Palm Trees

Dear readers, I am on vacation and it is absolutely glorious. I don’t have to get up and drive to work in all the traffic. I don’t have to do actual work or listen to annoying coworkers. (Really, there are just two annoying ones but between both of them, they make enough noise for ten people.) And best of all, I’ll be to work on my writing at all hours of the day (and night) if I want to. Personally, I think every day should be a vacation day or a weekend so that I can write more. :)

Image source.

No Wednesday Music Today

I forgot to write a post, so there will be no Wednesday Music today. I’ll try to get something up later this week, but if I can’t, I’ll have a post next week.

An Essentialist Approach To Social Media

A while ago—maybe it was three or four years—it became trendy to put social media media icons on one’s blog. The point, I suppose, was to allow readers to follow the blogger on various social media accounts. If you like reading someone’s blog, it’s logical to assume you will probably enjoy their musings on Twitter, Facebook, etc. as well.

I’ve had social media icons on my blog for ages now. I’m sure it’s been years, which is an eternity in Internet Time. One thing that has changed, though, is the amount I have. I’ve gone from having a ton of icons—Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest, and probably some others I can’t even remember—to having only a few. The reason for this is I’ve shut down a lot of social media accounts over the years. I felt like they were sapping my energy that could be better spent writing on this blog (in the case of Tumblr, see item 15 on this list), were annoying in general (Facebook), or I simply didn’t use them anymore (Flickr). Today, I use only three social media sites with any regularity: Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

British-born author Greg McKeown wrote a book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. (He also has some videos on the subject if you can’t/won’t read the book. But you should read the book because it’s awesome.) In it, he argues that people are trying to do too much nowadays, and that, paradoxically, is making us less productive than ever. By concentrating on fewer things—the things that actually matter—we can be more productive and less stressed, both at work and in our personal lives.

I’ve found this philosophy to be very useful. Remember when I stopped following the news? It took up so much time and made me stressed and now that I’m not following it, I feel so much better. It was just too much to focus on.

Social media is the same way, at least for me. I’ve heard advice urging bloggers to be on as many social media platforms as possible in order to promote their blogs. If I were on a ton of social media sites every day promoting this blog, I’d possibly have more visits—but I’d have no time to do anything else in my life!

Social media can be fun, but it could quickly take over your life. In general, I think it’s better to steer clear of most social media sites. Do you really need to visit Facebook multiple times a day? (If you think you’ll lose touch with your friends, you probably aren’t that close to them, anyway. The only people I’ve lost touch with since quitting Facebook are people I didn’t talk to for years.) Do you really need to spent hours mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram? I admit to having done that with the first two, but I’m trying to limit my time on those sites. Instead, read a book, start writing a blog—or best of all, go make a nice crocheted afghan.

A Good (Writing) Day

You guys, today has been great. I woke up early, felt rested, and sat down at my writing desk. I ended up writing 600 words before work. Then I came home and wrote more, pushing my total to over 1,200 words today! That’s a great word count for me, especially since I’ve been editing and rewriting at a somewhat relaxed pace.

I know “good Monday” probably sounds like an oxymoron, but I think today may actually have been a good Monday!

Wednesday Music: Mozart’s Sonata For Bassoon And Cello

For Wednesday Music this week, my friends, we return to Mozart. Today’s piece is his Sonata for Bassoon and Cello in B-flat major, K. 292/196c. Here’s a bit about it.

  • Due to the odd arrangement of this piece—choosing to write a duet for bassoon and cello is pretty random, you have to admit—some scholars have thought that Mozart didn’t actually write it. However, others think that he most definitely did write it due to the Mozartian quality of the music. I think he wrote it, too. Besides, Mozart was famous for combining instruments you wouldn’t think to combine (recall his Concerto for Flute and Harp) and making the resulting piece sound really good.
  • Mozart probably wrote the piece in early 1775, when he was nineteen years old and living in Munich. At the same time, he wrote some keyboard sonatas that have similar qualities to this piece, which further proves that this has not been falsely attributed to him.
  • An aristocrat who was also an amateur musician commissioned this piece from Mozart, along with his bassoon concerto and three other bassoon concertos that have since been lost. (Lost music is a crying shame, especially when it was Mozart’s. Let us pause here for a moment to mourn these three bassoon concertos, which I’m sure were excellent.) This aristocrat never paid Mozart for these works, though, which annoys me a lot. Basically, people have been stiffing artists and creative people out of money for centuries now. That’s equally annoying and sad!

Enjoy! It’s a short piece, so you don’t have an excuse not to listen to it. :)

Or click here to see on YouTube.


Ugh, you guys. I was trying to write a post with a video of a Russian song and I was going to translate the lyrics into English. I struggled with this silly post (which is still incomplete) for ages and still didn’t get it done, due to the translation! This is going to sound strange, but the better I have become at Russian, the worse I’ve become at translating. It’s like the two linguistic parts of my brain do not want to interface with each other and it’s very frustrating.

Basically, the longer I don’t do translation, the worse I get at it. But the worse I get, the more that makes me not want to do it!

So yes, it’s Monday and I don’t have a post with any substance for you—just this one whining about my lack of translation ability. Ugh.

October Writing Report

Another month, another writing report. Here’s what I did in October with my writing: there’s good news and bad news.

First, the bad news: my total word count is the lowest it’s been all year. I wrote only 12,452 words in October. (My highest month had a count of almost 25,000.) That’s an average of 401 words a day—my lowest average all year, as you’d expect. I quite a few days of writing, too. As of the end of October, I wrote 198,343 words for the entire year.

Now, for the good news: October was when I started to work on editing my most promising novel. It’s science fiction and I wrote it earlier this year. Therefore, a lot of the days I didn’t have any recorded word count were days during which I read my manuscript and took notes, or worked on my scene map and wrote scene notes. I do all of that by hand and there’s no way I’m going to take the time to count words when I write by hand, as it’s just too tedious!

Anyway, the editing continues this month. I’ve written every day so far because I’ve been implementing the changes I decided on back in October. Also, I’ve passed the 200,000-word mark for words written in 2015! I was going to tell you that in my November writing report, but it’s such a nice big number that I couldn’t wait.

I’d also like to say good luck to everyone who’s participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I did it two years ago because I’d always wanted to do it (and I really wanted the prizes!). Nowadays, I basically write year-round (if we define “writing” as “extensively outlining, writing a draft, and editing said draft”), so I didn’t see the point in stopping with my editing to work on something totally different, especially since I’m making very good progress. Even if I’m not a participant, I’m still cheering all my NaNo writing buddies along from the sidelines.

Now, back to editing a chapter of the novel…