• Tag Archives Writing
  • Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch

    Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch.

    Last week I was off-line except for a couple of tasks that needed doing via the Internet (like administration). To ensure I remained off-line–I’m just as human as the next guy (I think)–I got an app for my computer phone called Stay Focused. This app can block any app on your phone and, in the free version (which I used), can block up to 5 apps at once. You set a schedule by telling it which hours and what days you want certain apps blocked. I applied these to the social media apps on my pocket computer to keep me on lockout. While true I’m in Broadcast Mode in the winter, as part of broadcasting I sometimes need to go into an app like Instagram and post something. The problem is one glance at the feeds can quickly lead to two, then three, and so on, and the next thing you know you’ve fiddled away an afternoon scrolling and scrolling and refreshing and scrolling.

    This picture is a screenshot of the app from the day I went dark. You can see the stat on there says I’ve already tried opening the app 3 times and each time it didn’t work (was running tests). The timer on locking me out of these apps ran for a week. And it worked! Once I knew I was locked out, I didn’t give the apps a second thought.

    Stay Focused APF

    Stay Focused also acts as a master lock, meaning you have these little locks under it (like the apps you’re blocking), but then you can lock Stay Focused itself–but only in 6-hour chunks in the free version–to ensure you don’t unlock your blocked apps. I’m assuming this is for extreme cases where certain people need a double padlock on their phone. To get even more extreme, I’m pretty sure there’s a lock on Stay Focused that forbids you from uninstalling it in an effort to destroy your barriers.

    What was interesting was it kept track of how many times I unlocked my phone to do something, like reply to a text from family. I was disgusted when I saw, at the end of one of the days, I had unlocked the phone around 35 times. I barely used it that day! But numbers don’t lie. I barely used it? That was 35 times in the span of 12 hours (roughly). That’s approximately 4 times an hour. That’s once every 15 minutes. My unlock count steadily dropped as the week wore on and I got busier, but this goes to show how much we’ve integrated pocket computers into our lives.

    The app has other features, like how long you are using any one program and your total phone usage for the day.

    In the end, getting an app like this is highly recommended, especially if you are a phone junkie and recognize you have a problem (dopamine addiction). And, yes, the irony of this kind of post ranting about frequent phone use is not lost on me. I fully recognize a good part of my business is digital and having people on-line looking at or reading my stuff is better for me yet here I am encouraging my readers to go live life in the physical world. Oh well. But my refutation to the irony is this: I’m referring to balance. Is your on-line and off-line lives balanced? Take away sleeping hours, eating, and body maintenance, and see how much time is spent on a screen while you’re awake. The rest is up to you.

    (I know that author J.B. Bennet got on board and locked themselves out of things during working hours each day, so others see the merit in this.)

    I made this video on Friday of last week and aired it yesterday. It gets into what happened during my time off-line. Watch and subscribe. You might relate.

    Lastly, for months I was getting frustrated of having to pull out my phone to check the time. While 9 times out of 10 all it was was checking the time, there was always that one time in there where it became an excuse to futz around on the phone. I couldn’t have that. I needed to be off-line, so I took the plunge and got myself a basic sports watch by Timex. As a kid, I had a couple of their Ironman watches, which I loved. I was aiming for another basic Ironman this time around but it was suggested to me that’s more a watch for a 15-year-old than a man so opted for a different one because I thought that was a valid point (I’m talking purely the aesthetics).

    This is the watch I got, model TW5M23300:

    Timex TW5M23300 Watch APF

    And that was how I kept dark last week.

    Taking a break from the Internet is something I’ve recommended for years for the sake of maintaining all facets of one’s health. I will go off-line again somewhere down the road because 2020 is a stupidly busy work year and sometimes you need to just shut up and get the job done. But that upcoming time off-line won’t be for a while yet. Not until my first holiday of 2020. Until then, I’ll be here, writing to you and making books and art and comics and videos.

    Keep coming back to the blog every day. There’s always something being posted.

    – APF

    Ps. Today, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine aired on Patreon! Please go here to get access to this fun romp of creature horror for just a buck!


  • Station Ident – Jan312020

    Station Ident Jan3120

    This is your station ident for January 31, 2020.

    My name is A.P. Fuchs and I’m a writer of words, drawer of pictures, and freelancer in pretty much anything to do with publishing. You are tuned into my blog, Canister X, my official web presence and the Realm of Heroes and Monsters. I’ve been writing and publishing since my first short story sale in 2000, and have been creating and publishing books and comics since 2003.

    My various social media platforms are:

    Ello

    MeWe

    Twitter

    Facebook

    Instagram

    Pinterest

    Tumblr

    LinkedIn

    WT.Social

    YouTube

    Ko-fi

    My Patreon page is here. It’s a special place where I post serial novels, essays on the creative arts business, stuff from behind the scenes here in the Great White North at Axiom-man Central, and more. Join me and my other patrons and be a part of something fun and interesting with regular and reliable content.

    Also, on Saturdays, I send out my newsletter, The Canister X Transmission. It’s a weekly newsletter where we all come together after a busy week, unwind, and kick off the weekend. Presently, we are finishing off The Long Year Five, and Year Six will start before the first half of 2020 is over. Join us.

    Thank you for coming alongside of me on the blog this month.


  • The Daily Schedule of a Writer/Artist

    January 27 and 28 2020 day planner

    It’s been a long while since I wrote the daily schedule of a writer/artist (me, in this case). It might have been in one of the newsletters I sent out in the fall that I last talked about it. Might have been on the blog though I’m leaning toward the former. Anyway, regardless, a new layout of the schedule is probably due so here is what a typical day looks like for me at Axiom-man Central. Of course, like in any life, things happen that can throw a wrench into the following general workday. However, I stick to this schedule as the backbone of my whole operation and make time for it as able on days that get screwy. I’ve long advocated a schedule for creators as one of the important ingredients to making a successful career out of the arts.

    Monday to Friday:

    Wake up – Lately it’s been averaging between 8:30 and 9:30am. Next, roll around in bed for a short while to let the brain come online before checking the news.

    Coffee – Go down to the bunker and turn the computer on. Go back up to the main level and get coffee while the computer is loading (older machine so takes a bit to warm up).

    Patreon – On a day a Patreon post is scheduled, I do this first and get it done for my patrons. For example, today was the latest chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine so that was posted before writing this entry. Market Patreon entry.

    Blog – Skip previous step if a non-Patreon day. Write and/or edit blog entry. Take any required picture(s) and post. Market blog entry and set up in the broadcaster a couple of extra notices about the latest entry to air throughout the day on the social feeds.

    Break – Maybe around 15 or 20 minutes. Used to change mental gears. On the break I’ll either read something or play a game or fiddle with something around the house.

    Email – Check email and respond, if needed/able to.

    Work – Writing, drawing, editing, freelancing, book production, marketing, etc. Could be all of those or just one of them. Depends what’s on deadline and what isn’t. Work until 4 with a couple breaks thrown in there between tasks to rest the eyes and/or hands and get blood moving throughout the system. I’ve been trying to give careful attention to lunch because I get so wrapped up working I forget to eat then around 2 I start to feel real sick. A bad habit I’m working on. Back to the job: Pressing work is in my day planner so I consult it every morning so I know if I’ve set the day aside for something(s) specific. Whatever the day planner says I’m doing is priority one for the day. If the day planner shows the day as open, then I work on the next thing due. If things are due more or less around the same time, then I pick whatever I’m leaning toward at that moment.

    End of day – Around 4pm. Start shutting things down; possibly do a couple small tasks that had to wait until the end of the work day for whatever reason (i.e. a quick marketing thing or a phone call or whatever).

    Evening – Cooking is my thing so after the work day is done, I put on my chef’s hat and start thinking about what I want to make for dinner. This involves scoping out the deep freeze and scanning the pantry for ideas (though I usually start getting ideas mid-afternoonish). Then I cook dinner and let the day’s issues–if there are any–melt away. Once dinner is done, the evening is mine to do whatever with whomever (I usually hang out with author Melinda Marshall and this ranges from playing games to reading to TV to going for groceries, etc). On other nights, Melinda and I hang out with my boys.

    Bed – 10pm or thereabouts.

    Saturday:

    Wake up – Somewhere between 9:30 and close to 11am.

    Coffee – Enjoy a cup of coffee with Melinda.

    Newsletter – Head down to the bunker to send Saturday’s newsletter.

    The rest of Saturday and all of Sunday are days off, and it typically takes until late Saturday afternoon for me to put the week in my back pocket. Saturday evening and all of Sunday are used to do next to nothing and purposefully not think about work so my brain can heal from the week and be sharp for the week to come.

    And that’s what a typical week looks like here in the Great White North.

    To touch on what I said above about this schedule being the backbone on days things don’t go as planned, on such days I still let this overall schedule float in the background of my mind so that when a window of time opens up amidst that particularly goofy day, I can still do what needs doing or at least get a start on those things so the day isn’t a wash.

    Right now, this schedule works well and hasn’t changed much since I last talked about it. It will no doubt change somewhere down the line since life isn’t stagnant, but this method works for the time being.


  • vLog – Method to the Madness

    vLog Method to the Madness thumbnail

    Was out driving this past weekend and shot a video giving you an update on what’s happening in 2020 and how a plan was formulated. It’s called vLog – Method to the Madness.

    The plan for 2020 affects nearly all of my writing and artwork.

    Watch the video below to see what’s going on and please take a quick second and subscribe to my YouTube channel to ensure you get every new video as they are released.

    Come, take a drive with me.

    Thanks. Enjoy!


  • Station Ident – Dec272019

    Station Ident Dec2719

    This is your station ident for December 27, 2019.

    My name is A.P. Fuchs and I’m an author, artist, and freelancer in everything and anything to do with publishing. You are tuned into my blog, Canister X, my official web presence and the Realm of Heroes and Monsters. I’ve been writing and publishing since my first short story sale in 2000, and have been publishing books and comics since 2003.

    My various social media platforms are:

    Ello
    MeWe
    Twitter
    Facebook
    Instagram
    Pinterest
    Tumblr
    LinkedIn
    WT.Social
    YouTube
    Ko-fi

    My Patreon page can be found here. It’s where I post serial novels, essays on the creative arts industry, what goes on behind the scenes here in the great white north at Axiom-man Central, and more. Join the journey and be a part of something special.

    Hope you had a pleasant Holiday week.

    Ps. All my superhero and monster fiction eBooks are presently on sale at 50% off on Smashwords until January 1, 2020. Please go here (and scroll down a bit) to stock up before the discount ends!


  • Quotes on Writing – Dec1719

    A.P. Fuchs Bookshelf Section
    A couple of bookshelves showing part of the library here at the Central.

    As I’m getting back into the swing of creating things, I’m also in a place where I’m digging into the masters of the mediums I pursue to see what their thoughts are/were on a particular craft and how those views align or don’t align with my own (the latter approached with an open mind so I’m not closed off in my thinking). In the case of today’s blog entry, quotes on writing were the order of the day.

    I’m a firm believer in always learning even if there are stumbles along the way. I also believe every artist regardless of their craft never arrive. Practicing a craft is a lifetime pursuit and ends when you die. Perfection will never be obtained because there is always one punctuation mark to adjust or one fine line on a drawing to tweak. The goal is to do your best while making every effort to improve along the way.

    Here are three quotes on writing–more specifically reading–to ponder:

    “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King

    I am in agreement here, and by reading, Mr. King is talking about actual reading, not social media or simple headlines. Reading is part of the job.

    And so . . .

    “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

    This I’ve practiced since I started in this field. I believe that every piece of writing has at least one good sentence in it, or one good turn-of-phrase, or one lesson of some sort to learn. The ideal is to find all those things repeatedly in the same book, but at a minimum, every type of writing has at least one thing going for it that is worth learning from.

    “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury

    I chose this one because I was often criticized for living in Fantasyland. I’ll let this one speak to you in its own way. I know how it’s spoken to me.

    Last, in regards to reading, this is a note to say the latest chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine was posted to Patreon today. Please go here to start reading this exciting and terrifying serial novel and its preceding chapters for just a buck. Thanks.


  • Self-publishing and Writing Articles Review

    Some of the articles under the Self-publishing Articles section on this blog are a little dated. The principles have not changed but some of the wording needs an update. These articles cover various aspects of self-publishing along with other articles that focus on writing. That said, it’s time to consider revisiting some of them to bring them into the present.

    This is where you come in. Are there any articles you’d like me to update or express new views on?

    Let me know either via email or via the comments below.

    Thanks.


  • Station Ident – Nov292019

    This is your station ident for November 29, 2019.

    My name is A.P. Fuchs and I’m an author, artist, and freelancer in all things publishing. You are tuned into my blog, Canister X, my official web presence. I’ve been writing and publishing since my first short story sale in 2000, and have been publishing books and comics since 2003.

    My multi-faceted presence on social media includes:

    Ello
    MeWe
    Twitter
    Facebook
    Instagram
    Pinterest
    Tumblr
    LinkedIn
    WT.Social
    YouTube
    Ko-fi

    My Patreon page can be found here. It’s where I post serial novels, essays on the creative arts industry, what goes on behind the scenes here in the great white north at Axiom-man Central, and more. Join the journey and be part of something special.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  • Publishing Plan Formulation

    A.P. Fuchs 2020 Books and Comics
    Be ready for 2020

    While I was ill a lot of stuff fell by the wayside. Some projects were done, others unfinished. It’s taken a while to figure out where things are at but today I came up with a publishing plan that I’m comfortable with, especially since I’m still on the mend.

    So that said, here’s the plan:

    While I’m doing the “more” of Project Rebirth, I will be publishing comics until the “more” is complete. I will talk about the “more” soon enough on the blog so stay tuned for that. Regarding comics, I have two projects on the go and they are such that I can maintain both without killing myself. They are Project Jackass and Project Cobalt.

    Status of each:

    Project Jackass: In the writing phase along with release and publication planning. Some design done. Publication planning mostly complete. This is a project that will be executed in an unusual way compared to what you’re used to from me.

    Project Cobalt: New phase just started but still in the writing phase overall. Publishing plan mostly pinned down.

    These are scheduled to debut next year.

    There is a tiny chance Project Jackass will arrive before 2019 is out but don’t hold your breath. There are a lot of things that need to come together for this and my schedule is quite packed at the moment because apparently doing 101 things at once is how I roll.

    One thing is certain, however: My days as just being a writer are over. I’m in a new era in my personal life and the old chapter is closed, including how I handled my creative career during that time. Going forward, I’m a writer/artist so my energies will be spent making both books and comics. Comics are what started me in this business all those years ago and it’s fitting that things have come full circle.

    I can’t wait to reveal what these project code-names really are.

    Stay tuned.


  • The Toughest Part About Being a Writer/Artist

    A.P. Fuchs Books
    Some books from the A.P. Fuchs library.

    Full transparency: I’ve never deliberately looked up blog topics (so far as I can recall) but for fun, this morning I decided to do that and see what’s currently out there for blogging ideas. “The Toughest Part About Being a . . .” prompt was something I came across and, maybe because I’m still groggy, resonated with me the most this fine winter morning.

    So that said, here is the toughest part about being a writer/artist as per how I feel at the moment I’m writing this:

    Getting respect.

    When people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I write stories and draw, I’m met with two general responses: “Oh man, that’s so cool!” or, “That’s nice. Maybe one day you’ll get a real job instead of playing all day.” The latter isn’t explicitly stated but is certainly implied by tone, facial expression, and body language, all with an air of disappointment.

    The first crowd is, of course, the most pleasant to deal with. Their eyes light up and they smile and are genuinely happy for me. They often become my readers and usually follow up with me the next time I see them and ask how things are going and if I’m still doing it (the “still doing it” part hinting they understand it’s an unstable job but they have my back and are in my corner even if my answer is “No”).

    The second crowd is the one I don’t understand. The general formula for a working adult is you get out of bed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, then get on with your evening, which may or may not include doing more work. That’s the formula I’ve lived by my entire working life–whether working in the arts or elsewhere–and the formula every working adult I know follows. The only difference is I work from home. So when I “go to work,” my commute is measured in hallways and staircases as I make my way down to the Central’s bunker to get started. I work all day–and get paid for it–turn the computer off, then reverse my commute and wind up back upstairs with the rest of the household. But mention you write stories and draw pictures for a living and suddenly you don’t have a real job (see the “On Freelancing for a Living (This is a Job)” blog post). Upon thinking about it, it’s not even the working from home part that seems to rub people the wrong way (though this can happen). It’s the specific what I do for a living. I’ve seen firsthand where others who work from home who don’t write stories and draw pictures are met with a metaphorical handshake. Me? It’s a metaphorical hands-in-their-pockets.

    There is a disconnect that happens–usually with the older generation(s)–where, in the old days, work was something you left the house for and something you didn’t always enjoy. Work was actual work, like a chore, or work was something that demanded such a hard effort that every day ended the same when one came home: a collapse on the couch from mental and/or physical exhaustion. I believe the disconnect also happens because a lot of people tend to forget the entertainment they consume had to be created by somebody. Those books you read? Somebody took a lot of time writing them. Those comics you love? A group of people had to spend a lot of time writing, drawing, coloring, lettering, and printing them. Those movies you go to every Friday night? A whole slew of people had to go somewhere to play dress-up and pretend for a camera to tell you a story. That video game? Tons of people. Tons of artists. Even the very computer or smartphone this entry is being read on was dreamed up and sketched out by people who went to work. Somebody had to write all the code used in that phone. Somebody had to draw all those app icons. Somebody had to make science fiction science fact. Oh, and they got paid to do it because they need food and shelter, too.

    Why is my job not normally respectable? Is it the non-steady paycheck? Is it the fact I like it? Is it because I’d rather spend a third of every day enjoying myself versus dragging myself through the motions? Is it because I made up my mind and chose what I was going to do with the old statement that you can either work towards making your own dreams come true or you can work for someone else to make their dreams come true?

    Why does a lawyer get the handshake and I don’t? Why does a doctor? Or an accountant? Or a factory worker or a mechanic? Their job puts food on the table and keeps a roof over their loved ones’ heads just like mine does. My income goes towards food and bills, getting stuff for the kids and gas in the car. It buys Christmas presents and pays for date nights. It funds life just like their job funds life.

    I work. You work. We all work.

    And like I posted to social media forever ago, I want to repeat here: Everything is art. Every. Single. Thing. Creation is God’s canvas and nature is His painting. The stuff humans have made? It’s all based on someone dreaming and asking themselves, “What if . . .?” Then writing it down and drawing it out. Designing your couch is an art form. Writing the code for your car’s computer is an art form. Coming up with how to safely make a handheld drill is an art form. And so on.

    Everything is art.

    In the end, I’ve learned to live with the hits and learned my career choice will be frowned upon by others. But there are also others who don’t frown and instead smile. Those are the people who give respect. The others? I’ll still respect their work because they are my fellow human beings, and perhaps one day I’ll get the same occupational respect in return.

    Author’s note: This article isn’t about complaining. It’s pointing out a disconnect that some people seem to have and is hopefully encouraging to those who might be in the same boat.