Friday, August 19, 2011

The 5 Things I Need to Do to Become a Better Writer (and Person)

I’ve got a pretty good handle on What to do moving forward in this writing career o’ mine (Summary: ‘Write more, Publish it’). It’s time to figure out How to do all that. Reflection turns up this annoying fact: The only thing holding me back is me. So what’s wrong with me? I look in the mirror, and I see a cool, confident guy with a smart, sexy girlfriend and an...interesting life carved out from the terrors of the jungle. Perfect in every way, you say? Well, you’re probably right...

Just hypothetically, then: five Dynamic Action Plans that would make the total David Barron Experience(tm) better, and thus put the H2NH Publishing train on a well-oiled track to Successtown.
Population: Me
Stop Drinking
(Except Socially)
I’m not Hemingway (read: I’m not a depressed tropical alcoholic), as evidenced by the fact that the domestic beer here is so cheap that I could, if I were so inclined, be perpetually drunk from dawn to dusk with no major financial hassle. Considering that the domestic whiskey and rum (not to mention the moonshine...) is cheaper still, if I were an alcoholic, you’d know it. And I’d probably have been dead or delivered (THAT’S A PUN) a couple years ago.

The main annoyance is that I’ll drink beer just because I have nothing else interesting to do (kind of like people who eat when they’re bored) instead of when I’m with friends or when I have made a meal worthy of alcoholic accompaniment. It’s lame, because I’m essentially spending money to get fat and, possibly, dehydrated (the bane of the tropical drunk) without any particular upside. It even reduces my writing ability except in very special circumstances which I’ll explore in a later article because I’m trying to keep from accidentally sounding like an alcoholic in this one.
I might be failing.

The only real strategies I’ve employed thus far have been willpower (weakened by boredom), going to the store with less money than I’d need to buy beer (effective, but annoying), and not drinking unless it’s raining.

Since around these parts they have an entire season devoted to rain (called “The Rainy Season”), a slightly less stupid strategy for the future will be only to drink when somebody else is drinking with me. Since my girlfriend doesn’t drink (to keep her girlish figure), that should cut out most of my casual drinking. And if it doesn’t, it means I suddenly have more friends nearby. Either way, it’s a win. We’ll see how it goes.

This will be the only ‘health’ change, because aside from beer, the occassional Coca-Cola, and once-a-month vegetarian delivery pizza, I eat ridiculously healthy: Fresh fish, forest chicken, and piles of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Combined with my EXTREME Pedestrian(tm) lifestyle, the only thing keeping these extra five to ten pounds on is Mr. Booze.
Delicious booze. With squirrel.

Dress Better
(All The Time)
When I first came to Asia, I had a full wardrobe of suits and casualwear, everything fit and I was lookin’ sharp. But the USA to Asia Diet Plan and the rigors of navigating the jungles (urban and otherwise) have reduced me to a svelte jungle lord and my wardrobe to a pathetic shell of tattered bum-wear. I’ve supplemented it with brightly colored shirts to distract people from the fact that everything I own is two sizes too big, but I’ve got to get it together.
You heard me. I'm going Mad Men on my sadsack self.
If I don’t dress professional, I don’t feel professional. I’m a middle-class fellow with many and more rolls of quarters to my name, and I’m a writer, so I should probably look good in photographs with famous people such as myself. I at least shouldn’t be wearing the same shoes every day. Also, learn to shave well again, even if it’s fun to be one of the only guys nearby who can grow out stubble overnight. I need me some smart suits, and it’ll serve a double purpose of protecting my arms from skin cancer. The obvious solution is to find a tailor and lavish him with cash until he produces a full wardrobe to my specifications and the needs of the tropics.

Write Four Hours a Day
(At Least)
Discussed here
The Word Count Unicorn
Save Money
(Not Spend It)
As previously indicated, I am entirely without flaw, but if I have one pecadillo, it’s that I don’t think about money. (What? You talk about money ALL the time.) To clarify, I only think about how to make money, and I’m quite good at that...but not at what to do with it afterwards. Because I don’t care. It is not in my nature to care about money, I’ll just give it away, or, failing a semi-worthy cause, spend it like a drunken sailor (without the syphillis).

Also, I’ll buy books. Lots of books. Which, I suppose, could be called a ‘business expense’ with enough sneakiness. I recently picked up Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “The Freelancer’s Survival Guide” wherein she expounds the surprising(?) fact that I should probably have some ‘money’ to run a ‘business’. So...yeah. I’m going to have to learn how to save money, which is BORING. Now that there’s actual Money coming in from Writing, it’s at least fun to count it, I guess. My solution to this one is two-fold: First, I’m going to actively restrict my access to most of my money unless I have a good reason and Second, I’m going to authorize my girlfriend (who’s conveniently quite good at saving money) to nag me when I spend too much (she’s also conveniently better at nagging than I am at ignoring her).
David’s Relationship Tip #11: Nagging solves all problems it doesn’t start.
Get Organized
(Stay Organized)
Most of my success in life has come from my sexy motto: Embrace Chaos, which I should get some sort of visual tattoo of...ABOVE MY HEART oh hells yeah! ...ahem. But there’s such a thing as too much of an awesome idea, and right now H2NH Publishing is a very disorganized beast indeed, without any particular advantage in flexibility arising out of the chaos. Externally, I want to present a more convenient, sexy, and professional face to the world. Internally, I need to streamline my workflow, set up a more efficient and organized version system so I can find everything when I need it, and, finally, establish convenient, redundant backup systems.

The external solution is to get a damn website, figure out what I want it to do, and pay a professional or two to design it all slick and art it up all pretty so as to convey that Science Fantasy Romance thing I do most effectively. This is the Web 2.5, I should have an awesome website to (1) point readers at when they want to find my ever-expanding product list, (2) present a professional face to distributors and contracted artists and other contacts, and (3) because The Internet? She’s awesome. Spider Frost doesn’t want to be left out of the Third Web.
My Thai nickname is ‘Spider’. ...context!
The internal problem is mostly caused because I live out of one tiny netbook, which I call Annette. So all my Life stuff gets mixed together with my Work stuff, and I can’t find anything. Not to mention I’m always worried she’s going to crash or explode or get dropped in a swamp and then I’ll be poring through the backups forever and will certainly miss something. (I always do.)

The best solution is to purchase another netbook, which I will name Harvey, and designate him my Work computer. The benefits are that (1) since he’ll run Ubuntu only and all games will be ruthlessly eliminated, there’ll be no distractions and the unicorn of wordcount will be free to run and play in the forest of speed-typing, (2) easy to organize and backup because only work files will exist and be assumed important and (3) when my girlfriend sees me on my work computer, she’ll know not to pester me with silly questions about her bottom. (Listen, lady: I said it was pleasantly plump. That’s one of the good adverbs.)
Women or men, am I right, guys or gals?

I want to have all this done before the mid-point of 2012 rolls around, so that I can perhaps be fit to associate with Writer Society and go on to obtain bigger and better flaws of fancy while becoming spectacularly rich and infamous. I’d make a Shakespeare quote here at the end, but it would be in poor taste. I’ll give you the highlights: Wars fought, already won, haven’t begun, bless us all...Have Fun. 

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