I’ve been on quite the writing path recently. Not this past week, as I’m just starting to wrap my head around the unexpected left my life has taken, but the month prior. In the past month I’ve completed at least a first draft on four different fiction projects. Granted, these are small projects, nothing greater than ten thousand words, but still complete projects. Along with that I’ve been collecting notes and ideas for other projects along the way.
It’s the productivity, more than the projects themselves, that I’m interested in. Despite my deep love of screenwriting it would seem that prose is a much more charitable mistress for me. That’s not to say that I’m shunning screenplays, I have an idea that I’m developing right now, but it seems useful to consider it a side endeavour at this time.
Of the worse I’ve completed recently none are ready for consumption just yet. Far from it. I’ve already got some pieces I’m looking toward putting into another flash fiction compilation and longer pieces that will stand on their own. In either case there is considerable work left to be performed.
Now that the initial shock and frustration is gone I find myself with quite a bit of free time on my hands, searching for employment aside. It may be a couple weeks. It may be longer. I plan to exploit it as much as I can in the meantime.
david shute - 29.07.11 @ 20:05 - permalink
In last three months or so I’ve written, proofed, and critiqued a lot of material. I also haven’t touched my resumes in the last three years or so. It amused me to open up my most recent resume, for a job I knew I wasn’t qualified for in video editing but had to shoot for anyway, and immediately catch two issues I missed. Not just that I found two errors but that I spotted them right away.
I had some plans lined up for some editing, grammar, and technical writing courses which have necessarily been delayed a bit. I am happy that I am, at the very least, starting to pick up some of these issues automatically. That I missed them while diligently searching three years and picked them out in passing now is reassuring.
david shute - 26.07.11 @ 16:55 - permalink
I don’t really want to talk about this. It is an unfortunate necessity, however, so that I may get it out and move on to more interesting things.
As the title alludes, I was let go from my job today. A part of the unwashed 10% deemed slightly more expendable than others. It’s a surreal and disorienting experience, not something I’ve had the displeasure of dealing with before.
A head count reduction. It’s a euphemism I’m quite fond of.
I am not so much concerned about the entire event. It was a numbers game. There was a greater than one in ten chance and, lacking a desire to move on to management within that particular corporate structure, I was a low hanging target. I was well aware that it was a possibility and prepared, even if my own ego deluded me from accepting that it could happen. The exact whys are unimportant to me right now.
I am more concerned about the future.
This isn’t a woe-is-me type situation where I’m concerned about finding gainful employment. The avenues that I can explore are many. I’m more concerned about how I fix the problems that cropped up over my tenure.
The first, and perhaps most serious, has been my weight gain. In a little over five and a half years my weight has gone up by well over 25 pounds. The environment is one that lends itself to as little movement as possible. This is not unique to the office I just left. They are cultures lead by food. Having a donut store directly across the street and my own habit of eating out daily has put me in the awkward position where I no longer feel like I own my own body.
I was willing to let this go as I had quit smoking. Food filled the yawning void in my life left by cigarettes. That’s true. It’s also true that I quit smoking three years prior to starting with the company. At some point allowing it on these grounds becomes a platitude you use to justify behaviour you know you need to modify.
The next is sitting all day. To be fair, I did try to remedy this one. In my first two years I had a hydraulic desk and spent many work hours on my feet. That went away when I changed departments. In the last year I’ve been working to try to get more time on my feet. I’ve set up a standing solution for my netbook at home but work was resistant to assist.
I understand the rationale; it’s expensive to install hydraulic desks, it’s expensive to move hydraulic desks, and as soon as one person has one then everyone wants one. It’s a ‘me too’ pile on. I was informed that I would need to have a doctor’s note before they would consider installing a standing desk for me. It seemed like a hurdle disproportionate the problem I was trying to resolve. I let the issue alone.
The final is working toward satisfying my needs and not just my requirements. I liked the job. I wouldn’t say I was particularly fond of the specific work I was doing. I really liked the product. Not so much a fan of the corporate structure behind it.
In many ways I knew it was time to move on. Lacking the aforementioned desire to move on up to management I had reached the limits of what I was interested in achieving. I’d been in a position where I had every intention to start looking toward employment where I could start to address these three significant issues in my life. This all came with the luxury that I could do these things in my own time. That is no longer the option it once was.
I plan to tackle these things but I’m now on a truncated timetable. The severance I received was adequate and I have some time to work these things out but it is now starkly defined. In many ways this is better than the nebulous “in the future” I was working on before. In others, it’s terrifying looking in the future and being unable to see what’s waiting.
david shute - 25.07.11 @ 22:26 - permalink
I am currently in the middle of trying to find a useful way to abuse the shit out of auto correct. I’ve always found a lot of the things that auto correct does to be incredibly annoying. This is especially true of auto capitalizing certain things. In trying to streamline a writing process, because I’m always working on my writing process, I’ve been looking at ways to shorten my time at the keyboard while getting the same amount of work (or more) done.
I was introduced to text expansion through one of the feeds that I follow. Essentially it’s just a program that runs all the time and when it sees certain expressions it will either expand the text or run a command. For example, you could have an expansion set up for _sign and it will automatically expand that to your email signature. It’s a terrible example, this is probably better set up within your email program, but it works so I’m going with it.
I found the more I worked with the different text expansion programs the less I liked them. Being that I couldn’t find a decent one that I liked that worked consistently and was cross platform I’ve been trying to find a different way to get the same effect.
At the same time I was looking in to the auto suggest feature of some of the word processors. Interesting concept. The problem there being that by the time auto suggest has appropriately found the word I want it to my fingers are already completing the process. I needed something a little bit more consistent.
Then I thought to abuse the shit out of the auto correct. Why not? It’s consistent. Whether I’m working in Open/Libre Office or Google Docs I can get the same type of functionality. The real trick then is coming up with a text abbreviation list that I can start working on getting my fingers to perform automatically.
Right now my list is very small, about a dozen or so words that I use frequently. I’m considering ways that I can expand this at a reasonable pace that will be easy to incorporate in to my writing. Not only that, it needs to be easily expressible as part of my writing. There’s no point in have 13f set up for triskaidekaphobia just because it’s a long word that I could fuck up the spelling on. The chances of me ever using it, outside of this example, are bordering non-existent.
An option for coming up with a proper word list would be collecting a bunch of my writing and then distilling it down to unique words and the number of occurrences. Programming wise it would be a relatively simple task. Then it’s just a matter of filtering out the smaller words that wouldn’t see any real benefit from shortening, like the and and, and go from there. Start building a personal abbreviation shorthand that the computer interprets for me.
david shute - 09.07.11 @ 13:35 - permalink