lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
There are people who are fucked up and people who are basically normal, functional, whatever. People who've got their shit together. Then there are people who are basically pretty fucked up but are trying to unfuck themselves, and that's a process that can last indefinitely. Some people spend their whole lives trying to unfuck themselves, and that's okay.

Between two basically normal people, relationships are simple. Not that there aren't difficulties or that they can't go wrong, or that they are always good, successful relationships. But the normalness is measured not in lack of problems but in the ability to problem-solve without setting yourself or your immediate surroundings on fire.

Read more... )

Or I'm full of shit. That's also a distinct possibility.

On Blogging

Thursday, 3 September 2015 17:02
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I am looking at the emptiness of my professional blog and sighing. I cross-posted some recent material but, as I go digging through my years of blogging, I seem to have made far fewer substantial posts than I imagined. Possibly I was always intending to make those posts but once the subject matter coalesced in my mind, I never got to actually putting the words down on paper. Now I'm debating whether an old review for a book that I read years ago (and no longer own) is fit for re-posting.

Look like there's no escaping the need to generate original content. Ahahahah *tear wipe*

Things have been up and down for me but I did not do much writing this week, although I accomplished several important chores. I am no closer to opening up a Patreon account to allow for the options of readers supporting my content. I am also no closer to having a complete work that's fit to be bound into an e-book. It is frustrating, but I know that I can work through it.

The new year is coming up on my calendar. Happy September.
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I've been writing for over fifteen years. I think I mentioned that. It was only this year (last month, actually) that I finally decided to commit to a career as a professional writer.

There are a lot of questions that come along with such a dramatic change. I've grappled with some of these questions for years. Do I have the discipline to write every single day, and the work ethic to keep plugging at it, even when I reach the less pleasant stages of writing? Can I generate an idea compelling enough to draw an audience of readers? Can I create the type of work that can be sold for cash on a professional venue, like a short fiction magazine or an anthology?

Today, the questions I'm dwelling on are less abstract, but no less difficult for me to answer. I'm debating issues of my online presence. Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly attractive option for writers, especially short fiction writers like myself. One of the options I'm considering is opening a Patreon account. Clearly, the critical aspect of crowdfunding is creating an audience, and the only way to create an audience is to publish. So, the main step of creating a successful Patreon presence is still the #1 answer to any writing-related question: write.

In the meantime, I'd like to have somewhere to point people at, in case someone should ask me how they can support my writing career. Patreon seems like a viable option for that, if only in a long-term view. It would also make a handy place to compile links and create a writing portfolio of sorts. Less formal than an official website, which I am also considering creating, but it does create a necessary one-stop destination.

One of the advantages of the social media era of writing is that I feel I have less to worry about the informal nature of some of my writing. This blog, for example, not to mention my Tumblr and Twitter accounts. When I look at the online presence of some contemporary genre writers ('my peers', as I practice saying) I feel there's more latitude given, a less strict standard of what counts as on-topic for a writer's blog. I can imagine someone looking at this blog, or my Tumblr, and not immediately thinking, 'this person is clearly not a professional writer'.

I still have open questions. Should I create a website? Should I include a more restrained author blog, and mirror only the substantial content from my current blog? Should I create a separate Tumblr to include only content relevant to Collar of the Damned and my other original writing? For now, I'm plugging away at my actual writing, and of course this blog as well.
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
When I was a teenager, my dream was to write a novel.

In the army, my dream was to write and publish a novel.

In my early twenties, I was convinced that it was just a matter of time before I wrote a publishable novel.

...I am terrible at writing novels.

Over the past fifteen or so years, I have been writing short fiction of various lengths and descriptions. I flatter myself that I have become quite good at it. I can look back at something I wrote two or three years ago and be largely pleased with it. Farther back than that, things get a little hazier. But no matter what else I've done, I've always struggled with writing longer form works of fiction.

Writing a novel is so easy and automatic an idea, that it took many years and many failed attempts before I considered the idea of not trying to write one. Most of my successful and satisfying works have been short fiction, and when I write in chaptered form I often feel like I'm floundering. Part of the impetus behind the Collar of the Damned project was to try and develop my short original fiction as part of a shared universe.

Then again, writing well-structured short fiction isn't easy, either. Looking back at the past few years of my writing, I feel like I have improved my pacing and structure a lot. Most often, when a story went past a certain length, I would structure it out of snippets clearly divided by sharp scene transitions. It made them read like chained vignettes. More recent stories are better paced and more cohesive in their structure.

Here are some hard numbers, primarily for my own reference: Read more... )

(no subject)

Monday, 29 June 2015 20:40
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
Tomorrow: a retrospective post on the past month (and year) if writing. Pros, cons, room for improvement.
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
My first proper day of unemployment (actually self-employment, in theory) has been a bit of a whirlwind.

I did some chores and some writing and some slacking off. I made a great big list of my writing goals for June and organized it in a spreadsheet, color-coded. I got some calls about jobs and had to put a fair amount of energy into meeting those demands. Some jobs want to test you before they'll even bother calling you in. I'm used to technical tests being on-site.

Somehow I am trying to balance not hammering the lid on the coffin of my programming career, along with treating the idea of being a full-time writer with the necessary gravity. It's... difficult. The more I talked about the possibility of writing, the less it seemed like an unfortunate fallback for the unemployable dropout, and more like... what I actually want to do. What I've been working towards, knowingly or not, for a decade or more.

But there is always a portion of my brain (and a rather larger portion of my acquaintances) that is pushing for the programming job, because security. Money. Future. Pension. Insurance. Never mind that the weekly schedule of working outside of home leaves me too tired and dispirited to do all the things I love.

*Shrug* For now I am dancing in both weddings as they say. When that starts being compromising, well, I've got more than enough well-wishers ready to lend me advice. And my lease here isn't up, yet, and besides, my apartment in Jerusalem won't be free for a while. Meanwhile it's not like I'm short of unfinished projects to keep me (very) busy.

Such as promising to blog twice a week.

Looking Back

Monday, 2 March 2015 19:45
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
Looking back at all the years of my blog which were dominated almost completely by uni stuff and I can't help but thinking that I just sort of flushed all those years away. For nothing. For no good reason. A friend told me once that I would stop thinking (eventually) that my twenties were the decade I had to pay back for my teens. I really hope that's true.

Thinking

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 21:35
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I've been doing some thinking this evening and here are my conclusions:

1. I hate my job.

2. I need a beta reader for Collar of the Damned.
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
I am trying to calibrate my expectations. When one wakes up in the morning and feels more than the usual reluctance to get out of bed, or is much colder than the weather justifies, or one is sitting and eating breakfast and feels like sinking into the chair with heaviness... This is the kind of fatigue that I usually associate with mild infections. My GP is out today. Probably the wise thing would be to phone my boss and explain that I am ill. (I have worked there for two months plus and have taken one sick day previously).

I probably can drag myself up and into some clothes, stuff myself with cold pills and power through nine hours of work. I hardly ever get measurable fevers, so heaven knows I've done it before when I've had little choice. But then yesterday a number of people asked me whether I was ill again due to my constant sniffling ('not again, still') and so many I have an excuse?

Far from being able to make a sensible, fact-oriented decision, I feel like it's actually the 'missing work' guilt warring with the 'not taking care of your health' guilt. But then the system, when I look into it, is set up for 'powering through small illnesses' pretty explicitly. I do this so much I hardly notice the small stuff? I blow my nose or pop a pill and move on with my life, much the same as if it was an allergy attack. It's only when I get this dragging feeling or something similar that I wonder, 'how will I make it to the bus? from the bus? back home again?'

le sign

Sunday, 16 February 2014 12:12
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
I have a feeling that the post I'm going to start composing (as soon as I post this) is going to eat my brain.
lea_hazel: Kermit: OMG YAY *flail* (Feel: OMGYAY)
I sniffed around my AO3 stats page and found very few surprises, except that four people subscribed to my fics, and all of them were completed ones. What did entertain me was trying to suss out the hits-to-kudos ratio and where it was lowest. There could be all sorts of causes for a low ratio, but the main contributers are, I think, small fandoms and rarepairs. Also, some fandoms are just more awesome like that (c.f. Cinders).

Naturally, this is not an accurate science, especially since AO3 doesn't generate this stat. I started from the fics with the lowest hit count as the immediate suspects. Hits/Kudos Ratio )

My second-least-hit fic of 2013 has the highest ratio, and the only single digit figure. As I said, I attribute this more to an unusually low hit count due to backdating.

Predictions: Not much will change. )

Troping

Sunday, 24 November 2013 11:58
lea_hazel: Kermit: OMG YAY *flail* (Feel: OMGYAY)
I finally made my trope_bingo amnesty post. It also made me think back to my out-of-date trope checklist.

Part of me itches to have another card. the card framework really helps me focus my thoughts, for some reason. Not like I don't have plenty of WIPs to keep me busy, I have at least three or four right now. Not mentioning my unfinished Twine game and every other project I've left to simmer. But I find it hard to focus.

FFS, I should be able to write like a normal person from now until January, shouldn't I?

Whatever. I'm still pleased with the amount of tropefic I wrote in two months, even if I didn't make a bingo.

Thoughts

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 19:40
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I hate how vulnerable I am to feeling terrible about myself over interactions that (I'm fairly certain) are mostly neutral. My social calibration is off somehow and if I perceive that I annoyed someone or that someone disapproves of me I have to fight tooth and nail to keep it from tanking my mood for the day.

Then sometimes I'm disproportionately irritated over something of no consequence and I think, "Lord, don't let me be that person."
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
Cut for sanity.

Read more... )

There's other things I might do. Amnesty is technically until January. The question is, do I want to lay this behind me, or keep at it until the bitter end?
lea_hazel: I am surrounded by tiny red hearts (Feel: Love)
Somehow over the course of the year I started drifting away from "I've made one or two fanmixes and I don't feel too good about them" to "this is going to be a filterable tag on my AO3" to "holy hell my YouTube account is crowded."

Right now I have two mixes queued to post to Tumblr, one sitting open in GIMP, one barely started, and one that's decided to expand to two different versions of itself.

By far my favorite fanmix that I've made is War Again (AO3, Tumblr). Not that I didn't hesitate a lot about including or dropping certain songs, and changed it up to the last minute. But I'm pleased with it and I was mostly pleased with it throughout the process. It was a mix I knew I wanted to make before the challenge I made it for, I just didn't consider that I could make it shareable.

I still feel mostly awful about the graphics I create for my mixes, but I suppose that's because I tend to mystify visual arts.

HTML 5

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 15:37
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
So I'm watching the introductory HTML 5 videos on Code School (they helpfully sent me a "hall pass" to watch paid videos for free for a limited time). And I can't escape the feeling that what's being taught here is definitely something other than coding, but I can't put my finger on what. Is it design? Not exactly.

The elements covered are things like subtitles and pull quotes, in addition to web design elements like logos and menus. I feel like it's almost a crash intro to composition. Deciding which content elements to group together is, after all, not dissimilar from deciding where to break passage in a well-written essay. And titling is basically a SAT problem.

It's kind of strange

Comfort :)

Monday, 12 August 2013 13:33
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
In this time of great stress and confusion, I draw a lot of comfort from reading kink_bingo rules posts.

The dermatologist said he can't confirm psoriasis, though I am unsure of what practical implications this has. On a less cheerful note, I almost certainly have a cavity. Next on the agenda is a big dental x-ray... along with a zillion other chores I can't seem to keep track of.

Mostly I just want to blog forever, as though that would somehow magically force my thoughts into order. As though the chaos isn't a quality that is inherent to my life in particular and more generally to the human condition. At least I hope it is, otherwise I have been cheating no one but myself.

Self-teaching has become more difficult since my concentration is all over the place. I used to be so much better than this. Hard to motivate myself when all I really what is... to slink back into bed? To put everything out of my mind? Not to think?

Tonight I see the psychiatrist. A late appointment. I am crossing all the appendages.

Maintenance

Sunday, 4 August 2013 17:32
lea_hazel: Kermit: OMG YAY *flail* (Feel: OMGYAY)
Rewriting my profile and interests from scratch was curiously cleansing.

Although, I have to admit I find Tumblr's de-facto interest scoring to be more effective than having to maintain a list on DW. Much more accurate.

Oh, Internets

Saturday, 11 May 2013 15:38
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
Reading comments on a blog post, there's this one repeat commenter who (quite accidentally) granted me a vast epiphany about why people have such a hard time being around people who are depressed. Read more... )

It's not that I didn't realize that depression makes people hard to be around. I knew it on some level, it's pretty clear. Now I just feel like I have a clearer insight into the process by which depressive thinking wears down not just oneself, but one's friends and acquaintances as well.

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lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
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