A Writer Reflects

Writer-once-upon-a-time-1024x576Earlier this week I was sitting a table in the breakroom at my day job, scribbling down story ideas. A random coworker approached and jokingly ask if I was writing a book. I answered straight-faced with a “yes”, causing him to look at me funny. With a sigh, I stopped writing and reached for my wallet to pull out a business card. I explained that yes I do write fiction, mostly fantasy, and had several things available on Amazon if he were interested.

o'connorI didn’t know this person. My day job is in a building with probably 400 people. I don’t know them all but I had seen this gentleman before in passing. The sigh was involuntary because I was being interrupted. Its the same as when you are trying to read or watch a movie and someone keeps talking to you. With a book or a movie often you can go back to the last line you read or rewind the film. When you are writing and someone interrupts your thoughts are gone once derailed depending on when they interrupt. In this case, everything was pouring out off the cuff and when I got suddenly got brought back to reality it was like someone turned off the water while I was drinking from the fountain.

Earlier that day I had been asked a question. I was stuck in a meeting with around sixty other people and happened to mention to one of my work friends that I have a new book of short stories out. This elicited surprise from those nearby, which confused me. I’m a writer. I don’t hide it. I thought I was quite obvious about it but it seems I wasn’t as apparent as I thought I was.

I was then asked, “If you are a writer, why aren’t you rich?”

I laughed because it doesn’t work that way. If all it took was to write and be semi-decent On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by [King, Stephen]at it to become well off, the distribution of wealth would be much different than what it is. My answer was: “Because I am not Stephen King, and even he started off writing in the laundry room.” (I work at an appliance company so this was met with more amusement than average.)

non-fictionIt is intriguing to note that people still equate books with wealth. Once upon a time books were hard to come by and only the wealthy had them. However, even then, the people that wrote the books were not as well off as the people that read them. Unless you are one of the few who receive a lot of advertising and tend to be decently prolific, writing a book is not the way to fame and fortune. Which isn’t why most writers write anyway.

I mean, we wouldn’t mind a little of the fortune. We all have bills to pay and would love the chance to be able to do so without worry or the necessity of having another job. It’s just not the way things usually work; regardless if you go the traditional publishing route, go indie, or do a combination of the two.

There are some writers who make a good living. I hope to be one of them someday. I library-425730_1920think that is the hope of most writers. Those that are actually in it for the fame and fortune are usually disappointed unless they have very good marketing teams.

Could I be more successful than I am right now? Oh absolutely. I just need to get over my ingrained insecurities, stop sighing at people who interrupt my writing when they may be potential customers, actually finish the dozens of writing projects I’ve got in the works, and then tell lots and lots of people that I have books and they should read them instead of hoping for some kind of divine osmosis to happen where everyone just suddenly knows my stuff exists.

I’ll get there one day.

dream time

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Watermelon Pajamas and Word Attacks

I slept in a little today because I haven’t been sleeping very well the past few nights. I woke up to a question from my younger cousin who was having trouble with her math homework. She reached out to me online for assistance and while she included a picture of the problem I could not make heads or tails of it.

doctor wibbilyMath is not my forte. Part of it is because I am somewhat dyslexic, especially with numbers, but did not find out until I was in college. So all the math teachers before college, though they explained things well, never got the information to click in my brain. I did what they told me but still came up with the wrong answers, so at the time I assumed I was doing the problem wrong. It turns out that I was more likely doing the wrong problem. It makes a difference if you are dealing with 35 as opposed to 53.

Holmes

Still, I wanted to help my cousin so I, in turn, reached out to a writer friend who also happens to be a math teacher. He explained the question in a way that made sense even to me. I passed the explanation over to my cousin who was then happily able to complete her homework now that she knew what it wanted her to do.

Finally, I sat down with my coffee and brought up my current work in progress, only to click open a new document instead. The whole confusion over the math problem gave me an idea. I thought to jot it down for my own amusement and revisit it later.

out of toushTwo thousand words later here I am, still in my watermelon dotted PJs trying to figure out what happened. I now have a new magical world where proficiencies are denoted by color and there seems to be some type of political catastrophy boiling up in another country. My brain feels like mush. I don’t know if I should keep plugging away at this thing or go back to what I planned on doing today. I think I am going to take a break before deciding.

A Late Night And A Full Moon

dscn0227[1]Last night I stayed up too late. I didn’t actually go to bed until after five this morning. I took a nap yesterday afternoon because I knew I would want to take a peek at the Lunar eclipse. If I didn’t take a nap, I probably would have been warm and comfortable in my pajamas by the time the eclipse started and then I wouldn’t want to go out into the cold. And it was cold, 18 degrees to be exact.

The moon was full and round, as something called a Super Blood Wolf Moon should be. The eclipse itself was pretty spectacular too. We won’t see another total lunar eclipse until May of 2021.

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I managed to get a few pictures before I could no longer feel my fingers and toes. Some of them turned out pretty good considering my camera isn’t exactly fancy and doesn’t have extra lenses and such. I warmed up with a hot drink then sat down to read since the cold had made sure I was wide awake. I only have one book of a trilogy left to read and then the first one of the next trilogy. After that I have to wait for the author (Yes, still Mercedes Lackey,) to publish more.

I have been able to focus more on writing lately though some places feel like I am struggling through a swamp. I have to write a magic battle coming up next and I need to visualize it so I can describe it properly. However, this is harder than it sounds. At first, my brain kept basically showing me Dragon Ball Z reruns with my characters substituted and I had to convince it that there would be no Kamehameha-ing going on. Now I have an inkling of an idea. I just have to flesh it out.

I am also working on another nonfiction book I hope to have completed by May. If I focused solely on it I could probably have it done earlier, but I have other things I am working on too. I am also thinking about putting out another book of short stories. I haven’t decided for sure on that yet but I am gathering my orphans together so to speak.

Next weekend, if all goes well, I will probably be popping in at a local convention.

We must use time creatively. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Writing, Reading, and Procrastination

books stack old antique
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Currently, I am coming to the end of chapter two in a book I am writing. At least I think it will be a book. (I have been mistaken before.)  I would be much further along if it wasn’t for Mercedes Lackey.

For Christmas, I received an eagerly anticipated trilogy of books. I knew I would get them. I had asked for them specifically when people inquired what I wanted for Christmas. Mercedes Lackey has been one of my favorite writers for a long time. I picked up one of her Valdemar books at a thrift store when I was too young to appreciate it and hated the book.

Then I discovered the Bedlam Bard books and fell in love. They were rare treasures I mandolin-3017726_1280.pngwould search shelves for. That was how I discovered the Serrated Edge series. I loved those too but I hated them as well. Those books turned a flashlight on the dark corners of humanity. They absorbed you as you read them, immersing you in the story until you felt all of the horror and pain but also the hope. It was wonderful and awful at the same time. I read some of them over and over.

horse-175188_1920Years after my first introduction to Valdemar my sister started telling about this book she was reading. It sounded awesome. It had magic, adventure, and was written by one of my favorite authors. Then I found it out it was a Valdemar book. By then I knew Valdemar had quite a large fan base but I don’t like jumping on bandwagons. I honestly thought the Bedlam Bard series was better and that people were fans of the wrong series, even though I had never really given the Valdemar books a chance.

My sister can be quietly demanding when she wants to be. She gives you unspoken orders and you hop to, only later realizing what happened. I don’t think she even realizes that she does it. Which was how I was presented with a stack of Valdemar books from her collection and told to familiarize myself with this world she was always talking about. I devoured them all and came back for more. The storytelling was great. Later as I learned to read as a writer, I picked out a couple of things I thought could have been done differently and made a few of the books better. (In my opinion of course.) I was fool enough to mention these thoughts out loud.

Learn from my mistakes. If you are discussing books with someone who showers a story martial-arts-291049_1280.jpgworld with complete adoration, never ever ever suggest that there is something wrote with it. Ever. Not even if it is just saying that the ending felt a little rushed and you wonder if the author had to hurry through it to make a deadline. Don’t do it. You will regret it. (Unless of course, you are trying to start a fight or have odd compulsion to have the skin ripped from your body with words. If that is your goal then insulting a favored author or book series is an easy way to accomplish it. Even if the slight is only perceived, it will do the job.)

library-425730_1920So after eight books or so I wandered away from Valdemar and on to something else. Then this Winter I was poking around on Amazon, looking for gifts for others when I stumbled across something called “The Herald Spy Trilogy”. I am a sucker for rogues and I enjoy Lackey’s writing so I asked for them for Christmas. I received them, eagerly sat down to read after the holiday craziness was complete, and discovered I had no idea what was going on. References were made to characters I had never heard of. Confused I contacted my local Valdemar informant, A.K.A my sister. She did some google-fu and produced a list of books that come before the trilogy I wanted to read. And to her surprise, she only owned three of the five and they were in storage. (Another long story.)

So I set out to acquire the five books that came before the trilogy I got for Christmas. Then I had to wait for them to be shipped because I bought them online. In the meantime, I got an idea for a book of my own after speaking to a friend and started writing. I managed to get a chapter and a half in when my books acquisitions arrived. I ignored them for a few days but then the person who got me the trilogy started asking questions about if I had read them yet and if I liked them. So feeling guilty for ignoring my gift, I started on the Collegium Chronicles and am now on the fourth book. However, I have only written a couple of paragraphs over the past few days since reading has taken over my writing time.coffee-690421_1920

My writing is suffering from my lack of focus, concentration, and sleep. If Mercedes Lackey wasn’t such a hell of a storyteller I wouldn’t have this problem. The compulsion I feel to read and purchase these books because I enjoy them so much is fascinating. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could be like that one day?

(By the way, during the writing of this blog post I stumbled upon another book in one of Lackey’s series that I haven’t read and ended up buying it too.)

 

 

January Pains

Image result for january 8 2019 calendarToday is Tuesday 1/8/2019. Most of you know that but I need the reminder. My sense of time and date has been off since Christmas. My patience has been off for two or three days now. I have none. It’s gone. My ears hurt and that turns me into a whiny, stomping, toddler version of the Hulk. I admit it.

I’ve done a lot of jaw clenching and teeth grinding over the past couple of days because I know my mood is horrid. I get really annoyed about little things because I hurt and even small inconveniences feel like one more thing to put up with on top of the hurting. It all started on Friday or Saturday when my dog was enjoyingImage result for cold the cool air and the wind whipping through her fur and refused to come in. So I stood with my sweater wrapped around me in the fading dusk, calling and whistling for the brat to come to me so I didn’t have to traipse through the patch of woods near the house.

That thirty minutes of cold air blowing into my ears did me in. I am paying for it now. It doesn’t help that my day job entails wearing headphones for 8-9 hours and there is no sound level regulation. I mean I can turn the volume up and down, sure. Yet one call can be at a normal level and the next is eardrum-shattering loud. That means I am trying not to voice pain while frantically pressing the button to turn down the volume and listen to whatever the person on the other end of the line is saying.

entrepreneur-1340649_1920January is also the months of employment threat stress. This is true no matter where you work. January is when all those above you on the totem pole start getting a ton of pressure from all the ones above them to “trim the fat”. That can be anything from how many work hours a retail store is allowed for employees to how long phone calls take and how many you get through in a day. In a grocery store, they sometimes focus on items scanned per minute. So hours are cut or quotas are raised and everyone is pressured to do more with less or else there could be repercussions.

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Right now, in my current mood and with my aching ears it all feels like so much B.S.