Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Juggling Priorities

Juggling is an art; don't let anyone tell you differently.
I never put much thought into the physical aspect of juggling until I spoke with my neighbour who performs at the Street Performers Festival. She’s short, quirky, and more than enthused about her act. She juggles three multi-coloured bean bags while singing and cracking jokes. The day we spoke she was doing just that as we waited for our bus.
I marvelled at her coordination. She modestly told me that juggling wasn’t so bad at all! For starters, it was about knowing where your hands have to be. Then, it was timing, getting your hands into position. Throwing the bean bags in the air only started an intricate routine that was just that – routine. Practice became ingrained in muscle memory, making the action automatic.
It got me to thinking that juggling all of my priorities is much the same.  I have to know what they are, I have to rank them so I can work on them appropriately, and I have to make sure I keep myself disciplined enough to keep up with everything. When that routine is down-pat, everything is no longer laborious – it becomes reflex.
So, to start, I’ll list my priorities and I’ll delve into the details.
  1. The Day Job
Well, this is a given. Every week 37.5 hours are dedicated to earning my livelihood. As much as I adore the (current) pipedream of just writing for a living, I’m not there yet. Of course, I may never be there.

That said, I have an abundance of opportunity to grow and advance in the company if I so choose.  The job I have is very different from anything remotely creative, unless I am thinking outside the box, trouble shooting, or problem solving. But I love doing that, too. It makes me utilize a part of my brain I wouldn't normally if I was just writing. It's a technical job, working with systems, numbers, and investigating details. It makes me appreciate when I can let my imagination loose even more. And I guess that's a solid lead to my next priority.  

  1. My Novel, Lucidity
This right here is my baby, my pride and joy. When I wake up in the morning, it's so that another word of it can be written down. Truly, it ranks up there with The Day Job. Actually, emotionally and mentally, it surpasses it. The only reason it falls a smidgen short on this list is because so far it offers me little financial security. (A lady needs to pay her bills!)

But I get so much more from it. Creating brings me joy and happiness. I feel fulfilled when I bring characters and worlds into existence. Nothing else makes me feel like I have purpose like writing does. I'm sure many writers can relate.

I've worked on Lucidity for the last two years. I started it back in high school, but didn't have the fortitude to finish. I lost the original version of it ages ago and decided to begin anew, which was for the better. Now I can say I've matured enough to not only stick through the thick and thin of the writing process, but I also can bring depth to the story. I ... ah ... know it didn't have nearly as much before.  I will certainly get into details on my novel later, but at present, all I will share for the sake of this post is that my goal is to finish the first draft by October 31st. It will be attained. If not, at this point, someone can feel free to flog me.

  1. Getting Ripped
I am a firm believer in "healthy body, healthy mind." I want to get in better shape not only for the sake of my physical health, but because a writer needs to get their mind working, too! All that blood pumping through your system gets everything moving. An active lifestyle can balance out hormones and neurological systems. That leads to a happy brain with more energy and less stress. BROSCIENCE! (But it's pretty legit.)

Also, when I work out and the tunes are ensuring I'll need a hearing aid in my later years, my imagination soars. I can brainstorm epic scenes, I can hear dialogue I couldn't find the words for, and so much more. Well, at least when I'm doing cardio. When I'm doing weights I'm watching that form in the mirror, son! Awwww yeah!

  1. The Work Newsletter
I work with a group of creative folks on the newsletter. I thoroughly enjoy writing articles because my job, as I've stated before, doesn't really give me the opportunity to express myself. Not in a way I'd prefer, at least. So this is a great way to share what I honestly love doing with my team.

In the future, I'm going to share my articles on this blog. A lot of my articles are Edmonton event-related, but some aren't. For example, not only will I have an October in the City of Champions (Edmonton is actually called that. The City of Champions. It's on a sign as you drive into the city. Proof enough, right?) piece up, but one on The Origins of Halloween, as well. So, some content will be a crapshoot, but a well-written one!

  1. The Scribe’s Society
A few months ago I started the Scribe's Society. It's a writer's group. Not a covert neo-Nazi group. (I just really liked the alliteration.)

I have a group of friends interested in writing, but with the exception of one person, they weren't part of a writing guild. So, considering the fact we were sharing our writing with each other anyways, I founded the group.

We meet weekly, partaking in many writing challenges and exercises. I intend to share some examples of challenges I've completed on this blog, too. For now though, that's all I'll say, because the Society deserves a standalone post dedicated to its awesomeness.

  1. Let’s Plays with Walking Casino
If you've seen my previous blog posts, you've potentially clicked on a video. For better or worse, you've come to listen to the deep manliness of WC and the nerdy girlishness of myself. (I am amazed at how non-threatening I sound when I curse.)

He's been a friend of mine for ages and we used to play videogames all the time. Now I don't get to play as often. This is a great way to not only hang out with a great buddy, but to also just unwind, have fun, and in general be silly.

I find my writing shows the side of me that's more refined, polished. Mature, even. And while those are elements of myself, that's not always me when I'm relaxed or casual.  I find it's another way to get to know me better. That's even the point of me writing this tome right here!

During the Let's Plays there'll be plenty of commentary where you'll learn about me and/or endure my silliness. Or inappropriateness. However you want to label it. Feel free to comment on the videos! Even though it's his channel, I can respond to you, too! Also, in the future WC will be doing reads of my stories and posting them on YouTube, so he'll provide some complementary material!  And who doesn't love complements?! I BET YOU CAUGHT THE PUN I WAS MAKING, DIDN'T YOU?!
Even though I have this list, that's not all. Besides chores, cooking, sleeping, so on and so forth, I now have this blog. That ties into something much bigger - building a platform. It's also a way for me to connect with other writers. There are so many talented people I've come across who have blogs. I want to read them all! But dammit, I need time! Trust me, I'm going to make it.
That's the true trick with juggling, isn't it?
Timing. Practice.
I do my best to manage my time and tackle projects with discipline.
When it comes to writing, I throw the concept of waiting for inspiration out the window. It’s great when you feel that creative surge flow through you, but let’s face it – it’s fickle. Personally, my muse gets going after I fight to get words down for an hour or more. I have to prove my dedication to her before she slips inside my hands. Then I become story as much as she does.
I wish I had something fancy or clever to say for all of those other things, but I don't. Keeping up with any schedule or set of obligations requires discipline. It's not very glamorous. There isn't an ounce of whimsy. Practice, practice, practice ... until it's reflex. Until you don't flinch. Until it's second nature.
I'd like to say I'm that perfect, but I get tired. I can't always keep up with my schedule. I don't beat myself up about it when I do, though. I keep my resolve. Then look at ways to improve my methods, to improve my routine.
That way, I won't get balls to the face.
... At least, ones I don't want.
Thanks for reading!


Thursday, 11 September 2014

It Begins!

At long last, a writing blog!

Seems like it has taken me forever to finally set myself up with one of these. Speaking of which, I’d like to thank a couple people for the proverbial kick in the pants. One would be the too-charming-for-his-own-good Roger Jackson, and the other would be WalkingCasino, an entity in a league of his own.

You have helped me make the decision to unleash my blight upon the literary world, gentlemen. Well, at least via blog. The idea for novels and short stories came from my fevered mind ages ago.

So, I figured I should make my first post a little about myself to make this an easier process for online stalkers.


Writing is a passion I’ve had for as long as I can remember. As a child, it was determined that I had a wild imagination, and once I started going to school, a knack with words. I fell in love with books at an early age, and later on, movies.  B and horror movies to be exact. And if by some unholy matrimony the two joined forces then I was in heaven.  

Sure, I grew up watching X-Men, Batman, Spiderman, The Tick, and various anime, but the horror movies always stuck out for me the most. Maybe because my mother felt inclined to show me The Exorcist in Grade 3. (She, ah, found it amusing.)

Since then I’ve been immersed in the spiritual, supernatural, and fantastical. Horror and urban fantasy are genres I love to write. Epic battles between good and evil out on the streets does it for me. I adore the feeling of larger than life scenarios becoming tangible, embedding themselves in our reality. Mix esoteric grittiness into a world ever-changing with technology and you get a combination that gets my brain going.

On that subject, I have been working on a YA urban fantasy novel for the last two years. At this point I am a few chapters away from finishing the first draft. I also have horror short stories on the go at all times. Some are completed and some are works in progress.  I am currently unpublished; however, my goal is to change that in the near future.

And this gets me to the point of my blog. This is to share my writing journey. Not only will it feature my updates on my projects, but also information on the writing and publishing process.

I want to stay driven, focused, and determined when it comes to my writing goals. Besides my personal WIPs, I’m juggling a full time job, articles for the work newsletter, facilitating my writer’s group weekly meetings, and training to become an Amazon. So, I hope this will be a great way to keep me motivated and constantly learning about my craft. Not only that, but I’d love to network and get to know anyone who visits my blog!