Blog Archives

Really? That was it?

So this morning, the PC didn’t turn on. It was a bother. I ordered a new PSU because of what happened last time. I figured, rule out the most inexpensive part first, right?

Well, spent half-an hour ripping out the old PSU, and plugging in the new PSU outside the case (cuz I didn’t want to have to rip it out again if it didn’t fix the problem.

Well, it didn’t fix the problem. Still nothing happened. I’d started out with the original cables, switched the new cables. Still nothing. Since I was only a little bit into the fix, I searched the internet, as you do when you’ve run out of ideas, and there’s a post.

Oh, the CMOS batteries are garbage and need to be replaced after 6 months if you didn’t replace it with a quality battery when you installed the MotherBoard.

<sigh>

I had to remove all the cables, again, remove the Graphics Card to get to the CMOS battery. Popped it out. Put in a new one (it’s the same battery size as the car remotes so I had some handy, thankfully). Plugged everything in once again (externally) and…

PRESTO!

Lights, color, fans spinning. Hazzah!

So I removed all the cables, again. Put them into the modular PSU. Mounted the PSU. Routed all the new cables. Tried a test boot before closing the case (success). Closed up the case, plugged everything back into the computer. And here I sit, happy with my success.

Yes, I know this is the second post today and I normally only do one. I felt excited to be able to sit at the computer and type something up.

I’m all sweaty and in need of another shower before I head to bed.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

The Prospect of Failure

One of the biggest things I fear as an artist is failure. I know I’m not alone. Confidence issues happen to every artist I know. The strangest thing is that every artist I know sees failure differently.

It could come as a 1-star review. It could be a negative reaction to some specific aspect of the work. It could come in any number of ways.

My job, as a writer, isn’t to entertain everyone that reads my work. My job is to produce the best content I can and let people find it.

Today I spent a little time going through reviews of all my works. There aren’t many. It’s easy to go through them all if I chose to. What I was looking for wasn’t how many negative reviews I had or how many positive reviews I had. That wasn’t the goal. What I was looking for was, did the reviews get better over time? Had I improved?

Now, there were a lot of people that LOVED V&A Shipping back in the day when I produced it in audio. When I released it in print and ebook, it got a lukewarm response, at best. I hadn’t been expecting that. What was different?

My first version, the audio, didn’t have any typos…that listeners could see. I could fix grammar and spelling as I read it out loud. Again, to the best of my abilities at the time.

I’ve said this many many times, but it bears repeating. You can’t get worse at something if you keep doing it. I say this repeatedly to reinforce it with myself. You can reach a plateau and that’s where learning from others comes in handy. Reading is a great exercise. Learning from someone who’s successful at what you want to do is invaluable.

At any rate, got a super late start this evening. I’m crazy tired and it’s time to get to bed.

5/5/2021 GRPC 2 will drop. I will make certain to provide lots of links to the ebook when it’s available.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0128-e1075ku

From here to there, from there to here.

When I was still in high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to tell stories and write books. Long ago I’d bought into the myth that selling a book meant instant fame and fortune.

So, I tried to write a book and failed miserably. I did, however, get on the path to telling this story about the first book I ever wrote.

Like many teens in the 80s, I played Dungeons and Dragons with friends. Many, many hours of Dungeons and Dragons. Also fantasy games like Ultima, Adventure, Wizardy, Bard’s Tale. But it was the characters from those lengthy D&D sessions that stuck in my head well past high school. I knew I had to tell stories about them.

Now, I’ll stop you from your eye rolling. Yes, I’ve long since heard the “Don’t tell stories about your D&D characters. I’ve heard that many, many times over the years.

In the Navy, I read many fantasy books and I thought, “Hey! I can do this!” The excitement overtook me and I set out to write, by hand, long form, in a notebook, the first stories about those characters. I would get 3 or 4 chapters in, re-read what I’d done, or someone else would read what I’d done, and it was terrible. I’d throw it out (I wish now, so many years later, I’d have kept it all).

I did this several times over my Naval career and failed every time I tried. I would give up and shake my head. I didn’t have a typewriter. That was my excuse. My hand writing is so bad that it’ll never be good enough to be a book. I had every excuse to stop and not continue.

The writing bug kept calling me back.

When I left the Navy, I still wanted to write those stories. I’d started collecting comics again and discovered Cerebus. I read every word in those comics cover to cover. Dave Sim was quite clear that he wanted to write 300 issues and end with the main character’s death and be done with it.

Wait a minute! That’s what I could do! I decided writing comics was easier than writing a novel. Why didn’t I describe each panel and put in the words that’d go with each panel? I loved comics, maybe that’s what was holding me back. I understood story structure, but I wasn’t good at telling the story.

Over the course of the next year, I would spend time writing, by hand, the first book as a comic. My plan was that each story arc would be 15 comics and I would later re-write it all as a novel. Over the course of 300 comics, that’d be 20 books in total. I plotted and planned each arc and wrote the first 15 comic arc.

Then I wrote the next 15 comic arc. Then the third. Then the fourth.

At the time, I hung out a lot at the local comic book store and met Pete Woods. Pete was a struggling artists and fantastic! He was submitting his art everywhere. I let him read my first pages and he nodded and said “Yeah, I could draw this. Looks interesting.”

I was stoked! I had an artist. I would just need to get money together to pay him and to produce a comic, indie style! It was the wild west with comics and indies were the thing.

Then Pete got a gig doing Warrior Nun Arela. Then he got picked up to work at Jim Lee’s studios. Pete and I hung out at the studio and I met many young artists, colorists, letterers, and a couple of the big names (never Jim Lee). Pete was on the fast track and we soon lost touch as our schedules no longer lined up.

I didn’t have an artist any longer. Drat!

Then I finished school, had my associate’s in Electrical Engineering, and went to work at Qualcomm. I put writing aside. I was there for a year and started at Pacific Bell.

I’m unsure why, but the writing bug hit me again while I was at PacBell. I had these comic scripts and knew I wanted to write them as novels. It was time to write a book.

Using the first 15 comic arc as a plot outline, I wrote book 1 over the course of a year. I agonized over that book and struggled to get it written. That first version was roughly 50,000 words when done. But it was done. I’d done it. It took me 15 years, but I’d finally finished book 1 in the Of Gnomes and Dwarves series. My epic fantasy novel had been written. Only 19 more to go and I’d have the entire collection done!

Yeah. The book was awful. Even though I had a computer to write on with a spell checker, I wasn’t well versed in sentence structure, grammar, and the flow of a story. I was excited at telling the tale, but it wasn’t a good book.

That didn’t deter me. I wrote the same book again. Then I spent the next 2 years editing, re-writing, and editing some more. I submitted that book anywhere I could, only to be rejected over and over again.

It took me a long time to finally put book 1 aside and look at the pages for book 2. I’d changed positions at work and was sent off for a week-long training. I took my laptop and decided, I’m going to write book 2. Let’s see how much of a start I can get into book 2 on this week long trip.

I left Sunday afternoon and checked into my hotel. I wrote all night long until around 10pm, which was my normal bedtime. I was up at 5:00 am, showered and ready by 5:30 am. Uh…I didn’t have to be to class until 10:00 am. So, I sat and wrote until the last minute I needed to be out the door. Packed up my laptop, and off to class I went.

We had an hour long lunch. Being frugal, I’d brought lunch. I had an hour to sit there and write. We had 15 minute breaks regularly. I’d write. We’d get done around 4:00 pm. I’d go eat dinner, go back to the room, call the Mrs, then spend all night writing.

Over the course of that week, I wrote book 2. It weighed in around 60,000 words. I couldn’t believe what I’d done. It was finished. It was, to this day, the fastest I’ve ever written anything. The closest I’ve come is writing 95,000 words in one month.

Of course, both book 1 and book 2 in that series were terrible. So was book 3 and the half of book 4 I’d written. It’s not garbage. I learned a LOT writing those book. They were all lacking.

I’d finished them, though. I learned that the best thing I could do was to finish a book, and move on to the next. By doing that, I became a better story teller.

This post is getting long. I ramble more about this in the video. Suffice to say, this is only the next stop in my writing journey. I’ll talk more about that journey tomorrow.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0122-evfseg

Monday Update: 1,000,000 words of crap, and failure.

Image result for what failure looks like

Last week I publically said, I’ll try to write 3K per day ’til May. You may be asking yourself, how’d it go?

FAILURE!

That’s right. I missed! Badly! Not even close. Well, okay. That last one is a lie. Here’s the breakdown by day:

Monday: 1422
Tuesday: 3019
Wednesday: 1467
Thursday: 3090
Friday: 3044
Saturday: 3430
Sunday: 1646

For a grand total os 17,118 words over 7 days. Just under 4,000 words from the goal. So, a miss. I started out from behind right out of the gate, did well one day, missed again,  hit a three-day streak, then I had to work most of the day on Sunday and didn’t feel like sitting in front of a computer, but did anyway.

Is it really failure? If you’re looking purely at word count per day, yes. If you’re looking at it as the average for the week, yes, I missed. Regardless, my whole point is to TRY and write 3K per day average over the next two weeks. There’s still a chance I may catch up, but I’m not going to fight and struggle. I’ll take a 17,000-word week every week if I could.

I’ve still got a week to go, and I learned a lot about myself over the past seven days. I learned that I can write very quickly as most days I didn’t start writing until after 8pm. I also found out that I love to procrastinate.

I still spent time with my family. My wife and I had a great date day on Saturday since I knew I’d be working all day on Sunday. I learned that sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours is tiring (well, I knew that already), but I learned that even if I’m mentally exhausted, I can still bang out words. I’m excited to see what I’ll learn this week about my writing process.

So what’s with the 1,000,000 words of crap?

I posted a few years ago that I’d hit that number. I haven’t written another million. What that number represents if the number of words I’ve written in novels. My previous count included every short story I’d ever written, a rough estimate of words that came that would never see the light of day, and stories that will never be published, self or otherwise.

So this million is only the count in books I’ve written. I’m proud of that number. It tells me where I came from and where I’ve gotten to. I still have all those other words stored somewhere. For example, there are 4 Of Gnomes and Dwarves books, multiple drafts, some hand written, that I’m not counting in that million. Those words are only books that will see the light of day, or are currently in the process of being written or edited.

When I crossed that number this week, I had a little smile. I’m proud of that accomplishment. If I can keep pace with my writing over the next year, I may hit 2,000,000 faster than I hit the 1,000,000 mark. Like, next year faster. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m off to get my start on week two of my 3K per day ’til May challenge. If you’re enjoying my blog posts, or if you just want a free ebook of mine, consider signing up for my newsletter. I share different information there and may modify the format soon. I’d love to have you be part of what happens over there. You can click here.

That’s all for this week.

Until Next Time…

Stay Awesome!