Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man

16Feb/160

Here It Goes Again

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

As usual, I feel the need to apologize for not posting more often. On one hand, I really enjoy blogging and writing in general. On the other hand, I've gotten a lot of things done that needed doing in the last 2 weeks. I finished putting the interior back into my car. Fixed the shower in the master bathroom. Got the Rambler running better (and then it broke again). Wrote a few chapters on my current non-fiction book project. Recorded and edited a new podcast, and made music for it! Figured out my guitar setup's MIDI control configuration.

The good part is that I'm being very creative and productive- the bad part is that blogging hasn't been much of a piece of that yet. All of those things I did are worthy of blog posts on their own, and hopefully I'll get to do just that.

So for now, here's a video by OK Go.

Here it goes again!

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8Jan/160

I’m Now A Goodreads Author

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

After a bit of work, I decided to apply for author status on goodreads.com so I can organize my bookshelf, and let you- my faithful readers- know when I have more writing projects coming up. You can visit my Goodreads author page here.

Since I'm not going to waste a whole day's blog post on that short announcement, here's a few thoughts I've been chewing on:

After an excellent discussion about yesterday's blog post, I've decided to write a daily creed that I can recall, to help me keep my focus. I haven't written it yet, but I will be working on it over the weekend.

Also, I've decided to dedicate my Saturday mornings to writing on my novels. In 3 hours, I can get several thousand words written, and though it's not as fast as I'd like, it's as much as I can commit to right now.

My exercise routine has been on hold for 3 weeks. That's right, I haven't done anything. What I have done is reclaimed my sleep schedule. It's going to be a struggle.... it may be a while before I get back to bike commuting, unless I can move my work hours. Getting up at 4:30 just isn't working. It's affecting my mental state in a bad way. I will go back to it at some point, but for now, sleep is more important.

I've been fighting car problems, too. Nobody wants to hear about those, but let's just say, I had to rip the whole interior out of my Saturn because of water leaks in the sunroof. The '65 Rambler needs a brake cylinder seal replaced before I can drive it again. And since I'm not riding my bike, I'm left driving the gutted Saturn.

Creativity-wise, I'm starting a new project soon with my friend and fellow author, musician, and ADD Mastermind, JohnnyHow. Can't give much detail on it yet, but it's going to be fun, random, and in all likelihood extremely crazy. And did I mention random?

Fun times ahead! Stay tuned, kids!

6Jan/160

Freedom Of Speech And Double Standards

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Let's be honest: everyone says they want freedom of speech.

But what they really means is they want freedom of speech for themselves. Everybody else... not so much.

If you say you're for freedom of speech and then wish to forcibly silence hate speech- you're a hypocrite. I'm not saying hate speech is good or okay, mind you. But the two ideas of letting people say what they want and controlling what they say are incompatible. They're diametrically opposed. You can't have both.

As believers of Holy Scripture, we have the responsibility to fight falsehoods, hate, prejudice, and everything that is evil. This is non-negotiable. Light drives away darkness, and we are supposed to be the light of the world.

The mistake that most people make is that they think they can fight hate with censorship. Here's a bit of advice:

You can't fight darkness with darkness.

7Dec/150

Live-Writing Blog Books

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I've read several books recently about self-publishing books by writing them on your blog, one chapter at a time. (One of them was written this way!) Most of these work for non-fiction, however. I'm genuinely curious about writing a fiction novel (or series) by posting it chapter-by-chapter.

The problem is, everything I've read about this style of publishing is strictly about non-fiction. And as far as that goes, all the non-fiction stuff I write, you can pretty much read here. And I have to ask myself: could I write a non-fiction book based on what I know? And that begs the next question:

What exactly is it that I know?

The truth is a bit more complicated than me being an "expert" on anything specific. There's a few things I'm considered an expert at... playing the saxophone, cycling for fitness, using Linux, or being an idiot... I've got decades of experience in those fields.

But those things are practical, and with the exception of playing the sax, they're all things I taught myself for practical reasons. I don't necessarily want to teach people how to do something specific, as much as I want people to learn how to think in a manner that will let them accomplish and learn things. I want to teach them my mindset. I want to get people to learn how to direct their unguided yet limitless  energy to accomplish great things.

2Dec/150

After NaNoWriMo: So What Now?

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

What do you do when you've been on a creative binge, and you find yourself taking a break? If you've written a novel (or most of it) in November, and now you're sitting around, wondering what comes next?

Fear not! There is plenty of work still to be done.

For now, I will catch up on my much-neglected reading list. I've got piles and piles of books that aren't going to read themselves. I want to pick up the rest of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series. Highly recommended. I'm also reading books on blogs and fiction book marketing, so that should be interesting.

I've also got several podcasts that need listening to, but I haven't set up a proper podcast catcher yet. I'll get around to it eventually.

I started riding my bike again. This in itself is a good thing.

Now that my rush to reach 50K words is passed, I can start re-working the outline and plot of the novel, and spend some quality time world-building and fleshing out the setting, which will directly impact the story further down the road.

This will require me to schedule time for editing and re-vamping scenes, and fleshing out parts of the story that need fixing to align with the setting and antagonists. I've got lots of ideas and several may work, but I need to work through them to nail it down, especially if I'm going to expand it into a multi-book series. And there's the real possibility of trying to write the book chapter-by-chapter here, on the blog... that would be interesting, to say the least.

Plus I'm still writing a weekly blog post for The Badass Forge, mostly cycling-related stuff. And of course, I have to come up with something insightful and witty to post here, at least occasionally.

I'd say, overall, I'm still going to be pretty busy, but now I have the freedom to work on those things when they're not interfering with family time.

Let's get to work!

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30Nov/150

Writing Is Hard

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

 

I barely pulled this one out. Did I write 50,000 words in 30 days? Yes. Was it pretty? No.

As I've said before, NaNoWriMo isn't a challenge for me, as much as it is a learning opportunity. Don't get me wrong, it's hard. But I learned so much from it compared to the last few times I've tried and failed.

In fact, I learned more during this month's 50K challenge than I have in the last few years combined. I learned how to outline a plot, I learned how to focus better, and I learned that actually putting words on paper is only half the work.

18Nov/150

Update On NaNoWriMo

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I'm past the halfway point in writing a draft for NaNoWriMo. I've written more than 25K words in the last two weeks. I'm a writer, and gosh darn it, I #amwriting.

I've had some successes, and some setbacks. This is not my first, or even my second (or third) attempt at winning NaNoWriMo. But I think I'm going to win it this time, and the funny thing is, it doesn't really matter if I do or don't. Maybe that's why.

Success:
I was able to outline my whole story plot, and let me tell you, it has made all the difference! It felt dumb at the time, but as I've plowed through the story, it's helped tremendously. I have no one to thank for that except Larry Correia and John Brown.

Setback:
The down side to this is that I'm realizing my story is lacking in several areas as I go through it. Specifically, I haven't done enough world-building and fleshing out of the setting. It was vague, and for making an epic urban fantasy realm, vague doesn't cut it. It needs more detail, and so I'll have to dig deep and come up with something original.

I've also been watching and reading stories that are in the same genre as mine, to get a feel for what amount of detail is needed to really bring the world to life. Like, how do you write awesome fight scenes? What's involved in magic? What kind of weapons do they use, what kind of terrain is there, what are they fighting? I outlined some of that stuff, but not enough to make it really stand out.

Essentially, I didn't outline enough. Which is crazy, cause I spent like 2 weeks on just the outline!

Moving forward, I will try to throw in tidbits of detail to really bring the story to life, and hopefully the story will take on a life of its own.

11Nov/152

On Being A “Writer”

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I don't know how they do it.

You know the ones I'm talking about: the writers who, in their spare time,  wrote novels that became international hits.

Writing novels isn't hard per se, as in it's not difficult to sit in front of a computer and type. But it's more difficult to produce a coherent, functioning story that can entertain people.

I want to make my story the best one possible, but I have to balance that with the reality of having a job and a family. I'm pretty sure I could crank out thousands of words a day if I didn't have a job that sucked up ten hours a day.

9Nov/150

Words Counts And Plotlines And Drafts, Oh My!

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Here we are, just over a week into NaNoWriMo. How am I doing? So far, I'm keeping up with the daily word count to hit 50K words in 30 days.

I'm also still blogging for 3 blogs, and a host of other projects.

But I'm also tired. Very, very tired. Not physically exhausted... no, I'm just mentally tired of running around and doing things. Or as one person put it, "I can't brain. Don't make me brain." I find myself getting weary when I'm not writing or working or listening or driving or working some more or... whatever.

Granted, over the last few years I've learned to push a lot of that aside and get stuff done anyway. But is that really how we're designed to live? Doing as much as we can, and not really being able to enjoy it?

I'd really like to be able to sit and *not* feel the crushing weight of a thousand things to do. Yes, I know some of them I took on of my own volition, but that doesn't make them any less real, or any less heavy.

Sometimes my brain tricks me into thinking my life is like a TV show, and when the action's over, nothing happens until the next episode. But real life doesn't work that way. It just keeps going, and going, and going, like the Energizer Bunny (I hate the Energizer Bunny!)

So yeah, I've been writing up a storm. Does it make me feel more relaxed? No. Does it make me feel more accomplished? Kind of... it's nice, but I've done it before. Does it make me a better person? Not really.

I'm very proud of who I am and what I've been able to do, but there are days when I don't want to be a Supervillain any more. It would be nice to be a normal, dumbed-down guy from nowhere, doing nothing.

Heh. Yeah, right! Like that's ever going to happen to me. I can't help but be who God made me to be, so I'll do what I can, and try to slow down long enough to not let life pass me by.

This past weekend, my eldest daughter turned eighteen. Eighteen. I don't even know where to start with that... I guess out of all my evil plans for World Domination, having kids was one of the best. Cause she's awesome, and crazy, and cool, and grounded, and all the things I wanted her to be. I don't think I could've asked for a better minion.

So, enough reminiscing. It's back to writing, and work, and everything else. I'll catch you all when I come up for air.

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2Nov/150

NaNoWriMo: The Journey Begins

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

For those who aren't aware, November is National Novel Writing Month. What does that mean? It means that thousands of people will be trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I'll probably do it, too.

The Bad News: If you need to find motivation to write 50,000 words, then you're going to have a hard time. Chances are if your story isn't just bursting out of your fingertips, you're going to struggle. You're probably going to feel like your story isn't making progress, and you'll feel frustrated if things don't end up the way you imagined.

The Good News: You can still write 50,000 words. It will be a learning experience, and you'll grow from it. You'll find ways to get around writer's block, you'll figure out what works and what doesn't.

If this is your first time attempting NaNoWriMo, then focus on learning to write consistently. That is more important than doing it "right" or making the perfect first novel (a bit of advice: that almost never happens). If you go into it understanding these truths, then your experience will be exactly what it's meant to be: a learning experience.