Daily Update: Getting the wind knocked out of your sails.
So I’ve been a writing fool the past couple of days. I’ve been watching my word count go up quickly and it was making me very happy. I keep everything in a spread sheet with formulas and totals for days/weeks/months/etc. I’ve got a graph to show how the work is going daily and all that. Looking at the report makes me happy because I can see where my word count is going.
Then I noticed an error. Thankfully I found it only 10 days into February. It kinda took me back when I found it and it made me sad for a moment, but i quickly got over it.
According to my word count I was about 3000-4000 words ahead of schedule for my annual word count goal. Well, this mistake was adding February’s word counts to January’s word counts and padded my numbers. A lot. After fixing the formula my word count dropped by 10,000 words (thereabout). That was quite a goal, but I’m only a couple thousand behind now and I can write to get caught up. I don’t have the padding I did, but I have a lot of words I need to write so getting caught up won’t be as difficult as it could be. It just means I need to write a little extra each day and actually get back to writing daily without fail.
Okay, got that out of my system.
Kance Encounter was suppose to be released at the end of January. Sorry it’s late. I will be putting it out soon and I’m already working on the sequel. Both will be coming out this month so keep an eye out for them. I just got the edits back (email failed me and it had gotten lost the first time). Now that I have those I’ll be going through Kance Encounter and getting it out as soon as possible.
The Action Pack Podcast is on track. I should be getting audio from Mike Plested and Scott Roche over the weekend. I’ll be recording and bugging my friend for the musical parts once again. We’re hoping to get a promo ready (Mike is writing that up) and I’ll be writing up the intro to the actual podcast. Since we all have these HUGE egos, we decided not to pick which will go first and instead we’ll rotate which story goes first and we’ll also rotate introductory duties. Next week should see some updates to the Action Pack Podcast website. Keep an eye out for that.
I’ve gotten a writing assignment. Research has been accomplished. I will be getting my rear in gear and knocking out some words. Once I can announce more about this work, I shall. Stay Tuned.
Speaking of writing, I’ve got much work to do before I can start putting words down. So…
Astel E-Book giveaway winner announced
Scott Roche announced the winner for the Astel:Chosen giveaway. Read more here…
I’ve been remiss in posting that someone is giving away one of my books. Scott Roche (the great human being that he is) will be giving away a free ebook each week in 2012. This week is my week! WOO WOO!
Want a chance to win a copy of Astel? Head on over to Scott’s page and see what you need to do so you can win!
Daily Update: Plowing through.
With the news of having a blown head gasket on sputtering truck and the expense of having to get it repaired coupled with the amount of money I’ve already put into the truck just to keep it going was a one-two I wasn’t prepared for. I let it get the better of me, but I let go long enough last night to knock out about 1500 words. It was difficult with everything gnawing away on my brain, but I wrote. I feel good about what I did write and I’m thinking I need to make some modifications. Not quite sure just yet.
To go along with sputter truck, I have pain in my legs I had through I was past. It took a few days, but shin splints are what I have now. What I had experienced before wasn’t like this. that pain was muscle pain from not working my legs in some time. The pain I have now is deep intense pain in the bone. It hurts to go up and down the stairs and I need to take a break from my walking until this pain subsides. I’ll also stop jogging until I get my legs in better shape to handle the stress. This was a case of too fast too soon. This is a little frustrating as I was so excited about jogging. Everything else about it felt good and I enjoyed getting out there. But for now, it’s resting my lower legs until the pain subsides.
I do still have my free weights so I’ll be doing something about my overall fitness. I also plan on starting 100 push-up and 200 sit-ups once again. I know I can’t just sit still anymore and expect my body to be alright.
Plotting for the Jack Kane sequel has begun. My writing partner, Mike Plested, and I plotted not only one, but three subsequent novels to take place in the Jack Kane universe. We could probably plan out a dozen, so for now 3 and 4 are just notations whereas we began delving deeper into what book 2 will be about. I can tell you this, I think 2 will be even more fun than 1. Speaking of book 1, I have it assembled in Scriviner for Windows. Hopefully this makes editing easier.
Mike and I also net with Scott Roche so I could give the two of them a hard time about not having their Action Pack works ready for next month. Of course they still have a lot of time, I just feel the need to give them crap about not being further along. Artwork and music are being prepared. The website is live, but in dire need of modifications. Hopefully in the next week or two that will happen. Excitement levels are still high for all of us, so look for good things.
Speaking of good things, I’d better get back at it.
Daily Update: I actually ran!
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.
Daily Update: Good Things are in the Works
I’m a fan of dessert. My motto: Life is short, eat dessert first.
So when I took my daughter to 7-11 the other day, I looked up at the Rancho Bakery and Deli next door and decided to walk in. Why? Hey, I’m curious. It’s what I do. I see a new place, I need to go see what’s inside.
Side note: There is a sweet shop next door to the bakery (Pistachio Sweets) that hasn’t opened yet. It’s been months and it’s driving me nuts.
Back to the story. So I dragged my daughter into the bakery. They had fresh produce, some great looking cheeses (I also love cheese) and lots of dairy goods and meats. Then there was the baklava section. Now, I’ve seen baklava before. I’ve eaten it many times. I really like it. This didn’t look like baklava.
I introduced myself to the store owner.
He gave me a sample.
Oh! I mean. Oh! Yes Yes OH GOD YES!
So I bought a small container to take home. I wanted to buy a lot more, but I also didn’t want it to go bad. Apparently the bakery is a middle-eastern bakery. He explained to me the history of baklava and that in the middle-east there are over 150 different kinds of baklava. The display they had there had a couple dozen (I’ll take a picture of that when I go back.) It all looked great!
We got three different varieties. All of them were delicious. It was only $5 so I know I’ll be going back. I’ll also be posting the experience as an Unorthodox Writing Tip this weekend with more details.
On the walking front. Took the day off yesterday. Will resume today. The Kid (she wants me to start calling her My Favorite Daughter) has Volleyball practice tonight. I’ll be cheering her and her team on. WOO!
On the writing front. I got a lot written yesterday. Currently I have my short story completed for the end of this month. I have my story ready for the Action Pack (I’ll explain about that in a moment). Although it’s going up slowly, the yearly word count meter is creeping up. I’ve written over 15000 words so far this month. I’ll be writing a lot more. 2012 is shaping up to be great year. I’m so excited.
So the Action Pack. Last night Scott Roche, Mike Plested, and I all sat down to discuss the jokingly named Action Pack Podcast. The name was thrown out based on an 80s TV show. Our concept: 3 stories in one podcast. Each month will bring a piece of each story continuing on throughout the year and concluding a storyline at the end of the year. That would be one season and if all goes well, we’d do a second season.
We talked about artwork, music, content, the blog, the url. The Action Pack Podcast grew on us quickly and we’ll be getting a blog out there soon. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I hope you’ll join us. I’ll be posting more on this as time goes by leading up to the release of the first episode. Like I said, I’m pretty excited.
I need to go make use of that excitement.
Daily Update: It’s like walking on air
Well, ok. So maybe it’s not like walking on air, but I’ve got to tell you, my new shoes are awesome. I took the kid to volleyball practice yesterday at her school and we were about 45 minutes early so we started walking around the track; a very nice rubberized track. About twenty minutes in there was a little soreness in my shins, but nothing like what I’d been experiencing. It’s pain that I know will go away with daily walks.
After 20 minutes or so, we realized that no one else had shown up for her practice. Whoops. So after checking with my phone that the practice was at a different school, we packed up and headed over there. She made it on time, thankfully, and I did another 20 minutes of walking before heading over to watch her practice. The kid is getting really good at this volleyball stuff. I’m a proud papa.
So I did a full walk today on the route I’ve been doing. I’m still taking smaller strides (something the kid gave me a hard time about yesterday) and these appear to also be helping with the pain. I’m still frustrated because I’m not really working up a sweat. I know it’ll take time before my legs catch up with the rest of my body. I also know I’m so out of shape that anything at this point will help. I’m definitely not going to give up this time.
The wife is also going to get into the walking with me. We both need it. It’ll be nice to have company on my walks.
On the writing front. I’m blogging daily, if you didn’t notice. I haven’t been writing fiction daily. I missed the past two days, but I’m going to make up for it today. I’ll be in the truck writing while the kid is at practice. I should be able to do a couple thousand words while she’s in there. I’m about to start on the monthly short story for January that I’ll release at the end of the month. Pretty excited about getting that one going. I need to bug Scott Roche and see how he’s doing.
When I spoke with Mike Plested we talked about our collaborative works. I’ve got the first piece of Gold Rush (working title) ready to go. I just need to do a little editing and record it. This, of course, put the pressure on my writing partner to get his piece recorded. Pressure is a good thing, no? Deadlines help push you into getting something done. Well, most of the time.
Anyway, it’s time to drag the kid off to practice. Time to get a good chunk of writing done. Later tonight I’ll post my weekly numbers for walking and writing. They’re not overly impressive, but they’re numbers nonetheless. Hopefully they’ll both go up as the weeks go on.
Unorthodox Writing Tips 7: Plotting and Planning and Playing Goalie
I’ve always written more for my own entertainment rather than writing for someone else’s. I’ve written quite a bit. To date I’ve completed ten novels, and I have four others started with ideas for five different novels. Only four are part of a series, the rest are all the first of a potential series, but work as stand alone novels as well. I have also completed quite a number of short stories.
One thing I have mostly avoided. Plotting. I usually come up with an idea, have a vague direction, and go for it. Yes, I’ve written by the seat of my pants. This has lead to some good stories (I feel) but overall I always had a direction in mind and on occasion I would end up stuck. What I never did was write down the actual plot and direction, be it for shorts or novels.
I plan on changing this. I’m going to start writing at least a paragraph plot that will give beginning, middle, and end. Obviously I can flesh out the details as I write, but I’ll start with the act of getting the idea on paper (1st draft?). What I hope to achieve by doing this is getting the idea down and not just letting it flounder around in my brain until I’ve talked myself out of writing the work. When I was at my most productive I kept a running log of story ideas and I’d cross them out as I’d complete them. This helped me with writing one hundred short stories in one year. I doubt I’ll try to write that many again, but this leads me into my next topic…
Planning is another thing I’ve never done well. I would write stories, send them out, and start the next. I kept an excel spread sheet and made sure not to send the same story to the same place twice. I’ve long since lost this spreadsheet, but it was interesting to keep track of the ‘red’ cells which noted rejections and ‘green’ which noted publication and even the ‘yellow’ which showed waiting response.
What I didn’t have when I did this was a clear plan of action. It was just write, submit, and hope for the best. I didn’t know why I was doing it other than to try and gain publishing credits and improve my writing. Obviously I stopped as the rejection process is grueling and after hundreds of rejections it just wore me down (and the year ended). Once I completed that year I had intended to get back to writing novels, but I never sent anything out. Rejection of a short story was easy to take, but a novel? I didn’t think I’d be able to handle that kind of rejection.
It’s all part of the game, though. Rejection is just getting you one step closer to publication. So I now have a plan for getting my works out there. Beyond that I’ve taken on an ambitious project that will run parallel with Scott Roche. The idea is to write, edit, and publish a short story each month during 2012. Sounds ambitious, doesn’t it?
I’m excited, but I know I’ll never, ever, be able to complete this task without a plan. I have explained to my wife that my writing needs to move from a hobby to something more like a part time job if I’m ever to make it successful. I need to plot my stories so I’ll have a direction. I need to plan my time so I’ll be able to perform the work.
So where does playing goalie come in? Plots and Plans are nice, but I need to have an overall direction. I had always wanted to be a published author before I was forty years old. Well, that ship has sailed. Why? I let life happen and didn’t make life happen. I am going to change that by setting goals. Not just setting goals, but sharing those goals with my friends and family. I’ve started writing down where I want to be at the end of 2012 and it just starts with the ambitious project of a short story a month. It also includes getting worked cleaned up and/or completed and finally getting those works in front of a publisher or agent.
Yes I’ll be self publishing my shorts, but I am going to look for traditional publication for some of my works. I’ll also be continuing to self publish works as well. I had an ambitious desire for 2011 to have three books out, but I didn’t follow through and I now know why. I didn’t set out clear, definable goals.
I’ve read J.A. Konraths’ blog. I’ve read Mike Stackpole’s blog and newsletter. What I haven’t done is apply those teachings. Yes, being creative is a wonderful thing, but unless I treat my work as work and a business, I’ll only have limited success. So included in my goals for 2012 are to seek out ways to promote myself. Ways to get more eyes on my work. To have a definite number of sales. I’ll, of course, share those in my blog.
If all goes well, next year I hope to write nearly half a million words. Yes, I know that’s a lot. Yes, I know I’m aiming high. But I’ve got my goals written. I’ve got my plan laid out. Does it begin in 2012? NO! It begins today. Why should I wait for January 1st to start on the road? These are just the plans I want to accomplish in 2012. If I don’t get started on them, no one will start on them for me. There’s no better time than the present!
Until Next week.