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What Semi-Busy People Do All Day (Pt 2)

April 11, 2010

Illustration Credit - Richard Scarry

Previously on What Semi-Busy People Do All Day (Pt.1):

Our phone calls are great, but pale when compared to our Laverne & Shirley era where we bunked up and she would read “news of the wacky” type items to me while we both were in our bedrooms (on separate floors). “Ange, listen to this. Tsk tsk tsk. A man got arrested for robbing a bank moments after he deposited his check. Apparently he deposited his stick up note and not the check. Oh this is nice. The bank has waved the overdraft fees incurred when he bounced a few items due to his mistake. Hmmm, maybe I ought to open an account with them.”

and…

I’ve been researching lots about Zapp and their various tragedies, and tragedies in the 80s R&B world as a whole. You think HipHop has dramedy, shit, Between Zapp, Phyllis Hyman, Bobby DeBarge and Marvin Gaye, R&B done got plenty of hot buttered tragedy.

And on tonight’s episode:

  • Writing makes the world go round

The response to the first installment was quite overwhelming! I was laboring under the delusion that nobody really cared about me personally, but quickly scanning my stats suggests otherwise. For some reason posts vectoring towards the personal – with the exception of St. Elsewhere post, which I get emails about daily – are the ones y’all go nuts over. Again, this is really a head scratcher, since I’m basically not particularly interested in talking about myself for the sake of doing so. I mean I don’t mind sharing relevant details in context with imparting some larger piece of wisdom, but when it comes to confessional blogging, well like complaint blogging, it is just not my thing. I have maintained from the get go that my blog should tell you what kind of writer I am and not what kind of person I am. I mean of course I’m in the milk and the milk’s in me, but that’s not what this blog is about.

For example I received this email:

I have lurked or “rubbernecked” on your blog for months kind of hoping to hear more about you and the people in your life. What do they think about your blog, your writing and is it a conscious decision not to reveal your identity here?

  • My friends, family and partner think my blog is great and are incredibly supportive of this endeavor. My partner graciously offers his computer expertise to help me make this place pleasant to view.
  • I didn’t realize people thought I was hiding my identity. I have been on the internet for a loooong time and have done online journaling for nearly a decade in various locations, all of which publicly stated my first name, which for the record is Angelina. Though most people call me Ange or whatever internet handle/IRL nickname I used when they met me. For some reason I assumed folks knew this. Anyway, I guess we solved another mystery, gang.
  • It’s highly unlikely at this point in my blogging that I will be waxing tales of my life or the characters in it in real time. If you’ve noticed when discussing folks, it is always involving events that happened a long time ago. In fact one of the main features of my LIVEJOURNAL for years was the fact that I didn’t ever do “Okay, here’s what happened today…” style posts. I have a paper journal, which goes into that minutiae. And for the most part, that’s exactly how I prefer it.

It’s not so much that I’m an intensively private person – though certainly that should be factored in – rather I just don’t think the day to day goings on in Snarky’s Land require faithful recreation in this space. And that brings us back to the whole idea of this being a space to figure out what kind of writer I am.

And around we go.

  • Writing This is probably what everyone was waiting for, based on the sheer volume of emails I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. Well what can I tell you that you haven’t already figured out? I love to write. I am passionate about writing. I am passionate about communicating my perspective to the world, which I happen to think is kind of interesting at times. Mostly because I am constantly changing my mind about it. But that’s not what you want to know. You want stats. You want rituals. You want my “process”. Well one aspect of my “process” is to shun all discussions about it. Ariel Gore wrote that writers shouldn’t talk about what they’re writing and that stories don’t like to be talked about. I agree with this. Writers who talk the most generally are the ones who write the least. Thems be murky waters to navigate given the goal is showing rather than telling.
    • I write approximately six hours say. I have no idea how I happened upon this “sweet spot”, but it has ended up working out the best for me in terms of productivity. I am a strict adherer to the 48 minute hour, which involves 48 minutes of solid productive work time with a twelve minute break. Those twelve minute breaks are often used to bang out blog posts, comments or status updates. Then it’s back to work. I tend to work on several projects at once and while I don’t think it’s a useful mode of travel, I like multi-tasking.

      Snarky’s Machine became a fan of Multi-Tasking

      Here’s how it tends to break down:

      • Paper Journaling
      • Freelance projects
      • strip minding defunct stories, ancient blog posts and old college essays in order to update content or salvage choice bits of prose.
      • researching whatever thing I’m become obsessed with. I like being obsessed with things.
      • working on new stuff.
      • working on my “impossible projects”.

      Snarky’s Machine became a fan of Obsessing about stuff

      • writing blog posts. This tends to be thing I’m asked about the most. How do you do it? Oh please. I pick three days out of the week to “generate content” and then I schedule the posts according length and whether or not I’ll feel up to moderate whatever discussion might occur. I usually hatch out rough ideas for posts on my other blogs and save those as drafts, returning later to flesh them out. But on the Mothership, well let’s just say I could stop being physically present for about 39 days and nobody would be able to tell, as there would be piping fresh content each day. I’m quite organized because I can’t trust myself to just make it happen everyday, so I don’t let myself have that option. Posts that turn up in the afternoon are generally the only ones written the day they’re posted. That middle of the night stuff makes it seem like I’m online doing stuff when most likely I’m watching a movie, reading a book, talking to my best friend or moderating content/comments elsewhere. I might even be SLEEPING or at work. I’m not online nearly as much as it might appear, but that’s the point. It keeps engaged without having to actually be sitting at the damn computer all the time.

      Is this as “thrilling” to you as it is to me? Who knows…

      I think this about all the “me” talk I can stand for now.

      There will be a Pt 3!

      Snarky’s Machine became a fan of Not boring her audience.

      ______________________________________________________
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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2010 4:11 pm

    It’s weird, the post I did last week (or whenever) that was just about myself got more c0mments and views than pretty much any other post I’ve done. It’s like reality TV. People are into voyeurism.

  2. Claire permalink
    April 11, 2010 5:52 pm

    Damn it Snarky! You’re ruining the mystique! How are people going to cope with finding out that writing takes practise, grunt work and planning and that inspiration doesn’t fall from the heavens into your beautiful mind on the regular?

  3. hsofia permalink
    April 11, 2010 7:24 pm

    I really like the bit about how you write in advance and such … hmm. Food for thought! Thanks for sharing.

  4. April 11, 2010 10:20 pm

    I also work on more than one thing at a time. I think you’re way better at closing the deal than I am though! It makes my studio look way more intense than it actually is because there is more than one painting up and being worked on. But mostly I just sit in there poking away at them and listening to ABBA. Not very thrilling! Maybe I should take up smoking again.

  5. April 12, 2010 4:02 am

    It’s weird, the post I did last week (or whenever) that was just about myself got more c0mments and views than pretty much any other post I’ve done. It’s like reality TV. People are into voyeurism.

    So true. Oddly enough, someone must realize the real lives of average writers aren’t as interesting as folks might imagine, given there has been almost no attempt to capture their lives via reality television.

    Damn it Snarky! You’re ruining the mystique! How are people going to cope with finding out that writing takes practise, grunt work and planning and that inspiration doesn’t fall from the heavens into your beautiful mind on the regular?

    Pay no attention to the women in the stretchie pants and long grey sweater.

    I really like the bit about how you write in advance and such … hmm. Food for thought! Thanks for sharing.

    The good news is I tend to get a lot of ideas I feel compelled to explore in depth.
    The bad news is I tend to get a lot of ideas I feel compelled to explore in depth.

    I also work on more than one thing at a time. I think you’re way better at closing the deal than I am though! It makes my studio look way more intense than it actually is because there is more than one painting up and being worked on. But mostly I just sit in there poking away at them and listening to ABBA.

    Change “paintings” and “ABBA” to index cards and EW&F and it’s essentially the same deal. I think you are far better at separating the wheat from the chaff as far as final projects are concerned. Sometimes I feel as though this blog should be called “Chaffy’s Machine”.

  6. April 12, 2010 9:26 am

    When I hear writers (or artists) discuss how they work, I remember one of Jeff MacNelly’s “Shoe” comics. In it, Skyler sees his uncle Cosmo staring out the window. Skyler asks “shouldn’t you be pounding the keyboard?” To which Cosmo replies “Typists pound keyboards. Writers stare out windows.”

    So anytime I come across a writer who does more than stare out the window, I’m really impressed 🙂

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