Off my game

So I started writing an acerbic polemic post tonight, but I’ve shelved it because it sucked.

As, frankly, have the last few posts. Well, perhaps ‘sucked’ is an overstatement, but they certainly weren’t that inspired. Looking over them again, they feel forced and fairly pointless, like I’m not saying anything all that original or useful.

Blogging has to be about a genuine attempt to share ideas, rather than just clocking in 1000 words every week in the salt mines, and I feel like I’m missing that point. I have ideas I want to talk about, definitely, but I’m giving them short shrift in the push to crank them out, and droning on about things that suck – which, let’s be clear, definitely do suck – isn’t inspiring my best writing or letting me share my passion about writing.

That and it’s distracting me from actual writing. Arcadia needs a lot more love than I’ve been able to spare of late. And the ideas for the new novella continue to percolate.

So I’m going to change gears for a while. Still going to aim for a couple of posts a week, but more creative ones – short fiction, works-in-progress, talking about things that excite me. Things I can talk about without needing to act like I have a unique insight others need to take on board. I think that if I do that for a month or two, it’ll give me time to think about more complex things and work them into a form worth reading.

Then I’ll talk about the things that suck. They’re not going away anytime soon.

Also, I have to be honest – I’m getting married in three weeks, and that’s gotta take the lion’s share of my attention for a while. These paper cranes ain’t gonna string themselves.


Failed upon entry

Hi folks,

Anyone who religiously watches this site for its regular updates would have been disappointed yesterday. (And, well, needs a better hobby.)

While I’ve been trying to keep to a regular Thursday/Sunday schedule, I reached Sunday morning and realised that I didn’t have anything I really wanted to talk about. I had a couple of half-formed ideas, but nothing was gelling for me or filling me with the enthusiasm to write something genuine about it.

And in the end – as I’ve said in previous posts – blogging has to be a genuine attempt to engage with readers, rather than just an exercise in gaining pageviews or getting your name out there. So I think I’d rather skip an update every now and then than crank out filler wordcount just to tick off a box on a self-appointed checklist.

Whoops, bit of politics there

Which is not to say I plan to make a habit of it. I do have some things in mind for the next few weeks, and I’ll spend some time this week developing those ideas. But for this weekend… not so much.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t write anything yesterday. Oh no. In fact, I wrote a 4000 word essay/diatribe on the DC Comics reboot and the various ways in which I think it’s a critical failure that may drive me away from the entire genre, or at least DC’s corner of it.

4000 words. Seriously.

In keeping with my preference to keep overly negative and geeky things off this blog, though, you can find that over at my LiveJournal. I warn you, it’s pretty long. And maybe not that interesting. Then again, if you read this blog normally, you’re probably already inured to that kind of thing.

All right. Proper updates to come. Peace out.


Oh balls

Goddamnit, it’s Thursday night! I was supposed to write a mid-week post tonight.

But instead I got distracted by wedding talk, writing about kayaks and occasional bursts of terrible television.

I also completely forgot to update in the middle of last week. And I know how much you readers look forward to that.

So sorry, but nothing of substance tonight. I’ll write something significant on Sunday, and then refocus on making sure I push out two posts a week from there.

And now, sleep.


$100 bill y’all

I sat down and did my taxes last night, and it turns out I made a whopping $8000 or so from writing last financial year.

That’s not going to set the world on fire, true, but that’s not a bad sum for someone writing on the side while working full-time. Still means I’d need to write about 8 times as much in order to give up my day job, and since 95% of that was for writing freelance case-studies, rather than anything creative, that’s not a hugely appealing prospect.

Nor, frankly, is paying the $3500 tax debt I’ve racked up as a result of doing this extra work. Does that seem excessive to you? It seems excessive to me. But it turns out that the extra cash pushed me into a different tax rate/HELP repayment bracket, and suddenly I owe the government about half the extra money I made – money, I must point out, that I have already spent.

Yes please more please yes now please YES

So that was a bit of a kick in the pants, and for a few minutes I was thinking that it would be simpler to give this whole writing game away and just edit maths books for the rest of my days. Then, of course, I realised that the easiest way to pay for all this freelance writing tax debt would be to do some more freelance writing. Okay, selling a kidney is probably easier still, but I have to draw a line somewhere.

A better solution would be to sell a thousand copies of both Godheads and Hotel Flamingo in the next 8 months or so. Somehow I don’t see that happening, at least not without some kind of tidal wave of visibility, positive reviews and maybe a knighthood. I did land one review of Hotel Flamingo this week; unfortunately, it wasn’t all that positive. That’s the way of things, and an honest-but-lacklustre review is still a valuable thing, but I do need more reviews and better reviews if sales are going to pick up. (So if any of you readers know of a good review site, or indeed run a good review site, TELL ME.)

Still, while my ebook sales are kind of pants, I’m not that glum about it. It’s not like I write for the money. Well, let me rephrase that – it’s not like I write for the money at the moment. I did back in my White Wolf days, because the money I made from that work pretty much kept me alive in those unemployed times. And I’d like to write for the money some day in the future, when I’ve given away the day job and my career involves turning out a string of popular novels while working from home in my underwear. Right now, though, I’m as close to writing for the love of it – or at least the experience of it – as I’m going to get. It’s refreshing, in its way, and low-stress until you get to the tax debt.

But you can still feel free to give me money. I won’t object.

In other writing news, Arcadia continues apace:

What’s milestoneworthy about this week’s work is that I’ve finished another chapter of the book, and a tricky chapter at that. I will admit that I’m not all that happy with it, but it’s a first draft, and ‘finished’ is more important than ‘happy’ at this stage.

And hell, I even started on the next chapter. So I seem to have some kind of momentum happening. We’ll see if it holds up.


Unimportant title

As per last week, I promised a lighter-weight mid-week update at this time.

Well, the update is to say that our home internet has gone down for reasons unknown, so I can’t make a mid-week post after all. (And maybe not a weekend one if we can’t get it fixed.)

Kinda meta, huh?

EDIT TO ADD: The internets are back! Hurrah!

But I’m still not going to make a proper post, since I haven’t spent any time thinking about what to write because the internet was down.

That’s pretty crap, I know. Sorry. If it happens again you can kick my arse for it.


Knuckling down a bit

Let us be honest; I am not the most reliable of people. Oh, I’ve got your back if you’re in trouble, and I meet most of my deadlines at work, but I forget things, I’m bad with dates/names/financial details, I get distracted easily and I pretty much suck at making regular commitments.

Case in point, this new blog.

The reality of blogging, especially blogging about writing, especially especially blogging about writing because you want people to go out and spend modest amounts of money on your work, is that you have to produce posts worth reading, and you have to produce them pretty often. I could go into a bit of a rant about that, and I might just do that another day, but let’s take it as a given that I need to be pumping out the wordcount fairly regularly and move on.

(Chuck Wendig, of course, has written on the topic of writerly blogging, much as he writes every fucking day like clockwork on his annoyingly excellent blog Terrible Minds. But I’m pretty sure Chuck steals the adrenaline glands of medical cadavers and sucks them down like pimentos. No other fucking explanation for his prodigious output.)

The problem with that, of course, is the one-two punch of thinking up things worth saying and writing them down a couple of times a week, if not more. It’s not exactly digging ditches, but it’s time and energy I don’t always have, what with work and wedding prep and socialising and a personal life and, oh yeah, occasionally writing something other than blog posts. But, of course, if it was easy and convenient, it wouldn’t be worth doing, which is also what I tell myself about writing in the first place.

So I’m going to commit – well, let’s be honest, attempt to commit, or at least consider attempting to commit – to a regular twice-a-week schedule on this thing. Sunday nights will be post-something-substantive night, with a good 700-1000 words of fiction, essays, or just reasonably interesting blogging about something or other. Then Wednesday/Thursday will be a more lightweight, waffly kind of night where I just post something minor like stray thoughts, fragments of works-in-progress, links to other blogs, pathetic pimping of my work or administrivia (like this one).

Is there much point to telling you this? Well, hopefully it’ll prevent anyone getting too hopeful for constant updates; they might wear their index finger out with constant fruitless clicks on the Refresh button in their browser, and I’d hate to have that on my conscience. And more to the point, it nails me down a bit, so that I’ll feel more driven to produce stuff on schedule – or at least whine guiltily and find excuses when I don’t. Which is a very attractive trait of mine, according to all my ex-girlfriends – as, apparently, is my tendency to lie about what my ex-girlfriends say about me.

Whoa. Meta.

Oh, and speaking of pathetic pimping of my own works, Smashwords is having their annual Summer/Winter sale, and both my ebooks – Hotel Flamingo and Godheads – are on sale for the rest of July for just $1.50. Just use the coupon code SSW50 at checkout.

Come on, they’re a buck-fifty. At that price you could buy three or four copies and give them away as gifts. Albeit slightly underwhelming gifts if the recipients don’t own ereaders.


Placeholders ahoy

If you’re reading this, you discovered this site before it was finished. Hell, it’s barely started.

Come back later. There’ll be content. Honest.