Friday Fess-Up: August 31st

Happy Friday Everyone!

We Made it!!

I’ve got a lot of work to do in September, so the face of the Friday Fess-Up is going to change a bit. Beginning September first, I need to get 1000 words a day, every day of the month to hit 100K words and the end of my first draft of this book.

To Keep myself honest, I am going to post my day-to-day progress here, every Friday.

This week will be the trial run. So, what have I been up to this week, you ask?

Saturday: Word count for the day is…unknown. I did get three full handwritten pages in though.

Sunday: I didn’t write at all. Prepping for the State Fair…well, helping my wife prep for the State Fair. I felt pretty low about not writing, especially after a few good news posts by a few writer friends of mine, but what are you going to do? Classic example of life happening.

Monday: You guessed it. I got the hell up and wrote! I transcribed my chicken-scratch handwriting from Saturday and added to it. Total word count: 501

Tuesday: Word count for the day: 541

Wednesday: Word Count for the day: 567

Thursday: Word count for the day 129, with the addition of a bit of handwritten work. I went back to double check the gender of a character, and my eye snagged on somethiing that really wasn’t smooth. Sometimes this happens and I need to fix it. After all the reworking, my net gain for words was 129.

Friday: Word count for the day: 400.

So, as you can see, I basically need to double my daily word count. Daunting, but not impossible – if I’m flexible, and can plan in advance.

This word count HAS to take priority, so that means that if I don’t get my 1000 words, I may miss a blog post (Although I’ll try and schedule those in advance too. So many things.)

Stay tuned here to see how I am doing. In the mean time:

Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular blog post.

Be sure, also, to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

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Five Thing Thursday: August 30th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: In case you missed it, last Sunday was my scheduled slot up on the Million Words Website! You can find the post here.

Thing #2: There is something sad about a really good pen that is about to run out of ink.

Thing #3: On the other hand, getting your fingers around a brand new pen is pretty exciting. Think of all that potential.

Thing #4: I also get what is probably a disproportionate amount of pleasure from writing on\filling in the last page of a notepad…and starting a new one.

Thing #5: There is going to be another blog tour on the Horizon. We’ve got at least one new face, and we’re thinking sometime in October. Stay Tuned!

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

See you tomorrow for the Friday Fess-up post.

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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Changing Things Up

Happy Sunday, Everyone! Hope you’re enjoying the weekend!

I know I’ve talked about not limiting yourself, or setting parameters on your writing. By that I mean not putting constraints on yourself such as:

“I can only write in the mornings – or at night.”
“I can only write in this coffee shop – or in this particular seat in this particular coffee shop.”

You can see what these are, right? They’re excuses waiting to happen. Excuses not to write.

There will always be reasons. There will always be things that will want you to put off your writing.

You don’t want to add any more.

This year has been a year of change for your, constant blogger (Well semi-constant. It’s not like I do this every day) and I’d like to lay a few of them out for you here.

The first, and I must say, the most pleasing is that I’ve been doing a lot more writing longhand this year.

It should be a bittersweet kind of thing, because my wrists are trashed from several years of flipping burgers in my mis-spent youth to the point where my fingers go completely numb if I write longhand for more than ten minutes at a stretch.

After that, my penmanship goes straight to hell and I have to stop writing because I can’t read what I’m writing anymore (What, you think I’d stop writing because I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore? Scoff!).

It sounds pretty lousy – and it kinda is – but it takes a back seat to the pleasure of putting a good pen to paper. Under the right circumstances, you can hear the pen scritching across the paper. You can certainly feel it (Assuming you can feel your fingers).

I love that…and I’d better stop right here before I talk myself into buying a fountain pen.

Seriously, I don’t need something else to collect. I hear they are as addictive as tattoos.

Hmmm…Tattoos…

Anyway, I started thinking about why it was that I’ve increased the amount of longhand writing that I’ve been doing, and I’ve come up with two reasons.

The first is that it forces me to slow down.

Yeah, I know, some of you are out there saying “Whaat??” How can this be a good thing?”

Well, I’ve reached a point in my pseudo hunt-n-peck typing style where my fingers can keep up with my head pretty well.

Sometimes, usually in the mornings, I need a slower burn to get me back into the story. Once I’m there, I can pretty easily hit my stride.

Another reason has to do with the flexibility that longhand writing provides. I’d been (Against my own advice, I might add) putting a constraint on myself labelled, “You can only write on your laptop.”

I needed an alternative. No, I don’t have a tablet, and typing on my phone would be…um…clunky. Yeah, that’s what we’ll call it.

So here, longhand was the path of least resistance.

Which brings us to the second change: Writing in different locations.

My primary writing sanctuary is a room over my garage. This year, I’ve started taking my laptop out to a coffee shop to write with a group of local writers.

Also, I’ll bring my pad of paper in to write during my lunch breaks when I’m feeling underproductive.

Here’s an interesting side-note: As it turns out, I am utterly incapable of writing and eating at the same time. The mental switch between the two is so significant that I get knocked out of the story, and have to work my way back in.

The best I can manage is sipping coffee or tea.

Go Brain!!

So there you have it. Writing in different places. Writing on different media. How has it been working?

I’d say it’s been working pretty well. I’ve been writing every day in one form or another for about the last month and a half. True, I’m not sitting there generating thousands of words writing longhand – my fingers would never stand for that – but it has given me running starts in the mornings and, after all, any progress is better than no progress at all.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

Time: 8:23 am – ish

Music: Unleash the Archers – The Awakening

 

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Friday Fess-Up: August 24th.

Happy Friday Everyone!

We Made it!!

And oh my gods am I glad it’s here.

Although I can’t quite put my finger on why, I have been really busy this week.

I confess to being a little overwhelmed, and I’ve even added – ok, well sorta added – an extra 60-90 minutes to get stuff done.

I’m hoping that it eases up after this weekend – not that Monday can’t take its good sweet time in getting here.

As expected, the adjusted sleep schedule is catching up with me, and that may be part of the reason why I’m feeling pressured.

And I’ve still got to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s only been a week since I’ve started shaking the house of cards that is currently my life. Ok, don’t worry, they’re really thick cards. Like playing cards made of cardboard.

Anyway, it will take some time to adjust to the new (old) schedule.

We’ll see how it goes.

So, for the week, I can say that I did *not* get up to write every day this week. I missed Thursday, but I did get some work done longhand, which brings the total number of consecutive days I’ve written to…

I’m not sure. To be safe, we’ll call it a month.

30 days. That ain’t bad. Not even close to my record, but we’ll see how long I can keep it up.

Jeez…Now I’m going to have to start keeping track.

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Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular blog post.

Be sure, also, to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

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Five Thing Thursday: August 23rd

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: Axes is the only word in the English Language that can be plural to three singular noun forms: Ax, Axe, and Axis.

Thing #2: Quite possibly the single greatest source of minor annoyance in my life resulted from the loss of the button on my phone case that lets me blank the screen. None of my fingers fit into the gap, so I have to wait until the phone blanks itself (about 30 – 60 seconds).

Thing #3: Quite possibly the single greatest source of minor pleasure in my life is sinking a “Shot” form a distance at a recycle bin or waste basket. That just never gets old.

Thing #4: It wasn’t until 2005 – that’s 5 years past the cusp of the 21st century – that scientists had figured out how Bumblebees were able to fly.

We still don’t know all the details about how they manage to change course once they’re up there.

Thing #5: I’ve said it before, but the first book that really turned me into a reader and, most likely, planted the seeds of the writer that I would become was Sir MacHinery by Tom McGowan.

Before that there was a story that I only remember snippets of. It was about a Robotic Dragonfly that some kids were able to fly via remote control using a helmet with screens fed by cameras in the Dragonfly and gloves which could actuate the dragonfly’s claws and do other tasks.

I tracked down that story on Monday evening: Danny Dunn: Invisible Boy.

It’s probably horribly dated, but here’s the thing. I remember reading this story on my own. It was published in 1974. I would have been 4 years old then.

Over 4 decades later, pieces of that story stuck with me.

If that doesn’t convince you that stories matter…I don’t know what will.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

See you tomorrow for the Friday Fess-up post.

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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Dreams Don’t Pay the Bills

I mentioned before that,this year I was going to spend time looking for music and books that I wouldn’t normally have consumed prior to 2018.

One of those finds is a band called Amaranthe. They’ve got a song out called “True.” It’s a pretty good song, and the message is pretty simple.

“Chase your Dreams.”

Simple. Good advice.

Sometimes, I’ll scroll through the comments below the songs and, on this song, someone posted:

“Good Message. Unfortunately My dreams wont pay the bills.”

That opened the floodgates of agreement.

And it made me kinda sad.

Now I’m not going to tell you that you should quit your job, this minute, and run out and DO THE THING.

But maybe, that’s an option for you. Other folk have responsibilities that are harder to extract themselves from (assuming that there’s a desire for extraction).

But there are people who are chasing anyway. They do what they’ve got to do then they do what they want to do.

I’m one of them. I carve time out of my life and dedicate it to chasing the dream. Every day. If you watch the video, one of the things you’ll see is the practice that got the characters to where they wanted to go.

The Work they put into it.

Now it might be that there’ll come a day when I’ll get there. If it happens, it probably won’t happen overnight. If it happens, it’ll be because of the work, because of the time I put into chasing the dream as often as I can for as long as I can.

That’s what’ll get me there.

Persistence and effort.

Dreams don’t pay the bills.

Acting on them does.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

Time: 5:23 pm – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Wheel of Time

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Friday Fess-Up: August 17th

Welcome, Everyone to the Third Friday Fess-Up for August.

We Made it!!

There isn’t much to Fess-Up to this week. I’ve been productive all week, though not always on the laptop. There were a few days where I’d had to write long-hand in the time I had, but progress is progress, right?

I do have an interesting revelation\quandary for you.

I’ve been talking for the last few weeks (Like here for example) about balance, and making changes in trying to get there.

Practically from the outset, I started to struggle and I couldn’t figure out why.

My focus had been centered around getting enough sleep, which I figured was around 8 hours.

Now I normally get up during the week at 5:30 am to write. I figured that hitting the sack at 9:30 would net me a solid eight hours. Easy enough, right?

Not so much.

It turns out that what I was trying to do was, in effect, shift my entire day forward by 30 minutes. It turns out that the problem was the existence of a few points in my day that weren’t going anywhere.

Stuff got squeezed.

And there isn’t much left to cut. I don’t watch TV. I do game, but that’s usually one night a week. I do watch rugby when I can, but I’m doing that instead of gaming.

I consider reading to be a part of my job as a writer, so that’s not going anywhere. Neither is the Writing. Neither is this website. I’m under no illusions at all that, when my first book sells, my publisher is going to provide more than token publicity. It’ll all be on my shoulders, so I’d better get used to it now, before I have to get used to it later.

Unfortunately, the day-job isn’t going anywhere either.

I’m not willing to sacrifice the scant down time I get. I’ve got to refill the creative well sometime. Neither am I willing to sacrifice the scant Family time I get.

That leaves sleep.  For now at least.

Now bear in mind that I’m not talking about cutting huge swaths of time out of my sleeping schedule (Although yesterday was the exception – Yawn – ). Instead of compressing my day by 30 minutes, I’m expanding it (Yes, at a cost) by 30 minutes to an hour resulting in 7.5-7 hours of sleep.

Not ideal but, over this past week, it’s started to cut the short term stress a little (None of this is instantaneous), and less stress was a definite 2018 goal (as was figuring out how to change lead to gold – which I abandoned…only one impossible thing per year is my quota).

About that cost.

I know from experience that this’ll catch up with me toward the end of the week, so I’ll need to stack the deck in my favor when I can.

I’ve been bringing this work to the day-job and, maybe knock stuff out during my lunch break. Sometimes it works, sometimes I’m so drained that I can only read (ok, so reading is – in fact – taking a minor hit here), sometimes I don’t even get the full break.

You do what you can.

I’ve come to the realization that I say this a lot, “Do what you can.”

Part of it is a reminder to myself to keep at it. Keep slogging forward – and some days it is a slog. Other days it isn’t. And one type of day isn’t more important than the other.

Part of it is (I hope) an encouragement for those of you out there that need it.

I also realize that this segment of the blog has been dark and, possibly, a little complain-ey lately, and I appreciate you sticking it out with me.

This was supposed to be a chronicle of the day-to-day that we hear so little of. To show folks that it isn’t all productivity, and cafes, and wine.

And it certainly hasn’t been lately – though in a way it has.

It’s amazing what you’ll try when you’re struggling – and some of it will even work.

See you on Sunday

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Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular blog post.

Be sure, also, the check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

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Five Thing Thursday: August 16th

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: Disaster:

“Dis” (Latin) In this case I’d choose the meaning, “Do the opposite of.” (Typically Unexpected)
“Aster” (From the Latin “Astrum” Meaning Star)

An unexpected, Ill-starred event.

Could arguably be defined as “Star-Crossed.”

Makes you wonder if The Bard was showing a bit of his hand when describing Romeo and Juliet as Star-Crossed lovers…

Thing #2: Yes, I know I already did a couple of Podcast Lists

But you *Need* to know about the “Be the Serpent” podcast. Go give the serpents a listen. You won’t be sorry.

Thing #3: The band Amaranthe is releasing a new Album this coming October. They’re doing something pretty cool in that they have a female lead vocalist (Elize Ryd), a male – clean vocalist (Nils Molin), and a Screamer/growler vocalist (Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson) You should give them a listen. Here’s their latest single.

Thing #4: I stumbled across a Band\project called Dreamstate as I was looking for new music. It looks like the project has stalled, which is a damned shame. On the strength of the only single they released, titled “Evolution,” I’d have signed right up.

Thing #5: I just finished reading “Trail of Lightning” by Rebecca Roanhorse. Now let me tell you: Most books written in First Person Present POV (Point of View) end up knocking me completely out of the story sooner or later. I don’t notice it so much during the action scenes, but during times when the action slows down,it starts to sound like the narrator is dictating the story to someone who is copying them down word for word.

“I pick up some toast. They don’t have any jam. I’m looking for jam…”

It was one of the things that killed the Hunger Games for me.

This book did *None* of that.

That’s how good it was.

You should check it out.

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

See you tomorrow for the Friday Fess-up post.

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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Enjoy the Ride

Happy Sunday, Everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

I wanted to take a bit of time this week to offer some encouragement. We’re all engaged in some kind of struggle, and I know that there can be days, weeks, and months where it seems like there’s nothing going on but the struggle.

I know sometimes it might feel like you’re doing nothing but spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.

Here’s what I also know:

I know that there is no one, not one other person in the world that can do what you do, the way that you do it.

I also know that, while other considerations (Getting published, signing with an agent – I’m sticking with the writerly side of things but this could easily be translated to Photography, or Music, or Game Design or any other creative endeavor) may have taken the front seat as far as your attention is concerned, I know that you started doing whatever it is you’re doing for one thing, really.

Love.

You do it because you love it.

That’s what I want to encourage you to remember. Go back to why you started doing it. Go back to that one really good piece of description, or snappy bit of dialogue, or the very first scene that made you feel something.

Go back and remember that it’s the journey, not the destination that matters. It’s the trip that will sustain you through the hard times, and the easy ones.

So take your time. I’m not suggesting that you slow down, unless you’re pushing yourself too hard based on external pressures. Go at your own pace. Look around, see what you might be missing.

Take the time to appreciate the trip.

Enjoy the Ride…

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Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

I’ll see you in a few days for the next Five Thing Thursday.

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

 

Time: 3:06 pm – ish

Music: Skid Row – Youth Gone Wild

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Friday Fess-Up August 10th

Welcome, Everyone to the second Friday Fess-Up for August.

We Made it!!

This has been a pretty long week.

No, there’s nothing wrong with Time in my neck of the woods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Time here.  Though I don’t know how I’d know about it.

 

 

Ok. Yes, I’m sure that there are ways that one might find out that there were problems with Time in their area, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Anyway.

I confess that There’s something wrong with my scheduling. I mean, during the week – during most weeks, actually – my word count does tend to fall off below levels that I’m entirely comfortable with.

And, yes, back-to-back 12 hour plus days at the day-job hit me much harder than they used to, so I shouldn’t be as critical of my word count.

But I am.

On the up side, I have been bringing up the word count during the weekends. In fact, I have written every day for about three weeks now. But I still feel like I’m struggling.

There isn’t much more that I can cut. I’m still working on balance. I’ll get there, but it’s frustrating.

Still, every day, I’m doing what I can making progress.

It’s all anyone can do.

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Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular blog post.

Be sure, also, the check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in Balance, Friday Fess-Up, LIfe | Tagged , , | 1 Comment