On Self-Improvement

wheelofpain

Good morning from the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. It is half-past five in the morning, and I am so tired. I am an old man, and I need my rest.

I’m an early riser by nature. NOT a morning person. I’m actually a night person, but I crash out early most nights, so I enjoy the dark hours via the back door. I go to the gym most mornings before work, because if I don’t go then, I don’t go. I have my habits and routines, and adherence to them is vital if I want to get anything done.

It’s the same thing with my writing work. I take lunch al desko at my job and spend the hour working on my projects. If I don’t do this, I’ll wind up browsing Tumblr for Bloodborne/Battlestar Galactica mashup fanart, and that’s one hour gone, burned, one hour further away from getting my shit done.

I don’t think I’m a lazy person (said every lazy person since the first Australopithecus decided to blow off scavenging one day); I’m beholden to routine. If I fall into the routine of dicking around, it becomes a perpetual inaction machine, taking a Herculean effort to get back onto the straight-and-narrow. But when I am a Good Boy, the inverse is true. Success builds on itself.

I don’t have any writing advice for you. For that, go get On Writing by Stephen Goddamn King, or check out Chuck Wendig’s magnificent blog. I do what I do, and it seems to work. My only advice is to Get Busy And Stay Busy. Whatever it is you want to do, do it. Or do whatever you need to do in order to do it. Want to write? Write. Want to become an Olympian shotputter? Lift the weights, then put the shot. And if you fuck up? Forgive yourself. But get back on it.

That’s about all I can tell you because I’m still in the process. Luke Skywalker could mind-trick the lightsaber into his hand, but was he on Qui-Gon Jinn’s level? It’s all process, it’s all iteration, and it’s all to the goal of Getting Better.

Twenty years from now, when I’m standing on the cliff all contemplative, and you hold out my old story notes to me, I might be able take off my hood and give you actual advice.

***

I’m trying to decide if I want to speak on the whole Hugo Award Sad Puppy bullshit. If I did, I’d be doing it as a fan of genre fiction, and frankly, I don’t think anybody needs another voice in the chorus.

You make yourself look smart by keeping your mouth shut. And cousin? People think I’m wicked smaaht.

***

Newsletters are becoming A Thing. Here are my favorites.

Orbital Operations is Warren Ellis’ weekly missive from the Thames Delta, in which he tells us what his world looks like. I have ripped off its formatting for this humble blog. I fear the arse-eels.

Technoccult by Renaissance man Damien Patrick Walters is good for you. It runs the gamut of what’s going on, and what’s going to be going on. It’ll make you smarter.

Caterwauling by Ian Vincent, modern Cunning Man, observer of cult and culture, and John Constantine IRL. An incisive reporting on Fortean doings and the intersection of the very old and the very new.

There. None of you can say you weren’t told. You’re welcome.

***

I have to take my cat Onion to the vet today, but when I get home I’ll be working on stories for Projekt One. The piece in question is set in my old neighborhood back in Boston. That’s right: The Town. I sometimes worry that I’m cramming too many stories into one square mile surrounding a Masonic obelisk.

Worry is for the others, darling. I do what I do, and if it doesn’t resonate, it doesn’t resonate.

***

More tomorrow, kids. Enjoy yourselves, be kind to one another, and don’t take any shit.

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