I had a good writing day. I clocked just under 2500 words. I may miss my Lent goal, but I’ll get darned close. I’m still hoping for a couple really good evenings of writing to try and get there. If they happen, they happen. If not, I’ll do the best I can. Life will always present obstacles. I just need to keep pressing forward and not be disappointed. After all, I’m now 14 days ahead of my annual goal. Still on target for 500,000 on the year if I keep going at the pace I’ve set. We’ll see how it goes.
One thing I’m going to do is step up the amount of fiction I’m writing. I’ve written a lot of blog posts (and some lengthy ones) but I need to really get more fiction written. Either way I’m pushing 120,000 words on the year and I’m quite happy about that.
Dan Dan the Art man has provided me with a couple new covers for short stories. Once I have edits done on Don’t Eat the Bread and Moving at the Speed of Though I will get those out there. The covers are awesome!
I’m currently working on My Teacher is a Werewolf. Again I’m having fun with this one. There are lots of little bits that make me laugh and when I tell my daughter what I’m doing she also laughs. I’m hoping that’s a plus. It’ll be a little scarier than My Teacher is a Zombie, but then it must. Werewolves are scary, right? I’m not going to make it too intense. There’ll still be a lot of funny moments. The way this one is looking it’ll end up longer than the first. I’m still trying to name this series and I’m thinking about going with Unnatural Learnings. Let me know what you think.
On a plus note: I’ve been doing a little dieting. I’m down a few pounds. Quite happy about that. The better diet is helping me keep my head clear so when I do sit down to write the words seem to be coming easier. I think that plus the combination of sitting down every day and writing is helping me get words out in a more efficient fashion.
I’m still a slave to my word count spreadsheet. I love to toy around with it. I don’t modify what I’ve done as far as numbers. Those are written in stone as far as I’m concerned. I just have fun with the formatting, graphs, percentages, adding new columns to show progress and the like. I think I spent an hour yesterday goofing around with it. Then inspiration struck and BAM! Knocked out some words. I won’t be doing that tonight. Tonight it’s all about word count and I’ll be hammering on the keyboard as quickly as I can.
Speaking of hammering on the keyboard…
I actually enjoy gray days and a good strong rain. Yesterday it was hail, today it’s just a steady drizzle. Last night we did have a couple blasts that work me up. My throat is killing me so I must’ve rolled onto my back and been the old man snoring. I’d say get off my lawn but there’s no one out and about (at least not walking) in this rain.
I’m not sure why, but the mood to write (fiction) hasn’t struck me. I did force myself to sit down and write and got out a good 800 words. It’s hard to write when you just aren’t feeling it and by golly last night I wasn’t feeling it. Those 800 words happened around 9:30PM and I was pretty much done by 10PM. I had intended to write much longer, but it just didn’t happen.
I did, however, go into twitter and clear out some people I was following. Most hadn’t posted in twitter for over a year (if at all) and quite a number weren’t following me back. Some were celebs who had millions of followers, but did very little posting. They just don’t get this social media thing so why follow them? It was pretty cool to look back through my list and I’m guessing it was listed in the order I began following people. I cleared out about 200 people and promptly found another 100 or so to follow. I’m nearly back up to my limit.
Going through all those followers/following in twitter reminded me that I’ve all but abandoned FaceBook. It still appears to be as busy as it ever was, just without me. I’ve missed it a little bit, but I’ve been crazy busy with writing. I haven’t even thought about FamrVille until I started writing about facebook. Kinda funny. Perhaps I’ll get back over there sooner or later.
Even though I’ve not been writing I’ve been busy with other things. I’ve gotten Kance Encounter up and available on Smashwords. Head on over there if you need a does of fantasy. I WILL be writing other stories in this same universe so be on the lookout for those.
Oh, speaking of works, Don’t Eat the Bread has a cover and will be available soon. I’m working on the edits for that and hopefully it’ll be out next week. Dan Dan the Art Man is also busy working on the cover for My Teacher is a Zombie. It’ll be fun to get that one out there as well. I have many more stories to tell and that I want to get out there. I’ve gotten some great reviews on the ones I’ve put up so far, so I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.
I’ve been having a blast using Scrivener. So much in fact that at first I was a writing fiend with it, now I’m a little distracted by it. It’s not that it’s a bad tool. Quite the opposite. I’m busy looking at all the bells and whistles and having a blast organizing all my works. Between spending a little time on learning Scrivener and a little time messing around with my word count spread sheet, I’ve gotten less writing done than I should. That all should change tonight. I just need to sit down and get cracking!
Speaking about getting cracking!
It rained on and off all night. Not just a light little rain like we normally get. This was LOUD pounding rain. We don’t normally get that. We usually get this long drizzle that goes on for days with spurts of more intense rain. It woke me up several times. By 6am the sun had started to come out, so I woke up and read for a little while.
Then it decided to start raining again. I had to go pick up my favorite daughter from her friend’s house. As soon as I stepped outside it started to rain. <sigh>. I picked her up and got her home so she could get ready for practice. Today she had a 1 hour private lesson before the 2 hour practice. I like to stay at her practice and watch and help out where I can.
Of course as soon as we stepped outside it decided to hail, again. As soon as we got into the car, it stopped. As soon as we got to the school and out of the car, it started raining, then hailing. <sigh>
Yes, it’s been on and off all day. Lots of little hail that’s melted almost as soon as it hit the ground. It did stop for a while, but I’m sure it’ll start again. Thankfully I’ve stayed well medicated and it hasn’t attacked my sinuses to the degree it normally does.
During practice I was ‘shagging’ balls. I stood with two balls in between courts. And what happens? One of the girls from the other court nails me in the side with a ball! So of course I had to dramatically fall to the ground. There was much laughter. I sprang up, said “I’m okay, I’m okay. Who hit that ball?” Again, much laughter and I returned the balls to the bin and continued ‘shagging’
My favorite daughter just interrupted the typing of this post. There’s a place next door to the Rancho Market and Bakery that just opened. It’s called Pistachio Sweets. They’d had a sign up for the last 7 months. We were on our way to get some baklava and what do you know! After 7 months they finally opened Pistachios! WOO WOO!
It’s the same owner as the Rancho Market and Bakery so it has the same awesome baklava, but they’ve also got ice cream, and other baked goods. OMG! Fricken awesome. I couldn’t believe how good everything is. I would have bought a lot more, but hey, I’ll be going back that’s for sure.
Ok, where was I?
Kance Encounter. Remember when I started talking about this title? Well, I finally got it up and online. It’s over at smashwords. Head on over and grab yourself a copy. Dan Dan the Art Man did the great cover for the story. I’ll be doing more in the same universe this year. I had intended to do one per month this year, but I’ve gotten a little sidetracked with other projects. I’m still going to put out more stories in this universe and I’m also going to work on the re-writes for Of Gnomes and Dwarves. More will be coming. Just you wait and see.
Speaking of getting more out, I’d better get on that. I’m behind on my Lent goal and I have a lot of words to write.
Last night the Action Pack Podcast went live. The three of us involved with this endeavor are quite excited. The concept is serialized fiction spread out over a year. Each story will end on a cliffhanger and a new episode will come out each month. There will also be print editions available over at Flying Island Press. You can pick up the podcast at Action Pack Podcast. Stop by and let me know what you think.
My fellow authors, Mike Plested and Scott Roche, are also helping generate noise (buzz?) about the podcast. Stop on over at their sites and see what they’re all about. All three of us are quite busy podcasters and writers. Don’t forget to check out Dan Dan the Art Man, the man responsible for our artwork!
As for writing, it was another productive day. Got another 2000 words out. It nice when I hit a flow and can roll with it. Hopefully I can keep this pace up during Lent and carry it on beyond. I’m already 4 days ahead of my yearly writing schedule. This is important because the last thing I want to do is fall behind again. I was able to get caught up and now ahead. I see no reason to stop now.
I finished a short story and sat on it for a couple of days. I had three or four ‘ah-ha’ moments and those went into the revisions. I’m now waiting for a response and requested edits (edits will always be requested, I’d be surprised if they weren’t). I’m quite happy with how the story turned out. I can’t want to see how it does once it makes it out into the wild.
Now more about how I got to where I am today.
After spending nearly five years as a starving musician, I decided that being in a band just wasn’t in the cards. It was a good run, but unfortunately I could not motivate the guys beyond small clubs and it was all on my to do any promotion, book gigs, etc. Combine that with the lead singer wanting to be the only creative force in the band, and I felt stifled. I had creative ideas that I needed to get out.
I did not explain this in earlier updates, but this was when I really had to take a look at what I wanted to do with my life. In high school, I played D&D. Sean and I both played and continued to play as adults. I loved the game. I had decided to write a book based on our characters. Yes, one of ‘those’ books. There were many stops and starts during high school, in the Navy, even while I was in a band. I just could not get the story going.
After leaving the band, I had a great idea for the story. Yes, the characters were still based on the D&D characters, but everything D&D was out of it. Well, to some extent. There were still monsters and random encounters, but I had decided to make it more of a story and less of an adventure. I had to get them to meet in a way that made sense. I had to have a story that I could tell.
Well, suffice to say it sucked. I trashed it again.
Then I met a comic book artist. He was just getting started and he was GREAT! I had gone back to school at ITT Tech to get a degree and I wrote pages at night. He agreed to pencil the work. I got cranking on the script. I was excited. I was going to write a COMIC BOOK! WOO WOO!
The guy was really good. He went on to write Warrior Nun Arela, moved on to be an intern with Jim Lee (I got to go to the studio and meet his entire crew, that was awesome) and eventually moved on to Marvel and last I heard he was doing Catwoman for DC. He’s done well and I’m glad he did. I don’t know that doing a little independent comic with me would have helped him that much. Check out Pete Woods as he’s done great things in the field of comics.
So after this period of time, I kept on writing Of Gnomes and Dwarves as a comic. I had decided that the first run would be 15 issues telling one storyline and then I’d move on to the next storyline. I wrote 48 or 49 issues before i ran out of steam and could not find another artist. I tried submitting my work, but it was rough and I go no interest.
I dove back into school. It was very easy for me because it was basically a rehash of my Navy ‘C’ school. Getting ‘A’s was as easy as staying awake in class. My comic had been shelved, but I was still happy to talk about it to anyone and everyone who would hear about it. They all thought I was nuts, but that it was cool that I’d written something even if it wasn’t published.
I got to work on 8080s and 8088s and we even upgraded an 8088 to a 286. This was at a time when a 386 was cutting edge. If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry. These were IBM computers and the PC was just starting to take hold. It was before the computer explosion of the mid-90s. These things weren’t cheap, but they were getting there.
Then I met the woman who would become my wife. More on that, tomorrow.
Yesterday was a good day. For me.
Let me start with the bad news just to get it out of my head.
A friend of my wife’s (and co-worker) had her son disappear. At this point they’re not sure if he ran away or was kidnapped. He was on his way home from school yesterday and was last seen at a local park. If you’re local to San Diego/Chula Vista and would like more information, e-mail me and I’ll send you what information I have. It has the wife very shaken up.
On to the happier news.
My favorite daughter and I practiced volleyball for about an hour and a half yesterday and my arm is a little stiff this morning. I plan on getting her a jump rope today and we’ll be jump roping 15-20 minutes a day to help with her jumping. She needs to improve her vertical leap and another one of the player’s moms told me jumping rope will help. She has practice today and tomorrow so I think my arm will be getting a little rest. That kid is keeping the wife and I hopping.
On the writing front. I got a lengthy update post yesterday (you read that? It was kinda long). I also wrote a guest post for my cover artist Dan Dan the Art Man about my TV experience. That was a fun write. Beyond that I also got a good chunk of My Teacher is a Zombie written. Yesterday saw over 3000 words get written. I’ll be doing some writing in the little spots I find here and there over the weekend. That’s what I did yesterday.
Usually I fill these little snippets of time with getting caught up on reading blogs, playing angry birds, or playing around on twitter. It’s easy to say “I don’t have enough time to really get going” but I’ve discovered that even if I have a few minutes I can bash out a hundred words here or two hundred words there. I may not always do this, but two things are driving me. 1) I’m behind on my annual word count and I don’t want to get further behind and 2) I’m at an exciting part in the story I’m writing. Another thing that’s driving me at this point is the fact that I’ve made commitments to other people for work and I need to finish one before moving on to another. So far it’s fun being driven and pushing myself more than I ever have.
Will I suffer from burnout? If I do, then I don’t think I have the chops to be a full time writer. Even writing part time shouldn’t be as much of a pain as I’m making it. I’m just not taking full advantage of the time I have available. I know I can do better. Even though I wrote 3000 words yesterday, I still don’t feel I’m putting out as much as I can. I still feel like I’m not moving quickly enough.
I had a conversation with someone earlier in the week. As I put it, it’s like working out. You need to walk before you can run. When I started working out I was walking too quickly, then jogging too soon and I injured myself. I know I need to start walking about, but one thing I also noticed was that my word could was up and down but on a general upward trend. I was writting a little more over time. So I’m not going to go out on a limb and say I’ll be writing at Nathan Lowell levels any time soon, but as long as I’m steady and consistent I’ll be able to get a lot of work done this year.
Speaking of getting a lot of work done…
I’ve written daily for some time and I’ve continued to watch the number of subscribers to this blog drop. Am I annoying? Should I keep going? Should I stop questioning myself and just keep at it? Should I stop asking questions I don’t have the answer to? Are my dogs trying to communicate with me at a subconscious level I don’t yet understand?
I’ve read Scott Roche’s story for the Action Pack Podcast. I can’t wait to get the audio. It’s gonna be fun. I haven’t listened to Mike Plested’s audio yet, but I will be doing that tonight. At some point during the week I’ll be recording my audio. Then I’ll be bugging another friend of mine about the rest of the music so I can get the podcast assembled.
Then I need to write a piece for Dan Dan the Art Man (I haven’t forgotten about that). I also need to write my piece for my secret project. My Teacher is a Zombie is coming along nicely. Had fun writing last night’s scene and the next scenes will be loads of fun to do. I also need to get working on Second Kance. I need to do edits, I need to write. I need to get off my duff, don’t I?
Yes, yes I do. I wrote a couple thousand words last night. I’ll be doing another couple thousand tonight. I should be able to get myself back on track with my overall writing goal for the year and for this month. I just need to keep hitting keys on the keyboard in the right order and I’ll get there. It’s a magical feeling seeing some of my writing projects take shape.
Tonight my favorite daughter has a voluntary practice. I’ll go and I’ll write in the truck during the first half and go in for the second half. When I’m actually sitting and writing I can get out over 1000 words an hour. It’s just a matter of sitting and actually typing out the words.
I just realized that I hadn’t put out an Unorthodox Writing Tips. I’ll get that out tonight as well. I guess with so much writing to actually get done, I should get on some of it, eh?
So if you haven’t seen it yet, I have a free short story on Smashwords. I really like this story as it gives a briefest glimpse into the life of a person that would otherwise be ignored. It’s not genre fiction, it’s just fiction. It has a slight Christian slant, just to forewarn you. It’s not heavy handed at all, just a story. I had submitted it to a contest a few years ago and although I didn’t win, I got some great feedback from the judges. The picture for the cover came from PayPhoneNews.com and was used with permission. The cover was done by Dan Dan the Art Man. He does great work! Wait until you see the cover for Kance Encounter. 🙂
Yesterday I told you to look for a Tweet telling you that Sputtery Truck had returned home in fine, working order. I reminded the wife that we needed to pick it up. I called her at 3PM to remind her. I forgot to mention that the place closes at 5PM and it’s about a 30 minute drive from our house. So when she got home at 4:45PM and said “Let’s go get the truck!” I was already deflated. My favorite daughter had said about an hour before, “Why don’t we just drive down and get it? Why do we have to wait for mommy? Oh, wait. Nevermind.” I love my kid. It’s a good thing she’s cute. 🙂
So still I wait for my truck to return to me. It’ll be a little more than estimated because another part on the engine needed to be replaced, but I had been expecting that. It’ll still be less than replacing the truck. So the wife will return early today so we can go and pick it up. From what I’m told, all looks good.
More waiting, as I mentioned already I’m still waiting to hear back on books and short stories. I’m going to stop stressing about them and get my butt in the chair and write. While waiting for the wife last night I could have been writing, but instead found other things to distract myself like calling and sending texts to the wife not realizing she didn’t have her phone with her. Not hearing back only got me more worked up and I couldn’t concentrate. Ah well. Today is another day, right?
I’ve spent the last couple days at work writing documentation and building mock-ups. This, at times, can be a tedious process, but it’s something I enjoy. I like thinking through each step and what it would take to build out a larger project. The one we’re looking at isn’t nearly as large as a project I had last year and it’s more modular so a few of us can work on it at one time. It’s neat to see all those parts come together. Again, I’ll be waiting until the client signs off and we can begin the work in earnest. More waiting. LOL
Are you seeing a theme here? It’s a good thing I’m usually patient or I’d go insane. Speaking of going insane…
No, really. I walked up the hill, then ran on the flat and downhill parts. Okay, okay. I walked up the hill and started a light jog, but I was still moving much faster than walking. I didn’t think I was going to start, but as I walked, I just had this urge to start going faster than a brisk walking pace.
A funny thing happened.
Now let me explain something. As I’ve been saying, shin splints have haunted me and my walking. It has for years. I was working out on an elliptical which was nice because it was non-impact training. The new shoes and a shorter stride have helped alleviate the pain of shin splints. But when I run I don’t run heel-toe, heel-toe. My cross-country/track coach in high school had us run on our toes.
So I’ve been told that I look a little funny when I run. I’ve also been told I have Barney Rubble legs (short and stumpy). But hey, when I start jogging, I’m running on my toes and not heel-toe so the pain in my shins is lessened greatly. This was almost as awesome as doing 12 minute miles yesterday. Down from 17 minute miles just a couple of weeks ago.
I’ll be jogging/walking/jogging/walking from now on. I’m going to try and extend my jogging periods and shorten my walking periods. When I can get below 10 minute miles, I’ll reverse my direction. Wait, what? See, currently I go up one big hill, then a LONG, slow downhill. Once I get into better shape I’ll do the LONG uphill with a short, steep downhill. Just to mix things up. There are even different routes I can take that’ll provide more hills, again, just to mix things up.
On the writing front:
I mentioned the Action Pack yesterday. Well I also spoke with Dan Dan the Art Man and he had already agreed to do my cover for my Action Pack story. I’ve now convinced him through my magical ways to do the cover art for both Mike Plested and Scott Roche as well as providing us with a banner and logo for the Action Pack! I mean, how cool is that? Dan is filled with awesome and every time I see him produce something I’m amazed. Dan, if you’re reading this, we promise not to abuse you. Too much.
Yesterday My Favorite Daughter had a late volleyball practice (her first tournament is Sunday). It went until 9PM. Didn’t get into a sitting position until 10PM to start writing and banged out exactly 800 words. It’s always strange to end on a specific number. No practice for her tonight or tomorrow so I should be able to bang out a couple thousand a day. I hope. I’m really enjoying the direction To Fall From the Sky is taking. I had something bad happen to the protagonist, and I used the antagonist’s POV to explain what had gone wrong. I’m not even a third of the way through and I can already see where this is going. I’m going to have a blast once I get into the final parts of this book. Heck, I’m having fun now just thinking about it.
I’ll be posting more updates tomorrow and keep you apprised of what is happening with the Action Pack. We’re currently shooting for the first episode to drop at the end of February, so keep your eyes peeled. Oh, and I also have my first short getting itself ready for release at the end of this month. Dan Dan the Art Man is also doing the cover for that. It’s going to be amazing!
I’m rambling, aren’t I? Ok. Get out of here. I’ve got words to write.