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Resistance is Futile


gankylosaurus
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Day 0

To sum up my introduction, this is the beginning of a 90-day detox. And here is today's post.

I have one simple goal which GQ does not directly affect but can facilitate. I want to get my novel published in 2017. There are three main components to this.

1. I need to get this novel up to publishable status. I was going to work on another story, but the pull of this first one (after taking a break from it after working on it for 180 days straight) won out and I decided that I can't get caught up in new projects right now. This one needs to get done. Then I can work on the other one while simultaneously coming up with ideas for the sequel (since the story will probably ultimately be three or four volumes long and I already have some damn good ideas for the second and third parts).

2. I need to make my blog more active. Part of this requires me using social media effectively, which is probably the most difficult part to me. I had an issue with my blog for a while because I couldn't decide what to do with it. I don't just want to write about my day like I'm twelve. But I also don't want to just write about writing. I've been reading the Hyperbole and a Half book and it made me realize something: I want each of my blog entries to matter. They should each be about something. I might even use this journal (this one here on GQ) for a little freewriting to help conjure up some ideas. I might even remove my backspace key while I do it. 

The biggest issue I've had with my blog lately is that I've gone back and forth between writing blog entries and writing more thought-out articles. I'm considering splitting up the pages a bit so that I can have shorter, less important entries appear on one page while the articles are separated out on their own. At least then I won't feel obligated to spend a lot of time working on a single post that never ends up getting posted. Also, I need to save some of my material for my own website because in the past I feel like I've written some pretty profound things on here that I should have been writing on my blog.

Last aside about the blog: I've been considering going back to YouTube to make a video series. I'm not as good at organizing my thoughts verbally as I am on paper, though. The two reasons that I think YouTube could be a good move are the larger community (and a community which is centered around one website at that) and the fact that too many people don't have the attention span to read. I have a friend who's really good at the YouTube thing and wants to be a writer, but never writes, and even stops talking to me if I ever bring up writing. It's weird. I know I'm not being annoying about it. He just seems to choose that moment to ghost. Anyway, point is, I'm kind of bitter about how the writing community works online because there are so many mediums where you can sit back and enjoy it. Reading requires a little more work.

3. I need a mailing list. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous two components. By making my site more active, by getting readers to it, I get more potential readers for my novel. Those early people who sign up for my mailing list can become potential beta readers when I'm almost ready to release my novel, and then they could turn into first-reviewers with free advance reader copies if they give me feedback.

I have to admit right now that I'm terrible at keeping up with other people's journals on here. I'd like to say I'll try this time, but it would be a lie. I'll at least look, I can promise that much. But if I don't have anything to say, then I'll keep the shallow well-wishings to myself.

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I can somehow relate to you. Also, I read your article "I hate the internet" and I can heavily relate to that, too. Right now, I am trying to finish one of my two novels. Both are halfway done and I can't - by any means possible - find a way to make me finish one of them. On another note, I am working on my website, my audio-book mini series and my blog, which is not online at this point. So many projects, so much time. Yet, not so much (focused) progress.

I like how you described in which way the internet changed you. I am 30. Just like you, when I was a kid, we paid for our internet time. And it was slow and expensive as hell. Also, the services did not include video on demand, facebook feed or whatever. Today, we live in a society where everything we desire can be ours at any moment. Everything, especially entertainment is only one click away. And most of it is pre-chewed, half-digested stuff that ANYBODY can get, because it does not really have any depth.

But technology is not entirely bad. It was never easier to get your word out into the world. But then again, most of the texts online are sponsored content, content that makes you want to consume some kind of entertainment, speeches of hatred, tutorials on how to do basic shit everybody could do if they would have been on a Waldorfschool and so on.

It took me 3 straight months to write 70 000 words on my novel. That was right after I left the hospital. For 4 weeks as a patient, I had no internet. And after that, I had trouble with my provider, so 3 more weeks of not having access to the internet. It was so easy to concentrate, so easy to focus. I was extremely active, happy, and productive. My goals were clear and my daily routines did not consume any willpower. All that changed. After starting the detox - I am about to hit day 60 - I realized that games are not my only problem. Back in the days, as a kid, I was able to play on my SNES and not waste away. Not only because my parents looked after me, but because when the SNES was switched off, the entertainment was switched off. Today, I am sitting in front of my PC and I am trying to write. I do it. Every day. But it is a struggle. A minor issue can already drag my attention away. Don't know how to finish this paragraph? Let's check whats going on on facebook. After that, email, YouTube, gamequitters, Amazon. "So much cool stuff I could buy. Aww, this new keyboard would make writing so much easier." I bet you know many of the thoughts I have to struggle with. Every. Goddamn. Day.

I often refer to technology as a crutch. You know, it is a tool. When you break your leg, you use a crutch to help it heal. But when you continue to use the crutch after your leg has healed, it will begin to degenerate. If you need to look something up, want to write a quick mail, things of this nature, it is great to have the internet. Mission target, operate, evacuate. But this dwelling in this fictive world of infinite jest makes the mind degenerate. Many people would probably kill me for this statement alone. How can I dare to say the interneeetz are bad?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html

Employees of Silicon Valley giants send their kids to schools where they do not have access to computers. These schools encourage the parents to not let the kids have smartphones. So, is that a good sign? That the people who sell us all that fancy stuff are not willing to let their own kids use them? I am sorry for getting a little off track here. All I want to say is that I can relate to you and I feel that I can understand you.

I can also understand that you want every blog post to matter. I feel the same. There is so much blah-blah out there, that we do not have to share with the whole world, what cute stuff our hamster did today or which kind of pizza we ate today. I feel that this is the dark side of blogging. In addition, I understand what you say about people and the likeliness of reading an article. YouTube videos trim peoples attention spans. Smash-Cuts all over the place, noises, bright colors, staged jest. Reading is different. It is not that entertaining like all the other flickering, booming videos. Often, I have to fight my own mind because it keeps telling me that what I want to do will not be successful, because it is not this typical, simple, pre-digested crap people "produce" and consume. There are many exceptions, of course. But in general, it is very hard to go on when you have to "fight" for your internet survival and your opponents are much more attractive. The hot girl always gets the attention. But the smart girl is the real deal. (Pardon this misogynistic metaphor)

So again: You are not alone. And you gotta continue if that is what you want to do. Just. Go. On. You have all this under control. You are not a slave of the technology. The opposite is the case. You have it under control.

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I love your entire post, @Robert Arctor. Especially the crutch metaphor. I had a lot more to say in response last night when I read this post on my phone at work, but I've forgotten most of it. Which is just as well because I have to leave for work soon anyway.

When I started writing, we had dial-up Internet. The computer was in the center of the house, and we didn't leave it running all the time like I do now (albeit with sleep mode). So getting to the writing was a process. I had to wait for it to turn on and warm up, and then there was no "I'll just casually click over to Facebook and see what my friends are up to" because first, Facebook and Twitter didn't exist yet (I had a MySpace), and second, there's nothing casual about booting up AOL.

So when I sat down at that computer to write, I wrote. A lot. It wasn't very good, in fact it makes me cringe to look back at it, but it was fun. I enjoyed it. When someone was using that computer and I wanted to write, I paced up and down the house waiting for my turn. Or I went for a bike ride so I wouldn't have to watch while someone else ate up my writing time.

Now my computer is always connected to the Internet. Everything is a click away. And you're right, most of the content available online is like potato chips: They know just how to hook you with the right amount of salt, and a potato chip is too small to enjoy just one, so go grab a handful.

I had a point there, I swear. I'm on cold medicine now, though, so the energy to go back and find the point is just not available at the moment.

But the same kind of thing has seeped into fiction writing, too. Self-publishing is great, and it's become a great new way to connect with an audience. The best part about it is that your readers are the discerners of quality, rather than an agent, editor, publisher, etc. So if you write shit, your readers' reviews will reflect that, if they review it at all. But if you blow people away, you could go viral.

However, it's become an industry where only the most prolific writers get by. And even then, only just. There are a few giants in the self-pub gig, and they're doing well. Those who do best are the hybrid authors who self-pub and trade-pub, like Chuck Wendig. There's the occasional surprise hit like Andy Weir, whose novel The Martian was originally available for free via his website as a serial. Readers wanted a version they could carry on their Kindles, so, as he tells it in an interview, he slapped an open-domain picture of Mars on the cover, loaded it up to Amazon, set the price to 99 cents (the cheapest you can make it) and was surprised at the money that poured in.

As much as I'd like to become a book-or-two-a-year author, the quality of some of the more prolific self-published authors can be spotty. I don't like to name names, but there's one series I'm reading from an author I like which is kind of hard to stay interested in because I feel like it's just kind of going through the motions. And as a writer who's in the editing mindset since entering the third-draft phase of my novel, I can see all the missed opportunities within the story. He also wrote a prequel to the series and seemed to forget that in book one, the protagonist wasn't comfortable with a pistol, yet he's a pro with it in the prequel? I should add that all three books in the trilogy plus the prequel were released in 2016. And he's written other books this year, too.

A lot of these kinds of authors have the mindset that they can either work very hard on one novel and end up with a great story that will make a lot of money, or they can write a bunch of stories with a little less care and each one will make less money than a masterpiece novel would, but together they will make more. In a way, the latter option is the same amount of work as the former (if not more), but the former option has more dignity in it to me. Few self-pubbed books will ever be remembered as classics.

Traditional publishing has its own issues as well, but that's why I'm looking at becoming a hybrid author somewhere down the line. For now, I just want to make sure I tell good stories. I sent out a few early copies of this story to friends, and one of them breezed right through it and loved the characters and surprisingly hated one character who I thought was completely benign. It was great feedback.

Anyway, I was going to try to get up early today and work on stuff before work, but I took the night-time medicine last night and it wasn't easy getting out of bed. In the future, I don't want to post an update on here until after I've worked on my novel for a bit. But today, it's questionable whether I'll ever even get around to that today. Working late, though I might get out early. Either way, I'm probably going right back to bed after work tonight.

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Sorry for burgling into your space once again. But I felt the need to reply.

It is quite interesting, that we both share kind of the same experience. When I first got access to the internet, we had AOL as a provider as well. 1,9 pence per minute. I can still remember the bills and the anger in the eyes of my parents. Access to the internet was a special thing. And just like you, I would walk in circles until I could finally use the PC. Until I got my first own PC, but that is a different chapter.

When it comes to writing, I am totally on your side. I would place myself in the hybrid section, too. You know, the only reason I began to blog and to make audio-files for YouTube was to get my name out there. I want my blog posts to matter and I confess: I am too much of a perfectionist most of the time. That is why my official blog will be published next month. Not today, not yesterday. Next month, because I want it all to make sense. And I want the first posts to be in order and to connect well.

I have consumed some German writers who were in the series-business. I am trying it myself. But just like you, I am a harsh critic. Series are nice because you can publish on the fly. Got something done? Publish it. Your readers will always be busy reading your stuff and they will always remember your name. But on another note, series are a horrible medium to tell a story. I have tried it many times and did not publish anything, except for a tiny bit. And it was just the beginning of a short story. Why? Because things need to make sense. What if I start out with a certain situation and later on, I regret it because I had such a great idea that cannot be implemented. It has to make sense. And the stuff I read from some German amateur writers was mediocre and that is me being a gentleman. So many things did not add up. So many paths of the story weren't finished. Why? Because it is a series. Ideas come up and they evolve over time. My novels are proof to me. The initial idea looks entirely different from what they are half-way through. It is like wine. The older, the better. Okay, some might turn into vinegar, but that depends on the treatment. The same goes for novels. If you publish the first thing that is on your mind, there is a great chance that the quality is not that awesome.

So, that is why I have chosen the hybrid way. I am trying to get my name out with my blog, podcast and short-stories, that will all be available for free online. May be some of them will cost a dime or two, but essentially, they are free. Meanwhile, I work on my "real" stuff. The novels. And they will be send to a publisher. Because they matter the most to me. Not sure if you can relate, but I want the novels to be highest quality. Ah, I am sure, you can relate. Did you ever have the idea of ... well ... "I want to publish a novel that will win the Pulitzer or something similar"? I do. In all honesty, I do. Because, IF I  allow myself to take a year or two or even more to finish a novel, it shall be good wine.

Also, for my blog, I am working on a series that is called "The Screen" ("Der Schirm" in German). I talk about my memories and me being a witness of change in technology. The Screen is everywhere now. So the topics are basically connections, entertainment, property and such things. Like, is that whole technology thingy really getting us closer together or is it just an illusion that actually generates more frustration than comfort? Stuff like that.

Since you mentioned sleeping drugs, I might as well talk about that, too. Because I have trouble sleeping. And I believe it is a very common thing among creators. Sometimes it is the doubt that keeps me awake, sometimes all the great ideas I have late at night when it is peaceful and quiet. And like you, sleeping pills will help me fall asleep, but they do not help me to wake up. The opposite is the case, again.

And while I type all this, in front of #The Screen, ( ;) ) I realize, that technology is not really bringing us together. I mean, yes. We kind of talk now. We have a nice conversation that I really enjoy. But I am convinced that it would be way better, way more natural and inspiring, if we would sit in a bar and have some beers. You know, from face to face. While we are together in here, we are still sitting in front #The Screen, entirely alone. Even more alone, due to the fact that while watching the screen, the do not participate in what is happening around us.

While the last part was a little dark, do not get me wrong. I can relate to what you are trying to accomplish and I wish you all the best and the worst that could happen. And that both will be a great inspiration for you in your work as a writer. Whatever you choose to do, that is the path to go. You got this!

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I hope you're only referring to our thoughts on the self-pub industry or writing in general, @dandielionous. Even if you're not, I'm just gonna talk a little more about self-publishing. I'm only trying to be realistic about it because I've done a lot of research into it, and for a time, I thought self-pub was definitely the way to go.

Pros:

  • Write what you want.
  • You get to keep 70% of all proceeds through Amazon if you price between 2.99 and 9.99 (and outside of that it's only 35%, which is still much better than the upper-end of average for trade publishing at around 15%)
  • You don't have a publisher telling you not to deviate from the genre of your first novel.
  • No deadlines.
  • No chance of a publisher dropping you and voiding your two-book contract because your first run on your first book didn't sell well.
  • Your readers are the only gatekeepers, and they're the folks who matter.

There are probably more, but that's what I can remember being notable off the top of my head.

Then I did more research.

Cons:

  • Write A LOT. Like seriously. You need to put out at least four books a year if you want to see an income. It varies on your popularity and price point, though.
  • Amazon has been known to drop authors and remove their content from their store without warning, thereafter banning the author from ever publishing through KDP ever again. They often neglect to inform the author what went wrong.
  • If you want to publish in multiple genres, especially if you have works that are vastly different (like middle-grade fantasy and more adult technological thrillers) then you're probably going to have to use a pen name to separate out your stories. This is mainly as a courtesy to your readers, but it's also because if someone loves one of your stories and goes to grab literally any other one of your stories without looking too much into it, they might be seriously disappointed, and that could result in a bad review. Especially if suddenly there's more adult material not suited to children and your readers on a particular series are usually younger and then parents just buy more books by you because their kid seems to like your stories. Suddenly you're the reason someone's kid learned several new uses for the F-word. Also, using a pen name can sometimes mean you need to start over from scratch building your reader base.
  • You have to pay for everything. Cover art, binding, editing, structural editing. It's all out of your pocket.
  • And don't even think about saying you don't need professional editing. Everyone needs professional editing. At least just to have a trained eye that's not yours go over your work for any glaring mistakes or confusingly worded phrases. Maybe this isn't a con so much as a common misconception.
  • Being active on social media is not optional.

Anyway, that's all I wanted to add.

Unfortunately, I'm at that stage of not feeling well where I just want to curl up on the couch and watch TV. And we're leaving for the girlfriend's parents' place tomorrow, so that'll be fun too. Not sure I'll be around much this weekend and I doubt I'll get any editing done. I'll at least take the laptop with me. I'll probably get bored enough at some point to work on my novel. Hell, if I was able to work on it when I was in a hotel for a wedding weekend, I can do it over Christmas weekend.

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@gankylosaurus @Robert Arctor 

I think in a way ya'll did me a favor.  For years I have been daunted about how to publish, how to write the correct way etc.

Well now I'm going to learn how to fly!  To hell with if I'm published and how to do it.  I am going to find a way to write I feel like I'm flying!  Like I do when I'm dancing, singing, running or painting.

I think I have looked too many years at the business end and been defeating myself.  I will write a book I love to write.  I will write a story for me!  Then I will self-publish on Smashwords!

 

 

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Woo @dandielionous, never give up! If you want any suggestions on books about writing (I've read a lot of them) then just ask. You might be interested in Write. Publish. Repeat. by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. It gave me a lot of insight into the self-publishing gig. Chuck Wendig's blog is also a great resource, though you might need to have a high tolerance for profanity.

I also have my own list of great resources on my website. It needs an update. I'm currently reading Page after Page by Heather Sellers. About halfway through it. I'd recommend it if you can find it.

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Day 4

They say that procrastinators are never bored because they always have something to do.

But really, we still somehow find ways to be bored. Why do we procrastinate anyway? Because we're bored, of course. And, well, because we don't want to do all the things we need to do.

Right now I'm on vacation, so either I'm doing things when others have plans, or we're watching movies. I hate sitting around doing nothing all day. It makes me antsy. But people want me to be with them, spending time with them in the most antisocial and shallow way possible.

Okay, it sounds like I'm trying to vilify them. It's not that bad. Everyone's just taking the day off. It's Christmas after all. Merry Happy.

Back to the point I was getting to originally. I wish I had nothing to do again. When the house is clean, I can think more clearly. We're still getting the house set up because we only recently moved into it. The most difficult part has been getting things organized, figuring out where everything goes and all that. I know a solid day of organizing is all I really need. But damn is it hard to stay motivated when all the things are rearranged and the miscellaneous clutter that's hard to arrange gets overwhelming.

I've done it before. You know that old expression, "A stitch in time saves nine?" That's super relevant here. It's so much easier to clean a couple of plates than to say you'll do it later, then watch as the dishes pile up on top of those two plates. The amount of effort required to clean a full sink can be crippling to think about.

But when you've got everything clean, and when you do little things here and there to keep it clean, it can be freeing. You don't have nothing to do. You have nothing you need to do. So everything you want to do moves up in priority.

This goes especially for writers. We're famous for putting off writing to do productive things. It's easy to sit down to write and instead say "I should be productive now and clean the dishes." Easier to do that when you're planning to write than, say, when you sit down to play a video game.

But sometimes it's okay to make plans to be productive and clean. You need all that clutter out of the way, after all. The important thing is to not clean when you were planning to do something else. You have to plan to clean, organize, or just generally pick things up. Then, when everything's out of the way, you don't have it nagging you while you're working on other things.

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Day 5

Today was another travel day. Got up early, had breakfast, packed the truck, hit the road, and drove for six hours. So again, another day where it was totally effortless to avoid gaming. The one moment of almost-weakness was when I was looking forward to sitting down at my computer and playing games. When I remembered I wasn't going to be playing any games, I realized I should probably remember to grab the book I've been reading out of my truck.

But I think I need to shift over to the more difficult step. This whole thing is about taking back lost time and one of my weaknesses is YouTube gaming channels. At the very least, I watch them on 1.5x speed, so I get through them in two-thirds the time, but I need to just quit them. At least for a while. Might be difficult, since I've been keeping up with a couple of series here and there...

Oh well. No one said this was supposed to be easy. On the bright side, I got the dishes done. Mainly because somehow after being in the car for six hours, my girlfriend's first instinct was not to relax, but to clean like a madwoman. I almost joked that she might as well take down the Christmas tree while she was at it, but then she took down the Christmas tree. I stuck to my comfort zone. Which is fine by me because dishes is one thing she refuses to do. We were both being productive then.

(He said while she kept organizing stuff in the background.)

Maybe I should see if there's anything I can help with...

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Day 6

This challenge is about changing who we are. And a large portion of who we are is in what we do. So I need to change what I do.

I recently finished Page after Page by Heather Sellers and this was one of the things that stuck with me. It took her some getting used to, but writing is just one of the things she does now. It used to be difficult for her to run and to write. But she identified that the first bit of discomfort was in crossing the threshold. As long as she could make herself leave the house, she could run for miles. As long as she could get herself in a chair and writing, she could write for hours.

I'm like that. I hate getting ready for a run. I even hate the run sometimes. But even on the days where I hit the shower with a breathless "that sucked," I knew I'd done a good thing, and I knew I would do it again. (Disclaimer: I haven't run in a long time.)

I go back and forth on the advantages of writing every day. The way I work, I like to have clear goals to look forward to in my stories. So when I sit down to write, I know what I'm writing, and where the stopping point will be. It's not a time requirement or a minimum word count. It's a case of "here's what I want to get done today" and I go until I'm done with that.

The exception to this is when I end up writing way more than expected. It's a good thing when this happens, don't get me wrong, but a 6,000 word writing session will have me in the chair for a minimum three hours of nonstop typing. I can't keep that pace up every day, which is why I refuse to do it every day.

But in Heather Sellers' case, writing and running (as well as parenting) are just part of what she does now. It's as automatic as making breakfast. It's something she needs to do, not because of a program or someone telling her she has to do it, but because it's what she does. It's who she is now. It's natural. It's her daily diet.

I'd said that I wanted to start waiting until after I did some writing before I posted in this journal, and today's the first day that I've stuck to that. And boy was it hard crossing that threshold. I even binged on a YT gaming series beforehand (while trying to nap because I was in a pitiful feeling-sorry-for-myself state). The YT binge is a taste of what I do in my natural state now. The writing is what I want my natural state to become. I just hope it doesn't take three years to catch on and I also hope that I don't keep doing it at ten at night.

I'm going back to my thirty minutes a day regimen. But this time, I'm not using a timer. Timers make it too stringent, and they make it feel more like a burden. Like all I have to do is put in the time. But this isn't a nine-to-five. It's my life. It's what I do.

If I use a timer, then I know from experience that I'll only do thirty minutes. If I don't, I'll keep going until I'm comfortable stopping. And now that I'm in the editing phase, that endpoint is going to have a lot of different criteria. This story's not half the mess it used to be, but I've got a few drafts to get through before I'm comfortable with its quality.

On the plus side, I finally ironed out how I want this process to work, at least from an abstract point of view. As I said to a friend who is currently reading it, I want to get the thousand-foot view to an acceptable level. That is, I want to work out the overall story idea so that when you take it all in and step back and think of the story as a whole, it's a pleasing experience. This has little to do with the writing, which is allowed to be imperfect (bad, even) in this stage. As long as the story is good and remains intact through the editing process, the writing can be fixed.

So I have a list of story changes on index cards. Some are about individual scenes or characters, and some are things that affect the whole story. I'll work my way through them until they're all taken care of, then I can read through the story and see how I feel about it. If it needs any story adjustments, I'll make them and read it again. Once the story is where I want it to be, I can finally polish it.

It's possible to have a good story that's written poorly. It's just as possible to have a weak story that's written well. The former is much easier to deal with, as the latter is fundamentally flawed. So, a good draft can be written poorly. The next step is a good story that's written well.

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Hey, Gankylosaurous,

I hope you are well. A good app which Cam recommended which I've started using is the Couch to 5K app, it gives really good progressing steps to running. Another App which I really like is the 7 minute workout app. The best part is that its free with no ads!

Keep up the good work.

Best,

Luxo

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Hey, @LuxoLamp! Thanks for stopping by. I've actually used that app before. It's great, and I love it. The track isn't nearly as convenient where I am now, though, and I'm waiting for the nearby gym to have a discount for the New Year's resolution folks in January. Then I'll start going to the gym again. Right now, I'm actually considering doing Wii Fit again. But man, that one can get dangerous to people like us. At the very least, I've been keeping my weight down by limiting my alcohol consumption.

Day 7

It's unfortunate that the day that marks the end of week one is the day I showed weakness. I remembered there was an update to a mod for a game I played (but hadn't for a long time anyway, even while I was still gaming) and I decided to check it out. Not long enough to get hooked, and not long enough to really even experience it at all. Just long enough to realize that I was wasting my time.

Anyway, I just wrapped up an hour-long editing session. It's looking much less daunting now that I'm in the thick of it. I'm here with Scrivener open, a notebook full of notes I made while reading the second draft, and another notebook open so I can jot down an ongoing summary. I haven't gotten to the parts that are going to need serious changes, yet, though, so I might be speaking too soon to how much fun I'm having.

I did, however, come up with an idea for one of the subplots I was cooking up, which is sort of a romance plot between two side characters who I plan to make more important later.

I think I got through a little over 3,000 words today, and I kind of want to keep going. I know when I'm reading I can typically get through 5,000 words in a half hour. The editing part is a bit slower because I'm making notes about little details and character descriptions as I go now. I guess I ought to go clean up a little bit and then get back to editing. 8,500 words down, 80,000 to go.

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Day 8

I did slip a little. The game is off my computer again, though.

I don't really have anything profound on my mind right now. I'm 11,000 words deep into this edit, which is a quick one because I don't really have a lot of new material to write for it. The hardest part is adding a bit of mystery to it, and I'll only know after another read-through if the scenes I edited to reflect the changes I wanted need to be completely rewritten.

I'm also trying to re-envision the story as a series of TV show episodes. I don't know if this story will really work well with that, though, since it's become a kind of ensemble story where several characters have large roles that contribute to the story. They overlap and intertwine a lot and some things might not work if I retool them in this TV show format. I've played with it in other stories, but writing a novel as a series of interlocking short stories can be difficult. I'll figure it out as time goes on. In the meantime, I'm grouping scenes together into potential chapters. The ordering of these gives sort of a pleasing psychological feel if done right. It can also help to get the chapter lengths right.

In other news, I got a pretty good initial response from some of my friends on that video blog I posted above. Maybe once I can afford to rebuild my computer I'll be able to produce better quality videos. I forgot how it felt to start out a YouTube series. At first you're just posting just because. Eventually you're posting because people are counting on you. But I'm starting fresh, which has its pluses and minuses. I don't just have to start fresh, I get to start fresh. And that's an important distinction. Clean slate.

I also watched some other YouTubers who talk about books and writing, and I went back to their very first videos just to see where they started. It gave me a slightly better perspective on what I can achieve. All it takes is determination and a will to keep thinking up topics to talk about. One of the channels, actually, is done by a girl who wasn't published when she started, and in later episodes has a published book and is working on the sequel. I still haven't gotten to the part where she published the book, but I'm watching them in order now.

This brings me to another point. I need to be a nerd for writing again. I mean, I already am. But when I sit down and pull up YouTube, it was never BookTube or any videos about writing I was looking up. It was gaming channels. I used to be much more passionate about learning the craft.

Which reminds me of the topic I wanted to talk about today. First, a quote:

I still read books on writing. My philosophy is if I find just one thing of value, even if it's only a new take on something I already knew, it's worth it. Anything that helps me become a better writer, I want to find.

That's from the second page of The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell, reflecting on twenty years of experience in the publishing business. I sometimes feel like a fraud still reading books on writing, because at this point, I've read all the advice before and internalized it. I don't need it said to me again and again.

But I agree with Mr. Bell. Occasionally I find something new, and sometimes I get a new take on something I already knew. And all those other things that I already knew? I don't skip over them. I keep reading them, because if so many people share the same beliefs on the different aspects of writing, then they must be the most important parts. Plus, repetition can serve as a reminder and also helps to more strongly internalize these ideas, strategies, practices, etc.

Finally, I decided to try out the 7 Minute Workout app at @LuxoLamp's suggestion. I figured I keep putting off exercise, and I can handle seven minutes. And boy were those an intense seven minutes. I'm sure I'll ramp up to doing multiple cycles of it in the future, but for now, while I'm still out of shape, I'll stick to seven minutes.

It's been three days of writing every day. A decent start, but I have a lot of work ahead of me. I welcome it, though, because I'm starting to fall back in love with writing.

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Hey, gankylosaurous,

Amazing job using the application! I did only seven minute workouts for a couple of weeks before doing multiple cycles. Another idea is to do one in the morning and one in the evening. Woo hoo.

Best,

Luxo

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