Hard Work and Failure

I’ve been thinking a bit about hard work and failure being opposite sides of the same coin.

Birthday wishes

When you do something that requires zero effort, like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and wishing for something and then you don’t get that thing? It’s not a big deal (or it shouldn’t be). It can suck that you didn’t get it, it can be something you desperately needed, but then it won’t be, damn it wishing just doesn’t work. Because you’re not putting in any effort.

Hard work

Failure (and I’ve heard more than once, and said myself that the only failure is the one you don’t learn from, but setting that aside though I’ll come back to it I think) is a result of trying. Trying to write a book is something you can fail at. Wishing you wrote a book isn’t something you fail at. Sitting down and writing a few hundred, or a few thousand, or a hundred thousand and not quite having a book, that might be a failure. But it is hard work. It only is something that we’d call failure because you worked hard at it.

What have you learned?

What was your last failure? Did you stop and think about what happened? What was your last success? Did you stop to think about what went wrong? These are great questions to ask. (HBR not just for business!)

I’ve failed a lot of stuff and I really do try to stop and learn. Sometimes it is little things (my to-do lists are better if broken down by time of day and with bonus tasks listed that I can knock off quickly/when I’m frustrated), sometimes it is bigger things (Halloween month for the podcast was just a bust, good episodes but not much traction, it is really a month when people are looking for horror so it just wasn’t a good fit). I think I can do better at trying to learn from both success and failure. Why are some things I’m surprised by succeeding? Why are there some things that are failing? Or even not succeeding as much?

But it’s all about hard work. Some things I just don’t feel bad about failing because I put so little effort into them. (I way overbought for christmas dinner, I put very little effort into figuring out what the correct amount of food was for the number of people we were having, I knew that the food wouldn’t go to waste. I failed to get it right, I didn’t care.)

Mostly? Failure means you tried. The solution is to stop, ask what happened, assess the situation, and try again. Keep trying.

S1.48 The Currents of Life

The Currents of Life by M L Moos

M L Moos writes YA fantasy and is currently working on a magical trilogy featuring three young heroines and an undersea treasure hunt adventure. To learn more, go to her Facebook page.

She lives in Washington with her husband, two boys and one country cat with a cougar alter ego. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either baking, volunteering at her church or watching Jane Austen movies to make up for the overabundance of testosterone. On the rare occasion she makes it out into public, though, she’s always sure to be glamorous in her mom hair and yoga pants.

You can find her on Facebook @mlmoos or at her blog.

Music is provided by MADS.

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

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The post valentine’s day roundup-NSFW

Very very loosely sex and love related roundup. Very loosely.

NSFW

It’s now a real word! (From Merriam-Webster who is also resisting lies in a fantastic way) It was part of their 1000 new words, but this one is 100% the best for this post.

Bad Chart Thursday

(not this Thursday, every Thursday!) From Skepchick

I was actually surprised to find that at 61%, The Sex Lives of Potato Men is actually more popular than Trump.

Superbowl Porn!

Pornhub statistics are endlessly fascinating. They do serious numbers. Somewhere working at pornhub is a giant stats nerd who has been let loose on the database.

Then something amazing happened — the Patriots began one of the largest turnarounds in football history. As word quickly got around to Bay Staters, traffic plummeted to -53% below average at 10pm, about the same time as it began to increase in Georgia.

And

Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire all dropped more than 40%, while some Southern states like Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi only dropped by 17% to 18% during the game.

Speaking of bad charts? These are phenomenal.

Also, I over-scrolled and got down to the comments. You think the comments are full of sex comments? One of the top comments was asking what was used to plot, Python or R? Giant stats nerds.

Venus

This is a hilarious and awesome video about Venus.

Libraries are awesome!

Check out your local library

I was trying to figure out what to post about, I have one that I’ve been working on about unconditional love and my rant about it, that’s not ready yet. But while I was doing it a few things happened. I got a notification that a book I’d been wanting to check out was available, I found a couple of resources I’d been wanting some more information on (audio mixing, I’m trying to get better and faster, and website security), and I looked up and checked out another book.

Check out your local library
Check out your local library

Libraries are awesome!

Seriously, have you checked out what your local public library offers lately? Oh, you think it’s just books and a dusty card catalog? HA! Get with the times, because libraries sure as heck have!

Want to watch movies? Like live music and drinks? Want to have a book club that talks about books? Want a chance to talk about your books? Yeah, they do all these things.

Has classes ongoing on urban homesteading. Want to learn about raising chickens, apartment gardening, or maple sugaring (no I’m not in Canada)? Show up and you can take classes on all of that and a whole lot more.

Things that are really common at libraries:

  • Need help doing your taxes?
  • Looking for a job?
  • Need homework help?
  • Trying to start a business?

Libraries want to help you!

You can, of course, check out books in person. BUT you can also check out books online at most libraries, ebooks, audiobooks, comic books. And movies, music, tv shows. All of these things can be done online. Seriously, your library might not have the same selection as Netflix, but they likely have movies you won’t find on Netflix either.

Your library also likely has tools to help you learn other stuff. My library has Lynda.com available to everyone online. I’m signed in and listening to a course on securing WordPress sites. I did a whole bunch, but I want to see what else I can do.

I also have access to a wide range of journals and magazines that I wouldn’t normally. I use these to research occasionally. (And if I was fancy and dealt better with humans, I’d haul myself in physically and get help from the fantastic librarians in person.)

Also, there’s so much more!, libraries are an amazing resource for understanding what is going on in the political realm. Not just our local libraries but the Library of Congress is a deeply important institution for cultural memory. They have some amazing resources online as well. It has always been important to support libraries, they are one of the best, and often more democratic ways to share information. You can walk down, get a library card, use it in the physical location, use it online, you don’t need all the money to access it. And we need to help make sure it stays that way. So support your local library. Your local library is hyper local politics that really matter. You might know your city council person or mayor, you might be friends, heck you might be related to them. Tell them that the library matters to you. Tell them that it is one of the most important cultural and democratic instiutuions and you value it. Tell them to put dollars into the library to continue to add value to your neighborhood. Keep it in your neighborhood.

And seriously. Go get a library card! It’s worth its weight in gold.

S1.47 Space Mountain

Space Mountain by Lacy Lalonde

Space Mountain by Lacy Lalonde

Space Mountain was originally published in Gravel Mag.

Lacy Lalonde has work published or is forthcoming at Five 2 One Magazine, The Blotter Magazine, Gravel Mag, Crab Fat Magazine, WOLVES Magazine, The Fem Lit Mag, The Maudlin House, and Little Fiction. She is an East Coaster who fosters cats and dogs, and sometimes writes fiction. She tweets @lacylalonde

Music is provided by MADS.

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

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Information and Confessions

Information is critical

You are undoubtedly not surprised by this. If you are, I’m concerned about you. Seriously. Sci Am points out that the free flow of scientific information is critical for democracy. You should also not be surprised by this. But it is a very good article about it. About what is reasonable and what isn’t.

And for sharing that information? The Sunlight Foundation has a list of who is allowed to talk and who isn’t.

It is actually hard to keep track of what is happening today. Which day is today? Something changed. My head hurts.

Information matters. You want a pretty picture of why? Indexed has ALL THE PRETTY

Confessions

I’ve been trying to do the #authorconfession hashtag questions from J M Sulivan every day this month. Take a few minutes and think about your work in progress. Think about it from a different angle, answer a different question. It’s good to keep my brain in the game rather than having it run off screaming which is what it wants to do.

 

Monthly Review

Something I want to try to do more or be more transparent, or consistent about is …reviews. So my monthly review.

January

I wanted to try to get some stuff cleaned up, get back into writing more, and get sorted out what my next audiobook project was.

I did do more writing. I’ve been writing/rewriting/editing one of my Smoke Jumper novellas. It is actually going ok. Not perfect, but pretty well. I’m fading in and out on working on it, but I’m getting back into it. In a flash of rage I also wrote a flash fiction which is a phone call from the dystopian future to the present. Take the Call! (And make your own!)

Stuff cleaned up…eh. Not quite so good. I had delays here and there. Stress. Hiding. Too much news. Not enough news. Evenings writing to senators (thanks Amy and Al!) Then blog explosion. Then continued dealing with blog explosion. So basically? Excuses. I will buckle down on this again.

Next audiobook project. No. Frustratingly no. I’m holding out on picking up a project and waiting for the anthology pieces I’ve committed to to come in. I don’t want to be in the middle of something big and get those in. Plus I had 2 weekends that weren’t going to be good for recording. I do have a plan for the next few weekends on what I’ll be doing behind the mic (PODCAST! WOO! 600 Second Saga episodes!).  But I still need to check in with people about other projects.

Other? Politics. News. End of the world. I keep bringing myself back to we are as humanity making progress, if we keep pulling toward the future we will keep making progress. Progress like longer life spans, fewer people dying in wars and murders, better health, better quality of life, etc. We are going the right direction, we just all need to keep moving toward the future which is awesome. Future good.

February

Clean up. I need to clean up my files. Now I need to clean up the website and the back-end structure. I need to clean up some stuff at home. Clean space, visually, physically, and digitally helps a lot. And things are hard so I need all the help pieces I can get.

Reach out to authors. Hi authors! If you’ve considered writing for 600 Second Saga, please do! Please contact me! Please ask questions, I’m happy to answer them. I don’t want anyone to hesitate because they think they can’t do it. I’m getting better (and growing well) reaching listeners but I still can do better, and want to do better reaching out to authors. So, you may see some of that coming up.

I’m also working on creating images to go with each of the podcast episodes. (And I’ll be trying to feature some of the highlights from season one with images too.) More visuals. Also to help me think more about doing a better job of getting onto “paper” what’s in my head as far as visuals go.

Write more! As usual, keep the momentum and build on it. Really dig into Stranded and hopefully finish it up, but even if I don’t, don’t stop working on it. I also plan to shift around when I do things to give myself the best time for writing rather than the best time for other things that don’t require my best brain. Restructuring time will be very good for writing and for helping keep my brain space clean too.

What is your review policy? When do you review what you do?

S1.46 Job Opportunity

We are looking for a liaison. You appear to have a natural aptitude that is...very rare.
Job Opportunity

Job Opportunity by Mariah Avix

Mariah Avix is the creator of 600 Second Saga. A space for developing authors to explore the realms of science fiction and fantasy in 10 minutes or less every week.
Mariah writes magical tales of how technology will change our world, and technologically laced tales of magic, that probably isn’t real.
She is currently working on a series of novellas about shapeshifters who fight wildfires, a trilogy about a woman who refuses to admit that she has the M word (magic), and endless flash fiction.
When she’s not writing she walks along the rivers and parks throughout her city looking for inspiration.

Music is provided by MADS.

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

 

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Reading as a Writer

So I’ve been looking around a bit for a good blog hop kind of thing for this year. Ronel the Mythmaker had a recent post about plans for 2017 and she mentioned The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Finally a group for me!

The question prompt for February is How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? which even more so made me go, this is for me!

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Reading

I used to be a good reader. When I get into reading I can be a good reader. Staying up until the next day, reading all day through, doing everything while holding the book (or ipad which is how I read these days, or listening).

But I get into ruts these days. I slow down, way down. I focus on all the wrong things. Because I stop and slow down and can’t stop thinking about the writing craft of it. Why did the author make this choice? What made the author select this tense? Why this character? What was the motivation? But this thing here didn’t lead to that thing. How did that happen? But what happened to her bag? The body was in the trunk for so long it must have gotten stinky, did they take it to a detailer?

I have a hard time making reading fun and completely immersive right now. Still stumbling. I haven’t finished a book joyfully and enthusiastically in a while. I’ve read several, I’ve done a lot of reading and even enjoyed it. But not completely immersed in the world to the point of not seeing the seams. I feel like I am really seeing the seams right now.

I was having a similar problem last winter and I managed to hit a pocket where I was able to fall into books. As soon as I hit the pocket I managed to stay in it for a couple months and read through books at a very good pace. And then I fell out. As soon as a seam was spotted, now they are all there again. I keep stumbling over them.

DNF

I’ve not finished several books that I’m sure were very good. I just couldn’t break that barrier. I’m going to keep trying until I fall out of this hole.

Audiobooks are generally better, not perfect, but an audiobook at 1.25 is harder to find seams in because first, I can’t see any errors in the text, and they are often moving fast enough in the ear that I miss them. Second, I just don’t have as long to pause and ruminate on each section as it runs past. I have to dig out the device and pause it, and by the time I do that I’ve often missed it. Which is great. But right now I’m even failing at that.

Bad writer. No cookie.

Horror

First a theory on horror then my own (mild) horror.

Do you like horror?

I expect that you can tell if a person likes horror or not by what happens when they have a benign scare. Like when a person taps you on the shoulder, or comes up behind you, or opens a door, or the like. Not when they are intending to be mean, but when they are just going about their business or trying to politely get your attention.

If that happens and after you jump or scream, you laugh? You like horror.

If that happens and after you jump or scream, you’re not laughing? Don’t like horror.

Anyone have any other information? Contradictions? Which kind of person are you?

I recently had a moment like this when I and another person surprised each other. It was totally unintentional. We both had a panic moment. The other person laughed, I did not. I wonder if you could force this response and if that response would eventually become automatic, and then at that point would you start to enjoy horror?

Hacking horror

My site was hacked yesterday, I cleaned it up. Today I took the site entirely offline and started over. There was no malicious code, but I just wanted to make sure everything was clean.

It should be back up and running at full capacity. I have some back end things that aren’t working (and some of the old freestanding audio isn’t uploaded again, so listen to the podcast instead! :))

I’ll keep working on getting the color and look and feel back to what I am aiming for, suggestions welcome!