It was -17 today (Celsius, naturally). At least, that’s what the temperature was when I woke up. With a light breeze, the temperature feels like -19 (it’s that windchill thing, the temperature isn’t actualy -19, but it feels like it is, suffice to say windchill is basically the amount of time it takes for skin to freeze, and I don’t mean get cold, I mean fucking freeze).
I think it’s safe to say that Saskatchewan (along with many other regions of Canada… with the exception of those who live in British Columbia) is now firmly in the grip of winter. Winter isn’t coming, it’s already here, mutherfucker.
Now we have to deal with four more months of this shit, as well as really shorter days of light. No, we don’t suddenly have 20 hours in a day, it’s that the sun rises later and sets earlier in the day. Ergo, less sunlight hours.
The good thing; we have lots of things to keep us going until New Years Day. the busier we are, the faster the time goes. The bad thing; after New Years Day, it’s a holiday wasteland until Easter (okay there is Family Day in February, but that’s one day off and the only reprieve, three day weekends are all about going to the lake and relaxing, not huddled in a comforter trying to keep warm).
Such is the life of someone who lives on the prairies. At least one thing is for sure, we’re all in this together. We can survive, we’ve done it for several years already. We live and die by our unofficial motto in this province.
What doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.
Finding the time to write with a full-time job
Most writers have a full-time career, children, family and social commitments. Where do you find time to work on your own stories? Let’s face it, only those at the top of the pyramid have the luxury and security of writing all day. The rest of us have to carve out time to write after hours. Here are five ideas to help you find a workable solution.
I can speak on this with some degree of experience. I’m 44 after all. That age of “I’m middle age” and “when does my midlife crisis begin”.
Fortunately, the latter really hasn’t happened. At least not in the stereotypical go buy a sports car kind of way. I couldn’t afford a sports car even if I wanted one. I also live in Saskatchewan, where a sports car isn’t really practical.
But one thing I love seeing is people my age using tech in unique and interesting ways. It completely throws the stereotype of “the old dog” who is stuck in their ways and refusing to learn new technology. In particular, someone like my dad, who not only has a netbook but also a pretty decent laptop (better than mine, may have to rectify that soon). He doesn’t have a cellphone, but there’s a cost with that and mom and dad aren’t will to shell out the extra bucks for that. Yet.
I honestly don’t like hearing older people say things like “why do we need things like that” or “when I was your age we didn’t have such and such a thing”. Well, in the days of carving texts on rock faces, we probably thought “hey, there’s gotta be an easier way of doing this”. And now there is.
We’ve advanced our ability to communicate so we no longer need to keep a flock of pigeons in order to send people messages. Now we can have pigeons just for the fine feathered companionship. Though, the immense piles of shit is a problem.
But when I do see others my age, or older, using Twitter or Tumblr or blogging or posting to Instagram, I think that’s awesome. It’s another aspect of communication that’s incredible. It’s even better when those people get excited about technology. Or go out and buy an e-reader because it’s something handy to have (hint: yes it is because it’s portable and removes the old problem of “which book will I take with me today”).
Babies, infants, toddlers, and preteens get a pass if they don’t know technology very well. They haven’t lived a very long life. But we who have seen four decades, we’ve gone through high school, community college, maybe university, possibly college, and we’ve been in the workforce. There should be no excuse for us not embracing technology and learning new stuff.
This is partially going to go hand in hand with my NaNoWriMo and the fact I’m writing about superheroes as they might exist in our world. It’s a tale that starts in the 1970s and keeps going right up to present day.
A big part of that includes the changes in music, and I often get the feeling that the music is being played by a particular band in this universe (named Blanc Noir, but could be changed to Seven Years of Blood because that sounds way cooler). The band is unorthodox, because it doesn’t really fit into what might be considered the mainstream metal norm. Unfortunately, the mainstream metal norm often includes bands like Metallica, Megadeath, Iron Maiden, and even Van Halen (which could be considered pop metal). Even bands like Amon Amarth might fit that more mainstream feel.
Here in North America, we often think of a metal band being something akin to Bon Jovi, Poison, Warrant, Metallica, Megadeath, Van Halen, Helix, Kick Axe, or Guns ‘n Roses. But metal has a wide diversity.
In Europe, artists are marrying metal with symphonic and operatic sounds and coming up with things like Nightwish, Within Temptation, or even Amaranthe. In Japan, there’s Baby Metal, combining the bubble gum sounds of pop with gothic death metal. And then there’s the metal bands which could be considered mainstream but are often forgotten by the mainstream for one reason only.
Those are bands like Living Color, Wicked Wisdom, and even Sevendust, all of which are either fronted by or are completely comprised of African American musicians. It’s still the same kind of metal, but with a bit of a different twist.
It’s combinations of these that I’ve put together with this fictional metal band in the Heroic League Project. Three of the band members are costumed crime fighters themselves, two of which are the daughters of former heroes and have taken up their parents’ (or aunt’s) former code names. The band plays a huge part in this universe, a gothic metal band from Montreal that’s completely bilingual and records many of their tracks and even performs in Quebecois. Four of the members are women (which is a call back to the 80s glam metal group Vixen). Two members, brother and sister, are Haitian Canadian (rhythm guitar and lead vocalist). one is Jewish (drummer), one is Metis (lead guitar), and one is Dakota (bassist, who is also blind). The lead vocalist is male, everyone else is female but performs vocal duties as well as their regular addition to the band. Two of the members are lovers (lead guitarist and drummer), who also happen to be costumed crime fighters, as is one other (bassist). All but one (bassist) are from Quebec; the fifth member is from Saskatchewan. One former member was from Nova Scotia.
So, in my head, as the story unfolds, there’s almost like a backing soundtrack of a modern day metal band that’s performing in my head, almost as though accompanying the story with music to fit.
It’s been nine full days into November, and the writing has been going well. Let me amend that; the writing has been going well compared to last year. Last year, I struggled to get 5,000 words in a month. This year, I’ve hit 6,000 words already. I’m far behind, but I’m doing much better.
And I owe it to my surroundings. My environment.
The change in scenery, not just where I live, but also my work place, has helped kick start a whole new creativity for me. My workplace is an enjoyable atmosphere that allows me to work very calmly and without fear of any backlash or demeaning comments.
A person’s creativity suffers when you have to deal with a toxic environment on a daily basis. And it’s not just the creativity. It’s also any motivation to do anything. Here, I have a new found freedom. I wake early each day (sleeping in has become waking up at 7 in the morning). On days off, I actually do things that are considered productive, even if it’s just popping down to the grocery store to get some necessities, or doing the dishes.
Writing is hard, even at the best of times. But it helps to be a place where you feel comfortable, and that’s more than just your home. That includes your workplace. It will help in so many more areas of your life when you work in a place that you feel comfortable in.