanks to switching over to Sonic. The IT guy came in and installed the wiring, the router, and had everything up and running in a matter of a few hours. [He was also a big geek and we had a fun conversation about anime and Doctor Who while he was working! :p ] But yeah...our speed went from a snail's pace to OH HEY I HAD NO IDEA THIS SPEED EXISTED. Like that day, way back in the stone age, when my family went from dial-up to DSL. Heh.

That said...yes, it's been a wonderfully relaxing staycation this week, and I can't complain. We had fun, went on roadtrips, did some fun shopping, and got caught up on sleep. Woot!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's the halfway point of my week's vacation where it goes from 'ah, we have all week to relax and have fun' to 'O NOES where did the time go we only have a few days left'. Not that I'm complaining...it's been quite a fun and interesting week!

Weekend: headed to FOGcon up in Walnut Creek and had what I called my 'soft open' debut as an author on a panel! I had two panels, actually: one was a reading, and the other was a discussion about self-publishing marketing strategies. I'll be honest, it did feel a bit strange to be there as a pro as well as a fan. One of the best parts, though, was when someone walked up to me later on and thanked me for the info I'd provided on the self-publishing panel! :)

Monday: Heading downtown to visit A's brother and have lunch in our old neighborhood of North Beach. It hasn't changed much at all, and a lot of our favorite Italian restaurants were still there and doing just fine. :)

Tuesday: Long road trip down to San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House. Very odd place, that. This is what happens when you have way too much money and maybe a bit of paranoia to go along with it.

Today: Downtown once more to the Golden Gate Theater to see Into the Woods! I haven't seen that since I was in college, so this should be a lot of fun!

Tomorrow: Our internets may be down for a short while, as we are switching over to a new internet provider called Sonic. If you recall our nightmarish dealings with AT&T a few months previous, this will hopefully be a big change for us. I've heard nothing but really good reviews from them. In fact I kind of helped them install wires to our building by giving them the contact info to our landlords so they can plan stuff out. The only downside was that it took a couple of months for them to get to us -- apparently our entire neighborhood desperately wants to change over as well!

Friday: Nothing planned that I can remember off the top of my head. This may be one of our 'lounging around the house doing nothing except watching Midsomer Murders' days. :p

Saturday: No plans, but probably errands like food shopping and cleaning.

Sunday: Grumbling that we'll need to head back to work the next day, and log onto our work emails to clean out the box so we're not hit by an avalanche on Monday morning.


OH! Meant to mention: while at FOGcon, we decided that it would be in my best interests to also attend BayCon this year as an author as well. I'm not the biggest fan of this year's theme (utopia/dystopia), but it does kinda sorta fit with the setting of the Mendaihu Universe. But here's the really neat thing: I contacted BayCon programming and asked if there were any spots open for panel participation, and was told that even though the initial deadline to sign up for that had come and gone (2/23), they checked out my Welcome to Bridgetown writing blog and made an exception!! They sent me a survey to fill out for what panels I'd be interested in, which I sent back right quick. WOO! This new professional avenue for my writing is going a lot faster than expected! Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but still...glad that it's going in the direction I want it! :D

So yeah, that's our week so far....hope everyone else is having a good week!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Another week of wacky weather here in the Bay Area. All told, it's been rainy, sunny, overcast, hailing, sunny, raining, blustery, calm and rainy this morning. And it's only just past noon. [Case in point: a tiny cell of hail passed over our apartment while I was in the shower and I didn't even notice it until A. told me about it later.] After our little jaunt to the other end of Clement Street for the farmer's market and a tasty Hawaiian brunch, we're back at home where we plan to stay, where it's nice and warm.

In other news, next weekend is our visit to the East Bay (Walnut Creek in particular) for FOGcon, where I'll make my stellar debut doing a reading as well as being on a panel about post-self-publishing promotion. An auspicious and probably quiet debut at that, but hey, William Gibson's debut was a reading in an almost empty room as well, so I'm not going to worry. :p

After that, we've got the entire week off for vacation, and this time out we've decided to keep it local. A lot of sleeping in, a local show or two, visiting places we haven't been in quite some time. We're thinking we might head over to the East Bay once or twice, since we so rarely head over that way...we're thinking maybe Berkeley and/or Oakland. [And yes, I know...the media doesn't always paint those areas as fun and peaceful, but come on -- it's a big area and there are indeed some nice places over that way.]

Speaking of writing...still working at getting back into the groove of a normal schedule after ages. I've had a few superbusy Day Job days where I haven't been able to sneak any work in during breaks or on the sly, and my energy levels haven't been all that high. Still, I've been making it a point to clear my plate as much as I can so when I do have the time, I can easily slide into it without distraction. Still a few rough patches, but it's getting better.

As for the Lidwells project...well, that seems to have hit a bit of another snag, but it's nothing I can't fix. It's the way I'm approaching it...right now I'm basically transcribing what I have, and I've realized that's not working out -- the chronology is all out of whack and there are far too many plot holes that need fixing. The initial outline I created is helping a bit, but it's still not enough. I'm going to need to break out the index cards for this one to set it all straight. And then once I have the chronology straightened out, THEN I can revise and rewrite. And that will be the easier part!

And just when you thought I wasn't going to talk about the trilogy anymore...I'm planning on having some fun this month with the 20th anniversary of me starting The Phoenix Effect...the origins of what ended up being the Bridgetown Trilogy. The physical trade of The Balance of Light will come out sometime this month, for starters...I'll also be posting a lot of fun things over at Welcome to Bridgetown...notes, maps, outtakes, remembrances, footnotes, all sorts of stuff to celebrate. More on this soon!

Hope everyone's having a good (and drier) weekend!

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