July was a brutally hot month interspersed with periods of rain. It was also a time of great change for me with regards to the blog, my own writing, and my own organization as well as bringing new favorites to my attention.
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After deciding in early July that productivity, minimalism, book/film reviews, and writing were far too eclectic for me to be able to build a proper audience and give great content to readers, I decided to pare things down a bit. Minimalism, which fits the lifestyle blog niche better, was cut. This left me with reviews, writings, and productivity. All subjects I feel work much better for a blog that is mainly about writing and helping writers.
What does this mean for the blog? In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean much. It really only gives the blog more focus and allows me to cover a wider range of topics within my own niche. Methods of productivity or ways to unwind so writers are more productive when they do write. Book, film, and TV reviews all geared towards how a specific piece of media can help those who want to write Speculative Fiction be a better writer. Discussion of vampires as Byronic Heroes etc. All are fair game.
This also gives me more time to focus on posts that are part of a series. An in-depth exploration of what world building is and how to do it, for example. A series launching this month about Horror, SciFi, and Fantasy. Maybe even reviews of an entire series of books, if that is what I want to do. All of which are appealing in their own right and which I personally feel would benefit readers of Eclectic Little Dork.
Organization & Productivity
To my surprise, I adopted the planning app Asana as part of my method after a recent Writing Excuses episode. Episode 30 of season 12, if anyone wants to check the episode out. This shouldn’t have surprised me. I love my Bullet Journal, but Asana allows me to schedule when tasks need to be done. All I have to do is check Asana to see what needs to be done that day. Then I can copy relevant tasks for the day into my Bullet Journal. Both saving paper and allowing me to just look at my notebook for a moment instead of switching to another browser tab.
There’s a review of Asana in the cards for sometime in September and a post on how I combine it with my Bullet Journal for later in the year. Maybe October? Until then, please check out Ryder Carroll’s bulletjournal.com for the basics of Bullet Journaling and my page series, Bullet Journal for Writers. Ryder created the system and I find his basics to be the most concise and understandable for new Bullet Journalists. On the other, my own Bullet Journal series into more in-depth, focusing on how I view each aspect of the system and how it can help writers specifically.
The above header should really say my novels, poetry, and short stories. I’m always working on something. Often taking a break at a sticky part in a project to work on something else and let my subconscious mind solve whatever the problem is. Call it productive procrastination. Things get done and I get to relax for a bit.
Lately, I’ve been working on a novel project that’s stalled repeatedly this year. A Near Future SciFi retelling of Romeo and Juliet. I love the piece, but the writing just won’t flow and everything I’ve done so far seems to be wrong. It is getting to the point that I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just write another, preferably novelette length, story as a fun romp while I get the outlining and world building squared away to my satisfaction. As of writing this, I haven’t decided anything other than I won’t be abandoning this my Romeo and Juliet retelling. I love the idea. I believe in it. It will get done.
This month, I read a lot, listen to my favorite podcasts a lot, and watched a lot of films and TV with an eye for things I felt would benefit readers of Eclectic Little Dork. This little list is just the top three:
The Hopeless Romantic is a fantastic podcast that deals with writing Queer Romance. I always enjoy listening to Austin Chant and Amanda Jean. But an episode titled Gay Elves and Sexy Lizard People really blew me out of the water when I listened to it a few days ago. Published in June, it made me wonder if that novelette I’m thinking about shouldn’t be a love story featuring lesbian elves. Maybe it wouldn’t be the most marketable thing, but it would be fun.
Speaking of Fantasy, I’ve been re-reading Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons. It’s an awesome read that is going to be reviewed on the blog sometime this month. I won’t give much away, but I will say this is the perfect memoir for seasoned lovers of Fantasy and the perfect introduction to Fantasy for those who love to read memoirs.
Which brings me to the final thing I loved this month, the first season of Murdoch Mysteries. It isn’t Speculative Fiction, it’s mystery series is set in the 1890s. But it is a really good detective story. Anyone who wants to write a Fantasy or SciFi Mystery should give it a try. See if they can use any of the principals used in the show in a way that translates well to Mystery short stories or novels.