I had a good chuckle today. I got an e-mail from someone asking me if I was using my real name or if I was blogging and publishing under a pseudonym. Believe me, if I was choosing to write under a pen name, I would have chosen a much easier name to pronounce and spell than “Hyttinen”

So yup. Roger Hyttinen is my real name. At one time I considered writing under a pen name but changed my mind — nothing beats the feeling of seeing your own name on your books.


Turning Pro – an answer to a long-burning question

Turing pro

I was reading the book Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield (who also wrote The War of Art) the other day when I came across a passage that resonated with me so strongly that I had to share it.

Those of us who have chosen to live unpredictable the life of the solo entrepreneur – authors, musicians, artists, podcasters and other creatives – can’t help but wonder why in the hell we chose such a life where the future is so uncertain. In the chapter entitled “My Years in the Wilderness,” Pressfield put it thusly:

“Because there are no conventional rewards, I was forced to ask myself, Why am I doing this? Am I crazy? All my friends are making money and settling down and living normal lives. What the hell am I doing? Am I nuts? What’s wrong with me?”

“In the end I answered the question by realizing that I had no choice. I couldn’t do anything else. When I tried, I got so depressed I couldn’t stand it. So when I wrote yet another novel or screenplay that I couldn’t sell, I had no choice but to write another one after that….the work became, in its own demented way a practice. It sustained me, and it sustains me still.”

This passage certainly answered that long-burning question for me — perhaps for you as well?

By the way, Turning Pro is an excellent little book aimed at creatives about moving from amateur to professional. Lots of excellent tidbits and advice.


Caturday Weekly Roundup

Picture of a cute kittenThis is my “Caturday Roundup” post where my buddy Leo (the adorable kitten pictured to the right) helps me wrap up the week’s events and provide links to some interesting posts that I came across on the Web during the week.

On a Personal Level…

I stuck to my writing goal of 2,000 words a day – a continuous streak since January 1st. I started second edits on my series featuring sixteen year-old Nick, a high school tarot card reader who can see ghosts. So far, I’ve completed three books in the series with three more planned out. I’m hoping the first one will be released within a month. Keep an eye out for my sexy werewolf novel coming soon as well.

As we’re still in the throes of winter here in Milwaukee, I’ve been focusing mainly on work – there will be plenty of time to play in the summer. Although every time I walk past my motorcycle in the garage, I get a little weak-kneed, waiting for spring to arrive.

On the Web

Andrew Sullivan posted a short film (only 4 min.) that was inspired by the work of H.G. Wells. A beautiful, poetic work.

If sexy, shirtless French Firemen are your cup of tea, then you might want to check out this video. It features an entire fire department lip syncing to “Call Me Maybe” (the poor young men got into hot water for it too).

Another fun French video features two brothers (or brother-in-laws) who call themselves “Les Beaux Frères” and perform an incredible routine on French TV wearing only ….um… A towel.

Queen Elizabeth made the news this week. For the first time ever, according to this article, she publicly acknowledges gay people. Who wudda thunk it?

In the literary world, Anne Rice signs a petition to protest bullying of authors on Amazon.

Another author, Sarah Madison, wrote a wonderful piece entitled “Why a Middle-Aged Woman Identifies with “Frozen”. I saw this movie recently and fell in love with it! I can relate to many aspects of the film that the author mentions in the article And if you really like Frozen, check out the Spanish Version of the movie’s feature song “Let It Go” along with the words here.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits talked in this article about what he learned as a writer. Some Great Tips here.

For my blogger or wanna-be blogger friends out there, Courtney Carver wrote a great article on the Be More With Less blog entitled How to Start a Blog with Purpose.

For my photographer friends, how about a public restroom shaped like a compact camera? It’s true and you can read about it here.

And just for fun, Andrew Sullivan of the Dish posted Adam Baran’s video entitled Jackpot which depicts a teenager’s quest to acquire a treasure trove of gay porn magazines (the movie takes place in 1994, when Internet porn wasn’t so accessible).

In homage to one of the worst winters in the past 35 years, TowlerRoad blog featured a video of two young men Snow Swimming of all things!

And…that’s a wrap!


Looking Ahead

Image - man looking through binoculars

December vacation all wrapped up.  So now it’s time to get back to work.  I have to admit that it’s been a tad difficult getting back into the swing of things.  I did spend some time reflecting on the past year and have decided to work on goals for the upcoming year, Chris Guillebeau style (I think he calls it his annual review).

At first, I felt that I did not accomplish that much in the past year.  But once I started thinking about all that I did, I realized that I wrote 15 books last year.  OK, so they weren’t great novels but rather computer courseware manuals for Office 2010 (I’m a technical writer in my other life).  While it may not seem like a huge amount for work, each manual runs between 250 – 300 pages.  So it is safe to say that I did, in fact, have a productive year.  I also did finish my fiction novel – working on the edits now.

Looking forward to another good year.  I have a lot on my plate for 2012 – which I’ll talk about a little at a time as the months progress.


Please Support Your Local Establishments


Fox Bay Cinema Grill image

The other day, I went to see a movie at the Fox Bay Cinema & Grill – a local, independently owned theater. I love going there because not only is it a movie theater, but it also features a full-service sit down menu – pizza, salads, sandwiches as well as full bar. Shortly before the movie starts, a server comes by to take your order and your food is delivered not long after the movie begins. Now that’s my idea of a dinner and a movie.

After my last visit there, I thought about how places like this are a dying breed – there are just a handful of them around these days. Slowly the independents – the Ma and Pa establishments – get pushed out by the huge chains and then what do we end up with? A town that looks like every other town – cardboard cutouts.

While traveling, you can get off at practically any exit and find that the town is practically identical to the one at the previous exit, complete with a McDonald’s, KFC, Wendy’s, Subway, Cousins, Dairy Queen, etc. I ahve found that more and more, the small towns in America are starting to look identical to each other as the independents disappear and are replaced with the same old boring chains.

For this reason, I make it a point to frequent locally owned business whenever I can and will rarely dine at a fast-food joint or a restaurant chain. By supporting the independent businesses, we can help to ensure that the personality and charm of our towns doesn’t disappear. It is not the corporate chains but rather the local businesses that make our towns unique and interesting. I have been in plenty of towns where there is a noticeable absence of independently-owned business and they feel cold, sterile and generic. The sad thing is, is that these sorts of towns – those that consist almost exclusively of corporate big box chains – are quickly becoming the norm and not the exception.

Thus, it behooves us to try to support our local businesses – to help keep our towns interesting, vibrant and alive. I’m personally thankful that there is still a place or two where I can enjoy a cocktail, dinner and a movie – without having to leave my chair.


First Post

This is my first post! As I mentioned in the About page, I have decided to move from a Web page to a blog as I have a tendency to forget about and neglect my Web page. Hopefully, I shall not do the same with the blog.

The purpose of this blog is to provide me a space to write about my current work, as well as add my thoughts/reflections about life and our culture – all the things that provide me food for writing.

I do welcome all correspondence so feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions. Of course, comments on blog posts are welcome as well.