My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Broken Transmission

[This is the last known transmission received by the 2nd 8th rate blog Writing About Writing before all communication ceased on Wednesday, November 22 at 8:34 PM. Writing About Writing has not responded to any further attempts at communication.]

10 Things To Get You Through Week 4 of NaNoWriMo  

Hello. Evil Chris here. And I didn't just crawl out of the basement to run this Best Modern Fantasy Poll. Today I'm going to tell you about how to get through the last, and easily the most grueling week of National Novel Writing Month.

You've come this far, and there's just a little more to go. Let's keep a few things in mi–

[Static.  Transmission ends.

Status of Writing About Writing: Unknown

Bob says he'll check things out after he has dinner with the fam. He hopes the historically inaccurate Jurassic Park bio-engineered velociraptor with the laser on its head didn't get out again because his Nana made pecan pie.]

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (Reminder to Vote)

What is the best fantasy book or series written in the last 25 years?  

I'm flipping the order of operations between tomorrow and today–today will be the poll and tomorrow will be Evil Chris's survival guide to week three of NaNoWriMo. The reason for this change is three and loves Death Star jelly bean dispensers. Also I'm going to weep bitter tears when N.K. Jemisin doesn't make it to the finals (as it seems they won't), so if you see me on the streets, have pity. I am going through the only slightly imaginable. However, such is not under my control. *sigh* 

There are only four days left to vote. On Saturday I will post the results of this poll and put up the final round.

I know some people won't read this before they look at the choices and make a comment on Facebook, but please consider that 1) this is only half the titles in the semifinal round ("Oh my god how could Harry Potter not make it????" It did. It was in the first semifinal and will be going on to the finals.), 2) there were rules that disqualified titles that came out before 1992 ("Why isn't Wheel of Time on here?" Because it's not modern according to the definition of this poll.), and 3) there have been twelve rounds getting to here and that was after the epic-est nominations process I've ever seen, and much like N.K. Jemisin's unlikelihood of making it to the finals, I controlled literally NONE OF IT. My readers made all the decisions, so if a title got voted off the island or never got nominated, acting like it is a crime to the genre might make you look a little foolish.

Don't forget you get three (3) votes, but that there is no ranking, so using as few votes as possible is better.

The poll itself is in the lower left at the bottom of the side menus.

I'm told if you're on mobile you have to click "webpage view" then scroll alllllllllll the way to the bottom, you can find the poll.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Metacular (Personal and Meta Update)

I'm sure at one point I had a reason for looking this ridiculous.
A post on Monday? Whaaaaaaaat?

Actually it's just a preview to let you know what's going on. This week is a major holiday and our update schedule might look a little screwy. You know I can't get the staff to even come in on a bank holiday. Even if I offer them double-time, they say something like: "So, you're going to give us TWO coupons for half off DippenDots with the purchase of a value meal."

And they say it in that way that means it's totally the end of the conversation, so I'm not really sure.

Sci Guy wants to install a buttload of tracking software so we can definitively figure out what's going on with Evil Mystery Blogger by logging keystrokes or something, but it's a huge endeavor and he needs the entire building offline. I'm sure he's not just wanting the power reserves to do experiments to bring his dead girlfriend over from timelines where she didn't die because nothing weird ever happens here at Writing About Writing when we go on break for a few days. We also have a bit of freelance hero work happening Tuesday (rather than the usual Monday schedule for that sort of thing).

Anyway the point is, I'm going to take the opportunity to do something of a MASSIVE admin overhaul in the next week. Everything from figuring out the future of guest blogging to an Inside Scoop e-mail to a catch up on all the menus that have fallen into decay. And I'd love to get some full force sessions in with my fiction now that life is not a screaming tire fire.

And hey...I might even take a moment to have some good food with friends and family in my ritual sacrifice with pie.

There should still be a really real post for tomorrow (Evil Chris assures me) and some of our Best Modern Fantasy Poll business will go up on Wed. [Edit: It looks like I'm going to have to flip the rollout schedule on these two days, but all the same posts will go up.] But then we need to take the blog offline until Tuesday. If things go very well, we might fire it back up by Sunday, but we'll be back to taking Mondays off next week.

Now there's a D&D article I've been threatening, and I think it's going to be ready this week, but I've changed my mind about posting it this week. I'm overdue to give my patrons an early access post, and I'm going to let them have it for a few days.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

On Holidays, Flossing, and Writing

I stumbled into a metaphor not too long ago that resonated with me and has been packed into the top tier of my writing platitudes toolbox ever since. I share it now because my article about what Dungeons and Dragons taught me about writing will have to wait until at least tomorrow. And that's because frankly I needed a damned day off. (Uh.....other than this, I guess.)

I was having my teeth cleaned after a particularly busy period of my life. (Funny how often I seem to have those.) The dentist was remarking how good my flossing was and how good my gums were looking. This is notable because it was literally my first "Looks good. See you in six months," check up since I was a child. Usually I have to sit there and listen to how my every oral hygiene routine is actually completely wrong.

"I haven't flossed in like two weeks," I admitted anyway, wanting to absolve my guilt. I couldn't live with all those sweet golden compliments built on a turpitudinous throne of lies.  "Like maybe once or twice."

Thinking back on it, that exchange kind of reveals a lot about who I am as a person.

"It doesn't matter if you do it every single day. It doesn't even matter if you skip a few days. What matters is that you usually have the habit of doing it daily."

"Oh like writing," I said.

OH!  LIKE WRITING!!!!! I thought.

Here at Writing About Writing we're pretty staunch advocates of writing every day if you're trying to make it to The Show™. (Contented hobbyists are a whole other story.) Every writer whose name we recognize probably wrote every day or close. And while legit excuses are out there, there are few so beleaguered that they can't set aside fifteen minutes or so from Facebook or Zelda: Breath of the Wild to write for fifteen to thirty minutes.

However, as the holidays loom here in the States, it's also important for writers–particularly the kind that haven't carved out a paycheck from writing and have day jobs on top of everything else the Holiday season packs on–to remember that it's the habit they're cultivating that matters rather than whether or not they missed a couple of days here and there (or had to write a couple of paragraphs and call it good) in the days around a major event.

If you find yourself saying "I don't have to do it every day," to the mirror five days a week for six months, you might need to do a brutally honest inventory about who's fooling whom. But if you've got six hours of shopping and cooking and that's before the first guest arrives, and a boss who wants you to clear out a five day week of work in three days if you want Friday off, and the verge still needs trimming....be kind to yourselves.

Remember your writing doesn't have to be grueling hours on your work in progress. Tear someone a new asshole on a political post, redirect all that rage you have about your childhood to someone who thinks Trump isn't risking an irony fissure to the time space continuum to mock Al Franken, (or, you know, maybe send an email to Nana thanking her for the cookies if that's more your speed), and call it a day. The writing will all still be there on Monday.

It's not one day that's going to hurt your chances as a writer. It's forming that habit.

Like flossing.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Post Postponing

I mentioned this on Facebook, but I'm packing up one pet-sitting job and heading straight to another today (and the past two weeks of nannying haven't given me the time to have something mostly cobbled together already), so look for today's post this weekend.