Author Archives: jrmurdock

C3PO and Me

If you’ve watched any of my 5 a Day with Jay videos, you’ve seen I have framed pictures behind me that are often washed out due to the incoming light. One of the is a line art done by My Favorite Daughter of C3PO. Probably my favorite Star Wars character.

I associate with his paranoia and fear when faced with uncertain situations. His need to be protected. His vulnerability. His need to do the right thing in the face of all that.

I’m currently reading I Am C3PO by Anthony Daniels. Not only the voice of said character, but the man inside the suit. The only character to appear in all 9 of the main Star Wars movies.

I’m fascinated by what it took to create the suit, but also what it took to embody the character. This book gives many behind the scenes looks at what it took to make the movie, but also what it took to get into costume and character. Though I’m only halfway through the book, I only started reading it yesterday. Yeah, I’ll finish this one quickly. 🙂

I feel closer to this character more than ever.

Absent yet again today.

No pic, no 5 a Day With Jay. Long, exhausting day. I will get a regular post out tomorrow and Sunday. Monday/Tuesday will be packing days. I’ll have lots of great pictures from our journey.

I need to get some sleep.

Until Net Time!

Stay Awesome!

Xrays and Lab work.

Getting old sucks. I’m confident you’ve heard that one before.

I had a dr appointment. I’m being sent off for regular lab work. Then it’s off to get xrays of my lower back and hips. Given the arthritis in my knees, it is very likely I also had arthritis there as well.

What I’m trying to say, as I type this out on my phone is that there will be no 5 a Day With Jay this evening as I am still in the waiting room. Hopefully I will still be able to make words happen. We shall see.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Sometimes I just don’t know.

There are many times when I sit down to write this blog, and I have NO IDEA what I’m going to write about. Yes, if you’ve followed for some time, you know I keep a list of topics at hand. Those are in case of emergency and so far, I’ve used some of those topics, but not because I consciously looked at the list and chose what to use off the list.

For example, this topic tonight. As soon as I wrote the title, I put on some music, and started typing. I happened to look at the list and…hey! I’ve been meaning to talk about this. I probably have talked about this before, but I’m confident I’ll be talking about this topic in a different manner tonight.

Why?

About a month ago, 4 of the many comics I read all had a similar topic. Artists doesn’t know what to draw, and draws a comic about not knowing what to draw. This isn’t an uncommon theme. I’ve seen many comics use it over the years. Yes, for those that want to keep track, I’m subscribed to dozens of web comics. I rarely read the newspaper funnies any more because…well, they’re not funny.

At any rate, what those artists demonstrate is that you don’t have to have a brilliant idea to do something. All you need is a vague idea and roll with it. The biggest thing to overcome is inertia. Sitting at the keyboard and typing. Giving yourself permission to type anything no matter how bad or inane it may be. The biggest challenge is getting started.

Once, I wanted to write something, but didn’t have a clue what. I was in the middle of the year I tried to write a short story every day (and failed by only writing about 100 short stories and getting 10 of those published). I didn’t waffle. I didn’t complain. I literally started writing words. And tried to think of another word that went with the first word. I played a word association game with myself. Just a long list of words.

After a few minutes of typing words that didn’t seem to go together much at all, something caught my eye and an idea popped into my head. I started writing and I was off to the races. I can’t tell you what that story was, but I wrote it. All it took was sitting, typing out words, and letting the idea fall into my head.

That’s almost what I did tonight. I sat down at the computer, wasn’t sure what to write about, and realized, this is common with artists. Some can sit and go for it. Others need to wait for the muse to inspire them. There is a distinct separation there. Those that do, and those that wait.

Let me give you another example. Last night, my co-author (Mike, not Might) got his next chapter of Jack Kane to me (or was it the day before). At any rate, I knew I was going to write in JK3. I knew it was going to be a new viewpoint that had never happened before in the books. I procrastinated, listened to some music, and didn’t put my hands on the keyboard right away. I had a vague idea what would happen in that chapter, but words weren’t coming.

So, I typed the first sentence. /Jack had been lost in his drawings for the better part of an hour./ I had to go back into the previous chapter to figure out where that’d come from and, sure enough, I’d already set this scene up. Because I’d been in GRPC3 the evening before, my headspace wasn’t in JK3. I did a little reading of the previous chapter, read Mike’s chapter (again), and BAM! Wrote a 1500 word chapter with the new POV.

It was refreshing to do that. I hadn’t written this character’s POV before and now I’ve breathed life into her. It took me about an hour to write her chapter and I’m even more excited for her turn to come around again so I can write more from her viewpoint. It’s going to add a whole new layer to the Jack Kane books. I will most likely do two Jack Kane chapters to one Betsy chapter (he is the titular character after all).

If you haven’t noticed by all this above, I consider myself a pantser. I like to write into the dark. However you want to term it, sitting and letting my creative brain do all the work allows me the freedom of not stressing out about what I’m going to write. That’s what works for me and has for a majority of my writing journey.

I’m off to go make more words happen.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0152-e12ga14

There are things I’m doing…and things I’m not doing.

I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum and I’m fresh out of bubble gum.

Wait, that’s not what I meant at all by the title of this blog. Sheesh. One of these days I’ll figure out what I’m doing here.

One thing I’d like to make very clear for followers of this blog…I’m not here to dispense writerly advice. I’m not creating a writers group. I’m not going to hand out atta-boys. I’m not a cheerleader. I won’t review your book or guide you on the best way to find new readers. This blog won’t tell you how to write or how to edit. It certainly won’t provide you with guidance on how to be successful.

What I will do around here is tell you what I’m doing with my writing. This blog and the videos are a chronicle of my journey. You will get to peek behind the curtain of what I’m doing along the way as I write and publish. You’ll get to see me succeed and/or fail in real-time. For those that stumble across the blog some time in the future, you’ll get to explore my path and see what was going on inside my head and why I made the choices I made.

I will, at times, ramble about my family, my childhood, my vacations, dreams I’ve had, you know, basic life stuff.

To be honest, I’ll also explain my thought process for what I’m doing. Why I do what I do, I feel, is almost as important as what I’m doing. I’ve read a lot of writing books with some great advice…but it’s all vague and generalized. Not all of it, but a good deal of it. I’m not talking about the art of writing itself. There’s lots of great advice out there. I’m talking about advice on how to get your books into readers hands. There’s no silver bullet. That, for a struggling writer, is the most frustrating things to run into.

I’ll tell you this, don’t believe the myth of a writer putting out a book and BAM! Famous millionaire. The Mrs. and I were watching a Hallmark movie the other day and the writer was your stereotypical writer who’d written a couple of books and was mega famous, even a household name.

<sigh>

I’ve learned over the years to hold my tongue when watching a movie like that and need to keep in mind that many are in love with the idea of writing and not the work it takes to be a writer.

Anyway, I’m getting side tracked. I guess I’ll cut this one short tonight as I went VERY long last night.

Oh, speaking of last night. After I wrote that mammoth blog post, I wrote 2000 words in GRPC3. Tonight I’ll be going for 2000 words in Jack Kane 3 as Might got a chapter back to me. I’m excited to read what he sent over and to keep the story moving forward.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0151-e12e8sc

How’d I get here so quickly?

October 21, 2020 I hit record for the first time and did the very first episode of 5 a Day With Jay. I do think I’ve done more than 150 episodes, but for the sake of numbering, this is the 150th. I took a moment in today’s video to think about lessons learned along the way.

  1. Don’t wait.

If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never be ready. When it comes to creative endeavors, the longer you drag your feet, the less likely you are to get started. If you wait until everything is perfect, you’ll never get any better. Take a look at Beeple Crap’s feed on Instagram. Sure, he’s putting out some neat stuff. For him, it started out as a hobby and every day he worked at his craft, he got better. Not everything he does is ground breaking or amazing, but he’s putting out something every single day. He’s been at it for years. If he’d waited until he had the exact software he needed and the right tablet or mouse to draw with or..or..or…you can see how it goes. Don’t wait to start. Use what’s handy and get going. You will get better along the way.

2. Learn what you’re doing along the way.

Had I continued to watch videos and tutorials on how to create a youtube channel and created videos, and do title cards, I would have been in a learning black hole. I would have never started. This ties in with #1. But there is a time to learn and you should make time to learn. Along the way, I’ve watched more “behind the scenes” about video creation. That’s why I decided to start going live instead of recording. It’s sped up the process for me and freed up a LOT of time to write this blog and write books. I’ve also started doing learned courses about writing, and reading books about writing and social media. Learning is as big of a key as getting going, but you can’t use it as a crutch not to start.

3. Time management is important.

As I said in #2, you need to also learn how to do things faster. With doing the videos, going live sames me a ton of time. With writing, typing faster saves me time. Keeping notes on both ends helps me better focus my attention on what I’m doing even if I don’t always reference those notes. I’m not a professional. I need help getting started some days, and making sure I have the time to do what I want to do helps. To accomplish my goals, I’ve had to cut back. I’ve started unsubscribing from a number of YouTube channels that I regularly skip content on (feel free to skip my videos if you get nothing from them). I’ve cut back on the blogs I’m reading. I’ve cut WAY back on the amount of news I consume across all media. I’ve increased educational videos both on video creating and writing. I’ve increased the amount of time I’m reading. But I’ve also freed up a LOT more time for getting my publishing career going in the direction I want.

4. Planning is important.

This ties in with #3. I know I need to get on a schedule with my video production as that’ll let people know what time to expect me. I’m thinking about shooting for 6pm PST. It’s not too late on the East Coast, and early enough for me that I can get to writing as soon as I’m done. Beyond videos, I needed to plan my book release schedule. What books I’m going to write next. When they’re going to come out. Scheduling the release of those books so they’re ready to go and I don’t need to think about their release. I want as much of this process on auto-pilot as I can make it. I’m a developer and that means I’m lazy and will come up with a program or process to make my life easier. It’s how I work. Having a plan allows me to keep content flowing without having to put too much thought into the process. This frees up my mine to work on other things.

5. My Videos and Blogs don’t always match.

If you only read the blogs, or only watch the videos, you’re missing half the picture I’m getting out. It’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to do both. I’m doing different content for different audiences. There’s only so much time in the day and I don’t want to be someone’s crutch preventing them from getting to their creative endeavor. Explore what you like, ignore what you don’t. I never had an expectation that anything I record or write would get viewed or read. This is why I do more free-form on the videos, and try TRY to have a little more format on the blogs. I don’t always succeed.

6. Slow, steady progress is good.

I knew that nothing I was doing would take off like a rocket. That’s the nature of the game. I’m not a megastar. I’m not famous. I was barely a blip on the podcasting scene. I made many good friends along the way and enjoyed my time doing that. There is zero expectation that those friends will watch my videos, read my blog or buy my books. Those kinds of expectations are deadly and dangerous. I had them before and they lead to disappointment. This time around, I’m going for slow growth and I’m happy with any sale.

7. Keep going.

Unlike all my other false starts, I don’t intend to stop what I’m doing. As long as I’m enjoying the stories I’m telling, I’ll keep telling those stories. It’s that simple. With my goals small and under my control, I won’t be stopping any time soon. I want to have fun. I want to tell stories. That’s it. That’s my current goal. Yes, I’d love to sell books, but that’s for Tomorrow Jay to deal with, not Today Jay.

8. Look forward, not back.

I don’t want to revisit what I’ve done in the past any more. I’ve analyzed those failures and I’m moving on. They’re in the past, they’re done, there’s nothing I can do about them other than move on and do better. A book failed, write another one. A book has a plot hole? It was the best I could do at the time. I get a 1-star review. I can’t make everyone happy with every book I write. The future it out there waiting to be had. I’m going to reach out and grab it.

This blog will be my 137th consecutive blog post since I decided to start blogging every day. Today’s video my 150th 5 a Day With Jay. Some numbers I didn’t cover in my By The Numbers episode were video views and blog hits. I’ll make a point to get to those come the end of June.

Also of note, I will be gone a majority of next week, the week after that, and probably the week after that. it is, after all, Summer and there’s vacations to be had. I will continue to blog daily, even if it’s only a picture or two. 5 a Day With Jay will resume with regularity in the 1st week of July.

I’m off to make some words happen.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0150-e12bvqd

Chocolate

I dont often get a hankering for a chocolate, but when I do, I like to try something different.

Today, at CVS, I happened to find myself in the candy aisle. Who knows how THAT happened.

I saw the bright letter with the cartoon font and decided, looks interesting. I grabbed the sea salt and caramel variety.

Oh. Yum!

Tony, you had me with the fun wrapping, and won me over with a delicious treat.

SHAZAM!

Shazam! (2019) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Mrs. and I went for a shorter than expected hike today. We’re going to try again tomorrow. Breakfast was good though. Had a nice, long nap. Then sat down to do some editing of book interiors. While doing a mind-numbing task, sat around watching SHAZAM! Finally, a DC movie worth watching! I hope they make a sequel.

Flying High Again.

This week has been a little bit stressful. For those who’ve been following along, today was my boss’s last day. I did apply for his position and my interview is next week. We shall see what happens. I spent a good deal of this week and last week meeting with my boss daily going over contracts, documents, projects, contacts, and getting his take on team members and outside teams we work with. It was quite a bit of information to take in.

Even with all that going on, I was able to crank out 1500 words on Jack Kane 3 on Monday. I picked away on GRPC3, but didn’t commit to writing a lot of words. I did 5 a Day With Jay, and wrote the blogs, but fiction words escaped me.

Until last night. Last night I put down 3200 words. I had cycled back a couple of chapters, did some clean up and added some words. Fleshed out a couple of spots, then moved forward. My intention was to finish the chapter I had been working on and call it a night.

Well, that chapter got done and I jumped straight into the next chapter because it was calling me and I got around 1700 words into that chapter before I got to a stopping point. Literally mid-word I stopped. I know what’s going to happen next and as soon as I finish this blog post, I’ll get to work on that.

But Jay, how could you just stop like that?

I’m so glad you asked. Because now when I sit down, my brain has been mulling over that scene since I lifted my hands up. This is a trick I learned long ago when I’m in flow. Yes, I could have probably finished the chapter and been at a break in the story, but then I’d have to ramp back up when I sit down again. I wanted to put my hands on the keyboard and go. It’s an exciting story (for me) and I’m having a blast writing it.

That said, with the change in my writing style and pacing, and the POVs, and the fleshing out of the universe I’m doing with these recent books, I can tell already this one will be a monster. GRPC books have two parts, the preparation before the battle, and the battle. I’m roughly 17,000 words in and I know I’m not close to the battle yet. Seems my GRPC books like being around 100,000 words. I’m guessing this will likely be the length of books going forward.

Which is acceptable. I’m good with books at that length. It means I need to write around 50,000 words per month to get a book done every other month. Again, very doable. If I’m doing 3000 words a day each weekday, that’s 120,000 words in two months. Means I have lots of words that can go into the 2 short stories a month I want to write.

That’s what I’m working toward at the moment. 60,000 words a month. I know I’m capable of doing 100,000 in a month, and if I’m feeling it, probably more. That means 60,000 is a good pace to shoot for that isn’t too much and will keep me moving steadily ahead.

Beyond writing, I finished a couple of the writing books I was reading. It’s still frustrating reading these books and going “Yup, doing that.” “Yup, did that.” The last one I read talking about laying out a plan and a schedule for your books. Hey! That’s what I just did! <sigh>

I still have more reading to do. I’m not bashing the books I’m reading, I’m looking for new material to move forward with. It’s nice to know I’m on the right track and following in the footsteps of authors who are doing what I’m dreaming about.

One last thing before I run away and go write. I know many that come to this blog are writers (or artists). What are you working on that’s keeping you going? Tell me about your projects. It doesn’t matter if it’s today, tomorrow, next month, or a year from now and you just stumbled across this blog. Tell me what you’re doing. I’d love to hear.

I’m off to see if I can do another 3000 words.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0149-e126onh

Struggling against the struggle.

I consider myself a lifelong learner. I love taking on a new challenge, digging in, and figuring something out. Oh, I’ll get frustrated along the way. That’s human nature. But if I were to hand someone my setup as it exists today for doing my videos, I guarantee anyone would do what I’m doing differently. They’d find something I missed. Make it their own. I don’t claim to be an expert in either video editing or writing. Far from it. I’m an amateur.

Right now, I’m reading two different books about marketing yourself. I’m frustrated with both books because it’s telling me things I already know and am actively doing. I’m not frustrated with myself. As we discussed earlier this week, slow, steady growth is what we’re going for. We’re making progress and at this stage, that’s all I can ask for.

What’s frustrating is the advice is so basic. Even listening to a couple of video series. The info is high-level. I get the reason for this is because everyone needs to find what works for them. Like me doing my videos. I need to keep futzing around with it until I find what’s right and works for me. It can be frustrating and I struggle to figure some things out, but I’m having fun with it or I’d quit and give up. Hey, look, we’ve on episode 148. I must be having fun.

Even this blog can be a struggle from time to time. Sometimes, I don’t know what to write about until I sit down and start typing. Today will be day 133 on the current streak of blog posts. It’s fun to watch that number go up. It’s not always easy, but once I get going, it’s always fun.

One thing I’m struggling with right now is the fact I’m working on GRPC book 3. This will be the 8th book in the over arcing series that will run 16 books. 4 – V&A Shipping books, 4 – GRPC books, and 4 – Almost-Super Heroes books, and 4 in a military sci-fi series. Yes, the halfway point of that run. And I only dropped the 4th book in that run last month. I’m working on a book that won’t release for at least 6 more months. (I’m trying to maintain my backlog of books). What’s going on in my head is how excited I am about what the characters are doing in this book. I’m excited at how much better my writing had gotten. I want to tell everyone about what I’m doing and see if people notice. It’s weird to think that I’ve got a majority of the books all in my head and I just need to sit and write.

One other thing I’m currently struggling with is getting onto a schedule. I’d like to keep on a schedule of working out in the morning, doing my video as soon as I’m done with work (and this blog) and then have dinner and get to writing. That doesn’t always happen. It’s not something I can always control. I’m getting better, but some things need to take priority.

This is why I started streaming my videos live. I wasn’t doing any post-processing edits anyway, so this is a real time-saver. Working out, yeah, I need to get at that. The more I workout, the clearer my head is during the day compared to when I crawl out of bed and sit down at the laptop and being working. It also means I have more time in the afternoon to get the things done I need to get done.

It’s a balancing act. Not only am I learning video streaming, writing, and staying on schedule, I’m also learning how to juggle it all. It’s weird. Soon, I may be learning a new job and that will be an additional challenge (I have an interview for my boss’s job next week – his last day is tomorrow).

Things don’t always move in a straight line. I think that’s why I’m doing these videos and blogs. Not only for myself to keep my head straight day-to-day, but in case someone comes along and wonders “How’d he do that” there will be a record of what I did and where I went. It’ll also be nice to return to the blog and see what worked and what didn’t.

I’m off to go make words happen. Let’s see if I can get over 2000 tonight.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0148-e124id4