To write, perchance to read

The past ten months have included getting a job, graduating from college, moving to a new city, going to a live concert for a band I’ve wanted to see since high school, and developing the ability to write like a madwoman.

It’s been fun. And busy. Which meant that for these past ten-ish months, writing that wasn’t generating a paycheck got shelved.

As a result, I was hard-pressed to find reading time. When I did find time, it was often a chore in that the act of reading itself was all I could take. I didn’t have the energy to think beyond whether I’d enjoyed the book, much less talk about the reasons behind that with anything resembling coherence. I reread and poked around with newer stuff, but somehow the spark to talk about things never really stuck.

This isn’t even touching what a disaster my fiction writing schedule became as it slowly suffocated.

But like Desdemona in Othello, it wasn’t quite dead. Unlike Desdemona, I didn’t want to have to place the blame for its demise on myself.

The fiction writing came back more easily than the reading did, oddly enough. My day job is writing, a blessing that I’m truly delighted to have, but it’s writing in a style that is relentlessly factual. After a while, I realized I was losing my ability to put words together in a way that described and depicted, because I spent so much time using them to tell. For some reason, the first emotion this roused was irritation at myself for letting it get to that point. Apparently that’s a powerful motivator, as I ended up writing 53k-odd words for NaNoWriMo, figured out from there what was needed to make the plot work logistically, and sat down to do more thorough outlining.

Reading came when I realized I was compulsively buying $2 and $3 books on Kindle while the backlog of things I hadn’t read stretched back years. So starting in January, I started plowing through that backlog, got through roughly a dozen books, found a couple that were surprisingly enjoyable, and had one annoy me so much that I realized I wanted to complain about it somewhere, somehow. I found a different venting outlet than this blog, but it sparked the realization that I wanted to talk about books and storytelling again.

So that’s what I’m going to try to do. If there’s anyone reading, I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Fictionwise: Aside from novel outlining, a short story that’s really rough quality and too much fun not to finish. It involves a city where powerful entities can make bargains with deities of different types for earthly advancement and focuses on a person who makes a living from finding out the details of those contracts for various interested parties. Whether it will go anywhere remains to be seen. Status- 3,048 words.

Music: Currently, the soundtrack for The Grand Budapest Hotel.


The Sound of Deadlines

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Told you that the blogging deadline was going to be hardest to meet, didn’t I?

The truth is, absolutely none of the goals I’ve set for April for my leisure writing have been met. I failed spectacularly on my “two blog posts a month” goal and the story goal is best not discussed, as I don’t think I could discuss it without much profanity and drinking. I’ve been barely meeting the obligations of real life and that’s with stretching the definition of “meeting.”

I’ve been stressed out for numerous reasons over the course of my college career, but right now the demands of the real world have gotten back to the agonizing level they were at in high school when I was applying for college. At that time I had to put in hours of work for an incredibly uncertain outcome while juggling the demands of being a student, working, and sports. There’s something paralyzing in hitting your outermost limit in terms of what you can handle and it begins to seep into everything else.

When I first conceived of writing this particular blog post, I was going to delve into some spiel about how the things I’m juggling have impacted my ability to write and how I wish there was some way to shake all this and how, with just a few more hours in the day or with eliminating the need for sleep, I could meet all my goals. While there’s a ton of merit, to my mind, to losing sleep as a necessary thing for health and sanity (it takes up way too much time in an already short day), the truth is, I have been writing.

I’ve been writing a lot, actually. This week has been packed with it. Better yet, it’s writing I’m actually being paid for. I’ve been busy the past month trying to work and while I truly wish that I could write more for myself and read more for myself, this overload of things I’ve been doing is still meaningful.

Hell, it’s been fun.

I tend to throw myself into my work in most cases, but there’s no denying that I take a lot more joy in interviewing someone and writing an article than I ever did in mixing drinks and ringing up hangers. The truth is, when the work is something that I like, I’ve found that I love being busy.

So as far as this blog goes, I have no intention of abandoning it. However the coming months are going to be transitional ones, and they are not going to be easy to handle. I’m going to have to devote a lot of my waking hours to making it out of college and into the work force in one piece and when it comes to be being busy, I have to make sure that it’s the work that will actually enable me to get food, shelter, and the books that I love to spend time with. I didn’t have to worry about that when I started this blog, because I’m lucky and spoiled enough to not have to worry about things like tuition and board.

But that time is rapidly coming to a close and I have to adjust accordingly. So the writing I do will be offline, at least for now. When I get to a point where I have settled and gotten my own things in order, I will be back. But for now, much as I love reading other people’s stories, I have to start figuring out my own so my life doesn’t end up resembling a scribbled mess.

I think that by July, the revisions should be complete enough that I can come back here regularly. But until then, I will leave all of you with a tremendous thank you for following me and reading my ramblings.

If someone figures out how to get rid of sleep without bringing about insanity, do please let me know.

Motivational Deadline Setting

So here’s the thing. Full-time work takes time. Add a forty-minute commute- give or take ten minutes with possible train delays- and that takes even more time. When that work consists of writing and researching for articles all day, I don’t want to spend the little free time doing even more typing. And so I read or catch up on television or check Twitter without actually tweeting anything.

Now that I think about it, the fact that I sometimes struggle to come up with 140 interesting characters is a little sad. Continue reading

Story Must Matter

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I’m no stranger to being down on things that are critically acclaimed. However, for the most part, I try not to begrudge whatever the critically acclaimed things the success they have. Usually I can chalk it up to difference in taste and move on.

However recently I saw a stage production (kindly called an opera) that got four stars and a prominent  review from the Chicago Tribune.

This made me really angry. Continue reading

Basic Things to Think About During the Zombie Apocalypse

Since I’m an abysmal failure at getting anything up on schedule for this blog, I decided to make up for it by having a post that’s sort of timely. And with Halloween looming, I decided to try and be useful. To that end I’m presenting you with my tips for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Continue reading