Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Virtue of Forgetting?

Sometimes I'll be sitting somewhere and I'll get the feeling that I should be remembering something. Often this will be accompanied by a feeling that I should also be worrying about something. Lately I've been tempted to just ignore these feelings. I figure that if I am feeling OK, then maybe I should just "let it ride", so to speak.

I experienced this phenomenon today. I had been worried about losing my phone charger but was hoping that it would be waiting for me at work. Alas, when I got to work there was no charger to be found. So I started working, got distracted, and suddenly I was feeling good; and then I got the nagging feeling that I described above. Wouldn't it be great if we could just let go of responsibility and live in the moment more often? I once had a friend who embraced this notion of living in the now. He ended up living in an abandoned bus in the wilderness and talking to insects. Seriously. But he was also the happiest guy that I knew at the time. Go figure.

I think there must be a balance to be struck between the anxiety of constantly worrying about things and the care-free feeling of just letting go. One glorious tool of the modern world is calendaring--especially when it's integrated with your mobile phone. I'm hoping that by the time I reach senility that there will be a fully programmed neural computer waiting to guide my every thought and step. Maybe the twilight of my life will be like one of those "Dark Rides" where you sit in a car that's mounted on a rail and ride through an amusement just taking in the sights. I might be OK with that once I hit 90 or so. It would sure beat sitting in a room somewhere rotting away like a zombie!

Imagineering is still underway on the next Hemlock novel. It is mainly centered around the second act of the novel and specifically concerns a character that I had intended to be moving offstage pretty quickly but that is now seeming to merit some additional "screen time". In the meantime, I need to get back to writing the first act, which is completely "imagineered" at this point. I feel bad that this process is taking so long. I saw a recent Goodreads.com poll that said that 1-2 years is the acceptable window for the next novel in a series. I hope I can hit that. Being a part time writer makes it a big challenge. And I guess I'd rather be sure that it's good than have it be just OK but completed faster.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amnesia and Motivation

I had a diversion last week when I decided to submit a short story to an anthology. I received some very good feedback from the editor, and spent a lot of time revising and reworking the short. I will certainly post information about it here once it is "published". Hopefully it will be in the aforementioned anthology. If not, I will continue to submit it elsewhere, and see what happens.

I have mentioned my suspect memory in prior blog posts, and it has struck again. I was going through some notes for the next Hemlock book when I stumbled upon a flashback scene that I'd outlined and then apparently forgotten about. It's kind of odd to read over something that you've written and then forgotten about. There is a moment, however brief, when you don't remember what you are reading, and you can almost experience your own writing like a reader would. If there was a pill to induce temporary amnesia I bet it would be very popular with writers.

Not too much else to report at the moment. This past weekend was a sprint between activities that I don't hope to repeat anytime soon. I need some chill time...and writing time. I estimate that I'm about 25% of the way into the first draft of Hemlock II. Dang, I wish I was farther in. But the key is to keep going.

I have a theory about project motivation. If you graph it over time, it looks like an inverted bell curve. You start out motivated and then your motivation steadily decreases as you approach the half completed mark. The key is to reach that 50% point, because though you are at your lowest motivation there (you still have a lot to do), as you proceed, your motivation will begin to increase again because you begin to see an end in sight. I think most projects falter between the 25% and 50% completion point. Your mileage may vary--but this is how my mind works.

That's it for now. Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Project Management Hat

Last night I wrote some more. The story for the next two Hemlock novels is sort of weighing on me at this point. I feel like I need to complete it in a reasonable time frame. This may mean more frequent writing sessions for me. Currently, I limit my writing to the weekends, or when I get flashes of inspiration. What I did last night was just sit down and write, regardless of mood. This is what I did over the weekend, as well, and the results were pretty good in my (not so objective) opinion.

The only thing that would truly hold me up is a shortage of ideas. I'm realizing that there may be a few areas of the plot that may be a bit thin, so that could introduce some delays. But I feel confident that I will be able to just write for at least another 10-20K words. Hopefully by then I will have fleshed out the upcoming sections enough to keep cruising.

I've read that bloggers should avoid posts where they just talk about writing. So I may have reached the pinnacle of blogger boredom with this post. I hope not... Actually, this is probably more of a project management topic than a pure writing topic. And we all know how exciting project management is as a topic for blog posts. Heck, People magazine is even starting up a new offshoot mag called "Project Managers". See? I can be trendy too. {Wink}

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Today I imagined something that was hilarious to exactly one person on the planet. Yes, you guessed it, that one person was me. I was hard at work on a mundane task, and my mind was a thousand light years away from any thoughts of my new novel. But apparently my sub-conscious was still working on it. Because my concentration on my mundane task was suddenly interrupted by one of my characters delivering an imaginary public service TV spot on ... something.
To be honest, I started giggling (internally...I think) before this character even got to the subject of his "spot". This is surely one of those things that only someone who spends a great deal of time rambling around in the dusty corridors of their imagination can appreciate.
And let's be honest, being a semi-professional imagineer is sort of a silly concept unto itself. Silly is defined in a few different ways, but for the purposes of this post, I will cite words like "trifling" and "frivilous". People who dig ditches, build homes, bridges or companies...they are the engines of the relevant, the significant. Imagining heroes running around with swords seems silly by comparison.
But maybe there's more to it than that outward appearance of silliness. Maybe these fantasies aren't trifling and frivilous after all. Not if they entertain us, and refresh us to face our true challenges in life. Not if they inspire us to live our lives like a quest, and to make an effort to excel. Not if they encourage us to dream, and to bridge the gap between the possible and the impossible with energy, passion, creativity, and perseverence.
Tony Robbins, why are you taking over my blog? I seriously need some therapy here.
On a writing note, I have a big block of writing time lined up for this weekend. I'm really excited about it! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Subconscious at work

Unfortunately, I've done very little writing this week. But, strangely, I feel like I've accomplished a lot in terms of planning out the second act of my upcoming novel. My subconscious has been busy this week even when my conscious mind has been otherwise engaged.
It's kind of like a creative bowstring being drawn to a quivering apex of potential force. I'm ready to write like a fiend. Hopefully it will be like that weekend I had a few weeks ago where I just sat down and started typing as fast as I could. That was a great feeling.
I'm cautiously optimistic that this second book will be better than the first. But it's still early on in the process, and the buzz of conception and creation is still fresh in my mind. I'm very anxious and excited to share the new story with readers. I want to talk about it and to hear people's reactions to it. Maybe it will end up being just another story, but the potential for greatness is always there. That's why we get up in the morning, right? The zest of life is the raw potential that it embodies. Anything can happen on any given day. Any novel could be a breakout. That potential is reason enough to keep going. No matter what.
Wow. This post seems to have ventured into Tony Robbins territory. I certainly didn't intend that. I suppose this is one of those "off" posts--because I didn't come in with much of a plan. Pure stream of consciousness. Or unconsciousness...