Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Home-Based Writer?

I usually tell people I work from home, and sure, I still spend the majority of my working hours at home, in front of my keyboard or sitting at the kitchen table with the thesaurus and the rhyming dictionary, or (not often enough these days) in front of my green screen.

But I have a family with an unpredictable schedule, which gets me out of the house even when I don't want to be. There are fun things like basketball games, but there are less fun things like dentist appointments that sometimes have me sitting somewhere with time on my hands.

That's when I appreciate technology. I'm writing this post, for example, from the waiting room of a dentist's office on my Kindle Fire 6.

Of course, writers never really stop writing; even if they are not taking pen to paper or fingers to keyboard (or index finger to virtual keyboard), everything reminds us of our current book or song, or suggests a new story altogether.

In this age of tech, though, it's easier than ever to capture and organize those ideas wherever I happen to be.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sorting Through the Bookcase

From time to time, I sift through the books on my bookshelf, mostly to free up space because I have books stacked in front of other books and flowing out onto tables and occasionally even the floor. So, in order to find the books I need and avoid tripping hazards, I weed out the ones that, if I’m honest with myself, I know I won’t read, or read again, or refer to.

And this exercise turns out to be more than weeding books; it’s weeding activities. It’s deciding on priorities, and separating mere interests from passions. Not that I have anything against broad interests, but at age 58 you start to realize that it’s important to spend more time on passions. And so books about things I’m interested in but will never learn go off to the library book sale, along with novels that don’t excite me as much as others.

I learn a lot about myself during these purges. This time around, I managed to do some organizing by subject, too. That way I could move the books I need the most to the most accessible areas. Books on writing and reference books got the top spot, right at the end of one shelf, so that I can get to them easily (although my rhyming dictionary and thesaurus, constant companions during the middle phase of my lyric writing, hardly ever make it to the shelf and spend more time at the kitchen table).

Next to them on the shelf are my books on filmmaking. Screenwriting books go with writing books, because it all starts with the story no matter what the medium, but when I finally get myself back behind a camera, I have good references on lighting and sound design that I want close at hand.

Of course, there are lots of other subjects—computers, theater, economics, science, music, art, and magic, to name a few—and my lineup of fiction that I’m going to read. But after this evening, there’s a box of books that represent subjects that I feel I just don’t have time for in my life right now.

And a clear path to the subjects I do have time for.

Friday, January 9, 2015

How Did That Happen?

Somehow, 2015 snuck up on me, tiptoed past me, and never even said "boo" on its way through. It's already nine days into this new year, and the only thing that seems to have changed is the weather in New Hampshire, which was ridiculously warm during the holidays, and suddenly tripped and fell into negative territory, like the weather equivalent of a stock market crash.

The date is, of course, arbitrary, though the western world has been celebrating our trip around the sun on January 1 for a couple of millennia. And so, though I have no particular connection to Ancient Rome (or perhaps I do; likely anyone with English ancestors has Roman ancestors as well), I go along with the crowd and rethink my life and work at this particular period of time each year.

2015 came in inauspiciously; my lovely wife had work on the first, and so we didn't even stay up to usher in the first day. And though I usually have my plans for the coming year drafted before the magic hour, a hectic holiday season, which began with a Thanksgiving devoid of electricity, pushed everything down the road a bit.

But better late than never, as the cliche goes. I may not have firmed up my plans, but I know that they include a young adult novel, first in a series; at least a dozen songs; an album of my own singing (is the world ready for that?); several short stories; and a feature-length screenplay, at least the first draft.

I'll be back doing videos some time soon, too, though I'm still figuring out what, exactly, those are going to be.

So I make it sound, at any rate, like I've got the coming year all mapped out. But it's an illusion. And it doesn't matter really what the plan is; what matters are the results.

And if you're curious about those, keep reading, follow me on Twitter, and check out the Website.

Should be an interesting ride.