A Week in the Writing Life, 29 April 2023

[PHOTO NOTE: Since I’m on the road this weekend, I decided a picture of a road (Iowa Highway 14) might be appropriate. Ignore the fact it’s a winter picture.]

It’s been another week for me. Let’s talk about it.

Home Front Stuff

Can’t say I have any complaints about the weather this week in Iowa – relatively dry (except for Friday) and temperatures right in the 60’s. It only gets a bit awkward at work when you don’t have good control of the furnace and you have to turn on the AC in the afternoon or else everyone gets sweating to death and nobody wants that while people are trying to teach and learn.

I had a chance to get out of town for a day so I went trekking back to Muscatine for my dad’s birthday. Since it’s even tough for me to get together with my kids, if I can find a time to do that with my parents, I want to try and take it. Nowadays, I treasure every chance I get to see them, because you never know when I’ll get the next chance to see them[1].

In other professional news, it looks like I will be teaching again next year at my current school district. This year was a bit of a strange one for me, because it was the first time in a decade when I was teaching 100 percent language arts to both middle and high schoolers. All indications are that I will likely be doing all or nearly all special education next year. I’m starting to find that I seem to prefer the special education field better than the general education field, so I’m looking forward to what will come next year.

What I’ve Been Writing

I am now in the third round of “final” revisions on The Yank Striker. My hope is for a considerable amount of close reading and a bare minimum of changes. I would like this to be the last round of changes made before my publisher and I make the book available for publication.

What’s frustrating me about this and the sequel to the book I am now writing is I’m having to try and do some more planning for the sequel rather than straight writing. As much as some writers like to write by the seat of their pants (“Pantsers,” as some of the fellow members of my Iowa Writers’ Corner put it), I never could feel comfortable with not planning where my stories are going to go. This especially seems to make sense to me, given this will be part of a series and I believe that I will need a solidly secure world-build and background for it. I’m well-ahead on that score, but I still feel like I need to do more, and I need to relax and get that planning done while not being so paranoid about my word count. I can be productive even if I’m not putting a massive amount of words on paper.

One thing I sorted out that will feature in the next book is this: I’ve managed to come up with a club anthem for my fictional East End of London club. I took an old East End pub tune, worked around the lyrics, and voila, a new club anthem. Many different clubs have their anthems, like “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for Liverpool and “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” for West Ham United, and I thought it would be appropriate for my fictional team to have its own song. I had initially thought of some reworkings of rock tunes[2], but to absolutely make sure to avoid any copyright issues, I decided on a public domain tune with roots in the East End. I might give some of my paid subscribers a look at that tune sometime soon, or another type of paid subscriber post, but due to my traveling this week, that might be not quite in the cards. We’ll have to see.

Again, I am trying to avoid a slump in about three weeks when I go on summer vacation. I have suffered through some similar slumps during the past two years, but I think that with my awareness of this tendency, I have a better chance of fighting against it. I’m not going to post the numbers here on Substack, but I’ll probably mention in the weekly newsletter if I beat the slump. If you are desperate to find out my weekly word-count numbers, check out this section of my Worpress blog Liegois Media.

What I’ve Been Doing Having to do With Writing

Not much changing here. I’m trying to make a note to try and look through more Substacks during the weekend and midweek, and make some more Substack Notes. I think they are good for short notes, announcements, and shouting out other authors.

Earlier this week, for example, I announced that all my subscribers had been entered into a giveaway for my first book, The Holy Fool, as part of my anticipatory celebrations for the next book coming out. I’ll announce the winner of the contest next week on Substack Notes, but I’ll reach out to the winner beforehand. Said winner will receive an autographed hardcopy of the book from me. Good luck, everyone.

What I’ve Been Reading/General Recommendations

This was a good review of a writing and planning tool called Obsidian by the author of Occam’s Lab . Check it out.

This was Parker Molloy ‘s great look at the closing of Buzzfeed news and its consequences.

Writing Quote(s) of the Week

This is the real reason why you need to follow Stephen King’s admonition that to be a good writer, you need to read a lot as well as write a lot.

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.

William Faulkner

Final Thoughts

I’ve praised the band Fairport Convention recently, and I’m a big fan of their English folk and rock blend; essentially, it’s the English equivalent to the Byrds of the 1960’s (and around the same era, too). I start thinking of some good fantasy adventures like Lord of the Rings when I hear it.

Here’s another one of their better songs to wrap this up. Take care.


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  1. So, if you are wondering why this particular newsletter might be a bit shorter than some of my others, that’s the reason.
  2. “C’mon Feel the Noize” seemed to be one of the higher ones on my list, or a similar sing-along from the 1970’s glam rock era.

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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