On Writing

November 21st, 2005 by Potato

I miss just sitting down and writing sometimes. I often consider it as a backup profession, since science really really hasn’t been doing so well for me. I might just be able to go off and write, either fiction or as a science reporter or something, if it weren’t for the 15-page brick wall. You see, look through my archives, or worse yet, my hard drive. You’ll find that I almost never finish my longer more-involved stories, despite thinking about them often and playing out different plotlines in my head. They just get to a certain length and that’s it. I even had the same problem with my thesis. I got to about 13 pages in relatively short order (well, not really – I’m a FURIOUSLY slow writer, especially for my thesis), and then just really got bogged down with writer’s block and the like. So I can’t really consider writing as a viable way to make a living if I can’t actually write anything of substantial length.

After all, at 2 cents a word (that was the going rate in 1998 when I published my one and only story for $25) you need to write a lot to make even as much as a grad student.

The website’s been down a long time while I sorted out some issues in real life (c.f.: Thesis), but it’s good to write completely open-ended again. Which is possibly where some of my 15-page issues come from: you get to a point in a story where it can’t go anywhere anymore: you have to bring the threads together and wrap it up. And I’m just lousy at that.

I much prefer writing just train-of-thought, or since I don’t necessarily follow any sort of linear progression most of the time, the off-road vehicle of thought. So it’s good to have the website back.

Oddly enough, I enjoy just writing sometimes. Even when it makes no sense and gets deleted right away. Just writing this has made me realize how incredibly stupid I’ve been lately.

You see, I had this whole thesis thing going, right? And I was feeling some measure of guilt whenever I would write anything else (such as this) while my thesis made no progress. So I made a resolution with myself not to do any work on my website until my thesis was done. But I’m coming to realize that I need to start off getting all the random thought threads out of my head to properly focus on my thesis. Or, at the very least, this doesn’t seem to interfere with the thesis, since for the year I laid off superfluous writing I didn’t make any better progress.

It’s just such a piss-off, since I can churn out a post like this in under an hour. I wrote a 10-page (yes, ten!) introductory guide to curling before the departmental curling fun night, and it took me all of two hours. Two hours would barely buy me 5 sentences in my thesis. Of course, the writing is completely different – this is irrelevant, errant, entropic writing where the main points are to give my fingers something to do and to possibly entertain my miniscule audience, whereas my thesis has to be informative and correct (and referenced).

Remind me to post that curling guide at some point.

So anyhow, that brings us to the bottom of the screen, and this page. As you can see in what was essentially my test post below, I decided to make a blog. It’s essentially what I was doing all along on Blessed by the Potato, only without wearing out the <> keys on my keyboard. It’s hideous at the moment while I learn CSS and whatnot by trial-and-error. I’ve also got to photoshop all my graphics and stuff. I’m also sorting out how to integrate some of the old material into this. Right now I have a front page where you can choose between the old site or the blog; I think soon I’ll integrate the old submenu with the links on the right. I’ll probably ditch a lot of the old subsections (like the science games and model building (Heavy Gear)) and just have the separate rants, advice, and short stories section. I might even get around to converting those to have a style that meshes better with the blog section (or vice-versa).

Hopefully this will be updated somewhat regularly.

Oh, and Rez won the “first” contest. Please, no more.

One Response to “On Writing”

  1. netbug Says:

    I love your writing. I laugh out loud to few written word and your posts are one of them (I remember one story about snow that had me rolling).

    Help me write a feature movie! That’s all I’m lacking at this point… the script.