Blogging My Way to a Novel

A book cover showing a writer using a pen in a notebook/journal.  The book's title is How Blogging can help you Write Your Novel.
Image Search: https://www.eadeverell.com/blogging-can-help-write-novel/

One of the things that I noticed when I was looking over the stats for my blog posts is the amount of words that I’ve been averaging. I’m actually down overall in terms of words from the past couple of years because I’m not publishing posts as regularly even though the actual word count for the posts has gone way up.

However, when I looked at the word count for the year, I was astounded. Taking the overall yearly word count just for the blog into account, I’ve written enough words to have written a novel every year since 2016!

Yup, you read that right–just doing what I’ve been doing for the blog would have been enough for a novel for the past four years!

60,000 Words (2016)

So, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which happens in November has a goal of 50,000 words. In theory, while there is no set amount of words for a novel, 60,000 words has generally become the accepted length in practice–although some would argue that NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 word length could also be considered novel length.

Looking at the blog’s stats–I reached 60,000 words (and change) in 2016. I was fairly committed to blogging–but I didn’t do it every day. If you were to use the calendar function on an old 2016 post, you would see that there were long gaps in posting, although I did post routinely at 5-6 days out of the month (yes, I think there may be some 3-4 days in their, but I generally average 5-6, maybe more). As you can see, while not consistent, I at least wrote something on monthly basis, even if it wasn’t a lot (or daily).

Had I done the exact same with my creative writing as I did with my blog posts, I would have had enough for a (depending on the font choice) 200 – 225 page manuscript and would have completed my first novel.

117,000 Words (2018)

My high water mark (so far) for the blog came in 2018, where somewhere around April/May, I hit my stride and blogged pretty much consistently for rest of the year. I blogged much like I’m trying to get back to now and what works best for me: Mondays-Fridays, 5 days a week. I actually usually do one or two blog posts on the weekend (maybe 3, but usually not more than 3) and then fill out the rest of the week with blog posts either written on that day (or at most, a day earlier).

I managed 117,000 words (and change) that year. Enough for 2 full novels or 1 door-stopper epic fantasy novel. This is the stat that really floored me and set me thinking about my writing, my writing process, and that helped to inspire this post. Just think of all that could have been accomplished had I taken the time to do with my creative writing that I managed with my blog.

Lessons Learned

I’ve learned two lessons from looking at my stats for the blog over the previous years of blogging:

  1. I need to be more consistent in my writing process if I want success. Even if I can’t find the “time,” I need to always be moving forward and to make sure I find time to write at least 5-6 days monthly. If I can also find a way to write daily (Monday-Friday) along with my blog, great–and that will put me in better stead–but at the bare minimum, I must be more consistent about writing.
  2. I should try to use the format of my blog to help me draft my longer works. This format works well for me–Introduction, 2-3 headings, and a paragraph or two for each heading. This is how I’m hoping to help myself become a better and more productive writer without “breaking my process.” That’s the key and I’m hoping that because I like this format–it will work for me.

Well, that’s all I have for today–nothing earth-shattering. Just a realization that I have the capabilities within me to make my dreams come true–if I can just find the consistency (and willpower) to get it done. And of course, not let it interfere with my dissertation for school.

Sidney


Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:




  • The Independent  (Sci-Fi Short-Story)–
    Editing Draft
  • Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel 
    Finished: Script, Issue #1
    Next: Script, Issue #2
  • “Project Arizona” (Weird Western Story)
    Finished: Rough Draft
    Next: First Draft

Fixing What Isn’t Broken

Picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi from 3rd Star Wars Prequel film (Revenge of the Sith) with white lettering that reads: "You don't fix what isn't broken!"
Image Source: Meme Generator

This will mark my first blog that I’ve published in about 4 weeks. Why? Well, there’s a short answer to that and a long one. The post today will lay out my reasons for the longer answer, but the shorter answer is simple: I fixed what wasn’t broken and now it’s broken. It’s that simple. I don’t mean technology broke, or even society (with the Covid-19 virus and the global Pandemic and subsequent “shut-down” and shelter in place status) going on.

No. I simply mean that I tried to fix my writing process (of which the blog is a part) and I fouled everything up. It has taken this long to untangle myself and work to get back to where writing is an enjoyable process and where I feel that I can create (no matter if it is for work, school, or play).

21st Draft

Yup, that’s right. This is draft number 21 and it (hopefully) will be the first post that I publish in a while. I have 20 other drafts in my drafts folder for this blog that are in various states that I need to either finish or delete since the first of March.

Now to be fair, about 8 or 9 of those pre-dated March 5, when I went to the conference in Boston, but I’ve tried multiple times over the past three weeks to get an entry out, but each time I’d either start it and not finish, or get some of it written, or (in one case) write the whole bleeping thing and then have the computer not save it to the WordPress server.

THIS is why it is so dangerous for me to get out of my routine/comfort zone. Not only do I not produce work that is up to (what I believe) are my standards, but I then go on long unproductive stretches where I can’t complete the things that I need to complete.

EDIT: And this post is an example of this–I started this post last Monday (March 30, 2020) and I’m just now publishing it on April 6, 2020 (assuming WordPress allows me to do so–it will let a draft sit in the compose window for only so long before it stops allowing updating. They really want you to close out the window and let it sit in the “drafts” folder.

Sidney


Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:




  • The Independent  (Sci-Fi Short-Story)–
    3rd Draft of 3 Drafts 
    Revising Section 1 (of 3)
    Deadline = February 29, 2020
  • Project Arizona (Fantasy Short Story–Weird West))
    Finished: Story Outline
    Next: Character Sketch
  • I, Mage (Fantasy Short Story)
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = July 31, 2020
  • Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel 
    Finished: Script, Issue #1
    Next: Script, Issue #2
  • Ship of Shadows: Screenplay
    Finished: Script Outline (Rough Draft)
    Next: Script Outline (1st Draft)

I Passed My Test!!! And so, I’m Back to Working on the Blog!

Happy Minion with the caption Yes I Passed My Test
Image Source: https://makeameme.org/meme/yes-i-5b8570

Hi, everyone! Sorry that I’ve been away from the blog for most of the month of November (& quite a bit of October). However, I do have a reason for this: SCHOOL! Basically, between taking classes, teaching classes (and grading), and reading for my Prelims (slang for Preliminary Examinations–the last major checkpoint that I had to pass before I am allowed to start on my Dissertation). I’m usually pretty good about finding an hour a day to knock out a blog post, but this semester has been incredibly difficult to do. So sorry!

I Passed My Test!

So, I had to respond to the criticism of my Prelims through an oral portion of the exam to nail some of the specifics for the test. Prelims are a strange beast as the way to pass is to show breadth of knowledge and mastery of scholars and scholarship in your field, but also to be super-specific and answer the question. I’m really good at either one or the other–I can either be super-specific and detailed or I can go general and show a breadth and wide-range of different scholarship, but I don’t usually have to do both in essays. In other words, I went for the breadth option and left some elements a bit vague, so the readers (professors) asked me to do an oral exam to nail down some of the specifics. I did so a week ago and managed to really well (YAY!) and so I passed. Now, I get to work on the Prospectus (a plan for the Dissertation) and once that is signed off on, I can then start the Dissertation itself (officially)!

As the test itself was Oct. 25th, and the oral exam was just last Tuesday, it is easy to see where my time has gone and the reason why the blog has languished (suffered). While I’m currently in the process of catching up on grading and assignment sheets, hopefully I’ll be more regular in my blogging (the semester ends on Dec. 4th, with my last Final Exam day for my classes happening on Dec. 11th), so no matter what, I should be back to a (mostly) normal schedule in the very near future!

What’s Next?

So, while I’ve been ensconced in reading, grading, planning classes, etc., I have been trying to stay current with media and current events (mostly to keep my stress level reasonable and to STAY SANE!) In doing so, I’ve have quite a bit of material to blog about, so please start looking for blog entries to start appearing more frequently. I won’t promise a full 5 day a week schedule yet (though I might hit that at some point), but blog entries should pop up with more regularity now that I’m on the Dissertation path!

So, long story short, I’m back to blogging (for probably the 3rd time this year), so look for more blog entries and for the blog to make an end-of-the-year surge to finish 2019 out strong!

Oh, and did I mention? I PASSED MY TEST! 🙂

Sidney


Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:




  • The Independent  (Sci-Fi Short-Story)–
    3rd Draft of 3 Drafts 
    Drafting Section 2 (of 3)
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = January 31, 2020
  • I, Mage (Fantasy Short Story)
    Pre-Production Phase (Planning)
    Pre-Writing on Rough Draft & Character Sketch
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = July 31, 2020
  • Current Longer Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel 
    (Sci-Fi) Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32
    Personal Deadline = December 30, 2019

Blogging is Dead . . . Long Live Blogging.

Blogging is dead . . . long live blogging! So, over the past two months, Sony has released information about its newest generation console–the PS5. They’ve done so, not on their blog (more on this in a moment), but through a couple of exclusive interviews with Wired magazine–a once venerable tech magazine whose fortunes have crumbled with the fall of print and the move to online platforms. And yet . . . Wired like blogging still remains relevant in the digital sphere. I mention Wired, Sony, and the PS5, not because I want the readers of the blog to love games & gaming as much as I do–it actually seems to turn off many of the readers of the blog by the numbers–but rather because Sony also blogs. The Playstation Blog is one of the most informative, insightful, and artfully arranged blogs out there–and they do a FAR better job than I do of keeping their blog up-to-date with entries on regular basis (oh, sick burn on myself!). Yes, their blog is mostly designed to sell their products and services, but wealth of information that you can find in some of the interviews and developer posts simply can’t be replicated in one minute, twenty-seven second trailer (1:27) of the latest hot game. Through their posts, you can truly take the “pulse” of the gaming community (at least, for Sony’s platform anyway).

And yet . . . I can’t tell you how many pundits and video game journalists who have sneered (and that’s the only word that can be used) at Sony’s strategy, of both using Wired to disseminate and for using a “lowly blog” to communicate with its players, fans, and customers. I’ve heard the phrase, “Come on Sony, it’s 2019, get with the times” bandied about more times than I can count as if blogs are not still relevant and can’t compete with the “old” hotness of Facebook & Twitter and the “new” hotness of Instagram.

Well, as a blogger, I SAY THEE NAY!

Blogs ARE Still Relevant . . . If You Know How To Use Them

Part of the problem, both in the video game community and the larger social media sphere, is that blogs are still more binary than interactive. Blogging & bloggers, by design, still generate posts. Readers can then read them or choose not to read them and then respond. Bloggers who allow comments can either let the comments go up or not and can then choose to respond or not.

What blogging (for me) allows is to share ideas with a larger public–an audience, if you will. I’m always aware that there is another person at a screen somewhere who will read these words and will engage with them on some level. However, I’m also very aware that “interaction” may be limited. I allow comments and so far, with the exception of spam comments, I have allowed EVERY comment made by readers to go up, even if I have not always had the time/inclination to respond to them. However, Facebook and Instagram (and even Twitter) to a lesser degree relies on interaction. Very few people on those platforms just read Status Updates or just look at the pictures, or don’t retweet/use hashtags for various things that interest them.

Interactivity, however, is NOT a prerequisite for Social Media–speaking to an audience/having audience awareness is. And just because everyone else seems to be in the thrawl of interactivity, doesn’t mean that everyone should be or wants to be. This why Sony is getting so much blow-back. People seem to want to interact with Sony (and the comments section of their blog posts, especially the ones on their “free” games line-up on their Playstation Plus program seems to bear this out). Some of us just want to express some idea, some thought, some sort of expression into the general public. Maybe that is frustration (like how I’m frustrated over having to take a test tomorrow that I feel is too overly broad and doesn’t play to my strengths as a writer who makes “connections), or maybe that is wonder (at seeing my story make the cover of a magazine which is vindication for the long hard nights of me writing the story all by myself), or maybe it is disgust (at the fact news outlets are being given information about the next new “hotness” that is the PS5, but are too busy sneering at the way the information is presented rather than doing a deep dive on the information). An aside: I guarantee if Microsoft (M$) was releasing the information in that vein, it would be okay because: sing it with me now, </sarcasm> Microsoft is an “American” company and so, obviously, Microsoft can do NO wrong </Sarcasm off>.

Interactivity is NOT always the name of the game nor the end all/be all of Social Media. Sometimes, information and/or expression is also necessary–and that’s why blogs exist, to put ideas, expressions, and content into context (filtered through the blogger) and to provide perspective (again, filtered through the blog–but in this case, through the blogger and the readers of the blog).

And to all those who think blogging is old and dead or a useless endeavor–blogging is very much ALIVE, and continues to be a valid source of expression, be they opinions, information, or emotive outpourings of the various writers who see blogging as useful and necessary. Just because you don’t see the relevance of blogs and blogging doesn’t mean there isn’t any.

Long live blogs and blogging (and bloggers).

Sidney


Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:




  • The Independent  (Sci-Fi Short-Story)–
    3rd Draft of 3 Drafts 
    Drafting Section 2 (of 3)
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = January 31, 2020
  • I, Mage (Fantasy Short Story)
    Pre-Production Phase (Planning)
    Pre-Writing on Rough Draft & Character Sketch
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = July 31, 2020
  • Current Longer Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel 
    (Sci-Fi) Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32
    Personal Deadline = December 30, 2019

Unintended Vacation

Image Source: https://me.me/i/when-youre-overworked-broke-with-no-social-life-and-someone-3cb5624d1d1b41ef8a97ec1e8d5378c7

Sorry for the last two weeks. I haven’t actually been on vacation–far from it. I’ve actually been simply overworked in the last two weeks of the Summer semester. I’m great (no false modesty here folks), but I’m slow. I’ve discovered that when I blog, I essentially must do one of two things: 1) set aside an hour every day in which to blog (not ideal, but the way the blog mostly gets written) or 2) write the blog entries over the weekend and set them to “pop up” on a daily basis (ideal, but at an hour an entry that usually means 5 hours out of my weekend–which after a rough week like last week, is hard to do).

Why So Slow

In a word: QUALITY. That’s the one thing that my friends (those who know me) can’t understand about me. I like to take my time with things in order to make sure that I get them right. Yes, I’m an American, but you wouldn’t know it. This is going to seem like a slam on my nation, but it’s true: Americans prefer speed over quality. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but it’s true. If Americans can get both, then they will, obviously, but as someone who’s dealt with the public for 17 years, I can say that many (obviously not all) prefer the quick answer to the right answer. Americans hate wasting time and are always rushing hither and thither and they hate to be slowed down by anything, even (in some cases, by the truth/correct answer). Sure, if the quick answer is wrong and costs them money, then most of my countrymen and women will be angry, but just as likely, if there’s no money involved, then they’ll take the wrong answer just because its quick.

That’s just not me.

Advantages and Disadvantages

So, in American society, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to being slow (or preferring quality over quickness). The advantages is that I tend, over time, to be as good, if not better than others in whatever I put my time into. Doesn’t mean that I’m automatically (automagically) going to be better, but because I take my time, start from the ground up, learn deeply, take the “hits”/”mistakes”/disappointments, and then keep going, I usually have a better average than others. Of my circle, I’m the only one who is technically a “professional” writer. Sure, others have publications or who have written full novels, but none have actually faced rejection upon rejection, revised their stories, or dealt with the realities of the publishing world, over and over again until their work sells. They dismiss the level of difficulty of what I do because, since I’m so slow, they never actually see all of the hard work and the stages that it takes to get things done. For instance, I have to teach an English class in about 2 weeks; first day of class is the 26th. However, my final paper is also due on the 26th as the professor wanted a paper that would be great and one that we could use to present at a conference. So, instead of doing 1 thing like my contemporaries, I have to do 2 things. There are some who have already finished their one thing (prepping for school or finished their paper). I, on the other hand, am in the middle of working on both of them. They will be ready on time and will be at a high level, but I’m sure there are others who would look at me and think that I’m not capable of doing the work–everyone else is already finished, they would argue, why aren’t you? Nevermind that I have a blog, a short story, reading (personal and school), yard work, housework, a weekly 4 hour commute, church, errands, and any number of other commitments in addition to trying to rest and recover from the work week–and that doesn’t even cover the work I’ve done to get set up in my school’s brand new class Doctoral Readings (which could be its own blog entry).

The Price of Quality

There is a price to be paid for quality, though. It means that there is never enough time to do everything that you want to do, in the manner that you want to do it.

The editor of Storyhack sent a link to the proofs in a dropbox file about 2 weeks ago–just before my inadvertent vacation from blogging. I glanced over them and told myself I’d get back to them as soon as I could, but wasn’t able to do so. I’ll look and see if they’re still available to edit (I doubt it mightily, but I just didn’t have the time to do it properly until now), so if it gets published, it probably won’t be the way I wanted it. Again, this is a source of frustration–why couldn’t it have been sent earlier in the summer when time wasn’t at so much of a premium? I don’t know, but I do know that it came in at exactly the wrong time for me to give it my full attention, so I’ll just have to shrug and have it printed not like I wanted.

Still, there’s not a whole lot that could be done. If I’d done the edits on time, then I wouldn’t have completed my Annotated Bibliography (which earned an A, btw) or the Final Exam (haven’t gotten the grade back yet), so I have to prioritize. And if that ticks people off, well, then I’m sorry, but that’s simply the way my life works. I’m still working on the Work, School, Life Balance and maybe one day, I’ll get it figured out.

Well, I’d better wrap this up. I’ve been writing now for almost an hour and a half (this one is as long as 2 normal blog entries), but I thought I should explain my absence. To be honest, it will probably happen again sometime around Aug. 26th or so, but hopefully it won’t be as long this time.

Have a good day!

Sidney


Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:




  • The Independent  (Sci-Fi Short-Story)–
    3rd Draft of 3 Drafts 
    Drafting Section 1 (of 3)
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = January 31, 2020
  • I, Mage (Fantasy Short Story)
    Pre-Production Phase (Planning)
    Pre-Writing on Rough Draft & Character Sketch
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = July 31, 2020
  • Current Longer Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel 
    (Sci-Fi) Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32
    Personal Deadline = September 30, 2019
  • HawkeMoon (upcoming) = Edits turned in to editor 5/31/19

I’ll Let You in on a Little Secret . . . About the Blog

A table set with several dishes of food on a blue and white tablecloth.
Image Source: https://researchinsiders.blog/2017/07/06/moving-beyond-binge-vs-snack-writing/

So, just like the title implies, I’m going to let you in on a little secret in regards to this blog. You know how last week I was able to release 5 blog entries without fail and all of them released at about 8:00 am EST? Yeah well, I did them all on that Sat./Sun. before the week. That’s right, all 5 entries last week were written mostly on those two days (actually, the vast majority of them were written in a single day). I found the process to be actually be kind of enjoyable, especially when I finished the 4th one and I knew that I was going to finish the 5th one in fairly short order.

Binge Writing

Okay, so I’m not really a “binge watcher,” (per se). Unless there’s are run of really good episodes all right in a row, I don’t generally binge watch a show that is on streaming. Rather I “consume” 2-5 (sometimes more, sometimes less) episodes at a time and then I stop for a period of time (which depends on how much time I have that week, how much I’m invested in the show, and how much I like the current storyline). The more I like a particular storyline, the more episodes I watch and vice versa. I am literally 4-5 episodes away from finishing Farscape for the first time (I’ve mentioned previously that this is my 3rd time attempting to complete the series–more on that when I give my review of the series). However, the last episodes in the back half of the 4th Season are really dragging for me–I think I know why, but I want to finish before I give my thoughts.

All this to say that I have a fairly strong will (especially when I can create a “routine” and stick to that routine without a whole lot of variation to knock me off my routine). I found that I really like writing all of the blog entries on 1-2 days and then schedule them to “pop-up” on WordPress every day. When I did it this way, I was able to get my all my posts done and then used the week to do creative writing on The Independent and the edits for HawkeMoon. I was much more productive with just a little tweak to my “system.”

So What Happened?

This week, well I’ve missed two days so far. In my defense, one was a holiday, but had I done the same system, I could have had a shorter post ready for it that simply wished everyone a happy holiday.

No, this week that system didn’t happen because I was a bit sick this past weekend–an all too common refrain for this year. While I was able to get up and do things, whatever I had lead to a general sense of lethargy (in addition to a slight runny nose), so I basically was in bed for quite a bit of the holiday weekend.

The posts that you’re getting this week are ones that I being created on the day they are released–and as you can see, I’m much more erratic when I write this way.

This is the same with my creative writing. When I can carve out a substantial amount of time (regularly), then I’m able to make significant progress on my stories. However, when I only have a small amount of time–even if it is regular–it is much harder for me to get into the “ficitive dream state” and much harder for me to create writing in which I’m personally satisfied. The blog from which I used an image (https://researchinsiders.blog/2017/07/06/moving-beyond-binge-vs-snack-writing/) mentions an idea that I’ve used before: “The Flow.” If I don’t have enough time to write, then I don’t enter this flow (the ficitive dream I mentioned above) and the writing is very unsatisfying.

So, for me, it is better for both the blog and my own projects, to have a regular, discrete amount of time (45 mins to hour and a half) for me to truly create something that I’m proud of as a writer. If I don’t have that time, then it is much harder for me to write and to write consistently. So now that I’ve defined the problem, my task is to work on the solution: finding ways to binge-write consistently.

Sidney

Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:




  • Current Work-in-Progress–February 2019: Project Dog  (Sci-Fi Short-Story – 1st Draft — Character Draft “Finished”)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel – Script, Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32)

Gone Dark

Image Source: https://www.rhinohub.com/silence-is-golden/

So this is the first post that I’ve made in approximately two weeks (maybe 2 1 /2 – 3 weeks). I’ve attempted several posts (my “Drafts” folder in WordPress is up to 9 drafts–this one is actually up to 10–but after it gets published it will be back down to 9 again). It seems like I’m always apologizing for stepping away from the blog, but that’s just the way that my mind works. I have to have enough time to work on my projects, personal or school related. That’s what I discovered trying to write “piecemeal”; I can do it, but it isn’t very good–it also isn’t (for me) a very rewarding way to write. I also discovered that I need enough time to make the drafts come out the way that I want them. Without both of these elements–time enough to get through a complete section (as I define it), then the work isn’t as good or as fun. That’s why my “drafts” box is filled with partially completed drafts–it isn’t that the ideas behind them weren’t good, but rather, I didn’t have enough time when I started them to get them where I thought they needed to be to publish them to the blog. Now, I look at them, and the idea is still there, but I’ve lost the desire/impetus to actually work on them.

Coming Back to Life

This blog post represents a resurgence in my writing life. Primarily, this summer is a “reading” summer. I have quite a few things I need to do this summer and nearly everything has reading involved. I have a book that I’ve been trying to read for nearly a year and a half (Multimodal Composition: A Critical Sourcebook by Claire Lutkewitte) beside me right now and my goal is to read at least a chapter before I go home for lunch today. This is going to be much of my summer–read, read, read. Of course, writing go back to being a thing. I should be back to my daily blogging routine and I should put time on my writing projects daily. As long as I have enough time to complete some “section” (like the goal of reading one chapter today), I should hopefully find that by the end of summer, I’ve managed to be a successful reader and writer.

Seeing is Believing

I’ve seen quite a bit of media, but one of the most affecting things that I’ve seen is a YouTube video (TedTalk) that I really found powerful and helpful. I will link to it at a later date and create a blog topic about it, but I really thought that the message was one that I could follow as it talked about making marginal improvements in order to make life-altering improvements. This is something that I don’t mind doing–if something is broken, I want to fix it, but making changes for the sake of changes doesn’t really help me (and usually makes things worse in the long run). However, it I “tweak” things, so that the changes are small and meaningful, then things seem to work out better for me, for example, working on characters before I start to seriously draft the story which was a small change that I feel has paid dividends to my writing. This is something I will be working on all summer.

Well, I’ve nattered on for long enough–this chapter isn’t going to read itself. Hope to talk to you all much more this summer and hope not to “go dark” again any time soon.

Sidney

Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:




  • Current Work-in-Progress–February 2019: Project Dog  (Sci-Fi Short-Story – 1st Draft — Character Draft “Finished”)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel – Script, Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32)

Dead Stop

Image Source: https://www.americasmarketingmotivator.com/dead-stop-the-value-of-a-time-out/

It seems like I’m forever apologizing for not working on the blog, but this time I had some very good reasons as to why I haven’t posted in a while (over 3 weeks, I think). Basically, it’s because I haven’t been writing—not creatively, nor for the blog.

Work-Life Balance

So, the thing to understand is that my work-life balance is completely out of whack. I could go into the many reasons as to why this is the case, but to sum most of the reasons up in a short, pithy way: school. The classes that I had to take this semester were intense (one was reading intensive, while the other was watching films, both in and out of class, so it was time-intensive). The two classes that I was teaching were Monday, Wednesday, Friday courses at 8:00 am, so it was hard (and became impossible) to both plan lessons and write blog entries at the same time, and lastly, the Chromebook, while necessary to do my work, isn’t really conducive to “writing” as its keyboard is horrible in terms of feel for touch typing. I find myself making double or triple the amount of keystroke errors than I make on my (now ancient) 2008 Macbook Pro. The Chromebook does not make for a good writing experience—in fact, outside of short one or two paragraph feedback entries for my students, I now actively try to avoid doing any extended writing on the Chromebook as it is such a frustrating and dismal experience.

Solutions

So that this post doesn’t turn into a “gripe” post, I wanted to provide some solutions that I’ve been musing over during the unintentional sabbatical that I’ve had to take and you’re actually reading the first one—changing the time when I write the blog. Every weekday, M-F, I have approximately 30-45 minutes of usable time that I used to try to use for my creative writing. However, I was ultimately frustrated by the lack of progress that I could see myself making in those short sessions. I’m taking that time to write this blog entry. While I can’t actually find and place the images, nor upload it as I’m not on the internet as I’my typing these words, still the time (in my mind’s eye) fits better as I can write these words now and upload them sometime tomorrow—yes, I’ll still have to spend time finding images, linking them, and sourcing them, but at least the majority of the work will be done ahead of time. I still have to find a place to move my creative writing, but I’ll experiment with a couple of times I have in mind on the weekend to see if those times work better and allow me to actually finish drafts. I’m also going to use Scrivener to try to help out. I can see the word count at the bottom of the page (494 words so far), so I’m aiming for the 500 word mark. Some posts may be around 400 words (or even shorter if I’m tired), some may go long (600 words or more), but I’m going to try aim for 500 words, with a hard 1000 word cap. This, too, should help with getting these posts out of my mind and onto the blog in a timely manner. And, as I’m quickly closing in on that 600 word mark, I think that I will close for today with my family’s most adhered to adage (along with my personal addendum); If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it (but if it is broke, fix it until it isn’t broke anymore, and then leave it bloody well alone!)

Sidney




  • Current Work-in-Progress: The Independent (Sci-Fi Short-Story – 2nd Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Project Star (Sci-Fi Short-Story -1st Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel – Script, Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32)


Return of the Blog

Lord_of_the_Rings_-_The_Return_of_the_King

Many apologies for not posting over the past two months/posting sporadically.  This semester has been the “perfect storm” for me in terms of trying to find a work-life balance.  With two classes back-to-back early in the morning, I really don’t have time to prepare for anything else.  After teaching those classes, I either have classes myself to take (Modern British Literature) or I have office hours where I’m trying to grade or prepare for the next day’s class.  After that, I generally go to my second job or to my other class 6pm-9pm (luckily that class is only 1 day a week, but my second job is the other 4 days.

Behind in the Seat

All that to say, time has been a real struggle this semester.  I’ve been fairly consistent with writing creatively after coming home after my second job because I have a routine where I reward myself with a snack of some sort and I write as I’m eating the snack.  250 words can go pretty quickly, but with a blog, I generally write double that 250 words, sometimes more.  Then add tagging, finding and downloading an image, sourcing that image, and scheduling the entry, all take a considerable amount of time.

I’m going to try to be more determined to get blogs up even if it is later in the day.  I like scheduling them so that they pop up in the mornings, but I just need to get them done and out, no matter when that happens.  That’s what is going to happen with this entry, btw.

Well, that’s all I have for now–nothing world changing.  Just trying to get back on schedule with a super hard/super intense schedule that leaves me with little-to-no time for work-life balance.  Hopefully, I’ll get better over time.

Sidney




  • Current Work-in-Progress: The Independent (Sci-Fi Short-Story – 2nd Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Project Star (Sci-Fi Short-Story -1st Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel – Script, Issue #1, Currently on Script Page 28)

 

 

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