Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Writing Wednesday: Where's the Shadow Government When You Need It?

It's once again Writing Wednesday, the day where everything's made up and the points don't matter.

What I'm Reading

I'm currently working on The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration.

Whether you live in the US or not, you may not realize that between 1915 and the 1970's, millions of black Americans fled the Southern United States and moved to the midwest, northeast, and west coast.

What's the most impressive (in a horrible way) to me is how dedicated white America seemed to be to keeping black people as lower class citizens. This book and The New Jim Crow both demonstrate how after slavery, white people in the Southern United States came up with angle after angle of screwing black people over and depriving them of as many opportunities as possible. This is very relevant given the things going on in Baltimore, Ferguson, and elsewhere in this country.

It's a hell of a book. If you're interested, you should give it a read (plus, the paperback and the Audible audiobook are, like, stupid cheap right now).

What I'm Writing

I'm working on revising a short story.

A weird thing I notice about myself, at least so far, is that I tend to write short stories in three drafts.

My first draft is just me vomiting everything onto the page in a chaotic and awful mess. I go through and pick through the slurry to find the gold in the slurry.

Draft two is where I try to make those bits work. This is usually the draft where I figure out what the story is "about."

Draft three is often the draft where I understand how the characters, plot, and themes fit together (at least...somewhat better), and approach the story with such thoughts in mind.

Then there's sometimes a draft 3.5 where I go through fix whatever stupid shit I might have done or broken in trying to make my story better. My last draft featured an entire nonsensical scene where forgot not just a key detail to the scene, but a key detail to literally the whole fucking story.

I'm not very good at this. But I'm trying to get better.

What Works for Me

Finding someplace quiet.

My wife is very respectful of my writing time and for the most part, when I go into the office to write at home, she's very good about giving me time to write undisturbed. However, with only so many hours between getting off work and going to bed--and still needing to find the time to eat, clean the house, and spend at least some time with my wife--I've been looking for ways to add more writing to my day.

I refuse to get up any earlier as I already get up at 5:30, and I'm still usually running late in the mornings--and that usually is only involving me getting ready for work. I used to write in the mornings, but once my wife and I consolidated vehicles, it took away the majority of the time I could write if I wanted to. Plus, I just can't really function well in the mornings. I'm too sluggish, and coffee doesn't help. My brain has to warm up.

I think I might have found a place that I can write during my lunch breaks that's isolated, quiet, and has access to wi-fi. It's also a great place to read, so if I take a week off here and there to read, I can get through more without people badgering me about reading. By the way, I totally need to write a post sometime about the weird reactions I get reading in public.

What Else I've Been Up To

The garbage disposal in my sink was broken for more than two months. We ignored it as long as we could, but keeping a plunger on standby because your sink frequently stops up is no good. got stinky.

So this weekend we went to Lowes and purchased ourselves a new garbage disposal that I put in over the weekend. I have learned it is stupid easy to replace garbage disposals, and not at all the clusterfuck it was when, say, I replaced the passenger mirror on my car.

Although, because that's the way things always go when I fix things, the door has fallen off of my kitchen cabinets now. Of course. So I'll be dealing with that this weekend.

All in all, things have been going well. I feel like I'm staying on top of things. Nothing appears to be falling by the wayside.

One thing I'm trying very hard to do is become more serious about my writing. I worry that I'll just play writer on the internet and never actually have anything to show for it--it feels like that's what I've been doing for a while. I'm taking steps to not be that person anymore.

How are things with you?