Category Archives: Writing

Exploring Planet NoSocialMedia, Day 6

I’m closing in on a week without the usual social media haunts of mine, and I have to say: it feels pretty damned good. I hit up the headlines on a handful of sites just a couple of times a day, and STAY AWAY from the comments.  Today I didn’t actually check the news until mid-afternoon, and that felt pretty fine, too. I’m quite happy to have avoided all the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the last few days especially.

What have I been doing instead? Writing! Mostly. I’ve also pulled a bunch of weeds, sorted out some things on my desk, cleaned out my inbox piece by piece, done some reading, worked (of course – something has to pay the bills until the writing does), and in general have been quite productive without the whirlpool of suck that is social media.

If you have it in you, and you want to get more done without the stress various social media outlets create (yes, they do) or just want to relax and do nothing, you could do worse than significantly scaling back the time spent on those. That isn’t to say there should be none in your life – after all, most people are not like me, content to live in their own heads most of the time – but I bet if you timed how long you’re on, you’d be astonished at the reality of the amount of time spent there versus what you think you spend there. I was. Real life is much more delicious with less of that particular seasoning.

 

Exploring Planet NoSocialMedia, Day 1

Some months ago, I told myself to pare back on the timesink known as facebook. I’d been doing really well, too, although I’d not gotten around to doing some of the things I planned to do, which was the reason I dropped facebook in the first place.  I don’t count this as a total fail, because I did get some rather deep introspectional type stuff done to clear up some things in my head that will help me forge ahead with these other things I want to do.

However, I wound up back on facebook as a place to vent after a few events (one of which was the horrifying massacre of 49 people and the wounding of scores of others at a gay nightclub in Orlando) and got sucked in again, resulting in more and more time there, wasted.

But! During the last few days of June, I made it known that I was going to live on Planet NoSocialMedia for the month of July, and perhaps even longer.  It’s slightly easier for me, as the only ones I actually participate on are twitter (not much), instagram (not much except pics from the ranch), and facebook, the ultimate alien-like, face-humping, time-wasting monster.

Today is (still, as I type this) July 1. I have not ventured off Planet NoSocialMedia today. I also have not written anything today. I think this will be all right, though, as I had to get some other things cleared out of the way after having a couple of days of forced rest thanks to some physical issues that cropped up.

Now, we head into Day 2. The goal: continue to work at things that need to be done at the ranch, but also meet a very basic step in the workout to rebuild those writing muscles. A mere 250 words, or about one page of a typeset book, is the target. We all learn to crawl before we can walk, and walk before we run, after all. I firmly believe that trying to start off with some huge goal, right off the bat, after years (ok, decades) of not pursing my art would be like the people who make resolutions to go to the gym, show up on January 2, vastly overwork themselves even though they are not used to working out, then find the next day they can barely move, so they wind up not going to the gym as they resolved to do, slipping back into old habits, only to do the same thing again the next year. I don’t want that, so that is not the way I’ll pursue it.

More to come, my dear readers who swing by every so often. Take care of yourselves.

Starting right

Happy new year, Dear Readers!

We start off our new year by…sowing spinach seeds before the rains come to engulf us. Yes, even before coffee. Often, beginning anything prior to coffee after just a handful of hours of sleep is not a great idea, but at least this process is not terribly complicated.

For the rest of the first new day in the new year, I’ll be doing treadmill walks at halftime in the various bowl games, finalizing my seed selection and ordering from different companies, working (of course), and – drum roll, please – writing.

Here’s to a fine, productive, and prosperous new year.

Project you: Dec 23, 2015

How is your Project You going, peeps? As usual, I’ll start with myself.

I told myself I would post on ye olde blogge every day. Thus far (because I tend to update late in the evening as I am up late in the evening and it’s quieter then) I have technically missed two days. Solution: keep an eye on the clock later in the evening if I haven’t posted to it, since the time I post probably isn’t going to change much on an overall basis unless I want to write up an experience or what amount to notes for myself (about the bees, for instance) soon after completing a task. I expect I’ll be posting more earlier when it’s time to start seeding flats, transplanting seedlings, and getting back to the farming (ok, gardening, but you know, it feels like old-school farming some days because pretty much nothing is automated).

That was one. Number two: the fiction writing. Not so hot on this front. I started an outline for what would be the first in a (particular mystery) series. I subsequently threw it away. I can’t say it was horrid, but even as an outline I couldn’t stand it, so I am not sure what’s going on there. The story itself is interesting – at least according to those who have read snippets of what I’ve written on the actual work – and the outline is basically just a series of scenes that will eventually comprise the book, not those terrible Roman numeral-type outlines that bind you like a straightjacket. It’s more like sitting down with someone and having them tell you a story, which appeals to me in a sort-of-outline thing. I’ll be working again to get something in place as a map, which can then be fleshed out into actual chapters into an actual book. I figure if I can get through this process once, it will be easier the next time around.

I read an interesting comment (actually heard it, but whatever) from a very famous and prolific writer who says he doesn’t write down the ideas that come to him. He lets them stew in his brain, and if the ideas hang around long enough, he supposes those must be pretty good ideas, so he then takes them out and examines them a little, maybe making some notes around them here and there until he gets to them. On the other side is another very famous, but not quite so prolific, author who says shes writes down everything, as otherwise she sometimes has issues on the current work because of the ideas pinging around in her brain. After thinking on it a bit, I’m leaning more toward the latter – not that this will keep the things from invading the space in my head (because my mind is stuffed full of all sorts of things), but because at least they will be there if I want to add anything to them that comes to me during the course of doing something else.

Number three: the treadmill sessions. This has morphed into a general exercise item between walking and lifting heavy things, which is fine, because the point is to get some kind of physical activity in per day. I’ve only missed a couple of days of nothing particularly physical thanks to medically-related things, and that’s fine, too. Not every day is perfect,  despite the little perfectionist voice in my head that I’d like to swat out of the air. Or at least out of my head.

And there you have it. I’m hoping you’ve implemented some kind of plan to get to where or what you want to be or do, and that you’ve taken steps – no matter how small – on the path to getting there. The old adage about a journey of a thousand miles starting with a single step is an old adage for a reason. It’s true.

Until next time, peeps! Be well. Do your thing, whatever that thing may be.

Putting the gardens to bed

Good evening, peeps and rancherinos! The day began wrapped in fog at the ranch today, and slowly burned away the last wisps of it toward noon, turning it into the sort of spectacular day that makes me glad to live here.

The quiet of the fog is different than the quiet of a normal day, but both are welcome – and one of the reasons we moved out here. It’s easy to lose yourself in the silence and allows the mind to wander even while pulling weeds and cutting down asparagus fronds to continue the process of putting the rows to bed as Mother Nature slowly embraces the change of seasons. That runs right up to and includes a scene for a novel unrelated to the one I am currently working on that now needs to be jotted down to have it for that future work.

A pileated woodpecker kept me company this morning, pounding away at the trunk of a tree with which he was obviously familiar, given the various holes in the trunk. I checked on the girls in the beeyard, and they were enjoying their sunshine, darting away in all directions on the hunt for nectar and pollen to collect and return to the hives.

Whatever you did today, folks, I hope you enjoyed it.

“True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” – William Penn

Writing. Writing. Writing.

Just received the best critique from my instructor for the five pages I wrote in the last assignment for a class I’m in about novel writing.

“Wow! Awesome pages. Very little I would change. Great sense of POV, forwarding plot and characterization. Your dialogue simply shines here.

I can’t wait for more.”

There were two changes she made, simply to better identify who was performing a particular action outside the dialogue. Nothing else.

Sweet!