Who’s afraid of the blank page?

January 4, 2014

Hey everybody. Hope you had great holidays and that the new year is starting off bright! I’m doing okay up here, though I’m already tired of the wintry weather in Ontario.

Just wanted to say something about an email that I got weeks ago from Writers of the Future, with a link to an article about fear of the blank page. And I realized that, though I have a lot of fears and insecurities about writing, that isn’t one of them anymore. I can get worried that I have nothing new to say, or that I won’t be able to do justice to a particular story idea. But I don’t really associate either of them with a fresh digital document. (If we’re talking about a physical blank page, then I just get angry at the notion of having to write in longhand, but that’s a different topic that I’ve already covered.)

But the blank ‘page’ on my computer screen is always something I associate with the pure joy of creativity and I usually can hardly wait to rush in, start typing and fill it up–and then hesitate after a few paragraphs when I realize I have no idea where I’m actually going, now that I’ve started writing. I’m not sure how far back in my writing history that goes. Possibly, like a lot of my writing habits, it started to gel when I was cranking out Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic in university.

So, what about you? Do you have the blank page fear? If you’re a writer, how do you tackle it?

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Massive Twitter #Nanowrimo chat tonight; don’t miss it!

January 17, 2013

Just a quick note today, early so that it isn’t reaching my friends and followers too late.

The great folks at the Office of Letters and Light are doing a Twitter chat about revision and publishing this evening; Jan 17th, 5 pm Pacific time, which will be 8pm for me over here in Ontario. You can search for Nanowrimo-related tweets with this search link, or follow the hashtag conversation via TweetChat.

I’m not quite sure what the chat is going to be like, but I suspect it’ll be fun and probably informative! Hope to see you tweeting there.


Presto card fun, one more time

July 27, 2012

Okay, as some of you might remember, I’ve ranted about the Presto transit card here before, but I’m mostly satisfied with mine lately – at least I haven’t had to worry about overriding the default trip on the GO train lately.

I still couldn’t get a monthly pass for Hamilton on it without taking time off work, but then again, I haven’t needed to. And I think that I’m going to be using it more in Hamilton, because I’ve belatedly figuring out that paying by the ride four times a week is cheaper than the monthly pass, since I never ride the Hamilton bus anymore except going to work and back. (And usually less than four times a week on average, too, now that I’ve got the car.)

And I haven’t used public transit at all in weeks, since the Toronto CSTS screening, the day before I left to go to Kansas in June. Since I got back from Kansas and Polaris, I’ve been driving to work every day, and walking to the store when I can. Partly this is because I didn’t get a July bus pass before I left town, and partly because the Block revision material is spread all over my table, so I couldn’t easily pack it up and work on it on the bus anyway, and having time to work on a writing project is part of what I like about taking the bus. If I’m driving, I can spend part of that time working at home, and the rest behind the wheel listening to an audiobook or tunes.

But I wanted to take the bus today, because it’s been so long, so I checked that I was still carrying the Presto card, and got up early enough to catch the 7:50 bus. This was the first time that I’d actually used the Presto on a Hamilton bus, but it wasn’t a different process than using it in Burlington. Swipe the card, the reader goes beep, and tells me that it’s deducting two bucks and my remaining balance is two point thirty-something. That wasn’t good, because if the cash fare to take the Burlington bus home from close to my office was two dollars fifty cents, and it was supposed to rain this afternoon.

Wait a second. Didn’t I reload the card on the Presto website before I left for the airport?

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Happy May two-four weekend!

May 21, 2012

It’s Victoria Day today, and the long weekend is informally known in parts of Ontario as ‘May two-four’, as the holiday falls on the Monday on or before May twenty-fourth. To me, the May long weekend has marked the start of summertime for a long while.

This weekend, I’ve had a fairly quiet weekend, sticking close to home, partly because of work stuff – we were asked to keep an eye on our email in case there were support requests from customers in the states, and my brand-new Droid work phone isn’t admitting that it has a data plan yet, so I can only check email over wi-fi. Sigh.

But it’s been a good weekend anyway – I met up with Elizabeth Twist for a coffeeshop write-in yesterday, drove around last night in a somewhat ill-fated attempt to find a parking place for the fireworks show, and I’m heading over to visit with my Mom later this afternoon. I also got some cooking done, storing away leftovers for next week and possibly longer, and finally started serious work on my new revision of my ‘Father Ismay’ story. The hobgoblins are going to get changed into wolf people, for one thing.

So, what were you up to on the weekend? If you’re in the US, do you have big plans for Memorial Day?


M is for Municipal Liaisons

April 14, 2012

The Script Frenzy A-Z challenge so far…

I have to walk a fine line in this post between tooting my own horn and admitting that I suck. 😉 For I am one of the few, the somewhat mighty, Script Frenzy Municipal Liaisons.

A Municipal Liaison is a local Script Frenzy facilitator to help encourage participants in the same city or region to come together and meet with local events – like social parties for the start, middle, and end of the month, or weekly ‘write-ins’ where everybody brings their laptop to a coffee shop and pound out a few pages together.

I haven’t actually done that much as a Municipal Liaison. I’ve welcomed everybody to the online forum and tried to moderate the discussion there as much as moderation was needed. I reached out to a neighboring region that doesn’t have an ML this year, and tried to keep an eye on them and help out. I threw a ‘Kick-off’ party for my own region on March 31st, at a favorite coffee shop – and nobody else showed up, as I suspected that they might.

The thing is, there’s only half a dozen or so writers in my region this year, and a lot of them are teenagers who can’t make it out to events, or otherwise aren’t interested. And – well, I’ve been busy with a few other things myself, such as the blog, and getting ready for Wizard World Toronto. I’ve been encouraging people to suggest good times and places for events, but nobody else has spoken up, and I don’t really want to declare an event all by myself and be alone again.

It looks like Script Frenzy is having trouble finding MLs in Ontario – as far as I can tell, there are only four of us on duty – there’s also two in Toronto and one in Ottawa. I hope that more people volunteer next year, because they’re a key part of the event, a personal touch that nobody else can quite match.

 


In the bleak midwinter

December 22, 2011

I guess we’ve passed the winter solstice sometime in the last 48 hours or so, the shortest days of the year up here in Ontario. I’ve been busy enough with work and Christmas preparations and a few other things that I haven’t paid that much attention, but the long nights are getting me down a little. It isn’t too cold yet, but that’ll probably be coming after New Year’s.

Happy Mid-winter’s day, and have a good Festivus tomorrow!


My problems with Presto

June 4, 2011

Here in south-central Ontario, they’ve been talking for a while about introducing ‘the Presto card’ for public transit – it’s a single plastic card with an RFID chip in it, that you can use for lots of different local bus companies and other transit agencies. It’s a good idea, and I’ve had one and been using it for nearly a year now, I think, mostly with Burlington transit buses and the GO commuter trains, because those were the systems that I used that adopted it first. I thought it worked quite well overall, but just recently I’ve hit a few annoying ‘this should be working better’ moments.

First, Hamilton Street Railway went online with Presto in May, though there wasn’t a big announcement beforehand that May 1st was the day that all those Presto readers in the bus would suddenly switch from testing-only to live. (There were a lot of general info ads about them popping up in the shopping malls and so on, but I knew that it wasn’t live on the day that I first saw an ad, so they really weren’t that helpful specifically.)

But as May came to an end, I started to wonder if I should forego getting my usual plastic monthly pass for June and just go with Presto. A bit of digging, though, revealed the following issues:

  1. It seems that to get the monthly pass price for Hamilton on Presto, you can’t just load it with money as usual and have the system cap you out once you’ve used enough money on HSR fares to equal the monthly pass price. You specifically need to buy a digital ‘monthly pass’ and have that loaded onto your Presto card.
  2. The digital monthly pass can apparently only be purchased at the HSR ticket office in the GO center on Hunter street.
  3. The HSR ticket office in the GO center on Hunter street is only open from 8 to 4 on weekdays.
  4. I work from 8 to 4 on weekdays.
  5. My job is in Burlington, at least 20 minutes away from Hunter street in Hamilton.

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