Sleeping, As Always, Troublesome

Hello friends, I’m back and ready to spill words upon the Internet.

By ready, of course I mean my mind is blank of ideas, but I’m willing to try.

So what should I talk about today? I noticed no one cared about the beard post, so I’ll keep this short. I cut my beard… and by cut I mean I trimmed it. The year beard is no more, but it’s still rather long.

Another thing is that editing is still progressing. We’ve also discovered a more productive way for us to edit, we swap which one of us reads aloud every paragraph. It’s fun, and also sounds a bit like a play, each of us reading different parts. Though, because of the way it’s written we don’t always read the same parts. It’s fun to see how either of us reads a characters dialogue. So we’ve been having a good time.

Also, we both have made some headway into our own books. I can’t say for sure how far they are in theirs, but I’m doing well, as I’m generally making 2% progress every week. As usual, some days are harder than others, but since I give myself a word-count goal each time, it makes sure that I put in enough effort to reach it. Even if that effort drives me crazy, and I stare at the screen for several minutes at a time until I can figure out what I should write next. But I’ve found it helpful to go over what I’ve written, sometimes from the beginning, if I get stuck on certain parts.

Now for a little side tangent. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, no new thing there. However, I think I’ve found something that helps me. This is taken from something I read long ago, though I’ve modified it a bit. When I lay down my mind is filled with a multitude of different thoughts. Worries, or interesting ideas that I want to explore. At times I’m so enthralled I attempt to mentally design strange inventions. This of course isn’t anyway to relax, and my mind just speeds up and I can’t drift off to sleep.

To combat this, I think of a black-hole. I feed it all my thoughts until I’m focused on nothing but its ever hungry darkness. Thus emptied, I relax, and at times I can get comfortable and sleep. It takes quite a lot of effort to maintain this focus, as my brain just wants to play around with ideas, but after a time I am asleep. I still find that I can only stay in bed for around four hours, but when I get up to putter around the place, I can return to bed and get a bit more rest. So far it’s helping, and I hope it continues to do so. Though I’m afraid eventually it’ll stop being of any help, as so often other things have.

I apparently am not built to sleep, though I suffer its lack. In years past, when I had a bit more freedom with my schedule, I found that the best sleep-cycle for me was to read until I was tired, sleep for a few hours, get up and do something productive for a half-hour, read a bit more, and finish the second half of my sleep. You can see why this isn’t entirely possible anymore, as when work calls for a specific schedule it’s hard to maintain.

Until I retire completely from the workforce, which is never likely to happen, I shall be tired. Luckily such things as coffee and tea exist, as after a bit of that I feel fully awake and am ready for the day. At times I worry that I rely on caffeine too much, and that part of my sleeping issue is caused by consuming it too often, but I tend to not drink any when I have days off, and don’t notice its lack save for a bit of lethargy after just waking up. Normal even when I take coffee, however I love the taste and the feeling after a cup so I don’t see myself giving it up.

All of which I find funny, as when I was in high school I took a substance abuse class, and my paper was on caffeine. I didn’t get a good grade on that, and I tend to think the teacher didn’t like me casting it in a bad light. But not having experienced any other substance I felt that my own experience with coffee, even back then, would help me write a paper, as apposed to just listing things that other people had written down from their experience, or studies. Apparently they felt differently.

Anyway, I’m off for today. Until next time, get some sleep.

TTFN

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: The book is 29% edited. And I’m 15% into the new novel.

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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Prog-Rock?

Hello, I return once again to do this blog thingie.

First off the editing took a bit of a hit this week, though we did have some time to work on it. The co-author had a trip planned this weekend, and we weren’t able to sit down for as long as we usually do. However we were able to make some progress.

Instead this past weekend I spent time with one of my close friends. I had the idea that we should attempt a podcast together, and had invited them over with the idea that we should brainstorm possible topics. That didn’t exactly go as planned.

On previous visits we at times wind up just watching random YouTube videos, and this time was no different. The first topic we wanted to explore discussing was on Prog-Rock. A topic I can’t claim to be an expert on, but a genre of music that apparently I’ve been listening to for years. After he’d shown me a number of songs he knew and liked, we went down a bit of a rabbit-hole.

Now what is Prog-Rock? Well first, it’s short for Progressive Rock. A meaningless title to my eyes, what does progressive mean other than something that progresses step by step. However a few people have indicated a more full definition.

First some claim Prog-Rock is music that is one that has a theme, and is generally long. Meaning tracks usually are far lengthier than pop music or rock ballads. But this could also mean an entire album would tell a story. And yet there are bands and albums that don’t fit this definition and are still called progressive.

Others indicate Prog-Rock includes tracks that utilize more instruments than the standard guitar, bass, drum lineup and use newer technology for sounds. Keyboard and synthesizers would be used, and yet there are bands such as the Doors which wouldn’t be progressive.

And there’s even more. Another thing would be the music itself is somewhat unexpected, meaning they change as the track goes on. And it’s all music that is to be listened to and not danced along with. It’s all rather complicated, and I don’t know if I could point to any song or band that would be considered progressive on my own.

With this all in our heads we explored further and further into the night, but eventually moved on. Sharing music is something we do often, and happens when we get together, especially when we hang out with their parents. I still find it surprising when someone shares a song that I’m not familiar with, songs from the 60’s through the 80’s, as I generally think of myself as a fan of those era’s. But apparently listening to the radio isn’t enough.

Even though my father had what I’d call an extensive collection of Vinyl and Cassettes when I was growing up, there’s still much more out there. My favorite band from that era isn’t as well know either, though I’m sure most people know a couple of their songs. There are even rarer no-hit wonders that have fantastic music to listen to. I’m just happy there are fans who keep their music alive so I and others can go back and enjoy what else-wise would have been lost.

Now the thing is, I don’t listen to music often anymore. It used to be the only thing I’d do when I was driving, but now that time is filled with podcasts. Only occasionally is music included, maybe once a month or when I drive with others. I love music, but I want to learn more I guess. Really the most time I spend with music is when I’m writing, and most of those are the same tracks over and over again, and ones that are not distracting. However, growing up with parents who loved music as much as mine did I couldn’t help but be filled with passion for it as well. I whistle and sing constantly, but it’s always those favorite tracks of the past in my head. But I still love music, and maybe I need to give myself some more time to enjoy it.

With that I’ll leave you. I hope you all have a fantastic week. Go out and listen to some music!

TTFN

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: The book is 21% edited. And I’m 13% into the new novel.

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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Bearding it Up

Hello again. I’m back for yet another blog post. I say this, or something like it every time. Sorry about that.

So anyway, today I’m going to talk about something a little different. This last year I wanted to try something out that I’d never done before. I grew out my beard. It has been around a year, I don’t remember exactly when I started, and now it’s fairly large. As a bonus, once it grew out a bit I started receiving complements on it, after I styled the beard of course. Waking up it’s a mess(heh).

So why did I do this? For a few reasons. The first one was while I had a beard for most of my adult life, I’d never grown it out. I’m a bit obsessed with being very neat with my appearance. Meaning I’d continually trim my beard and mustache constantly. And the mustache was a huge problem. As soon as a hair touched my lip I’d unconsciously chew it off, especially if I couldn’t find scissors in time. Not good, and certainly not a thing I’m proud of, but everything had to be perfect in my mind. As a challenge to myself I made sure I wouldn’t constantly pull at or cut the beard.

The next reason was I wanted to see how it looked. Well, I like it most days, but it does make eating harder, or at least messier. Straws are a requirement for most drinks, and anything that is a little messy will wind up in the beard. So constant washing/rinsing the facial hair is a thing. And yet I persevered.

Another thing, in the past I had attempted a handlebar mustache. It was thin, and not very impressive, to me at least, but I wanted to give it a go again. Now the thing is so long that it looks ridiculous to me if I don’t do it up properly. I’m still getting a handle(heh) on it. Mustache wax and or styling balm can only do so much, especially if they get wet while drinking anything.

All this has also been a learning experience. We each have our own type of hair. Some curlier than others, or thinner or thicker, and need to take care of them differently. I spent many… many hours watching tutorials about maintenance or styling, and while I’m no expert I can certainly point to a video that can help. There are a surprising amount of tools you’ll find you’ll need once your beard gets a bit long. For instance a comb, but not a plastic one. Those things are molded, and they leave behind little plastic bits that’ll pull out your hair. A nice wooden comb fixes that. And all the different types of hairbrushes that are recommended. I still don’t have a small round brush needed to properly round out a beard. However with having long hair myself, I had a number of brush options. And don’t forget a hairdryer. Nothing can manage your hair quite like a hairdryer.

Beard Oil. Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. If you are used to, like I am, to aftershave you might like this stuff. If you get the right one, they’ll smell heavenly. I’ve used aftershave as a type of cologne for years, but since I’ve limited my shaving to just straightening out my cheek line there isn’t much call for it. Also beard oil will help your skin, in fact that’s one of the main reasons to use it. If you are worried about dandruff and the like, this stuff can really help. Before I’d notice a bit of snow if I scratched my short beard, but now, even as long as it is, I don’t see any of that. Also it helps itchiness, as while you grow out a beard it can become almost intolerable without it.

In the end I’ve found growing out a beard a form of self control. It has helped me in other areas, perhaps, and I find that even more so now that if I set myself a task I will do it. It never was a huge problem, but there were times where I would slip and ignore my self imposed goals.

Thus ends my tangent into beards. At least for today. The edits progress, and my new book grows.

TTFN

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: The book is 19% edited. And I’m 11% into the new novel.

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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Understanding your Characters

Howdy folks. I’m back again for the weekly post.

Well, the book is going well. We’re ready to start chapter seven as I write this. Editing has gone quickly, as things go. If we continue at this pace we’ll be ready somewhere in August, though there are things to consider then as well. Cover art is still needed, though there are ideas and rough outlines for such. Another would be the description. That’ll require a bit of work, at least for me, as I always find it difficult to give a summary without spoiling all the fun stuff.

To wet your palate, I can say this much without revealing everything. The book is about a drunk set in the world of Norse Mythology. A quest is given, and they stumble their way through. Serious and yet humorous, they meet many different types of people along the way. All the while basically making a nuisance of themselves.

That being said, my next book is coming along nicely. I’m already around 8% into the first draft, and I’m having fun. I’m not wholly sure how things in the middle are going to be, and I keep coming up with different notions before I realize they don’t fit in, but it keeps growing. And I think I can at least mention the co-author has started their own book as well. If things keep going this way we’ll both have our own books for you to read. I can’t say when, as we both have other commitments, but it appears as though the writing train keeps chugging along.

Currently I’m having a hard time finding a book to read. Yes, there are tons out there that I want to read, but I’ve limited myself to those that you can get with just the subscription fee for the kindle unlimited plan. I’ve read many a good book this last year doing this, though I’ve occasionally fell back to well known authors. Those tend to not be available without additional costs, and though I’ve enjoyed those as well, I’m trying to expand my horizons.

I’ve started a few recently, and had to set them aside. I’m trying not to be too picky, but there is one thing that gets me more than spelling errors, or confusing writing, and that is not being able to write people. This is a thing I think some writers struggle with.

What I mean by this simply is that while you might be able to write a single viewpoint, one which is presumably like your own, at times it’s difficult to view the world through another’s perspective. They won’t have the same information as your protagonist, nor the all seeing eye of the narrator. You must understand where they come from first, and write to that.

I find it frustrating when characters come to the right conclusion with limited information. Just because it’s true, in the story, doesn’t mean they’ll know that, or even guess it. Often times people refuse to see the world as it is, and are limited in their understanding based upon their life experiences. One won’t say, oh of course it’s aliens if they don’t have the right information. And even if they do have that information, people often times refuse to believe things based upon what they already think they know.

Humans are pattern seekers. If something doesn’t fit the pattern, they’ll force it, one way or another. This often times leads to the wrong conclusion. As a writer you have to understand that it takes a unique mind to see the truth. Especially if that truth is something out of the ordinary. But to even begin to see the truth, they’ll need the right information. Again, saying something is, is not enough for your character to think it’s the truth. There needs to be a reason they believe it.

With that I’ll leave you. I hope you all have a good week. TTFN

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: The book is 16% edited. And I’m 8% into the new novel.

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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Truth on the day of Lies

Welcome one and all. I’ve returned again.

So here we are on the day that is filled with false rumors and silly japes. Now I’m not one to fault those who wish to tell a little fib for the sake of humor, but it does bring a bit of falseness to the world today. Hopefully it’ll all go away soon.

Anyway, I’ll first of all state plainly that what I’m telling today is not a lie. The book is coming along nicely, and the co-author and I are editing at a decent pace. I say this, but perhaps you’d think it slow if I tell you that we’ve made it through the first chapter and are already halfway through the second. That might not seem quick, but when I edited it was a week per chapter, so I think it’s going well by comparison.

Now to what I’m doing in the time that I’m not with the co-author. I’ve begun writing another book. Before we started our book I was writing a couple by myself. One was about a third finished, but I’d lost the narrative somewhere before then. I’ll likely go back to it eventually, but I had another I’d started that I felt compelled to complete. This one is fantasy, as opposed to the sci-fi I generally write when by myself. I’d say this offers more freedom, but it also forces a writer to write their own world instead of relying on the real one. Luckily I have ideas about how to flesh it out. Shoving together ideas from things I’ve read, and offering new twists that others may have thought of before. It’s going very well.

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything, not just editing. It feels good. I spent most of the weekend thinking of new things, and getting excited. There’s nothing like that energy you get when you are making something new. I felt that way as I was getting back into drawing, and now it’s burning inside me for writing. Again I know this is what I want to do with my life.

A bonus would be to get paid for it. I think that’s a dream for most of us who love creating. So fingers crossed. I hope that as more books that I write come out more people will read them. Perhaps then I’ll be able to write more often. As it is I’ll write anyway, though limited in time to do so currently. But I have high hopes for the book the co-author and I’ve written.

In the end, I’m happy. Happy to have written, and happily writing. I’m glad I live in a world where it’s vastly easier to write(word-processor) and publish(online). The tools we are granted these days allow any one of us to write and bring a vast collection of ideas into the world, whereas before they would just reside in one persons head. I attempt to read as much as I can, even of those who are like myself and are not well-known instead of just those already famous. And while sometimes they have flaws that might have been smoothed out if they were attached to a publishing house, I’m quite fond of the stories they have to tell.

And with that I’ll leave you with this. Go out and find a book in the genre you like. One written by someone unknown, or someone you haven’t heard of. Give it a chance, and maybe you’ll be surprised. Just look at my own Goodreads list if you happen to like sci-fi or fantasy. You’ll probably see someone you haven’t heard of before. Again, give them a chance.

TTFN

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: The book is being edited. 6% into the new novel.

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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