Too Busy

A Stone Angel

So, I’m changing my post frequency – for obvious reasons. I’m going to once a week.

Also, I’m employed – sort of. I’m part owner of a company, and I do get paid for it. This is a very, very recent development. It is taking up a lot of my time.

The truth is I can’t keep this blog going at a post a day while starting a new business and launching three books in less than two months, one of which isn’t quite finished yet, and I mean the first draft.

So, new posts will be on Friday from now on.

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Become a Bestselling Author!

Cyberpunk Girl

Okay, no… that’s not really what this post is about. One of the writing groups I belong to had the question “Is becoming a bestselling author a dream or a goal for you?”. My answer was neither (which is a bit unfair, since the group is specifically about becoming a bestselling author)…

My answer was that I wanted to sell a few copies of a lot of books. Sure, having a book become a bestseller would be amazing and incredibly validating, but I’m good with writing a lot of books and having people who like them buy them even if not that many people know about them. That’s my ultimate goal, to have people like my stories enough that they buy all of my books, even when I have dozens on the market.

Is that goal realistic? If I work at it I could probably do six to eight books a year. That means it will take around three years to twenty books (give or take a few months). At twenty books I should be able to earn a decent living, if not an extravagant one.

So, long-term, I want to earn my living from that process.

In the meantime, I have work I do day to day, as well as the work I do for writing and marketing. Sometimes that work takes up a lot of time.

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Being Stalled on Writing

A Snowy Road

Not writer’s block. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, hell, I have like fifty novels planned out, I write scenes in my head, I have all of this storytelling in my head. The problem is something else, I find that when I sit down to write right now I’m not focusing. I can do code right now, which is cool, but I really need to get some fictions written.

Anyway, something changed last night, and all of a sudden I find I can write again today and I’m slightly resenting that today is a busy day where I have all kinds of non-writing activities I need to do. I want to bang this story out, and I want to do it fast!

So, a good feeling, and I think it might just last for a bit.

I figured out what was blocking me, and I think it’s on the path to being dealt with. Not story related at all. It’s a combination of factors. One huge one: The focus on getting up early. That’s not who I am, and it’s not my life. I’m a night owl, a writer of the classic model, and when I try to force my life into that more mainstream version, well, it doesn’t work out terribly well.

There are other factors, but that’s a huge one. The rest of the getting up and getting going things, I should still do those things, but the forcing myself to early mornings? It’s bad for me.

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December is a crazy month

Holy Palm Tree

This month has not been good for my word count. After having such a successful November, I am now turning out very little in the way of word count. There are a few reasons for it, and the amount of work involved in just the holiday season can’t be ignored. I mean, the holidays are a bitch timewise.

Part of it was a mistake I made. Going backwards from one novel until the previous one is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.

I am finding it very hard to write these scenes because in my mind the arc is already complete. I might be distant enough from the story to start editing it… and I need to be connected to it instead.

Next year I am going to plan things out better. I’m going to do my NaNoWriMo novel without being in the middle of another novel.

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How Many Words I’ve Written

This is a bit of an odd thought, but this blog is many, many novels worth of writing.

I don’t know exactly how many, but there is a full novel here, well, almost. There will be another one after this one, by the way, I will be putting up Jenny Dark Book 1: Demon Hunting 101 in chapters.

The problem is it’s not even written yet, let alone edited. Whatever, I have a month and a half to get it ready.

Anyway, that’s not the point here. The point is that I have four hundred and forty-nine posts on this site. Some are short, some are long. I don’t know the average length, but given that I have a bunch of fiction on here and that fiction has, typically, over a thousand words per post – well, I think the average post is probably in the five hundred word range.

That’s a massive amount of text. Probably a couple of hundred thousand words or more.

I am actually thinking about going back through it all. Some of it is stuff I really like, but I don’t even remember it all. Almost four hundred and fifty posts.

I actually feel like it’s a major accomplishment. Some of them are even meaningful, useful things. Sure, some are just “Oops, didn’t post on time”, but that’s a very small number. Some are talking about depression, many are talking about story craft, character development, etc.

Tomorrow is a chapter from A Long Walk. It’s a short one, but it’s leading up to the grand finale.

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Morning Routine

A road in the mist

I’m trying to build a consistent morning routine right now. I’ve been doing it for close to two weeks now, slowly building up what’s involved and making it more consistent.

I’m reading a lot of productivity bloggers these days, and I think all of them have a perfect morning routine. I don’t because that’s not me. I have a morning routine that’s slowly getting better. I have stolen elements from their perfect morning routine. For example, I do gratitude journaling. I write in my journal every morning and now I include something I’m grateful for. I write a bit about why I’m grateful and what that gratitude means to me. I don’t know if it changes things, but maybe it starts me off in a bit more of a positive place. I also exercise every day, I start with some body weight strength exercises, then I add in some ballistic stretching.

One thing that a lot of them talk about is a cold shower. I haven’t managed this, and I don’t know if I ever will. I’m considering moving to a warmer country at some point because I can’t deal with the cold here. Seriously, I don’t handle cold at all well. The idea of a cold shower first thing in the morning is just the worst thing ever. What I have been doing is ending my hot shower with a blast of cold for fifteen seconds. That’s about what I can handle (it’s important that if I go beyond that I trigger arthritis in my knee and then I get to spend the rest of the day in pain, so I think that I’m going to stick with fifteen seconds).

This is on my mind this morning because I didn’t manage my fifteen seconds today. My landlord is renovating the flat in the front and needed to turn off the water for five minutes. I had just finished rinsing off and was about to blast the cold when the water stopped existing. I was standing there, dripping wet and naked… if the water had shut off two seconds earlier I would have had shampoo in my hair, that would have sucked. Anyway, the point is that this once it was okay to skip that piece because I literally had no option. However, if I choose to skip that option today I will skip it tomorrow, and the next time I feel like it’s too much, and in no time at all, I’ll skip it every time.

That’s the secret I have discovered to my morning routine. I need to do it every time, exactly the same way. I can add, or even take away, but it has to be by intention. If I remove a piece I’m removing it, not just skipping it for today. Skipping it for today doesn’t exist.

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Managing my Publishing and Writing Queue

A Pond. I think this is Madrid.

One thing I didn’t have to think about when I started this whole writing thing was which project I wrote when. It was easy. I had one book. I wrote it, edited it, and then published it.

Now I’m writing multiple series of books, and there are also several stand-alone books I’m working on.

I need to track what I’m writing, what status things are in. Also, I’ve started finishing works in progress that I started years ago. Hell, the Jenny Dark series started well over a decade ago. I didn’t ever write it, just built the world. Now I have a finished novel and another one that’s a fair ways in (more than a third, less than a half).

I have four books in editing right now. Seriously, four!

That’s ridiculous. Of course one of them is already published and I’m just trying to revamp it, make it better. The other three are all past first draft and need to be polished before they hit beta readers.

I have a category of story that shouldn’t exist. It only does because I’m working on these older stories that I started years ago. That status is “Started, needs outline”. No new story will ever have that because the outline will exist before I start writing the story. In my current queue, I have four in that status, although I technically have a few more – I just haven’t decided if I’m going to finish those ones or not.

Now, eventually, I’m going to add word counts to my document so that anything that’s started has a word count. Also, I should only have one book in the started condition at any time. Right now I have five.

The plan is that over time I will have one book in editing, one in publishing, one in writing, one in outline, and a bunch that are planned – a basic plot idea, stuff like that.

As I write this I’m realising things I’m missing. The big one is going to be ISBN’s. I need to start tracking them more carefully. Damnit, I need a whole bunch more fields. Time to add some sheets to my spreadsheet. One category per sheet. Okay, this has been very helpful. Good talk.

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NaNoWriMo Day 23

A Turtle

Well, I cracked fifty thousand yesterday, and today I was actually a tiny bit short of my count. So, I was under 2500 but was over 1700. Not bad I guess.

More to the point, my endgame is close. I don’t know if I will hit 75000 by the end of the book, but I know I will hit the end of the book before the end of the month.

My story is good. It’s going very much exactly as I want it to, and I think it’s a good first draft so far. Clearly, I will need a second draft, because I always need a second draft, but I think it’s not going to feature a lot of story edits, more lined and detail edits. That’s what comes from doing so much work up front. I will never go back to not doing an outline.

Seriously, if it weren’t for the outline I wouldn’t have even been able to start this book since I’m not finished the last book… The outline meant I knew what happened with enough detail to ensure continuity.

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NaNoWriMo Day 21

Capppucino in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter.

So, the writing is going well. The story is on pace, and it’s damned good. Horrific. The current chapter deals with swamp dwelling leech children. They look like children but have hundreds of razor sharp teeth and once they dig into you they start drinking your blood. Mind you, I’m not doing a full post today because it’s new chapter day.

I will hit 50k either today or tomorrow (the day this is published on, day 22, not day 21). 50K is slightly beyond my daily writing goal, but on the other hand, I’m trying to up my output a tiny bit to make up for my few missed days.

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NaNoWriMo Day 16 – Thoughts

I’m more than halfway through my planned word count. It’s kind of amazing seeing my stat on the NaNoWriMo dashboard.

I remember for many years struggling to finish things. I had hundreds of beginnings and even a bunch of endings, but very, very few middles.

I think I cracked the middle of the story in my current book. Maybe not completely for everything, but for this book. The mid-point in a book is kind of a big deal, and it’s what I always struggled with.

I have learned a great deal from NaNoWriMo – how to finish was the biggest thing. That plus that writing quickly and writing well are often the same thing.

It’s a very different way of looking at things, and I owe it all to creating a book in a month.

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