Month: May 2010

Dog days of summer

Okay, it’s not quite summer yet, but since the A/C at work was broken for a few days, it kinda felt like it.

I don’t talk much about my day job, because we all know how that can go, but there have been a lot of changes in my work environment over the past couple months. Accordingly, I’ve been riding a rollercoaster of stress and excitement. So far things have turned out fine, and more importantly, they seem to be getting even better. There’s a lot of management that talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk; lately, our management is walking the walk.

Case in point: We just went dog-friendly. Like, literally today. We’re starting out with 1 dog for 1 day each week, but if it goes well, I think we could have dogs here on a daily basis. (Probably still just 1 at a time.) Since 99% of us have dogs, this fits the personality of the team, and it makes us really happy. To me, that’s good corporate culture.

me and Kiko
Me with my boss’s dog Kiko

Furthermore, my work has always been supportive of my writing, and I know I’m extremely lucky in that. (Note: I think it helps that I was clear from Day 1 — i.e., my interview — that I want to be a novelist.) They let me change both my role and my schedule to give me more writing time, and they are always trying to help me (with insurance, 401k, etc.) as opposed to trying to deny me those benefits because I’m “not completely dedicated” or some baloney like that. In return, I of course work very hard to make sure I’m deserving of these considerations.

Again, good corporate culture. Because a happy, valued employee is a productive, hardworking employee.

So if there’s any advice I have for writers who need to work, it’s to look for a supportive company and a flexible schedule. It’s definitely made a world of difference for me.

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Read-search

It’s weird not to be writing.

I’m doing a ton of writing-related activities — plotting, brainstorming, outlining, querying, synopsis-ing — but no writing. Very strange.

I’m also doing a lot of reading. Books that might give me insight into how to juggle 3 characters as “one” protagonist. Books that deal with being twenty-something. Books that have nothing to do with anything, I just wanted to read them. Books that show me what works, what doesn’t, and what might.

(Movies can be good for this too.)

I consider all of that to be research. Or read-search, if you will. (Oh man, I am so lame. I blame my father.)

Some writers shy away from this sort of thing, but I find it really stimulates my brain and rouses my passion. I like reading good books and not only enjoying their story, but also analyzing their mechanics. I like reading bad books and thinking, “Whoa, I can do better than this.” (In some cases, a LOT better.) I like reading fantastic, mind-blowing, emotion-whirling books and wondering if I can ever write that well.

And deciding that I have to try.

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