Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dreading Mondays

Today is Monday. Mondays are usually about drudgery, about picking up the pieces of the jobs you abandoned on Friday, getting back into the flow of the task, aligning yourself with the corporate plan and getting at it. Getting on task. Working.

I've always said that I didn't want the kind of job that makes you look forward to Fridays, and dread Mondays. And yet, I have had precisely that job for the last... uh. Always. Almost fifteen years, I guess.

Last Wednesday, I tendered my resignation. I'm done with presort. I'm done with fundraising. I'm done with dreading Mondays.

This is my last full week here. I'll have next Monday, but that will be a short week, and I don't suspect there will be much for me to do. And then on Thursday morning I'll wake up, and my time will be my own. I'll have no excuse to make about how long I can devote to this project or that book. For the last nine years I've been writing nights and weekends, neglecting relationships that mean the world to me, not taking care of myself mentally, physically or spiritually. Grinding.

And at the end of the day, when I settle down in front of the book each night after a full day of work, exhausted, there's no way I'm writing as well as I could be. I'm certainly not performing up to my own standards. So now I have the chance to do that. I can write as well as I can, with no excuses, no filters, no buffers between me and the page.

Can I make it as a full time writer? We'll see. That question has been hanging over my head for years. As long as I had the day job, it wasn't a question I had to answer. I have to answer it now. I have to succeed now, or accept failure.

I'm not the kind of guy who accepts failure.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Overthinking the Public Face

Writing is kind of a private business, with very public results. I don't know if writers are just naturally introverts, or if it's something you become after years of toiling in silence and isolation, or if writing by its nature requires a kind of introversion and self-awareness to succeed. Maybe introversion is a selector for the writer's evolutionary process. I don't know.

But it's a private task. I write books in isolation. I cut myself off from my friends, my family, my wife... I go somewhere quiet and I labor inside my head, and then I force that labor out onto the page.

The point is, it's not something you do publicly. When I write it, I'm alone. When you read it, I'm not there, and I'm not really aware that you're doing it. There's a gap in the process, you understand.

Usually, when people go to work, they're doing their work publicly. Other people are aware of your task flow, they appreciate or denigrate your effort, and when you succeed there's some public awareness of that success. You can work hard, succeed publicly, and be appreciated. There's a certain amount of pleasure to be found in being good at what you do, and having other people aware of that, and being in the presence of their awareness.

That's all very convoluted, I know. What I'm trying to say is that this is why I love conventions. Usually, I'm a write alone in my basement, or at a coffee shop, or at my kitchen table. But at a convention, I'm publicly a writer. I sit on panels, I expound wisdom or idiocy, I gather with my fellow writers and editors and publishers, and I do the things that writers do. It's a rare privilege. And while it's not writing directly, it is the most public thing that writers do. It's the face we hand to the public.

Anyway. That's why I love conventions.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Sagittribot goes to Capricon

This weekend I'll be at Capricon, in Wheeling, Illinois. My schedule is below. Quite busy! And you'll notice I'm on three panels with Gene Wolfe. So. That's not intimidating AT ALL. But it should be great fun. I am determined to make it so.

Retro-futurism Sure Beats the Boring Truth! - Thursday, 02-09-2012 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm - Birch B
A celebration of looking backwards to look forwards. Steampunk, the Jetsons, and NASA all had cooler ideas about how the future looked than it really did. Why is our imagined future so much hipper than the one we live in?
Tim Akers
Kerri-Ellen Kelly
Nayad Monroe (M)
W. A. (Bill) Thomasson
Michael Z. Williamson

You Are Not Alone: Writers Groups and Critique - Thursday, 02-09-2012 - 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm - Birch A
Many SF/F writers, from Asimov to Tolkien, have belonged to writers groups or benefited from critique partners. How do these groups help an author hone her craft? Some members of writers' groups discuss their experiences.
Tim Akers
Eileen Maksym (M)
Nayad Monroe
Michael D. Thomas

Reading: Tim Akers - Friday, 02-10-2012 - 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm - River C (Cafe)

Tim Akers

Religion in Worldbuilding - Friday, 02-10-2012 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm - Botanic Garden A (Special Events - Programming)
Authors too frequently just change around the fixtures on a real world religion and insert it into their fantasy world. These writers will talk about how they go about creating original religions, and how the use of religion can drive worldbuilding and shape the story's narrative.
Tim Akers (M)
Alex Bledsoe
Phyllis Eisenstein
Nayad Monroe
Gene Wolfe

The Transition from Short Story to Novel - Saturday, 02-11-2012 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm - River AB (Programming - Media)
Though many might think these two mediums are very similar, not every writer can easily make the transition from one to the other. What are the pitfalls and what should the writer know before starting? Is it easier to do it in reverse and go from novel to short story? What’s similar and what’s different? Does it help to think of chapters as mini-stories? (Panel idea from Cat Rambo.)
Tim Akers (M)
Phyllis Eisenstein
Jody Lynn Nye
Gene Wolfe

Writing Is a Business - Saturday, 02-11-2012 - 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm - Botanic Garden A (Special Events - Programming)
As aspiring writers enter the field, they will do almost anything to become published. This attitude often can lead to others taking advantage of their work. These professionals will share advice about agents, contracts, retirement, and...gulp...taxes.
Tim Akers (M)
Richard Chwedyk
Matt Forbeck
Gene Wolfe