Writing process

What kind of work do you do as a programmer?
I work for Panda Strike, a software consultancy with a number of different clients in different industries. These days I’ve been doing a lot of work with Disney Imagineering, the division that builds attractions at their amusement parks. My team is working on a suite of software for managing the planning and construction of those projects.

What brings you to the high country?
As soon as I took the job with Panda Strike, where I could work from anywhere, my wife and I started looking for a place to live up in the mountains. We were spending most of our free time in the area anyway and wanted to live where we played. In the winter, I love to snowboard and snowshoe. In the summer, it’s hiking, biking, camping and paddleboarding.

And you’re a creative writer too?
Yes, I recently finished a horror novel called “Mad Maddie” that I’m shopping around, and in the meantime, I’m working on a new novel, a mountain-climbing/ghost story that I’ve been thinking of as “Into Thin Air” meets “Heart-Shaped Box.” I have two short stories, “Great Oak” and “Gleed,” produced by the Pseudopod horror podcast, and a third story, “Opus,” that will appear in Rice Paper Press’ annual anthology.

Is writing words similar to writing code?
I actually think there are a lot of parallels in my processes for each. Agile software methodologies have really shaped how I approach writing as an iterative process with small, focused scenes that get refactored and rewritten as the larger story comes into focus.

You are a member of Elevate Frisco. Why?
While I really enjoy working from home, it’s nice to be in an office environment every once in a while. It’s a great place to network and find people to collaborate with, but most important to me is that it’s just nice to have a water cooler to gather around and talk about last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” or whatever.

And you started a writing group?
Yes, I found a small community of writers through Elevate, and started a meetup. We get together monthly and critique a writing submission from two members each time, providing positive, constructive and encouraging feedback. The styles and genres represented are fairly diverse, ranging from fiction to memoir to self-help to business.

How do you tap into your creativity?
For me, it’s all about making myself do it. I rarely, if ever, get struck with sudden inspiration, it always comes from working at it. What’s best for me is just to allot time to work. I generally get up an hour early and spend an hour writing before work. Sometimes, that’s 50 minutes of staring at a blank page and thinking, followed by 10 minutes of mad scribbling. But if I skip that 50 minutes and wait for the inspiration before I start writing, it never comes.

Writer and programmer Jason Rush moved to Breckenridge two years ago to live and work where he plays. Find him at jasonrush.com, and his stories at pseudopod.org/2015/10/16/pseudopod-460-great-oak and pseudopod.org/2017/02/24/pseudopod-531-gleed. For Elevate meetups, see meetup.com/ELEVATE-coworking.

Photos: Liam Doran