J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Category: Metaprogramming (Page 1 of 20)

Fiction Writing Update, Thoughts on Motivation and Incentive

First-generation self-driving truck

Two new fiction sales to announce:

My story “The Equationist” will be published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, either in the Jan/Feb issue or possibly the Mar/Apr issue. Publishing in this particular magazine has been a goal for a long time, mostly because I enjoy reading it so much, but also because the editor, C.C. Finlay, has always been generous with feedback, which is invaluable.

Getting in F&SF wasn’t easy … Finlay rejected nineteen stories before he accepted one.

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Problem List and 30-Day No Worrying Experiment

No worries.

Over the past couple months I’ve been maintaining two new lists:

  1. My problems.
  2. Things I’m looking forward to.

I update both on a weekly basis, along with progress towards my current goals. The point of the new lists is to get better in touch with aspects of my life that are effecting my emotional state. And to find ways to deal with the former, and enhance/magnify the latter.

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A Few Things I’ve Learned in My Forties


Getting older doesn’t automatically make you wiser, but there’s more experience to draw on. One theory suggests that this is why we appear to think more slowly as we age–the dataset is bigger but the processor speed is the same.

Sign me up for cybernetic processor enhancement.

Forties (mid, edging into late) is still youngish, and I feel young, despite more than a few gray whiskers in my beard. As long as I eat my berries, anyway. 100% foraged, either from my backyard or the shelves of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Here are a few of my hard-earned wisdom nuggets from the last few years, for your entertainment (and possibly +1 to your WIS score).

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Activity Audit – Where Does All The Time Go?

At some point everything drops …

December and January brought more freelance coding and database work than expected, but now I’m in a quiet stretch. It’s given me the opportunity to experiment with my ideal schedule. That is, working on writing and music as much as I want to, without a heavy load of client work. For the moment (and as long as I’m comfortable with how much I have in the bank) I can pretend I’m a full-time artiste.

It’s fun! I’ve been writing fiction in the mornings (with more optimism these days–I recently had another story accepted for publication at a pro rate, bringing me that much closer to SFWA active membership). In the afternoon I head to the studio and make beats, or work on Loöq Records, or do whatever needs to be done around the house. Pretty much my ideal weekday schedule.

But large swaths of unstructured time can be dangerous. I’ve had similar opportunities in the past, and squandered them, losing whole days to video games or trying to read the entire internet. Those of you who are self-employed may be able to relate.

A few years ago, in response to my own “Where does all the time go?” question, I ran an “activity audit,” a detailed analysis of all the activities in my life that require work/effort. After listing all the major activity areas (database/coding work, fiction writing, music production, household/parenting, etc.), I asked myself a series of questions about each activity.

Honing on in the what, why, and how for each activity gave me a great deal of clarity. It also improved my focus throughout the day (especially my ability to resist distractions), and helped me decide what to do each day, and in what order.

In the long run, the activity audit was more effective than any other productivity technique I tried, like locking myself out of certain internet sites, or depriving myself of coffee until I’d started writing. If I’m clear on my purpose and intended direction in life, and how the things I spend my time on fit into that picture, distractions are less of an issue. I still use quotas and have production targets, but I don’t rely on those for motivation.

Here are the questions I asked myself in regards to each activity:

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Five Things That Made My Life 10% Better (Each)

Our new puppy, a possible #6? We’ll see!

I used to make myself miserable in ways that turned out to be easily fixable. Sometimes it took ten, twenty years to see the obvious and do something about it. But that’s not even exceptionally slow. Many people go through their whole lives suffering huge amounts self-inflicted misery.

Here are the major quality-of-life improvements that have worked for me, so far:

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New 6-Week Experiment: Living With a Disability


On the evening of Dec. 9th I stepped off my skateboard the wrong way and broke my foot (three fractured metatarsals — see above). Thinking it was just a bad sprain, I took a Lyft home and rested on the couch, watching my foot swell up to alarming proportions. Come Monday: doctor’s office, x-ray, a compression splint, the threat of screws and surgery. But after many scans and tests, I managed to dodge a bullet. No surgery required, just six easy weeks in a cast.

So, it’s my turn to learn. What’s life like with reduced mobility?

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