Don't Get Sloppy

I was in Fort Lauderdale last weekend, officiating Beach Brawl 2014 (and yes, I'll write a post explaining roller derby, given the number of times it's been requested), and I left my Flash drive in the business center of the hotel. I don't really use it anymore. Once upon a time, Dropbox wasn't as useful as it is now, and you couldn't sync across multiple desktops with simple internet access. You had to go to a web location, upload stuff, and blah blah. It was the same as a Flash drive except less convenient.

So back in the day, I kept EVERYTHING on that Flash drive. And while it doesn't include the most recent draft of my most recent novel, it has everything as of the completion of FAMILY JEWELS. Why? Because Dropbox could get hacked. Accidents happen. It's always good to have a backup of your backups (and I update my external hard drive even less frequently than I do my Flash drive).

This all sounds like sage advice, so what makes this post-worthy? Well, when I first started saving things on my Flash drive, there was no such thing as Kindle Direct Publishing. There was no black market of plagiarized novels self-published to reap what few sales they can from the ill-gotten work of others. Now, if I lose my Flash drive, EVERYTHING on that drive (which is EVERYTHING) could be posted to KDP by a nefarious neerdowell, tarnishing my reputation and stealing my work. While none of those novels have been published, some of them have strong prospects for future revision (Triad Society anyone?). Those prospects are dashed if someone steals them off a lost Flash drive and throws them up on the internet in their current form.

This is NOT to tell you to ditch the Flash drive, but it IS to suggest that you lock any folder that contains your writing. Sure it adds a step for when you want to access it, but adding password encryption means that if you leave your Flash drive in a business center, you don't have to panic and wait to see your first novel from five years ago suddenly shitting all over KDP.

Lesson learned. :)

Getting One's Head in the Right Spot

Some people are reserved. Some people are not. Some people are in between. Me, I like being the center of attention. I often say I am a misanthrope because if I'm injected into a social situation where I am not the center of attention, I tend to remove myself. But if eyes are on me, boy do I love to be at the center. Mmm, mmm, mmm. :)

Along those lines, I am thus not one who keeps things reserved. Bottling up never lasts long and I just need to get things out so I can keep moving. Being ill for a couple weeks sucks. Being ill while one's wife is on a business trip sucks more. I think I subsisted on corn Chex, chicken strips, and cough drops. It also left me a lot of time to dwell in my own thoughts. When my brain is too taxed fighting germs that I cannot even muster the energy to write, mustering the strength to persevere is equally impossible. It's easy to get in a self-defeatist frame of mind when one is sick.

But hey, I'm not sick any more! Well, my cough hasn't gone away, but otherwise I'm better. I'm writing again, and writing things that don't suck. And I'm hopeful for the future again. I still have all the same insecurities I had a few days ago, but I have the wherewithal to look past those to my next manuscript.

Keep that in mind. It's okay to have fears. It's even okay to talk about your fears (but don't do it too often). In the end, if you're going to make it, you move past all that. Otherwise you're defeated before you even begin.

Cheers to you, friends. Thanks for letting me vent.

No Really, I am thankful

I don't have a lot of regular readers, but those of you that stop in, I really enjoy talking with you (both here and on Twitter). It's been fun, and I look forward to more fun in the future. I hope you'll be there for the ride.

And for all you new people, hiya. Here's our corner. Stay awhile if you like.

Mmmm, sap. But it's too late in the year to make good New Hampshire syrup. What should we do with all this sweet? Balance it out, would be the Hindu custom. (I need to dig up the article, but there's some awesome stuff about how all four flavor types need to balance for a healthy life.)

I've been thinking, lately, I'm kind of scared. I never really got into drugs or heavy drinking, but I had my own vices and really went off the rails for a decade or so. It took a lot of discipline to get my shit together so that I could work a steady job, draw a steady salary, living with a roof over my head, and write a novel from start to finish. But sometimes I worry that the discipline chokes out my voice. Or at least the voice I'm accustomed too (veterans here have seen it when a post just builds up steam and then we just go balls to the wall like the train in Back to the Future 3 after the red log ignites and the whole thing goes over a cliff...which is typically what happens to me as well :). There was a beautiful fury in my writing once, and now it's sharp and precise. It's like a broadsword versus a razor. I always got better reader response from the broadsword, but never finished anything. Ever. I never finished anything more than a few thousand words.

And of course, it took a particular lifestyle to write like that, one I would never want to return to. For as many awesome stories as I have to tell from my twenties, there are a LOT of things I wish I had a second chance on.

So, add this to the new ways a writer can be neurotic about whether or not they have talent. Did I have more talent before? I have I lost my talent?

I don't know. But at least there's pie.