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Daryl Nash

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E-mail: Real Life Inventory Management [Nov. 21st, 2013|12:36 pm]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

I hate inventory management.

I’m not talking about retail, I’m talking about the “game” mechanic that exposes the hoarder in all of us. In most computer role playing games, your character(s) have a limited inventory space in which to carry all of the shiny things they find in that dungeon or abandoned space mine. It evolved from the rational mechanics of tabletop Dungeons & Dragons which places a limit on the amount of weight you can carry. It was annoying there, but computer games have taken it to new levels, and it rarely involves actual weight anymore. Here is more about it on TV Tropes… but follow that link at your own risk–you could end up browsing tropes for the rest of the day.

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Moving the Baseline: How to Write More and Run Faster [Sep. 25th, 2013|12:20 am]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

I went for a run this morning.

Medal

Ronald or Pennywise?

On Saturday, I’d run in my ninth 5k of the year and had my fastest time yet. 26:12. Any serious runners out there are probably snickering. But by some stroke of luck, the serious runners were in the other age groups instead of mine this time, and I placed first in my age group (younger than dirt, old enough to know better). But I tweaked my knee a little bit, probably by not following my usual routine of stretching afterward, and decided to take it easy today.

Easy was two 9:30 miles. That’s my new baseline. Six months ago, it was slightly under eleven minutes per mile. I was struck this morning by how clearly I could remember those eleven minute miles feeling like my limit. At the time, I thought that was as fast as I could run without pushing myself.

Someday, maybe, I’ll get my head game straightened out, and I’ll be able to push myself to faster times on race days. That’s what I thought then. Well, let me tell you, I am still all up in my head pretty much constantly. The little demon, the little blerch, still sits on my shoulder most of the time I’m running, and he tells me that I could quit at any time, nobody is making me run, it hurts and it’s not fun and you could just walk.

But I didn’t stop. Most of the time. Sometimes I have to pry my ass out of bed with a crowbar to hit the pavement. Sometimes I stop running and walk because I feel like I need to, and sometimes that’s the truth and sometimes that’s the demon winning. But more often than not, I fight through the resistance and I put one foot in front of another at least a few days a week.

And now I can run 9:30 miles without really trying (except for ignoring the demon whispers).

I don’t know when it happened. I’m not a natural athlete, so I thought maybe I was immune. I hate sports, so I thought maybe the sports god wouldn’t bless me out of spite. But apparently bodies have their own internal mechanisms that work based on the inputs we give them. Mostly physical inputs. No matter how much I think I won’t improve, if I keep running, I keep getting faster. Just like I can’t make my car start by thinking it should, I have to turn the key (although I hear Google is working on that).

A couple of months ago, my baseline went from 11 minute miles to 9 minute miles. And it was sudden, at least to my awareness. After one run, I looked at Runkeeper, and thought, Holy shit!

About a month ago, I also looked at my writing output for the year and thought the same thing, Holy shit! But for the opposite reason. I’m too ashamed to even tally up how many words I’ve managed. And I have no excuse. Time management is one of my biggest issues. Facebook is my greatest nemesis.

But there will always be a nemesis. Ten years ago, it was late night infomercials. And it’s really neither of those. It’s the blerch, the writing demon, who says the same kind of shit that the running demon does, You’ll never be good enough. No one will like what you write. You’re going to offend people. You’ll be ashamed or embarrassed. You will fail.

So why don’t you watch this advert for Insanity for the tenth time? Or hit the refresh button on Facebook for the tenth time?

It’s not all gloom with my writing this year. I’ve submitted more work than ever before. And every time I hit send, the demon tells me that it’s pointless. And every time I get a rejection, he says, see? But I keep prying myself off the couch with the crowbar, and I keep hitting send.

About two weeks ago, I ran across Chuck Wendig’s no bullshit writing plan for a novel in a year. 350 words a day, five days a week. In my head, it sounded an awful lot like my plan to run three to four times a week for 20-ish minutes with occasional hour long runs.

The last two weeks, I’ve kept to the plan. I’m sure I will fuck up and miss some days or weeks. I did with running, too. But all I have to do is keep fighting through the resistance, again and again and again and again, and eventually I will be writing more often and more easily.The baseline will move.

And it will feel like it happened magically, out of nowhere.

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Quantum Links and GEnies [Jun. 21st, 2013|12:02 am]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

My friend Robert is taking a MOOC on Internet History, and one of his assignments was to write up a personal internet history. Reading his confirmed that I’ve been a big ole geek for a long time. Plus, it sounded like fun, so I decided to write up one of my own.

But the first I have to change the parameters, because my history with the internet would barely tell the true story. I didn’t really discover the internet until the early 90s, but I was online starting in the mid 80s. Originally, I had been waiting for the computer add-on that was promised for the Atari 2600, but when that turned out to be vaporware, my first computer was a Commodore 64. I think that was 1985, when I was in sixth grade.

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Publication Day [Apr. 1st, 2013|02:20 pm]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

The last couple of months have been packed with travel and sickness and visiting family and work on the business. I found out that I didn’t even make it past the pitch round of the Amazon novel contest, and with all the busy-ness, I haven’t come near my writing goals recently. I’d just gotten over the lingering funk of a bad cold and now allergies are massing for the attack. While not all bad and having some very good moments, these months have been trying.

But none of that matters today, because today is Publication Day. My short story “Spider Without a Web” is live on Abyss & Apex. This is my first publication in mumble-mumble years, plus it’s got a fun little POV trick that I’m fond of (if I do say so myself). Hope you enjoy it!

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The first line: a phobia (primascriptophobia?) [Feb. 9th, 2013|03:15 pm]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

My friend Robert recently posted a writing exercise he’d done from the prompt: “What is your metaphor for the fear of writing that first line?”

Click to embiggen.

Click to embiggen.

Well, it seems I face that fear with every line when I first sit down to write, whether it’s the first or halfway through, so when I couldn’t come up with a next first line for the story I’m working on, I wrote this instead:

And here is the OCR’d version, with minor edits:

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Typewriter Desks & IKEA [Feb. 7th, 2013|10:02 pm]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

I finally discovered why my hands get tired typing on the Olympia SG-1 even though it appears to be in perfect condition and doesn’t have a carriage shift. The keyboard is half an inch to an inch taller than all the rest of my keyboards. And when you consider that modern computer keyboards are practically flat, that’s quite an incline!

The hideaway typewriter desk that my wife got me for Christmas, while undeniably cool, only really fits one of my typewriters. The carriages on the portables are level with the sides of the top of the desk and don’t really have freedom of movement. The SG-1 and the Hermes Ambassador are too big to fit on the typewriter shelf. Only the Royal KMM fits perfectly–the carriage sticks up a little above the level of the upper desk, and the base of the typewriter fits perfectly on the lower shelf. It’s a good thing that the KMM is one of my favorite typewriters to use.

deskBut, not being satisfied with only having one typewriter easily available to use, I was hoping to get another small desk to serve as a second typewriter desk. A friend of ours was making an IKEA run, so I decided to see what their options were. I found the Laiva for $17.99, which was unbeatable. After an evening spent with an allen wrench and wooden dowels, I had a surprisingly sturdy desk. It’s simple, but a perfect cheap typewriter desk. Highly recommended if all you need is something simple. It’s been a wonderful base to give the Olympia SM-3 the workout it’s deserved. Even though the carriage shift is wearing out my pinky.

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A good week to get published… [Jan. 31st, 2013|11:16 pm]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

It’s been a good week on the writing front. Well, the publishing/feedback front of this multi-pronged battle anyway. The actual writing for the week has been disappointing–trying to get back up on the horse after the mad dash of last minute novel editing for ABNA has been difficult.

It was confirmed earlier in the week that my short story, “Spider Without a Web,” will be published in the April issue of Abyss & Apex. This is my first prose sale ever, so it’s a big fucking deal, as our Veep has been known to say. (Strangely enough, I’ve been paid for prose twice before, some *mumble-mumble* years ago, but those were for awards, not for publication.) I am beyond excited and will post a link as soon as it goes live in a few months.

The second bit of goodness will take some explanation. A few years ago I joined the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (thankfully, the name is shortened to OWW). In fact, I got some good feedback for early drafts of “Spider Without a Web” during that first stint of membership. But I let my membership lapse because I was alternating between working on my novel and despairing at the futility of this writing endeavor. Having finally finished the first draft of that novel months before, in December I decided that I really needed some feedback before deciding how to proceed with it. So I re-joined the OWW and uploaded the first few chapters for critique. The response was generally positive, which led to my having the confidence to begin querying agents–although I put that on hold to give the ABNA a go first.

Monthly, the OWW chooses up to four submissions as Editors’ Choices. They tend to be some of the better selections on the workshop at the time, and in addition to the honor, the choices are critiqued by one of their panel of published writers and/or editors. One of those authors is Elizabeth Bear, who has written and had published about a thousand books in the last decade and who is a brilliant effin bloggist.

(Urban Dictionary suggests that “bloggists” are paid and “bloggers” are not. But blogger is a platform so doesn’t sound right describing a person who blogs. Ahem. Where was I?)

About three weeks ago, the OWW sent me a note that one of my novel chapters had been chosen for an Editors’ Choice the next month. Which meant that by the time I had the feedback, I would have already submitted to ABNA. In retrospect, that was probably for the best, because I would have either been locked up with indecision about how to fix the first chapters, or I would have made a complete mess of them instead. The book is off to ABNA, and today I got the critique from OWW. By Elizabeth Bear. Exactly who I’d been secretly hoping for. My heart leaped, it did. She had some reasonable criticisms of the structure and content that will have me beating my head against the manuscript in a few months. But the review was overwhelmingly positive. It overwhelmed me, anyway.

Yeah, it’s been a good week.

Now back on the gorram horse…

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My name is… [Jan. 28th, 2013|02:00 am]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

PAMTRM_BadgeBased on a post by Hart Johnson on the ABNA boards mentioning the Reintroduce Yourself Blogfest, I decided to put up a short description of what you have stumbled onto, whether on purpose or inadvertently.

About me: I own and manage a couple of small businesses with my wife (and we work really well together because we very rarely attempt to kill one another). Many years ago, I got a degree in English from the University of Tennessee Knoxville (in my four years there, I never went to a football game, which is heresy to the natives). I’ve been scribbling in one form or another since I could hold a pen. My first book is available self-pubbed over there on the right, and I should have a short story being published by a respectable online publication in the next few months, and my latest novel, which is unpublished, is currently entered in ABNA.

About this blog: I wish it had a theme–albino goldfish or hair extensions for poodles or anything really. But it doesn’t. It’s about the random things that I care enough to write 300 to 1000 words about at a time. These are usually writing, publishing, politics, video games, books, TV shows, movies, comic books, and typewriters. But it could be anything, really.

And that’s about it.

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Fun with OCR [Jan. 23rd, 2013|01:16 pm]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

The only problem with using typewriters to compose my first drafts, is that I somehow have to get those words into the computer. I’m currently using PaperPort, but I’ve tried MS Office’s OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tool as well. The computer has mixed results at translating the typewriting pages into document files. I don’t think I had the resolution turned up high enough on this last batch because it was particularly bad. Here’s a funny example:

A painting still hung where the headboard would have been, years of neglect transmuting the colors into a stat brown sky over a burnt orange ocean with sunbeasts that looked like pies raining down from heaven.

Now I want to know what “sunbeasts” are. And why do they look like pies? Mmmm… pie.

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A Brief History of My Typewriters (part 6) [Jan. 18th, 2013|11:02 pm]
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Originally published at Daryl Nash. You can comment here or there.

Odds and Ends

There are a few other typewriters in my collection that don’t fit into the three main brands of Royal, Olympia, or Hermes. I’ll wrap up with them.

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