Tuesday, March 19, 2002

New poll. Here are the results of the last one:

Did you watch the Super Bowl game?
Yep, all of it. (41%)
Most of it. (0%)
Some of it. (8%)
Nope, not at all. (50%)

I’ve moved my Model Languages mini-website into its own little sub-section within the libray in my personal website.

And here’s yet more proof of why Chris rocks:

I also recall speculation that crop circles might be navigational markers, so the visiting aliens know where to land. Uh-huh. They can find our planet amongst billions of stars in the inky reaches of space with their incredibly advanced spacecraft, but when they get here they need to use GIANT SYMBOLS MASHED INTO CORNFIELDS to find their way around. “Y’know, Bleeblebloop, I like going to Earth, but I can never find a parking space. Can we do something about that?”

— Christopher Livingston, March 14, 2002

Writing Thoughts

The Writing Life

Ever since I was a younger teenager, I read novels by Asimov and Bradbury, and dreamed of being a writer. I wanted to write novels, to eagerly debate my works with my fans, and to devote a shelf in my bookcase to the books I write.

I’ve thought about my motivation for wanting to be a writer. I’ve realized that I wanted to be famous and respected in the SF field. I wanted to be a Forrest J. Ackerman or David Brin, to be invited to conventions and be asked for autographs. I had a romanticized ideal of the writer’s life.

As I’ve grown and matured, I’ve tried my hand at being a writer. It’s tough. Writers must have the discipline of a monk and the creativity of a painter. Writers must reveal themselves and their characters on the page, respectfully but entertainingly. Writers must endure a demoralizing training in which their stories flatly suck, in which they exorcize the flaws in their writing.

But these drawbacks no longer intimidate me. I’m willing to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Moreover, I don’t need to be popular. Now that I’ve recognized that motivation, I can reject it. Popularity would be great, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if I never became popular.

However, this morning, a simple question entered my head: If I don’t need to be popular, why do I want to be published?

The publishing industry exists so as to get books (and magazines, newspapers, etc.) into as many hands as possible. People try to get their novels published so that those novels can be put read by the maximum number of readers.

So, if I don’t care about popularity, why bother to be published? If I do want to be published — and I do — I need another motivator.

What are other motivators for publication, besides fame? Some people just want to get their book read by their friends. Some just want their book professionally bound and sold in stores.

Me? I’ve decided that I want to write for a living. That’s my motivator: to make enough money off of writing books to be able to write books full-time.

Okay, that’s an admirable goal, with a reasonable motivation. Now, I need a practical goal, and this is it: I want to publish six books. I want six different professionally-published books, with my name printed on the cover, sitting on one of my bookshelves.

That’s a good, practical, long-term goal. I need a shorter-term goal: to publish one book. And that means that I have to write one.

It’s time to think.

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