Jackpot

Bloggity blog blog time.

Man, these classes I am taking are a lot more time consuming than I thought they’d be. Here I thought I was going to be taking some easy A’s, you know? Just something that would let me bank some G.I. Bill money and have time to scribble down some words for a book. Instead, I end up spending hours trying to hammer out fake proposals for an IT business that doesn’t exist and having zero time to work on fiction writing.

Somebody call the Wahhhhmbulance.

All whining aside, I did recently get a great idea for a story that I am going to work on tonight. I guess I should be thankful that even when I’m not writing as much as I would like to, I still think up a decent amount of ideas for short fiction. Plus, I still have the next installment of this novel series figured out so it’s not like I am totally stagnating.

Speaking of a writing idea, I have had an interesting experience lately talking with my wife about writing. She is enrolled in two writing classes right now and one of the things she keeps coming up against is lack of ideas that turn into anything worth writing. Man, can I empathize with that! I have a folder on my computer that is jammed with “dead” stories — tales that began as something that seemed pretty cool but went absolutely nowhere. Now in her writing classes she’d been getting a whole lot of experience with just this sort of thing.

Talking to her about it made me think about how much of my writing turns out to be crap and how frustrating it can be. I’ll start a story, hammer away at it for a while, and then find it has died somewhere between my brain and my fingertips. It’s times like those that make me want to slam the laptop shut and give up writing. Reruns of Law & Order on Netflix never seem so appealing as they do right then.

The thing is, experience has taught me that this is just another part of writing. In some ways writing it’s analogous to a slot machine that I’ve plunking quarters into for a while. There’s something about the way I drop in the coin, or how hard I pull down the arm that’s going to make the dough start plopping out. For me, every coin I put in is like my time. Whenever I write I’m choosing to spend a little bit of my finite life in the pursuit of that jackpot. I know that I can hit the jackpot because I’ve done it before, but I’m not entirely sure when it’s going to happen next. The one thing I know for sure though is that the moment I give up is the moment I have decided that I am not going to be a writer. And me, I really want to be a writer.

Hopefully the whole “slot machine” analogy made some sense to someone. If not, oh well. I’ve got to get going, but I am going to work on something new that’s been bouncing around in my head the past few days.

Time to drop the quarter in and see if I can get the thing to pay out.

Since We Last Spoke

So it’s official: I’m the worst blogger ever. Honestly, my stomach twists every time I think of someone following a link to my blog and finding nothing but a few entries from forever ago. But please, don’t judge me yet. I have a good excuse! Well, an okay excuse. All right, a more or less lame excuse, but it’s the only one I’ve got: I’ve been really busy.

“Yeah, yeah,” you say. “You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy. What’s that got to do with anything?”

In my case, it’s a really valid excuse — or at least I think so. Let me lay out some of what’s been going on lately.

First of all, I’m super stoked to say that I finished the manuscript for my very first novel at around 1:00 AM on the first of this year. That thing was a beast! I took two, maybe three days off in those 2 months and 29 days it took to write the thing. Still, good times, right? I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to have finished such a serious undertaking as writing a book. My next step is to let it sit for a while, but in a couple of weeks I am going to start hammering out the first round of revisions and rewrites — good times, part deux. For anyone that’s keeping track, that’s 120,000 words of raw writing to sift through. Whoa. That’s all I can say. Whoa.

Second order of busyness: work work work. I’ve been putting in major work at my job and at school that’s had me running around like a crazy person. Also, I’ve been thinking a lot more about what I am going to do as a career — man, the word career makes me feel so old — and as such I’ve decided to make absolutely sure that I earn good grades this quarter. Not that I haven’t pulled A’s since I’ve been back in school, but seeing as I finally have an idea of what I want to do with my life (see: When I Grow Up) I want to make sure that I don’t shoot myself in the foot with a couple of stay B’s and C’s. The career, of course, is just until I start getting those fat checks for my writing. Those folks at Putnam have probably already dropped the first check in the mail. Still waiting for that check, Putnam!

I thought that I had way more things to say about how incredibly busy I’ve been, but that’s pretty much it. Wow, that does seem lame. I feel like I should have gotten way more done these past few weeks. I guess taking time off from writing the novel has made me lazy. Big surprise there. After I finished those last keystrokes of the novel, all I wanted to do was watch re-runs of Law and Order. Oh, that and read lots and lots of books.

Actually, there is one thing that’s been on my mind a bit: all the recent unpleasantness surrounding politics. On January 18th you might have noticed that some really big websites went dark in protest of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) — the two bills that are threatening to put gigantic restrictions on the interwebs. For those of you in a tl;dr sort of mood, PIPA and SOPA are really really bad for the internet, and by “bad” I mean “one of the worst things that could happen short of a global electromagnetic pulse like on Escape from LA starring Kurt Russel.” If you haven’t done so yet, you should definitely contact both your Senators (for PIPA), and your representative in the House (for SOPA) to tell them to vote “NO!” Another bit of political shenanigans that’s been bugging me was the whole NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that Obama signed into law not too long ago. There’s been some strange talk surrounding the limits of the government’s power to hold US citizens without trial, but I don’t really know the ins and outs of the whole law so I am going to leave it at that. The one thing I do know for sure about the law is that all the sanctions that we’re going to be imposing on Iran were all part of that same bill and they could potentially lead to very bad things happening in the Strait of Hormuz.

That’s it for now. Hopefully I can stop sucking at being a quasi-blogger and get some regularly posted stuff going. We’ll see, I guess.

Oh, I just remembered. I published another story in December entitled “Dick Cheney was Fishing for My Heart” in Wake up 253. It’s about a pissed off veteran who gets a letter asking if he’ll donate his heart to the ex-Vice President after he dies. Morbid, I know, but somewhat funny too. Comment here or hit me on Twitter — @ScottJClemons — if you want to check it out.

Peash