April 12th, 2012


[links] Link salad is magically bored on a quiet street corner

The Sound of One Shoe DroppingScrivener's Error on U.S. v. Apple, Inc., et al., the shiny new lawsuit alleging ebook price fixing. (Disclaimer, Macmillan, my own publisher via my Tor relationship, is a defendant in this lawsuit.)

Airplane Lavatory Self-Portraits, in the Flemish Style — Hahaha. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

I remember you — Roger Ebert on the meaning of death.

Why Scientists Are Fooling Animals With Virtual RealityNew technological developments in virtual reality allow researchers to study the neurological basis of decision making in insects, rodents, and other animals. But do roaches truly think the simulation is real, or are they just playing a video game? It's the Matrix! (Snurched from @DavidBrin1.)

Computer Scientists Build Computer Using Swarms of CrabsLogic gates that exploit the swarming behaviour of soldier crabs have been built and tested in Japan. The future is here, and it has claws…

Bits of the Future: First Universal Quantum Network Prototype Links 2 Separate LabsPhysicists demonstrate a scalable quantum network that ought to be adaptable for all manner of long-distance quantum communication.

'Universal' cancer vaccine developed A vaccine that can train cancer patients' own bodies to seek out and destroy tumour cells has been developed by scientists. (Via [info]shelly_rae.)

Closer to using aspirin for cancer prevention — Not that it helps me now… (Via [info]bravado111.)

Saving Lives in a Time of Cholera — (Via [info]tillyjane.)

Now This Is Interesting: A Climate Prediction From 1981 — Hey. Guess what. They were right. Amazing, how those facts just line up against the conservative worldview over and over again. (Snurched from Slacktivist.)

Born This WayThe new weird science of hardwired political identity. Speaking of yesterday's post. (Via AH.)

Which Way Does Your Blog Lean? — An analysis of political discourse online. The practices of the left are more consistent with the prediction that the networked public sphere offers new pathways for discursive participation by a wider array of individuals, whereas the practices of the right suggest that a small group of elites may retain more exclusive agenda-setting authority online.

Allen West: I've 'Heard' 80 House Democrats Are Communist Party Members — Tell me again that conservatives aren't bugfuck crazy?

Tennessee “Monkey Bill” Update — Speaking of bugfuck crazy. Ah, conservatives. Ruining education for all of America's children, not just their own. Yet another reason I can never be a conservative. I just don't have it in me to force such massive intellectual inconsistency and deep counterfactuals on generations of young minds.

Ann Romney takes to Twitter to defend herself — Take a public stance, deal with the public response. Just be glad you'll never get the Hillary treatment from Your Liberal Media, Ann. As a conservative, you're immune to that level of investigation and harassment. Nancy Reagan and both Bush first ladies proved that in spades.

Santorum stands down — Ah, Senator Frothy Mix, we hardly knew ya'.

Remembering Rick Santorum: Obama’s Secret Weapon

Re-Election Would Allow Obama to Ignore the Left More Than He Already Does — The conservative idea that somehow Obama's "inner leftist" will be unleashed is just another one of their bizarre fixations. I'm one of those people who voted enthusiastically for Obama from the left last time around, and has been repeatedly disappointed ever since. Trust me, he's no leftist.

?otd: Are you out of your brain on the train?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (3,000 words on Their Currents Turn Awry)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.5 (solid)
Weight: 239.6
Currently reading: The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling


[process] Finding the time to write (redux)

Ah, such an evergreen topic. This question never goes out of style.

The extremely talented Theodora Goss asked it again on her Facebook yesterday.
How do you all find time to write? Seriously, I'm starting to wonder how people do it. I know you're supposed to make time, but out of what, thin air? It's frustrating . . .

The comments there are worth reading. Being me, I answered thusly:
By practicing fierce time management and prioritization. Last year I underwent major surgery, six months of chemotherapy, worked full time without ever taking a leave of absence, parented a teen aged daughter, traveled a reasonable amount, blogged about 250,000 words and wrote about 250,000 words of first draft fiction. I did not watch tv, went to very few movies, never went clubbing or to concerts, never played any computer or online games (and only minimal, low impact gaming on my smartphone, mostly in time-kill situations) and read a lot fewer books that I would have preferred to. It can be done.

I want two follow that up with two possibly contradictory observations.

First, it's all about choices. And I mean this without drawing any value judgments.

We all choose all the time. We choose the things we need to do to survive, to be entertained, to be fulfilled. For my own part, I choose to ensure the roof stays over my head, that I'm available to my daughter, that I take care of my health. I choose to maintain my friendships and cultivate my emotional relationships.

But after all those things are done, I choose to write. Writing entertains me. It fulfills me. It pleases me. I've invested into writing the time and energy I used to spend on tv, gaming, repairing old cars, non-essential housework, and whatnot. Time comes from choices.

Secondly, never compare. (Several people made this exact point in Dora's Facebook comment thread.) My life isn't yours, my choices aren't yours.

For example, I have two distinct advantages that many people don't have. Primus, I work at home, so there's no commute. That an hour a day you spend in the car or on the bus? I can spend it writing. Related to that, my work hours are heavily front loaded so that I'm almost always free by 3 pm. Which gives me the afternoon and evening for both Dad time and writing time.

Secundus, I am a fast writer. So even if I only take that one hour, I can be pretty productive. That's just me. Everybody writes at the pace they write at. Trying to be faster for the sake of being faster is a mug's game. There can be other good reasons to try to be faster, such as daring to be bad, or getting out of your own way. But speed for the sake of the time in your day seems foolish somehow. Which, I recognize, is easy for me to say given the relatively blistering speed at which I write.

But my point is, don't compare yourself to anyone but yourself. "Am I writing as much this month as I did last month? Last year? Am I okay with that answer, whatever it is?"

So where do you find the time to write? From yourself. If it's important enough, you'll organize your life to do it. If it's not that important to you, don't sweat it. Write when you can. That's all any of us do in the end.


[writing] Speaking of writing time...

...I am (probably) taking the day off from writing. I finished a major chunk of Their Currents Turn Awry yesterday, and I some things I really want to do this afternoon after work that will take the rest of my day.

This is why several years ago I consciously redefined my novel-writing work ethic and functional goals to be "at least 2,500 words per day, at least five days per week." So I can take a day or two off without feeling guilty.

Of course, I feel a little guilty anyway, but as [info]matociquala says, if you do not finish the book today, you will have to work on it tomorrow.

I have a fair number of tomorrows yet on this book. Starting with, erm, tomorrow.