Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sorting through the Chaos

          "One hates an author that's all author."

          And yet...   And yet, in the face of such wisdom, this is what I strive to be.
          I've been having some indecisiveness lately over whether I want to be a writer any more.  So I took yesterday off.  Just, off.  There are a number of things I do regularly on Saturday.  I most generally write at least one review on, as well as promoting my group, the Punk Fiction Library.  I also post links to the most recently active of my friends' blogs and pages on a daily basis, and I also routinely share a few items on Facebook, and comment on at least a half-dozen posts, and often many more.  Yesterday I did none of those things, and as nearly as I can tell, nobody even noticed!  For a certainty, no one commented.
          But the reality of it came home to me in the wee hours of this morning.  I couldn't get to sleep last night.  I tried.  I laid in bed for an hour and studied the ceiling, the night light, and listened to the little owl that lives outside my window, and I finally gave it up.  Taking my own advice that I give when this happens to my wife, I got up to make use of the time.  Sitting down with no clear plan of what to do, I found myself working on Stingaree.  It flowed so naturally that I actually invented (well, for myself, at least) a new way of outlining that gives me much more flexibility than my old notebook method.  But that's neither here nor there; the point is that I want to write.
          I've been thinking about this turn of affairs, and what I've come to believe is that what I don't want to do is all those things I've obligated myself to over months and years, one little thing here, another little thing there, until all those little drops have added up to a sea.  A sea of groups, forums, and social media that consume my writing time.  I wake up early now that I'm retired.  Don't know why.  Maybe it's because there's nothing to dread after I wake, I don't know, but I have the house to myself for two-to-three hours when I first get up, and that is time that I want to write.
          But I have these other demands.  I established a Facebook group, the Punk Fiction Authors Guild.  It exists to help all its members, 25 right now, down from 31, and this means reposting their promotional material everywhere I frequent.  Time off of my three hours.  My daily scouring of friends' pages, then copying and pasting the links on  More time.  Reviewing.  Promoting and maintaining The Punk Fiction Library and Twenty-Five Words or Less.  All time deducted from that immutable three hours.  This blog.  Riding the Blimp, my blog.  Who knows what I'm forgetting in my sleep-deprived state?
          The point is that I have dug a crater with a teaspoon, and now I can barely see over the edge.  The next thing I have to do in my writing life is to decide whether I'm going to be a writer, or a social media gadfly, posting, commenting, and pontificating on what it's like to be the writer that I'm not any more.  I guess you can tell from the tone which way I'm going to go, so let me stipulate what you will and will not be seeing going forward.
          First of all, I will maintain everything I've started to benefit others.  This specifically means the two groups and the forum that were mentioned above.  I will maintain them.  Don't look for me to be hanging out there every day, and commenting on everything that passes the gate.  That isn't likely to continue.  Reviewing and critiquing the work of others helps me keep my own style in focus, so I will continue to perform all my reviews on the weekends.  There is one friend for whom I have agreed to critique her entries for a contest that is testing her skills over the next twelve weeks: I'm in.  When I give my word, I keep it.  Riding the Blimp will continue to appear each Monday, as preparing that helps me examine my Craft and I believe makes me a better writer.  This blog I will continue to service when I think I have something to say, as I have done here.
          And that's it!  Don't expect to see me all over Facebook or any of the other social media sites on a daily basis.  I'll check out the things I started, and if they're running smoothly, I'll be moving on.  What you will get in return is better, and more writing from me on such projects as Stingaree, The Darklighters, and The Nexus Chronicles.  They will be offered up on for everyone's entertainment and opinions, and I hope you offer up those comments, because feedback makes you better at everything, and that includes writing.
          And on that note, I'm going to start my day, probably with a several-hour nap.  Some of the grandkids will be over today, and I'll be engaging with them when I get up, so probably the next thing you see from me will be my Riding the Blimp blog on  I'll put up a link when that's done, and Tuesday I'll be launching back into Stingaree; that's been under construction for far too long!
          Until we meet again, play nice, watch out for one another, and above all else, get out there and live life like you mean it!

~   Jack


  1. I understand. It gets exhausting, and then, writing done amounts to zero. Do what you love, brother. Either way, know I'm here if you need me as I know you're always there for me.

  2. I hear you, Jack. I've been trying to evaluate what is benefitting me the most out of all the things I do. I love the writing community and the interaction, but I can become consumed with trying to read every blog, comment on every tweet, etc., to the point where I'm networking more than focusing on people. My business will survive if I'm out there on a regular basis and making human contact, and making myself crazy with trying to connect is not going to gain me one manuscript. I'm glad you're figuring out what you want to do and streamlining it. I know my blog writing flows much easier when I just sit down to "get what's in my head out of my head." That said, I'm headed to Facebook to friend you so I get to see what writing tips you put out there.

    1. Ah, two of my favorite friends. I'm glad you guys "get it." Both your opinions matter for somewhat different reasons, and I'm glad to have them. You don't notice sometimes how taking on "one little job" adds to all the other little things to make a giant iceberg that can really sink your ship.

      I really like you, Lynda, and will value your Facebook friendship, but if you specifically want to see my writing tips, visit - That's where I really get wordy!

      Thanks for stopping by; I love to hear from you both.

  3. Balance of course. But the truth is it's probably an ever vassilating rollercoaster of creating new content and promoting it and then... Naturally wanting to avoid both. Vacation days are perfectly healthy. Keep up the good work! But no pressure, just enjoy it!

    -C William Perkins

    1. Mr. P., I'm so glad to see you here! Thanks for stopping by. You are quite right, none of us feels the same every day, and there are always ups and downs, but mine have always been extreme. At the peak of my "up" cycles, I can convince myself that if I can just find the right adjective for this sentence, I'll be the next big celebrity author; three weeks from there, I'll be feeling like a mime performing South Park before an audience that expected to see the Royal Shakespeare Company persent Othello. But my point here is the amount of time I squander doing things that don't put words on the page, good or ill. I must correct that, and steps are being taken. We'll know in a couple of weeks how effective they are...

      Don't be a stranger!

  4. Jack, stop putting so much pressure on yourself, just do whatever works for you and your true friends will understand and appreciate it. If all you want to do is write, then do that, I expect that your other friends will check in when they have a chance to see how you're doing like I do.

    As you said, revising over three hundred thousand words and sixty chapters spread over the three books of the Daemon series is certainly taking up all MY time. ;^)

    Anyway, as always, look after yourself and do what makes YOU happy, your friends will be here waiting for you.

    1. Thank you, Neale; I seem to have better friends than I deserve. I do this stuff because I don't want to just stop without notice, and leave everyone wondering if I'm all right, or if they've done something to piss me off. Just my way of saying everything's fine, just a little different...

      Good to hear from you, as always. I did manage to get a scene of Stingaree done today. Best of luck with your rewrite!

      ~ Jack

  5. I call the daily stuff my walk through the Internet Village. It takes too much time, but it is time in which I can't kick my brain on for love or money, and I like chatting, so not a big problem.

    Or so I tell myself.

    Haven't tried not to for one simple reason: it is a decision, and I can't make decisions until the brain is on, and by the time it's on (if it comes on that day) I can usually head over to the writing with no problem.

    I like my online friends - they keep me sane.