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

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Marketing Self-Doubt

Hello all. I’m back again.

So, I have a problem. I’ve no idea how to advertise/market my books. Well, perhaps I have some ideas, but I don’t like the feeling of intruding upon others, even though I think some people would enjoy finding out about what I’ve made. Nor do I have sufficient funds for such promotion.

I have in earlier instances posted links to my books in places where I thought they might garner some interest. Though I don’t think I did enough to really get the ball rolling. I truly hate the feeling of annoying others, as I hate it when people do it to me. That and I’m only aware of so many places that might be accepting to such self-promotion. Mostly I used my own social media, though the number of followers is larger than when I started it doesn’t seem like there are enough who are truly interested. Mostly the followers I have are other writers who wish to promote their own things as well. While we all are likely readers, it doesn’t seem like it’ll do much to help promote.

Reddit and the like have helped, but mostly when I allowed them to receive a book for free. I don’t have an issue doing so if it helps sell books(hey, I gotta eat too), but while many did get a book, I didn’t see a spike in the sales for other books.

I’m not a tireless marketer, one who constantly promotes what they are selling. I can’t do it. It exhausts me, and I find it rude. If you are following me here or elsewhere on the Internet I hope to give some sort of entertainment or insight, not to just be there to constantly barrage you with statements about how you should buy my book(though I would appreciate more sales).

In the past I paid for a small ad campaign on Facebook, but again didn’t see much traffic to justify the cost. Perhaps there is something wrong with some part of my book descriptions, that seems to be one of the big three things when you can actually get someone to your book’s page. I’m confident in the covers, and the first part of the books that you can sample on such pages. So maybe I should work on that, but again, I can’t tell if I’m even getting people to look at those pages.

Honestly I’m worried that this latest book wont reach as many eyes as I think it should. I think it’s the best thing I’ve written so far, and I’d hate to think that because I’m so terrible at marketing that so few will read it. The co-author and I have been working on this book for years, and it would be terrible to think that so few will have a chance to read it, since maybe they won’t even know it exists.

Aside from all that, I did (omit) a bit of editing since last week. Editing being me re-reading several chapters, and swapping out only a few words here and there. I think it’s mostly done from my perspective, but of course the co-author will need to finish their own re-reading/editing. It reads well, and I really like reading it. Somehow between us we wrote a story I enjoy diving into each time, even if I have read it multiple times. Heh, we even discovered we wrote a meaning we didn’t intend to when we set off writing this book. It makes sense too, so that was neat.

Anyway, I think I’ll leave here. I hope you all enjoy this book when it comes out, but until then I have several other books I’ve written over the years, so take a look at those. Until next time, have a great week.

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: Edited, spending hours drawing.

Steven Oaks

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Books, Sleep, and Coffee

Hi. My name is Steven. I write books. At least that’s what I’ve done so far.

So this week I did a bit more work on the picture I’ve been putting together. Hair was giving me a bit of trouble, so I watched a few tutorials, and now I have something. It’s not great, but it’s fine as a place holder. I’ll have to work on it more to be satisfied.

As for writing I edited several chapters. Again just cleaning up language, as it’s decent at this point. It’s just waiting for a final review with the co-author when they finish up. I think the time we’ve spent polishing up this book will show.

Speaking of polish, I have to say there’s this book series I’ve read, and am reading, that while I like the story an awful lot, it has huge issues when it comes to writing. It’ll just force in a line that skips over events instead of letting the narrative flow naturally. Every time this happens it really takes me out of the book. I’m not sure if any of you have watched Harmon Quest, but it’s like when their DM says “You do that,” and then just moves on, instead of letting it play out. It’s weird. Perhaps other people don’t notice such things, but it’s so different from the way they write everything else I find it distracting. The strange thing is I’ve read other books they’ve written, and they aren’t like this at all. So I don’t know what happened. Perhaps a different group of people are editing their other series. Either way I’ll still read them, but I guess I’ll just expect less from them. 😦

Again to reading. I just finished a 16 book series. It’s titled “EarthCent Ambassador”, and it’s something special. There was only one book I wasn’t completely in love with, but even that one was good. It’s all about a species of alien AI that comes to Earth and forces humans into a galactic federation of different sentients. The aliens are distinct from humans, and have their own cultures. And how our diplomat interacts, and how the rest of humanity reacts to their forced inclusion is fascinating. While there are conflicts, they aren’t in the vein of militaristic. It was truly a wonderful read, and relaxing. I highly recommend reading it if you enjoyed the classic Star Trek feel. One in which it was about exploring alien cultures, and how humanity fits in with all our differences.

Besides from work, it’s been a relaxing week. On my days off I got lots of sleep, or at least gave myself time to sleep more so than usual. Any time I was tired, I went to bed. While I may have rolled around, which is normal and frequent for me, I at least got a little sleep each time. I may have talked about this before, but I have a hard time shutting off my mind, and I can’t get comfortable. So I wind up staring at the ceiling, or just tossing and turning until I eventually fall asleep. Even then I generally only sleep for a few hours at a time.

This of course is not conducive to being well rested, but I tend to offset this before I go to work with coffee. Unfortunately I wound up drinking too much one day last week, and while I was alert, very alert, I grew anxious. Extremely so. I made a post several years ago, back when I think I was writing my second book, that I was drinking tons of coffee, and I would grow incredibly anxious. So it appears that is still in play. Too bad I enjoy the taste and energy that comes from coffee so much. I wish I could feel that invigoration constantly, and perhaps that is why I tend to over do it when I’m a bit more tired than usual.

I have heard others say that coffee is a terrible thing to rely on, and perhaps that’s another reason I have trouble sleeping. Though, I calculate the time before I plan to sleep. Meaning, I have heard that imbibing caffeine less than 12 hours before sleep will cause issues. So I tend to make sure that at least 12 hours pass before I attempt to sleep after drinking any amount of caffeine, either coffee or tea which is my usual concoction. Though on my days off I tend not to drink any, unless I have a big day planned, and I want to get some work done before I finally lie down for the day.

This hasn’t seemed to cause any issues, but I will note on the days that I don’t have any caffeine I will be a bit more groggy. Since I usually don’t have anything planned for those days it hasn’t been an issue. I get at least one nap in, usually for at least a couple of hours when off, and after such I do a bit of work either on editing, or now drawing. So it all seems to work out.

And now that I’ve bored you all with my random nonsense, I’ll let you go. I hope you all have an enjoyable week, and get some sleep.

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: Edited, spending hours drawing.

Steven Oaks

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Writing while anxious

I predict with a few more days of writing the entire first draft will be finished. I was able to, eventually, get myself writing today, and I think I did a decent job outlining what needed to be. However, I have other things on my mind.

Things keep getting more complicated in my life, though not due to individuals. So don’t go thinking any of you are causing any stress. I just had a large day yesterday with little sleep, and perhaps that’s carrying over into today. That and I drank way too much caffeine today so I’d have the energy to write. While effective, it leaves me feeling anxious.

Once more I succumbed to the use of coffee. I thought I made it weak, but apparently not enough when it is in conjunction with tea. I need my tea to write, at least I have used it since I began this path. At least I got some good writing in today, but I hope to have the editors back in the near future. I’m not sure how much longer they’ll be available to me, what with schedule changes imminent.

At least I’m satisfied with what they’ve done so far, and as I’ve said they’ve gotten more than 25% through the book. That of course is an estimate based upon how much more I’ll write, but maybe I’ll go mad one day and write several hundred more pages. Probably not though. At most it should be 10,000 words, another 10 working days, but I think I only need maybe 3-5 thousand words more.

So back to a task not based upon writing I go. See you next post!

What I’ve published

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safeClick here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – hhttp://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: 1,105 words written for the newest novel.

“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Steven Oaks

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Oh Caffeine

I have been troubled by a depression that creeps upon me everyday for the last few weeks. I realized it happened when I began imbibing large quantities of coffee in my morning ritual. Today is the first day I am going without that addition, and I hope to see improvement. I had grown irritable, and irrationally moody. If I do not notice an improvement I shall have to investigate further into my habits and eliminate the cause. The torture my emotions have been putting me through is not something I can stand much longer. Not that I’d end my life or anything, it just was building to a crescendo where I may not be able to continue working on writing. I have spoken of my lack of motivation lately, and that had only been getting worse. It is not normal for me to feel this way, as I have always been filled with ideas that drive me forward. The lack of desire to do anything has caused a slowing of output on my part, and I need to remedy that. Today I have eaten my normal oatmeal without any sugar or cinnamon, and have reduced the caffeine intake to my Earl Grey tea. I feel a little more tired than I wish, but my mood seems improved. As this is the beginning of the day I can not say what I will feel like later, but I have my motivation intact so far. Now to decide what to do with the rest of the day. I could ride my bike, however today is designated as one of the hotter ones thus far this year. Perhaps that would be not intelligent. I could continue working on my staffs, but I would want to have a design ready to wood-burn into their surface. I do believe one is complete, and I could simply seal it up, and be done with it. Perhaps I will do that. Cracks have developed in the others, but I took the time yesterday to use wood filler to smooth them away. I could sand down what I worked on yesterday as well, and that would not be a waste of my time. However all these events would involve me being outside in the heat. There are other options for me, I could spend my time cleaning and reorganizing my house. So instead of having a lack of motivation, I have a glut of things I wish to accomplish. What an amusing turn of events.

Update – 10 pages reviewed and edited of the second novel. I feel alive again.

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” ― Napoleon Hill

– Steven Oaks

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Breaks and Coffee

I have been writing every day for nearly three months and had become tired of it. I had forgotten that it is important to take breaks. From now on I will not be posting anything at least on Sundays. Perhaps that is not enough time to call a break, but I need something. I had spoken about how to recharge yourself so you might continue writing earlier, but I forgot part of that is not doing anything. Luckily I had worn myself out too much to do anything yesterday, and am now refreshed.

And now on to coffee. I had a coffee maker that had stood unused for years because I had moved on to tea, but I had been finding the tea to lack the boost I needed to shake off the weariness I have when I awake in the morning. So on Saturday I went to the store and gathered all I needed to make coffee once more. I was a bit overzealous as I had about eight cups of coffee that day. The jitters and uncomfortable feeling in my own mind showed me the error of my ways. It took me until the late afternoon of the next day to begin feeling more myself. By that time it was late, and I was ready for bed. Today I placed the grounds into the filter, and brewed what amounts to six and a half cups. Again overzealous, but it is what fit into the massive cup my ex-wife had made for me. I will have to find the appropriate amount, but it did it job for me today. I threw myself on my work, and I was able to produce more of the story with less effort than I had the last several weeks. I still feel jittery, so I will reduce the intake tomorrow.

The orange giant

The orange giant

Update – 2,000 words written. I saw a squirrel stuck in my garden today. When I went out to untangle him, he had already won free. Luckily nothing seemed to be damaged.

“I don’t really like coffee, she said, but I don’t really like it when my head hits my desk when I fall asleep either. ” ― Brian Andreas

– Steven Oaks

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