State of the blackbird

State of the blackbird

Howdy, everyone, it has been a while! I am not sure how many of you are going to enjoy a post like this, but it was long due. So here it is. Like it or not, you’ll get your medicine today. This is our first “State of the blackbird” but I predict that we will have others in the future.

I wanted to take some time to talk about everything I am doing these days, where I have been and where I want to go with this blog.

Life updates

This is going to be fast-paced. It has been at least two years since my last life update, so there is a lot to say and I don’t want it to take too much space.

Not sure how many of you know, but I changed continent. This is probably old news since it was 2018 when I did it, but I am pretty confident that I have not been very public about it.

A long way from Edinburgh to Seattle.
The real trip took many more jumps and complications, but I couldn’t bother to make it realistic. Sorry!

The move was a lot. Zita completed her PhD, we bought a new house in Seattle (where we moved) and I changed job within my company. I made a step forward with my career and was promoted. It was satisfying for sure but it took time and energy.

In the meantime, little Po got very sick. He developed kidney stones and we had to take him to the surgeon a couple of times. It was tough and took a lot of energy away from Zita and me, and a lot of bravery from our little hero to recover. Good news is that he is now much, much better than before and sits on my desk while I write this. Of course, he stays within a cardboard box to affirm his cat identity. Also, he says hi!

Po and my new desk setup.
Po is an oddball and that cardboard box is his new home.

Zita has also had a personal growth year. She published her first book (https://inkingscience.com/) that she successfully funded through a Kickstarter. She also found a new job in the US. On the somewhat negative side, her job is in California and this means more planes to meet each other!

Finally, given that I am in my thirties and that means ageing, I had some small health issues myself. I developed chronic pain in my neck, shoulders and upper back. It started in late 2018 and it still keeps going. It took more than one year and many doctors to understand what it was, but in the meantime, it reduced the amount of time I could spend sitting in front of a desk. This was kind of a problem given both my main work and my side one. We now know what it is, I am doing specific therapy and it seems to be improving. This means that I will be back to normal soon!

Writing Updates

Given all of the above, my writing has sensibly slowed down. I decided to give-up short stories during the past couple of years so that I could maximize the time I spent writing my novel.

Paris during night. Seven Kinds of Darkness.
A good chunk of the events in SKoD happens in or near Paris.

All in all, Seven Kinds of Darkness (SKoD) is looking good. I have just crossed the 91k words mark in my first draft that is already 11k more than I expected to write. The story is now landing to its conclusion.

I’ll work to finish the first draft by June 2020. This means that the rest of the year will be second draft editing and setting it up for publication.

I am also building a website dedicated only to the lore and the universe of SKoD. You won’t find it easily for now, but it is in the making. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, you won’t see much else from me in terms of fiction writing. Maybe some short stories if I find the time.

The second project I’ve been working on is a super-secret one. Zita and I are creating a graphic novel together. I just can’t tell you more about what it is because we want to present it to a contest in October, and it needs to be unpublished by then (with no details on the internet). I will leave you with an image about it that, trust me, is related to the project.

A dark matter
It may look random but it is not.

More Creative Stuff

Not much else actually. Only one thing, that I am going to drop here: I am building a board game. That’s it. Roughly unrelated to the content of this blog (till now), but I still consider it a publication endeavour sooo… here it is. You have it, I am doing it.

Blog’s direction – actual state of the blackbird

Focus
The new resolution is: focus.

Oh yeah, some stuff has to change. Yeah, I know, you internet folk don’t like change. But there you have it, change is needed, change we have.

I am going to stop talking about marketing and advertising on this blog. To be more precise, I’ll stop making any post specific to these topics. I might still talk about them as part of other contexts, but I want to refocus the blog.

The blog is going to refocus mostly on my activity as a writer and (for now) aspiring author. I feel that’s where I can help the community the most. So yeah, you are going to get more “slice of life” kind of articles and less businessy topics. As said, you are still going to see some of those especially when they relate to my growth in the writing industry (e.g. what am I doing with my socials or tools I am using).

As such, I have moved the “Advertising 101” series off the blog and to Medium. You can keep reading it there where I will still be publishing content. Once I am done with it, I intend to collect it in an e-book. I will also use Medium more and more. I have some content from my experience in the software industry that I wanted to publish for a long time and it will end up there.

What about my socials?

Social Networks

What about them? I guess the main piece of news is that I am cutting the fat. In general, I am reducing my activity on those platforms. I feel that every minute I spend there is a minute stolen from my writing, so I guess it is just a matter of time management at this point. Stuff will change as below.

No more Tumblr – is it still a thing anyhow?

I will not be active on Facebook either. Maybe I’ll repost links to articles when I write them, but no more than just this. I don’t like the platform, it is not where my audience is and so I am cutting my ties with it.

The two platforms I will focus the most are Twitter and Pinterest.

On Pinterest, I have amassed a large following. Actually, I don’t have many followers per se, but I get between 70k to 200k views a month. I am going to keep it around and changing it into an inspiration account. The various boards are going to be dedicated to helping writers with their writing – a mix of inspirational (and genre-based) image boards, writing quotes and process improvements.

Twitter is going to be more random. I plan to use it as a mix of stuff I like (not necessarily just about writing) and as a window into my day-by-day struggle as a writer trying to become an author.

I have some projects for Instagram in the future, but nothing that I expect to do in the next few months. Let’s see how it goes!

Newsletter and other inane things

I guess again the word is “change”. I am not sure that the newsletter has provided any value to my readers until now. Because of this, I am changing it. I am not going to re-post my articles there anymore. Instead, I am going to change it to a format similar to Tim Ferris’ 5-bullet Friday. There might be also other surprises soon (hint, hint, giveaways, hint, hint). More about the newsletter in the next number of the newsletter itself.

Last but not least, I have created a personal website: https://sebastianomerlino.com. It’s kind of minimalistic and I like it this way for now. I will use it as a hub to connect everything I do as a software engineer, a fiction and nonfiction writer and a board game designer.

Now I have to go. I have a cat right here biting my arms because he wants his food. And you never say no to that, you human slave.

The cover art is a courtesy of USFWS Mountain-Prairie.

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