Daily Thoughts 180: Disproportionate Anxiety Disorder

Sometimes I suffer from Disproportionate Anxiety Disorder. That’s right, DAD.

DAD Sufferers (DADS) worry about things. Even if we’re all stoic on the outside, inside DADS worry about reputation, success, relationships, and their children. Sometimes out of proportion to any reality, as in worrying about not getting good grades when you have always done so and getting stressed about it. This past weekend we had a national day of recognition for DADS everywhere. It’s heart-warming to see.


This morning I worked on my second day of dictation, focusing on Drive-By Stories. Mostly, I brainstormed ideas for possible stories. I’m also considering sharing the records (spoken punctuation and all) as a sort of podcast for the project. For the moment, I still have work to do before that happens.

In any case, I thought it was an interesting idea.

I also spent time working on the website. Cleaned up a few things with the layout. Moved the About information off the main page. I still have work to do to get the functionality that I want with the site, but it is coming along. I hope to have support for multiple stories soon, and will work on that next.

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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts 179: Driven to Write

Author's selfieIt seems I can’t help but set goals. I try to get away from doing that, and then I come up with another goal. I’m drawn to set goals.

This morning I was thinking about Drive-By Stories. The project has been up and down. It’s up(ish) with only one story right now. The website needs to be redesigned to do what I want. It needs artwork. It really needs more stories! The concept is simple enough.

Short stories written while driving.

I know. Not safe, right? Hands-free all the way. I start the recorder before I pull out and stop it after I park. Dragon transcribes the recording when I drop it in my autotranscription folder to create the first draft of the story. I use that to redraft the story for the final draft. They’re short.

I’d decided not to do the writing challenge. Or the art challenge. I still have work to do for my MLIS. I have other projects that I’m working on as well. I’m trying to be kind to myself.

And I still feel the need to set goals.

Inputs, Not Outputs

In the past, I’ve mostly tracked outputs. How many words written, stories completed, or novels published. I’ve done streaks with writing goals for a minimum daily amount. I don’t tend to track the inputs that go into creating those works. Namely, time.

Or, more accurately, I haven’t focused on it. In point of fact, I do track it. At least when it comes to the computer. I use RescueTime. It tracks my time spent, applications and websites used. It offers goals and other features, including offline tracking. It’s the offline tracking that makes this idea possible.

Since I’m already using it, I can use RescueTime to track streaks and other time put into my work.

My basic plan: dictate each morning on the way to work. Ideally, I’ll write some stories. But I’m not going to set goals for the number of stories. Or words. Just that I dictate in the mornings on my way to work. Simple? We’ll see. Hopefully, the outcome will be that I actually complete some more stories.

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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts

Author showing book Pulp CultureDark chocolate covered blueberries taste fantastic. So do dark chocolate covered banana chips. Or apricots. I have to be careful or I’ll just sit and eat the entire bag! Still, it’s a nice treat to have sometimes and I’m lucky enough to get to enjoy such things.


Cover art for Pulp CultureI checked out a book from my library Pulp Culture: the art of fiction magazines by Frank M. Robinson and Lawrence Davidson. It’s a great overview of the different sorts of pulp magazines and reproduces many examples of the fantastic cover art. 

The cover art on the hardcover 1998 edition I checked out doesn’t match the cover shown here (or in the library catalog).

This book is definitely going on my wishlist. I plan to study pulp art as time allows while working on my MLIS, and definitely after I finish. I want Drive-By Stories to have artwork inspired by the pulps and I can imagine some influences coming into some of my other work.


Last few days of finals. I have an exam due on Friday, a research proposal due on Sunday, and another final report and project demo due on Monday (includes some of the data visualizations I’ve shared).


Almost Summer

School isn’t out for the summer. Summer semester at San Jose State University’s iSchool picks up on Monday. I’m only taking one class this summer, though it does take 15 weeks of content and fits it into 10 weeks. I guess that sort of makes it one and a half classes. Since I’ve been taking three classes at a time it still feels like I’ll have plenty of time to work on other projects.

I also need to register for fall classes. Registration opens on Tuesday, so I plan to register first thing Tuesday morning. Fall semester begins late August and I’ll be back to taking a full time course load.

This next week I get to work out in a couple of our libraries, heading out to the South Bend Timberland library and the Shelton Timberland library. It’s going to be a short week though. On Friday I get to watch my younger brother graduate with his masters degree from the Evergreen State College.

In terms of projects next week I’d like to get another story added to Drive-By Stories. I’m in the process of working on the Schoolism course “Introduction to Digital Painting” and I’d like to make more progress. I’m also doing more work on studying data, web development and other topics raised in my classes.

Despite all the work I also plan to have some fun and get out and work in the yard, play games including video and tabletop, and maybe even watch a movie or something. After all it’s last weekend before the new semester!

Going forward I plan to be breaking up my activity posts into different topics each weekday. Lets me focus on smaller posts and have a regular routine rather than trying to pull together one post at the start of each week. Plan to launch that next week as well so there should be regular posts.

Weekly Activity: Soft Launch

Weekly Story

Tomorrow I plan to post my story Space Lot. I also have some other stories to tell you about, more on that a bit further down.

Library Updates

Summer semester @SJSU iSchool for my MLIS program picks up again next week. The short break gives me some time to do some other things. I’ll only have the one class (but a shorter semester), so I plan to build on things I studied this last semester. I have a stack of books to work through, as well as Lynda.com course I want to work on.

I’m also having fun at work in the libraries. I’m able to get out and work in our libraries usually 2-3 days out of the week. Finally being more mobile really helps.

Drive-By Stories

Back in March I first mentioned my new project, Drive-By Stories (stories written during my commute), when I wrote Born Lucky and anticipated a soft launch in April. I posted another update a couple weeks later after finishing another couple stories. Then April got really busy with final projects and the WLA conference.

The project became more complicated. First, I wanted certain details with the website and initially I considered creating the site entirely from scratch. Realizing that was ridiculous I decided to use Grav CMS since it already had much of the functionality I wanted: flat-file instead of a database, flexible, easy to customize, markdown support, etc. Only my webhost didn’t support current versions of PHP needed, as well as lacking many other useful features. It spurred me to begin migrating instead to Dreamhost.com. I shouldn’t have waited so long, they offer so much more and have been great to work with. I needed to renew domains anyway, so it’s a good time to transfer.

I’m happy to say that Drive-By Stories is now live. Basic default Grav theme right now, so it doesn’t capture the pulp feel I’m interested in adding but theme development will take more time. Even so the basic functionality is there. Essentially, each time you visit (or refresh) the site it will randomly select and display a story. These are ‘flash’ fiction stories written during my commutes. I’ll continue to add new stories as I create them but I’m not going to worry about promotion or anything at this point. Eventually, once I have more content (there are only four stories right now), cover art and a custom theme, I’ll make more of an effort to share new updates. In the meantime, if you’re interested, feel free to visit.

This Week

Lots of things to work on from studies, to getting my library site, BooksAreForUse.com updated, to tackling numerous other projects. If I had several weeks I might make a dent. Lacking that I’ll do what I can as time/energy allows. I have a normal busy week at the Library. I think I’ll also start working on some of those Lynda.com and Schoolism.com courses that I’ve been meaning to start.