Moving On — For Now

I tried a few configuration and component changes on the server today in an attempt to get it to recognize the new drive. I even manually specified the drive’s configuration in CMOS and reinstalled the operating system with the jumpers in a different position, hoping it would get the clue. Still the same 7.87 Gb limit. I did find one piece of information on the Western Digital website that says, in effect, “If your secondary drive is larger than 8 Gb and Windows 2000 is only recognizing 8 Gb of it, uninstall Windows 2000 Service Pack 1, reformat the drive, and install Service Pack 2.

This is kind of tough to do, since I installed Service Pack 3 from the beginning. I think a new motherboard is the way to go, so I’m going to stop worrying about this project and try to get back to writing.

I have been reading Word Work every chance I get over the last few days. I’m still enjoying the book. The level of personal experience that Rogers brings to the table is refreshing; he writes it as if the reader is his peer, rather than his pupil. It’s remarkably similar to having a conversation with Bruce. He anticipates where the reader’s mind is very well, and addresses many of the questions and concerns that pop up in my head as I’m reading. I should be done with the book in a few days, and I’ll be able to write a review. I’m excited to do so, actually.

Distraction or Procrastination?

I’m spending the day supervising my son as he works off a significant monetary debt that he owes to his mother. The plan was that I would set him to work, be available for questions, and get some writing done.

So far, he’s done a decent amount of work and I’ve been very distracted. However, considering what Bruce Holland Rogers says in Word Work, I wonder if my son is actually the source of my distraction or if I’m distracting myself. I doubt if I would be getting much worthwhile fiction or poetry writing done right now, with him saying “Hey Dad, you know what?” every few minutes, but I could at least be working on revisions or outlining a story.

In Word Work, Rogers outlines several different types and aspects of procrastination, and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. However, I’m also kind of fooling myself into working around it, because I’m writing something — and that something is acknowledging the procrastination. No, it’s not a good justification for not doing the real writing, but it is making me examine and be aware of the procrastination, and that’s part of the purpose of this creativity journal.

I got e-mail from Melanie Tem today, asking if I would bring my guitar to our next writing class. She wants to examine the storytelling aspects of “Ode to Billy Joe” by Bobbie Gentry. I’ve got the music and the lyrics for that, so it should be fun. I’ve often thought that song was similar to Hemingway’s “The Hills Like White Elephants” in that it hints at serious topics without ever directly addressing them.

It’s about lunch time, so I’m going to go pick something up for Keith and me. He’s doing a pretty good job, but this will only go part of the way to paying back his Mom.


Today I didn’t do much that was creative. I read some more of Word Work, and I played Literati online with my wife and sister-in-law. It’s nice having broadband at home now, but I hope I’ll be able to resist the temptation to waste all my time on it.

Today, I was not successful in that regard.

Sophie’s Wor(l)d Work

As I promised yesterday, I did write a review of Sophie’s World today. I was a little surprised that the review didn’t come out as positive as I expected; I genuinely enjoyed the book, but I’m afraid the review may not come across that way. Thanks to Michael Main for introducing me to Jostein Gaarder’s work. (By the way, Michael, I saw the picture of the neon computer on your site, and I’m suitably jealous.)

I also started reading Bruce Holland Rogers’ Word Work today. I’m definitely biased here, since I’ve studied writing with Bruce, but it felt like he was talking to my soul in the first fifty pages. I didn’t want to return to work after lunch; I wanted to read and write. The man certainly has an infectious passion for his chosen craft.

I also replaced all of the links to my old e-mail address on this website. All new mail should go to now. If you see any other e-mail links that I missed, please let me know.

Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer

Word Work:  Surviving and Thriving as a Writer

By:  Bruce Holland Rogers

Type:  Writing/Self-Help

Setting:  n/a


Word Work grew out of a column called “Staying Alive” that Bruce Holland Rogers writes forSpeculations magazine.  Though the Speculations readership is primarily a science fiction bunch, the articles and subsequent book are not geared to any genre in particular.  Writers in general can benefit from the book.

It’s important to note that the subtitle is not How to Write in the Style of Bruce Holland Rogers.  In fact, there is little about the actual nuts and bolts of grammar or mechanics in the book.  This is a book about being a writer.  It’s about the daily mental and emotional struggles that underlie the false glamour of the writing profession.  It’s about the shiny metal — and the rust patches — under the paint.


Rogers writes in a very personal, conversational style.  Having participated in a Rogers workshop, I can say with confidence that his written voice in this book is very much like his teaching voice in person.  Rogers doesn’t come across as a writer resting on his laurels and disseminating advice to the writing rabble; his conversational writing voice establishes a level of trust and equality early on.  The book is written more on the level of peer teaching than mentor teaching, though it will likely spawn more than a few Rogers protégés.

The book is arranged in sections, with further breakdowns by chapter within the sections.  (This organization is a good example of atomizing, Rogers’ recommended procedure for breaking large projects down into manageable chunks.)  The table of contents includes one-line summaries of the topics covered in each chapter, so it is easy to find and re-read specific pieces.  I think this will be a very handy feature for future review.  On first reading, several sections seemed more applicable to my situation than others, but I can see how others could come to the forefront later.

The introduction is one of my favorite parts of the book.  In it, Rogers introduces the concepts of Hunter and Farmer as personality types for writers.  The Hunters are the writers who are always full of ideas and start many projects.  They also tend to have trouble bringing most of these projects to fruition.  Farmers, on the other hand, are able to stick with a project until it is done, but they are sometimes frustrated by the lack of ideas or the flatness with which their ideas hit the page.  These personality type descriptions come from Thom Hartmann, a psychotherapist and writer from Vermont who has written several books about Attention Deficit Disorder, identifying ADD patients as “Hunters in a Farmer’s world.”  Rogers, it turns out, has ADD, and makes it clear that he is writing from the perspective of a Hunter, but that writers need to create a balance between the Hunter and Farmer personality types to succeed in their work.  His goal in the book is to give Hunters the tools to be better Farmers and vice versa.

To that end, the Hunters win out.  Rogers has much more experience with being a Hunter, and is able to give more suggestions on how to deal with Hunter-type problems than Farmer problems.  For me, this is good.  I tend much more toward Hunter than Farmer in my life, and I was able to pick up some excellent motivational nuggets.  Rogers doesn’t leave the Farmers completely out, though.  He makes what suggestions he can, and defers to others with more experience in those matters when necessary.

For me, the most insightful and useful chapters of the book dealt with discipline, procrastination, rejection/acceptance (two edges of the same sword), success, and writing in a family environment.  Down the road, other sections may appeal to me more, and each reader will find that different topics will appeal more to him than others.  This is where Rogers’ wide range of writing experience comes into play; if you are experiencing it, chances are good that he has too, and he may have some valuable insights for you.


I found this book to be very easy to slip into.  It dealt directly with some of my writing difficulties and aspirations.  I also found the style to be refreshing, and less of a “this is how it should be done” manual than some of the other writing texts that I have read.  For me, it worked, and I suspect that my copy will become well worn over time.

The book contains quite a lot of modern psychology, and some people will be tempted to dismiss it out of hand because of that.  If you are resistant to the ideas of affirmation, neurolinguistic programming, and dream analysis, you would do well to take a deep, centering breath and overcome some of those prejudices before reading the book.  If, after reading it, you still don’t want any part of the squishy science, that’s fine.  Chances are good that you will have found something worthwhile in the book anyway.