J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Month: May 2013

Metablog: New Menus

New menus -- but this blog does not yet offer salami.

New menus — but this blog does not yet offer salami.

For a while I’ve been thinking about ways to make this blog more readable and searchable. With that in mind I’ve added a new menu “Sci-Fi Scenarios” which contains a few broad index pages which in turn link to lists of posts. I’ll eventually add another menu “The Systems” which will catalog and organize some of the health/lifestyle/advice-related material (the blog title is “Systems for Living Well” — but so far there are no actual systems to be found).

What’s the purpose of this blog? Partially about self-expression and even self-promotion, but more importantly to explore how to live well, both individually and as a collectively evolving species. I’ll continue to add both structure and content in pursuit of that goal.

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you always find something useful and/or interesting here.

Preview of "Hydras At The Helm"

Kleidosty has a new album coming up, and … it’s f*cking fantastic. In addition to the influences Kleidosty lists in his bio (Boards of Canada, Stars of the Lid, Lone, Oval, Freescha, Bibio, Brian Eno, Nobukazu Takemura) the sound also reminds me of some of Holden and Nathan Fake’s material on Border Community, especially Drowning In A Sea of Love.

I love this album!

Worldwide, all-outlet release date is July 3rd on Loöq.

Kleidosty’s first album, Edifice of Artifice, is a purely ambient project, and also extremely well done.

Jondi & Spesh "Church"


After a somewhat quiet period in terms of new releases, Spesh and I are getting our groove on. This release, Church, is part two of a triptych. Part one was Cycle Three, and Part three (My Kicks) will come out later this summer.

I would say the sound is closer to progressive house than tech house (we released it under the latter), but “progressive” these days means giant builds, 128bpm, bees in a jar sounds (in other words close to what used to be trance, but is now the sound of EMD appreciated by 14-20 year olds). That’s cool, I’m not fighting it, I’m flowing with it!

This one is deep and modern, on the minimalist side. If you like it, please buy it — remember its okay to spend a little money on music even though you can get it for free. 😉

The excellent remixes come courtesy of Bristol’s own Mariana, and Castletown’s Steve McGrath.

Writing Habits and Start-Stop Ritual (boost efficiency by 50%)

My favorite psychoactive substance.

My favorite psychoactive substance.

Recently I came across this article by Phil Jourdan on writing habits and efficiency. It’s a great read. Phil was researching the subject of writing efficiency, routine, and habits. He found lots of bland, unspecific advice like “write every day,” but very little detailed practical advice. So he wrote his own guide, which includes tips on exercise, caffeine intake, digestion vs. concentration, and eliminating distractions.

One thing that Phil discusses is how it’s important to have a writing ritual; a set of steps, performed in the same order, that bookends your writing sessions.

For the last two weeks I’ve taken Phil’s advice on both counts; I’ve been keeping a detailed writing log (start time, stop time, word count, exercise before writing session, food/caffeine before writing session), and I’ve been performing a writing ritual (or sequence, if you prefer).

Here’s my own writing ritual/sequence:

  • check schedule, plan day, attend to any urgent distractions that would otherwise be distracting
  • put cellphone and cordless phone inside house (I work outside in a separate office), turn off wireless connection
  • get hot black coffee and cold water
  • mental preparation (brief meditation, prayer [I’m an atheist but I pray anyway — here’s why], request for inspiration and focus)
  • open documents, briefly review and edit previous day’s work
  • write until quota is exceeded, stopping only to pace, exercise, or use bathroom, politely decline to be interrupted for non-emergency reasons
  • briefly outline ideas for next day’s session
  • close and backup documents, retrieve phones, turn on internet
  • brief prayer of thanks

So far I’ve been pleased with the results. I’ve exceeded my quota (which is only 600 words — here’s why) on average by 50% except for one day when I had to rush out the door to an appointment. Even though my quota was low, before I started using these techniques I was having trouble hitting it. At the moment I’m about 30K words into the project (after two months of outlining/research and 10 weeks of actual writing). Since I’ve been tracking word counts and time worked, I’ve been averaging 865 words per session, with an average session length of 1.5 hours.

My main problem was internet “research” leading to internet distraction. For me it’s better to just leave the internet off, and fill in any missing facts later.

If you write, do you use a writing ritual? Do you keep a log? What do you find to be effective?

The Learning Tax (pay it, instead of working around your ignorance and weaknesses)

Learning the Hebrew alphabet, one of my current study areas

Learning the Hebrew alphabet, one of my current study areas

For about a decade, for most of my thirties, I lost touch with active learning.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t learn anything for those ten years. I learned passively, reading nonfiction and news. I had hundreds of fascinating conversations. I worked, and learned by doing (LBD), acquiring new skills by throwing myself into unfamiliar activities (screenplay and novel writing, DJing) and learning on the fly.

Still, my approach to acquiring new skills and knowledge was haphazard. The few times I did dedicate time and resources to active learning yielded large dividends (for example my “DJ bootcamp” experience), but this was the exception, not the rule.

For the most part, I ignored:

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