I rode to the book store on the Road King, testing the camera, which had too much wind in the audio recording. I added some music from the samples that came with the computer.
Two weeks ago I started using one Google document to keep track of blog ideas. Yes, I began journaling, though my Google doc journal looks more like a pile of notes than anything readable. There are half-formed revelations, idea snippets typed in with my phone, and cut-and-paste URL sites that I found useful.
I know balance is important, but so is completing projects and meeting goals. Work, family, and various bucket list hobbies have a way of skewing everything out of whack, meaning I neglected all of these things to finish edits on a book I have been polishing six months past my self-imposed deadline. In my defense, I took a break to complete book two in the Dragon Badge series and outline a few projects for later.
I hate the term “bucket list” by the way. My life has always been one big bucket list. My motto: Live in the Bucket.
Try this experiment. Learn to play the guitar. Count how many times people say to you, “I wish I could learn how to play the guitar.” When you reach 1,000 you can stop counting. Maybe it is just a polite thing people say to artists / writers / musicians. “I would like to write a novel / play an instrument / paint a children’s book, but I’m responsible and you’re crazy.”
“Forget all about that macho **** and learn how to play a guitar.” (John Mellencamp)
Next week, I will be more organized. (This is not a personal affirmation; this is what I am going to actually do.) Next week’s Google doc is prepared by subject and I will divide my time accordingly. Work and family get the most, whether they like it or not. Writing takes the vast majority of the rest, but the April 12th Crossfire gig must be addressed—more guitar practice please.
Most of all, I am going to spend more quality time with my family.
This week I pushed hard to complete revisions of Enemy of Man. It has been a long journey, starting with the first (and only) screenplay I wrote and then novelized. Backwards? Of Course! The original novel was 55,000 words and a lot of fun. I published on Lulu, the most recent edition being in 2006. Years later, I pulled it from Lulu and started again. Many people, friends and family enjoyed it, but I thought it need more.
I edited and revised, but after learning from the many books on writing I have studied since then, I decided on a complete re-write. I focused the plot, strengthened the characters, and wrote this book like it owed me money (in a fun way).
Now I am putting the final touches on EOM before sending it to my editor. I feel I have come a long way on this self publishing journey. Every step is fascinating and I am fairly sure the road ahead winds through magical realms (or science fiction in the case of EOM).
On a side note, my computer auto updated as I sat typing, having risen early before the family’s regular spring break reveille to complete chapter 36. Let me just click over to my thumb drive and make sure everything saved. YES! Everything saved.
I think I will now work backward from chapter 36 so that editing fatigue does not leave the first part of the book more polished than the end. Serenity Editor: go!
I drink too much Diet Coke. My philosophy has been that if drinking diet soda is really that bad for a person, I would be dead by now. A case of Diet Coke a day is not uncommon for me; less than six 12 oz cans gives me a headache and lethargy (big time). Many sources suggest that diet soda causes sweet cravings by skewing a person’s sense of what is and what is not sweet.
A few weeks ago I radically cut my diet soda intake for two days. When I returned to drinking diet soda, I realized that I was always craving chocolate and other sugary snacks. There may be something to this argument about diet soda and the sweet tooth. In the past, I recognized the plausibility of such arguments, but dismissed them as mildly annoying. Today I start drinking more water and less soda.
For my next trick, I will stop eating all the free snacks that magically show up at work. I tore up some rice crispy, chocolate, marshmallow things someone brought in.
I began this week determined to work on joint mobility and flexibility, because patrolling in a squad car for hours and going home to sit at a computer for hours does bad things to your back, knees, feet, and basically everything that bends or holds weight.
The first four days went well. After that I stared at a computer screen, reading, editing, running the Serenity Editor, and reading again. This week should be different, I have a plan and fresh determination to find balance.
ST 3-16-13 Cardio Recovery 33 min (Bare feet/ mat)
SN 3-17-13 Pure Cardio 38 min (Bare feet/ mat)
M 3-18-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit 42 min (Bare feet/ mat)
T 3-19-13 Rest Rest
NOTE: I really feel like I have accomplished something at the end of each workout. #Increased #confidence
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu took a back seat to writing again this week, but I made time to study instructional videos (Roy Dean Blue Belt Requirements) and watched some MMA on television.
Why is earning a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu such a big deal?
The standards are high in most BJJ schools. A practitioner must actually be able to make the techniques work to advance in rank. Competition is part of the evaluation process, but a good instructor makes day to day assessments of students and guides them toward solutions. Winning a match, even a big match, is not the only way to earn the next belt up, but it helps.
Time on the mat counts. Most schools I have visited suggest that a blue belt takes one hour of class time, three times a week, for a year to earn a blue belt. That is roughly 150 hours of hands on practice. Many other martial arts will give you a black belt and allow you to start your own school in the same amount of time.
BJJ is also an excellent self defense tool, the advantage being the ability to restrain an individual without hurting them more than is reasonable necessary. Striking and weapons are martial arts skills needed in a life and death fight, and you must always be ready to mix it up, but many confrontations can be handled on a lower level, i.e. holding an aggressive individual down until authorities arrive.
Since I am currently unable to make it to the gym, I have unpacked my copy of Jiu-Jitsu University bySaulo Ribeiro. I have several of Ribeiro’s videos also.
This week: more drills, videos, and books.
Many people have told me they could not sign up to follow my blog at www.Scottmoonwriter.com even though I have an RSS feed widget in the blog. One of my newest tweeps, @KL_Toth , did some research and found a Weebly email subscription help link for my problem. We had been discussing the issue on Twitter and I decided to explore Blogger or Wordpress for my blog(s) and use Weebly more for my web site landing page. Then, without my having to ask, she found the Weebly help link I had searched for but never located. You can meet some great people on Twitter. I started following her Creative Expressions blog.
The Weebly link led me to Feedburner, which I have never really understood or appreciated until now. I first tried it on my Wordpress blog, Scott Moon's Blue Belt Blog and was rewarded with a pop up follow by email option. So cool!
I am still working on the widget for Scott Moon’s Blue Belt Blog. My Wordpress site is a work in progress; I’m am still learning the platform.
I am also working on my Scott Moon Blogspot. This is the Google / Blogger platform and I have made slightly more progress with the template system. Right now, you can only follow by email (no RSS feed). The gadget will not load and the RSS feed does not seem to function properly in Chrome (though it looks okay in Explorer). The Google gadget application may not be installing correctly because I took Java off my computer. So now I will need to research the safety of Java and decide if Java code is worth the hassle.
Now, all of this started with my desire to make my blog at www.Scottmoonwriter.com easier to follow. The Feedburner instructions worked fine for www.DragonBadgeBooks.com so I am not sure what the problem is. When I send emails to the help section, they say they cannot replicate my problem. (I resisted the urge to reply that I wanted it fixed, not replicated, but they can’t help me if I can’t explain it.)
Future blogs will contain a straight forward list of solutions I have found to various internet problems. I never set out to be a web expert. All I want to do is write, workout, play music, and have adventures. But there is something satisfying about fixing a technical problem.
Crossfire will be playing at the Guns and Hoses charity event on April 12, 2013 to benefit Crime Stoppers.
Last year the Beech Activity Center sold out, so now might be the time to start practicing (every day). As usual, I have about a thousand goals and self imposed deadlines; now it is time to move guitar solos to the top of the list.
I finished what I hope is the final draft of Dragon Attack, the sequel to Dragon Badge. I think readers will enjoy this book; it goes places the first book only hinted at. I have finished Dragon Attack many times over the years. A lot of people, including reviewers, have demanded a second book and I can’t wait to share the continued adventures of Michael Prim and his companions. I also believe in taking the time to do things right. The number one business maxim for self published authors is (or should be) “Write the best book you can.”
I also believe in rotating projects to get a fresh perspective, so I moved back to Enemy of Man, found an editor, and received a sample edit of the first chapter. Samantha Lafantasie, the author of Heart Song is a board member of the Kansas Writer’s Association.
Samantha’s detailed sample edit of Enemy of Man gave me a lot to think about. During a painful moment of self reflection, I admitted that I loved most of Enemy of Man, but needed to address a few plot issues that would have distracted the reader.
I actually enjoy fixing these types of issues, because editing is really just another type of writing--and I love to write. The reason this was painful is that I set three major goals for this spring, one of which is Enemy of Man. I thought it was almost ready to go and now realize it needs more work than I had hoped after finishing the most recent daft. (I do a lot of drafts.)
I began thinking, at 2 a.m. when it was slow at work and the city was asleep, that my readers will lose faith because I am taking too long with books I have promised. I finally consoled myself that this is a serious concern, but writing the best book possible (and waiting until I can afford to have them edited) is priority number one.
The Good news: I pushed through my emotional doldrum (likely caused by sleep deprivation), read more from Enemy of Man, and encountered awesome writing. My favorite moment is looking at a story and saying to myself, with pride and astonishment, I wrote that.
Health and fitness has always been important to me. It benefits writing in many ways. Exercise puts me in a good mood, and contrary to the tortured artist stereotype, I write better when I am happy and full of energy. Go figure. A challenging workout can also provide distance; it can clear your head so that the swirling plot lines encountered during revision and editing seem less daunting.
This week started great. I am determined to finish the Insanity DVD program day by day, rather than pick and chose the workouts I like. But, alas, I did allow other priorities to interfere a couple of days.
INSANITY (Fresh Start)
ST 3-9-13 Fit Test 25 min (Bare feet/ mat)
SN 3-10-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit 42 min (Bare feet/ mat)
M 3-11-13 Cardio Power & Resistance 39 min (Bare feet/ mat)
T 3-12-13 no workout, altered work schedule
W 3-13-13 no workout, trying to catch up writing time
TH 3-14-13 no workout, trying to catch up writing time
F 3-15-13 no workout, caught in blog technical problems
Temperatures reached 85 degrees today in South Central Kansas. Motorcycles rumbled at every intersection I approached. Helmeted, unhelmeted, blue jeans, khakis, or leather; everyone was out today. Mostly I ride on long trips to Colorado or Texas, so tooling around back roads and side streets without a destination was different. Now that I have my own bike and no longer have to beg and borrow, I look forward to exploring the local byways.
Today I learned that I am a little rusty on greetings. In my youth, when I rode a lot, greeting another motorcyclist was a big deal. It had to be done just right. Today I tried holding up one fist (hey that is what we did in the 1980s). Hopefully I did not start a gang war. Fist to the sky did not get warm responses.
I ignored the next few riders--watched them in my peripheral vision, but made not social effort at all. While this engendered a feeling of badass, lonewolf, rebelliousness, it was unsatisfying--a little too cool, perhaps.
The next rider threw me a bone, he calmly lowered his left hand and held it out, not quite a left turn hand signal. I returned the greeting. It was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears when the porridge was just right. The next guy gave the same greeting, or was slipping a boot knife free. (I wasn’t worried because knives are way too short for jousting or mounted attacks in general.)
When it comes down to it, I really don’t care about protocol and tradition. Maybe that is what riding is about, but I am just trying to get down the road on my Harley, something I have dreamed of since I sold the Sportster in 1999. I’ll learn that stuff at my own pace. (I did google the motorcycle hand greetings when I got home.)
Freedom of the road is the main thing, which means freedom to be yourself. This reminds me of one of my favorite Twitter profiles: @SarahLBlair “I’m just a girl. Standing here with a manuscript. Asking an agent to love it.”
Well, I’m just Scott. I write, ride, and rock and roll. I love my Road King.
Screw it, let's ride! (click to tweet) Scottmoonwriter.com
One of the first things my dad and I discussed when we took the King off the truck, was the need to winterize it and attach a battery maintainer. I rode the bike a few times, despite the cold, and figured the battery was fine (and it is; I started it up today).
Attaching the battery charger / maintainer is easy. All you need do is remove the seat, choose gator clips or bolt clips, and hook everything up. Even I have the skill and tools to complete this DIY project.
I selected the bolt rings, because this option allows for the seat to be replaced with the charging connection left on the bike. All I need to do to charge it now is plug it into the wall. Some people do not like the cord hanging from under the seat, but it is short and has caps to protect the connections from the weather.
Now all I need is some warm weather so I can ride.
Ride safe, ride free, ride into adventure! www.ScottMoonWriter.com (Click to tweet this message)
Life is an adventure. I read to expand my horizons and write because I must.
- The Craft of Writing: 7 Magnificent Books
- Use of Force Myths
- A Really Useful Tool
- Project Rotation