In my middle-management day job, “measure what matters” (the title of a book by John Doerr) is an oft-uttered phrase. In business, “what matters” is an articulation of the real goals, the things that, if achieved, will enable the business to succeed, and if not, may cause the business to fail. You can measure a lot of things about your business, some more easily than others. And when you consider yourself to be “metrics driven,” you’d better be sure you’re driving from the right metrics, not just the most accessible ones. Choose the wrong metrics, and you can win battles but lose the war.Continue reading
I’m back from vacation, and ready to be productive. But I’ve forgotten what that means, and I suspect it’s something philosophical. So it’s back to first principles.
Goal: The most basic, unambiguous measure of success. Examples: Delivering a competitive software product that can generate revenue. Writing a story I’d want to read.Continue reading
[EDIT: It should be “I’m a SFWA Member Now”–members pronounce it “sif-wa.” But the URL generated from the title is out in the world now, so there we are.]
I’ve always loved to write, but it was only as an adult that I became serious about it. That word, “serious,” made it weird. “Serious,” to me, meant committing to improving my craft and increasing my output. The latter goal served the former. “Commitment” meant setting up structures of internal and external accountability. I took night school classes. Wanting some tokens of accomplishment, I finished two, 2-year certificates in the Creative Writing of Fiction at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. And finally, in 2012, I submitted my first story for publication. It was rejected, and I didn’t try again until 2016. That was when I got three acceptances–and the validation to keep trying.
What I didn’t realize was that “getting serious” about something, at least in my mind, entailed shaping it into something that looks serious to others. Academic credentials. Product. Revenue. Exclusive community membership. During the dry spells, when those things didn’t come easily or at all, I made a philosophical commitment to stop distracting myself with activities that were adjacent to writing, but not actually writing. That lasted as long as my next set of completed stories, and an ego-driven impulse to see if I could sell them. One sold, and I was back on my bullshit.Continue reading
I’m excited to have a story in this upcoming magazine. It’s a story dear to my heart, and I’m glad it found a home where its aesthetic and vibe fit right in with the editorial mission.
Wyngraf Announces Cozy First Issue
Wyngraf, a new magazine of cozy fantasy fiction, has released the story lineup for its inaugural issue.
Cozy fantasy is having a moment. Readers are curling up with tales of community and family, featuring lush settings and low stakes. Into this growing movement comes Wyngraf, a magazine dedicated to cozy fantasy in all its forms. With the carefully curated selection of tales in its first issue, Wyngraf gives cozy fans what they’re looking for, welcomes curious new readers, and helps define the genre itself.
I’m thrilled to showcase the range of cozy fantasy in the first issue of Wyngraf. From old pros to rising stars, our writers are as diverse as their stories—the one thing they have in common is talent!
Nathaniel Webb, Wyngraf Editor-in-Chief
The table of contents for Wyngraf #1 is…
- “The Perils of Living with Your…
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I came across this Facebook post that made a convincing argument that Mary Poppins and Pennywise the Clown (the monster from Stephen King’s It) were members of the same species. In my head, the story immediately started writing itself:
“Spin your little nightmares all you like,” Poppins said. “But I expect my charges back in their beds by 9 o’clock.” She rapped Pennywise on the head with her umbrella. “Intact, mind you.”
“Oooh,” Pennywise said, his eyes widening to the size of saucers. “And what if I took one teensy weensy BITE, Maaary? A spoonful of sugar, and all.”Continue reading
I listen to a podcast called “Your Undivided Attention” by a group called The Center For Humane Technology. Their core premise is that technologists should be using technology to help people achieve their own goals instead of hacking behavioral science to addict them to devices and programs.
It made me think of the game Wordle that is sweeping through our feeds. It’s an example, I think, of Humane Technology. By limiting its play to once a day (for 5-15 minutes, usually), it resists aiming for success metrics of constant engagement. It’s not about ads. The way you share your results isn’t even a direct means of promotion–there’s no link or tracker. (It’s telling that this was created by a software developer for his girlfriend.) It succeeds by being a short, daily delight.Continue reading
This post contains SPOILERS for Spider-Man: No Way Home and Hawkeye through episode 5. While watching WandaVision, I started getting excited about the possibility of the Marvel Multiverse that crossed production companies. Now we’re even closer. Let’s see what the latest Spider-Man movie gave us, and where it could go.Continue reading
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”“Closing Time,” Semisonic
“There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan
Sometimes, someone articulates an idea that has been rattling around in your brain with such simple clarity, that it unlocks a new way of looking at familiar things. That’s what Darren Mooney did in The Escapist Magazine when he said that all of The Lord of the Rings is one big ending.Continue reading
Season one of Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time has two episodes left. The show has departed in significant enough ways from the books that I don’t know how the season will end–and that means that it’s time for SPECULATION THAT I ALWAYS GET WRONG. That’s how I have fun with this stuff–seeing how well I can glom onto what the showrunners are doing. There will be SPOILERS for season 1, episodes 1 through 6 of Prime Video’s The Wheel of Time, and some spoilers from Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World. (This post will be updated with what I got right and wrong after the episodes air.)
[UPDATED with the results of Episode 7]
[UPDATED with the results of Episode 8]Continue reading
by Rajiv Moté (Fiction, 3,400 words)
Aryeh Levin picked up the newspaper from his driveway to see how the world would disappoint him today. “Rockets Break Cease-Fire.” Well what else would they do? When your only tool is a sword, every problem looks like a neck. Sarah saw vindication in the headlines, never a sign we ought to do better. But on this side of the world, the morning street was quiet. The big houses lining it were variations of his own, with tidy lawns, shady trees, and gardens dappling the green with a Crayola box of blooms. A summer breeze carried their scents. Here, there was enough room to live and let live. He had resisted moving here. Places like this were walled gardens in a complicated world. He encouraged his students to start their adult lives and careers outside such walls. But Aryeh came to agree with Sarah that this was where Dina should grow up. In this neighborhood, on this block, Dina could learn what civilization could be, before her generation had to rescue it.
Aryeh returned a wave from a neighbor, the father of Dina’s friend, the bossy little one with pigtails. He started climbing the stairs to the porch when something strafed in front of his nose. He jerked back, stumble-hopping down a step. It was a bee. The porch was swarming with them.Continue reading