Wednesday, November 9, 2016

TWIC: keeping up, saving time, resting, rowling, banning, cycling, plotting, changing, burning

I fell behind in my Nanowrimo word count but today typed nearly three thousand words and am keeping up. In one hour, a new day begins and I need another sixteen hundred, sixty-seven words but for this hour, I am caught up! (written Nov 3)
As of November 6 evening, I was on track, with 10,020 words, twenty more than needed. I am struggling with this story. My word choices are just fillers right now; there are so many times where I think, "I know there's a better word. T--, th---, tr---, ar... Okay, later."
To cheer me up, here is some terrible writing by great writers.
Nov 8: I'm having a tough time working through the story and events my heroes are experiencing. The story for the bad guy is just pouring out my fingers. He is steadily becoming more interesting. And I feel bad for beating the hell out of him. Word count-wise, still on track as of mid-November 8.
time saving tips from a guy who spent thirteen years drawing a comic. Video. I hope to watch it but needed to record the URL here before I shut down the computer. The audio volume icon is missing from the task bar and I am hoping that restarting the computer will make it reappear.
Anyway, the video looks interesting.
A rested brain is more creative. An excerpt:
How have you come to define rest, and what are some of the biggest misconceptions about it?
What I mean by rest is engaging in restorative activity. It's not necessarily completely passive for one thing. We tend to think of rest as putting your feet up, and you've got the margarita and you're binge watching Orange Is the New Black. For people in my study, their idea of rest was more vigorous than our idea of exercise. These are people who go on long walks covering 15 or 20 miles in a day or climb mountains on vacation. For them, restful activities were often vigorous and mentally engaging, but they experienced them as restorative because they offered a complete break from their normal working lives.
What it was really like to write Harry Potter The excerpt contains a quote from Rowling, that I put in italics.
Even though Harry Potter strolled into Rowling’s head fully formed, she still spent several years mapping out the seven books, and then she spent another year writing the first one, Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone. Rowling rewrote Chapter One so many times (upwards of fifteen discarded drafts) that her first attempts “bear no resemblance to anything in the finished book”—which was especially frustrating since Rowling was a single parent and her writing time was entirely contingent on her infant daughter, Jessica.
Whenever Jessica fell asleep in her [stroller], I would dash to the nearest café and write like mad. I wrote nearly every evening. Then I had to type the whole thing out myself. Sometimes I actually hated the book, even while I loved it.
Rowling also had to waste her already limited time on nuisances like re-typing an entire chapter because she changed a paragraph or, even worse, re-typing the entire manuscript because she hadn’t double-spaced it. 
There is more. Rowling had a lot of stress. Maybe the sort of stress that earning a million dollars deserves but still is not pleasant.
The value of challenged books. the comments from readers demonstrate, these books help them negotiate the transition from childhood to adulthood, by introducing them to fictional characters dealing realistically with the complex and confusing world that young people confront. Some themes emerged from the responses:
● This book made me more empathetic, tolerant, and accepting, of myself and others. It helped me relate better to others and talk to them about things we never would have discussed otherwise.
● This book made me realize that I’m not the only one with problems; it helped me feel more normal and less alone.
Using a bike-desk at 30% Vmax improves or maintains efficiency. I have long been interested in a treadmill desk and discussed the subject with a coworker. He didn't feel he could type well enough to be worth it while running. I had suggested that the goal wasn't top speed running but simply to get more exercise than sitting. These results, on a bike desk, rather than treadmill, make it all seem reasonable. Too bad a good treadmill for this usage runs around $1500.

In the first minute of this Tales of the Unexpected episode, Roald Dahl describes the effort it took him to get it right.
The original story is quite short. But I am such a ridiculously slow writer it took me something like five months to get the thing finished which is more than 600 working hours. That probably sounds quite silly to you.
But in trying to work the plot out properly I took so many wrong turning and went up so many blind alleys that I nearly went crazy. Don't forget a short story writer is working in miniature and he can't afford to splash his paint all across the canvas. He has to be extremely precise. I find it quite difficult.
Indeed. This is one of my favorite stories by Dahl and it clearly had to be carefully plotted. I do think there is more humour in the written story
The project post-mortem as a (poor) mechanism for change and improvement.
A lot of effort has gone into detailing the processes for an optimal post-mortem. These outlines all tend to look the same. A typical workflow might entail a project and team survey followed by a team debrief that leads to actionable next steps for "next time." But the idea of the post-mortem is challenged by our cultural tendencies: It's not that we don't want to be better, but rather we don't think we need to be better--as a group, that is. As much as we may tout collaborative work and team relationships, we're primed for individual success.
It may be more useful to invite the team to critically evaluate the project before it begins and then assess these flags throughout the project. This exercise needs to go a step more than identifying risks to the project that get documented as assumptions in a statement of work, but should talk about why the project might fail within the organization--and open the door to all possibilities.
The article may include insights but seems to devolve into case studies that show one technique worked (or didn't) once but offers little statistically significant data.
Frank Herbert on writing
It comes as a shock to many in our print-oriented civilization to be told that language, the basic tool of the writer, is more oral than written. Contemplate those thousands of years of oral tradition before we ever ventured to carve symbols in clay and stone. We are most profoundly conditioned to language-as-speech. The written word is a latecomer.
Before you will believe the reality of a story, someone must stand up on that printed page and speak. His words must have the characteristics of speech. They must reach your ears through your eyes. Under the onslaught of non-print media (TV, film, radio, cassette players…) this is becoming ever more necessary. The oral tradition has never really been subjugated.
Man, certain dead people sure do publish a lot of books!
Sam Sykes on creative burnout and frustration. He went into detail, over the course of  16 posts. I enjoy his insights and don't want to offer too much here; go follow him. However, here are six of his tweets on the subject. Note that they are threaded chronologically with the newest on top.


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