samuel x. brase likes to write

Focus

Posted in novel planning by Sam X. on 25 January 2010

An opportunity has presented itself with regards to my novel, and as such, I need to edit the rough draft with all due haste. This is unfortunate, because I have a lot of things pulling me in different directions these days.

Specifically, I’ve been cultivating ideas for the sequel, and the ideas have almost reached the boiling point–I’m anxious to begin work on the manuscript. I realized that I had an opportunity to incorporate ideas I had long ago for another story, what was intended, at the time, to be a webcomic. I don’t want to give away the details, but I will say that it expands one of the primary themes: the effacement of individuality amidst the proliferation of technology. Perhaps not the most original of themes (The Matrix tackled it in its own way, for one), but I’m content that situated within the unique context I have invented, the theme breathes anew. It has certainly become only more relevant as the years wind on, with our proclivity for gadgets.

So, I’m excited for my next novel. I also want to write more short stories. The shorts that I’ve been sending out to markets for the better part of a year now are obviously going to require time in the nether before they get accepted. I desire new shorts to send out, so I can get new rejections and maybe, someday, a new acceptance.

I’m hungry to write more. Which is great, but there’s only so much time in the day, especially when one has a full-time job. And on top of that, I have a lot of things I need to do. I need to read more books, I need to play Mass Effect 2, and season six of Lost starts soon.

Why must everything converge at once?

On top of this–my sleep schedule has been awful. Last night, I was unable to sleep for a good hour. I attribute this to the fact that I basically don’t relax until I actually get into bed. And even then, it’s difficult to stop thinking. I can’t perform my real job and edit for an additional 2-3 hours every night when I’m not getting enough sleep for even the first task.

I have to be strict with myself; I have to focus. Books during lunchtime. No television beyond Lost, comedy Thursdays, and basketball. Editing comes first, every night, except when it’s a “break day”–Friday and Saturday. If it’s after nine, guess what Sam, you don’t get to play video games. You may read.

I need to focus; I have to manage my time. I want to be fully done editing the novel by March. I need to make sure I edit, that I cool down, and get enough sleep. Pretty much everything else is secondary.

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2010

Posted in Uncategorized by Sam X. on 1 January 2010

I have a delicious fascination with the future.

Perhaps this is why I write science fiction; today is pretty set in stone. We have the internet and cars and so on, and I’m digging it, but I’m curious about tomorrow. So rolling the calendar over to 2010 for me has been wonderful; the connotations with a higher number, a new digit in the tens column, an ejection from the previous decade–it all adds up to progression, to walking into the future.

As ridiculous as it is to let an arbitrarily invented system of counting time determine one’s outlook, it’s no less ridiculous than pretty much anything else in human culture. Everything we do we have invented for our own purposes, and counting time is no different. Thus, my joy of moving into 2010 is met with no sense of shame. It is a symbol, an identifier of where we are in relation to the rest of human history. We are in a new decade with a clean slate: The era of Harry Potter has (mostly) passed by; the era of the Beatles is even farther in the rearview; the roaring 20s and the American civil war and Napoleon were ever so long ago.

And as someone who just completed their first novel, this sense of opportunity is inebriating. When the calendar turned from 1989 to 1990, JK Rowling was a perhaps mostly aimless 24-year-old, however imbued with a love of writing from childhood. Ten years later… well, you know the rest. When the calendar rolled from 1969 to 1970, George Lucas had just been a camera operator for the Rolling Stones movies Gimme Shelter. Incidentally, a few years ago I worked briefly with one of the directors of that film. He was twenty-five at the time, scrounging around on the sea floor of the film industry. Ten years later… well, you know the rest.

Thus, it is with no small sense of possibility that I view the upcoming decade. It is, of course, a wish and a dream to even begin to see my path lining up with theirs. But the point is, they entered those decades (the 70s and 90s, respectively) much the same as I am entering this decade: youthful, spirited, creative. I don’t expect blockbuster films and bestselling novels, but I do hope for some level of achievement. Thus, I give you my new year’s resolutions and my new decade’s resolutions.

2010

  • Edit EE by end of February; query agents upon finishing.
  • Write sequel to EE, beginning in April.
  • Write five more substantial short stories (~20 pages) and five shorter pieces (~10 pages); continue to send catalog to markets.
  • Read a book every two weeks. I realize this is a lowly amount to some of you, yet it will represent a vast improvement from a couple of years ago.

2010-2019

  • Write three novels: the EE sequel, the first DS book, and something undetermined. Three isn’t a lot considering that I wrote one in 2009 and I will attempt to complete a second in 2010, but I want to keep this realistic, so I can perhaps focus on other areas of my writing career. Shorts, reading, essays, what have you.
  • Continue a steady pace of short stories throughout.
  • Continue a steady pace of reading throughout.
  • Obtain my MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction.

I have other, more minor goals, yet they are specifically secondary to my writing career, which at this point takes precedence over everything in my life besides friends and family. I want to be sure to stay in touch with music, and I want to watch as much college basketball as I can, but these hardly seem like goals. I’d rather not institutionalize my methods of procrastination, however culturally enriching they might be.

I guess this post, in sum, is me telling myself one thing: You wrote a lot of short stories and a goddamn novel in one year. Sure you were unemployed but you did it. Do it again. And again. And again.

Until the day your hands fall off.

All right, 2010. Let’s do this.

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