A Week in the Writing Life, 18 February 2023

Welcome back, readers. I’m hoping that you are enjoying these regular posts and that I’m not repeating myself too much on a weekly basis.

However, I do think that it is important to write consistently and with a particular purpose. Whether you call what I’m doing here a newsletter, a weekly update, a plain old blog, or whatever, the purpose is clear: let you know how my week in the writing life has been going, one way or another. It’s also a way for me to figure out what has been going on with me, especially as a writer. If it’s been going well, I follow the advice I often give my students : “If something works, keep doing it.” And, if it’s not working for me on a particular week, it’s a good way for me to try and figure out what I might be able to improve on.

With that, let’s get started.

Homefront Stuff

My daughter has now returned to her apartment in Iowa City. It has been a bit of a downer not to have her around, but like I mentioned last week, I have to be proud of them being independent people, especially since some young people are not so financially or emotionally fortunate. In a little over a year, she’ll be graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in engineering and who knows where she’ll be afterward.

As for myself, I found myself not working (or “decommissioned,” as the British lovingly put it) for two days this week due to the surprisingly large amount of snow dumped upon the state of Iowa during a 24-hour period starting roughly on midnight of 15 February. (The results of which you can view in the featured photo of this post.) Of course, everyone complains about the teachers and students getting days off, but I am sure that they would complain more if a school bus slid off a rural road and led to the deaths or severe injuries of Iowa students.

You’d think that I got some writing done during that time, but I also wanted to do some cleaning for my beloved wife and sometimes your head isn’t in the most settled of spots on a snow day. I even wrote a poem about it once.

What I’ve Been Writing

I’ve started the second review of my new book The Yank Striker. The proof of my book is already sprouting a legion of little note flags, so who knows what I’ll have to finish up before I’m all done.

Once I get some feedback on the book and some related items from my Iowa Writers’ Corner friends, I’ll start putting together my revision notes. I am hoping to send those along, as well as some additional logos for the fictional teams in my book, my back cover blurb, author’s note, and acknowledgements by either the end of this month or the beginning of next month, which is lightning-quick in the traditional publishing world.

As far as the logos for the sports teams in my book, I designed those myself with the aid of the Canva program. I used the pro account and it has been massively helpful in producing those logos, and I get much more consistent quality than I did with other free programs. If you are looking to design anything, including book covers, I would definitely recommend Canva.

Again, as soon as I have a publication date, I will do a contest or two, book launch event, etc. Watch this space.

As for my other writings and projects, they have naturally taken a back burner. Book Two in the Yank Striker series has paused for a moment until I make sure that everything in the first book is locked down. One of the biggest worries on that revision? I want to make sure that I’m properly describing the main training facility of my soccer team, and I’m wanting to make sure that the descriptions make sense. I’m reviewing a few training centers of Premier League teams to make sure mine sounds realistic. I also have to make sure that the quality of the facilities matches a modest London team and not exactly one of the “Big Six” teams. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but I think it’s worth it to make something that’s realistic and of good quality.

I also continue to dabble in my fanfiction writing whenever I get blocked from doing any other type of writing. It is always a bit refreshing to write something that has no chance of being commercially viable, or any limits on word count, or any rules about writing the last of nine or so stories in a series before finishing the fifth story in the series. It’s been a liberating experience.

Anyone want to see how hard that I type on my keyboard sometimes? This hard:

Notice all the wear marks on the keys, especially the space bar.

What I’ve Been Doing Having to do With Writing

Just a reminder, my first public appearance of the new year will be coming up very soon – one week from now, as a matter of fact.

I’ll be participating in the Local Author Fair at the Johnston Public Library on Saturday, February 25. I’ll be out there with many other area authors from 2 to 4 p.m. that day. I’ll bring myself and copies of The Holy Fool for purchase, and I’ll also be there to talk about my upcoming series The Yank Striker. Thanks to the Johnston Public Library for the invitation, and I look forward to meeting old friends and new acquaintances there.



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Local Author Fair

Please please please come out there and say hi to me and all of the talented writers out there. Several of my IWC compatriots will be out there as well, and I would highly recommend all of their work.

What I’ve Been Reading/Listening to/General Recommendations

Time for some more reading recommendations. Hope you like them.

Max Allan Collins is the other, more successful writer from Muscatine, Iowa, who has written everything from Road to Perdition, the Nathan Heller crime series, and a biography of Mickey Spillane, among others. He has a nice little web site that has his blog and all the stuff he’s written. Go ahead and check it out and tell him I sent you.

I found out this guy on Substack named Noah Smith, who writes about economics, technology, geopolitics, and culture on a site called Noapinion. I liked this article he wrote recently on artificial intelligence and its influence on coding. Check him out.

It was on Twitter where I discovered the writer and essayist Charlotte Clymer, a trans Christian Army veteran from Texas who writes about politics, pop culture, religion, and LGBTQ issues. I’m no longer on Twitter, but you can find her on Substack at Charlotte’s Web Thoughts. Here’s an example of her podcast. Check her out.

Writing Quote(s) of the Week

Once again, I go to Big Daddy Stephen King for some advice about writing. One thing that you should keep in mind is that when he talks about reading, notice how he doesn’t talk about what you are reading. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplays, instruction manuals, good writing, bad writing… all of it has something to teach you, trust me.

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

Stephen King

Shoot, why don’t we throw in another one from Stevie just for the heck of it.

Fiction is the truth inside the lie.

Stephen King

Random Song That is my jam for the Week (at least).

I was a longtime fan of Gary Numan and his song “Cars,” among others. Over the past few years, I’ve been exploring some of his back catalog on YouTube. This was my most recent discovery and it is a jam.

Final Thoughts

Sadly, this week was one where we in Iowa and Illinois mourned the death of a legend in journalism and in the Quad Cities. Bill Wundram died on Valentine’s Day of this week at the age of 98. He had written for the Quad City Times, the newspaper of the Quad Cities area of eastern Iowa and western Illinois, for more than 70 years, beginning as a 19-year-old cub reporter in 1944.

Many others who knew him better than me will write better tributes than I ever could. I was just a guy he met once, just like the dozens and hundreds of people I’ve met for a brief moment during my own journalism and education careers. What I will say is that people like Bill, who was both the voice and the living history of his community, are always rare treasures. We need to properly celebrate those we have lost, treasure the ones that remain, and cultivate those of the future. Take care, Bill.

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While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

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