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The anti-procrastination checklist January 24, 2011

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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I had a day off work today. In light of my last blog post, I am using this rostered day off to do some writing. I havent written a word of my novel yet, I might later, but so far I have written 4 concise synopsises for some short films, (synopsii?), I have been transcribing my notebook to my idea files so I can start a brand new note book for the new year. That will be worthy of it’s own post I believe.

And I have been putting more ideas down about my Steam punk verse. Fire-proof travel coats made from dragon hide, combing through the Cartographers Guild for inspiration for my world map, fawning over Nerf guns at ThinkGeek.

So, semi-not-quite-procrastination.

I follow Write On on Facebook. They offer quite a few good links and articles and such. The one that caught my recently was ‘Procrastination Solutions

The first point in this simple 3 point plan (For something anti-procrastination, you’d think she could put MORE solution points, so I could spend more time reading it!), is to make your computer distraction proof. Turn the wifi off, don’t log into  Facebook, all of that. I am lucky that my netbook has a function which turns all of that off. I actually found it accidentally a few months back. I panicked that my computer had lost the internet. I reset the wireless router, checked many places online as to why this may have happened. And then I discovered the Function F2, which turns wireless and blu-tooth off. HA! So, my blooper actually enables me to turn off the internet and chat sites. Not that many people chat to me online, but I always check. DISTRACTION!

Point 2 is Work Now, Reward Later! I am finding this the hardest of the three to stick to. Setting self-imposed deadlines, and having a reward when you meet them. I did this during Nanowrimo. I was going to reward myself when I hit 25k, but I hit that too quickly. So I rewarded myself when I hit 50k by purchasing a game – NBA 2k11. I do like my basketball. But oh man is that game technical! I was so proud that my TEAM scored 18 points in a game! And that was playing as the Jordan All-Stars! However, this is something I am going to work through February. Set myself a goal, work it, own it, and then reward myself with something. Something writerly. But what could it be? I wont waste brain time now thinking about it…

Point 3 is Write Something Else. I balked at this when I first read it. I am committed to getting a novel written. Write something else? Then two things I did think of.  Firstly, that I want to write and submit at least 1 short story per month. And secondly, why not write something different to give my brain some space away from the novel? Its starting to drag me down with the weight of expectation. So, getting away from it for a day or so, wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

So this week I have, sort of, ticked 2 boxes out of three, for the procrastination check list from Write On.


working around work and zombies January 19, 2011

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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There is always zombies, right?

So, my work situation has changed slightly. Losing one member of my team means we have to make up gaps in the roster, since there is no budget to hire new people, and we think we can cover the gaps easily enough. It means I now move from a regular 9-5 job, to a rotating 6 day 4 day week working on every second Saturday, and some later starts, 11 to 7 shifts, even some 1 to 9 shifts.

My first reaction was- darn. Home late, irregular hours. But, and especially with the 11-7 shifts, I have now re-worked my thinking. I have decided that I will actually start work at 9, just, this work will involve sitting in one of three cafes near my office job, with my laptop, coffee, and possibly a pastry treat.

I often find myself at the end of the day with a weary head, tired and just wanting to rest the brain. I know that I have to take a deep breath and work in the time in between to get what I want manifest. Novel written, re-written, out there… I know I need to fit it into my time out of the 9-5 job. So now, I can do it. And it will feel like real work. Dont waste the time before work, use it to feel like a real writer.

So, I have been writing on the way into work this week, all three days so far, and at lunch. Not lunch yesterday though. It’s hard to write in the staff room. They need to watch Oprah on the tv, even thought the reception is awful. But, I am slowly grinding out the words. I am either gathering my forces together for the final push, or procrastinating in my novel with far too much dialogue so I dont have to get to the end yet. Not sure which. I have spent the better part of five years with these characters. And I am quite sure I will be spending many more years with them yet, what with publishing and editing and re-writing and ‘just one more book’ to make a little bit more money off the ‘verse. *smirk*

But regardless, I am recognising that I am slowing the pace down. So as soon as the final character arrives, I’m going to run a blitz and sack the quarterback! Heh, I have been watching some NFL finals. But yeah, I plan to pick up the pace and rush to the finish, bowl over some characters. Not everyone will survive!

I also did some brainstorming on my growing idea, my steam punk world. Havent got a strong story arc yet, just idea threads, but something brewing. Came up with some magic ideas, the corner shop mage, simple home brew spells, a good practical reason why there are round goggles in my verse. I mean, steam punk, without goggles? GOSH NO! So rather than forcing that trope into my verse, it now makes sense.

So, Zombies. One of my hobbies is dream interpretation. I love dreams and I love dreaming. Some of the crazy stuff that can be born from the unconscious and some of the grand stories that grow from this place are just wonderful.

Back in April 2009 I had a dream which had zombies in it. Piles of dead bodies, and zombie children chasing me down. I did some work on the dream with some friends, and I determined that for me, the zombies represented all these ideas that I have, but was doing nothing with. They were hanging around but not alive. And zombie children? My inner child, the source of my creative? Wanting life? Wanting my braaaaaaains…..

So, strange as it may seem, zombies are a kind of writing totem for me. I have my dragon, sitting up there watching me write. I have my writing hat, with its only one bell that rings (i really need to get that second bell replaced…), and I also have my zombies.

In the past I have procrastinated in real life, done nothing, said lots of things and planned many things, but gone no where with my writing. Okay, that sounds a little bit harsher than it should. I’ve written 9 novels through Nanowrimo, many short stories through my writing group. So, I’ve done stuff. But, I know, and others know, I can do more. So, for me, to have zombies as a writing totem kind of feels justified and warranted.

Sunday night I had another zombie dream. But this time, it was a positive zombie dream. Now there’s a sentence I don’t think you’d expect to hear. A positive zombie experience..

So my dream was set in the land AFTER the zombie apocalypse. So, its the world for me. The normal existence of many ideas not given life. But in this dream, the end of the dream had a load of symbology which I found crazy at first, but exciting in reflection. The planning of a new house, by my friend who is currently working 3 jobs to earn enough money to start her dream. So to be led, by her, in my dream was inspiring. The building of a new house, in dream symbology is a new place to dwell, which is where I wish to be.

There was also the symbol of ants eating a turtle. Industrious little creatures devouring a creature that likes to hide in it’s shell. Again, not such a pretty symbol, I know. But it made me feel, energised. Like my subconscious was getting annoyed and saying COME ON! LETS DO THIS!

Who knows. Maybe just by putting the intent out there, the universe is saying – I will if you will…



Happy Belated New Year January 10, 2011

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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Welcome to the year of 2011. Soon it will be the year of the Metal Rabbit. I have read many New Year resolutions from people, on blogs, livejournal and the like. A lot of- I will finish my novel- resolutions. I’ve written a few of those names down and I think I may email them periodically through the year, just to make sure they’re on track.

I have taken a little bit of time to blog for the new year. I didn’t want to come out and say I WILL DO THIS and THAT IN 2011! I wanted to think about things and figure out what is actually possible for me in the new year, looking back on my history of writing and achieving. And then I wanted to take what I know I can do, and take a few steps beyond my boundaries. Nothing outrageous, but more courageous.

I have also been inspired by The Creative Penn’s New Years Resolution blog, where she laid out in the blog all she was going to achieve in the year, so there was a public record to uphold. I will do the same. I am quite sure this list will change over the course of time,  but here we go:

1. Finish the re-write of Book 1- Bow Shock, and send it out to at least 5 publishers in the science fiction genre- fantastic new author! Duotrope is going to be my friend.

2. Write a short story every month, and submit at least half of these for publication.

3. Finish my current novel, the fifth and final book in the series, so I can write THE END. (This is not number 1, because it is something I know is inevitable, and which I am doing at the moment anyway).

4. e-publishing.

5. Get more paid freelance copy-writing work.

6. Build my website. Get some web hosting and launch it, even if it is to simply host my blog on my own site. It would be a start on to the grander plans I have for that place.

7. Steampunk. Speaking of places I have plans for. A world is growing inside me for a Steampunk story. I am planning on at least having it ready for Nanowrimo 2011, but I also plan to do some significant world building for this venture. Defining three schools of magic, map and history for a nation, fill this world with mythological creatures (lucky I bought this book for research reasons…).

I will flesh out the range of characters I have already got sketchy ideas for- Skyship Captain, wilderness hunter, rogue druid and his wife-wife… understand the mechanics and the reason why there are airships. I want to fully realise this world. I believe there can be a LOT of material built in this world.

So there is my list. I am sure there is more that I want from this year. But right now, that’s enough. I know that I can achieve all of the above. While each of the 7 tasks are easy enough in themselves, time management to do them all? That is going to be a challenge.

Good luck to me. Good luck to you all in your new year writing ventures.