Ride my Wave


Well, lots of interesting things to talk about, but for tonight I'm just going to mention one thing, "I GOT AN INVITE TO GOOGLE WAVE!!!" 

"What's that?" you say. 

Only the coolest thing since . . . uh, ever. 

Actually, it's way more complicated than that, but that's a nice overview. So, as one of the chosen, I've been given 20 invites to pass along so that I actually have people to wave with. Of course I have to give some of those out to family and close friends who know where I live and will hurt me if I don't send an invite to them first, but I think that there are going to be a few left over. 

So I got to thinking, "who would even use Wave?" and "Who do I WANT to use Wave with?" The answer is those that I can talk with about writing. I also got to thinking that a lot of the people who comment on this blog have gmail accounts. (Do you see where I'm going with this?)

What better way to thank you awesome people than by sharing the Wave love (especially when I have no money)? 

So, if you're interested in riding the Wave, get in touch with me so that I can send you an invite. I'll add as many as I can (which isn't many) but I'll do my best.

Ambitextrous Artistry (not really)

It seems to me that most writers tend to be artistic in some way other than just writing. I've mentioned before my stint in art school, graphic design, comics, and sign making. I also took a year off of school after graduating high school to play in a garage band (don't ask).  

My wife, who used to write when she had the time to do such things, is into oil painting and heads the yearbook at her high school. I have a writing group partner who participates in Ren Faire and enjoys drum circle. Crit partner 1 used to be an operatic singer. Crit partner 2 takes photographs. And Maggie Stiefvater, author of Shivver, and the object of both my crit partners' eternal and undying affection, is a bag piper, and even created her own animated trailer for one of her latest books.

During my break from writing, I still needed to get some form of artistic expression out. Instead of picking up one of my previously developed artistic veins, I ventured into a new one with my wife. We've gone into photography! I know, I know, here we go again, right? Well, one great thing about this new venture is that my wife and I get to do it together. Rather than me working away in the office and her at her desk, we're side by side interacting and helping each other get better at the craft. But I won't talk too much about that here. Melody has started us a photography blog that we'll be updating from time to time. If you're into that kind of thing, check it out at http://www.melodyanddavidphotography.blogspot.com/

So what's your artistic outlet that's not writing? And more importantly, why do we have them? I'm curious about that and don't really have an answer to it. Is it just that we're artistic people and we need to express ourselves in as many ways as possible? I don't know, you tell me.

Mental Swine Flu

Where in the world have I been? Well, I didn't really go anywhere, I just took one of my communication vacations. Before the age of the internet I never felt that they were necessary. I used to call up friends all of the time, go out every weekend, had to have the television on in the background even if I wasn't watching it.  

Something to do with the constantly plugged in reality that we live in now has changed all of that. As I've said before, I don't have a television. Whereas getting a telephone call used to be a treat, I now find them annoying. And going out? HA! I'm actually going to be ditching out on a Reno bachelor party because I'd rather save the money for a camera. Obviously, things have changed.  

As I endeavored to reach out to every possible writing vein I could, I found that I submerged myself in communication. At night I'd have a conversation with you via the blog, during the day there was chatting with crit partners, then I started up the critique group that crashed and burned, but while it was going I had three chapters a week extra to critique and then there was infighting and head butting and headaches. When I finally put my foot down and said “that's it, this isn't going to work,” and took the group out to the back forty and put it down, I'd had enough.  

The choice at that point was either to try and keep struggling on with everything else even though I wasn't 100% or just stopping altogether. I guess it was kind of like being sick. Doctors don't usually prescribe that you stop doing one thing but continue doing everything else when you're laid up with swine flu. They tell you to sit your ass in bed and don't get up until you're better. Well that's just what I did, only I did it mentally. And you know what, I think it worked. I feel much better now.  

And there's your thought as I return to blogging after something like a two week hiatus. Take a real break from whatever it is that is wearing on you, not a fake one. The fake one's don't get rid of the bug.  

Winter Voice


A thought on senses and their uniqueness to each of us. I think that Les Edgerton's book, Finding Your Voice has me thinking about this, and I'm glad that it does. He talks a lot about bringing your own unique view of the world into your writing, letting your experiences color the way you describe things.

Just tonight I was sitting down to write, the chill of the witching hour setting in. I nudged the thermostat as I started to boil some water and listened to the wall heater start up. That's when this thought came to me.

Winter sounds like the hallow burning of a furnace that clicks as it gets warmer, it tastes like a hot cup of cocoa, smells like almond wood burning in the fireplace, and feels like the warm curve of my wife's body pressing up against me in bed, flannel sheets wrapping around us.

These things are all unique to me. Sure, others may share some, but not all. I need to remember this unique view of the world when I write because it is my voice and it is what I know.

So I wonder, what is winter to you?

Sum Total Characters

I was out getting construction supplies this weekend, sitting in my folks' big 16 foot box van. It's one of those ones where you sit on the engine and the front of it is all flat glass and bumper so you get a really good view of the road (and your impending doom should you run into the back of a semi).  

While I sat at a stop light I looked out on a woman crossing the road in front of me. She walked a shiny Walmart mountain bike that didn't really go with the men's jeans she was wearing. The bike fit her, being for a child and she about the height of a junior high student. Her hair, probably capable of great things in her youth, was left wild and frizzy, shocks of white tearing through it like a ghost trying to escape a grave. There might have been a crook to her bulbous nose though I couldn't really say for sure. Maybe it was that faded black t-shirt that she wore like a teenage grunge boy that made me think it should be crooked.

As she passed I couldn't help but wonder what had gone wrong in her life. Who might have abused her, touched her, used her, pushed her around and left that sneer on her face. Lovers, mothers, fathers, uncles?

And then I thought, “Does she know?”

Does she think of those things and how they effect her? How those experiences make her decisions for her? How many of us really do?

Just a thought.

We are all the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences mold us into who we are, but we rarely think of them. Even our characters are nothing more than experiences. And we should bear in mind that they don't always realize that they manipulate their actions.

Monday Funny Angry (feet)


So today's little funny comes from over the pond. It sort of goes with what I wrote up for tomorrow, so I thought I'd share it in spite of the strong language. Yes, there is strong language, he's actually going to say what we tend to think on a daily basis. 

Did you get that kiddies? If not: WARNING. . . STRONG LANGUAGE (this message may be inappropriate for ill mannered children or old fuddy duddies)

Changes to this blog

Quitting?! Me? Never. 

Okay, so it crossed my mind. Then I realized that in hard times we don't quit, we adapt. Over the past week I've been doing some assessing of my own goals and have taken a hard look at what I've accomplished. I also got some great feedback from readers, which I'll share with you since it mostly came off-board.

My dear friend Amanda had some great ideas about formatting:

Hey David,

I was just reading your post today, and I have a suggestion that I thought might help. Maybe it's not the length of the post that's keeping people from reading, but the way it's presented? It reminded me of what job coaches tell you about a resume - you only have a few seconds to sell yourself; no one wants to read a block of text, they want bullets and titles that stand out so they can see what you're about at a glance. There's one blog that I frequent (http://www.facebook.com/l/29918;zenhabits.net) that takes advantage of his reader's short attention span by doing just this. Here's an example: http://www.facebook.com/l/29918;zenhabits.net/2009/09/the-habit-change-cheatsheet-29-ways-to-successfully-ingrain-a-behavior/#more-4644

Les Edgerton wrote in with this bit of wisdom:

Hey David,

I just wanted to comment on your post about cutting back on your blog. My thought when I see a blog that comes out as regular as your does is, "When does he ever have time to do his own writing?" A good example is a couple of weeks ago, I was gabbing with agent Don Maass and we were talking about Nathan Bransford and his daily blog. We both wondered when the heck did he find time to do any agenting. Well, he does and he's a great agent and somehow finds the time, but I just know I started a blog once and had to quit fairly soon into it as it was eating great chunks of my available writing time up. I think if you post, say once a week, you'd find it worked better for you. I had a similar problem years ago when I was a hairstylist. I'd talk about the novel or whatever I was working on all day long to clients and when I got home at night found I wrote very little. The reason? I was "writing" all day long when I was talking to my clients! Since I figured that out, I quit talking to anyone about what I was working on, including my wife. That helped a ton. Hey, if you think this will help anyone, please feel free to post it on your blog. I just can't figure out how to do that!

BTW, I really enjoy your postings!

And my writing mom, Viki, had this to say:

First of all, a lot of the stuff you've written here has been tremendously helpful to MY writing. There have even been a few of those "coincidences" that what you've written DIRECTLY speaks to an issue I'm having with my story, or my process, or even my motivation for writing at all! So, for me, your blog has often helped me get back to a writing mojo....& it has also made me smile & then laugh out loud. AND, I have quoted it to many writing friends.

And cos of that, I'm probably not truly objective. But that's okay too. Inspiration & direction is subjective, and your blog has provided both for me. I don't think you need to change a thing about it. (so sue me!)

That said, & purely for the sake of trying to at least offer SOME kind of suggestion: Would it be feasible to decide on one subject/thought/theme for each week, then write about it over 3-5 days? Each post building on the last to a conclusion? Giving you an opportunity to expound? Is this a way of telling you that there have been many times that I wanted more? Yeah.

What I learned

Formatting: I need to spend more time on it

Time: I don't have it

Loyalty: Just because some folks are forced to take a break doesn't mean they aren't coming back and I should be here when they return

Length: It's the length of my posts that's killing me

Goals: My main goal is to write and publish, but I'm spending a good chunk of my writing time putting together posts

Comments: Sometime in the near future I might have to abandon this blog theme for one that is better about comments

Friends: I've got a lot of great people out there that love and support me and I appreciate all of them

And the Verdict Is:

I'm going to keep the same format. Five days a week, extras on the weekends if the mood strikes me. The difference is going to be in length. Rather than struggling to put together four fully developed posts, I'll have small thoughts like yesterdays for three of those days and then one post a week will be a well developed article, complete with formatting, witty headings, and pictures. It's all that extra stuff that I try to put into the articles to make them easier on the eyes that really eats away at time.

This should free up time for both you and me to get our writing done. You won't be trying to wade through long posts, and I won't be spending all my time writing them.

Did I miss anything? If so, and you weren't able to comment before, you're always welcome to drop me a line and share your thoughts. If there's something you'd like to see more or less of, say so. After all, it's the feedback that I get from you guys that makes this all worth while. 

Hope everyone's lives are getting a little less complicated and that you're finding adequate time for your writing. 


How many things do you have on the back-burner? Me? Tons. I had to go out and get extra stoves just so that I could have more back-burners to put things on.  

Take a moment to consider how many things you have on back-burners. Right them all down. Make a big long list, (you might want to do this in a word processor). Then organize that list, not from most important to least, but from most frustrating to least.

For instance, I have dogs that keep getting off of their tethers and wreaking havoc (still can't find my other hiking shoe). While finishing off the inside of the house in preparation for winter is more important, I'm going to focus on getting the dog kennel done first because it is a constant source of irritation.

One by one, pull those pots and pans on the back burners up to the front. Focus on them one at a time, dedicate time and energy to completing one project rather than simply making progress, and I think you'll find the stove-top of your mind a little less messy and a lot more manageable.

Tomorrow I'll reveal my plan for going forward with the blog. Stay tuned.