Monday Update: First book of the year DONE!

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Hey, Gang!

It’s Monday! WOO WOO! Most people hate Mondays. I’ve never been sure why. Me, I’m a Monday kind of guy. Well, I’m also a morning type of guy. don’t hate me because of that. Hate me because I’m beautiful.

That said, I figure I need to start posting far more regularly. I know, I know. I keep saying that and then I don’t do anything about it. So, let’s see how often I can post my progress on Mondays. Maybe other days I’ll post something different.

Let’s start with the numbers and we’ll go from there.

Streak of days writing: 57 consecutive.

Total words written: 113,695

Average words per day: 1,995

Lowest day: 55

Highest day: 5,444

Number of books completed: 1

Let’s dig in, shall we? I decided to write, daily. No matter how many or how few. If I’m not on vacation or doing something where I cannot get to a computer, I plan to write every day. It shouldn’t matter. Writers write. That’s rule #1. I plan to write daily. So far, I’m good on that goal.

Over 100,000 words already this year. I’m stunned too. I honestly didn’t think I’d get there so fast. I started out 25,000 words behind, but I didn’t allow that to be a negative. I started from day 1 and sat and wrote. Some days I wrote more than others. That’s why I posted the min/max numbers. I had a few low days, a few very high days. Some days I didn’t want to write and started late (after 10pm some days). It’s all been an exercise to sit and write daily. That was my first goal above all else. The second was to write an average of 1200 words per day. You can see I’m blowing that out of the water. I went from being 21 days behind schedule when I typed my very first word this year, to being 16 days ahead of schedule. I love my spreadsheet 🙂

The biggest thing was not to view the spreadsheet as punishment. I’d done that before and got depressed and sad. I hated writing, but it wasn’t because of the spreadsheet, it was other things happening in my life at the time. I haven’t had this much fun writing for a few years. The past two years I barely wrote. Let’s not dwell on that and look forward, shall we?

Looking back at my past spreadsheets for reference (we’ll get to the future in a moment, I promise), in 2012 I wrote 267,000 words. 2013 – 172,000. 2014-130000. I didn’t record my words in 2015 or 2016 because I had almost given up writing by then. So far this year I’m at 113,695. I’m on target to blow away all those previous years. I just need to not focus on how I missed my word count goal every single year I tried. That’s a recipe for failure. Instead, I need to look at where I am presently, and where I’ll be if I sit and write again today. Each day gets me closer to that goal. If I do miss a day, not a big deal. Try again tomorrow. Every little bit adds to the whole.

Books completed? One? Really? Yes! Last night I wrote the last chapter in Giant Robot Planetary Competition Book 2: Villain. I’m super excited about this book. I can’t wait to edit, cover it, and publish it. This will be my first book in…a while. Hopefully the first book of many that’ll happen this year. Honestly, I didn’t know if I would be able to keep this output going. I really thought I would peter out, give up, suffer from imposter syndrome. In the end, I figured out what I wanted to do was to create art for me. If others like it, bonus. If not, I’m still happy with the book I wrote.

What’s next on my plate? Remember, I’m in the middle of my Lent goal. I’m 3 days ahead, but I don’t want to stop. I thought about starting something new, but I decided to dive back into a book I was half-way done with. Almost-Super Heroes is another fun book and I’m jumping back in tonight. It’s sitting at 45,000 words. I was targeting 80,000. Let’s see what happens. If I keep on target, I’ll complete this book before the end of Lent.

Oh, speaking of word count, I almost forgot. I had targeted 90,000 words for GRPC2. I did the same for GRPC1. Book 1 came in at 96,420. Book 2 came in at 97,793. I have a hard time hitting targets when I’m having so much fun with the characters. I honestly think I’ve found my voice again and my style as well. It makes it so the words just fall off my fingers tips and onto the keyboard.

I’m writing again. I’m having fun again. Now I just need to be consistent with my output. Next week, I’ll make a similar post.If you made it this far and want to BETA read GRPCs (warts and all) drop me a line at jay@ofgnomesanddwares.com with the type you’d liked and I’ll fire it off to you. It will help if you’ve read GRPC1 first, so if you need that one as well, let me know and I’ll send both on over.

If you made it this far and want to BETA read GRPCs (warts and all) drop me a line at jay@ofgnomesanddwares.com with the type you’d liked and I’ll fire it off to you. It will help if you’ve read GRPC1 first, so if you need that one as well, let me know and I’ll send both on over. It’s rough, and unedited, but I look forward to hearing what you think.

I need to get to doing some writing. Those words won’t write themselves.

Until Next Time

Stay Awesome!

JR

Goals for Lent

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Lent. It’s that time of the year again (well, it really started yesterday). It happens every year. Each year I set a lofty goal for myself and I miss every year. Heck, I do the same thing for the entire year and I usually miss. I think this year will be different.

Most people give something up. Some say “I’ll stop eating sweets.” or “I’ll exercise more.” or “I won’t swear…nearly as much.”  Something like that.

Me, I’ve always determined to write more. A lot. More than I normally plan on writing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I plan to write an average of 1200 words per day. Heavy emphasis on AVERAGE! Well, for Lent I’m bumping that goal up to average 2000 words per day. Will I hit it? Pfft, I don’t know. Sounds like a good goal. Why not give it a try?

So what’ll happen if I do hit my goal? Well, simple math shows that Lent is 46 days this year (wait, I thought Jesus spent 40 days in the desert) and 2000 words a day works out to 92,000 words. Holy Sheep Dip, Batman! That’s a LOT of words! How ever will I do it?

Ok, let’s slow down for a minute. Remember what I’d said before was my annual goal. Average 1200 words per day. That’s still my main focus. 2000 words is only 800 more words per day. Remember, I type really, really fast. On a good day, I can hit 2000 words in an hour. On a bad day, might take me two hours. Can I find two hours in a given day to type?

Sure.

My main focus will be on media limitations. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop absorbing media altogether. It means I’ll cut back on what I need to cut back on so I can spend a little more time writing. That’s all. So, instead of watching 2-3 hours of news and a couple of TV shows, and reading for an hour or two, I’ll cut back to give myself the time I need. I’ll watch TV while I exercise, read the news when I have free time, read before bed (that won’t change) and my DVR can save my shows.

Hopefully, it’ll be that simple. We all know what happens to the best-laid plans.

Where am I at so far, now that we’re two days in? Well, I had 2014 words yesterday, and I’m at 2145 today. I’m taking a short break to write this blog post cuz I want to blog more frequently. Then I’ll try to write another 1000 words. We’ll see what happens. So I’m off to a good start.

I’m going to keep this short. I hope you have a Lent goal you’re looking to work on. Do you have one? Did you plan something? Are you going to diet, exercise, write, create art, paint, learn something? What have you got planned? Let me know. I’d love to hear.

Until Next Time…

Stay Awesome!

Irrational Fears

J.R. Murdock

Admit it, there’s something you know to be so absurd to be afraid of, but you’re still scared. I’m not talking about a fear of the dark or what might be lurking under your bed. I’m talking something truly silly bordering on impossible. Think about it for a minute. When your rational mind turns off, there’s something that scares you for no real reason and you can’t explain why.

I have some, and they’re not normal. One I know to be ridiculous and the other I know is impossible. Even so, they’re fears I need to overcome in order to accomplish a task. You might think you have an idea what I’m talking about, but I assure you, you’re not even close.

The first it pretty silly and borders on the impossible. It ha to do with blenders. No, really. I have a fear of our blender. When I’m standing there in front of it and thinking about those blades whipping around at Mach speed, I fear what would happen should one of those blades snap off. I’m right there and even though it could go anywhere away from me and would most likely get stuck in the blender jar, I worry that it’ll come straight at me. Even then, if it did hit me, it would probably miss all my important parts.

Why does this scare me? Where did this fear come from? How do I resolve it? It’s not some times when I use the blender, it’s every time I use the blender. That means I need to face that absurd fear each time I use it. I don’t know what part of my brain makes this irrational fear rational. I wish I know. It’s frustrating.

But there’s another, even more bizarre fear I have. This one, I’m pretty sure, comes from getting scared one too many times as a child. What’s around that corner? Is someone going to jump out at me? Did I see too many scary movies as a kid? Those don’t make me jump. I laugh more than fear them. I analyze how they performed the special effects. I’ve ready Fangoaria and seen specials on effects and makeup. So you’d think I’d be able to rationalize that when I open the garage door, no one is going to be there. Certainly not holding a spear, or bow, or large knife. Why would they be hiding in my garage?

Regardless of my brain knowing that there isn’t anyone in the garage (I could have been in there five minutes ago) I still have this twinge of fear that as soon as I open that door some psychotic will lunge at me. Why? Why does my brain hate me? It’s not that I want to be afraid of the garage door and I will still open in knowing that no one is there, but I can’t stop my brain from saying “DON’T DO IT! YOU’LL DIE!” I have to turn it off for the moments it takes me to open the door.

With both of these, I know they make no sense. When I sit here typing this up, I know they’re both impossible to happen. That’s the thing with fear. It’s irrational. Your brain can build something up that’ll scare you when deep down you know there’s nothing to be scared of. It’s all a matter of how you manage that fear.

I understand that some people cannot manage fear. Something in their wiring doesn’t allow them to overcome that fear. I’m lucky in that I can push past that fear.

There’s another fear that’s very real, yet I still must overcome every time I sit down at the keyboard. That what I’m writing sucks. No one will like it and/or no one will read it. Why put all this time and effort into something no one will like.

Again, this is a fear that I must overcome or I’ll be sitting here staring at a blank page and getting nothing written. So, I push past that fear and start typing. Once I do, I realize that I’m writing stories for one person. Me. Sure, I want to sell my stories. I’m happy when I see a sale. Even if those are few and far between, it doesn’t matter. Someone read my story. Someone bought my story. Even if they didn’t like it, there’s nothing I can do about that. No author can please 100% of his/her audience, so how could I expect to? All I can do is write a story I’m happy with and proud of, and get it out there.

And that is exactly what I started doing again. Writing for me. Writing the stories I want to read. Telling the best story I can. If someone reads it, great. If someone likes it, even better. Then I write another one. If I type a little every day, I can only get better at doing the writing thing. I won’t get any better by not writing. So, it’s type, or don’t. I chose the latter. I hope you enjoy the result.

So what fears do you need to push past every day? Are the rational? Irrational? Can your brain work past it?

I’m off to overcome my fear of the blank page once more. You should do the same.

Until Next Time…

Stay Awesome!

 

Head down and typing like a madman.

Polar Bear speed painting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_Sc_lLjRA4

So I posted a couple times, then disappeared again. What gives?

Well, I’ve been writing. Really fast. Well, not as fast as I could, but fast enough. So how fast is fast? I’ll let you decide, but according to Dean Wesley Smith, I’m not a pulp speed writer. To write at pulp speed, according to Dean, I’d need to write ~1,000,000 words per year. Check out Dean’s post if you’re curious how fast some writers back in the day wrote.

Yeah, I’m not going at that pace. That’d be roughly 2750 words per day. That’s nuts! Who could to that?

So anyway, today I wrote 4081 words. Yesterday I wrote 2661 words. Yeah, I could write that fast every day, but Jay has a job and a family so I don’t write that much every single day.

I’m on a writing streak, though. A 35-day writing streak. Over that time I was hoping to maintain 2,000 words per day. Why? I wanted to get caught up for my annual goal or 1200 words per day. I was behind and I’ve been playing catch up.

Don’t worry. I’m not stressing. Two days ago I was re-reading and editing some of what I’d written and only wrote 55 words. Those days happen. Three days ago I only managed just over 600 words. So I’m not a pulp speed writer. Some day, maybe, but not today.

So over that 35 days how much did I write? I wrote 62,920 words. On average, 1798 words per day.

I haven’t hit my goal of averaging 2,000 words per day. Do I feel like a failure? Heck no! Writing words is a success all by itself. I set the goal to push myself, not pressure myself. I wanted to sit and write words every day and get books written. I’m doing that. I’m proud of doing that. I’ve also done my day job, watched too much news and TV, seen a couple movies, spent time with the family, gone out to dinner, done some training for work. It’s not like all I’ve done is write. Imagine if I was a pro writer and that’s all I did was sit and type all day every day.

Well, with my day job I do type all day with chats and emails and documentation, but that’s different.

So let’s have a little fun and extrapolate. What if I keep up this trend over the course of a year, where will I be at by the end of the year? Remember, my goal is 1200 words per day. So with that number, I’d be writing 440,000 words (44% of pulp speed 1). If I stay on pace with 1798 words, I’ll hit 620,000 (62% of pulp speed 1). If I stop having 55 word days, I can exceed that number.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Writing just a couple thousand words per day adds up so quickly. How many books does that work out to? Well, most of my books are between 80,000-90,000. That’s what I shoot for. If we take an average of 85,000 words per book, that means I could write 7.5 books this year.

Wait… did I say that correctly? Yup. I could write more than 7 books in one year.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? In this world, a fast writer puts out 3-4 books in a given year. I could double that. And according to Dean, I’m not even up to pulp speed. Imagine if I were writing just under 3,000 words per day and putting out a million words a year. That’s only pulp level 1. He’s got up to pulp level 6 putting out two million words per year. That’s only 5,500 words a day. Pulp books are also shorter, on average 40,000-50,000 words. That means I’d be putting out nearly 40 books a year! What?

Guess what. Looking through my daily word count, I’ve hit that speed twice. In my 35 day streak, I have 5 days over 300o words, and nearly half the days are over 2000 words. Each day when I check my word count and update my spreadsheet, I’m amazed. I’m excited. I’m ready for the next day to do it again.

You could do this too no matter what type of art you do. Paint a little every day. Write a little bit on a song every day. Type words for a book or short story every day. Sketch something. Draw a cartoon. Art something! All those little days add up to a big payoff.

At the top of this post, I embedded a video that inspired me this week. Just like a book doesn’t get done in a day and perhaps not even in a month, all those little bits add up until you have something completed. The video shows a man painting a polar bear. The video is under two minutes, but it took him two months to paint. A little bit each day. That’s all it takes. You can do it too.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Hitting a stride.

When I was at the top of my writing streak, I was writing 3000-4000 words a day. I did that on and off for a few months and wrote four books in that time. It felt great to sit and type. I was also blogging daily. That helped to keep my mind fresh and my fingers nimble.

With my day job, I spend a LOT of time typing, so speed has never been an issue. I haven’t really slowed down with my typing pace. I’ve never formally measured my typing speed (some day I should do that) but I’m confident it’s over 70 WPM and probably higher than I think it is.

Words flow quickly from my fingers. I remember having a 30 minute writing race with J. Daniel Sawyer and pounding out just over 1500 words in that time. Again, this was when I was at the top of my game writing semi-regular and blogging daily. I was deep in a story and it was easy.

I’d love to get back there again. I can still type fast and I know where my story is going, but my creative muscle hasn’t been taxed like this in a long time. I just sat for 1.5 hours and wrote 2500 words. I’d love to do more, but seriously, I’m exhausted. I feel like I ran a mental marathon. I know that I could write more, but right now I don’t want to push myself. It’s like jogging. You don’t get out and run 15 miles on your first time out in a long time.

I’ve only been back to writing for 11 days after a great deal of time not writing. Yes, I mentally thought about the stories I wanted to write which is why GRPC 2 is an easy write for me, but getting into those characters’ heads and changing viewpoints and remembering events from the past story. It’s a lot at the moment. That, and I still have a family :). There’s still news and TV shows I’d like to watch. Books I’d like to read. Comics. etc.

And that’s something I needed to take a step back at. How much media was I consuming.  Especially the news. Wow. So much time I could have been writing. So that’s what I’ve done. I try to limit my time watching TV. That’s all I did. a couple hours not watching the news and using that time to write instead. And presto, I have an 11 day streak going. WOO!

So I’ll be brief tonight. I’ll try to do more thoughtful posts in the future with things like advice from Neil Gaiman, Isaac Asimov (Thank you Mike!) and links to some of the writing blogs I read and why I read them. I may even do some reviews of some of the media I’ve consumed over the past couple of years while I wasn’t writing 🙂 No, I won’t discuss the election or any of the news I watched about it. That’s what polluted my brain last year and I don’t wish to relive it.

So my steak increased, I’m happy about my words, I hope you will be as well when I finish and release this book. For now, I need to relax my brain for a while and I’ll do it again tomorrow.

Until Next Time

WOO WOO!

Starting From Zero

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Well hello there! How’ve you been? I’ve missed you. I’m glad you are still here with me.

Yes, I’ve been very very quiet over the past couple of years. There’s been a random post here and a random post there. I never intended to abandon the blog and I really should have been more open about life, the universe, and everything. (42)

Let’s just say that life happens. I let it get away from me. Writing wasn’t happening. I didn’t feel like writing. My brain just wasn’t in the game. Yes, for two years I was more focused on other things. Those things are very important, like family, friends, my job, and my health.

So I came into this year and I wanted, NAY! Needed to start writing again. It had to happen. I was going to hit the ground running! I had a fire behind me.

<cue laughter>

Yes, as you can guess, writing didn’t happen on day 1. not even on day 2. Sadly not even on day 21. But on day 22! Yes! on Day 22 words started. I had procrastinated getting my part of Jack Kane 2 off to my writing partner. Yes, I’m a slacker. But feeling bad about not writing wasn’t going to get words written.

So, on day 22 I wrote words. It always feels good when I sit at the keyboard and make stuff up. Last year, the election in this country drained me. I don’t talk about that here. That’s not what I write for. You want to discuss the election, please call your representative and talk with them about how they are or they aren’t representing you. That’s their job, not mine.

Back to writing (you can see how much the election has been on my mind. It’s very distracting). ANYWAY! Putting the election behind me, I decided the next day that I needed to pick up on a project that I meant to do last year and never got to. I had every excuse for not working on it and, again, I felt terrible. Still, bad feelings weren’t getting words written. So I sat, I wrote.

That project is a Star Wars Fan Fiction. It’s exciting for me to be dipping my toe into the Star Wars universe. My partner on that one was also very excited to get this going. We had many discussions, laid out a basic plot last year. We got all the characters in place. It was all set to go, then I fell down on the job.

So once again, putting it all behind me, I started working on writing up the Audio Script for the first episode. Yes, Audio Script. This is a totally different writing muscle. Way different than sitting and writing prose. I won’t say it’s more difficult, it’s just a different way of writing a story. It’s still writing a story though.

Over five days, I knocked out the script. It felt awesome. We’ll be reviewing it later this week and I can’t wait to get it cast and get to work on the second episode (there will be 6 in the first season).

So I was having fun with that script, but at the same time, I wanted to get working on my books once more. So at the same time I was working on the script, I would finish a scene, and I would start on a new book.

What am I writing?

A fan reached out to me who left me a great review of Orphan: GRPC1. I had wanted to start the book two and work on book three so I could write V&A 3. That little bit of encouragement was all I needed.

BAM! I started work on a new book.

All this also started at the same time I spoke with Kimi from Tale Chasing. She was excited about getting to work on her next Guardians novel. I can’t wait to read it! i loved the first, I’m sure the second will be awesome. She also helped fuel my fire. Thank You Kimi! *wave*

So what did all this add up to? Now that we’re at the end of the month and I only wrote for ten days. How did I do? How will I do going forward?

If my first few days of writing will be a streak I can carry on for the rest of the year, that has yet to be seen. I’m hoping for the best. But that I was able to write just shy of 20,000 words. Yes, ten days, 20,000 words. I am so excited that I’ve knocked out so many words. I’m ready to run into February and continue this streak.

If you’re waiting for GRPC2, I hope you won’t be waiting long. I’m already 10,000 words into the book. that’s about 1/8th of where I’m targeting. GRPC1 was roughly 80,000 words. I’m hoping GRPC2 will also be roughly 80,000 words. If things keep going the way they are, I hope to have it completed before the end of February (I write much faster when I get to the end of a book).

So things are looking up. I’m excited about writing again. Words are flowing and pending another life event, they’ll continue to flow. I also plan to blog more often. i want to keep you updated regularly. Fun times are ahead and I’m glad you’re there with me. Thank you.

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

Only two days left!

extreme-sf-ad-2016

You read that right! Only two days left to get all this extreme sci-fi goodness! And I’ll make the deal even sweeter! If you pick up a copy of the bundle, drop me a note and I’ll send you any other two of my books FREE! That’s right, just let me know you bought the bundle, and I’ll throw in a couple more books!

Don’t let this one get away! Some great books in this bundle!

I’ll be back with more news later!

WOO WOO!

NEWS: Jack Kane 2 is underway!

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It’s been far too long since I mentioned Jack Kane and the Statue of Liberty. Yes, this stand-alone book is wonderful and you would love a copy (you can get a copy right here). Mike Plested and I worked very hard getting that one out the  door and then both of us had life events that took up a majority of last year bleeding over into this year.

Suffice to say, we’re finally up and writing once more! Jack Kane 2 is under way. We don’t have a full working title yet, but that will be coming along any time I’m sure. We’re passing it back and forth so it should get done in a far shorter time than the first go ’round we had with Book 1. The writing and plotting will be tighter. The characters are already fully formed. It’s great fun so far and we’re nearly 20,000 words in! WOO!

So if you haven’t read book 1, now is a great time to get caught up. You won’t need to read book 1 to understand the events in book 2, but it’ll help get to know the characters.  As soon as this one is complete and off to the publisher, I’ll be sure to let you know. Needless to say, I’m very VERY excited to be back sitting at the keyboard. I think doing these little blogs posts are helping as well.

It’s an exciting time. I’m glad you’re still with me for the ride!

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

John Mierau (His Name is Hard to Spell) wants me to give you a free ebook.

John Mierau is a close, personal friend of mine. He produces a lot of content and it’s all worthy of your attention. He’s done a couple of KickStarters, and has a Patreon Account. Check him out! I support him!

https://www.patreon.com/servingworlds/posts

He asked me to give away some copies of his latest ebook, Farlost: Arrival, so the first 4 people to comment on this post with your email address and ebook type you prefer, I will send an ebook to you! Act fast. They will only be available for the next two weeks! If you don’t want to leave a comment, email me: jay@ofgnomesanddwarves.com.

Speaking of the next two weeks, don’t forget I’m still in a book bundle! It’s not around forever you know.

https://storybundle.com/scifi

I’ll be back with actual news tomorrow. Much is happening and I want to tell you all about it. I’ll also be posting more about things I’m reading, authors who are close, personal friends of mine, graphic novels I’ve read, Patreons I support, KickStarter campaigns I’m backing, things like that.

Stick around, there will be much to talk about in the coming days!

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

 

The continuing saga of a dying computer

Image result for windows 10 blue screen of deathAfter yesterday’s excitement (not good excitement mind you), I finally have the PC back up and running. Yes, yes, yes. I know Macs never have this issue. I’m a PC type of guy. I doubt I’ll ever change.

So I wound up reinstalling Windows 10. Then reconfigured Windows. Then reinstalled all my apps. Then reconfigured all my apps. Argh! Lots of time lost.

Thankfully, no data lost. Jay (yes, the J in JR is short for Jay, thrilling, I know) is a chronic paranoid and backs up data. The SSD that’s the master boot disk, and the one that was corrupted, only holds windows and the applications. All data, my documents, my downloads, my pictures, my music…you get the point, are all on other drives. Much of that data is backed up on external drives. So yeah, in the event of a catastrophic event, I could somewhat easily recover.

And recover I have. And, by the way, if one day you happen to wake up and find yourself in an existential quandary full of loathing and self-doubt and wracked with the pain and isolation of your pitiful meaningless existence, at least you can take a small bit of comfort in knowing that somewhere out there in this crazy mixed-up universe of ours, there’s still a little place called…Albuquerque

There’s always room for Weird Al lyrics in a blog post, I feel.

So more news? Probably not tonight. Jay needs to get to that writing stuff I wasn’t able to get to last night. It’s waiting for me, calling my name. And it’s also more of the news I’ll tell you about tomorrow!

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

P.S. Don’t forget I’m still in a book bundle This deal won’t last forever! https://storybundle.com/scifi