I’m still here, really!

It’s been a long time since I posted a new entry on my writing blog. My excuse is that I’ve been busy. In the past year I started a Master’s in Computer Science at one school and then transferred to another. I also held four jobs last year (just how things worked out), with the most recent starting in September of last year and lasting until August of this year–at which point they asked me to become a contractor. Now I work for myself, as a contractor, while also looking for gainful employment in San Diego. This time last year we were in Bozeman, Montana. The year before that, we were in Salt Lake City, Utah. Before we came to San Diego, we thought we were moving to Austin, Texas…but after a week there we just could handle the heat so we kept going and eventually settled down here in Solana Beach, California. We’re less than a mile from two beaches and tons of great shopping and food, and it’s beautiful and temperate. So the changes have been coming hard and fast, and they’re not over yet.

Hopefully the last major change for a while will be the acquisition of a new full-time job, and getting up to speed in that position. The whole process of looking for, interviewing for, and starting a new position is always scary as hell. For me, anyway. I don’t think it shows, and I don’t think I’m abnormal, but it makes me nervous meeting so many new people, and just hoping beyond hope that someone hires me soon and starts paying me money so that my wife, me, and our daughter can continue eating and paying our rent and the rest of our mountain of bills. It’s a tenuous time for us. But, I’m sure one of the opportunities I’ve been pursuing will come through, it’s just hard being patient while they meander their way to resolution. That, and it’s scary knowing that eventually one *will* come through, and I’ll have to start my new job which will involve yet more new people, learning new things, and trying to “add value” as soon as possible and do a good job. It’s also scary because my wife, me, and our daughter have been blessed to spend most of the last year or so together…I’ve been working from home and doing an online Master’s program, so we were basically always around each other. It has been precious. But when I get a new job, it’ll likely entail me working a lot outside of our home, and I’m not looking forward to being apart from my family 50 hours week (including commute time). It makes me grumpy even thinking about it. But so it goes. We need to pay our bills, and if a job which can pay those bills is outside our home, that’s just the way it is. It won’t last forever, and we can move forward on our plans to start our own businesses and procure and independent life which would enable us to all spend a ton of time together. Getting a “real” job is just part of our strategy right now. A necessity. Nothing more.

On the writing front, nothing much has been happening. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I, as a writer, would like to see in a truly innovative writing application. Some of the best I’ve scene are Scrivener and Yarny, but neither of them are innovative. They’re effective writing tools, but nothing earth shaking. I have the sneaking suspicion that we can do better. We’re essentially still using an interface reminiscent of the typewriter and early word processors: typing words on a (virtual) page. But we’re no longer bound to that motif. What other ways of writing could be more effective? Allow our ideas to run and roam more freely? Assist us with structuring and designing our stories, and characters? So far the best I’ve come up with is something I call Scene Writer. It hinges on the idea that all stories are in fact scenes. What if we just wrote scenes and transitions between scenes? Do you have any ideas for innovative ways of “writing?” Anything which you’d love to see in fiction writing software which hasn’t ever been done yet?

Soon I’ll get back to writing. It’s just very difficult for me to do with so much changing under our feet. Writing, for me, requires stability. Unless there’s a minimum of stability, I have a hard time digging deep and rummaging around my heart for material that matters to me.