I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things with my own writing life. I’ve been reading a lot more in my free time, and the tube has been on less. I’ve been getting myself to write by sitting down and doing it, but I decided to give myself a really big push.
This year, I decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month, also known by its acronym NaNoWriMo. I have now become one of those crazy people who will write 1600+ words a day, hopefully getting to 50K words at the end of the month. With some irregular hours at work and the holidays this month, I should have some pockets of free time here and there for some super-catchup as I got started on this yesterday.
Jing, a telegraph clerk turned coder, becomes responsible for a gigantic Babbage engine and data hub in the middle of the Itanese continent. He has managed to make a life for himself with the pioneers and aborigines in Atosa until a mysterious psychic hacker disrupts operations. Before help from the School of Wisdom and the National Gendarmes arrive, Ikaya, a Wisdom priest responsible for Jing’s fiancée breaking off the engagement years ago, shows up and offers assistance.
I never completed this project and I had Jing and Ikaya meeting, with Jing voicing his ill will towards Ikaya, who can’t seem to see what he did wrong. In the meantime, there is a dangerous situation that they have to get past to deal with before the two institutions arrive with their own agendas.
I am looking forward to getting this cranked out this month and then reshaped into a more presentable book later on. Happy writing to you if you too are participating.
Once upon a time, when I regularly posted to the ShindoTV blog, I was desperate for readers. I would have dutifully followed any of those blogging “how to” posts to get more hits, and do other things such as network or pass around the memes. Given that I have a lot interests, naturally, there wasn’t a lot of focus.
More than trying to snag readers, I wanted to get my writing out there. I should try the more conventional venues. The only catch is that I’d spend a lot of money on postage. The good news is that I could write that off on my taxes. Continue reading →
I often long to be in place where I can work on creative stuff uninterrupted, especially during in the thick of semesters of classes where nothing is normal. The term starts out crazy and doesn’t let up until finals are done. I lived by this kind of rythmn as a student, only to continue with it as a college instructor. Now that the finals are over and I’ve had some chance to breathe, I can post again. Continue reading →
For language lovers and professionals, it’s easy to get worked up over how grammar skills are in decline. Typical targets of rants include how the young generation can’t write properly, current media such as texting on cell phones and the Internet contribute to bad sentences, or people simply don’t care about grammar. The amateurs, such as the self-appointed grammarians, will go on about how young people don’t handle language as well as the previous generations, whereas the professionals can pick apart the bad verb tenses, the confused antonyms, spelling errors, and misplaced punctuation, if there’s any at all. Since language is something we all use but we all don’t use so well, having mastery of it can make one feel superior. Continue reading →
I downloaded this photo from Vintage International‘s Facebook feed, so I do not know the original copyright information. I do acknowledge that this is not my photo, though I’d love to take credit for it, awesome image that it is.
I don’t always crumble up papers and pile them high above my desk, but I have often stopped short at trying to put my ideas down. In my mind, there are lots of ideas that clutter my mental desk, whether story ideas, essays, or posts. Sometimes the fear of the blank page gets me; other times it will be that I feel overwhelmed from classes and don’t feel like writing; which is pretty ironic considering that’s what I teach students to do.
With my students, I show them writing is a process. They pre-write, draft, workshop, and then work on a final draft. They are given room to make mistakes and to find those right words, sentences, ideas, etc. They have permission to fail, at least in the steps leading up to the version that gets turned in.
In my case, I’ve been through many creative writing classes, workshops, and an MFA program in creative writing. As I mentioned earlier, I even teach college composition students. I definitely know better about process. I’m not a doctor, but the expression “heal thyself” is analogous to what I need to do about writer’s block:
Give myself permission to fail. If I can treat my students with compassion, why not do the same for myself.
Sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Writing happens in stages.
Sometimes I get caught up in if I’m in the mood to write. However, I can make witty tweets or Facebook updates even in the most funky of moods. I should just do it. I can always rewrite later.
Write anywhere, anytime. I can use my desk or a coffee house table or even my own coffee table while I sit on the floor. I can crank out sentences anywhere.
Those are a few things I can think of in dealing with writer’s block for right now. I’ll post more on this in the future.
Over the past few years, much has been made about the harmful effects blogging or tweeting. A quick search through Google can show a myriad of “how to” articles of how to be a good blogger who doesn’t get burned because they do all these things. Then there are the cautionary tales such as the Queen of the Sky and the Phantom Professor, both who got fired from their respective jobs after their blogs and identities were discovered. Also, many prospective employer seek to vet applicants by trolling the Internet, looking to see how these people portray themselves on Facebook. Some have even gone so far as to request log-in information of job interviewees. Unfortunately, there is a lot of paranoia on this issue and it is justified. Continue reading →
There are never too many words to kick someone when they’re down. That’s certainly been the case this week when Gawker circulated a rejection e-mail from Shea Gunther to 900 applicants whose writing apparently wasn’t up to par for him. Instead of sending a blandly polite e-mail that told candidates their portfolios weren’t what he and his business partners were looking for, Gunther took it upon himself to give them some unsolicited advice on how to do better in sending their material out to prospective employers.
One ironic thing in his 3000+ word e-mail was that he emphasised keeping things short and sweet. In his infinite economy of language, he came up with 42 bullet points of items, some of which repeated themselves, while others were attempts to show his cleverness, as if he came up with the meaning of life. In pointing out the writing sins of others, he committed an eggregious one with his verbosity. Continue reading →
An image that has been with me ever since I got fired from the mailroom job is that of a Starfleet captain telling the helmsman, “Set a course for Earth.” Of course, I have seen way too many Star Trek episodes in my life, but this generic scenario meant to me returning to self and coming up with a plan for the future, which is what I have been doing for the past few months. Continue reading →
Bad bosses have often provided me with writing material. I wrote this about the boss I had in a non-profit organization I worked for a few years back. Her communication skills or the lack of them have always stayed with me and I’ve been trying to process them in writing since. If you haven’t had a bad boss story, consider yourself lucky. For everyone else, you can definitely tell a war story or two. This was originally posted in ShindoTV on July 7, 2010.
As much as I’d like to say I’ve put this behind me, an incident involving the worst boss I’ve ever had still haunts me. Continue reading →