Posts from February 2007

  • 1,000 Words A Day

    As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the most important bits of advice given to anyone interested in writing is that it’s vital to write as much as possible. After all, how else does one improve at a craft than by practicing it? Furthermore, if one is really serious about improving, it’s important to set some hard, achievable goal which can be used to goad oneself into action. And so it is that I’ve decided to take on the challenge outlined in King’s book: to write 1,000 words a day.

    Now, part of me thinks it’s a little premature to announce this here. And I will freely admit that this is quite an ambitious goal (though, what’s the point of a goal if it isn’t at least a little ambitious?). “What if this is just another passing fancy?” a little voice in the back of my head whispers. “What if you get bored or frustrated and just give up?” Well, what better way to strengthen my weak will than to back it up with a public declaration?

    Of course, the biggest challenge the past few days has been finding the right time to do this. On a poorer day, it takes me around two hours to pound out 1,000 words (not necessarily good words, mind you, but words nonetheless), and so I need a block of time that would otherwise be unoccupied. I’m also of the belief that it’s important to pick a consistent time of day, so that this becomes a habit (and also helps my brain switch gears from daytime layabout to evening fiction-hack). Fortunately, the two hours after we get home, between 4:15 and 6:00, should work pretty well. We usually spend that time idle in front of the TV, anyway, so at least I’ll be getting something useful (to me, anyway) done.

    But as always, one of the biggest difficulties is finding ideas. Fortunately, in “On Writing”, King outlines a simple little scenario and challenges the reader to hack out a story based on it, and so I’ve chosen that as my first project, mainly as an exercise to just get some words on paper. And at 3,100 words, I think it’s making some decent progress. Of course, I have no idea how long it’ll be once it’s finished, and I will freely admit that it’s no Pulitzer Prize winning piece of work, but it’s something, and it’s mine.

    Meanwhile, I’ve discovered another difficulty which I hadn’t anticipated: coming up with new, interesting ideas while working on another piece. This morning, while standing half-conscious in the shower (which, as it happens, is where I often come up with my best ideas, whether they be stories or programming solutions), I suddenly had what I think is an interesting idea for a short story. But, of course, being in the middle of something already, it’s necessary for me to set this idea aside for the moment and focus on the piece at hand, something which is much harder than I had anticipated.

    Knitting Update:

    As a bit of an aside, no, I haven’t made any progress assembling Jory’s friggin’ baby blanket. I made an attempt to sew the thing together, one day, but was unhappy with the seam I constructed, and so I’ve since felt rather discouraged. On the other hand, I really do need to sit down and just finish it, so I can dispense with all these little red doilie-esque pieces that are laying about our house.

    However, for those concerned readers, no, I don’t think my writing goal will interrupt with the progress of the blanket. For one, I’m not making any progress anyway, so unless I start actively unraveling the thing during moments of blind frustration, I fail to see how things could get any worse. And for another, I tend to knit later in the evening while watching TV, anyway, so it should all work out nicely. I hope.

  • I Want One!

    So, I was perusing the MythTV mailing lists, when I came across a post which linked to this device (actually, it linked to the 1210, but the 1220 is better, IMHO):

    DS-1220 SATA Enclosure

    In short, for $800, you get a rack-mountable enclosure that will take up to 12 SATA drives and present them to a host PC. Which means I could turn that into a massive MythTV storage device! As a bonus, it comes with literally all the gear you need to get the thing working: all the drive mounts, cabling, an eSATA PCI card, screws… it’s a very complete package.

    Unfortunately, I should probably actually, you know, finish our basement first before I start drooling over such things. And after that, I’d still want to buy a proper server rack. And a couple rackmount cases so I could rack up my firewall and Myth backend. And then there’s all the gear I want for my media room, such as an HD-capable projector, screen, gear for a myth frontend, some sort of audio system…