I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snow days

When I was a kid, I looked forward to a snow so I could stay home and play. Now, I keep my fingers crossed for a snow day so I can stay home and work.

I finished the third draft of my latest novel Friday, pretty much two weeks ahead of my personal schedule because I had a day off two weeks ago due to snow, then two days this week. I normally squeeze in an hour or two in the evenings to write. Getting three whole days to focus on the book gave me momentum. Nothing makes a thousand words flow out of you better than having written a thousand words preceding them. Momentum matters.

I did take a few walks in the snow, and helped Cheryl build a snowman. But, as I reach the verge of fifty, I'm finally realizing a fundamental truth about life: Work is more satisfying than play.

It's fun to go play in the snow. It's fun to go to concerts and movies, fun to watch television or read comic books, fun to hang out with friends at bars and just shoot the breeze.

And having fun is important! It's good for the brain, and, in the case of my hiking and biking and running, good for my body.

Work, on the other hand, isn't fun. Even the creative stuff, like writing, can turn into a slog. On Thursday, I kept making bargains with myself to sit in the chair for one more hour, to make sure I got to the end of the chapter I was working on. Then I'd move the goalpost and tell myself, nope, after the next chapter, then you can stop... and then I'd keep going. My back ached from sitting in the same spot for hours. My brain felt limp in the aftermath. And yet... yeah! I've written another book! Endorphin rush!

The entertainment value of watching television is like chocolate. A little here and there is nice. A steady diet of it will leave you sick and fat. Sitting at a keyboard for five hours and trying to make sentences go in the proper order is tedious and exhausting. But, when you're done, you have the satisfaction of knowing you've accomplished something. It really is a feeling like nothing else in the world.