Archive for June, 2009

I’m an early riser. If the sun is up, I have to be up. I’ve always been that way.

However, I really don’t take advantage of that. I get up and the first thing I do is wade through mail and blogs and twitter and forums and webcomics and news and the like. Then comes shower and breakfast. By the time that is all done up to a couple of hours may have passed and no writing has been done. And by the time I do start it may be three or more hours since getting up.

I tried something a little different this morning. I started with mail and the like as per usual, but more browsed through it quickly rather than reading fully. Then I did some writing, even before breakfast. Only around 400 words, but it was something, and better than the output of some whole days.

I think, after that success, I should change my morning habits. Having a good start like that in the morning can set the course of the whole day. The idea is that each morning, before anything else, even mails and the like, to set a goal, even if only a couple of hundred words, then do everything else. That way I have had a start made and am in the right frame of mind.

Hrm, you know, if you turned the title into a decent looking logo and stuck it on mugs and shirts and caps and the like, it may even sell…

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Volume Two of Pure Escapism has had a minor update, basically fixing a few formatting/spelling/grammar errors.

Preparing To Write

Posted: June 25, 2009 in writing update
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My desk at the moment is rather a mess, covered with the scattered detritus of living – books, letters, bills, notes, loose change, whatever I find in my pockets and throw down on it at the end of the day.

Toss a couple of computers into the mix and it is rather cluttered. A lot cluttered actually. I am sure that all that mess is not really conducive to a good writing frame of mind. It is on the To Do list to clean up, but that list never seems to get much progress made on it.

Getting in the right frame of mind to write certainly helps the progress. Somewhere without clutter and without distractions – no loud music or other loud noises and the like.

I know for myself that at times I find that hard and is something I need to work on. To limit my usage of email/twitter/forums/etc while writing. To not need to get up every few minutes to find something.

One thing I do do is have small snacks at hand – keeps the energy up and gives you something you can reward yourself with; chips, biscuits, chocolates or the like, plus drinks.

Anyway, I’m writing this instead of writing something else, so should get back to it…

Way back when I was young, I inherited a pile of books from my father. Some were from when he was a boy, others were from later on, dealing with Greek and Roman history mainly.

Of his boyhood books, one in particular became my favourite. It had been given to him for Christmas 1956, so is quite an old book, and was called The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss. I read it many, many times as a boy, but hadn’t read it for many years since, until the other day.

The novel itself was first published way back in 1812. In the version I have at least, the language and even attitudes in it may seem a little old fashioned, but perhaps modern adaptions have gotten around it. For instance, pineapples are referred in it by their old name, Ananas.

As to the story itself, it tells of a Swiss family on a colony ship heading to the South Seas, and who are shipwrecked somewhere in the East Indies. The rest of the crew perish, but they survive. The story is told by the father of the family, whose name we never discover and related their adventures. The rest of the family is his wife, Elizabeth, and their four sons, Fritz, Ernest, Jack and Francis, ranging from 14 to 6 years in age.

The island they find themselves on is a veritable Aladin’s cave of an impossible collection of plants and animals drawn from all over the world – lions, tigers, jackals, zebras, ostriches, kangaroo, platypus, wild boars, onagers, monkeys, penguins, flax plants, pineapple, coconuts, rubber trees, sago, cotton, so on and on.

Using the tools they find on the ship and the father’s seemingly limitless knowledge of trades, they build themselves a place to live and indeed thrive.

What I loved about it as a kid was the adventures they had, exploring new lands, building shelters, discovering new wonders and so it. It was probably the first story that sparked the enjoyment of that type of thing in me, and certainly influenced a lot of the books, games and movies I enjoyed so much in later years. It is in part also what I love about building new worlds to write in, as it allows me to seek out the new and unknown.

Just came across a very interesting article, titled 1000 True Fans. A very interesting read.

The short version of it goes thus; You don’t need to produce a mega-blockbuster to be successful and make a living. It would be nice, but they are in the tiny minority.

If you can just garner 1000 True Fans, then you can make a living. By True Fans, they mean the type who will travel long distances to hear your next song, buy all your books, all the caps and mugs and calenders that are merchandise. Seek out autographed copies of your work. The type of people who will spend a day’s wage per year on you.

Of course, if you do the maths, you can see 1000 is more than you would need – and that doesn’t count lesser fans who buy the occasional item.

This is certainly something I’d like to aim for, though I’m currently about, oh, 1000 True Fans short. I’d be quite happy with a couple of hundred in reality

I visit a few communities where the 1000 True Fans effect is a reality – webcomics for the most part – and though I didn’t have a name to give the phenomenon, they certainly gave me the inspiration to give it a go myself.

Of course, my art skills are rather on the mediocre side, so I had to fall back on the written word. My hope is, eventually, to make more and more stories available, to expand on the website, maybe get some forums going – to hopefully be a good enough writer to attract a small community of True Fans to interact with. In this day and age, with the ‘net and all the resources now available, it is much easier to do.

It may just be a pipe dream in the end, but a nice one, and one that I think is at least worth pursuing. But there is a lot of work ahead before that day…

It appears that today, June 23rd, has been named SF/F Writers’ Day, as I discovered in this post by Alan Baxter. I’m with Alan on the placement of the apostrophe for the title. 🙂

So for all of us writers of sci-fi and fantasy out there, have a great writing day.

The Art Of Procrastinating

Posted: June 23, 2009 in writing update
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When it comes to procrastinating, I think I’ve mastered it. I want to be writing, I need to be writing – when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.

But when I sit down to write I find far too many distractions. It is not that I’m meaning too, it just sort of happens. Probably that pessimistic negative voice deep down that the effort isn’t going to be worth it to write…

Do you think you may be a procrastinator too? This post lists signs to tell you if you are, and what you can do to end it. I need to start trying to follow those rules…