First Cup of Coffee – March 11, 2022

Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

That’s actually pretty wonderful.

So um, do you know what today is say it with me. It’s Friday whoo. Um, March Eleventh and snowy day here in Santa Fe a lovely snow. It’s like being inside of a snow globe kind of snow with the constant sifting. We got a fair amount of cuing accumulation I don’t know if we got the 4 to eight inches that they said that we might probably depends on how one measures it. Ah. Seems like we got a fair amount of moisture in it though. So that’s awesome and it’s um, very cozy weather very curl up and sleep weather then I slept a lot last night slept in this morning did not want to wake up so been moving slowly this morning. It’s eight thirty as I record this which is late for me and my mother must be still sleep because she has not replied to my good morning yet. So maybe it’s sleepy all around and I think that’s. That’s an okay thing I’m trying to let this be okay so that’s my um sort of what take home lesson from yesterday. Um I did go back and look and I I know I keep doing this so I’m sorry if you guys get sick of hearing me do this. But. I do think that you know what? I always say you guys could probably even say this with me figure out what your process is and own it and I think that that’s something that we don’t stop doing that’s it’s an iterative process. It changes over the course of our lives it changes with each book. I think that we are constantly learning ourselves and I mean that’s the point of life right to refine ourselves to try to become better at what we’re doing all the time become a better person. Strive for those goals that are important to us so I did I did a little better yesterday writing I have an open my progress count. Yeah, but I definitely. Got good words going yesterday. Um, and came out with a total of eleven fifty I mean not not anything to write home about I guess it’s enough to podcast about well.

Whether it is or not is debatable but I was happy to get the eleven fifty and I looked over you know I’ve really been trying to take a good look at what I do over time. And actually I’m gonna check something here and I won’t make you guys listen? Okay yeah I just wanted to check some math on that um from having been pushing pretty hard in the first couple of months first few months of 2021? Um, and not so much in or at least trying to find different ways to back off in 2022 I haven’t I’ve actually written more words so far in 2022 so someone that was pushing hard with gray magic. So we’ll see but. Going back over my productivity over all time I decide to go and look at and see how often did I really hit 15000 words a week because I always say that I figured that out a long time ago that I thought 3000 words a day was pretty sustainable for me. So I went and looked to see if this thing that I’m always spouting 3000 words a day five days a week how often do I actually hit that and you know what I haven’t hit it all that often I’m somewhat chagrined to report that I really don’t. Get that? Um, every once in a while I do but for the most part I don’t and if I look at my overall averages since however long it’s been. We know how? well it’s been. Jeffe. It’s 2012 so 10 years now right we’re looking at 10 years of data. Um I write about look at this I wrote it down Nine Thousand two hundred and forty six words a week and this shouldn’t come as. Ah, big shock because I had previously determined when I was looking going through this before that and I’d even put this in my planning schedule for this coming year that I was writing closer to 1500 words a day. Spread over 7 work seven days a week so I could calculate it on a weekly basis. Um, and yeah so I am officially you heard it here first. Um I’m revising down.

I am going to try to write 2000 words a day that’s slightly higher than what my average has been but I’m going to see if I can write 10000 words a week and see see if that’s sustainable because. I’ve been kidding myself about the 3000 words a day clearly, it has not been sustainable because the average is so much lower than that. So um, that feels a little scary because I feel like I should. Pushing for more than that. But those of you who have been listening to me for a long time know that I always think I’m going to scale up and push for more and it doesn’t work and I think it’s been making me um I think it’s been draining me. Over the long term so I’m going for for that which seems kind of luxurious but I’m feeling like last year was a good year I’m met a lot of goals. We’re doing much better financially and. I’m a big believer in that we must reward ourselves for effort because if we constantly push ourselves then it can be um, well have the a negative effect. It has the opposite effect of what we want I don’t think I’ve talked about this. Recently but I feel like we have to treat our our internal selves. Our creative selves are so creative. Subconscious however, you want to think of it as um, as like a puppy puppy or a kitten and it. Puppy analogy works better because people go to a lot more work to train dogs I think you can train to cats. But most people have experience with trying to teach dogs to like pee outside and that sort of thing and if you’re training your puppy to do the work that you want it to do. You can’t be constantly. Pushing it. You can’t be haranguing it nonstop. You have to let it play you have to give it treats and I feel like we have to do that for ourselves too. Ah, you know, especially if ourselves you know delivers the book on time like we want then we. Then we need to give it a treat. You can’t just um, be working all the time and yes I am talking to myself I I do have a tendency to to work all the time and I know that’s um, not always a positive can be useful but I’m working on.

This year seeing if I can get a little bit better at figuring out what my actual creative sustainably creative output is um and I don’t even remember I should have I have to ask grace because you know we we do talk regularly and we strategize and for. 2021 our mantra our plan was to work smarter not harder and I don’t remember now what we said this year’s was gonna be isn’t that funny I’m gonna message her. Okay, we’ll see if she replies. Um, it’s funny cause I forgot. We’re we’re on slightly different schedules. She tends to be more nocturnal than I am so I forgot that I had sent her something last night something gossiping that another author was doing I was like look at this What do you think of this and she sent me back a bunch of messages later last night when she got around to looking at it. So I had to go down a bit of a rabbit hole and read it and of course she totally agrees with me so this is the the core of our friendship but ah so we’ll see if she answers she may not be around right now. But. I think that’s funny I’m I’m gonna bet you guys I bet you? Well I can’t bet you actual money. We’ll just bet virtual point with a bet bit coin ha n fts um I bet she won’t remember either. Maybe she will so anyway. Um, I am trying to back things off and it’s funny because I spoke with Megan the other day on Wednesday and I texted her in the morning and said I’m jonesing for our Las Vegas cabana because we had so much fun doing that that was last April a year Agoapril and I said I’m joing for that and she says I’m actually um oh I can’t say this nope sorry I can’t tell you because I can’t get hurt in trouble. But anyway I was saying how i. Said you know it’s funny even though I have total freedom to take the day off anytime I want I I don’t I almost never do and she said that she actually understood that because it’s hard when you work for yourself because it’s like stealing from yourself and I thought that was a really good insight. so um so yeah that’s that’s my plan. We’ll see how it goes um, it sounds um, luxurious, vaguely hedonistic to only go for 2000 words a day which I know don’t ah you know don’t measure yourselves by that.

Some people do way more. Some people do way less. Um, we’ll see how it works. It’s all about figure out what your process is your process and own it no reply from grace yet. So. Um, the other thing I was going to mention is one of the younger writers messaged me yesterday younger being a um younger in the career. Not necessarily I’ve never been her in person I think she’s actually younger too. But she referenced a um article that was a daily dot about someone being sexually harassed by a guy at a self-publishing conference which I had read. She asked me if I’d read it and I was like yeah I thought it’s been passed around. I’ll link to it so you guys can read it and it’s kind of funny because here’s another one of those consequences of the pandemic because we haven’t been going to conferences this kind of thing hasn’t come up for the last couple of years and like now that people are going out and about it’s like yeah. Just a long just like people are getting in car wrecks and getting murdered again turns out when we leave our houses. We also get things like sexual harassment and she wanted to know what I thought about it and I asked her if she was familiar with the concept of the missing stare and. She was not so I sent her a blog link to that and I’ll I’ll link to that for you guys too just in case but the missing stare was coined and the article will say who coined it. But basically it’s the idea that there will be lots of people in a community who know about problematic people and. Very often. It’s creepy guys and it’s the analogy is that like you go to a house party and that everybody who’s familiar with this house knows that on the staircase there is a stair that’s missing and everybody is so accustomed. To navigating around this missing stare that they don’t think to tell new people about it and then the new person falls to the missing stair and and they’re like why didn’t you tell me the stair was missing and everybody’s like oh yeah, yeah, that missing stare. It’s a real problem. So. This is what happens in communities like writing communities and the sff community has long had a real problem with it because it’s interesting my theory and this is just Jeffie’s theory of why this kind of thing happens is a particularly in this community.

Is that the people who write science fiction fantasy are usually not the people who were the popular kids at school there’s exceptions but you know mostly we’re nerdy people we’re into fandoms, we’re smart, we’re into reading. Books um, you know and in general the people who were glomming star trek and Firefly and reading all of Lord of the rings were also not the people who were playing football or on the cheerleading squad. Oh Grace is typing back. We’ll see if she remembers so when corollary to this is that a lot of the guys who become successful in writing books are also guys who did not get. Laid by the pretty girls in high school and of course I’m making generalizations. Ah she is so funny. She says considering how shitty 22 her 2022 has been for us so far I think my mantra will will be head down carry on.

I’m going to just say I love that you don’t remember what we decided.

Decided either. Okay I won’t make you guys pay attention to me. Um, messaging with Grace so maybe head down carry on is a decent mantra for the year I know we decided on something. Clearly it did not stick so probably wasn’t useful then if we didn’t so anyway, um, this guy up. Okay, we regain my um attention for this. She says I can barely remember what I said last week I center a heart okay I’m gonna I I’ll take her off the window here so that I won’t be distracted so um and i. Read a very interesting article that this happened in Silicon Valley also because a lot of these guys who are the computer nerds are also not the guys who got laid by the pretty girls in high school. So these guys finally get to a place where they are. Successful within their pond. They are finally a big fish and a small pond and whatever it is in that biological boy nature that affects some of them and I will you know, not all mend this because you know there are a lot of really wonderful men in this. Science fiction and fantasy community. They’ve been great to me. In fact, supportive and appreciative of my work in ways that I never expected them to be but there are these other guys who see this as finally this is their chance to be the big fish to be the herd bull. And they start hitting on the girls and a lot of them and it’s not an excuse by any stretch of imagination but they are not always with the best social skills and they do it badly and they. Sometimes do it. You know with twisted maliciousness. So what’s the solution to this and that’s what this gal was asking me. How do we know which guys are the missing stairs I mean that’s that’s really the question. And it’s something that we’ve gone round and round about because a lot of people have suggested that we keep lists and some women I know do keep lists of who are the creepers and the problem is is then the guys start getting upset saying that there should not be secret lists kept against them.

So it ends up being a whisper network thing because that’s the only way you know is by talking to other women. It’s like okay who do you need to avoid in the bar who has the grabbby hands at the publisher party who is going to try to get you alone in a corner. Um. And and we have to let each other know. So that’s 1 thing is talking to each other. You can always ask other women. Um, you know come to you know women like me established women in the field and if you’re going to be working with some guy. I mean you can’t really ask us for a list of everyone who’s creepy. But if you’re gonna be on a panel with some guy you can always say you know is you see a good one and we will tell me we may not know but sometimes knowing nothing is is a good sign because it means that nobody’s ever had. Cause to talk about them. So um, the other thing that you can do and I told her this and it’s a remarkably effective trick. Thank you internet is you can Google them and I’ve discovered that one of the easiest things to do is to. Google say Jo Shmo controversy and you will get hits and ah if there’s a bunch of hits that’s much more likely that you know it’s more than 1 person has been talking about it so you will find and I gave her 1 person that you could you know look up. What had happened with them. There was one that was a while back with Myke Cole Sam Sykes and Paul Krueger and if you google those names and controversy. You will see exactly what happened and what people were saying about them. So. It’s um, some people will counter. Some guys will counter and say well that those are smear campaigns and so forth. But you know if if it’s coming from several different points in a community then you know I mean we’re not, we’re not gonna take them to trial. We’re not gonna prosecute them but like. Those particular guys. Um, ended up getting dropped from their publishing houses and dropped by their agents which is the um the hammer that we have to deal with problematic guys like that you know it’s like well. You know, nobody’s gonna take you to court for being an asshole in the bar but um, but yeah, you also don’t have to be celebrated by the community and that’s the answer we have and I’m going a little along today. So sorry, but um.

In the indie space in the self-p publishing space. It’s still a problem and will probably continue to be a problem until we selfpolice the community because selfp publishing sphere is still kind of the frontier. It’s like the frontier town where there’s not. Not a sheriff and a lot of the people who are drawn to self- publishing are drawn to it because there are no rules. No leash on what they’re doing and some of them come into it particularly because they are of the. Nobody can tell me what to do kind of attitude which is true in self- publishing nobody can tell you what to do? It’s all based on you know, can you sell the book to anybody and so I think we’re going to continue to see problems with these people because there is no. You know what are we going to do get Amazon to remove their account because they’re an asshole on the bar. It’s not gonna happen. So all we can do is self police and 1 thing that a lot of the really upstanding guys in the community have done is. To really take it upon themselves to be the ones who say no I don’t stand back and you know let this guy be an asshole that they have to you know stand up for the women in the community too and not tolerate the bro behavior which you know is kind of that code. Sometimes and a lot of these guys are being really good about that and saying no, we’re not going to be complicit in letting these guys do whatever they want that if we’re going to have a safe and welcoming community then then we will stand up and we will call it out the bad behavior. So I think that’s what we have to look for is um, the more established members in the community who don’t care about whether or not Joe Schmo is going to somehow um damage their career if you don’t. Let him fondle you in the bar or be an asshole. Um, and you know you look around and you see who the the good guys are and and go to them for help and and that’s what you do is you know who who will have your back because. The majority of people will have your back. it’s it’s um we’re we’re just trying to get a lot better about acknowledging those missing stairs and repairing them so that’s me going on a little bit long today but that’ll hold you over the weekend.

Hope you all a wonderful weekend I hope you get to do some things that are relaxing and restorative and I’m planning to do the same so I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye bye.

2 Replies to “First Cup of Coffee – March 11, 2022”

  1. I’m pretty good at hitting 3000 words/day, six days/week. For the last two weeks, I’ve been hitting closer to 4000 words/day.

    But if I look at my writing over the last eight years, I’m averaging just shy of 1500/day. That includes every day, even during 2019-2020 when I cut way back to focus on our girls.

    Is that sustainable in the long run? I really don’t know. Sometimes I do feel the grind.

    1. Yeah… the grind can be a thing, huh? I’m trying to find a way around the wax and wane, but maybe that’s natural and not avoidable.

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