Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Day in 23 Easy Steps

1. Wake up at almost 11 because we didn't get to bed until 2.30 because there were noisy drunks in the basement
2. Spend three hours lying half-asleep on the sofa watching House. Also, eat an omelet at some point in there.
3. Find out you lost out on yet another job, and this time a really awesome one.
4. Stalk best friend on Facebook
5. Engage in poke war with best friend on Facebook
6. Sort-of tan for half an hour
7. Contemplate going to Waffle House or IHOP; eat ramen and M&Ms instead
8. Resume stalking & poking duties
9. Contact different friend about their schedule for uni this fall. Despair at all their classes being in the morning, whilst all ours be in the early afternoon.
10. Resume stalking & poking duties. Again.
11. Go annoy people on twitter by being way too present.
12. Use Wikipedia to track down every university in the UK
13. Look at every university's standards for internationals
14. Save links to every single one there's even an inch of a chance of getting into
15. Wish it were later in the year so you could blanket apply and hopefully get accepted and get a green card
16. Resume stalking & poking duties. Again again.
17. Be way too present on twitter again
18. Move things back to where they belong
19. Take out the trash
20. Resume stalking & poking duties. Again again again.
21. Go to Waffle House with best friend.
22. Watch Burn Notice & Futurama
23. Contemplate sleep

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another short update-y thing

On the writing front, we're making progress. NNN is still at 661 and no progress. NN is now at 1589. Haven't made any progress since Saturday, mostly because sister and her boyfriend are here and it's hard to focus with them around. I think that's part of the problem actually. If I don't write every day or darn near every day I seem to lose interest. Like, I have had no interest in writing since Sunday, until five minutes ago, and that interest just now lasted not even a second. Unfortunately I'm going to have to wait even longer to write again, as an even bigger annoyance is coming up and I won't be free again until next Thursday. Really I'm less concerned about losing interest than I am about losing the protagonist's voice. But enough griping from me. This is an update, not a rant.

Actually that's about it. I was going to say something here but then I got distracted by music, and I feel like it wasn't very important, so if I think of it again I'll probably share. So, yeah.

Headway is being made on writing.

And I may actually seriously play around with the blog skin this time. We'll see.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The first step is always the hardest

Truer words have never been spoken.

New document opened: 8.10 am EST
Current word count: 0

Latest WIP opened: 8.11 am EST
Current word count: 661
Words added today: 0

Excuse me while I go bash my skull against something sharp and preferably metallic.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A (lame) present for you all

I have no idea what's up with the random white noise. I've recorded tons of stuff outside and inside in the past and it's never done that, and it was fine on the camera itself, so I think something went wrong in the conversion process. Whatever it was, you'll have to deal with it. I spent an hour and a half just to get to a point where I wasn't speaking in a Scouse or Edinburgh accent, and there were many, many takes after that due to a variety of factors (mostly giant wasps of doom).

Anyway, I created that channel because I am planning to some day eventually do vlogging stuff for you peoples. When I actually have something I feel like vlogging about, which will really be about as infrequently as things I feel like posting about, if even that often. I'll try to fix the phantom white noise by then.

And while we're on the subject of youtube, for those of you who missed the World Cup final last night...first of all, WHAT IN THE NAME OF FLABBERGHASTERY WERE YOU DOING THAT WAS SO IMPORTANT YOU HAD TO MISS IT!? Secondly, see this link. I would embed but ESPN don't like that apparently.

And finally:

Much as I love Xabi and I was having a heart attack when that happened, oh man is that video great.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cheese and Beans on Toast

As I write this, I’m playing blackjack against myself. I’ve got some cheese and beans on toast on a plate and in another minute or so I’ll have a nice mug of tea, but the bulk of my focus is on the game at hand. Lately I’ve been feeling a lot like playing five card stud. It’s absolutely my game of choice, but unfortunately not many people know how to play. If you bring up the subject of poker, they assume you want to play Texas Hold Em, which has got to be the most womanly form of poker I have ever laid my eyes on. But really that’s the smaller issue going against five card stud – a many-sided whammy of heat wave of death, people on vacation, lack of automotive transport, and the fact that no one seems to know how to or really want to play five card stud means there’s no hope of poker. So instead, I’m sitting here playing blackjack against myself. Losing, too, if you want to count DealerMe as separate from PlayerMe.

I’ve tried to be productive today. Not long after I woke up I opened the document with my latest WIP. I even have been productive, in a way. Usually I do the dishes at the end of night before bed, but this weekend I felt like being lazy and let them all pile up until after breakfast this morning. So I finally washed the dishes and cleaned up the millions of soda cans I left lying around. Yes, I’ve been a pig. One of those weeks I guess. But I haven’t actually done any work on the story. It’s okay, I tell myself. It’s only one in the afternoon, and with no obligations whatsoever you could stay up all night if you really wanted to. Who knows? Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll start writing at ten or eleven and carry on into the small hours.

More likely, however, is that I won’t make a lot of progress on anything. I still have the document with my latest WIP open – sitting minimized, technically. However, I also have Twitter open, am playing blackjack against myself, have just pulled up the youtube of a band I like to listen to some of their music, and I have a DVD of one of my favorite movies sitting on top of the TV because I feel like watching it later. The only reason I’m not watching it now is because the World Cup final is going to start in fourteen minutes. My money’s on Spain, but the Netherlands certainly have a real chance. It’s going to be a good game. Or at least, it ought to be. Oh, and I’m still working on reading through The Bodysnatchers, which is still sitting in the reading/cats’ room.

The short of it is there are a lot of distractions and few motivators. It’s not that I don’t want to write – I very much do. I even have in my head all of the events and more or less the words from right where I’ll be picking up writing to, I don’t know, two chapters down the line maybe? I kind of want to hold off on introducing one of the important characters until somewhere in the chapter three to six range; preferably on the latter end if I can help it. It’s just that the prospect of sitting on the piano stool eating cheese and beans on toast while drinking scalding hot tea is much more appealing than writing. That’s probably a bad thing.

In the process of cracking my neck I just noticed the graduation balloon is still sitting in the dining room. Firstly, how I’ve failed to notice its continued existence is beyond me. Secondly, I am amazed we even still have that thing. I’m amazed it’s even still inflated. Anyway, tangent over…

Ultimately I should be thankful I don’t have a deadline for this book. Theoretically I could take the next eighty years to write it. I really hope I don’t, and I seriously doubt I will, but I could if I felt like it.

Still, I feel like I probably should assign myself some sort of deadline. Unemployed life is a bad educator. I woke up at six o’clock this morning, went for a run, then sat around doing nothing on my laptop for three hours, then spent an hour cleaning, and am now back to sitting around doing nothing on my laptop. And playing blackjack against myself. And eating cheese and beans on toast.

One of those weeks, I guess. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Some Advice From A Guest

Umm hi everyone? im Amy. i know its been a while since i asked Nick to add me, so you all must be like holy cucumbers she exists!?! hopping along the towpath, i know Nick has a tendency to complain about his writing and be a Grumpy MacAngerman about it and personally i dont write but i do paint and dabble in photography and sometimes i get like that too, so i thought if we both get all kinds of negative about our stuff other people must too, so heres some ways i like to keep positive whether im working or just being me.

smile seems obvious right? but it really does help. you might want to avoid this in public or else people could get really creeped out but i try to smile as much as i can when im home alone. a little grin tho, a big toothy smile would be weird.

hang out with positive people obvs you shouldnt ignore negative people or theyd probably kill themselves or something, but if youre around upbeat people youll probably be more upbeat too.

find a happy place find a place you love thats just totally awesome. personally i love OBX. i go there all the time and in fact ive been down here since june 18. (tbh i prob wouldnt come as often if we didnt have a house down here) but it doesnt have to be the beach for you. maybe its your bedroom or the mall or something, just find somewhere you can fall in love with. for me at least my happy place is also a source of inspiration.

help someone out taking the focus off yourself can help you stop thinking about whatevers got you down for a little bit at least.

leave positive quotes lying around i like to collect my favorite quotes on sticky notes and put them all over my room.

just embrace yourself last night i decided to dance around on the beach behind our house singing pocketful of sunshine because i felt like it. whenever i complete something instead of just outright saying it sucks or looking for where i made mistakes, i try to focus on the parts where i didnt screw up first and then look at the parts where i did and just accept the fact that thats my own style of painting. if people think it sucks great, because i know im awesome ;)

Nickterjection: Please, pardon her clusterfeck typing. I'm too lazy to turn it into proper grammar.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

The one thing I've consistently disliked most of all about the publishing process since I first started learning about how it works is the fact that from square one publishing is all about marketing. We have to sell ourselves to agents, who in turn sell us to publishers, who then sell our books to public, and it's probably a good idea to do a little marketing of the book yourself once it hits the shelves. It's all about making sales from the moment your feet hit the ground.

It should be easy enough to understand why this can be aggravating. We write. If we wanted to play the marketing game we'd get a degree in it and go work for some corporation. But getting upset about it won't get you anywhere. Refuse to play the game and you're done. So as long as you're stuck trying to market yourself any way you can, you better take the game seriously.

Regardless of where you are in the process, a good rule of thumb to follow for anything that involves a higher ratio of failure to success is to assume everything will fail.

Just plugged your new book over on twitter? Good. No one's listening. Go make a fan page on Facebook.

As soon as you've finished doing something, that step has failed. Don't wait and see if it has or it hasn't; it has.

The real trick is to keep yourself going. It's easy to say "If I'm going to fail at everything, I might as well not bother in the first place". With this, I can't help you. It's your mind, your willpower. Whatever you can do to keep yourself trucking, make sure you do it.

When all's said and done and your book has gone to print, a good thing to bear in mind is to not be afraid of spamming. Of course, this won't be the most popular approach, but if you can find ways of doing it within reason it usually pays off. For example, a good way to increase your count of subscribers is to attach some of your videos as video response to the most popular videos of the week and of all time. Running into the comments every few hours and telling people to check out your channel can work, but less people will be willing to see what's going on.

This can be harder to pull off with marketing books, but there are still ways it can be done. Find a way of slipping some form of ads for it into your local bookstore. Somewhere people will notice when they're actively looking at the area, or maybe even just skimming it, but the staff probably won't notice as not being theirs. Of course, slipping it through like some sort of drug may not be necessary. Try speaking to the manager or someone first, and if that falls through, go ahead and plant it. Just try not to get caught or they may not be so friendly the next time you're in.

Finally, one thing you should definitely do at any step on the road is to set yourself unrealistic goals. As with assuming everything will fail this can be dangerous if you have the wrong mentality, but go into it the right way and the payoff should pull in your favor. If you say "I want to be published" you can get there, but it's going to be a rough ride. For one thing, if you fall short of achieving your goal, you probably don't have a milestone you can look at and still stay positive about. For another, you will have loads of other people all trying to get their book published as well, and may end up bowing to the pressure of competition. But if you say "I want my book to be #1 on the NY Times bestseller list by the end of the year" the only people who will have the same ambition will be idiots.

Odds are very good you won't achieve that number one spot on the list, but if you assume everything will fail and do everything you possibly can to market yourself, you'll have a benchmark you can stop to look at and be proud of. The same goes for finding an agent. If you say "I want an agent" that's great. If you say "I want to be signed by the President of XYZ agenting group" you very well could come up short, but you'll come up short somewhere where you should still be able to be happy with your success.

Anyway, that's all I've got for you today. Hopefully tomorrow the other thing I've got rattling around in my skull will go up.