Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ideas

A few years ago, when I started re-dedicating myself to this blog, I thought I would have a plethora of ideas.  Tons of topics to discuss.  But recently, I've been so focused on my books that I haven't had the time to think of stuff to talk about over here.  I still love talking about charities, and I love coming up with topics where I can go back and forth with all of you in the comments (though I don't always have time to get into in-depth discussion due to my day job).  I just can't think of a topic today.

But I am writing!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stay Healthy!

Let's be honest: writers have a reputation for being rather unhealthy.  There's that stereotype of the withdrawn drunkard with his notepad (or laptop) at the local bar, swilling beer and whiskey (or vodka or gin, and in some cases absinth), chowing down on potato chips, tortilla chips, fish and chips... etc.  And, let's face it: most of us drink OBSCENE amounts of coffee (though for some odd reason I've given up the delicious elixir and I'm glad the headaches are finally gone).

So how do we stay healthy?  Eat better!  Seriously.  It's that simple.  I'm not going to get preachy about all the liberal blah, blah, blah about how being fat is worse than killing penguins.  I'm just going to admit that when I eat well and exercise a bit (and I rarely exercise because I work in a warehouse for a living and I need to sit down now and then) I can actually think.

Let me say that a different way.  When I'm eating well and I don't feel bloated by Doritos and pizza, I can concentrate on what I'm trying to write!  I can think, I can focus, and I have the energy to continue focusing on my work.

Another big thing I'm a proponent of: being healthy, in my opinion, is all about feeling healthy.  So this isn't about superficial appearances.  This is about whether or not you feel sick when you eat.  Having 6% body-fat isn't healthy for everyone.  And some people have better lives when they have a bit more "meat" on their bones, while I know I would have serious issues if I weighed 20 lbs more than I do.

Tips?  Eat some carrots or apple slices instead of Doritos.  When you hit writer's block, do ten jumping jacks or fifteen stomach crunches.  Rather than that second cup of coffee, get some water.  Water is vital!  And instead of pizza for lunch, go for a turkey sandwich on wholewheat bread, light on the condiments.

Now, I'm not a doctor, and this isn't me shaking my finger at anyone.  I just know that at times, I forget how much better I feel when I eat well and get some exercise.  At the end of the day, as long as you're writing and you feel good about it, enjoy yourself.  Life's too short to worry.  And no one, I mean NO ONE has the right to ORDER you how to live your life!  So if you're on board with what I'm saying, enjoy yourself.  If not, enjoy yourself!

Seriously!  Enjoy life.  Don't feel guilty about the choices you make (as long as they don't directly harm other people).  And eat whatever you feel like :D  (In other words, do what you like, 'cause what do I know?)

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Reminder

Just a reminder that our charity of the month is Child's Play.  This is going to be the charity for November, too, so please click on the link to your right and give some toys to a few sick kids in the hospital.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Value of Consistency

I've spoken before about the importance of sitting down and writing, even when you don't feel like it.  It's important, and it leads to progress, even if it's progress that will be undone during edits and revisions.

This will be a short post because everybody with advice on how to write has discussed this topic ad nauseam.  So have you written today?  If the answer's yes, then good.  Go write some more.  If not, sit down until you've put AT LEAST 200 words on the page.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Post-Conference Slump

As with many writers, I had a great post-conference bounce that filled me with energy, excitement for the future, and a generally positive attitude that helped me dive back into my writing.

It seems like that's gone, now.  Not in a negative fashion, just back to "normal."  I definitely have energy to write, and I'm still making time to write, but the routine took over, life got in the way, and now I'm back to working when I can, writing when I can, and sleeping or eating the rest of the time.

I still love my work, and I'm very excited about my projects.  My status simply hasn't changed.  And even though I'm seeking opportunities to advance my career, it's still not moving forward.  Yet.

And don't get me wrong, this isn't a complaint, it's just the "current status" of my career.  Like I said, that hasn't changed.  At the moment, the energy, the enthusiasm, the drive to move forward is simply waning.  It's like a turbo-boost in a sci-fi themed racing game.  The conference propelled me forward, but eventually the boost goes away.

Then comes the slump.  Again, not a dip below "max speed," just a return to the status quo.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Long Weekend!

I get a REAL weekend!  Woo hoo!!  Since I don't typically get Saturdays off, that's a long weekend for me :)

So Wifey and I are going out to dinner.  Have a great weekend.  Any great plans?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Professionalism

I read an article the other day that really made me think.  Not because I fail to follow the guidelines in that article, but because I try very hard to follow those guidelines.  Well, not those ones, specifically, but basic, common courtesies that I was taught growing up and working in customer service jobs.

I'd love to give tons of examples of how following guidelines such as those will lead to success and glory.  But let's face it, that comes with hard work, good timing, and many times can fall into the lap of the world's biggest jerk-faces.  But if that's the case, why be professional?

The simplest answer: because no one likes to be around people who make them uncomfortable.  If you're high-maintenance, rude, mean, selfish, or any other stereotype associated with the "diva" personality *cough* *cough* Prince *cough*, no one will enjoy working with you.  And why should that matter if you're talented and rich and make those people (editors and agents) money?  Well aside from the moral issues of treating people like dirt, this can be looked at in a selfish light.  If the only reason people are working with you is that you make them money, they'll throw you under the bus in a heartbeat the instant the cash stops flowing.

But if you treat them well, there's a better chance (though not guaranteed) that they'll stick with you during the rough patches.

The best example I can give is my day job.  I deal with people quite a bit, and some of them can really drive me up the wall.  But most of the clients I deal with enjoy seeing me in the shop or behind the wheel of the delivery vehicle that has their equipment.  I've built a reputation among the people I work with as someone who's going to work with the client to ensure that they have everything that they need.  As a result, the clients will very often make sure that MY schedule is followed (like when we have gear that needs to go out early on the return date), and the other vendors I work with will help me stick to that schedule, and they won't gripe and complain if something has to be changed due to miscommunications.

In the writing world, agents and editors don't want to be around that one person who's only interested in selling a book.  Sure, at conferences writers are hoping to develop a rapport with agents and editors.  But I, for example, would never have learned that an agent who I would enjoy working with also LOVED the Avengers movie if I hadn't "turned off" the "will you seriously consider reading my stuff" mode.  And we got to talk about Scottish music, traveling in Great Briton, books we both enjoy, and several other AWESOME subjects that had little to do with what she's looking for and what I write.  And it was a great time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dot, dot, dot.

I FINALLY have game night tonight.  A "regular" update will come tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seriously, no subject

You know, it's important to keep busy.  Like I've been doing.  I brewed again yesterday, got reading done for the critique group, and I'm still plugging away at my WiP.

And that's why my brain is empty today.

Go click on the Child's Play Charity link to the right, check them out, and maybe spread the word about all the great stuff they do :).

See you Wendesday.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Review: Endlessly by Kiersten White

Endlessly is the final book in Kiersten White's debut trilogy.  As with my other reviews, I won't spoil the story for you.  But I will say that Evie's unique and engaging voice is as strong as ever!

The narrative is excellent, and the world is vivid.  Throughout the story, White draws in the reader with a not-so-subtle humor that makes even the most serious and heart-throb-filled-with-excitement moments soothing and easy to read.  The tension never eases enough to make the book boring, but it never reaches a peak that made me want to set it aside.  In fact, I stayed up WAY too late some nights because I couldn't put it down!

This book didn't follow the standard pattern that I'm used to (the pattern found in most popular novels).  I still don't know if I think that's a bad thing, but since the book left me with a satisfied ending, it's not really something to complain about.

In fact, the only complaint I might have is that the ending is very abrupt.  The plot comes to a conclusion, and then the story ends.  And that's it.  Nothing afterward to fill in any the details about where the characters go.  White has a great explanation for not including those details, but I do wish something was thrown in to indicate where the characters might end up.

But all in all, I recommend this book as highly as her other two.  Go pick up the trilogy, and enjoy :D

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hobbies and Household Repairs

On Sunday, I won tickets to a beer dinner that's kicking off GABF week.  I'm REALLY excited!  The Wifey and I will be down there tonight to taste five beers from Firestone Walker paired with food from Chef Hosea Rosenberg.

For that very reason, I'm glad I got out of work an hour early.  That, and I have a few minor household repair that I wanted get a jump on before cleaners come on Saturday to vacuum out our ducts.  It didn't turn out to be as easy to make the repairs as I expected, but that's because I thought I had one problem, and it turns out it's a different problem.  Which makes me happier than it probably should.  You see, I like the fact that I can actually do something around the house.  It makes me feel like a MAN!

Aaaaannnnd... that's all I got.  See you Friday with a book review!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Different Sacrifices

So a while ago, I wrote about making time for writing.  But today I want to talk about the other side of sacrifices in any pursuit.

It's always great to give up unnecessary time-wasters to make time for your desired career, but how important is this dream?  I ask because yesterday, rather than sitting down to write all afternoon, I went to the zoo.

Not alone.  I went with my wife and a few friends.  One of those friends is getting deployed to Afghanistan for nine months.  I decided that if, for some awful reason, something were to happen to him, I would always regret wasting my day writing a book when I could've been spent time with him.

I know a few of you can relate, what with kids and spouses.  It's like I said in the other post: a balance must be found.  And if writing is your passion, some sacrifices will be made, but don't make sacrifices you may regret.

If you do regret your sacrifices, don't dwell on it.  Just remember, not a single successful person in the history of the world ever looked back and said, "You know, I wish I hadn't missed that one episode of my favorite TV show."  Or, "That movie looked great.  If it wasn't for my book, I would've been able to see it and talk about it with my friends!"

So what are you willing to sacrifice for?  Why would you set aside your writing for a day?  And what's something that, maybe, it's time to give up for the sake of advancing that career?

I know for me, I don't miss TV as much as I thought I would.  Of course, I still watch now and then, but I don't miss the overwhelming amount of shows I used to schedule my life around.

Friday, October 05, 2012

The End of My Free Time

Overtime and after-hours work.  That's why I've been only mildly productive with my writing this week.  I LOVE what I've been writing over the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, I don't have much mental capacity available to me for the blog today.  Or time.  So, have a great weekend, please go check out the Charity of the Month.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Hump Day

It's Wednesday.  I have a lot to do at work this week, and it's really wearing me out.  Writing is going well, and I'm still excited about the book I'm working on!

Other than that, I don't really have much to talk about.  So go look at the Charity of the Month post from Monday, and then check out the Child's Play website.

See you Friday!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Charity of the Month: Child's Play Charity

It's October.  At the end of November, Penny Arcade will be holding their annual auction in Seattle for Child's Play Charity in order to raise money for toys, games, and books for hospitals around the country.  I want to help them with their fundraising.

Last year, Child's Play raised over $3.5 million!  This year, I'd love to see them get close to the $4 million mark.  I don't know what their goal is this year, but I'm excited to spend all of this month AND November (that's right: CPC will be the charity here for two months straight!) helping to beat last year's total.

I'm going to spend some more time talking about this charity throughout the next couple of months, and I'll post any updates I receive from them, like I did last year.

Have a great week, and please head over to CPCharity and check them out.  Donations are simple, and as always, it's tax deductible.