duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"The problem is . . . how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.

"What is the answer? There is no easy answer, no complete answer. I have only clues, shells from the sea. The bare beauty of the channelled whelk tells me that one answer, and perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some of the distractions. But how? Total retirement is not possible. I cannot shed my responsibilities. I cannot permanently inhabit a desert island. I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat, perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life."

--Anne Morrow Lindbergh: "Gift from the Sea."


(I wrote this post last weekend but didn't post it then because of the tragedy in Charlottesville.)


What I've been up to )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"Brain: Look at this plot twist I just came up with! It's so great!

"Me: It's unsolvable.

"Brain: That's what makes it GREAT!

"Me: You do realize that, as the author, I have to solve it?

"Brain: SO GREAT!"

--Stephanie Leary.


What I've been up to )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"More than anything else, I think writing is just a lot of fun. It's a great way to revisit that rollicking, playful space where we spent our days in as kids. Back then, making up stories was our chief occupation. Give a seven-year-old a blank piece of paper and a marker, they're good for hours. There are a lot of adventures and people and animals and kingdoms and trucks and battles and princesses in a piece of paper.

"Somewhere around adolescence, though, most of us stop visiting those imaginary worlds. We get self-conscious. We see that other kids are much better writers or artists than we are, so we cede that creative space to them. And they in turn cede it to others who are better still. The blank page stops being an invitation and becomes intimidating.

"But the impulse to create and make and dream is still with us. It doesn't go away. It just waits, patiently, for us to find a way back to it again. For some adults, it happens through art classes or music lessons. For me, it was through NaNoWriMo. However you get back there, it just feels pretty incredible when you arrive."

--Chris Baty.


What I did this week )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (apprentice)
"In April 1870, a twenty-eight-year-old [William] James made a cautionary note to himself in his diary. 'Recollect,' he wrote, 'that only when habits of order are formed can we advance to really interesting fields of action - and consequently accumulate grain on grain of wilful choice like a very miser - never forgetting how one link dropped undoes an indefinite number.' The importance of forming such 'habits of order' later became one of James's great subjects as a psychologist. In one of the lectures he delivered to teachers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1892 - and eventually incorporated into his book Psychology: A Briefer Course - James argued that the 'great thing' in education is to 'make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.'

The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.


"James was writing from personal experience - the hypothetical sufferer is, in fact, a thinly disguised description of himself. For James kept no regular schedule, was chronically indecisive, and lived a disorderly, unsettled life. As Robert D. Richardson wrote in his 2006 biography, 'James on habit, then, is not the smug advice of some martinet, but the too-late-learned too-little-self-knowing, pathetically earnest, hard-won crumbs of practical advice offered by a man who really had no habits - or who lacked the habits he most needed, having only the habit of having no habits - and whose life was itself a "buzzing blooming confusion" that was never really under control.'"

--Mason Currey: Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work. (Alternative subtitle: How Artists Work.]


Writing )
Everything else )
Reading )
Finances )
duskpeterson: (winter sled)
"Until the Web came around, I'd successfully avoided the addiction gauntlet. I'd steered clear of any trouble with gambling, booze, drugs, and porn. To be blindsided by the Internet (my helpful and wonderful friend!) doesn't seem fair."

--James Sturm: Life Without the Web.


Health )
Writing & publishing )
Day job & web addiction )
Homemaking & decluttering )
duskpeterson: (autumn acorn)
My foot surgery went fine, but there've been a couple of minor complications since then that have delayed my recovery. Except for meals and bathroom breaks, I've been spending my days in bed, with my legs propped up, ice on my foot, and my smartphone in hand. Digital technology makes even lengthy convalescence bearable.

I'd like to report that I've taken this opportunity to write lots of stories with the aid of my Bluetooth keyboard, but the combination of the World Series (I'm a Cubs fan, having been born near Chicago), the presidential election, and the increasingly pressing need to launch my new business soon have all kept me distracted. Also, Twitter. I did write a couple of short stories, though.

I hope the rest of you are having a more fruitful NaNoWriMo. Any tales to share of your writing life?
duskpeterson: (autumn acorn)
"I used to take vacations from writing. You know, it's healthy to take breaks, to breathe different air, to gain a new perspective. I'd finish a novella and not write for three months. Really! I'd do that deliberately and not because of the dreaded Writer's Block. (I feel really uncomfortable even typing that. Nice muse. Good muse. The Muse is My Friend.) Now, the thought of three months without trying to write makes me shudder. I. Wouldn't. Know. What. To. Do. With. Myself."

--Intervention Needed?, a post by Jenna Hilary Sinclair on writing addiction.


The day )
duskpeterson: (autumn acorn)
"Even Socrates, who lived a very frugal and simple life, loved to go to the market. When his students asked about this, he replied, 'I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.'"

--Jack Kornfield: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.


About the fast )
General rules )
Books & periodicals (print and digital, including online fiction) )
Internet )
Audio & video )
Games )
Food )
Pharmacy & medical )
Supplies )
Day job )
Writing )
Gifts & charity )
Transportation )
Out-of-home entertainment )

That's the full list of my rules for the fast. If any of you have placed limits on your own acquiring, I'd love to learn from your experiences.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"I'm not reading slash for intellectual stimulation! I want my escapism and I want it to be grammatically correct, damnit!"

--Augusta Columbine.


Homemaking )
Writing )
Reading and viewing )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more."

--Jon Kabat-Zin: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life.


Writing )
Reading )
Mentoring (i.e. Jo/e's surgery) )
Homemaking )
Web addiction )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
Thanks to my new job, I'm going to be online more often, so I'm switching to weekly, more bite-sized Daily Life entries.


What I wrote this past week )
What I read this past week )
What I did this past week )
duskpeterson: (summer night shells)
The full messiness )

Since somebody (I suspect it's my body, in conspiracy with my online laptop) has decided I'm not going to issue any stories this summer, I'm spending this summer writing stories instead. (Yes, despite the cubital tunnel syndrome.) Expect to see my next update in the fall. It'll be a good one, I promise.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"If quitting Twitter and ditching the iPhone was relatively easy, Facebook made it as hard as possible, tugging on all the virtual heartstrings they could dredge up from their data. Having selected 'deactivate account' from my settings, I was faced with a gallery of family and friends who I was told would miss me. Fortunately, as someone had tagged the contents of a barbecue grill with my friends' names, this was less of an emotional strain than was intended ('Andrew will miss you,' pleaded a photo of a forlorn and slightly singed chicken drumstick)."

--Mark Hooper: Back to reality: giving up the Internet.



My professional work last month )
Thoughts on the state of my writing and publishing )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"There was an odd kind of mood lift that came with privation. . . . It was something seen during long, long nights of corporate projects where no one slept and where eating was done from half cold takeaways while you worked. Sometimes the cheer was called 'punch drunk', but it was as if people began to concentrate on anything that in a seriously uncomfortable situation gave them any kind of comfort, particularly the most primal things. The intense sensory pleasure of hot coffee and the sweetness of donuts, which on an ordinary day you'd eat without noticing. A kind of pride and celebration that said this was a hell of a night, but we got through it. Dale knew the feeling too from his experience of being what Flynn and the others called grounded. When your day was severely simplified and restricted, you began to notice and take real pleasure from anything good, from the smallest of privileges that usually you'd barely notice. The human spirit, in circumstances of hardship fought back, and a little rough living cleared both your head and your senses."

--Rolf and Ranger: Silver Bullet - Ranch.


My professional work last month )
Teasers from e-books I've published during the past week )
A writing day in my life )
duskpeterson: Advent wreath (Advent wreath)
"The other advice [for how to be a successful indie author] isn't anywhere near as sexy. It's also the most obvious. Write. And then write some more. You know what's easier than selling 10,000 books? Selling 5,000 copies of two books. And far easier than that is to sell 3,500 copies of three books."

--David Dalglish.


My professional work last month )
My professional goals for 2016 )
A small sample of what my November was like )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"Day after day, do your work as if you were in business. Handle the customers that come in with dispatch and courtesy. Then think up some work for yourself to do. And do it.

"The [works] you write are your inventory. . . . Back in my fledgling days, I compared myself to a man who had opened a new five-and-ten-cent store. I thought of what he must keep in mind, as he put his inventory on the shelf and waited for customers. No matter how few customers came in to buy, at first, each one was a prospect, each one could buy something, if the commodity was right, if the price was right, and if the need was right. . . .

"Every time I was disappointed [by sales], I thought of the young fellow who opened the five-and-dime store, and how disappointed he must have been whenever people walked through, looked over his inventory, and then ambled on, not even trying to shoplift any of it! . . .

"Fortunately, worrying about theft of material is not a frequent part of the writer's management task. The important, and essential, part of his management job is to keep himself writing."

--Larston D. Farrar: How to Make $18,000 a Year Free-lance Writing (1957).


My professional work last month )
Timelines and characters' ages )
Publishing decisions: subgenre labels and publication frequency )
A visit to North East, Maryland, in Cecil County )
Scheduling decluttering )
duskpeterson: (autumn acorn)
"So, yeah, I'm thinking fanfic is a younger person's game - it's for people who can scan their Twitter, scroll through their Tumblr, bash out a Facebook status without looking, take a quick gander at their RSS feed, do an LJ update crossposted to their Dreamjournal, edit a fanvid and watch the next ep/installment of fill-in-the-blank before it airs anywhere, while doing whatever they do for a living and having a life. All at the same time."

--Heartofslash.


My professional work last month )
Series bible )
Covers and props; or, The Trouble with Trivets )
The final total after three months of decluttering books )
A book that passed my test for 'Gosh, I Must Buy This *Now*' )
duskpeterson: (autumn acorn)
"The thing about reading fanfic (and original slash fic) is that you get used to that particular writing/reading culture after a while. You get used to the frank discussions of sexuality and kink, the close attention to diversity and social justice issues in the text, the unrestrained creativity when it comes to plot. The most amazing, creative, engaging stories I've ever read have almost all been fanfiction, and I think part of that is because there’s no limitations placed on the authors. They’re writing purely out of joy and love for the world and its characters, with no concerns about selling the finished product. The only limit is their imagination.

"Next to that, most mainstream fiction starts tasting like Wonder Bread, you know?"

--Cordelia Kingsbridge.


My professional work last month )
A few factoids about my latest Eternal Dungeon novel, 'Checkmate' )
Posting online fic again! Man, that feels good )
Prop-shopping at antique stores )
My decluttering of books last month )
My web addiction last month )
My family and leisure time last month )
A banner month for good reading )
duskpeterson: (summer night shells)
"This morning four boxes containing not quite all of my worldly possessions arrived at my doorstep. Less than two months via cargo ship is not too bad. The funny thing is that I'd almost forgotten what was in them. There were some things that I was very happy to see (my Icelandic novels, a sweatshirt, a pair of light pyjama bottoms, the tin containing my spare buttons) and other things that only made me think 'huh, why did I ship that across the Atlantic?' There's a strong argument for donating anything that you're not thrilled to see after two months living out of a suitcase."

--Naraht.


My professional work last month )
On foreshadows in stories )
Researching African-American slavery; or, How I get ideas for historical stories )
My web addiction last month )
My decluttering last month )
My family and leisure time last month )
Replies to Musicman and Twicet )
Chronological order of the Toughs stories (slightly corrected), along with some dates of birth for my characters )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"She will still talk to people, but it will be in a withdrawn way."

--A priest discussing a new Scottish hermit, as quoted by The Press and Journal.


My professional work last month )
On 'The Eternal Dungeon' )
Writing in the fresh outdoors, research trips, and a rant about heavy furniture) )
Professional trips (mainly Waterman research) and personal trips last month )
Getting a handle on my introversion )
The inauspicious anniversary of my web addiction )

REPLY TO BLOG COMMENTS

As some of you will have noticed, I've been a little backed up in responding to comments to this blog. Unfortunately, I lost all my e-mails prior to April 2014 (yes, that's how backed up I am), but here's my replies to the rest. I hope I didn't miss anyone - if I did, let me know.


Reply to Catana on e-book covers and productivity )
Reply to Dianna Kay on my e-books and the m/m readership )
Reply to Musicman on narratives )
Reply to Angie Fiedler Sutton on Scribe Mozell )

August 2017

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