“As a writer one of your jobs is to bring news of the world to the world.”
Grace Paley

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

factors in a personal productivity revolution
Thu 2015-10-22 17:24:02 (single post)
  • 4,668 words (if poetry, lines) long

I have here, in my hot little hands, a brand new printed-out draft of "Caroline's Wake." It's about 1500 words shorter than the version I submitted last year, and, I very much hope, a stronger story. It's not quite ready to submit at this time, but give me a couple more hours to scribble in between the double-spaced lines of the print-out, and it will be.

Today is Day 3 of Actually Getting Writing Done on a Reliable, Workerlike Basis. Seriously, this week has been fantastic. I've been getting my morning shift done in the morning, and I've been using my afternoon shift to create publishable story copy. It is amazing how awesome it feels to transform writing from a guilt-inducing monster into a life-affirming achievement.

I'm not entirely sure what made this sort of productivity and dailiness feel convincingly possible this week and not, say, last week, or last year, or eleven and a half years ago when I quit my day job. But I can point to a few things that could be said to have helped.

Dropped all expectations of content writing. I got cut from first one Examiner gig and then the other, and I decided I was ready to let them go rather than fight to get them back. Examiner only paid according to some secret metric of eyeballs-on-page, which came to about $20 every third month. I was doing it because it was an outlet for babbling about stuff that interested me, not because it paid well. Which was sily, because I already have an outlet for babbling, and that's this blog here.

But this change also occasioned me reevaluating the desirability of having a content writing gig at all. Content writing obviously cuts into my writing time and capacity. Every writing hour spent on Examiner or Textbroker is an hour I'm not thinking up and writing down stories. And while a good content writing gig can be a reliable source of funds, the fact is I'm fortunate enough to have a well-paid spouse who enthusiastically supports my career goals. I can afford to take not just my writing but my fiction full-time.

And if I put all my writing hours toward writing, revising, and submitting short stories, I'm likely to actually sell a few. It's a better use of my time all around.

Which is not to say that I won't be tempted by a decent content writing gig. I did just submit a sample of my writing to a respectable organization that's looking to build a stable of web writers and editors. If that goes somewhere, well, I'll figure out how to schedule it in at that time.

Rearranged my timesheet template. I log my writing on a spreadsheet every day. That's how I know when I've done my five hours. This week I totally revamped the daily template, and it's ridiculous how much this helped. I suppose a well-organized brain is a productive brain.

I used to have my spreadsheet separated out into categories of types of writing: fiction in this block (short story, novel, freewriting), content writing in that block (Examiner, textbroker, other), miscellaneous over thataways (Friday Fictionettes, etc.). Then, if I was feeling decisive, I'd babble out a sort of schedule for the day in a column off to the right, which I might or might not look at again all day.

This week I overhauled it such that the schedule was baked right into the timesheet. Everything I expect myself to do in a work day, it's there, and in order. All the nonsense and clutter is gone. It's just Morning Pages, the Morning Shift block, the Afternoon Shift block, the actually writing blog, done. If I want to be more precise, there's room to type a description--for instance, "Short Fiction" today is described as "finish 'Caroline's Wake' to printable draft" for the first hour and "take your pen and finalize that draft!" for the second. But for the most part, my plan is just to do the next thing until I come to the end of the things.

There's still a line for content writing in the Afternoon Shift block, but mostly it just gets crossed off.

Began enforcing scheduling constraints. Before, I would get lost somewhere between Morning Pages and freewriting, or between freewriting and fictionette, and I might never come back from my long break in order to start the afternoon shift. Having reorganized my timesheet, I can now use it to determine where I break and for how long. Basically, if I'm in the middle of a block, I keep working Pomodoro style until I'm done with that block: 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off. If I get to white space, I can take a longer break for a meal or for playtime, but I have to have a concrete idea of when I'll start the next block. When that time comes around, I absolutely must get back to work.

This is not rocket science. This is what I always should have done, and what I've always known I ought to do. Somehow, this week I'm actually doing it. Amazing. I'm going to attribute it in part to the overhauled timesheet, and in another part to something else:

Reevaluated how I spend my break time. I hate to admit it, but I can't actually fit an hour of Puzzle Pirates into a 5-minute break. I can't even fit an hour of Puzzle Pirates into an hour. It's like football that way. Or roller derby. The clock may say that an hour of game time passed, but it took a lot more than one hour of real time.

But I can log onto Puzzle Pirates, play a single round of the Distilling puzzle, and log off. That takes about five minutes. Or I can play Two Dots until the Pomodoro Timer's end-of-break whistle.

The weird thing is, these little self-contained puzzle games are starting to act like both a reward and a trigger. That is, they not only function as "Yay, you worked 25 minutes straight, you get a cookie," but also as this Pavlovian signal that it's time to get back to work. Finishing a "pom" means I get to play a puzzle. Finishing a puzzle means it's time to get back to work.

So, these are things that have helped. (Also, getting up early--I keep aiming for 8:00, but as long as I'm up by 9:00 I stand a strong chance of finishing my morning shift by noon.) But what also helped was simply knowing that it's been more than a year since the rewrite on "Caroline's Wake" was requested, and that's just ridiculous, and the ridiculous shit ends now. And so it does.

pleased to make your reacquaintance but just this once
Wed 2015-10-21 21:45:34 (single post)
  • 5,061 words (if poetry, lines) long

Two solid hours on the short story revision yesterday! Even better, two solid hours today! (Well, one hour so far. Two hours by the time I'm done. On that, more later.) The reason today's session was even better than yesterday's was, it came on the day after yesterday's session. Which meant no lengthy reacquaintance period, 'cause I'd got that over with yesterday and didn't need to do it again today.

The "reacquaintance period" happens after a long absence from a story. It involves rereading it in detail in order to, yes, reacquaint myself with it. In the case of a revision paused part of the way through, it also involves some line-level, word-level tweaking of the prose in maddeningly fine-grain detail. I keep telling myself, "This is not the time. This sort of thing can wait until you've finished the new draft and have printed it out. Please do not do this right now!" But I can't seem to stop myself. It's as though it's not enough to reread what I have so far, but I also have to get all hands-on with it, too, before I can work with it again.

If this were sculpting, I'd be smoothing my hands over the piece's contours, maybe adding or adjusting texture. Getting back in touch, see?

So that was an hour of yesterday's two hours: Getting back in touch. Rereading the beginning and changing a word or two. Revising sentence 1 of paragraph 10 in several minutely variant ways before finally changing it back to what it was before. Remembering how unsatisfied I was with a particular segue, and, despite knowing that now is not the time to get it perfect, wading in and trying to fix it for good and all. Then finally giving up in frustration and moving on.

This is why it is a bad idea for me to stop working on a project for weeks at a time. When I come back, I have to go through the reacquaintance period again.

Today has been much better. Since it was fresh in my mind from yesterday, I was able to jump right back in and continued transferring chunks of story from the previous draft to the new draft. I smoothed out transitions where verbiage was cut, reimagined characters' perspetives and motivations, and improved flow as best I could as I went. But the important thing is, I went. I progressed. The mental bookmark denoting the place I'd let off in creating the new draft has moved significantly forward this week.

I am reasonably optimistic that, if I continue at this rate of two hours every workday, I'll have submitted this requested revision before Halloween.

Which means maybe I can participate in NaNoWriMo this year! With a couple years' worth of daily freewriting to delve into for plot and character and worldbuilding ideas. Wow. I might write just about anything.

But to bring things back to the present: I still have to put in another hour on the revision tonight. The two-hours-a-day goal is absolutely accomplishable, but I seem to want to split it up into two hour-long sessions. Today it was because I hit saturation point on a narrative tangle, and rather than keep banging my head fruitlessly against that wall, it seemed better to pop the problem on the backburner and let my unconscious play with it for a few hours. Also the restaurant I was at started filling up with small children playing with toy cars around that time. (Also also I spent most of my time at that restaurant procrastinating, so that I'd only left myself one hour to work before I had to be somewhere. But that's just happenstance.)

Anyway, time to put this post up and get back to the grind. For the second day in a row! Hot damn!

tryin to get the feelin again (and quite possibly succeeding)
Tue 2015-10-20 20:28:13 (single post)
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So the other day I was talking about how accumulating rejection letters can make it difficult to convince oneself to keep accumulating rejection letters; or, put another way, how it's hard to keep believing in the viability of a story that has accumulated a lot of rejection letters (for emotional values of "a lot"). There comes a point when the writerly weasel brain starts insisting that the reason the story keeps getting rejected is that it's no good.

Well, whatever the opposite of writerly weasel brain is--writerly angel brain? writerly sweetheart brain?--it starts to sing the moment one hears "Good news! I liked your story and sent it up to the Editorial Board for further review." Or words to that effect.

Words to that effect arrived late last week, providing me with an effective argument against weasel brain. Regardless of whether "It's For You" is ultimately accepted or rejected by the Editorial Higher-Ups, I'll be able to tell myself that someone liked it enough to put it in front of the Editorial Higher-Ups. That's enough to keep me going.

More than that--thinking about it got me excited last night for today's workday. Like, "I can't wait to write" excited. There's a logical component to it: "I can't wait to finish more stories, so I can send out more stories, so I can receive more good news about my stories! And feel good some more!"

This is a good feeling. This is a feeling I need to be able to store in a bottle, then administer to myself via medicinal measuring spoon as needed.

So there's this one story that's been waiting more than a year for me to finish revising it so I can send it back to an Editorial Higher-Up who specifically requested the revision. Never mind the stupidity of my having taken this long about it; I'm trying to focus on fixing it. I'm trying to ride this fresh new happy-excited-affirmed feeling right into the part of my day where I work on that revision. Which is why I'm writing this blog post first. Writing about that feeling makes me kinda-sorta relive that feeling. Kind of like the way writing about bad memories makes me relive the bad feelings associated with that memory? Only this time it's a good feeling.

My impressionable brain! It can be put to work for the forces of good!

(I hope!)

Local Editions Books and Coffee
Meet local authors in Longmont this Wednesday
Mon 2015-10-19 20:00:00 (single post)

There's a new(ish) Meetup.com group in the area, and it sounds really exciting. It's called Longmont Meet The Authors and it does exactly what it says on the tin. You come to their meetups in Longmont, you get to meet local authors. How cool is that?

(This, by the way, was the blog post I was going to publish to Examiner back on Thursday. But since Examiner and I seem to be done with each other, you get it here! Enjoy.)

So I heard about the way I usually hear about new Meetup.com groups, which is by having signed up for notifications relevant to my interest. I hear about enough new Meetup.com groups that way that I could probably do a monthly series about "Newest writing meetups in the Boulder area!" and never hurt for material. (I also hear about a lot of new Meetup.com groups that aren't much to do with writing, despite that "Writing" is the only interest I've listed on my profile. I suspect some meetup leaders choose their "we're about" tags somewhat indiscriminately.)

Anyway, having heard about the group some couple months ago, I'm a little annoyed with myself for not having gone to a meetup yet. I'm hoping to make this next one:

Meet New Authors
Who: Debra Jason (Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget)
Who Else: Stan Moore (Mister Moffat's Road)
When: Wednesday, October 21, 6:30-8:00 PM
Where: Local Editions Books and Coffee
(2919 17th Ave. Ste. 110, Longmont, CO)

Debra Jason's book is about business promotion and social media. Stan Moore's is about the namesake of the Moffat Tunnel--the man with the plan to build a railway line from Denver to Salt Lake City. As for Local Editions, it sounds like the perfect place for this particular Meetup.com group; it's a tiny little bookstore that carries absolutely nothing but books by local authors. And if you are a local author, you should probably introduce yourself to the proprietors...

...one of whom, coincidentally, is the organizer of Longmont Meet The Authors. Funny how that works...

So, in short: Join local meetup, go to local bookstore, meet local authors and buy their books. Winning!

Cool story, sis, but you could have told it in half the time...
(YPP) The Olympian Class Sloop: Sacrificing convenience for cool
Mon 2015-10-19 11:20:11 (single post)

I have been meaning for some time to blog about the Olympian Class Sloop that was available for shipyard purchase in July and August. But I keep trying to do this on Sunday, and the problem with Sunday is that it starts with roller derby practice, and I don't generally manage much that's productive after roller derby practice. Generally I wind up flat in bed for the rest of the day. (That especially goes for Sunday practices where I manage to roll my ankle and inflame some sort of tendon in my foot. Stoopid foot.) Next thing I know, it's Monday morning, and I missed another Sunday, and the sloop I want to blog about came out three months ago, and when am I going to blog about this month's limited edition sloop (the Undead Class Sloop, available through November 1), huh?

So, whatever, here's a Puzzle Pirates blog post on Monday morning. You can pretend it's still Sunday if you want to.

Olympian Class Sloop: Gorgeous and Terribly Inconvenient

It is shiny and pretty in every way. But I have discovered that I'm less than happy with its layout.

Puzzle Pirates has many good things going for it, but movement around a scene is not one of them. Which is usually OK. Almost all of the action takes place in chat and in mini-games, after all. Your pirate avatar mostly serves the purpose of playing dress-up and showing off the results. So it's understandable that, of all the things the game designers could focus on, the user experience of walking around isn't a high priority.

It only becomes a problem in two areas. One of those is walking around a large, uninhabited island; since you can't "teleport" to various areas via the buildings on the Dock map, you really do have to walk in order to find the horde of monsters waiting to be defeated or the island creator's inscription or whatever. And walking is nail-bitingly, knuckle-whiteningly slow. You click where you want to go, and then you wait for your pirate to get there, and then you right-click to shift the camera to the new area, and then you wait for the camera motion to finish, then you do it all over again. And again. And again.

The other problem area is walking around a ship, especially one with a lot of stairs and extraneous scenes. And in order to reach the booty chest an Olympian Class Sloop, you must navigate both.

Assuming that you've been performing the duty navigation puzzle (I always do), you start at the navigation wheel, up top the aft platform of the main deck. So first you've got to come down the stairs. I hate in-scene stairs. If you're already standing on the yellow arrow, you'll have to walk off it and walk back. And sometimes even then it doesn't work--instead of going down the stairs, your pirate simply stops at the top of the stairs. At this point, I'd usually click the other downstairs arrow--but on the Olympian Class Sloop there is only one set of stairs between the aft deck and the main deck. Arrgh! So I have to walk off the arrow and try it again.

Or I just skip the damn stairs. Right-clicking moves the camera over and brings the hatch into view. So I click on its little yellow arrow, and go downstairs into the main hold. Arrows that change scenes don't seem to fail at the rate that arrows for descending/ascending in-scene stairs do.

So now you are in the main hold, which is where most sloops keep the booty. But not this sloop. Oh, no. You must go down another level into the "Gorgon Den". And then you have to walk all the way to the other side of the Den, because the scene is too long to reach it by shifting the camera.

Now you can divide the booty. Finally. But then you'll have to go back up to the main hold if you want to then access the money and goods now aboard the ship. Arrrgh.

It's a cute narrative premise: The booty chest is buried deep in a stone labyrinth and watched over by the head of Medusa. Thus would-be thieves either get lost or turned to stone. Honestly, if the developers had seen fit to bring this narrative to life in a game-affecting way--say, giving the ship a modest functional bonus against gem thieves and the like--I'd complain less. But as things stand, it's purely a cosmetic thing which affects game play only by making booty divisions more of a pain in my butt.

Honestly, I'd prefer it if you could get to a ship's hold and booty via commands on the sidebar, just like you already do with the port/deport and sail/turn about buttons. But if they must be dependent on interacting with "physical" stations, can't those stations be made less inconvenient to get to?

It's not just the officer in command who has to deal with it. The Gorgon Den also houses the ship's two bilge stations and one of its carpentry/patching stations. So if you're a jobber switching from sails to something else, you risk getting yelled at to "station up, lazer!" when you're genuinely trying to do just that. If you're an officer moving your swabbies about, you have a long wait during which you might wonder if the swabbie will restation at all.

Pretty as it is, I'd as soon do away with the Olympian Class Sloop's main hold entirely--it's not particularly functional--and replace it with the Gorgon Den. Or just move all the functional parts of the Gorgon Den up onto the main hold, so that the room that's the hardest to get to is also the room that you need the least. Compare with the Red Room on the Dream Class Sloop. Clever hidden rooms and sub-basements are fun to look at and maybe throw parties in, but let's keep them strictly optional, yeah?

So there you go. It's a beautiful ship with a clever story behind it, and PixelPixie of the Cerulean Ocean deserves all the kudos for their contest-winning design. But the game developers have made it enough of a pain to interact with that I'd rather just leave ported at some island with an active market and just use it for executing shore trade.

So that's my rant. Meanwhile, I have just bought this month's Undead Class Sloop, which again is only available through November 1. Hopefully it turns out to be both really cool-looking and a pleasure to sail.

Defending Napi Peak with mad Jedi skillz
YPP Weekend Blockade Roundup, Oct 17-18: On a pixelated ocean far, far away
Sat 2015-10-17 13:00:00 (single post)

The flag CORSARIOS DE POSEIDÓN on the Jade Ocean hasn't even finished building a fort on Isla Ventress, but effin' Azarbad el Grande is already trying to take things over. If you wish to help us defend, that's going on at noon Pirate Time. Pay starts at 300 PoE/seg, which may seem low, but heck, it's Jade. The economy needs more pirates in it.

If you're free this evening, check in with Otherworld on the Cerulean Ocean, where Madam Yu Jian is trying to take control of Gaea Island, and we're gonna try out darnedest to stop her. The shindig gets started at 8 PM Pirate Time. Pay will start at 1000 PoE/seg and there may be a raffle.

Also on Cerulean, Napi Peak is being contested at Saturday noon. Adult Buffet wants to take it, The Coalition wants to keep it. Only one flag can have it. Which will it be? Vote with your job application and your puzzling skills! Pay starts at 2000 PoE/seg.

Plenty more blockade action on the other oceans. Opal and Meridian each have a Brigand King attacking something this weekend, and there's at least four blockades on Emerald today. Might be more - there's usually a last minute drop or two somewhere. Anyway, scroll on down for the full schedule, and have fun!

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, October 17 ***

11:01 a.m. - Maia-Insel, Opal Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Glare
Attacker: Der Fluch (1)

12:00 p.m. - Isle of Kent, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Black Flag
Attacker: Jinx (4)

12:00 p.m. - Surtsey Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Daunting Rewards
Attacker: Black Veil (7)

12:00 p.m. - Isla Ventress, Jade Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Attacker: La Llama que todo lo consume (1)

1:05 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Fear No Monsters
Attacker: This Means War

2:29 p.m. - Arco Ascalón, Jade Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Courage
Attacker: Flota de su Escamada Alteza Imperial (1)

4:00 p.m. - Ilha da Aguia, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Eternal Glory
Attacker: Keep the Peace

5:03 p.m. - Manu Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: The All-Consuming Flame (3)
Attacker: Black Flag

*** Sunday, October 18 ***

12:00 p.m. - Ventress Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Hysteria
Attacker: Gunslingers
Attacker: Pirate King

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, October 17 ***

12:00 p.m. - Napi Peak, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Coalition
Attacker: Adult Buffet

8:00 p.m. - Gaea Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Otherworld
Attacker: The Jade Empire (3)

Did you know the image and text of the Rider-Waite tarot is public domain in the U.S.? I did not know that.
this fictionette is not winning much, but i am winning all the things
Fri 2015-10-16 23:39:25 (single post)
  • 1,074 words (if poetry, lines) long

Lo, 'tis a Friday. Have a new Friday Fictionette. "A Word in Your Ear" deals with a Princess coming of age and discovering a larger world, at the cost of the security she know in her own smaller one. Which is typically what happens when a child becomes an adult, but things are always more earth-shattering for Princesses.

The Fictionette springs in part from a Tarot card drawn for a writing prompt, and it reaches back in continuity to one of the first Friday Fictionettes ever released. The second, in fact. Ever. So there is quite probably a novel hiding in the intersection between the third week of October 2015 and the first of September 2014. Which is one of the expected results of the project. Create a new story idea every day, cultivate four of them per month into a publishable story-like object, reap presentable stories come harvest time. Not like I'm exactly hurting for story ideas, mind you. The problem has more to do with the time needed to do them justice. Nevertheless--winning!

In other news, John and I have been exceptionally good citizens. We took our mail-in ballots out to lunch and completed them. Note the date: Usually we put this task off until about two days before election day, necessitating a trip to the County Clerk and Recorder's Office to drop the ballots off by hand. But we have dropped them off in our home mailbox's outgoing slot with first-class postage attached, because two and a half weeks is plenty time for the U.S. Post to deliver them. Winning.

In yet other news, John takes his duties as assistant coach to the Boulder County Bombers very seriously. He is researching workouts--power workouts, strength workouts, endurance workouts, metabolic workouts, plyometric workouts--and I, lucky soul, get to be his guinea pig. To be fair, he too is doing workouts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but--"I want to see how this workout affects an athletically trained person," he says, "unlike me." So off I got to do Haydens and ski-jumps and depth jumps and plank hops for half an hour. And, dang it, I say "thank you" when we're done, because I know it's making me a stronger, more powerful skater.

And now I am sitting in the tub, sweating and soaking out the aches of a full roller derby week made fuller by having homework.


the thing about unexpected things
Thu 2015-10-15 22:51:25 (single post)

Unexpected things are unexpected. Unexpected things are the reason why a writer's gotta do the right thing.

For instance, when I don't get up on time, I lose a couple viable working hours from my day. And when the day happens to not only be scrimmage Thursday, but a particular Thursday in which it turns out we need to get to the practice space two hours early, well, it turns out I kind of needed those morning hours I denied myself by sleeping late.

(It's not that I didn't know we needed to get to the practice space early. It's that I didn't know how early we'd need to get there. Taping the 10-foot marks takes longer than I would have expected. Also the track was needed for a returning skater's assessment before scrimmage, too. Two hours was not enough time, turns out.)

But here I am, at the IHOP in Boulder after Thursday scrimmage, feeling unusually virtuous and ready to get my work done! I had a plan for my work day, darn it, and I'm going to stick to it! I'm gonna write that Boulder Writing Examiner article I've been meaning to write, right, the one about a particular new local Meetup group that's kind of exciting, OK?

Then I login at Examiner.com and discover I don't have the ability to publish articles anymore. I just have the ability to "Become an Examiner." I think I let too much time go by without publishing, and they canceled me.

I suppose I could re-apply. But--why? If I'm going to take up precious writing time with a content writing gig, maybe I should hold out for a content writing gig that pays better. At least somewhat. And if I'm going to take up writing time with blog posts about being a writer in Boulder, well, why not just keep it here on the actually writing blog (since it's actually about writing) where I'm the one in charge of how I go about it?

So, anyway, that was an unexpected thing too.

buyin' my lottery tickets
Tue 2015-10-13 23:22:34 (single post)
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Which is not, admittedly, the best analogy for submitting fiction to paying markets. It's not purely a numbers game. But it's partially a numbers game. Given a story that's publishable, as you continue sending it out to markets that are a reasonably good fit, the probability of its achieving publication approaches 1. No guarantees it'll reach 1, but it gets closer every time.

(Actually, if you want to be precise, the asymptote graph never reaches 1, but only gets infinitely closer and closer to 1. But forget that, I'm trying to sort of reference Godwin's Law and any number of internet memes that riff on it, and no one worries in that context that "approaching 1" isn't the same as "reaching 1," so shut up.)

But by far the strongest point of similarity between fiction submissions and lotteries is, you can't win if you don't play. Thus "submissions procedures" is one of the gotta-dos in my morning shift. Thus the stories go back out in the mail.

It does me no favors that most of the acceptance letters I've received have been in response to a story's first time in the mail. No one should consider that to be the norm. It's got me badly calibrated. It primes me to think that if a story accumulates two, five, fifteen rejections, then clearly it's not ready for prime time and I shouldn't even be sending it out. Which is bullshit, as any number of rejectomancy anecdotes will attest, but that's the writerly version of weasel-brain for you. It's such a seductive utterance of the weasel-brain, too, especially when the rejection letters come back so very quickly. I start getting self-conscious about particular stories--I start thinking, "Do I seriously believe an editor will want to pay me money for the opportunity to consume one of their precious story slots with this? NO ONE wants this." And also, "Why do I keep sending this story out, instead of writing new ones? Am I trying to rest on my laurels? Before they are even grown?"

That last one's a special grade of bovine feces, because I have sent new stories out. In fact, the story I've been trying to query status on is sitting in its very first slush pile as we speak. Unfortunately, the market that slush pile belongs to uses SPF filtering on their email, and apparently something's borked in my SPF record. I've got a support ticket to my domain host about it.

Weird thing is, though, the weasel-brain only has its say before I send the story out. Once I actually send the story, weasel-brain shuts up and lets me enjoy the fresh glow of "I submitted a story! Professionally! To a paying market! Just like real writers do!" Which only goes to show you that yet again, the only way out is through.

Anyway, I bought a lottery ticket today, and I bought one Thursday too. Metaphorically speaking.

Trophy acquired at 2 different actions that add to explorer reputation, IF you're lucky.
Seal o' Piracy, October 2015: i can count to two (usually)
Mon 2015-10-12 21:31:12 (single post)

I have no idea what to blog about tonight, so I'm going to cheat and blog about Puzzle Pirates. It's not that much of a cheat; it's what I would have posted yesterday, had not yesterday's roller derby practice utterly kicked my butt and temporarily jacked up my shoulder, such that I went to bed at four in the afternoon and more or less stayed there until this morning.

So. The October 2015 Seal o' Piracy! How to get it? By...

Completing two (2) actions to add to yer explorer reputation!

Sounds pretty simple, right? For the most part, it is. But I ran into a bit of a catch.

According to Yppedia, you can add to your Explorer Reputation in the following ways:

...visiting the Atlantis citadels, visiting the Cursed Isles, visiting the Haunted Seas ship graveyards, visiting the Kraken, completing expeditions, and traveling around the ocean.

So first thing I did was take all my main pirates a-sailing, because "traveling around the ocean" is the easiest thing you can do. Lazing aboard a navy ship is the easiest way to do it, but also the most boring. Mostly I took my main pirates on trading voyages while I did other things (like, say, writing--writing very very slowly, but writing nonetheless). I made sure to keep this up until each pirate's Explorer Reputation moved upwards. (It generally doesn't take many leagues.)

Then I took Oshun pillaging in hopes of scoring an Expedition. And, why, yes, I did! I scored a Brigand King sighting. So I engaged Admiral Finius in battle, won the swordfight melee, won some small amount of PoE and ship supplies and also a pearl pocketwatch inscribed in honor of my victory. Like you do.

What I didn't win was my Seal o' Piracy. I didn't win that until completing the Buried Treasure expedition that I acquired a couple of battles later.

So something's not particularly straightforward here. I'm guessing it's either that "traveling around the ocean" doesn't count toward one's Seal o' Piracy for October 2015, because it's too easy; or that BK expeditions don't actually count toward Explorer Reputation after all, since they already count toward Conqueror Reputation. Or that maybe the BK didn't move my Explorer Reputation enough to trigger the trophy, and that the Buried Treasure expo pushed it over the top?

That's as much as I know so far, which admittedly isn't much. I'll tell you more next weekend if I figure more out. But until then, this blog is returning to actual writing coverage. (Hence the name.)