State of the Blog

Hello, friends!

Many years ago, I was a naive young writer with aspirations of creating an epic science fiction universe.  I thought writing Sci-Fi would be easy, because I thought Sci-Fi writers could just make all the sciency stuff up.  My muse quickly disillusioned me of that idea.

That is, essentially, the origin story of this blog.  I started this blog as a way to force myself to do the kind of research that I, as an aspiring Sci-Fi author, knew I ought to be doing.  And it worked.  I’m still no Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clark.  I’m no Andy Weir or Cixin Liu.  But I’ve learned a lot by writing and illustrating this blog, and I think my Sci-Fi storytelling has improved as a result.

However, for the last few months, I haven’t felt too happy with my blogging experience.  This has nothing to do with you, dear readers.  You’re the best, and I appreciate all the feedback and encouragement you’ve given me over the years.  Just wanted to make that 100% clear!

At first, I assumed I was just bored.  I’ve been blogging for a really long time, after all. Then I thought maybe I’d taken on too many writing projects.  Between this blog and Tomorrow News Network, plus two other projects that I’m not at liberty to discuss right now, I wondered if I was pulling myself in too many directions at once.

But then I got sick.  The nice thing about being sick is that it gives you plenty of time to stop and reflect on life—both the good stuff and the bad.  And during my time being sick in quarantine, I had a realization: the problem isn’t my blogging or all my writing projects.  It’s my research agenda.  The research agenda I put together when I started this blog doesn’t really suit the needs of the various writing projects I’m working on now.  As a result, this blog feels disconnected from my other writing, and putting together a blog post feels (to me) like a waste of time—time that could be better spent writing other things.

The solution is not to stop blogging, or scale back blogging, of change my blogging schedule in any way.  No, the solution is to update my research agenda so that the topics I blog about relevant again to my other writing projects.  And so today, I’d like to introduce my newly updated research agenda:

  • Outer Space: Obviously I’ll continue researching space exploration, especially planetary science and astrobiology.
  • Psychology: In my stories, I like digging into the psychology of my characters.  Seems to me like learning more about psychology could help!
  • Journalism: In my day job, I work in the T.V. news business.  Tomorrow News Network draws heavily on my own work experiences, but it couldn’t hurt to do more research on the field so that I can draw inspiration from other people’s perspectives and experiences, too.
  • Greek Mythology: This is mainly for one of those writing projects I can’t talk about, but Greek mythology (and other ancient mythologies) can be a great source of inspiration for science fiction.
  • The History of Science Fiction: And speaking of great sources of inspiration, learning more about the history of my chosen genre can help me become a better Sci-Fi writer, too.

I’m already moving forward with this new research agenda, but that doesn’t mean I’m planning to blog about everything I do research on.  And so now, dear readers, I have a question: which parts of my new research agenda do you actually want to hear more about?  Is there anything on the list above that you’re particularly excited about?  Or is there anything you’re particularly unexcited about?  Let me know in the comments!

20 thoughts on “State of the Blog

  1. I like all of it! I think committing to too narrow a focus on a blog is a mistake, so I think it’s great to branch out.

    I would just blog on whichever is currently on your mind. That way you’re not having to do work specifically for the post, just leeching off of stuff you’re doing anyway. (Obviously with care that it doesn’t reveal spoilers in your fiction. 🙂 )

    Looking forward to the new lineup!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Go for it – if you’re not doing this for yourself, it’s not worth the effort! At its core, your time spent has to enrich you, and there’s only so much of that you can get through feedback from an audience. Much better to do what energizes you and find the audience to support it. I’ll still be here! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. True. It’s also the case that any clues you’re leaving will typically be months or years before we read it in one of your stories. Charlie Stross often has discussions about things that later show up in his books, but it’s usually years later when it shows up, and the link is only apparent with hindsight.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I plan to continue reading the new agenda… and pestering you with my comments 😉 Research is part of the scifi fun, and for me, writing a story gives context to my non-fiction reading. I’ve gotten more interested in psychology than I ever expected, because I keep sending peopel out into space.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really fascinated by psychology, but up until now I haven’t made much time to research it. I was so narrowly focused on the space stuff.

      It just occurred to me that I should probably read Scott Kelly’s book. I’m sure he’s got some psychological insight on being in space for a long period of time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Isaac Asimov was a master of Sci-Fi, listening to him speak is an educational experience but he adds humor and its easy to forget that , sci-fi can be dry so with Asimovs formula he found success through change ‘cos so much was right about Asimov. – moving with the times is important James, Asimov did and wrote 500 but then he was a speaking living walking brain. Goodluck! and Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m so glad you’re not stopping or scaling down the blog – for a moment I was worried seeing the title! Please do continue even if you shift the focus because it’s all quite fascinating. I’m interested in all the topics you’ve mentioned, except the last one because I just don’t find history all that fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For a while, I was worried about that too, that I might have to scale things back. That seemed like the obvious thing to do, once I realized I wasn’t happy with how things were going. But sometimes the obvious thing to do is not the best thing to do.

      Liked by 1 person

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