Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Making The Time and Young Junius

By Jay Stringer

A two part blog today, just to keep you on your toes. Hoo Ha.

(I don’t know what Hoo Ha means, but lets just roll with it, okay?)

1.Writers make the time.

That’s what we’ve said on this blog more than once. It’s a little bit of tough love that needs to be dished out. If you want to be a writer, you’ll find the time. And while other people complain that they would be writers “if only they had the time,” you’ll be busy writing.

It’s simple. Very simple. But that doesn’t make it easy. Usually it comes down to sacrifices. There are only 24 hours in a day –until mad scientist Russel D McLean perfects that machine of his- and a few things have to fall by the wayside.

It’s different for everybody. Some people, either through profession or by supportive family, are able to write full time. I envy these people, but I don’t doubt for a minute that they have to let things fall too. There’s still only 24 hours in a day for them. Me? I write AND work full time, as do most people these days I suspect.

Sometimes it might be that you have to lose touch with TV, or sports. It might mean not getting to spend evenings sleeping next to your partner, or maybe not seeing as much of your kids as you’d like. Or staying in at night at the weekends.

Whatever it is, we all have them, these little choices that add up to enough time to get the writing done.

I just wanted to take a minute or so to talk about one of the things I miss the most. In order to fit on most of the things I love doing, and the people I love to be with, I’ve noticed that one thing gets left behind more than anything else. And boy, do I miss it.


I love reading. Hell, if you’re a writer, chances are good that you’re a reader too, right? Growing up I managed to find a way to obsess over pretty much everything. My family never ceased to be amazed just how much I could throw myself into things; comic books, novels, television, films and music. I became one of those walking encyclopaedias of useless information. I couldn’t tell you what trigonometry was, but I could tell you what year Batman first appeared or how many goals Steve Bull scored in the 1988-89 season.

The only thing that I’ve always seemed immune to was gaming. I’ve owned game systems, from the old Amstrad CPC-464, to a Sega Master System and Mega Drive. Hell, I even owned a Playstation (just don’t ask me to remember which one.) But for some reason, I never really connected with it all. And as the games have become more involved, more immersive and more epic, I’ve become less and less interested. And it’s not snobbery. I don’t look down on them, I’m happy to watch my friends playing and having a good time. It just doesn’t engage me. (Well, aside from the legend of Stringer VS. Football Manger, but that’s a different thing.)

And I’ve been thinking about this because, all around me friends and work colleagues spend their free time playing games and talking about what they’ve unlocked and what level they’re on. Hell, I know work colleagues go home from a day at work and spend the night talking to each other in this cyber world whilst shooting goblins or German soldiers or something. And for me, I’ve realised, by “gaming” has always been “reading.” That’s what I do. I’ll go home from work, pick up a comic or a book, and drift off into another place.

Except that right now I don’t.

I have many interesting things underway, so this isn’t me moaning and claiming that my life is insufferable. I’ve got two novels under my belt, I’m about to start a third. I co-present a pod cast, I do this weekly blog and I have two secret projects that you’ll be hearing more about soon. I’m not lacking for things to enjoy and sink my teeth into.

At the same time, I have a book that I’m really enjoying, that I cant get past halfway through because I can’t give it the time it needs. I have an unread pile of books that’s threatening to take over my bookshelves, and I’ve stopped buying monthly comics because I don’t have the time to keep up to date on them. I picked up the first two volumes of the new STARMAN omnibus last year. It was an important comic at an important time for me, and DC are now reissuing the whole series in beautiful hardbacks. They’ve sat on my shelf unopened.

Late last year I injured my back and took a week’s holiday from the day job. I spent the week taking long walks and then laying on my back, reading. I got through whole books in a day, and had nothing to do but start on the next one. I’m already starting to think that I need to book some time off both the day job and the night job again this year to do the same, just spend some quality time with my stack of books. And maybe those STARMAN hardbacks….

So how about you guys? Lets all pull up a chair and have a rant. What is it that you most miss?

2. You need some YOUNG JUNIUS in your life.

You guys know Seth Harwood, right? Of course you do. Everywhere I turn on the net, I find that Seth’s been there first. Been there, done that, and recorded the podcast.

The fella is a real example to the rest of us. I mean, he makes me look fat and lazy. Well, okay, that’s not hard. But imagine for a second that it was, right? The point is, he’s the guy who gets out there and does the hard work that many of us don’t. And he backs it up with great writing.

(It’s actually the other way around; he backs up his great writing with hard work)

Seth’s new book, YOUNG JUNIUS, will be released in a special edition format in October, but the pre-orders start this Wednesday. CINCO DE JUNIUS. It’s going to be a gorgeous looking thing, a hardback with an embossed and a good old-fashioned cloth binding. Remember when hardbacks used to be referred to as cloth? Hells yeah. Seth and Tyrus are teaming up to try something new, to release a special edition of a book in advance of the regular edition. And you know, if you pre-order it you can also get Seth to write you a personal message. Anything you want, he’ll do it. If you want him to write, “Jay Stringer is awesome,” he will.

I’m just saying.

Head on over to Seth’s site from noon tomorrow and pre-order YOUNG JUNIUS. Hell, if you put in the promo code DAMAGE you’ll get 3.00 off the cover price. You see what we did? We pointed you in the direction of a great book and then told you how to get some money off it.


Dana King said...

It seems like an oxymoron, but you've hit upon why I like my daily commute to and from work: reading time on the subway. I'm guaranteed an hour or so a day, no matter what else intervenes. I may be the only person on Metro who roots for service interruptions.

(Word Verification: mungract. Sounds like something Chuck Wendig would keep as a pet. "keep your hands away from the mungract. He bites.")

John McFetridge said...

I used to think writing was my hobby the way my brother plays golf. Once a year he and some buddies take a golfing trip to South Carolina and I take a trip to Bouchercon.

But now I've realized writing (and reading) isn't my hobby, it's my addiction - it's my heroin.

Now, if someone knows of a good 12-step program....

Seth Harwood said...

Thanks for the awesome post about YOUNG JUNIUS, Jay!! Hope to see all y'all at the preorder event tomorrow.

Yer boy,