Monday, January 30, 2012

What I've Learned (January 2012)


Photo by Dave DeHetre

  • I'm improving as a writer. It's getting easier and the stories are getting better. There's a lot yet to come but I'm improving my chances of getting paid with every story I finish.
  • I'm better at being patient but man, that's a hard row to hoe. It's difficult to just let things go and wait for them to work out. I want to control the outcomes and it's frustrating when I can't. 
  • Owning your home is satisfying and it's also a helluva lot of work. This takes time away from things I didn't want to give up, but then again it's all about balance, isn't it?
  • Ask 'why' three times to get to a real reason for something that happened. Keep asking why until the answer makes sense. Sometimes little kids get it right and sometimes the answer really is "Because I say so".
  • I need to work on properly balancing writing, the day job and home life. I mean, doesn't everyone?
  • Frustration is a catalyst that I tend to ignore. If I acted on all the things that frustrated me at work and in my writing, I would be much, much better at both jobs. I tend to wallow in frustration and that's the thing that I suppose I carry from year to year: feeling frustrated somehow validates my feelings. "Why can't they see that I'm right?" Because, often, I'm only partially right and in order to better communicate I need to get over the frustration and see the other side.
  • Done is still the engine of More. No question about it.
  • Last year was all about appreciating whiskey. I think I've given up cigars, but whiskey is something I've got a real taste for. This year I will try more whiskeys and save up for some higher end single malt scotch, too. (Typically I drink Jameson and Glenlivet.) Dr. Whiskey will definitely be IN.
  • I don't photograph well. (I already knew that, but hey it's constantly reaffirmed.) The new photo of me on the site here is one that my friend Dave DeHetre took at the end of 2011 and I really like it. Check out Dave's blog and photographs.
  • Waiting is the most frustrating thing I do and I don't do it well. I don't think a lot of people wait well and that's a skill I need to develop. I alluded to it last year a couple of times, but waiting is something I feel like I must get better at. Especially since I'm about to embark on a submission process with a novel and a bunch of short stories.
  • Follow through is also something I don't do well, especially as a writer. How many years have I said "this is the year I'll start collecting rejection letters"? Quite a few now. Let's see how I do this year, okay?
  • I think I've overcome some of the limitations I had coming into 2011, such as being able to sustain an idea for nearly 100,000 words and to have it be good enough to keep on with. I still need to work on quite a few people skills, though.
  • I value a lot more than I ever say. I like hearing that I'm valued and I need to say such things to people a LOT more often.
  • It takes a great support group for a writer to feel like he's not alone in the world. This past November the local NaNoWriMo crowd was more important to me than almost anything else. They kept me going and as a result I wrote the best thing I've ever written. I'm repaying that by reading their works and trying to be as supportive of them as they were of me. If there was one thing that made a difference last year, it was my friends who have now formed a real online presence as The Confabulator Cafe.
  • Finally, blogging as much as I have been since just before NaNo has been helpful, too. Forcing myself to hit a regular schedule is teaching me time management things that I need to have figured out before the end of the coming year. Expect that to continue for the foreseeable future.