Writing vs. Social Media

I spend a lot of time online. I’ve broken down my day before, and even now, mentally doing it, I know I spend a lot of time online. Some of it is valid social media/networking/getting myself out there.

Some of it is many hours of Tumblr. Which isn’t productive, but often is a good stress release. Right up until you feel obligated to not miss any posts. Aaaand then it’s a problem. And it can become more complicated when you have multiple masks. I try to keep my Writing Self separate from Average Me. So separate blogs, Twitter accounts, emails. And I have multiple tumblrs. (And more email accounts than you can shake several sticks at.)

When does it become too much? I was just re-watching an episode of xxxHolic where the ‘case’ for the episode had internet addiction to the point where she was not playing with her son because she was too busy online. The answer was to cut her off completely from the internet, but she had to be the one to want to do it and for herself.

I don’t think I’m too that point (I would hope my friends would say something), but the internet definitely lets me saturate myself in my vice: keeping busy. I hate not being ‘productive’ and the internet always makes me feel active. Productive. Even if it’s not.

The setting of monthly goals is helpful, because it obviously keeps me on task, but I wonder what else I’d be able to do if I put my mind to it instead of scrolling endlessly through Tumblr. On the other hand, I have few vices or “relaxing hobbies,” so what harm is it?

I may trim back in the future, but I need to take a look at what needs to get done that isn’t getting done. What’s wearing me out and what’s keeping me from burning out.

When do you think it’s too much?

Wake Me Up Next Week

It’s November 30, which means it’s the last day of Nanowrimo. So how did I do?

I won!
Which really just means I’ve reached 50,000 words. The story isn’t yet finished (although I’m not sure there will be too much more added to the end), so of course a writer friend commented, “Congrats! Now finish the book!”
Isn’t that just how it goes?
But for tonight I’m going to ride on the high of finishing 50,000 words in one month. It’s really not that hard if I cut out all the stuff I don’t really need to be doing. And if you’ll hear my confession: I procrastinated A LOT this year. Imagine if I didn’t get distracted by Angry Birds, stare blankly at Twitter for updates, and check my mail, Google Reader, Facebook, tumblr, and GoodReads every other click? I imagine I’d be just as productive, because I’d eventually get distracted by something else. (Like writing long, rambling blog entries.)
So in the month to come I hope to wrap up SWTV, write a Christmas story, and dive back into CL.
Final thought: Writers must be masochists.

Is it any good?

As you may know, I tend to have difficulties focusing on one story that I’m writing, which is fine, as it lets me jump heads from my insecure, modern-day PR person to my apocalyptic, self-secure wizard. (Those being my two main stories at the moment. The trans-man story may not go anywhere, as ze is being very difficult.) This is, of course, because I get inspired by something, bored by what I’m writing, etcetera. My muses are fairly active, even if they do tend to only do half their job (“OH, HEY, LOOK, AN IDEA. Plot? You’re on your own sweetheart.”) I have a notebook of jotted down ideas that will one day, hopefully, be written.

But are they any good?

I try not to think of my books in any particular genre, because I think good books transcend genres and should be judged as just being good books. However, my books would most likely be tagged as M/M romance (and that’s who I’ll sell to, when I get there). The romance genre never had a great rep, and the same holds true for its gay brethren. However, the romance (M/M in particular) doesn’t have to be what a romance is. If that made any sense. Ignoring the influx of bad writing that e-books permits, there is a wide range of M/M romance, some of which probably shouldn’t be considered romance. If you consider something like Aleksandr Voinov’s Scorpion to ZA Maxfield’s All Stirred Up, the only thing they have in common is that they have two men as the leads and sex happens between those two men. All Stirred Up is a more traditional romance or chicklit, while Scorpion reads more like a military fantasy novel. And yet they are both “M/M Romance” and sold by companies that sell M/M romances. But Scorpion would probably never (currently) be sold as a fantasy novel, because it contains *gasp* gay sex. Yet there are plenty of other fantasy novels that contain sex, a romance thread, and are not shelved as a romance.

I apologize, I’ve gotten terribly off topic. That was a rant about how because there are gay characters, the books tend to be lumped together as M/M romance because currently there are no other outlets for gay fantasy novels.

My real reason for writing is that I’m currently reading Scorpion with its deep plot and dark environment and all I can think is, “My stuff seems so trite next to this.” This happens often when I read an M/M romance book that is more than its genre. Books like Amy Lane’s Truth in the Dark, Aleksandr Voinov’s Scorpion, and Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. Yes, some of these books have strong romantic plot lines, but they are so much more than just a beach read that is the stigma of romance novels. Anyways, I read these and then I look at my own pitiful attempts and I go “why bother?”

Of course, the reason I bother (and rip my hair out, and exhaust myself and schedule time to write) is because I enjoy it. And it shuts the voices up (at least a little). But part of me still wonders why I can’t write books that transcend the genre. Do I write romance books because of my own unfulfilled romantic life? Do I not have deeper and darker books in me because I have such a happy life and am incapable of dreaming of darker things? Am I just meant to be a hack writer, putting out tawdry (or not so tawdry) romances?

Does it matter?

I write because stories I like writing and I have ideas. I can’t imagine not writing, although plenty of people don’t write ever. Of course part of me would love for my writing to be recognized by the outside world and published and maybe even, you know, read by an audience. So it shouldn’t matter what I write, as long as I am happy and my audience is happy. But that doesn’t make the yearning to write a darker piece any less irritating.

But maybe I’ll write a deeper piece without meaning to, and someone else will write a blog entry just like this using my story as an example.

I can only hope 🙂

Time Is Today

From a post in a blog I follow:

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.
It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.
What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!
Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.
It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow.”
You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.
That’s all.

Contemplating death and loneliness

(This post was originally aimed to be written Wednesday night, but due to storms, I lost power and could not complete it. So I’m completing it now.)

Ever have one of those days where you come across readings that just speak to you?

For work I had to read an article about atrial fibrillation, a condition from which I mildly suffer (at least, I hope mildly. My understanding of the condition was limited to me being taught about it as a child). We always just called it heart palpitations, but really it’s Afib and reading about it in the article was depressing (symptoms, side effects, mortality rates). I had the impression that I should value my life and live it to the fullest. Do what I want in case my hours are marked.

Driving home I considered (not for the first time) that maybe I’ve never really pondered the future, that I’ve never been able to envision the future because I don’t really have a future. That sounds so morbid…But sit and listen to your heart beating quietly in your chest. Think about how fragile it is. Think about how with a single seize it could fail and then you’d be no more.

So I want to take better care of myself. I can’t give up caffeine completely (and I’m not sure how much influence it has anyway) but I would like to cut back. And try to do more relaxation/meditation. That’s it for now. We’ll see how it goes.

Tonight I finished The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt. In it, after Philip’s boyfriend has dumped him, he realizes he has alot of free time on his hands and if it weren’t for work and his parents, he could just vanish into nothingness. This spoke to me, because I often wonder if I could just vanish. And then I got to wondering if I do all these things to fill my time so that I don’t realize how easy it would be to vanish.

That’s all.

A question of morals…

Uh..warning…some sexual topics are described below…so family may not want to read this? It’s not MY sex or anything, it’s about a book, but still.

Recently I read (in Looking for It by Michael Thomas Ford, in case you were curious), I came across an interesting (and horrible) situation, which made me take a moment to reflect.

The set up (briefly) is this: one man (who is hateful toward his own sexuality) beats two of his partner-for-the-moments, both requiring hospitalization. He often uses the phrase “faggot” or “fag” and is generally a jerk. More than a jerk.

Every time a chapter came up that he narrated, I skimmed it, because he was so hateful and angry that it nearly sickened me and I dreaded seeing what awful thing he was going to do (and likely do to one of the other main characters). However…

It came to pass that while his friend “slept,” he gave him oral sex, which his friend was actually at least a little awake for. So his friend comes over and tempts him with his penis (penis is very tempting, it seems), and after the man starts, the friend says he’s a “faggot”. The man gets offended by this and tries to stop, at which point the friend pretty much holds him down and rapes him (even if the man sorta gets off on it).

Every other chapter I hated this man and wanted nothing but bad things to happen to him, but once something bad DID happen to him (and one could argue he got what he deserved), I felt just as terrible for him as I felt for his previous victims. Perhaps I’m a giant softy. Maybe this is the normal human reaction.

I’m not saying I couldn’t raise a hand in the defense of myself or those I love. But I don’t think I could ever wish suffering on another. Not much horrible has happened in my life, so I can only suppose this could extend to those who have wronged me. Maybe when it came down to it, I’d be all “let me pull the switch!” but I just don’t know.

And those are just my thoughts.

PS. Why is “Ram” one of my labels?

in which my hand hurts

Because I’m tired of reading (or at least starting new stories), and not focused for writing (and I’m caught up on nano) I decided a nice post would be good…plus it helped me realize that with my hand wrapped I can’t really type…so no writing tonight. Just this..which is writing but not as much and I can always delete it if I change my mind without feeling guilty…I just found out if I don’t use my pinky then I can almost type normal…go me!!

Life is same old, thus the lack of updates. I hurt my hand at the barn (knuckles this time instead of wrist) and thus it’s wrapped and impeding my typing. Nano is on par, but it’s only 10 days in. Talk to me after 20. I’m happy with it so far, and the good stuff hasn’t happened, so yay?

I just realized I have nothing to write about. I could write about the person I have a crush on who I don’t think I can admit to, but that just sounds emo and I’m kinda cool with waiting and just being friends to see if this feeling continues. And nano has kinda distracted me from that.

I could talk about how the Holidays are approaching way too fast. But most people always feel that way, so nothing new.

I could write about the cake I’m going to hopefully bake for Friday. But that’s a secret. Pictures to come 😀

so nothing new. and yet..I’m pretty content. Go fig.

ps. why is one of my labels “ram”? When the heck did I use that as a label??

Time is not on our side.

Exhaustion.

It’s really amazing what the human body can be put through and not only survive but get stronger. It’s amazing how our bodies heal and how they regenerate. It’s amazing how exhausted we can be one day, but with proper rest we’ll be energetic.

It’s also kinda annoying when you haven’t had time to relax.

Since my Riding Instructor (RI) has a broken arm, I’ve been helping out more whenever I’m down that way. So four days a week I now have a required amount of work to do instead of the volunteer basis I used to do it on. This doesn’t bother me too much in itself, since she would much rather not have a broken arm and not have to depend on me. But it still drains a portion of my time.

My one barn friend broke her patella in two and is laid up for at least 8 weeks. Well her daughter (C) still needs to ride to get ready for a show, so I’ve been picking her up and dropping her off 2-3 days a week, since I’m going there anyway and her house is mostly on my way. The time this takes is really only 10-15 minutes tops additional travel time, but it’s still less. Plus there are other little things (like having to help her at the barn and minor things like that). More time drained.

Plus, when driving in the car with C, we always sit in silence pretty much. Now, I don’t mind sitting in silence in the car, since I’m usually alone in a car, but I wonder if I should make conversation. What is the etiquette? Who’s duty is it to keep conversation going, the driver or the passenger? In addition, C is 14 years old, so her answers tend to be succinct and not involved. This leads to very short conversations. I’m hoping this also means she doesn’t mind driving in silence (and that she doesn’t mind my music). This doesn’t take time, but it creates an “out of my comfort zone” mood too often in a drive that I usually use for mind-wandering exploration.

I’ve been getting ready for a horse show, which is joyfully over (and I won’t go into it). I’m hoping maybe I’ll get a little bit more time back, or at least not have to be focused on actually getting things done when I am at the barn. It’s amazing the difference when you’re riding to prepare for a show versus just riding to improve. There shouldn’t be one, but there is, and I can’t say I like it all that much.

My friend’s bachelorette party was last night, and was over all fun. But it was just one more thing on my long list of time-consuming things and I think it broke this camel’s back a little. I was up at 7:15 to get to the barn, etc, and then had addition show preparation duties, got home around noon, collapsed without sleeping, showered, had a few hours to relax and do things that needed to get done before heading out.

I got home around 1:30(?) and then woke up the next morning for the show at 7:15. I really miss 8 hours of sleep. I guess it doesn’t seem like much, but every weekend, every day, every moment seems to be filled with something, and when it’s not, I’m either too exhausted to focus, too unmotivated to do what needs done (read: dishes), or not willing to start something that will be interrupted.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings….

Wake me up when September comes

After cooking dinner, exercising, and eating, I did nothing productive and instead reread Sunshine. I started it last night, so I only really had to finish it, but still, there was so much more I could have spent my time doing–like the pile of dishes that are waiting for me (still). And instead of doing them I’m writing here because I didn’t do any other productive writing today.

I think the one thing I love about Sunshine is the point of the novel (or one of the points that I take away, at least). Sure, I love the vampires and magic and there are great characters in the book, but from beginning to end, the story is about how life happens no matter what, but interesting things in life don’t happen unless you step outside your door. The things that happen may not be what you had in mind, but that’s the risk you take when you leave your comfort zone.

Then I ask myself, How often do I leave my comfort zone? Am I willing to step into the darkness and let it embrace me? What would happen if something exciting/terrifying did occur in my life? Is the danger something I have to go look for, or will it find me itself is another question, one I don’t ask because I worry over the answer. This doesn’t mean I’ll sleep with my doors unlocked, but it does mean I’m no longer afraid to sleep in the dark–in fact, I like it that way now.*

Life has been filled with nothing of interest lately. It’s filled with good things, but nothing interesting, at least to outsiders. I could tell you how yesterday we were cantering across a field and the wind was blowing across my skin and the smooth pound of the horse’s hooves beneath me and the sun was shining but it was still cool and how that was heaven. But you probably don’t want to hear about it.

Since the evening is already blown and there is no way I’m going to do my dishes tonight, I’m going to go read another book that I’ve been trucking through.


*For those who didn’t know, until I went to college I needed a nightlight to sleep, because I couldn’t stand waking up and being totally blind. The campus was always lit enough to shed light in my windows at school, so it wasn’t a problem. I didn’t start sleeping without a nightlight until mine blew out (in a more literal sense than I care for). But I sleep in the dark now 🙂

Birthday updates

While I should be finishing my cleaning before my guests arrive, I decided I needed to…talk.

I’ve been rather absent this past week because I was house sitting, and while I had internet and my laptop, I didn’t have access to documents in certain formats that are on my desktop. My week there was rather relaxing, involving swimming, riding, kitty petting, reading and sleeping. It was like a minivacation from normal life.

B-side: I haven’t been able to work on editing as much as you would have liked, nor as much as I had planned. Aside from the aforementioned out-of-apartment experience, time just got out of hand. I apologize. I request another month, and I’ll start throwing things back to you when I get a good chunk done.

Last night I think I may have gotten four hours of sleep, assuming it was sleep and not just my brain finally collapsing in on itself. I don’t know what happened, I just had a breakdown. So I woke up at 5:30 and tried to sleep for that last two hours (and failed) before getting up and going to the barn to take care of horses in the pouring rain.

Sleeping when I got home didn’t work either. So I’m sleep deprived, on the edge of _____, and having a birthday party. I’m hoping that seeing my friends, who I haven’t seen in weeks, will help (and not make me cry). I’m so dark under my eyes I look like I got punched and it just didn’t swell up. I’m also probably going to get really jittery when I start downing caffeinated drinks.

On a side note, I made some delicious-looking* carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. And after I finish cleaning I may make some biscotti, although in my current brain-state I don’t know if I can following directions. I’m going to shut up now before my rambling gets out of hand.

* I totally made edits just to put in the hypen, because it bothered me. I need a life.