Assessments, plans, and implementations: a metapost
Some parts of this post may fall too far into the “what I had for breakfast” zone for some of you, but it helps me to stick to plans if I share them with people. Not that I get nagged often by my readers, I just am more motivated to do things I have said I would do than to follow through on plans that I keep to myself.
So I’ve been making some changes to my routines in an attempt to improve my writing productivity, and I’m thinking about some changes for this blog…
Exiting one project
One change that is not related to my writing routine directly is that I resigned from the committee that administers the Ursa Major Awards. I’ve been a committee member for about thirteen years, so my exit is probably overdue.
It was a little weird being a member of an organization that handed out literary and arts awards in a meta-genre that I myself write in. Since the awards are not juried at all by the committee—everything comes down to nominations and voting from fans—I didn’t feel overly guilty about a conflict of interest. Besides, being an almost entirely fan-driven meta-genre, certainly in the early days of the organization it was virtually impossible to find anyone who would have the interest to serve on the committee who wasn’t also involved in some way in the creation of some works that qualified for some of the categories.
I was originally appointed to the committee as a representative of a convention which subsequently disbanded. I offered to resign when the convention disbanded, but the other committee members asked me to stay, so I did. Maybe it’s because I’m overly self-analytical, I always felt a bit conflict—as I said, not terribly guilty, but always a little hesitant to say certain things in public lest it create an implication of impropriety. It was easier to justify to my own conscience my continued presence on the committee while the magazine I edit was still publishing regularly, and any attempts I made to encourage people to participate in the nominating and voting was as much about promoting the artwork and stories of other people who I just happened to sometimes publish as anything I did.
But we haven’t been able to publish the magazine regularly lately (paper publications are going the way of the dinosaur, and the particulars of our publication, as a shared universe with restrictions on what formats I can republish older material, makes it very difficult to transition meaningfully to the web). A lot more of my time is spent on my own writing, now, and I just feel a lot better promoting my own work and the awards as merely a creator and fan in the field.
If nothing else, I hope I start feeling a bit less self-conscious about promoting my own work from now on.
Word count goals
If NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo have taught me anything, it’s that setting word count goals and using software tools to count them makes me get more writing finished than my usual, “Finish X scenes by the end of the month” sort of goals do. So I’m going to start setting those sorts of goals. I’m not sure whether I will post the results weekly or try to make it part of my monthly goal check-in.
I’m not quite as bad as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, but I definitely like having routines. Assembling the Friday Links post each week, for example, makes me slightly less likely to spam my twitter feed with retweets of every news story that interests me during the week, while still allowing me to share (and sometimes comment upon) relevant stories, videos, et al.
When I first started regularly posting to the web, I tried to put up something every Thursday. I’m not entirely certain how I originally settled on Thursdays, but it worked in well with the rhythm of the work week and how that impacts my fiction writing schedule. Except, as soon as I typed that sentence I remembered why.
Back in collage and university I worked on (and was many times editor-in-chief of) the student newspaper. For a long time I had a weekly column to fill, and it had to be finished in time to be laid out in the weekly edition which was published and distributed on Friday morning. So I got into the habit of sitting down at my typewriter in Wednesday evening usually with no idea of what I was going to write about, and a couple hours later the column was finished. Even when I stopped being part of a weekly newspaper, every time Wednesday rolled around, I would find myself wanting/needing to sit at a keyboard and pontificate about… something.
Other kinds of blogging and social networks have gotten me into the habit of writing blog posts more often, where I hop from topic to topic. I think I hop a bit too much, sometimes. Last year I used ThrowbackThursday as a framework to pin a series of posts related to Pride month. It was a lot of fun to go through old family photos for each one, so I did another series of ThrowbackThursday posts in February.
One of last week’s posts about the Sad Puppy/Hugo Awards incident was also about why I love science fiction. And since I don’t want to dwell on unpleasant topics all the time, I decided to do another post about why I love science fiction, without mentioning the Sad Puppies. It occurred to me that there are several other posts I could write about how I first encountered some of my favorite books and authors as a way of doing a slightly different version of ThrowbackThursday. So, for the rest of May, I’m going to try to have such a post ready on each Thursday.
Wish me luck.