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Monday Update: Hey, Jay. It’s not Monday.

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So it’s the end of May. Yes, I know I missed my Monday update, but it’s for a good reason. Today is May 31st and I figured I’d get to the end of May and let you know how my 3K a Day in May challenge ended.

Let’s get that out of the way first. I hate long, drawn out conclusions.

I missed…by that much. I was close and if I were to stay awake until midnight I could probably still get there. But I’ve got work in the morning and sleep still sounds like a good idea.

How close? My target was 93,000 words over the 31 days of May (3000 words a day, you know, it’s that math stuff). What I actually accomplished was 89,296. I missed by 3700 words. About 4% away from my target. Yes, I got to 96%. If that were a grade, it’d still be an A.

So, I failed amazingly well. Honestly, as I said before, if I’d gotten to 50%, I would have called it a success. Getting to 75% a huge success. I never thought I’d hit 93,000 words in one month. That’s crazy talk right there.

And I didn’t change much in the way of my habits. I still did stuff, watched TV shows, saw movies, went to a dance show, spent Sundays with the family and went to church. All the normal things. I worked. Oh, and I got food poisoning which dragged me under for a couple days where I thought I might be able to get caught up but wow, do room spins and writing NOT go together.

I learned a lot about my writing and myself over this past month. Like what? I’m so glad you asked.

  1. I waste a lot of time. Like wow do I spend too much time watching the news and thinking “I should be writing.”
  2. No matter how late I would start, I would usually finish around the same time. Usually around 10pm. Yes, I waste a lot of time.
  3. I can write, on average, 1000 words every 30 minutes if I write and don’t allow myself to get distracted. Tonight, for example, I started around 8pm and finished my 3000 words before 9:30pm AND I cooked dinner in the middle.
  4. Communication is key. My favorite daughter and my wife both knew what I was trying to do, understood, and were supportive. I’ve talked with them about my short term (3k a day in May) and long term (see my 1, 5, 10 year plan post). If I hadn’t done that, they wouldn’t have known what I was up to and would have wondered why I’m typing away like a madman all the time.
  5. Starting a book in the middle of a large challenge like this is difficult. I completed Golden West 3 on May 12th and started Almost-Super Heroes 2 on May 13th. Two very different books with totally different plots, casts, and goals. Wow did my brain not want to start a new book that way. I’ll be going back to the first couple of chapters and doing a lot of cleanup, but it’s a good start and got me back into the character’s heads.
  6. Writing takes a LOT of energy. It’s mentally taxing. I wouldn’t have tried this challenge if I hadn’t completed my Lent goal and written 2000 words a day during Lent, and started 3K a day ‘Til May before running into May. It’s like any form of exercise, to maintain that kind of pace is challenging and you need to work up to it.

At this point, all I can say, I’m super excited for what I got completed in May. I’m happy with what I wrote and where the new book is going. I’m VERY happy with how Golden West turned out. I’m excited to hit June running though there will be a slight bump.

I’ll be taking a short break. I’ve been going non-stop on writing daily for 130 days. I’ve written 296,000 words over that time. I need a break, so I’m taking one. When I’m back, I’ll be writing like a fury once more. My goal to complete 5 books this year is out the door. I plan on going for 8 books. I plan on writing at least 8 books next year as well. Though I’ll only be releasing a book every other month, this will give me a backlog. That’s what I’m going for is a backlog of books so should something happen that knocks me off the rails, I’ll still be able to continue to drop a book every other month on schedule.

If I get far enough ahead, I’ll start to drop monthly, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Instead, I’ll focus on this year and seeing what other challenges I can set up and actually complete or at least get close to.

So how is your writing going? Have you set any challenges for yourself? Any targets you’re hoping to hit? Let me know how you’re doing. I’d love to hear from you. For now, May is done. I’m taking a break and will return with tales of adventures.

Until Next Time

Stay Awesome!

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Monday Update: Stay on target. Stay on target!

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63,190 words.

So far for this month, I’ve written 63,190 words.

I…no, seriously. I’m astonished. I was a touch behind, but now…I’m a tiny bit ahead. I’ll be doing my words in a little bit. I don’t want to lose that tiny bit. I’d like to stay on target.

Never did I think I’d maintain this pace for half the month. Now with ten writing days left, it looks like I might actually make it. Another 30,000 words and I’ll do it. I’m not sure what to say. I guess we’ll see where I land.

As I said from the start of this challenge, I’d be happy to hit half my goal. That would have been 44,000 words. I’m already past that so I’m excited! Like… very excited! Currently, I’m 100,000 words ahead of my annual goal. I think I’m going to leave that goal of 438,000 for 2017 in the dust. In fact, I’m already looking at 2018. I’ll be bumping up that goal to 2000 words a day and see where that takes me. It’s very likely I’ll come close to that goal this year, but we’ll wait and find out. I’ve a couple more challenge months I’ve set aside, so we’ll see where that takes all this.

I’m also thrilled that I’m knee-deep into Almost-Super Heroes 2. I’m so excited that I decided to do a little timelining on when these books will drop. As I said in the last post, I’m looking at a 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year plan. As it stands, here’s what I’ll be dropping for the rest of the year.

July 1st, 2017 – Golden West 3: Showdown

September 1st, 2017 – Giant Robot Planetary Competition 2: Villain

November 1st, 2017 – Almost-Super Heroes 1: Escape

Yes, I’ve already plotted out 2018 releases as well. All of this will lead up to the Military Sci-Fi trilogy I have planned with the 4th book in V&A Shipping, GRPC, and Almost-Super Heroes all tying in.

In total this entire story arc will take place across 15 books. Yes, a massive undertaking. That’s a lot of books. A lot of teams. A lot of moving parts. To be honest, at this stage in my writing, I’m finally ready to take it all on. I can’t wait to start dropping books over the next two years to see what happens.

All of this wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t challenged myself to see what was actually possible. I’ve had a few of you following along and thank you for your encouragement. It means a lot to me. I’ve cleared away many roadblocks and mental challenges that I’ve had. Those prevented me from really allowing myself to move forward with this.

I’ve got a lot of words to write and I’m going out tonight (Yes, I still have a life beyond writing) so I’m off to make words happen.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: Wait…what?

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Call me nuts. Call me crazy. I spent the last two weeks of April trying to write 3K per day. And failed. I did write a lot of words over those two weeks and had a LOT of fun. Even though I failed, I still succeeded by writing more words than I thought I would. Percentagewise, I made it to 77% of my objective. 42000 words in two weeks. Sheer madness!

So, I thought, why not try to do that for an entire month! Even if I fail, I’ll still have written a lot of words. Right? Why not try and see how close I can get. 21,000 words a week for 4 full weeks? I must be off my rocker.

How did the first week of May go?

I’m glad you asked.

Total doomed failure yet again.

um… Jay…no, it wasn’t.

Wait…What do you mean it wasn’t a failure?

Just that, you succeeded.

What? I hit my target of 21,000 words for the first week of May?

Well, not really.

I told you! FAILURE!

You overshot it by 3200 words.

*double take* Wait…what?

Yes, you read that right. I didn’t hit 21,000 words. I passed 21,000 words in the first week. 24,165 words to be exact. I know, I know! I’m shocked as well. After missing badly the first two weeks, I ran past it on the third week. Who’d’a thunk?

Here’s the breakdown of week 1

Monday: 3002
Tuesday: 3007
Wednesday: 3028
Thursday: 3067
Friday: 3090
Saturday: 3887
Sunday: 5084

I crossed 67,000 words in Golden West 3. I’m around 20,000 words from the end. That means, if I stay on pace, I’ll blow past the end this week! I started the book just 29 days ago. I’ll be done with the first draft in less than 40 days. I’m flabbergasted.

Now, I knew I could write quickly. I know I type faster than average. But with life, work, family time, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, friends, etc. I honestly didn’t think I’d hit my target, but I thought it would be fun to try.

If all goes well, I’ll be done with GW3 in 7 days. So far this month I’ve written 24,165 words. So far this year I’ve written 230,982 words. I’m more than half-way past my annual goal I set at the beginning of the year. Remember that? 438,000 words on the year. 1200 words per day. I thought it would be challenging. Averaging that many words a day for an entire year? I didn’t think I’d make it. Now I’m contemplating how far beyond that initial goal I’ll make it.

Not only that, how many books I’ll get written at this pace. I’ve already finished two books this year. I’m coming up on the end of a third. Mike and I will have Jack Kane 2 done soon. Before the end of the month, I’ll have these books done and unpublished.

Jack Kane 2: Jack Kane and the Kaiser

Almost-Super Heroes

Golden West 3

Of Gnomes and Dwarves 1: Chance Encounters

Giant Robot Planetary Competition 2: Villain

That’s 5 titles under my belt, ready to go. One will require publisher edits and timeline. The others are mine, all mine, to do with as I please. And I shall. In my own time. I was planning on starting my release cycle in July. I may postpone that slightly. I don’t mean to tease or not give you stories to read. I’m still working through how to best do this for maximum impact. As you can see, all of these titles are different series. They’re scattered all over. My brain wants to just drop them and move on. But I need to think about the business aspect of all this.

OGAD is a fantasy series. GW is steampunk. Jack Kane is steampunk/humor. ASH and GRPC are both set in the V&A Shipping universe.

What I’ve done is spread my efforts among many titles. I had the theory of “write one of each, see what sticks” and I didn’t give any of them a chance to make an impact by continuing my efforts in one direction. So I’m having to rethink my entire gameplan.

Yes, Golden West 3 will come out first. That’ll end that trilogy. It was always intended as a trilogy, it’ll be finished as a trilogy and I’ll be done with that story line. Jack Kane will come out when the publisher is ready to put it out. When I finish GW3, I’ll start work on Almost-Super Heroes 2 (already have the entire plot in my head). Then I’ll go ASH3, then GRPC3, and V&A3. Why? Well, let me fill you in.

All three of those titles, V&A, GRPC, and ASH, all are set in the same Universe and if you follow along with those stories, I’m leading into a major event. That major event will be a new trilogy that I’ve been planning for over a decade, but my brain was never to the point I thought I could pull off the storyline. Now I think I can. With those titles, I’ll be leading into a Military SciFi trilogy. I plan on making it epic and there will also be tie-in novels with the three other titles giving different perspectives of the event that will occur.

That means I want to get deeper into those books before I start dropping so I can release faster (one every two months). So you will see a couple of titles drop this year. Of Gnomes and Dwarves will have to wait until I get through my SciFi phase.

Why?

When I start dropping fantasy, I want to be knee deep into fantasy and drop that series all in a row. Not one book, then two years later, the next. I want to drop series titles in rapid succession. I’ll do the same with my Supernatural Learning series. I’ll do the same with <top secret series title>. I’ve picked up a head of steam. I have a direction. I have the motivation and the power of momentum behind me.

What I’ve always lacked over the years has been focus and direction. I’m somewhat confident I have both of those now and going into 2018, I plan to make a big splash…finally. It’ll be an exciting time and I’m glad you’re here at the beginning of it all. I’ve had many false starts over the years, but this time, I’m ready.

I’ve got a LOT of words to write over the next few years. If I don’t write ’em, no one else will. Stick around. Watch this space. In a couple months, things will start to get interesting.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: Gloom, despair, and agony on me ooooOOohhh.

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Two weeks ago I set out to write 3000 words per day until May. How’d I do? Well, if you’re following along at home, you know I didn’t succeed the first week. How’d I fare the second week? Worse. Dang nab it.

The first week I knocked out 17,118 words. The second week I only managed 15,205. So my hope was to hit 42,000 words over 14 days and I only managed 32,323. I hang my head in shame and disgrace.

Pfft, who am I kidding? 32,000 words in two weeks? I’ll take that. Sure, I missed my goal, but I also spent a lot of time with the family doing family stuff and sometimes, that happens. Yes, I still wrote every day, but when you don’t get a chance to start writing until very late at night, makes it tough to get those 3,000 words out.

As far as I’m concerned, 3K Per Day ‘Til May was a rousing success. For the entire month of April, I managed 66,321 words for an average of 2211 words per day. I finished Almost-Super Heroes (title subject to change cuz I had a brilliant idea) and I got knee deep into Golden West 3: Showdown (sitting at nearly 43,000 words). It was an exciting month and I’m looking forward to May.

One of the things I learned in the 3K challenge is that I really needed to stretch to hit that word count on a daily basis. Out of the 14 days, I hit that target 8 days. Yes, I missed the target 6 of those days, and most of the time it was all my fault. I’m the king of procrastination. I know this and it’s something I need to work on. The news won’t change from hour to hour, therefore I don’t need to watch 3-4 hours of news while I’m doing things about the house. In fact, I shouldn’t because it eats into your brain. It caused me to lose focus. Other days work did the eating and I didn’t want to look at a computer screen for one more minute. So I didn’t. Until late. Then I chose to sit up trying to hit my target.

With all that said, yes, I feel my 3K per day challenge was a huge success. I got a lot of words done. I stretched my limits. Spread my wings. And, though I didn’t fall out of the nest, I didn’t soar as high as I’d hoped.

So what’s next? I’m glad you asked.

Next is my next challenge and you might have guessed, it’s very similar to the challenge that just passed. 3K per day ’til May was a warm-up to the main event. That’s right. 3K Per Day in May! I will attempt to write 3000 words a day for an entire month.

What? Has Jay lost his mind? Is he nuts? A job, A family, and writing 3000 words a day? Where does he find the time?

For me, it’s about small sacrifices. Taking advantage of those little slices of time to write and to write as quickly as possible during that time. I’ve got a lot of  books in my head demanding to be let out, so it’s time to turn the crank and get them out.

Speaking of which, I’m off to go make words happen. If you need some motivation, follow along with me! I’d love to see how you’re doing. Set your own challenge and post here. Let me cheer you on. It doesn’t have to be writing related, could be art related (a sketch a day in May), could be poetry, painting, basket weaving, anything. Let me know, post it here, and go for it! Let’s push each other to do more.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: Book 2 of the Year Complete

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Good Morning and Happy Monday! Did you read the title of this blog? If not, let me repeat it here. Book 2 of the year is complete!

That’s right. I plan on writing 5 books this year, and the second is DONE!

Well, if you recall I’m only counting this as a half book. When Mike Plested and I complete Jack Kane 2, I’ll also count that one as a half book.

But, hey! Another book done! I really love the way Almost-Super Heroes came to an end. Yes, yes, I left it open for a sequel and I already know how the book will start, how it’ll go, and how it’ll end.

I’m so excited. I finished the book on Saturday. I wrote nearly 5000 words that day to finish the book. I also did a bunch of things around the house including fixing the fridge. I can’t wait to share this book with you. I really can’t. It ties in with GRPC and V&A Shipping. I’m working on something really exciting story-wise with these titles and it’s something I’ve dreamt up for the past few years. It’s so awesome to see it all coming together.

What am I working on next? Glad you asked.

I’m working on Golden West Book 3: Showdown.

Wait, Jay, I thought you said you were excited about GRPC and V&A Shipping, and all that.

Yes, yes. I am. I’m super crazy excited about that series and what I’ll be writing in all those books. But I need some closure. The way I’d ended Golden West Book 2 was desperate for an ending. I need to finish that one off. The third book will be the last in that series. I don’t know if I’ll ever visit that universe again. So, I need to finish that series off and let it be done. Between yesterday and today, I read through books 1 and 2 and wow are they emotionally draining books to read. I really put these characters through the ringer.

Book 3? Yes, I know exactly how the book will go. I’m weird like that. Books pop into my head fully formed and it’s only a matter of sitting and writing it out. Unlike books 1 and 2, this one will be longer. I have a lot of threads to tie up and a build up to a satisfying ending. I’d always intended this to be a trilogy. That’s why I’m not certain I’ll ever visit these characters or this universe again.

Why?

I have soooooo many books I want to write. I have a list of running ideas. I need to get back to the Astel series (it will no longer be a trilogy). I need to work on my Epic Fantasy series, Of Gnomes and Dwarves. I want to write more Billy stories (none will fall into the V&A Shipping Universe). I want to crank out more Supernatural Learning books. I even have an entirely new series that I haven’t even started that I think will be a BLAST to write. Plus I have three other titles/series that I want to dig into and write in.

On top of that, I want to record everything as audio and get all my current titles published. Those are just waiting for me to record them and get them out the door.

Will this be an active year for my writing?  Oh yeah! Will next year? Oh yeah!

Where am I at today?

Let’s start with, done with my Lent Goal and still one more week to go! That’s right. For the first time since I started tracking my words, I hit my Lent writing goal!.  Over 46 days I was going to write 92,000 words and as of my writing this I’m sitting at 92,881. So I actually passed my goal on Saturday.

How’s my secondary goal of 2750 words per day average going? Close. Very close. For the past 17 days I’ve averaged 2676. So I need a couple good days to get back to that target. What happened? Well, yesterday happened, that’s what.

As I said, between yesterday and today I re-read Golden West 1 and 2 to get back into that world so I could work on book 3. I had the first little bit thought out and it’ll be a bit explainy as I get readers up to speed on what came before. So yesterday I only had ~500 words. Now that I’m caught back up on… oh, wait, if you haven’t read books 1 and 2 I can’t tell you what I’m getting caught up on. Shame on you. You almost had me tell you.

Suffice to say, it feels good to be in this world. Can’t wait to lay down words, but I have to. I need to get a chapter back to Mike in Jack Kane 2 as we’re nearly done with that book as well. Then I’ll bang out some words with Abigail, Jax, and the rest of the gang.

So there will be many, many words in the future. I’m sorry to make you wait on them, but I have a super-secret plan in my back pocket and I hope you’ll still be here for the ride. I need to get to writing so…

Until Next Time,

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: Progress is Progressing

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Hey Howdy Hey and welcome to another Monday. I hope everything is going wonderful for you.

So I decided Monday seemed like the best day to post an update. Why? Well, because it’s the start of the week for most and it’s a good stepping off point. Let’s see where I’m at and where I want to be.

When last we spoke, I’d finished GRPC2 the day before. That meant jumping into a new book. I didn’t jump into a ‘new’ book so much as jumped into a book I’d already started. That, for me, is even more difficult. What happened before? Where was I going with all this? What little secrets did I want to reveal? What foreshadowing did I do?

Let me say this here and now. Writing faster means I don’t lose track of those things. When it took me months to write a book, I would lose track of a little item and would forget why I’d dropped it in. Writing faster means I can drop a hint, and a dozen chapters later, I can get the payoff. Since it’s only a few days away (and not two or three months). I’m liking that.

So, I jumped back into Almost-Super Heroes after being away from the story for nearly three years! This book, in a way, will tie into the V&A Shipping universe. Giant Robot Planetary Competition is also in the V&A Shipping universe. I plan on tying all these books together. Without meaning to, Billy Barbarian is also in that universe, but won’t be directly involved with the current storyline I’m weaving through all the other titles. I will say no more on this, ever! You’ll have to read and follow along with the books to know what I’m up to. No spoilers to you!

Back to Almost-Super Heroes. The week started out…bumpy. I chose to go back and re-read/edit the first 40,000 words I’d already written. As I said, it’d been over three years. I knew where I was going overall and how it tied into the major story arc across all the titles. So over four days with cuts and additions, I only had a net gain of 3300 words, BUT I knew everything that was going on. I was able to get back into the character’s heads. It all started to click once more. All those ‘candy bar’ scenes were still in my mind and waiting to jump onto the page.

Over the last three days of the week, I knocked out 8300 words. I keep saying, I want to average 2000 words a day during Lent. I’m not going to get upset because one of those days I cut an entire 2500 word chapter and only netted a total of 400 words. Yeah, I wrote 2900 words and I could have counted that, but I’m in an existing story. I’m going by net gain. As I said, those first days were bumpy, but the story is better for it.

Did I manage 2000 words a day last week? Nope. Total miss. I only had 1661 words per day. That’s not important. What is? That I’m still averaging over 2000 words per day for Lent overall. I was able to pound on the keyboard and still hit my words I needed to. This week I will get ahead. Why?

First, Mike Plested, you remember him? My writing partner on Jack Kane? Well, he tagged me so tonight I wrote the next chapter in Jack Kane 2. So I’ve got 2100 words down, and I’m ready to try and do the same with Almost-Super Heroes.

I’ve got a new goal and this is what I should have done for Lent because I think it would have been a true challenge.

Remember a couple weeks back when I was talking about Dean Wesley Smith and Pulp Speed writing? Well, for the rest of Lent I intend to write at Pulp Speed 1. It’s not that many more words per day (average). It’s 2750 words a day. Guess what? I already did that for 3 days without thinking about it. I’ll do it again today. I’m fairly confident I can do this for the remainder of Lent.

If I do, what’ll happen?

First, it means I’ll crush my Lent goal. If I stay on target of 2000 words per day, I’ll hit 92000 words easily. If I write at Pulp Speed 1 for the rest of Lent, I’ll hit 110000 words over those 46 days. I’ll be at 20% over my goal. Being that I’ve never (ever!) hit my Lent goal of 2000 words per day, this would be a big deal to not only hit my goal but surpass it.

Another benefit, I would be 44 days ahead of my annual goal! That means I could have 44 days of 0 word count, and still be on target. That’s huge to bank that many words. There will be time off. There will be vacations. There will be days where there aren’t enough hours to find time to sit and type. I’m taking advantage of having those days now!

What else will it mean?

First, I’ll have a second book done before Lent ends. My goal is to finish five books this year. I don’t count finishing this book as cheating because based on my goal, I would have written 4.75 books, roughly. That means getting this book done and out the door is part of that process. Rather than target partial books, I’m shooting for 5 total books completed.

If I can nudge my good friend Mike along, Jack Kane will be done very soon as well. JK2 is already 80% complete. We’re in the homestretch! I’m excited to bring this book to market. These characters are so much fun to write. Hopefully, we’ll jump right into book 3.

That means very soon, I’ll have three books done this year. Two of those would be half books, so I’m not counting 3 books I wrote, but only 2. I will need to write three more books to hit my 5 book goal.

Will I succeed? Will I fail? You know what, I could stop writing right this moment, and I would still consider this year a win. Why? I have a writing streak of 65 days. I’ve already written 128,000 words. That’s more than some professional writers I follow knock out in a year when they produce one book. Yes. I did that in 65 days.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself a pro by any stretch of the imagination. What I am doing is having a GREAT time writing fun stories I’ve wanted to write for years. Hell, for decades. I have so many books in my head that if I kept up this pace for 10 years (5 books a year for 10 years) I still wouldn’t run out of ideas and fun stories to tell.

So I’m glad you’re along for the ride. Let’s see if I can keep up Pulp Speed 1 until next Monday as a start, shall we? This should be a hoot. Check back here next week to see if I hit my numbers. I won’t cheat. I won’t fudge. I won’t do anything other than count my net gain of words and report to you next week. I fudged my numbers in the past for no good reason as I was the only one I was fooling with those numbers. No one else ever saw my spreadsheet.

If any of you are interested in the spreadsheet I use, I could look at posting a read-only version somewhere and giving it public access. Then you can all follow along 🙂

I’m off to make more words happen. Only 750 words to go for today’s goal, but I’ll try for more.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!