Tag Archives: thoughts

Connect the Dots

Sometimes I feel my job as a writer is best summed up by Pee-Wee Herman: “Connect the dots, la la la la.”

My New Little Campaign

I’ve been entrenched on the creation side of content for a while now and have come to a small realization.  I think this insight came in the moments between checking 3 different email accounts and half a dozen different sites that provide stats (a tidbit which becomes relevant in a moment).

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We Live In Amazing Times

I watched the launch of Atlantis from my desk at work yesterday and thought to myself: We live in amazing times.  It feels like “the future” now.

We as a race can shoot people into space on large rockets.  We’ve gotten pretty good at it.

On top of that, even though I can’t go to the launch myself, I can pull up a live video feed of it on my computer as if it’s nothing. A few clicks and bingo, more information on it–including text, audio, and video–than I could ever hope to consume.  And anyone can do it.

I’m thinking back to a TV series that James Burke did called Connections. We can thank credit and spoiled food for giving us spaceflight.

Atlantis space shuttle

Image credit: NASA

Quitting Facebook

I wrote previously about The Problem With Facebook’s Latest Change.  This is a follow-up of sorts to that post.

My account is scheduled for deletion, but in the interim, I’m ruminating on the whole issue before I decide for sure.

I waffled on the decision to deactivate/delete my account.  On the one hand, I felt they were going too far in making assumptions about what the internet “should” be and what users would be okay with.  On the other hand, I know that I interact with many of my friends there.  Its use to me as a promotion platform for my writing and music careers also comes to mind.

Then I started wondering: why am I so reluctant to walk away?  That the thought of leaving bothered me made me want to leave even more.  To poke at it like a sore or loose tooth to figure out what it was and why.

It’s been a few weeks now.  Mostly I’m over the addiction part of it.  It’s nice to have one less thing to check constantly.  I’m able to keep in touch with most everyone, and even if I wasn’t able to specifically acquire alternate contact information, I’m easily found online.

If someone wants to contact me, they can.

But I don’t think they will.

Facebook (and other things like it) provide a convenient way to contact friends.  Like a catalyst in a chemical reaction, it lowers the energy required for that reaction. In this case, it lowers the barrier to actually sending your friend a hello.

Yet most of our updates aren’t even that direct.  We post quizzes and thoughts and links and perhaps get a comment or a click on a ‘like’ button, how often do we interact in a direct, meaningful way?  10% of the time?  Less?  Usually if we did, it was via direct messages anyways, which are just glorified emails.  Also, if you can’t be bothered to shoot me an email to say hello or to respond to mine, how close were we in the first place?  I found it interesting that when I went to deactivate my account, they showed me a random selection of friends and said, “Are you sure?  They’ll miss you.”  Are they counting on the group mentality, the reflex reaction of “I can’t leave my friends!” to keep me subscribed?

Besides, I think they’re wrong.  I have yet to receive one email/tweet/etc from someone on facebook to tell me that they miss seeing me on there.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be loved and all, but I’m okay with that.

What, exactly, am I leaving behind that I cannot find elsewhere?

An addiction?  A to-do (don’t have plenty of those already)?  A sense of belonging?

Ahh, I have it: I’m leaving behind all those sad cows and ducks from Farmville.

I suppose they’ll just have to fend for themselves.

I Walk The Line

(with a nod and apology to Johnny Cash)

I walk the (literary) line.  I have to, you see.  It’s the only way I see to finish stories and get them out in front of people.

I maintain that every author has a love/hate or awesome/suck relationship with themselves and their work.  They walk the literary line day in and day out, never straying too far to either side, because literary ruin waits for those who venture too far adrift.

First: You have to believe in yourself.  You have to believe that your story is good enough and is worth telling enough to write the damn thing.  You have to believe that you are totally awesome and totally capable of telling whatever story it is–even in the face of the overwhelming mental evidence your brain will construct to the contrary.

Then: You have to rip it apart.  Get out the editorial sandblaster, because you’re going to carve away at it to see what’s really beneath.  You need to think that you suck enough that your story needs editing.   Rare few are good enough to bang out a rough and be done with it.  Simultaneously, you have to also think that you and your story are good enough to edit it and not give up on the process or the story.

On to: You have to think you and your story are awesome enough that it’s worth giving to advance readers and sending out to publishers once it’s done.  It takes a measure of guts to put your work into an envelope, an email, a file upload box on a webpage.  That self-reflecting awesomeness is your fuel for doing so.

Finally: You have to think that you suck enough so that you never become complacent, never stop trying to develop your skills, learn something new, or rewrite a piece to make it better.

And the cycle continues, on and on, and goes however deep and specific you care to take it.