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

25Jan/170

Simplification Isn’t Simple

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Apologies to my faithful readers. I've been quite busy! But in my business, I found that my brain was cluttered.

I also found my phone was cluttered, to the point where it was having a hard time keeping up with everything I wanted it to do. And that's when I realized: I was trying to do too much stuff at one time.

I'm always thinking of some project or another I want to get done. I even have time to do most of them! But my downfall is that I attempt to do to many at once, thinking I can cram more in if I multi-task.

And I really, really stink at multi-tasking.

I'm also realizing that with unlimited time to get things done, I don't want to get so busy that I can't enjoy the time I have at home while it lasts. This, too, is difficult.

I don't really have control over as many things as I'd like. But every now and then, I can do something with my time and make it count.

Blogging isn't something that I really make a lot of money with, but that's because I haven't made it a major priority up to this point. It's not that I couldn't... but till now, I've been up to my ears with other, more important things to do.

16Oct/161

New Job: Freelancer

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

In a few weeks, I'll be unemployed, and I will finally get the chance to go back to being self-employed. This is a big risk for me, of course, because there's always the possibility that I'll just not find enough work, and will have to go back working for a big company to pay the bills.

do not want to go back to work for someone else. This means I'm going to have to do my best to scrape up work on my own, for various things.

What kind of "Living Outside The Box" guy would I be if I didn't though, right?

I'm offering my services as a freelancer in several areas:

  • Book/general copy editing (Have edited/formatted my own book, and a few for others)
  • Article writing (I write here, and several other blogs on a regular basis)
  • Music lessons (I majored in theory, instrumental performance, etc. in college)
  • Background music for Youtube videos and podcasts (Have several satisfied customers already)
  • Computer tech work (20 years experience, and HP certified)

Plus I'm going to work on finishing more novels and music projects for my own income. I may even branch out into other areas as time permits. I'm flexible, and in about 3 weeks, I'll be able to start adding jobs to my schedule.

If you're interested in my work, let me know! Drop me an email here or use my new contact form.

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9Sep/160

Hard Decisions

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

One of the most difficult things I've had to do is choose between two good things.

Sounds like a good problem to have, right? "Do I take the Ferrari, or the Lambo?"

But I really need to explain.

I can't become a full-time published writer if I'm fiddling with music stuff, or building things, or even restoring my old car. Could I even carve out more than an hour a day to write? Is that even possible?

I am stretched to my limit as it is, really. I can't do anything without it cutting into something else on my calendar. I'm double-booking myself in hopes that one of the engagements falls through. I'm on borrowed time.

Time management schemes only work to a certain extent, especially when there's things to deal with like unreliable vehicles, conflicting work schedules, unplanned emergencies, drama, and a full-time job. There just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done in a timely manner, no matter how much I shuffle things around.

I feel like my days have been short-sheeted. I keep trying to pull the covers to one side, and it uncovers me somewhere else.
So how do I get rid of some of these projects and responsibilities? Guess what? It takes free time- which I am already short on. Something has to give.

I could leave my projects sit, untouched, for months and not be worried about it. But that's not an option, because the stuff piles up and clutters the house, making it difficult for everybody to get things done. Not to mention it clutters my thought process! But it takes more time and energy to cleanse them from view.

I don't have solutions yet. I just know where I need to go, and hopefully will be able to document how I get there.

Onward, and upward!

5Sep/160

FOMO Strikes Back

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I like riding my bike. I like writing. I like playing music.

But my not-so-dark secret is that I'm an adrenaline junkie. I'm always looking for something cool and new to do, or learn, and watch, or whatever. But I think I put too much emphasis on what I'm doing. My life, for what it is, has been a whirlwind of activity, for decades.

I haven't written anything here in over a month. Most "writers" would look at that as abject failure. I'm tempted to, as well. The truth is, I've been very very busy. Mostly, doing good things... sometimes, just chilling and trying to unwind my warp-speed brain.

So I'd like to get back to writing, at least a little.  I don't know how I'm going to balance writing with fitness, or work, or remodeling, or anything else I'm going to do.

I've got a lot of good writing topics in mind, and considering the political/spiritual landscape we're in, there's no dearth of things to write about. Some may be technical, some may be opinion, some may be just plain crazy ranting.

But I think I'm in a place where I need to ramp my brain up for writing again. It will, however, require scaling back something, somewhere. I'm not sure what will give yet. I'm already behind on some things. It will not be an easy thing to do.

Probably the first thing I need to do is scale back surfing social media again. I need to figure out a centralized writing solution, as well... which will probably mean using Google Drive... and I need to organize it. It would help to have writing tools that can go with me. Not going to the point where I have it on my phone yet, but that might work.

Anyway.

I'm getting back in the habit. Expect some writing tomorrow, and we'll see how long I can ramp it up and keep it going. Who knows? My ultimate goal is to write enough on my novels to get one or more of them picked up by a major publishing house. If I can do that, I think my life accomplishments will be pretty much complete.

Stay tunes, faithful readers. We're in for a wild ride.

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.

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.

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.

20Oct/150

Pre-November Preview

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Things have been steadily moving forward with my current novel project. I'm getting the outline to the point where it almost writes itself, which is exactly where it needs to be.

This is the time where I decide if I want to officially try to "win" at NaNoWriMo this year. I'm of course thinking about how all the horrible fanfic and chick-lit authors will swarm the NaNo boards and discussions, talking about stuff I'm not the least bit interested in. I don't have to participate, of course, but that takes some of the fun out of it.

I am noticing that more and more writers are foregoing the whole "story" idea and just writing mush. As I've written previously, I have issues with contrived stories that lack focus... I ought to know, I wrote one!