I am getting ready to start adding some more content to this site/blog. Over the next couple of weeks, most of what I will be posting will be Halloween themed. To start it all off, though, I thought it would be fun to share a video my son made last year and posted to YouTube. He has aspirations of doing more YouTube content, and I think, honestly (and of course, completely unbiased), that he has a knack for this sort of thing. He does really well in front of the camera. He looks so comfortable and relaxed. Totally opposite of his old man. So, if you have ever wondered how to sign some common Halloween terms, this is your lucky day. This is John Dietz presenting 16 Halloween Signs!
It can be a daunting goal. Or it feels intimidating at first glance. Writing a little bit every day. I saw someone on Twitter mention that they had just crossed the three year mark of writing something every day. It was impressive, and honestly, a little deflating at the same time. When I saw the tweet, I wanted to emulate that. I wanted to be able to someday say I was crossing the three year mark. Then, almost immediately, I thought I couldn’t do it. I don’t stick to stuff as well as I’d like. I couldn’t possibly do something like that. If I tried, like so many other things in my life, I would just fail.
But here’s the thing with wanting to do something every day, here’s the real secret to getting it done, here’s what I was doing wrong. You don’t focus on the three year mark, ro the one year mark or even the one week mark. You focus on today. If I look at it and say I can write something, even if it’s just a little something, today, then it feels doable. Then I just have to do the same thing tomorrow.
You hear sports teams or coaches do the same thing. It’s almost cliche. I remember when my beloved Utah Utes went undefeated in 2008 and ended up winning the 2009 Sugar Bowl against Alabama. Their coach, Kyle Whittingham, would constantly and consistently say they were focusing on the next game. The one coming up this week. As the season went on, and more questions would come about going undefeated, he would bring the focus back to their next opponent. One game at a time. That’s how you end up with a 13-0 season.
That’s how you end up with a three year streak of writing every day. So, I’m not focusing on the three year mark. I am focusing on today. And tomorrow, I will focus on tomorrow. Because, here’s the thing, there is no way around it. If I want to write, if I want to get good at writing, I need to do it every day. Just like if I want to get good at playing the piano, I have to do it every day. That is the only way to get good at your craft, whatever your craft might be. So that’s my goal. I will write something every day. My goal is 1000 words every day, but fo it to “count” and because I know there will be those days, 100 words is the minimum. I have to have a minimum like that, because there will be days where 1000 words is just impossible, and if I miss one day, I will just feel like giving up.
What will I write, as I focus on making this a regular thing? Whatever I want, and right now, I want to get back to writing stories. So, for now the focus will be on fiction, but sometimes, I may just have an opinion about something and feel like sharing it. Then I will. Not everything I write will appear on a blog or a website. I hope some will, especially stories, but the truth is, right now, most of what I am focusing on is just writing. I am also working full time, trying to be a dad, going to school to finish my MBA, so right now, I just need to write. I don’t have to write well. Hopefully, by this time next year, I can focus on improving my writing, since at least the MBA should be finished.
How will I overcome the distractions? This is probably the toughest obstacle for me. There are so many distractions, so many reasons not to just sit down and write. For me, having it scheduled out each week and each day when I will write will make a big difference. When I know that this time, right now, is when I should be writing, it will be easier to do. I want to be a writer, I want this to be my career, so I have to take it seriously, and this is a start. I need to stop letting the distractions be my excuse to not write. I just need to do it.
What about writer’s block? It’s not real. I mean, I have definitely felt like it is real, and it has paralyzed me in the past. In reality, the way out is through. You just have to write. Knowing that my goal is to write something, and it can really be anything, every day, if I get stuck on something, I will just work on something else. Sometimes, that is easier said than done, but I know I can do it.
So, is this me blogging again? Yes, and no. Last month I stepped away from the Geeky Mormon and blogging. For the Geeky Mormon, it was permanent. For blogging, it wasn’t. So, I always intended to come back in some form or fashion. This will be different, though. At least at the beginning, I am not going to be marketing this. If I publish it on the blog, it will be on the blog. I am not going to post it all over Facebook or twitter or anything like that. I might occasionally do it, but mostly, right now I am just writing to write. Down the road, at some point, that might change. I might be writing to write, and to be read. Then I will probably start promoting my stuff more. In the meantime, and I mean this as selfishly as I can, this is all about me.
So, there you have it, if anyone is reading this. The new goal is to write every day. Some of it might end up on a blog, most of it will not, and all of it is about me trying to get better by just writing more. That is probably the most crucial thing I can do. It is a very important next step for me.
For those of you who don't know, the first Saturday of May every year is Free Comic Book Day, which has become an unofficial national holiday within the geek community over the last few years. If you have been thinking about participating this year, or if you are wondering what it is, this post might just be for you.
This last weekend was Salt Lake Comic Con, which is always a lot of fun. Usually I take time off work and spend all three days at the event, and it's always an enjoyable experience. This year, however, I did not take the time off work, and really only spent all of Saturday there, which means I didn't get to see and do everything I would have normally been able to see and do.
Golden Son is part two of Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy. I read the first book, titled Red Rising, just over a year ago. I liked it, and I didn't. Mostly, I liked the world Mr. Brown had built, but I felt like the first story felt too much like the typical Hunger Games-esque type story. Based on the world the characters existed in, I felt like it could have been more. Golden Son is exactly the more I was hoping for.
After the conclusion of Red Rising, our hero, Darrow, is now fully a part of the Gold culture. He is a Peerless now, which is the top of the Gold system. He is part of the Arch Governor's house- the ruling power on Mars. He is looked at as a strategic genius and is coveted by many of the powerful houses. He is on the rise, and putting himself in a position to help the Sons of Ares in ways they could have scarcely imagined. Until he loses a decisive battle that humiliates his new house and elevates their primary rivals. Now the Arch Governor is going to sell Darrow away, and it looks like he is on the cusp of losing everything. Golden Son follows Darrow and his friends from the Academy as they battle to keep his station, and elevate him to a much higher place. This time, instead of taking on other students to survive, he is challenging the Sovereign herself and attempting to thrust the Golds into a civil war.
The Character development in this book was extremely well done. Each of the main characters grew and changed, and it all felt right. It all made sense. Sometimes, you read a sequel and one of the main characters is totally different, and none of it makes any sense. Not here. Especially the main character, Darrow. The story is told in the first person, so you get to know him better than any of the other characters. There is a constant battle going on inside him between who he was as a Red and who he is now as a Gold. He is constantly checking himself to make sure he is acting for the right reasons. Seeing how he grows and begins to trust others on his team is very positive in the middle of a story that isn't always positive. It endears his character to the reader very effectively.
The pacing and action is exceptional. Mr. Brown knows his craft. He balances out his action sequences and his exposition well for the type of story this is. Yes, it is an action heavy story, but the whys and hows are not lost in all the action. This makes it feel like the action is not just there for action's sake, but because it fits with the story. The pacing probably wouldn't work for a romance story, but that's not what this is so it's fine.
The world only gets more intricate and more intriguing. Again, Mr. Brown knows his craft, and he has masterfully put together an incredible world. The color system is just one example. The Golds are at the top and the Reds are at the bottom. The differences are outlined so well in the story, that you can clearly picture it. It's all done, though, through the narrative, so it doesn't distract from the reading. There are so many levels and so many things he has thought about. The world feels so real, even though it is so alien to us. It feels lived in.
There are so many characters, and because they all have these fancy Roman type names, it was hard for me to keep them all straight. Add to that all the intrigue and double crossing and plotting and it gets even more confusing. Sometimes I had to look back to earlier in the book to try to understand who a particular character was. Maybe that's just me (I'm not the smartest kid in class), but it was sometimes difficult.
The story is dark. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like it should be mentioned. I know it's the trend in a lot of teen fiction currently, so it may not even be a surprise, but some people might be put off by that. In addition to this being a dystopian future type story, this is the second part of a trilogy. Those are typically the darkest of the three parts. Like Empire Strikes Back. This is in a lot of ways darker than Red Rising.
The Final Verdict
It may have taken me a year to finally read the second book in this series, but it won't take me that long to read the final one. After finishing Golden Son, I am a big fan of this series. The main protagonist, Darrow, is one of my favorite heroes that I have read in a long time. He reminds me of more charismatic Ender, which isn't a bad thing. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Sci-Fi or dystopian future type books. I can't wait to read Morning Star, especially with how this book ended. I need to know where the story goes from here.
What did you think? Have you read the Red Rising series? What did you think of Golden Son? Let me know in the comments below.
Looking for more? Check out my review of Red Rising on my other site, The Geeky Mormon.
Click on any of the images below to purchase this series on Amazon. (affiliated link)
I've never actually ridden a horse, so the phrase "get back on the horse" only makes sense to me in a metaphorical sense. Since, I've never ridden a horse, I've never fallen off, but I would imagine that if I did, I personally would break my leg in like three places or something, and it would take months and months of rehab and hard work before I would be able to walk again, let alone get back on the cursed animal I am sure i would hold responsible for what happened to me.
In one sense, that is how the last few months have felt for me. Not wanting to get into a lot of the nitty gritty, because it's private, and honestly, you probably don't really care about the details, let me just say it was rough. Writing was a big part of it. I just have felt stuck as far as my writing goes, and trying to figure out what I want to do and how i want to do it, and so it all just felt really overwhelming and I wasn't sure how to keep going. So I stopped. That was the worst thing I could have done.
That stopping was falling off the horse for me, and it hurt. I couldn't get myself back up off the ground, or back on the horse. However, it has been months now, and I have had lots of rehab (not real rehab or anything, just personal, internal rehab), I attended a writing conference, I finally feel like I can get back on the horse.
I also feel like I have to get back on the horse. So, here I am writing. Maybe just a couple thousand words today, but it is a start. We'll see how long I can stay up this time. #AmWriting, I guess.
Next week marks the beginning of November, which is a month that many writers look forward to and dread at the same time. If you didn't know, besides being the filler month between Halloween and Christmas, it is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to spend everyday writing, and in 30 days you'll have a completed manuscript. Ok, so maybe not a completed manuscript, but at least you should end up with a rough first draft with a beginning, middle, and end. The word count goal needed to "win" is 50,000 words. That sounds like a lot, but it's really just in the neighborhood of 175-200 pages. Depending on the genre you are writing, that may or may not be around the word count you need (mostly it's not). That's ok, because that's really not the point.
My wife was telling me a story the other day about a secret blog she started six years ago. She had started doing a lot of crochet projects and other crafts as an outlet shortly after our third child was born. Being creative in this way was a great outlet for her at a time that was pretty stressful (for fun, we had decided to close on our first house a week before our third son was born, and moved in a month later). She had also kept a blog for a little while about our first two kids, and that had been almost therapuetic for her. She began to think that maybe keeping a blog where she could share her crafts with others would be beneficial for her.
Hello, and welcome to my site. My name is Jake Dietz and I am a writer. Not a famous writer, or anything like that, just a writer. As of the time I am writing this post, I have not yet been published anywhere, except my own blog, and I don't think that counts. I don't have any major book deals in the works, or any minor ones for that matter. I am just a guy who likes to write and wants to share the experience with you. That's all it really takes to be a writer, simply wanting to write something and then actually writing it.
Jake Dietz is a story teller, avid reader, and sometimes writer of stuff. Like on this site. From time to time. He is also a husband and father of six beautiful children. He loves a good story and will take it in any format he can find.
© Jake Dietz 2016-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jake Dietz with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Original artwork is ©Samuel Norton 2016.