Author Archives: B. Blue Marble

About B. Blue Marble

Unpublished weird fiction writer. Aspiring shut-in. Collector of sea-themed tattoos and ill-advised life experiences.

Best Laid Plans: January 2019

typewriter - 2019-01

  • Total: —
    • Write — words/day
    • — days/week

Project: Tim Clare’s Death of a Thousand Cuts – Couch to 80k Writing Boot Camp. This is an eight week course (free online at the link) consisting of 10 minute writing exercises that are intended to be done 6 days/week, but I know myself better than that (I’m also posting this from ~the future~ and the intended timeline did not happen).

Soundtrack: God Module, Glis, Faderhead, Razed In Black, She Wants Revenge, Celldweller (instrumentals), Blue Stahli (instrumentals), Comaduster.

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Arbitrary annual temporal marker #02*

2019 confetti

TO DO THIS YEAR:

  • Continue not failing classes
    • Continue progress towards degree
  • Keep freelancing
    • Save freelancing money for frivolous nonsense
      • Maybe a new tattoo
      • Or a piercing (it’s been a while…)
  • Make a plan to get the fuck out of Kalispell
  • Travel somewhere**
  • Write a novel
    • Write short fiction
    • Write something/anything
      • Dear god seriously anything
  • Sort life out

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*I have a hard time resisting the pull of a blank slate, the promise of new beginnings, and the intensity of raw potential.
**Yes I am turning into one of those insufferable millennial type people who think travel is a worthwhile expense that justifies forgoing other luxuries.

Best Laid Plans: 2018* (In Retrospect)

Words written: somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000.
Days writing fiction: 4. I have 4 recorded days where I sat down and worked on short fiction. These were days when I had a fiction assignment due in a creative writing class. I didn’t work on anything of my own, only stories due for class.

Lessons learned:

  • I need deadlines. Specifically, I need external deadlines. If they are hard deadlines with serious consequences, that’s even better, but I’ll still ignore those sometimes too.** I have not gone past any deadlines for my freelance writing, because I don’t want to lose my contract, so I think my mental calculus of whether a deadline is a real motivator or not is mostly dependent on the overall potential consequences.
  • I meet deadlines just barely. If something is due on the 23rd, I will write it on the night of the 22nd and submit it on the 23rd. This isn’t a good way to work, it leaves no room for inevitable setbacks—like when I got sick on a day I had 2 articles due, so I was at my desk writing with a fever and blurry eyes and it was overall just a terrible experience—and it’s better to work ahead than be behind (duh).
  • I know all of this shit already. Christ that sounds obnoxious but it’s true. I enjoy reading books about writing fiction but I rarely discover anything new (Chuck Wendig’s books on craft being the exception). I have paid for actual college classes on writing that didn’t teach me anything new. Even the more “advanced” classes are still pretty basic. Again, that sounds really obnoxious, but I’ve been doing this for like 2 decades, and my self-study counts for something.

In 2019 I will:

  • Meet my deadlines
    • Even the self-imposed ones
    • Even if there are no serious consequences for failing
    • There’s no point in setting a deadline I’ll ignore
  • Write fiction on more days than I don’t write fiction
    • Don’t fall behind
    • Don’t get to a point of having to make up a deficit
    • Don’t rely on pressure to produce
      • That is a shit way to work
  • Learn about writing for video games
    • Understand the differences in narrative conventions
    • Understand branching narrative paths
    • Understand writing for different game genres

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*I don’t think I’ve done a Best Laid Plans for a whole year before. Seems like a thing to try out.
**I don’t remember if I mentioned this, but I turned in my story draft for the fiction writing workshop I took after the “final” late deadline*** but the professor still gave me credit, probably because I was kind to my peers in class and didn’t make a habit of late work.
***Online school accepts late work up to 1 week late with a 10% penalty. After 1 week late, they’re not supposed to accept anything (unless that was previously negotiated with the professor as part of an accommodation for illness, injury, grief, etc).

Best Laid Plans: December 2018 (In Retrospect)

Wordcount goal: 9,450 words.
Words written: ~3,000.
Days writing fiction: 2.

Excuses: Those numbers look pretty fucking terrible but the actually fucking terrible part is this was probably my best month for writing? Having external deadlines is about the only thing that works for me, so I need to find a way to work on that.

School: The term ended December 23. I closed it out with an A in the fiction workshop and an A- in the science course.* There’s still nearly another full week before the next term starts on the 7th, which feels great since most of the terms are back to back (no spring break in online school! the injustice!).

Freelance: This turned out to be a much better month than the previous couple of months. I am less concerned about future work, and it does seem like the work is cyclical and more or less lines up with the rate of previous assignments from last year.

I am hustling on the freelancing boards again to try to take on more clients because having all of my freelancing income coming from one place is unsettling since I know they can quit me anytime. I kind of keep waiting for them to realize blog articles aren’t the great marketing strategy it used to be in the early ’00s, and then I’m out of a job, but I guess as long as they get paid, I’ll get paid, so I hope their clients never look too close.

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*This is hilarious based on the amount of work I didn’t do. I got a lot of bonus points for being interesting though, apparently.

Term-end wrap-up: Science/fiction

Science: This was required because something-something well-rounded education or whatever. I had a science credit that transferred from my previous attempt at college in my previous life, so I only had to take this 1 science class instead of 2. (Yay?)

Once again, I had it reinforced that the most important thing is to be interesting—I legit got feedback on a paper that was like “I enjoyed reading this and I really liked the analogy you made to the 1975 film Jaws. You seem to have blatantly ignored 40% of the assignment, so I do have to subtract a few points for that, but I really liked your paper.” I’m paraphrasing, but in what universe (besides college) do you get almost full credit for doing like half the work? What the actual fuck. The other papers must’ve been really boring.

Fiction writing workshop: This was an elective. I was there for the deadlines, the workshop provided me with deadlines and I was able to write a story that didn’t suck. Also, I’m apparently low-key obsessed with haunted houses, so maybe I’ll do a collection of stories about those at some point. This class reinforced the importance of being kind, from the purely mercenary standpoint that if I’m supportive and helpful, people are more likely to cut me slack when I ask for it/need it.

Next up: Intro to Digital Imaging, Editing for Media & Publication (term begins January 7th).

Best Laid Plans: December 2018

122018

  • Total: 9,450 words
    • Write 350 words/day
    • 6 days/week, Wednesdays off (but whatever really)
  • Project: Something/anything/mostly short fiction I think.

I am trying a new thing here where I don’t post goals until I’ve actually written something for the month (to start out right? avoid setting goals I will immediately ignore? bog-standard guilt? whatever). The fiction writing workshop story ended at 2147 words long,* written all in one shot** so I know I can do this. It’s just the sitting down and writing that escapes me.***

  • Soundtrack: Julien-K, Blue Stahli, Comaduster, Placebo. God Module (Does This Stuff Freak You Out?) when I need a chaser for all those super melodic things.

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*Based on 350 words/day, that is more than 6 days worth. That is like 1/5 of the total words for the month I’ve been ~struggling~ with for the past 11 months.***
**It had to be done that way because it was 2 weeks late at this point, which is too late for grading but I can probably still get feedback on it, and that’s what counts the most. Also I tend to write everything in one shot, which is probably why I’m really inept at longer fiction, and that’s a filthy habit.
***I suuuck at my supposed dream job.

Best Laid Plans: November 2018 (In Retrospect)

Holy gods where did November go.

Wordcount goal: 50,000 words.
Words written: ~ZERO (shocking).
Days writing fiction: also ZERO (also shocking).

Excuses: Nothing much really. Samey-same nonsense as usual.

School: Science 101 (pre-req) and a Fiction Writing Workshop (elective). I am super liking the fiction workshop, it is forcing me to produce fiction. The first few weeks have been focused on background (character sketch, how to workshop, discussing The Best American Short Stories* (barf)), and at the end of the month there was a short story draft due that I haven’t written yet. I am very on top of things, is my point, and also something about needing external deadlines, but mostly I need to get my shit together.

Freelance: Samey-same. :(

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*It’s ~literary fiction~ (read: mostly sad boners and man pain (yawn)).