It’s certainly been awhile since I’ve posted anything. I’d like to say that it was due to overwhelming responsibilities and productivity, but it wasn’t. I’ve been lazy. After finishing up my degree, I wanted to take some time off from any type of “homework” in order to have fun and enjoy my new status as a post-graduate.
My mistake was that I didn’t even write for fun.
I didn’t write much fiction in 2015 because the classes were actually legitimately difficult; that is, in a tedious slog sort of difficult. Not that the classes didn’t work my brain…they most certainly did. Rather, it was simply a lot of work! I found that I had little spare time to focus on writing for myself.
Then there was 2016, the “Year of the Sloth” and a lot of wasted time. Who was it that said “it takes an awful lot of time to not write a book?” Oh yes, Douglas Adams. Yeah, he’s someone I should listen to.
I did do SOME writing. I wrote a science fiction story that did well in a minor contest at Writing.Com. I added some words to my novel, as well as making the conscious decision to shelve the novella I had been working on. I felt that if I was ever going to go anywhere with this whole writing thing, a novella is a terrible first choice to try to market. As an entry-level professional writer, I would never get any takers, no matter how good it was. At least, it would be a much steeper uphill battle than necessary. So, the novel is where it’s at. Fortunately, I really love what I have planned for this book. It’s an original concept with solid characters, a really solid plot, and my own twisted and dark outlook will make things decidedly difficult for the characters. See, I know how the world works…luck and happiness don’t just fall out of the sky. Bad things happen, bad things always happen and the real story is how we survive, overcome, and rise above those bad things to become something better. Sometimes those bad things are really bad…so bad that the world and our lives are changed permanently. I’ll be taking cues from Stephen King, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, and George R. R. Martin and creating a rough and gritty world where there are no clear winners or losers.
The problem with all this enthusiasm is that it hasn’t overshadowed my laziness and tendency to procrastinate. I enjoy having written something; I reread my finished works and I really dig some of the stuff I come up with…but I find getting it all down in a document to not be that much fun. The solution? Just do it. Discipline is what I need. It’s not fun because it isn’t part of my life where it becomes fun. It’s “work” because I’m currently lazy. I must set a time slot, put out the work. I don’t like to come to my job either, but I do it because I want that paycheck. I need to do the same thing for my writing: do the work for the reward that I want, which is to be a successful novelist. I don’t care about making money, I have a job for that. I just want a legacy, to get these stories out for someone to read and enjoy, and have a purpose.
So, get off your ass, Oren.
I am. I’ve removed Facebook and Twitter from my phone. I also removed those bookmarks in Chrome. If I want to look at Facebook, I now have to manually enter that site. I can also add it to a site blocker for writing times. I can’t cheat if it’s not on my phone. Later, I am planning on deactivating my personal Facebook account and leaving just a professional page. I will use Twitter as a platform at regular scheduled intervals instead of as a toy.
I also plan to avoid news and other negativity in order to ‘detox’ my mind from other people’s swill. CNN and similar news sites, as well as local news, spew negativity at an alarming rate, especially lately with politics. I do feel that keeping myself informed is important, but my goals and dreams are more imperative at the moment and it is crucial that I begin. I can add these things back later; they aren’t going anywhere.
The other issue is video games. Yes, I play them. I feel like a lot of my inspiration and interest in speculative fiction does stem from games that I have played growing up, and influenced me nearly as much as books have (yes, you, Final Fantasy). However, in order for me to be a successful novelist, I need to allocate that time in games to productivity until I feel I can spare some entertainment time. I don’t know if I can go cold turkey (same with social media), but if I can use discipline and set time schedules, then I can achieve a balance that will eventually ween me off the waste in my life.
I read somewhere that I should keep my direct goals to myself; by speaking of specific goals to a friend or family member, I’m allowing a portion of my consciousness to ‘check it off’ as complete, leading me more down the road of procrastination. So, I won’t speak of what my 2017 goals are, but hopefully by eliminating some waste and adding better time management through some reasonable adjustments I can further any progress towards my goals.
Thanks for listening! See you next time.