Writing: Working Harder and Enjoyment

A recent post from Lazette Gifford struck a chord for me. Her “Zette’s Take: The Power of Attitude” was inspired from a previous post titled “Procrastination”.

“My last blog post brought me a couple interesting letters.  One was on the value of having a clean house, which I agree with . . . in theory.  (grin)

Another, though, was a lecture about working harder, not just ‘throwing words on a page and calling it good’ and how a writer who doesn’t work hard is never going to be a good writer.”

Oh, the lectures. How I love these, especially on this subject. It’s a sad subject, really, because it really is all about attitude and not about “working harder” at all.

In fact, Zette came to the same conclusion when she said:

“Far too many people seem to think that if you enjoy something, you can’t be working hard.”

Bingo!

When I come across someone with this point of view, it makes me think of several things:

  1. Wow, this person must have a sad life. It’s an either/or decision now? The two must be separated? If they work hard, do they not enjoy it? Or is any accidental enjoyment something to feel guilty about?
  2. Again, wow, this person must have a sad life. If they enjoy something, is it not worth as much as something they ‘work hard at’? If they enjoy it, it must automatically not be hard work? Is ‘enjoyment’ only for frivolous things?
  3. Ultimately, if you don’t enjoy doing something that is so much a part of your life, why are you doing it? Do you like only ‘working hard’ and not enjoy the process? Why is there such a divide between ‘hard work’ and ‘enjoyment’ that they are separating the two so much? Then I get sad for them again.

As Zette said, it’s attitude, people.

I’ve had people get after me because consistently writing so many words, and revising so many words, must mean I’m not working hard on the craft side of writing. I must be only throwing garbage at the page. No way can any ‘quality’ of any sort result.

To which I say horsehocky.

I’m working hard, and the fact I’m doing so not only proves it, but it also means I’m doing really well at the one thing a lot of writers have a hard time doing: applying the butt-glue.

Yep, that’s right. Not talking about writing or revising and hardly doing either, but actually sitting down and doing it.

That is what I work hard at: making myself sit down. This is the key to a prolific writer. Not a fast writing or typing speed, but the specific work ethic of sitting down and doing it.

By doing it, I’m learning by the act of writing and storytelling. By learning, I’m making future works better. I learn when I read, as well. I learn by watching people. I learn while watching TV and movies. Always learning from the world around me. Learning from every aspect of living.

Always learning, always applying, always writing, always revising, and loving every moment of it.

In other words, enjoying the process.

The sitting down part: hard work.

The writing part? Pretty much pure enjoyment. And, I don’t feel guilty about it a bit.

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Writing: Working Harder and Enjoyment
A planet-wide conspiracy is waiting at Grandmother’s house…

“Always wear the red hood and cape while you are in the forest,” Grandma admonished.

For a teen with purple and red hair, and an attitude to match, the small claustrophobic city of Oburos grows ever smaller with Uncle Travis’s attempts to take over her and her mother’s life.

An invitation to visit Grandmother’s house, nestled among the giant trees filling the planet, gives Kate a welcome respite. But, there is no time for rest. A conspiracy among the forest inhabitants, moving trees, and other mysteries await her at Grandmother’s house.

Kate learns just how little she knew of the forests, much less its animals. To survive she must learn fast, and that includes trust and teamwork.

And just where was Grandma, anyway?

A Science Fiction 83600, 335 page (approximate) word stand-alone novel retelling of the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood”.

AmazonWriting: Working Harder and Enjoyment | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

New Release: Secret Illusions (Salmon Run – Book 4)

New Release: Secret Illusions (Salmon Run - Book 4)Yep, there is a new story in the Salmon Run series!

In the aftermath of the earthquake Hawk and Zach Callahan get a surprise: their lodge has been appointed a long-term shelter for those who’s homes were destroyed. In the midst of it all, the aliens reveal themselves to Zach and Sasha’s families, but for a specific reason.

They need the help of the humans to identify a potential threat… in Bermuda.

According to Uncle George’s will, a trip to Bermuda could cost the Callahans their lodge. Unless they can make the entire town believe they never left Salmon Run in the first place.

A stand-alone 36500 word Alaskan science fiction novella in the Salmon Run series.

The ebook has been up at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for the last several days, but only tonight was I able to get it up on Smashwords. Over the next few weeks it will filter to other retailers, such as Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Diesel.

Here is a list of the retailers where the new release is currently available:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Omnilit

Drive Thru Fiction

Passing of Another Science Fiction Writer: John Christopher

We have lost another science fiction writer.

Christopher Samuel Youd died on February 3rd at the age of 89 from complications of bladder cancer. I, and many in the world, now him by one of his more famous pennames John Christopher. Other pennames were Stanley Winchester, Hilary Ford, William Godfrey, William Vine, Peter Graaf, Peter Nichols and Anthony Rye. Yet another prolific writer who used many pennames to not only categorize his offerings, but enabled him to write and sell up to 4 novels a year so he could support his family.

The set of work I’m most familiar with was the Tripod Series, consisting of a group of 4 young adult novels. Humanity has been conquered and enslaved by “the tripods”, unseen alien entities (later identified as “Masters”) who travel about in gigantic three-legged walking machines. Life goes on largely as it had in the pre-industrial era (with a few artifacts still existing, such as battery-less watches), as all of humanity is subject to mental controls which prevent anyone from challenging the established order.

Humans are controlled from the age of 14 by implants called “caps”, which suppress curiosity and creativity and leave the recipient placid and docile, incapable of dissent. The first book follows Will, a thirteen year old living in the small (fictional) English village of Wherton, is looking forward to the transition to adulthood which will take place on the next “Capping Day”, until a chance meeting with a mysterious Vagrant (the name for those who’s caps cause broken minds instead of mind-control) sends him on a quest to discover a world beyond the Tripods’ control. Accompanied by his cousin Henry, and a French teenager nicknamed “Beanpole”, they head out to find a place not under Tripod authority and the remaining human resistance.

Oh yeah, a lot of adventure ensues!

I read the original 3 novels as a teenager, “The White Mountains“, “The City of Gold and Lead“, and “The Pool of Fire“, but admit I have not read the 4th prequel (“When the Tripods Came“). The original 3? Wow, I loved them. It all started with a 6th grade teacher reading the first one to our class as a present for behaving and getting our projects done. Even the most hyper boys in the back of the class would do almost anything to keep the teacher reading.

The three books of the original Tripod series were yet another foundation in my lasting love of science fiction. Read them. They are still fun.

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Passing of Another Science Fiction Writer: John Christopher
A planet-wide conspiracy is waiting at Grandmother’s house…

“Always wear the red hood and cape while you are in the forest,” Grandma admonished.

For a teen with purple and red hair, and an attitude to match, the small claustrophobic city of Oburos grows ever smaller with Uncle Travis’s attempts to take over her and her mother’s life.

An invitation to visit Grandmother’s house, nestled among the giant trees filling the planet, gives Kate a welcome respite. But, there is no time for rest. A conspiracy among the forest inhabitants, moving trees, and other mysteries await her at Grandmother’s house.

Kate learns just how little she knew of the forests, much less its animals. To survive she must learn fast, and that includes trust and teamwork.

And just where was Grandma, anyway?

A Science Fiction 83600, 335 page (approximate) word stand-alone novel retelling of the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood”.

AmazonPassing of Another Science Fiction Writer: John Christopher | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Astronomy Fun Stuff: Molecular Cloud Barnard 68

I love to read about odd and strange phenomenon in our large universe. The one I read the other day is on Molecular Cloud Barnard 68.

This ‘hole’ among the stars is what is called a dark molecular cloud where the concentration of dust and gas is so dense that is shuts out practically all the visible light from background stars (it’s possible to see through them in infrared light, though). Barnard 68 is a classic example of this.

Because no stars are visible in the center indicates the cloud is rather nearby, with current calculations placing it about 500 light-years away and approximately half a light-year across. It’s not known how these cold clouds form, but it is known that the clouds are places new stars can form.

Small article at Astronomy Picture of the Day

Plot bunnies anyone? Of isolated suns in the midst of a dark molecular cloud? Of a ship trapped inside?

Astronomy Fun Stuff: Molecular Cloud Barnard 68

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Coffee Cup Dreams New CoverCoffee Cup Dreams

She wasn’t supposed to wake up when dead…

During what should have been a simple operation, Tish Douglas died. And yet, she also awoke… in what the doctors called a ‘psi event.’

Despite having no memory of the incident, it means she’s required to go on a life-time course of debilitating drugs designed to reign in her supposedly new psi gifts. She’s left with the option of existing on Earth in a drug-haze, or leave the planet.

When an opportunity for a good paying job on a space station known as Redpoint One is offered, she jumps at the chance. Even though she doesn’t have any experience as a ‘maintenance engineer.’ Even though the station sits in the middle of nowhere, a still-operating construct of a long-gone alien species.

Between pirate attacks, intelligent repair robots, and maintenance emergencies, Tish must find a place for herself.

All complicated by a growing attraction to the one person on the station she can’t have: boss Arthur Getty.

A stand-alone 48400 word, 193 page (approximate), science fiction romance novel.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords