Blog Black-Out this Month

Going to be quiet on here for the remainder of October.

In early November I will be releasing my first YA and second full-length novel, The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle. In the 16 days remaining until November, I am focusing all of my efforts on ensuring that the story is ready, including formatting and cover design. (Unfortunately having to do the cover art myself still. I had an artist already slated, but it fell through. Eventually the art work will be updated.)

Agnes is slightly over 80,000 words long and took me a little over 2 years to fully write. It has been “done” for a few months, but has been in a state of review to ensure that I didn’t mess something up.

It tells of a 12-year-old girl (Agnes Pyle) whose parents were recently killed leaving her to enter into apprenticeship far sooner than was planned as she and her parents belonged to a group of mortals tasked with protecting the barriers between the spirit realms and the mortal realm. But there has been something hunting them down and killing them. Now Agnes must learn to defend herself or face the same fate as her parents.

Novella Ideas

I wrote earlier about how I like novellas, how they are making a comeback, and why I tend to see that as all good. Short, concise, and counter to the long, overwritten, intimidating books we often have seen in the last few decades. I mean, books got long!

Sure, there’ve always been classics that were very long, but that’s not the point.

In referencing the Psychology Today article I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it said that polls about reading showed that 40% of those under the age of 44 in the US haven’t read a single book. I’ve also made hypothesis as to the reason for this.

In my liking novellas, I thought, why not write a non-fiction book with the same target length of a novella (less than 40,000 words)? Be the book about politics or religion or one of the other topics I am interested in. Couple that with lighter language and it may encourage learning that other books tend to intimidate people away from.

Two points here that I can assert are the cause of the reading decline: a growing divide between intellectuals and non-intellectuals, and book length (i.e. that book is just too damn thick to read).

Point 1:

I see this in listening to and reading Sam Harris. The man speaks very well. But he also speaks very intellectually. He doesn’t speak in a manner a normal person will not see as off-putting and non-hoity-toity as some might assert. He has his audience, so that is fine for them. But for those who are laypeople or non-intellectuals, or who have little interest in that, the language is often pretentious (though not intended as such).

Point 2:

Book length coupled with the prior point and people are just more apt to want to switch on the TV for something more entertaining thinking that it is informing them of whatever. Again, just rehashing prior points.


So this all came in when thinking about what I am going to do with this passion project I have been slowly writing I am calling “Godless” right now, about my atheism. Although I know it will take me well over a year to write it, I debated on just how “intellectual” or long I was going to make the book. Now I think I figured that out.

Celebrity Culture

As a lover of celebrity gossip, I am beginning to see the problems with my fascination. Sure, it’s a bit of escapism, but with real problems going on in the world, the fact that Kim Kardashian had several millions in jewels taken from her at gunpoint is really of little consequence.

She’s still a person, and as such doesn’t deserve the treatment. But have we become so enthralled by these outward displays of fame and wealth? There’s plenty about how Kim and others like her live a lifestyle built on a void of talent or societal contribution. That isn’t the problem. The problem is how we hold such people aloft.

For days now I have seen nothing but the primary headlines on several internet news sources site stories about Kim’s robbery. Tragic that any person go through that, but she’s alive and still a millionaire, so why is this continuing? Vice Presidential debate? Down the site a ways…

I read an interesting article from Psychology Today on today’s anti-intellectual culture and this whole thing on Kim came right on time to further demonstrate the article’s point. We are failing. We hold fame, fortune atop real contribution or intelligence. We worship these stars and jeer at scientists (who are often portrayed as bad or ill-intentioned in movies or books). I just don’t see this ending.

And it worries me.

A Discussion with Myself

The other night I had the opportunity to run to the store to pick up a spattering of groceries and get a frappe from McDonald’s for my wife. It was so close to our son’s bedtime that it was best that I went alone. Now while such an adventure had me close my laptop, keeping me from doing the one thing I should have been doing: writing, I was able to use that 20 or so minutes to have a talk with a person who typically doesn’t listen. Me.

It is always a good idea to examine yourself. Take your beliefs and behaviors, your wants, desires and goals, and place them all under a microscope. This is a good exercise in finding whether or not you are falling astray from your goals, or if your goals are in the right place to begin with. One of the books I have been reading of late is one titled “The Right Questions” does that. Yes, it can be placed under the stigmatized section of self-help related material. In this particular case, it is a quest to get to your desires, and finding what those desires really are. Then once you figure that out, you draw a map (metaphorically speaking) on how you are going to get there. Once that map is in front of you, then the right questions (a set of 10 questions) will help to guide you through decisions that might end up standing in the way of the goal. I am still very much in the drawing the map phase. My goal? Becoming a self-sustaining writer. (My job is writing and any other paid gig is either a side project, or their because I want to do it.)

Needless to say that my conversation was heavily slanted towards how I treat my writing.

I am primarily a fiction writer. Not that I do not wish to also have success writing articles, opinion pieces, science articles, or other works of non-fiction, as I certainly do, but my primary passion is making up stories. Even writing this post right now is countering that fact. But against the questions, this endeavor is holding up. Here’s why:

It’s filling in part of the map.

I have a blog. It’s a part of this site, which is supposed to be “me” central. Working full time, having a son with multiple extracurricular activities, a family life, it becomes a challenge managing all of this. Not impossible, just challenging. So far that has not been my forte.

I’ve neglected to post daily and I’ve stopped writing fiction every day. What?! How could I do that?! Do I not want to find success?

Don’t get me wrong, I write daily… it just happens to often be blog posts I will probably not put up, or lengthy posts that do not need to be the daily norm. I write non-fiction every day. And though that is a part of my goal, it isn’t the penultimate goal.

So this discussion of mine revolved around two items: my blog and writing every day.

Let’s discuss the first.

As of this moment, I might get an average of less than 5 visitors a day to this site. Not bad, but not great. I am an unknown so it is understandable. And it is 5 fold greater than in the past on who visited. That needs to grow, but it will only grow with content and consistency. One I am doing OK with (although “OK” might be exaggerating it a bit), and the other is terrible. Pick either and you are probably correct.

I want to solve both items. Can’t happen overnight, but I need to try.

Many of my posts are a lot like this one: wordy. Already as I am writing this sentence I am hitting 627 words. I used to target 500 words of fiction a day. I’ve already surpassed that, but with a blog post. That means another two things:

One, I am focusing too much on writing blog posts. Two, I am not using my time to write what I want to write – fiction.

Time to change that. And that should help free up some of my focus to address the second problem from earlier: writing (fiction) every day.

I want to post something each day Monday through Friday on my blog. It needs to follow a few rules now. In the car on my way to the store I determined them. Here’s the bulleted list.

  • A daily post cannot exceed a certain number of words. I am going to say somewhere between 200 and 300 words. Let’s go in the middle. 250 words. Not very much, but enough to get a quick point across. Plus it helps learn writing concisely.
  • My wordier posts? I need to limit them to once per week at most. I want people to read my fiction, how am I going to do that if I don’t shut up long enough for them to do so? And I cannot write them in a day like I am doing at this moment. Work on them a little at a time.
  • Post topics need to stay away from a couple of items as I do not want people to refuse to read my stories based on a stance I have. These topics are: politics & religion. That means that the posts I’ve made earlier on Trump, Black Lives Matter, and Gun Control will not be the norm, but rather remain posts I made while finding what the hell I am doing on here.
  • Topics have to be things I enjoy, like my last post on Alice Grove (although it was wordier).

The above should help in the near term to better point me to a better way of managing this site. IT won’t be perfect by any means, but the point is not perfection, rather improvement. And that is all I can ever ask of myself.

The Oregon Trail Card Game

A review of the card game sold at Target stores and our (my wife’s and my amended rules).

So after nearly a month of checking, rechecking, and again rechecking, my wife and I were able to get a copy of The Oregon Trail Card Game from Pressman. This game is an exclusive at Target and arguably was Target’s most successful release of a board game. So popular was it in fact that when it started trickling back in stock, we had to travel almost 30 minutes out of our way, or 5 stores away to find our copy. The store was sold out not long after we secured our copy.

We certainly think it was worthwhile. A) we’re big board gamers as is demonstrated by the below picture.

a small part of our gaming shelves

a small part of our gaming shelves

B) we were huge fans of the original Oregon Trail video game.

The Oregon Trail Card game is a cooperative game where players work together to reach Oregon, all without dying (of dysentery).

One of the things we heard in reviews about the game, we heard that there were some rules that were unclear or that didn’t exist. Being avid gamers, this didn’t deter us. We knew we’d figure it out based on the experience we’ve had playing board games.

Now playing it.

At our first playing, we played to the letter of the rules. Suffice to say, it was unsuccessful, but we both ended up with a few amendments to the rules in order to have smoother play. It was fun, but it needed a little work. So here are those amendments. If you like them, please feel free to share. If you have any of your own, feel free to share your suggestions or links to suggested rules below.


  1. Minimum Hand Limit of 5 for Trail Cards.
    In the rules, you are dealt 5 trail cards to start the game. There is no verbiage to describe what you do when you play a trail card as far as replenishing your hand. There is no drawing. Thus, when you have played 5 trail cards, you are empty. Then you essentially lose a turn to draw a card. So the rule is at the end of your turn, if you have less than 5 trail cards, draw until you have 5.
    The reason: in the video game, there is a condition that pops up where you’ve lost the trail. It doesn’t happen often, but the rule written in the card game simulates that. If you don’t have a trail card that matches, you draw 1 trail card and your turn ends. This makes sense then as a reasonable punishment if you do not have a match with a hand of 5. Additionally, there doesn’t appear to be any other mechanical reason to have a hand that depletes to empty only to have you then be drawing only 1 at a time other than a waste of time.
  2. Supply cards are a problem.20161001_132637 Based on the list shown (see the photo) the most optimum number of players are 4 or 5 players, meaning that the party has 20 supply cards to use between the group in either scenario. 6 players is next with 18, then 3 players with 15, and 2 players with 10. What?! There’s 26 total supply cards! If you are playing with 4 or 5 players then there are only 6 left in the store, but there are 16 left if you are playing 2 players?
    Part of the idea of making a game that can move between 2 to 6 players is having conditions that balance the gameplay. Either there are conditions removed, or there are a varied set of rules based on the number of players if there is a negative impact from playing 2 players vs more. Here, the team is trying to get through 50 trail cards and playing 2 players is punished harshly for it. Game mechanics are about balance as much as they are about a challenge.
    We have two differing rules for this. Here they are.

    1. For 2 Players – Players may choose their supply cards at the start of the game.
      The Reason: Gives 2 players a chance to balance if they don’t want to deviate from the chart.
    2. The supply card chart is as follows:The reason here: This adds balance to the number of players, making less difference between the number of players and the difficulty. 2 & 3 players now have as much ability as a group of 4 or more have.
      # Starting Players # supply cards stating for each player Total # Supply cards in play at start
      6 players 3 supply cards 18
      5 players 4 supply cards 20
      4 players 5 supply cards 20
      3 players 6 supply cards 18
      2 players 9 supply cards 18
  1. Play a trail card or a supply card unless you only have 2 players left (or start with 2) then you can play 2 supply card… AND
    Here is an issue because of the timing of a round. A “round of play” as it stands in the game is not defined, but the term is used in calamity cards. For this sake, we are only going to use the standard gaming definition of once each player has a turn, a round has occurred. In other words, a round is when all players have taken 1 turn.
    Here’s the slightly modified rule then: You may play 1 trail card (if able) or a supply card, unless there are only 2 players (left alive or having started) and you may play 1 trail card and/or 1 supply card, or 2 supply cards on your turn.
    The reason: Being that a round is when all players have taken a turn, then the team has a stronger chance the more players in the game to remedying a calamity card. This gives a little added balance to 2 players, else you die pretty quick.
  2. This last amendment has to do with a single card. It is one of the river cards. Here’s the picture to the right.
    a not full description on this card (and the others like it)

    a not full description on this card (and the others like it)

    The solution is that you blend the rule into the other river cards. Roll an odd and lose 1 supply unless you roll a 1 and then you (the player having played the card) drown.

I see that the above 4 amendments solve the majority of the balance issues in the game. So here’s some (untested) ideas I have on added rules. Let me know what you think.

  1. Choose a difficulty level.
    1. There’s one choices here to ADD difficulty: Each player draws 1 less supply card.
    2. Here’s a choice to LOWER difficulty: target a lower number of trail cards to play. For example, instead of reaching Willamette Valley after 10 stacks of 5 trail cards, play to 8, or some lesser number.
  2. Group roles.
    Much like the videogame, your party leader chooses a role and that gives the party special abilities. This is based on the 3 original choices in the videogame. There might be some better ideas for this, but here’s my ideas.

    1. Banker – Draw 1 extra supply card at each town or fort. Once per game may trade 1 supply card for another of their choice instead of the normal 2 cards per 1.
    2. Farmer – You may have 2 free supply card actions for bullets or food.
    3. Carpenter – You may have 2 free supply card actions for spare parts or oxen.
    4. NOT IN THE ORIGINAL VIDEOGAME – Doctor – You may have 2 free supply card actions medicine or clean water.


Easily One of the Best Sci-Fi Stories Out Right Now

Yesterday I wrote a quick, little post on how I thought Orphan Black was an outstanding show that my wife and I were still fairly new to. Today I will talk about another story, in another medium, that I personally believe is one of the best science fiction stories out there right now.

I am talking about Alice Grove.

Don’t know about Alice Grove?

Alice Grove is the brainchild of cartoonist Jeph Jacques who is possibly better known for his other comic, Questionable Content. Alice is a sometimes twice-a-week, sometimes whenever-he-can-get-to-it release that is featured through the blogging site Tumblr. Yes, it is only a side-project as Jeph also keeps QC in the Monday through Friday release pattern and has a few other creative endeavors to tend to.

Both comics are amazing, and easily rank up there as my favorites among the many, many webcomics that have been coming out over the years. It is also part of the inspiration to my own eventual foray into that realm, but I digress.

Where both comics touch on science fiction elements, (QC has AI life, anthroPCs, and cybernetic enhancements), Alice Grove takes a particularly deeper dive into the story telling of science fiction. And it is great.

The comic starts off with a young man running frantically. No dialogue. Nothing else other than the title.

#2: the man comes to a screeching halt in front of a giant wind turbine. Like the first, there is no dialogue.

The next comic: you meat Alice. A young (looking) girl working on the top of a wind turbine. Again, you see no dialogue. The man is yelling or signaling something to her.

In #4, Alice begins to repel down the turbine… until her line breaks, the panic shown on the faces of both characters.

#5 shows the first lines of dialogue as Alice careens towards the ground, the man looks away wincing, only that once he hears the “whud,” he turns to see Alice perfectly fine, having performed… well as Deadpool would call it: “She’s gonna do a superhero landing!”


Man: You flew!

Alice: I fell.

At this point you realize that Alice is not going to be a normal story. There is something special about Alice. Is she a superhero? What is she? How did she just survive a fall from so high?

Another comic later and you find out what all of the fuss was about to begin with: Ardent, a little blue dude with a tail.

Over the course of the next 2 years of comics (he started Alice in September of 2014), you learn that there is A LOT more going on. This isn’t just a post-apocalyptic tale; this is one that takes place thousands of years after… an event mentioned to by the characters as the Brink. And Alice was there, making her at least a few thousand years old.

The comic is a great mix of humor and intrigue. From Ardent’s overzealous horniness, wanting to have sex with nearly every willing female around, to the relentless seriousness of Alice… why won’t she loosen up? What happened to her that made her what she is?

I don’t want to speak too much on what is going on as it may or may not spoil other elements in the comic, but suffice to say, I fervently argue that this is one of the best sci-fi stories I have seen in a long time. And thankfully it shows no signs of being over any time soon.

The Artist vs The Industry

As self-publishing has taken off, I am often left to wonder how it had ever got to a point where entry into the field depended on everyone other than the artist. Of course this is due to my thinking in idealist terms. The artist controls his or her art in full. Said person brought the art into creation, so they own it, right?

Unfortunately, all too often such a utopian manner of thinking in artistic fields is not the case. Books are owned by the publisher. Movies are owned by the studio. Drawings (comics for example) are owned by the comic. The list goes on. Sure, it is not an all-encompassing. As always there are exceptions, but let me speak in my generalist mindset here!

A reflection on this topic comes from a post made by the venerable Hugh Howey, The Scaffolding. In his post, he discussed the oft forgotten idea of all of the bits and pieces that are used to build into to final work. I will not do it justice, but it speaks on what we don’t see when looking at a final structure.

Looking at the publishing industry (through the tiny peephole I’ve afforded myself) one would only see the giant machine that essentially dictates what is available to the public to be read (think right before self-publishing took off, don’t get too bogged down with amazon’s game-changing effect). How could we have gone from Homer’s clay tablets to now? What steps did we as a population take going from clay tablets all of the way to now: word processing, ebooks, print, digital, etc?

Occasionally there were giant leaps in innovation. For example, the Gutenberg press. Another, the typewriter. And with each of those innovations, certain things would be afforded, but others sacrificed.

Let’s take the printing press and examine some possible steps. (And by possible I mean that I am talking out of my ass and have no idea if these conjectures ran true or not.)

First, a page of writing needs to be assembled onto the press. This takes some time to read and then transfer each letter over. Mistakes are costly, so you want someone with the skillset to do the job with minimal errors. You can’t just do any Joe-Schmo to get the task done. In all likelihood, most writers wouldn’t have had a clue how to do this. So once the writer hires the press, then the jobs associated with the press come into play. The writer would have very little say into this, or he or she might, but it would be more likely that the press dictated who was used.

Next you might get copy-editors: those who would look over the work to ensure that there were no mistakes. Again, based on that equipment of the time, mistakes were costly.

This is how an industry is born, Ladies and Gentlemen.

After copy-editors, let’s say that the press, being a business, wants to better market itself, so it hires people to look over what is given to them, to see ways to make it more engaging or to simply choose what jobs they would be better to take. Then as books are sold, they begin to see patterns, or things that make people buy more copies. So the press then hires people to work with the writers to improve the works in a manner that would sell more copies. As presses get more profitable, more efficient, this need grows. Demand grows.

Eventually the bigger presses operate in this manner. Smaller presses may be more apt to still accept lesser works, but as it grows, as opportunities grow, the needs for other skills begin to materialize. Soon to sell more you need salespeople. Then to aid the salespeople with tools to appeal to buyers, you then need marketing persons.

Again, this is how industries are created.

Eventually it grows to a point that the average person just doesn’t have access to the press without being vetted first by the industry players. Printing presses of old are batch processes. Printing in a lean manufacturing one-by-one methodology wasn’t viable. Being in a batch manufacturing style job now, I fully understand this. Printing presses want a good reason to spend the money to mass produce a book. So it has to be verifiable in whatever means are available.

Realistically, one has to now think of it more as a job than as an artistic endeavor. Publishing houses, being largely in control of the avenues to mass market, require content. So as a writer, you become an employee that is tasked with creating that content. Albeit you are more of a contract employee. Manuscripts become the résumé.

Enter lawyers. (Also enter groans… because we all know what happens when lawyers enter the picture.) Contracts are negotiated, and with little self-awareness on their part, artists end up on the short-end of the stick. Not necessarily right, but certainly legal. Maybe. It becomes the “well did you read the fine-print?” scenario. Contracts, as many authors have illustrated in many blog posts became heavily slanted towards the publisher, not the writers. But we let it build to that over time. I am willing to bet it didn’t start that way.

Behemoths don’t just spring up out of nowhere.

Enter now the self-publishing (or more aptly named Amazon-publishing) age. Printing is more viable as a lean-manufacturing method. Technology advanced so far that a company like Amazon was able to invest in the equipment and now only print titles as they are needed. Ebooks are created from programming and don’t require any physical existence beyond the computer, tablet, or ereader. They created a system where minimal skill is required to enter the field. (I know this as I am one of those without skills.)

Two things come of this:

  • Those with no skill and no desire to learn, to work towards improvement, or to eventually use earnings to pay for help will enter the field.
  • Those who would ordinarily have worked with traditional publishing if having been given opportunity will use this as a way into the field.

I rank more on the latter, but not 100%.

What is nice to see in this is that self-publishing has put more power into the artist’s hands. It has opened up the avenues of entry to everyone once again. Niche markets now gain more momentum by allowing those with works that wouldn’t fall into the interests of mass publishers to find their audience. It also gives rise to writers who were somehow screwed out of fair earnings opportunity to rectify that.

For me, I like the control. As one would expect though, I remain an unknown. The money, time, and effort I am able to put into learning, into doing what is needed to be done to be successful as a writer is accurately reflected in my sales. I barely sell squat. I want to learn and get better though.

Maybe that will happen, maybe it won’t.

What I do see from this venture is an opportunity for artists to push back towards a more balanced approach. In many cases it did come a long way from the artist owning their work and owning the avenues that the work is presented. But maybe without it getting to that point we would have never gotten to here?

Orphan Black

My wife and I are late-comers to this. Finally relenting to our friends telling us how good Orphan Black was, we recently began to watch it. Now midway through season 2, we are hooked.

It’s good.

Tatiana Maslany is amazing.

TV is just too good right now.

Concept vs Plot

For roughly an hour each night after our son goes to bed, my wife and I stay up to watch TV. We tend to have only one major criteria for what we watch: we both must enjoy it. Fortunately, due to TV being in a golden-age, it has been easy.

Shows are not only entertaining, but well written. Where in the ‘old days’ dramas/procedurals would often follow a bad-guy-of-the-week format with sprinklings of an occasional overarching plot, nowadays many shows are essentially shot like long movies moving the plot along over the course of 6 to 13 episodes. Or shows, like iZombie, that still follow a bad-guy-of-the-week style do it in an entertaining way, such as the brain of the week. But they also take into account that there is a greater plot underway.

Recent additions like Stranger Things on Netflix absolutely nails every aspect of good TV. Trust me. Watch it. And we can’t forget the TV branches of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) like Agents of Shield, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil, the latter two being two of the best shows out there.

These shows represent a thing I personally call writing for plot (aka story) vs concept.

Another show that my wife and I watch, somehow still enjoy, but is really not that good when push-comes-to-shove is Between on Netflix. It’s a dud. It follows a town under quarantine where everyone over the age of 21 dies of a mysterious virus. The plot is so riddled with holes that there could be no hope of ever holding water. Even as we watch it, we tell each other that it is such a cool concept, just it has no plot. It reeks of being something written around the concept.

This is not only restricted to TV. One of my chief complaints in science fiction and fantasy is that this used to happen a lot. It happens in other genres too. And no one is immune (or so I tell myself so that I feel better). Many of my stories start out as concepts.

Writing about a concept isn’t a bad thing. The problem there is whether or not the writer takes the concept and writes the story around it, or if they choose to make the concept only a part of a story. For me, I have two examples. One a success; one a dud.

Without mentioning details of the dud, it is a concept that fascinates the hell out of me, but I have failed to write it because I cannot figure out what the story is. If I don’t have a story, I don’t want to write it. This concept has sat on my lap for years, but nothing comes of it.

The second is the story that I  recently released part 1 for: Of Earth and Ice. This story was born out of a concept – what happens to the people left behind if Earth became a frozen planet. In the concept I found the story of Evie, so now the concept became the environment, the scene. Now I write about the people involved, not the concept. Granted, it is a rather easy path to take, but it worked.

For a show like Between, the concept is a little trickier to work around. For starters, how is it possible that any biological agent is able to distinguish that a person is 22 or older? Though there might be an answer, so far they haven’t even come close to tendering it. Liberties can be taken, but often it can then lead to a snowballing of poor plot/story decisions that continually compound on itself. Sometimes it can just be a lack of research or experts consulting. An example, I cringe each time I see a character as a HAZMAT responder in a full-face respirator that has no cartridges (I am Hazwoper certified, that’s why I see it so clearly).

What frustrates me though in this is that there are so many things in the plot that end up appearing as though they are written simply to keep the show moving in some direction. It is like a shark, just keep it moving and it won’t die. But it needs to. Oh god, it needs to.

Just like I keep going back to the concept I didn’t mention but rather spoke of its existence, I know there are people out there that just want to get a story out using their concept. Or in the case of what likely happened to the show (this is another ‘out-of-Jeremy’s-ass-guess’) is that they sold the concept to Netflix, but then were forced to write it, so they just did what they could.

My whole point though is that sometimes concepts just aren’t viable, no matter how cool they sound. Stories are what is important. Stick to the story, and you cannot go wrong.

Lack of Blog

I’ve been finding it very difficult to write blog posts of late (much less writing in general terms). Many posts that I’ve tried writing in the past week were sent straight to the recycle bin. Most I closed out and chose “don’t save” when the prompt appeared. Some stopped due to self-doubt. Others fizzled at some point during the writing process, so I just stopped and dumped.

There could be any number of reasons as to why. It is equally as difficult for me to uncover those reasons. A particular reason seems to stand out above others though.

One of the correlations that I have been seeing is that this occurs following my release or completing of a project. A week ago I published part 1 for my scifi novel Of Earth and Ice. Though I had most of the work already done prior to my pushing it out, it was an undertaking that took a lot out of me.

Think about it (if you aren’t already a writer): any piece of work that a writer produces and publishes is a direct reflection of that writer. No matter what the content is, each work is a piece of the writer. When that piece is put out on display as it is, it takes an emotional toll. Not to be crude, but it can be likened to an ejaculation for a guy for how I’ve been responding. I end up feeling exhausted; I want to just go to sleep.

Because of this emotional depletion that I encounter, I can only assume that it is a major cause of why I suddenly drop off in productivity immediately when finishing a project. And I don’t have to necessarily publish the piece to feel the effect. I’ve now been struggling to wrap up my next book after spending two years piecing it together, a book I hope to release in the coming month.

(Note: I deliberately built in a lot of flex time to deal with this dilemma of struggling on this next book. Too often in the past I’ve made unrealistic goals as to when I plan to get books out to the public and found myself unable to follow through.)

I even feel this way when I post blogs. Being that they are smaller in size (and generally in effort as well compared to a novel, etc) the effects appear to be far more muted. But they build up over time.

Here’s another analogy. This time I move to the less crude activity of lifting weights… and I’ll say let’s pick deadlifts for the example.

I can lift very heavy, greater than 350 lbs in a single rep. When I lift a high amount of weight, that one rep takes it out of me. Ask me to pick it up again and depending on the day, it may or may not happen. Conversely, give me just the bar. 45 lbs, that’s it. I can perform the deadlifts continuously for quite some time. Each rep seemingly will take nothing out of me. Enough of them and then I won’t be able to pick up that bar one. more. time. The novels, short stories, novellas, etc are the heavy rep; blog posts are the reps with just the bar.

Now, much like with exercise, as I continue with my growth in writing, the periods in between will get smaller and smaller. At least that is the hope.