What’s the point?

I’ve been wondering a little lately what’s the point? Not in general. I mean a little in general. But specifically with intellect. What’s the point in being the smartest person in the room if you never bring anyone with?

At the times in my life I’ve recognized that I’m smart (which are not all the times, sometimes I haven’t been…sometimes I haven’t recognized it) I want to do what it takes to bring everyone else along. I don’t want people to fall behind. I don’t want people to get frustrated, flustered, or hurt because they aren’t able to keep up.

Not My Job

I’ve heard a few people who are smart revel in their intelligence and just let others fall behind.

I feel like this is sort of an idea of bootstraps but in another kind of way. You just have to get yourself there, you have to do it on your own.

But I think that part of being smart, especially part of being the smartest person in the room is helping others. If you can’t explain things to people who don’t already know it…how well do you really understand it. You might not be able to get them up to your level, but you should be able to get people a large part of the way.

Sometimes that means stopping and explaining it in a new way. Use an analogy, a metaphor, a story, anything. Do something to help people. Don’t just keep repeating the same phrase over and over.

It’s So Obvious

I’ve done this. I’m trying to do less of this. Some things are, or seem to be, super obvious to one person and completely obscure to another. I see this when I step into another world. I think other people should regularly step into another world. Do something that is someone else’s expertise where you have to. Learn something and feel a little out of your depth. Or don’t even learn it, but have to deal with something in your world that isn’t your thing. That uncomfortable, lost, frustrated feeling. Remember that.

When was the last time you had to deal with something that was outside your realm of expertise that made you feel lost and concerned?

(By the way. I’m not feeling great, I’ve been sick for the last week plus, really rough shape. Ugh. If I’ve missed contact with you please reach out to me again. Thank you for your patience.)

S1.51 Forest of the Night

Forest of the Night
Forest of the Night
Forest of the Night

Forest of the Night by Fanni Sütő

Fanni Sütő is a writer in her mid-twenties. She writes in Hungarian and English; poems, flash fiction and countless unfinished novels. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants.

Read more from Fanni on her blog Ink Maps and Macarons or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Fanni_Pumpkin.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5-star review on iTunes.

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Time Tracking

Because of a whole bunch of things I’m giving a shot to better time tracking for a little while. Not sure I’ll do it forever, but I’m going to aim for through March. Though March might be a bad month, is there a good month?

Why?

I want to better understand where my time is going. What am I spending time on that I don’t want to. Am I doing the things with my life I want to? Am I putting my energy toward the things that are my priorities?

I also want to try to reclaim some of the writing time and I need to know where that is leeching out, and what I need to cut to get that back.

There is also something to tracking time keeping me more …focused. Like less distracted by random stuff because the clock is ticking.

Tools

I’m using Toggl which is really easy to start using. (It was discussed on several Cortex episodes.) I think a lot of it will be thinking about the structure of what counts for what?

When I’m sending a long email/fb message/twitter dm that is really thoughtful conversation or future project planning or helping someone with something, is that social media? I’m leaning toward no? But I’m not sure.

When I’m writing a blog post (like this one) is that social media? Is it writing? Is it 600 Second Saga? Not sure. (Thank you to Elizabeth for reasons to say goodbye to social media.)

The time I find myself spending fighting with security is that…podcast? Blog? Social media? I don’t know.

They all tie together so it’s kind of hard to draw the lines, but I think that what it is important to group things by is how I feel about them? Maybe?

Do you track your time? How? Why? How do you group things?

S1.50 Desmin’s First Assignment

Desmin's First Assignment

Desmin's First Assignment
Desmin’s First Assignment

Desmin’s First Assignment a Crooked Halo story by L M Schukraft

L. M. Schukraft has a Bachelor’s degree in English Creative Writing along with an Associate’s degree in Biological Sciences. She lives in upstate New York with her adventurous toddler son.

She is an avid reader of paranormal, mysteries, romances both historical and contemporary. Ms. Schukraft has written a few blog posts reviewing entertainment, including books, television shows, and movies.

Ms. Schukraft enjoys reading books that make her laugh out loud with characters that stick with you long after the book has ended.

Even Halos Can Be Crooked is her first published novel in The Crooked Halo series. She’s looking forward to writing the next book in The Crooked Halo series.

Crooked Halo Website
Like The Crooked Halo Series on Facebook
Amazon Author Page

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5-star review on iTunes.

 

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Revitalization IWSG

Another round of Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This time I’ve been thinking about revitalization.

The Official March Question

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Um…yes and no? “Really old” is pretty subjective. I feel like it’s hard to say yes because I’ve not pulled out anything that existed only on paper. (Though my mom did find a story I wrote when I was 5. It was adorable. But I didn’t feel the need to rework it.)

Dangerous Metal was initially a radically different story. I wrote it, tried to go back and edit it, actually went through and changed the tense and POV for about 75% of the book before I realized that the whole story didn’t work. I finally reevaluated what the story really needed to be about, what was the core of it, what was the conflict, what was interesting. So I sat down and wrote Dangerous Metal with the same(ish) cast of characters and what had been barely a side plot turned to be the focus. What had been the primary plot trashed entirely. What had been the genre trashed entirely. And really pivoted hard. Hard.

I think it turned out really well for the most part. Far better than the initial, which had some good moments, but was still really rough. I’m not a great writer now, I hope to always be able to be a better writer and be able to see that I can be a better writer. But wow was I worse then. I’ve learned a lot of stuff since. And that’s continuing to be true.

Hurdles

Pictured…not me.

I feel like I’ve had several hurdles I’ve manage to climb over (because that’s what you do with hurdles, I mean, you’re supposed to effortlessly leap them while staying low to the ground and maintaining an incredible speed… but when I as not a magician try to deal with hurdles I climb over them). Each time I manage to get to the other side I do better, so I look back and go WOW.

First, characters. This was a long time ago, creating characters-for the most part-seems like the natural thing to do.

Then I spent a lot of time, strangely writing …descriptive things? I once write a wikipedia style thing about an alien solar system, including all the math. That was fun. (I’m not kidding, I quite enjoyed the math and structure that came with it.) Then oddly once it came to creating characters or plot I just went…nah! (And more of these hurdles…dot.dot.dot boring!)

I think I’ve come a long way, and I can see that what I go back to redo doesn’t have the benefits that present me brings to the table so it is hard to rework some much older things, or things that are significant hurdles ago. Sometimes it is easier to set things aside. I know the times I struggle the most are when I try to rework something that has real deeply fundamental flaws because I’m simply a writer with more knowledge now than I was before. That’s ok. I’d say that’s great. But it does make it harder to rework things.

How about you? Check out what other insecure writers have to say too!

IWSG

Read what other authors have to say about revitalizing old work or just what other awesome things they have to say!

February Check In…

Time for the February check in and it looks like…failure. Or it feels like failure. I’m not sure it was, just not…what I was hoping.

February

Last check in. I wanted to clean up. Yes, and no. I’ve been dealing with hacked bullshit all month. Trying to secure the site, bopping it over the head when it happened again, and addressing the next exposed nerve. Unfortunately, one of the things I was planning to do (spend my best brain power on writing) got co-opted by spending my best brain power on my website.

The other thing a lot of my good, especially creative brain power went to was a large work project that sucked all the creative out of me. But the good news is that it is like 92% done and will be done by the end of March. Woo. It’ll just be uncreative projects after that…? Something along those lines, but I hadn’t realized how much energy that was taking until I put the doneish stamp on it this week and I felt that terror/relief when you send something out into the world. (I hope I’m not the only one who feels terror/relief.)

More visuals! I actually did pretty well at this. Well enough that I got the scary email from Canva saying, Hey! You’re making a lot a lot of pictures. I have been, I’ve also been liking Canva for making them quickly, I don’t want to start spending all my writing time on this, so being able to easily make them is important.

Audio? I did very well, I finished up another story for the Monsters anthology. A handful of podcast episodes done. (I’m very excited to head into Season 2 with some amazing returning authors and wonderful new ones too!)

Writing. 🙁 I just want to leave this as a sad face and call it a loss. Get internet forgiveness and start fresh in March. Speaking of…

March

Writing. I’m putting it at the top of my list. I really want to get back to Stranded. It’s a fantastic story and it deserves my attention. I’m going to carve out some regular time to work on it and actually put it on my schedule. Turn off distractions and dive into working on it. It’s been easy to push it aside when everything else feels more urgent and pressing, having time actually blocked on my calendar for writing Stranded will help a lot.

Visuals! Keep at it. I’m going to be trying to make sure that all my posts and podcasts for Season 2 have images.

Season 2! Starts the first Friday in April. Prep, plan, get excited! Submit! Listen! Enjoy!

Also working toward more of that fantastic terrelief and need to reach out to my cover artist to start working on the set of covers for the Smoke Jumpers series since the first one of that should be ready in April. I’ll need to get the cover done so when everything is back and ready I can compile and send it out into the world.

Is that enough? How was your February?

S1.49 A Chance Encounter

A Chance Encounter

 

A Chance Encounter by Jennifer Deese

Jennifer Deese first officially joined the writing world and became a published author in 2013 with her inaugural novella, The Orchid Keeper. Miss Deese is fond of writing shorter stories versus full sized novels. Her first book will eventually be the prequel novella to a series of short books called The Osipian Chronicles. From childhood her mother has foster her imagination and love of reading…which Deese sees as the roots of her love for writing, especially fantasy. As a lover of nature it is not surprising that it tends to play a part in many of her writings. A mother and a Nana, Jennifer Deese looks forward to spending time with her loved ones. She resides in Pennsylvania with her two dogs and boyfriend James and his son.

FaceBook
Author/Writing Blog
Welcome to JennTerra
GoodReads
Amazon
Twitter

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5-star review on iTunes.

A Chance Encounter
“The woman flashed a welcoming smile, waving as if they were old friends.”

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Stories

Stories drive everything. One of my day job goals is to do more, and more effective storytelling. Something I feel is lacking in my stories is plot. Just not enough of it. I tend to drive away from conflict personally, so sometimes I do too much of that in my stories. So one of my writing goals is to conflict more. (In my stories…not in my life.)

Stories and Pixar!

Pixar has a class on storytelling at Khan Academy. You can get a free class on stories from Pixar. It’s got a few activities, some videos, I highly recommend it so far. The one for storytelling is out already. There is more on characters coming up.

If you’re enjoying videos there’s a playlist of Ted talks about storytelling.

Science Story

But there were creatures with mouths far more frightening than that of any shark. They lived at a time before fish, even before backbones, and they fed on their neighbors with a nightmare apparatus of moving mouthparts.

That’s good story telling! It’s from Scientific American about this creature.

This is actually one of my favorite written Scientific American articles and I’ve been saving it, go read the whole thing. Here’s another tidbit…

Pamdelurion could push their creepy mouth cone outward into a kind of pyramid before flinging open to present their spikes and close around smaller, softer prey.

Stories at work

Not just our day jobs. Writing is work too. And it is interesting because I think that, at least from what I see, sometimes authors (especially myself!) forget to tell the story to convince someone to buy the story. It’s sort of like how you wouldn’t want a resume from a proofreader littered with errors. That’s literally the tool they are using to sell themselves. Well authors should be amazing at telling the stories to sell our stories.

I feel like I just got too meta.

More from Harvard. (I promise this is the last one for a while! I’m almost at my limit, though I think I could get more through the library!)