C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Another Day in The Life

Things always take longer than you expect and it’s always later than you think.

My "Seven Swords" Novel Writing Nook

Image by mshea via Flickr

8:00 AM: I’m up and getting the kids off to school. Got to bed early last night, so I’m actually functioning on six-and-a-half hours of sleep. Bonus!

9:00 AM: Kids are delivered unto the local indoctrination centre and nobody’s crying including me. Success.

Coffee x 2. Research some information and loiter over an argument about the merits and sins of book and music piracy.

Autograph a book for a friend who stops by. (This is an event, but I pretend I’m casual about it. “And who should I make this out to?”)

Holy crap it’s 10:30! In my research, someone wrote a blog post on how regurgitating from elsewhere is bad. This strikes me as funny because said article was rescooped via Scoopit! and that’s how I found it in the first place. (I love Scoopit!) Still, I haven’t written an original post on here for a few days, so I fire off a blog post on the virtues that tie the martial art of Hapkido and writing. I wonder where Chang Man Yang, my old instructor is now. After he was terribly impaired in a horrific car accident, I don’t know what became of him or his family.

11:15 AM Post is done and twittered. I follow up with a couple of readers about reviewing my books.

Call Canada Revenue Agency about a tax filing. Despite my misgivings, they are surprisingly polite and cooperative.

Fire off an email to Smodcast about an upcoming ad I’m running.

Lunch. (Nine and a half hours later, I have no idea what I ate. Apparently it was inconsequential. Even to me.)

1:00 PM Revisions to The Novel. It’s going to be good, but my progress is slower than I’d like, though this would be true no matter my speed.

3:00 PM Come up for air. Tend the fire and then grab my script. I’ve already written most of this week’s podcast, so I take half an hour to record what I’ve got. I’m getting more efficient and less tongue-tied on the mic so the podcast is taking less time.

3:30 PM Get a reminder of a writing contest that I had ignored. Inspiration strikes and I grab a couple of old non-fiction pieces to meld together for the contest. It’s all fully formed in my mind so cobbling it together goes incredibly quick…except for the frustrations of getting the files from the old computer (that needs an enema) to the new computer. Also? The main printer is out of toner. Damn.

5:30 PM Contest entry is submitted. I generally don’t do contests anymore, but I’m excited about the possibilities this one presents. Next? Check email, triberr, Facebook, and Twitter. There’s very little I have to say or deal with. Amongst this, the kids and SHe Who Must Be Obeyed have returned with tales of the outside world. It sounds grim out there. I stoke the fire higher and congratulate them for their bravery in facing what, alas, I cannot.

6:30 PM: I’m told to eat. As soon as that’s done, I ask the children to clean up the skinny pig’s cage as I head off into the darkness to Future Shop to get toner cartridges.

6:50 PM: They don’t have all the toner cartridges and I definitely need black. I am instantly reminded why I hate dealing with The World: The couple ahead of me takes more time to complete their purchase than I took to get the sale through on my house. I’m told Future Shop has one black toner cartridge for me. At the other Future Shop. At the other end of the city. While waiting, I have three times picked up and put down a back up drive I’m been debating about for some time. It’s $139.00 but I decide I can’t afford not to have the insurance and ease of the back up. Maybe the slow couple ahead of me work for Future Shop and they’ve just been waiting for me to buy more before clearing the way to the cash register.

9:00 PM Finally back home. Traffic was a bitch, but I have the black toner!

9:10 PM I’m informed the skinny pig’s environs are now poopless. Excellent. If only we could all say that.

I check email. The most important email message is at once reassuring and baffling. Last week I asked BookBaby about getting an ITIN so the IRS won’t hold back 30% from my book earnings. I thought my message had been lost or ignored but it turned out I’m just an impatient dick because they’re very busy at BookBaby these days. I’m informed BookBaby doesn’t hold back any earnings and just gives me the whole nut. Really?! If it’s true, it’s great because it greatly simplifies my tax reporting. I just can’t believe it’s true nor can I divine how it could be true. I will have to confer with my accountant. (INSERT INVOLUNTARY SHUDDER HERE.) 

Bookbaby also informs me that I can easily withdraw my books from all other outlets but KDP Select if I wish, but if I change my mind later, it will be a whole new submission and I’ll be charged again for resubmitting each book to the other platforms. Hm. Okay. My plan is to go with KDP Select for all my books soon and for the long term, so fine. Not great, but fine.

9:44 PM This blog post is done. What’s next? Another chapter to revise or go to bed early tonight? And I do have books to read… Hm.

9:45 PM Decide to throw children in bed at high velocity. Must read a chapter of Eric WaltersShattered to Boy or Boy will become difficult. Will pet the skinny pig briefly and see if I can engage She Who Must Be Obeyed in a taped episode of House before returning to the screen for another go at something or other.

Projected bedtime, 1 or 2 AM, depending. (Do something fun, like writing, and it’s never really work.)

Afterthought:

The writing contest thing was an exception to my regular routine and as I write this post, it is clear to me I must spend at least twice as much time on revisions tomorrow, stopping just before my brain refuses to continue.

I need some time on the treadmill.

And absolutely zero time at Future Shop.

UPDATE: The funny thing is that, after writing today’s blog posts, I googled my old teacher. I had done this some time ago but he was nowhere to be found. The last I’d heard, he was in a terrible car accident driving home from a class with a student. I had heard he was be permanently injured. Tonight, after mentioning him in two blog posts in one day, I idly plugged his name into the search engine again. My old teacher is alive and teaching in Halifax! What a great way to end the day!

Filed under: DIY, getting it done, My fiction, What about Chazz?, , , , , , , , ,

Writing like Hapkido

My Hapkido master was Chang Man Yang. He wanted his students to integrate the lessons of the martial art into all of life. I learned a lot from him. Here’s how I integrate Hapkido into my writing life:

Hapkido students practice throws and joint man...

Image via Wikipedia

1. Discipline. Train every day. Write every day.

2. You will lose. Maybe this time, maybe next. Doesn’t matter. Keep training, keep writing.

3. You will win. Maybe this time, maybe next. Doesn’t matter. Keep training, keep writing.

4. Respect the art. Do not cheapen it by underestimating it.

5. Respect the art of others. Do not cheapen it by underestimating it.

6. Don’t show off. Fighters and writers who draw too much attention to themselves in their art, fail in their art.

7. Strike at the first opportunity. Don’t wait to solve a problem.

8. Stay flexible so one attack melds into the next. A strike becomes a throw which becomes a joint lock. An interesting fact becomes a plot point which becomes critical to solving a story problem.

9. Do not compare yourself to others in the dojang. Compare yourself to your last performance. Go for personal best each time.

10. Instead of comparing yourself to others, learn from others.

11. We bow at the end of each match. Each story has a satisfying coda.

12. You will get hurt. Don’t talk about your injuries. Recover. Come back. Continue.

13. We are a team. We help each other improve.

14. We compete, but we are friends.

15. You will feel fear. So what?

16. Sweat is good for you.

17. You will be thrown. Roll with it and let that momentum carry you back up to your feet.

18. Fighting is conflict. Writing is conflict. With the right attitude and context, conflict is fun.

19. You are a student. To be a master, you will always be a student.

20. Handle stressful situations and you will rise above your circumstance.

21. Persevere.

22. Focus. Economize your movement. Do not waste energy.

23. Use all your energy to accomplish your aim.

24. Your target is not the target. Kick and punch as if your target is behind the target. Your target is not an arbitrary word count. Completion is your target.

25. The training is the experience. The writing is the experience. Enjoy the exercise itself. Everything else is commentary.

Filed under: publishing, writing tips, , , , , , ,

25 odd things you didn’t know about me

Photograph of right posterior human distal rad...

Image via Wikipedia

1. Years ago I worked as a healer and got a woman who was nearly a quadriplegic out of a wheelchair. She recovered to the point of independence and is still walking and driving and traveling to this day. She became a healer in turn.

2. I’ve chipped two teeth, broken a toe and fractured a wrist while fighting. (The wrist belonged to someone else. It was a sparring accident.) I got much more hurt and into much more trouble preparing for violence than having to deal with it for real. I should have taken verbal judo, instead.

3. Before I was an atheist, I was a member of a fundamentalist Christian church. I lost my faith—or tossed it over my shoulder on the way out—after a couple of close friends died.

4. At one point I trained six hours a day in Hapkido. I thought I did it because I was a bad ass. Actually, I did it because I am not a bad ass. I was searching for a way to protect myself from a childhood filled with violence.

5. I didn’t have a sense of humor, or express it much, anyway, until I was 22. I learned I could make people laugh at the Banff School of Fine Arts. I had tried to be funny previously, but my family and high school and college experience repeatedly shut me down. “Who do you think you are?” they said. Once I got out of bad situations I realized the answer to that question is, “You’re uptight, I’m me. And that’s enough.”

6. I had a job from which I should have been fired. I made the boss laugh so hard every time we weren’t arguing that I kept the job until I finally left of my accord. Sadly. Shoulda gotten out of there much sooner.

7. I lost a job I did very well. The Powers that Be didn’t like questionable policies being  questioned. They assumed I did my job poorly because I was a pain in the ass. They didn’t recognize what integrity looked like. I’m better off. They’re the same.

8.  I’m still convinced someone’s watching me but I don’t believe in God. I cannot resolve this contradiction. Could be narcissism, though. This very list would seem to tip the scale that way.

9. I read ten books at one time. Minimum. Aside from enjoying my huge book collection, I browse a library is like a crack head loots a pharmacy in a riot.

10. I’m writing four books at one time, which explains why they are so slow to come to market. When they do arrive later this year, they’ll arrive in a mighty clump. Or, if you’re not into my fiction, a big dump.

11. I’ve been a best man only once, at a gay wedding. That should be an innocuous fact. Instead, since the world is the fearful place it is, it’s a fact of which I am very proud. One day soon, it will be a fact that should construe nothing more than an idle curiosity.

12. I used to be angry all the time. Now I sublimate my rage with humor. Actually, I joke around a lot. Now that I think of it, that’s still all rage.

13. I remember every slight, real or imagined, with perfect eidetic clarity. I’m still angry at dead people who insulted me when I was seven.

14. I am an extremely gifted massage therapist. My palpation skills, knowledge and execution are beyond compare. It’s not the sort of thing that gets much respect, though.

15. If I hadn’t met my wife and soul mate, there’s an excellent chance I’d be living in a refrigerator box. Or extremely depressed in a very responsible job with a couple of angry  ex-wives. Instead I’m always safe at home, hiding in my fortress of solitude.

16. One of the best, oldest friends I ever had walked away from me one day. I called and called and he never called back. At first I assumed he was injured or dead. Then I found out I was dead to him. I have suspicions, but the truth is, I really don’t know why that happened. I wish him well, wherever he is.

17.  Before kids, fear defined me. My children redefined my life (as happens to everyone, right?) Now it’s all about the love. I thought I’d work much more after the birth of my eldest. Then I held her for the first time, locked eyes and I knew I couldn’t allow anyone else to guard her. I became a house husband and stay-at-home dad permanently.

18.  I’m scared about a future with no financial security. I’m taking more risks, not fewer, to change that. Take the shot.

19. I wish my few friends lived right next door. There’s not much chance of that considering I’ve moved about twenty times in my life and have lived for extended times in three provinces, far east, far west and central.

20. I give a lot because I’m a people pleaser. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get much back. They say karma’s a bitch. I say karma’s an extremely slow bitch. Where’s my lottery win, bitch?!

21. My childhood really began when I escaped a small town childhood. They resented me for saying life would begin when I left. I was right, though. Cities are my natural environment. (Also, I was right about the algebra: Never used it, never will.) Escape is my answer again.

22. Fiction allows me to murder people in a socially acceptable way. I think about it. A lot.

23. I’m a caring and very sensitive person. I’m also selfish. I cannot resolve this contradiction for you if you are confused.

24. In my internal monologue, there’s a lot more swearing.

25. My ego’s bigger than yours. Also, my id is BIG LIKE HULK. But aside from reading that here, even if you met me in person, you would never ever know it.

I have held a human heart in my hands.

However, even if you saw open somebody’s head and peer in, no one really knows the inside of anyone else’s skull. 

 

Filed under: Unintentionally hilarious, What about Chazz?, , , , , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

You can pick this ebook up for free today at this link: http://bit.ly/TheNightMan

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