31 Things

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to clear out Stuff I Don’t Need from my living space. To that end, I resolved to get rid of one thing (or set of things) every day this year.

So far, so good, although I suspect January is easy because there is more junk around at the beginning of such an exercise. One thing I noticed is I really didn’t hunt down one thing per day. I gathered multiple things on more motivated days and distributed them forward for the coming week or two. The result is the same, though.

My January list does seem to be a colossal pile of junk, but I think that’s the point here. Items were donated to Good Will, recycled, or, in one or two cases, trashed:

31 things

365 Things

One of my New Year’s resolutions is less a resolution than an experiment. I am going to try to rid myself of one object, thing, trinket, machine, doodad, tchotchke, whatever a day for the next year.

There are not many people who would accuse me of having a cluttered house–I don’t think it’s cluttered–and yet, I still wonder what it would *feel like* to live in a house that isn’t full of what are basically useless distractions. Junk you save thinking it will “have a use someday” that sits there for years serving no purpose whatsoever, practical or aesthetic or entertainment.

The ground rules are pretty simple.

(1) The day’s discard can be one object (say, one issue of a magazine), or a group of objects (all issues of that magazine),
(2) It has to go in the recycling or be donated to a charity/or Good Will, unless it’s really truly biodegradable junk,
(3) It can’t be anything I’m getting rid of simply to replace it with a newer thing that performs the same function.
(4) It can’t be anything with a natural short life span, like fruit peels or paper towels.

So today’s Thing is

(1) a basket full of silk flowers and plants.

Resolutions

A lot of people don’t like doing New Years resolutions, and I don’t blame them. Each year of our lives has a particular flow, and the flow we are in in one year is different than the one we veer into in the next, and therefore the expectations we develop from one may not apply to the other at all. We can’t always control the way our lives flow.

But I think those of us privileged enough to have some semblance of control over at least part of our time ought to at least visualize how we’d like to spend that time, even if other stuff comes along to divert us from those visions. 2012 was a case-in-point year for that.

Resolutions

I just finished the first draft of my novel

Woo-f***ing-hoo!!

But yes, alas, that means I am officially not doing NaNo this year, ’cause October has been my NaNoWriMo–a non-stop writing-and-editing spree that began each morning as soon as I woke up , stopped only so I could go to the stress-hell that has been work this month, and resumed the minute I got home until I collapsed in bed.

I think part of the reason I managed to whack out the rest of this story in one month is that work has been so sucky, writing distracted me from dwelling on it. Which, bonus. But I overdid it. I have been sick with the flu for over a week now. Still working at my job from home–blast modern remote login computers.

I crawled into my actual place of employment for meetings twice last week and couldn’t even sit up for the length of them.

Now I am all jealous of my friends prepping for NaNo. Not because I’m dying to spew out 1,667 words a day, but because it’s fun to be part of all that energy. My Nov and Dec will be spent planning the second draft of my novel (and posting on that process, hopefully). And it will need planning–lots and lots of planning, ’cause for Pantsers, the first draft is really the “outline.” It is the raw material out of which the “actual” novel is formed.

And there was so much I wanted to include in this draft I didn’t have room for, I slowly concluded it was three books instead of one. So now I need to plan out three books. And then, hopefully before the new year (but I’m not pushing it), start the “second” draft of the first book.

The free-floating knot

The anxiety is back. The kind you feel in your arms and your legs and your gut but that never attaches itself to anything in particular in your thoughts. The kind that feels like the butterflies before you give a speech, the tension in your muscles when you know you absolutely have to do something unpleasant you’d rather avoid. Only, there may or may not be anything like that going on in your life at the moment. You feel the sensations anyway.

Read more

That reading thing

Lately, I have been pondering ways to do more pleasure reading. As a kid, I always had a book on hand. I devoured them by the gross. In the years since grad school, however, I have found myself reading a lot less, and I know that is effecting my writing.

Okay, stop: just the fact that I am thinking about this in terms of how it “effects my writing” tells me I am not really framing this as “reading for pleasure,” and that’s one problem right there. Reading has become a means to an end, an obligation or chore, and that’s not a great start.

Anyway, there is plenty of advice out there about how to “find more time” for reading (much less, however, on how to make it a pleasure again). The most relevant suggestions:

Computers are my problem

Dis/inhibition paperback gets Ingram distribution

I found these this morning while Googling:

http://www.adlibris.com/se/product.aspx?isbn=1105603709
http://www.libri.de/shop/action/productDetails/19400201/nancy_e_shaffer_dis_inhibition_1105603709.html

There is still an issue with getting the book cover on some of U.S. sites, but I am told that’s being worked on.

“Inhibition is nature’s way of keeping you from doing something really stupid…”

Valerie Running Deer is a brash, brilliant neuroscience graduate student. Elizabeth Baldwin is her uptight, control-freak advisor. Elizabeth and Valerie’s relationship has always been a battle of wills, but when Elizabeth hands over one of Valerie’s original research ideas to another student, Valerie fires the shot that turns their cold war into a hot one: she makes a pass at Elizabeth’s daughter Lisa, a coy, impetuous teen who has been harboring a crush on her.

Valerie’s spiteful impulse is diffused when she starts to fall for Lisa behind Elizabeth’s back, but a confrontation is inevitable. Valerie’s tumultuous journey towards it will entangle her in the circuitous dance of the relationships around her as friends, colleagues, and family struggle to balance need and trust, impulse and restraint. Control freaks. Hot heads.

Timid artists. Impulsive kids. Dis/inhibition explores the complications of self-control both outside and inside the scientific laboratory.

Buy the book

| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-a-Million |

Buy the eBook

| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Apple iBookstore | Smashwords | Kobo |

The book is also available at Amazon UK and Amazon Canada.

I, Robot

Yeah, so I have an author website launching soon and a website designer who wants that launch ASAP and I am floundering pulling my content together. I mean, talk about your writer’s block suddenly hitting, your word-smithing skills crapping out, and your total lack of Photoshop-fu being your undoing.

That. Me.

So I remind myself, you know, self, when you launched All Things Philosophical on Jan 1, 1999 (!), the show was in frigging season 3 and you were still sweating over your desperate need to prove the philosophical genius that was I Robot, You Jane. People still visited your site and came back when there was more to see. Having more to see is what brings people back.

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Adventures in Indie Publishing, pt IIa: formatting for print

I think the most difficult, grief-inducing part of self-publishing is formatting. I say that because I am still getting into the marketing part, but stay tuned, because I might change my tune later. But I spent a good two months getting my manuscript into a form–no, I take that back–THREE forms–that would deem it acceptable to book distributors.

The three forms are (1) print, (2) eBook ePub, and (3) ePub mobi. Print is pretty self-explanatory, although not easy, necessarily. ePub is the most common eBook format and you can find services that will turn your manuscript into an ePub file, but you have to do some work upfront to not have aforementioned manuscript kicked back to you as “not ready to be turned into an ePub yet.” mobi is just a fancy word for the format used by Amazon Kindle, which in their infinite near-monopoly wisdom is different from every.other.eBook.seller.everywhere, who of course all use ePub.

Print Formatting