Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 29-April 4, 2015

Last week’s distressing news: another terrorist attack in Kenya. BBC.

Rinelle Harper gives a voice to the missing and murdered. The Globe and Mail.

The Boston Globe revisits Fukishima. Yes. Four years later, they are still cleaning up.

Related: Can you be socially conscious and happy? Vice.

Beautiful photos of gay and lesbian couples from the early part of the last century. Distractify.

George Takei is encouraging the boycotting of Indiana. MSNBC.

Some writers, like Chuck Wendig, have cancelled conference and convention appearances. Others, like Kameron Hurley, feel that despite their personal objections to Indiana’s new law, they a) don’t have the profile to make their non-appearance meaningful or financially viable, and b) don’t want to punish their fans by failing to show. It’s an interesting discussion.

Vsauce presents, the science of awkward:

HGTV goes inside Europe’s abandoned castles and chateaus.

Stanford’s new “pathfinding” class is pretty awesome. Wish I had that option when I went to university. Fast Company.

Assign people the tasks they love, not just the one’s they’re good at. 99u.

How to take a day off. Raptitude.com.

Eight reasons a vacation makes you better at your job. LifeHack.

Most antidepressants work based on an outdated theory. i09.

A medieval manuscript includes a potion that kills antibiotic-resistant MRSA. CBC.

How good is your eyesight? ASAP Science:

Philip Ball of the BBC writes about some of the best and oddest science-inspired music he’s discovered.

It turns out Carl Sagan’s billions of billions is about right:

The BBC shares this awesome infographic timeline of the future.

Tuktoyaktuk’s reindeer migration marks 80th year. CBC.

Strange but touching: dogs gather at the funeral of a woman who fed hungry animals. The Huffington Post.

This is just a bit of fun: 17 reasons you might have been thought a witch in 1692. Mental Floss.

Lindsey Stirling’s new video for “Take Flight” is Echser-esque 🙂

Walk off the Earth’s new video, Rule the World:

And that is your edutainment for the week.

Since I’m heading to Ad Astra this weekend, there may not be a Saturday post. I’ll try, but I can’t guarantee.

The good news: convention reportage will commence soon 🙂

Thoughty Thursday

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 29-April 4, 2015

Does it serve your story? Why killing your darlings is a mark of the mature writer. Roz Morris.

K.M. Weiland asks, What are pinch points and how can they make your story easier to write?

Show what your characters are thinking and feeling like a writer, rather than a director. Katie’s Wednesday vlog.

Ruth Harris shares the ten commandments of productive professional writers.

Here we are at day 29 of Janice Hardy’s online novel revision workshop: Eliminate unnecessary repetition. Though the month is over, you can peruse this lovely series of posts for revision assistance any time you want 🙂

Donald Maass discusses emotional work on Writer Unboxed.

Editor Rachel Starr Thomson guests on C.S. Lakin’s Live, Write, Thrive and writes about weaving in backstory.

Editorial advice: Stop using two spaces after a period. Cult of Pedagogy.

Eight natural phenomena to use in your stories. Mythcreants.

Reading makes us smarter and nicer. Readers are more empathetic. Who knew? Time.

Mary Robinette Kowal played an April Fool’s joke that wasn’t really a joke. She really is going to be working on Sesame Street.

Andrew Pyper is featured in Now.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia and her novel Signal to Noise have gained some high-profile attention. i09.

Culture and conflict on Warpworld: Dr. Robert Runte discusses Canadian vs. American Science Fiction.

J.K. Rowlings’ ten pieces of advice on the lessons of failure (and the commencement speech from which they were taken). The Guardian.

Six John Green Quotes on writing. Authors Publish.

Jack Kerouac’s 31 beliefs about writing. The Write Practice.

This is beautiful and poetic and the total reason I love abandoned places:

Masie Williams will be appearing in the next series of Doctor Who! i09.

The many faces of Tatiana Maslany. The New York Times Magazine. Are you looking forward to the return of Orphan Black?

Outlander and the spanking heard around the world by John Doyle for The Globe and Mail.

Spoilers are coming: George R.R. Martin releases a chapter of the latest Song of Ice and Fire novel. Time.

It was a writerly week!

See you on Thursday 🙂

Tipsday

The next chapter: March 2015 update

Last month, I wrote about how I was reprioritizing my life because I’d made the realization that pouring all my creative energy into the day-job was not making me happy. It wasn’t getting me any closer to my goals as a writer, either.

I started March out, work-wise, by applying for my self-funded leave and putting in my vacation requests for the first two quarters of the 2015-16 fiscal (to the end of September). I started expressing my opinion (which, of course, did me no favours, professionally) and reframing my experience with the perspective my wee revelation had provided me.

A series of serendipitous learning opportunities came my way, many of them concerned with following one’s dreams, or finding one’s calling. Funny how these things happen when we really need them to.

As I write this post, I’m listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast on the Disciplined Pursuit of Less. This month’s newsletter from Katie Weiland included a piece on her “spring cleaning” of her subscriptions and social media. She was doing this to reclaim writing time from potentially wasteful or distracting electronic practices.

Having said all that, I was burned out by the time March rolled around. Last fall, when I had originally intended to take my self-funded leave but decided to defer it, I said that I was a little toasty around the edges, but that I’d probably be able to hold out until the spring.

That was before this acting consultancy.

Truthfully, I was burnt before the end of January. Part-way through February, I stopped revising Initiate of Stone and then I stopped drafting Marushka.

With IoS, I had to shift back into drafting mode to rewrite a chapter that was completely altered by my decision to remove a character from the novel. I was blocked, essentially, as I tried to write around the hole I’d decided to make in my plot. I didn’t stop writing per se, but I was having trouble finding my way out of the maze.

I made several abortive attempts to redraft the chapter in Word (which I didn’t count), but ultimately found that drafting by hand (which I also do not count) was much more effective. Once I had the chapter mapped and pieces of it written out, I was able to regain my momentum and complete the new chapter in Word.

Shifting gears with IoS meant that I didn’t have the drafting mojo going for Marushka. By looking at my spreadsheets, I can see clearly that when I stopped revising IoS, about a week later, I stopped drafting Marushka. Once I got back on track with IoS (the word counts recorded in red), again, about a week later, I was able to pick up with the drafting of Marushka again.

So, clearly, while it is possible for me to work on multiple projects at once, I definitely have to be working on them in different phases (drafting vs. revising). I’ve also realized that with the exception of the blog and some short stories, that the limit of my focus with regard to multiple novel-length projects is two.

Interestingly enough, I’m getting close to the end of drafting Marushka. I’ll be short of my 75k goal for the draft, but I’m okay with that. So far what seems to be my evolving pattern is to draft short, rewrite long, and revise/edit to goal length. Will let you know if this new piece of my process puzzle proves to be effective in the long run.

After my staggered, two-week disruptions in IoS and Marushka respectively, I got back on track for the rest of the month.

Judging for the Friends of the Merril contest continues. Originally, when I was notified that my story made the long-list, I was also advised that judging would be complete by March 31st. On March 31st, a post was released on the site indicating that deliberations continued.

I have a 25% chance of placing. The delay is a little nerve-wracking, but I’m trying to remain positive. It means I have some tough competition, but that we’re all in the same quality boat.

I also spiffed up three short stories, including the one I submitted to the FotM contest, and sent them off for consideration in the Sudbury Writers’ Guild anthology.

I’d wanted to revise my longer short story for submission to a magazine, but didn’t have the energy or focus to spare.

I did, however, submit my short story “The Broken Places,” which was published in Bastion last year, for consideration in the Imaginarium anthology. It’s a year’s best anthology put out by ChiZine Publications. It’s a long shot, but I can’t win if I don’t play 😉 So sayeth the lottery gods.

Now, at the beginning of April, and with a long weekend to enjoy, I’ve decided that I’m taking a breather. I’m still burnt, and trying to work all day and then come home and write all night is making things worse.

I have a writing sample to prepare for my workshop with Julie Czerneda and Ad Astra next weekend. So . . . I’m being evil and burning through Avatar on Netflix 🙂

This past week, I walked home from work. Once. I’m still sore. Mellie is out of shape. So I’m going to get back on track with regard to that. My goal is to walk home from work three evenings a week. It’s about five kilometres and takes about an hour. I have a number of books on Audible ready for the purpose.

There are a couple of anthologies that I’d like to write stories for in April, but I’m not sure if I’m going to manage them. My main goal is to complete this round of revision on IoS and my draft of Marushka. Anything else is gravy. Not saying that I’m purposefully disregarding these anthologies; I like gravy, but I’m also aware of my limitations, now more than ever.

Once that’s done, I’m going to shift gears again with IoS and get into query mode and I’ll then be completing my draft of Gerod and the Lions.

Those are my goals for the intermediate future.

Now to take a look at my progress for the month:

March Writing Progress

IoS Revisions (remember these are half counts, except for the new chapter in red, which were all new words): 11,901 words. Compare this with 11,851 in February, and 7,789 in January. I’m at the 50% mark of the novel.

Bloggage: 7,200 words. This has held more or less steady with 6,676 words in February and 8,432 words in January. I’m at 23% of my annual goal, which is more or less where I expected to be for March (one quarter through the year).

Drafting Marushka: 4,520 words in March; 3,859 in February; and my blow-me-away 9,462 in January. I’m at 44% of my drafting goal. I might make 60% by the time the story is finished.

Short stories: 90 words in March; 1,206 in February; and 34 in January. I’m at 27% of my goal for the year which is good.

Totals: 23,711 for March; 23,592 for February; 25,717 for January.

March Summary

So there we are.

Progress is, as ever, being made.

Now, season 3 of Avatar is calling, and Bitten this evening.

Have a lovely Easter, everyone.

See you on Tipdsay!

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 22-28, 2015

Finland scraps subjects in its curriculum. Curricula? The Independent.

Why creatives don’t succeed in traditional, 9 to 5 working environments. No surprise there 😉 The Elite Daily.

What is psychopathology? The Creativity Post.

Questions you should ask yourself before giving up. Eponis/Sinope.

Yin yoga is one of the disciplines I enjoy. Here is a yin yoga sequence from Elephant Journal.

Jupiter may have destroyed our solar system’s first planets. i09.

Here’s a giant planet with four suns in its sky. Space.com.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is interviewed by Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes.

Get more Neil deGrasse Tyson in this Business Insider post.

And even moar! NdGT on what we should explore next:

Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown of ASAP Science interviewed on the CBC’s Q.

Is the info-pocalypse nigh? BBC.

Why is myopia reaching “epidemic” levels? Nature.

The Atlantic presents amazing pictures of the European supertide.

Why dog germs might be good for us. The Huffington Post.

This is freestyle dog dance:

You’re welcome.

This lynx likes hanging out at the Terrace Bay post office. CBC.

Raise your Thoughty quotient and get on with your week.

Tomorrow’s Good Friday. Have a peaceful, reflective holiday.

See you Saturday for my Next Chapter Update.

Thoughty Thursday