This is coming to you on a Monday, instead of a Sunday like I planned, but it’s really not that well planned to begin with because this is the 4th edition of Weeknotes, where I’ve only published one before this so is it technically a 4th one if it’s only the 2nd overall and does anyone else smell copper…?
The Cracked Podcast is playing, featuring host Alex Schmidt talking with “David Wong,” a.k.a. Jason Pargin, about how marketers are now trying to predict our own timelines. It’s a fascinating piece, one that shines a very obvious light on online marketing practices.
We’ve all talked about it in some capacity. You order a cat toy off Amazon, when suddenly, cat toys are following you across all platforms. They’re everywhere. Cat toys are swarming over you like a pile of kittens, only instead of it being cute and life-affirming, it’s a stark reminder you’re being watched all the time.
Pargin goes one step further, though, by breaking down how marketing and algorithms have improved over time, leading to box office successes like “Bright” on Netflix, which must have been made by looking at the venn diagram of “popular stuff right now.” This diagram included, “Will Smith,” “The Wire,” and “Lord of the Rings.” Make it a reality!
Enlightening listen, as are all episodes with Pargin. Check it out here.
The end of august is coming, and according to my white board, I should be wrapping up Project: HARP, the middle grade fantasy project I began back in June. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’m going to hit this third self-imposed deadline either. This will be the 3rd that I’ve passed with no complete novel. I’m writing every month, that’s not the problem, it’s just not enough/
It is because I’m writing it by hand? Maybe. Is it because the closer I get to the event horizon of completion the more this book has a chance to be real and to fail if I send it out? Maybe.
That’s the thing, though. As an aspiring novelist, I can’t actually “fail.” Failure doesn’t exist because there’s nothing on the line. Writing isn’t my only job right now, so there’s not money to risk. I’m only 31 years old with no known diseases (that I know of) that’ll end my life sooner, so time isn’t a factor.
With that knowledge I should be able to overcome these obstacles in my mind, the fear that what I’m writing right now isn’t good enough. No one is expecting me to be “good enough,” because, frankly, no one is expecting anything from me. That’s unlimited freedom. Write until the cows come home, then take a shot of life, and write alongside your brother and sister cows.
In short, I’m moving my deadline for Project: HARP till “Whenever,” because at this point that’s what the project needs. September is looming and I have another novel to start then.
Dubbed, “Project: GREY,” it’s a science-fiction novel that flows and plows forward in plot. I expect to get it done in a month. 30-40,000 word count goal. Typed, not hand-written this time. The outline is sitting on my desktop for me to go over a few more times, then, come this Saturday, September 1st, the writing begins.
Speaking of, Project: PAN, the 15-20,000K middle-grade horror novella that I’ve had on my mind is on my schedule, due Monday, September 3rd. My plan was to write the entire thing in one weekend. One book. One weekend. Write without caution to an extremely dangerous degree.
Writing is art, so feel free to test the boundaries of what you can do.
Next week’s Weeknotes will announce whether or not I’ve succeeded or failed at this particular task.
Traveling this Labor Day weekend.
Heading to Dallas for a wedding.
Will post photos.
Follow along at @RobAcosta on Instagram for the very mediocre pics.
Speaking of “originality” and “creativity” in art, I read two pieces about that very topic.
Chuck Wendig’s piece, “Originality is Overrated In Authorland” claims that every story has been told but the only discerning factor, the only factor that matters, the “x-factor,” is you.
You, with all your experiences and lifestyle choices (and it’s okay to live with cows whom you write with) is what makes you YOU. No one else can tell a story the way you can, so might as well embrace it. These stories I’m writing, no doubt if you looked for even a fraction of a second, the plots could easily be dissected and connected back to something else.
“You got this from here,” or, “You pulled this character model from there,” and that’s okay. I know that. I know I’m just a lump sum of everything I’ve read/watched/listened/played, but the difference is they didn’t tell it the way I, or you, will.
Check it out. It’s a great read.
On the other side of that coin is Autumn Christian’s blog post, Become More Creative and Productive: Listen To Your Body, breaks down how creativity is more of a biological factor than we think.
Christian argues that the 8-hour work day was designed to appease labor unions and factories, but that humans aren’t build that way because, guess what, SCIENCE:
Lately I’ve been doing some research about circadian rhythms and how the body acts at different times. Generally speaking we’re more productive in the morning, and more creative at night. So I’ve been scheduling my work around those times. During the night I plan and allow my mind to free associate. During the morning, I write what I planned at night. I know not everyone can adhere to a schedule like that – but the important takeaway is that we can’t defy biology and millions of years of evolution. If we work with it – we get good results. If we work against it, we have to work that much harder.
That fascinated me, because I’ve always felt when I wake up at 5am (like I did when I was a teacher), I was able to get more monotonous stuff done in the class. Organizing, filing, copying, etc.
Yet, when the day ended and my students went home, that was when I enjoyed lesson planning, jotting down ideas for how to move my class posters, thinking of new ways to punish the awful children.
Now I know the reason.
Autumn’s book, Crooked God Machine, just arrived today and I am stoked to read it. On Twitter, she’s got a deeply haunting and insightful mind. (Amazon)
Turns out, according to science as well, I’ve been sitting wrong my whole life. Since I plan on spending most of life sitting wrong for the rest of my days, then this NPR atticle should prove extremely helpful.
And that’s it! I’m out for the week. Edition 4 is done, I have an outline to finish, new pages to add on to the ever-growing Project: HARP, and, hopefully, a week to survive.
Take care of each other. This world can’t beat us. Not by design and not by merit.
Thanks for reading.