Number of poems written: ~35, most for Acts of Speech.
This can only ever be approximate because I often write verses that are not properly poems or poems in the margins of documents or planner pages without transferring them anywhere else.
Fiction words written: 119,000
- Ossia: 117,000 words
- The Seven Papers, Book 3: 2,000 words
I am so excited to revise Ossia. It’s going to be some beautiful hieropoeia, but for now, the dough must rest.
- Lexember 2019: Finished editing and revising the extant Tveshi lexicon and began adding new words again.
- KALLISTI: 85 posts, likely 115,000 words once one removes all of the XML chatter from the file export.
- The Seven Papers: Not much progress because I prioritized finishing Ossia, which may now actually be part of The Seven Papers proper.
- I re-edited The Forest of Strong Branches and A Matter of Oracles, two novellas.
- 106 hours spent in Scrivener
- 100 hours spent in WordPress
- 21 hours spent in Typora
- 18 hours spent in TextMate
- 400 hours on social media, 338 of them on Twitter — the majority before the end of July, as I went on hiatus in August
I only set actionable goals. It’s readily apparent that, if I can write 119,000 words in Scrivener by spending about a hundred hours there, I can shift a lot of time from social media into writing. After going on hiatus — when the autumn semester started — a lot of my time was spent writing a paper on the 2019 Nobel prizewinners, not creative writing, so I can salvage that time to devote to my writing projects.
Managing my time via RescueTime — and looking at the feedback it gives me — provides a stark, concrete view of something we already know: People spend too much time on social media, and none of us have to be there. I’m closing out the year by reading Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts by Jaron Lanier, and while I disagree with how he’s presenting about 1-3% of his arguments, social media has a chilling effect on important human creativity because it distracts us with hyper-segmentation (my word for “tribalism” because one should not use the word tribalism to describe this — go with hypersegs and hypersegging if you really want something short and sweet) and horrific levels of divisiveness.
Everything, even the good things, eventually becomes miasmic there because the algorithms are designed to push our buttons and to hyperseg us so they can keep our eyeballs on device. Very occasionally, good interactions happen — I love the polytheist and conlang communities, and I love it when people post interesting cultural threads, but those moments of brightness are so overshadowed. I highly recommend reading this book alongside Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism and a focused listen to the episodes of Your Undivided Attention and The Happiness Lab.
I only want to spend my time doing things that are healing and important, like writing hieropoeia that blends polytheistic thought and theology with far-future science fiction to tell beautiful and edifying stories, or like writing blog posts on KALLISTI that help people feel less intimidated about difficult things like learning a new style of religious worship or reading philosophy, or writing poetry. When I consume media, I want it to be beautiful things that I can get excited about sharing with other people — things that bring cohesion and a sense of stability that buffers the mind against the horrors humanity has made of the twenty-first century.
[Algorithm-driven, hypersegging social media (BUMMER) companies want] you to think that without BUMMER there would be no devices, no Internet, no support groups to help you through hard times, but that is a lie. It is a lie you celebrate and reinforce when you use BUMMER, just as someone who attends a corrupt church is supporting its corruption.Jaron Lanier, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, p. 139/185.
And Cal Newport has written:
The techno-philosopher Jaron Lanier convincingly argues that the primacy of anger and outrage online is, in some sense, an unavoidable feature of the medium: In an open marketplace for attention, darker emotions attract more eyeballs than positive and constructive thoughts. For heavy Internet users, repeated interaction with this darkness can become a source of draining negativity — a steep price that many don’t even realize they’re paying to support their compulsive connectivity.Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism, p. 8-9/300
The best thing to do is to not use it and to find other places. This is challenging because many of the communities I am in are physically decentralized, but the crux is that one just cannot be online in this way — at least not for very long — if one wants to do mentally exhausting and rewarding creative work. While I won’t delete my account, I’m not going to be there that often, and I am actively looking for alternatives to that awful place.
I’m also closing out the year by reading a Platonic commentary on Plato’s Cratylus. It’s a much happier experience than reading social media backlash polemics.
Writing Goals for 2020
- Write at a rate of 700 words per day, unless I write a poem — one poem will count for one day of writing. At maximum, since 2020 is a leap year, this will mean 256,200 prose-words. If I write 52 poems, it will be 219,800 prose-words. This is a sustainable, actionable goal, and I can hit it in about 200 Scrivener hours.
- I will set aside time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to write. Mondays and Fridays are difficult because I usually do household things on those days, and I will get back into batch cooking on Monday nights and batch cleaning on Friday nights. The max of my goal range is only about 5,000 words/week.
- Draft the story of Deisis. Deisis is the primary character in Books 3 and 7 of The Seven Papers, and I’ve just about brainstormed how to make these books happen from start to finish.
- Outline and write half of House of the Naiades. This book is not related to The Seven Papers, but is a modern fantasy ode to growing up in Neopaganism. It’s kind of like Zanoni meets American Gods and From the Dust Returned set to the song “Hotel California.”
- Publish Acts of Speech on June 17. This is the book of poetry I’ve been working on, and that is my birthday. I have dreaded my birthday since I was quite young (not due to getting older), but maybe if I turn it into a publishing day, those feelings will change or at least become less about my birthday.
I don’t have many publishing goals in 2020. While I will continue to submit poems for publication, I’ve decided that submitting short stories and novellas to the markets is not a productive use of my time. The only story I have gotten published was connected to Earth, and it was published after only a few rejections; I’m just not that interested in writing stories connected to Earth, so I have to make a choice between things I enjoy and things the markets take. House of the Naiades is an exception to this, and it could realistically be attractive to traditional markets.
In 2019, I posted The Waterfall Commune to this blog, which is a good example of the type of fiction I’m interested in writing. In 2020, I may revise and post a few other stories set on Ameisa to Pangrammatikê. In 2020 or 2021, I may self-publish my two novellas. Acts of Speech is a good test run because a poetry chapbook is less complicated and far less expensive to put out there.
So, that’s where I’m at right now. Happy New Year!