The Melancholy Of The Long Distance Writer

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance or the energy to blog, and that’s mostly because blogging is resembling my (theoretical) day job, i.e. internship, i.e. not a bad thing to do right now in comparison to school.

School? I’m not sure if I’m just better medicated and able to handle things, or the classwork has been watered down badly, but I know that I’m doing very well with my classwork and my classes. But, the commute has been terrible and horrible and boring and dull.

My writing work has been slower, but I am making progress with The Winter Solist and the outline for A Solist In Rome.

Got to go home early today, so I’m not as exhausted with a full work and school schedule.

Fingers crossed that there will be more progress soon.

Everything Feels Like A Copy Of A Copy Of A…

I read Fight Club in ’97, if I remember right. Back when it was still edgy and cool, but before the movie and before everybody started making stupid quotes about the book and thought they were hot for being able to quote the Fight Club Rules.

(I can still remember them. Damn the author for creating something easy to remember.)

Anyways, there’s this moment where he describes insomnia and the mental state you’re in. Everything in your life, to the insomniac, seems like it’s your life. But, it’s like your life has been taken through a copier, a copy made, then the copy is put on top of the copy tray, a copy made, the copy is put on top of the copy tray, a copy made…

In short, it all starts to get blurry.

Surreal.

Disconnected.

And, that describes my last week in a lot of ways. First time I was back in actual, physical classes and what should be campus full of students is empty by any standards. I have to ride the bus there and back, and I do not miss at all being on the bus system, both of them. And, work.

Here’s the odd thing-I’m either doing exceptionally well at my internship, things are going great. Or I’m being set up to be the scapegoat for something to go terribly wrong. And, it says something about my previous employers that I am not sure which is more likely.

My writing has been going a little sideways. Because when I come home, I’m frazzled. Do I bring my laptop with me, because I have one teacher that is strictly no-electronics and the other requires you to have your laptop? But, if I carry it around, that’s additional weight I need to think about when I walk across campus for my classes, then up four flights of stairs (in groups of two) to get to my classes. I could take the elevator, but I have this opportunity to climb four flights of stairs two days a week, so I will make the most of it. I have to physically restrain myself from engaging in massive loads of snark. Sharing my unguarded and far too honest opinion.

I’m counting the days to the end of class. I have a countdown sheet. I cross the numbers off every day, like I’m counting days before I’m let out of prison.

But, I’ve also put in my paperwork for my graduation. I just have to make it through the next twelve or so weeks, enjoy the hell out of Spring Break (which I will probably do by working full-time at my internship so I can chew as much of that time away ASAP), and…finish something that I’m writing. Somehow.

(I hate authors that start out with good ideas and ghost on you, never publishing again. I don’t want to be one of those authors.)

Time to enjoy this weekend, by hook or by crook.

My First Week Back

I haven’t worked at a full-time, paid job for nearly two years.

So, my internship has been weird. Just I haven’t done this in a long time, and while school is one thing (and, in two weeks, I’ll have to commute down to San Francisco twice a week for school. No more Zoom meetings, which I actually prefer)…three days a week in an office is weird, it feels weird.

And, most of my internship right now is education and learning how things work in the office. And creative work. And trying to pretend that I understand what is going on.

(I actually do, but I’m still learning. I don’t think people are blowing smoke up my butt…but, still. It’s part and parcel of the weirdness of a professional author. We get so much grief in so many ways, we almost get used to it. Wondering what sarcasm is involved in those statements.)

Still, I’m writing my other stuff. I’m a writer. I write for fun, as well as work.

The Winter Solist has hit a small air pocket-bridging scene between one act and another-but I’m almost past it now. Other writing projects are slow but steady and as long as I can churn out 300 words a night, I’m in good shape. I’m going to try and enjoy my weekend, and make the most of my time off. Yay!

Well, Let’s See…

So, I went to the Christopher Nuttal website, and I found this….

I’ve never written for an anthology before so I’m getting the books from the previous anthology for some inspirations. I have two story ideas, one being a “general” story and the other being the “Christmas” story that I was hoping to submit somewhere else but things kept getting in the way.

I sent my query and my fingers are crossed.

On other writing news-I’m getting near 2/3rds of the way done with The Winter Solist and download Daz3D (or find some open source/free-to-use art that is close) so I can make the cover. The third book, A Roman Solist, is currently in outlining (I’m going to be doing serious outlines for all of my new stories, especially since I’ve got a lot of balls in the air to juggle). Other stories are on hold.

School…I am waiting on SFSU to tell me if I have only one semester to finish classes, or if I have to take more semesters. I can only do one semester, and everybody I talked to before I committed to this was assuring me that it was only one semester. If it’s going to be more than one semester…I’ll have to find a real an actual job. With benefits.

Or win the lottery. So, more resumes out there to find something.

Happy New Years, by the way.

Frustration And Progress

Personal life frustration is always there. Most of my friends are not around these days, and are leaving the state.

I can’t blame them, at all.

But, the writing progresses. I’m nearing the 2/3rds of the way point for The Winter Solist, and one of my characters is about to have one of those moments. The sort of moments where people realize how things are in their world.

I torture people with horrors, because that’s my job. I’m a writer.

And, back to school for Spring 2022 semester. My goal is to get my Professional Writing and Rhetoric degree done in a semester-which I was able to get the classes for-and use that to get a better job.

I’d like to have my writing sell more, but until then…more writing and more work.

And, I’m hoping that the holidays are good for me this year. If only for the change of pace.

Conjunction Junction…

….what’s your function?

Well, in my case, it’s just a massive amount of being scatter-brained and every time I think I’m going to get any writing done…Something Happens. Having to deal with government paperwork. Yelling at the California EDD. Not trying to go crazy with my need to have human contact with people that aren’t in my immediate life.

So, it’s been a little frantic here…

But, I’ve gotten done some more note taking, writing stuff that I need to get done, and general “foundation prep” stuff for quite a few things. With some luck, I can turn all of that into faster progress on projects in the next few weeks.

The Winter Solist is getting close to the big dance number, and after that, I’ve got to start thinking about more details on A Roman Solist. But, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is actual daylight.

Hopefully, no crazy things will happen this month.

Trying A New Tool

One of the things that any creative has to be careful about is trying out new tools. Let’s face it-90% of creative people have some form of neurosis and the remainder are able to hide it really well. And, one of these neurosis is about our tools. I’ve met people that have patched up, repaired, fixed, taped, epoxied, puttied, and eventually started to haunt estate sales and eBay because they had one particular kind of mechanical pencil that they used and “nothing else works right for me.”

Bit of Dumbo’s Magic Feather? Entirely possible and it’s also possible that it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. Entirely possible that the ergonomics of that pencil have always worked better for him-or just that he’s gotten so used to it that everything else feels off. And, “feeling off” is sometimes one of the things that really throws a creative person off of their game. Sometimes to the point of not going somewhere with a project because it would require them to learn how to use a new tool…and then the neurosis hits again.

(My particular neurosis is the “not good enough” one. Not quite the perfectionist, but this fear that the point of translation between my imagination and the page is missing something and I need to go back and add that one more thing. And, creating things in my head, whole backstories that nobody will probably ever see…a series bible for TV or streaming would be insane by most standards, each A- and B-list character would have a massive biography and books and references…)

But, there’s also that point where you hit a wall and realize that the current tools aren’t going to help you any. This is why I’m learning a tool early-outlining.

How I usually write is what I call “checkpoint plotting.” It works like this-my stories have a number of checkpoints that I want to hit when I’m writing my story. I have a general idea when and where I want to get to that checkpoint. Just, sometimes I get hit by a plot idea or concept that is just so pretty…and I wander off the beaten path. And, come back as quickly as I can…but sometimes I find interesting things when I go off the beaten path.

Or, I have to spray for ticks.

But, A Solist In Rome and this new idea that won’t let go in my head is going to require me to stay closer to the road. So, that means I’m breaking out a new tool-an outline.

This is where everybody suggests a writing tool of one sort or another. Right now…not going to go that far. It’s really just a simple outline in Word as a prototype. First level is chapter headers. Second level is the main points where I want to go with this chapter. And, third level is what I call my “fluff”-little additional details that I want to add and follow up on.

I spent most of yesterday writing it, and I’m about a quarter of the way through my first outline for this second series that I’m working on. Today or tomorrow, I might get started on the A Solist In Rome (because it’s going to primarily first person with several second person callouts), so I need to keep tight track of where the story is going.

Back to the writing mines I go…and, we’ll see if this new tool helps any.

Writing And Academic Progress

It’s hard to write when all of your job interviews seem to get you two to three interviews, then “we’re looking for someone else, thank you for applying.”

Or variations on that theme. It’s made my dreams at night very surreal in a bad way and that hasn’t helped my mood any.

I’m looking at going back for my full, formal, four year degree. I didn’t realize just how many classes were online in the California State University system and if they can keep that going for Spring and Fall in 2022…I can finally finish up my degree program and get that sheepskin with a four year degree on it. It took me a while, but better late than never.

Actually managed to get past one of the first writer’s blocks moments on The Winter Solist and that’s been good.

And…looking at some kind of screen or divider so that I have a visual barrier between me and the family room. That way, I’m not watching Anderson Cooper pretend to be human when he comes on CNN.

Fingers crossed that the latest run of fires and disasters calm down soon. But, I’m still chugging away, one writing project at a time.

Getting Back Into My Character Headspace

So, I had this thought…not quite a revelation, but definitely a “I’m curious!” set of thoughts.

I’m going to let people ask questions of my cast and crew from The Last Solist and if I can answer the questions, I will. Preferably in character, but I will try to answer them.

Why? I am needing to find some additional headspace for these characters, and if I don’t get my thoughts into place, I’m going to feel so very lost soon.

Comment here, and I’ll try to answer as I get a chance.

Thank you!

Coming Up On December

Well, it’s 11/30 and I’m going to have to talk about December plans.

Got in a fight with my psychiatrist-I went back to my old medication choices and started falling asleep and staying asleep without issue. We’re going to talk about this on Wednesday and hopefully it won’t be another medication disaster like the last two or so weeks.

I’ll be registering for a certificate program at my local JC (Marketing, btw) next week, so I can finish in May and start really looking for a new job. I am tired of mostly entry-level jobs and I think that 2021 isn’t going to be good for those kinds of jobs, either. Such is the nature of things, and marketing not only helps me with employment, but getting more books sold.

I hope.

In general…everybody’s down, even more than usual. The news is depressing, there’s nothing new that doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists in sheer frustration, and it’s not going to be the most exciting or interesting of holiday seasons this year. And, after the “excitement” of the last year, I would prefer a quiet ending. So, if anybody is reading this is planning on releasing zombies or any of the other cliche ways to make things worse, please don’t. Do something new and original-like turning 1% of the COVID-19 survivors into futa catboys and catgirls. Something like that.

On the book and publishing front-

  • The Winter Solist-Coming into spitting distance of the first proper draft, where I assemble all of the completed chapters into a single document. I think I’ll have to extend and revise at least the first third, as a lot of the extra plot padding was cut from there. When I get the book up to length, I’ll be doing the final editing, working on the Daz3D cover, and starting to plot out the third novel, A Solist In Rome.
  • Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel-I do have a rough “series” title for this book. I’m currently calling it “The Ethical Succubus,” and there’s a definite isekai flavor to the story I’m telling. If this does get out into the wild, I’m seeing a four to five book series.
  • Other Projects-No changes on the other projects, but I hope to see SOME kind of progress after the first of the year.

Back to writing and hopefully getting some more work done.