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Daily Update: Working hard or hardly working?

Have you ever sat down to work (or just to get started on something) and BANG! Everything you planned on doing is right out the door before you even touch the keyboard?

Yeah, I’m having one of those days. Seems that each time I touch the keyboard something else is jumping in to say HELLO! and interrupt what I was planning on doing. Once I collect my thoughts and get going there’s another one. Some days I feel like I need to disconnect from the rest of the world just to get something done and I can see why many writers do that during their writing time.

Alas, this is my actual job getting in the way of me getting other parts of my job done. It all needs to be done, but there are parts I need to do, calls I need to be on, and then there’s the coding I’d rather be doing. I really like programming and when something gets in the way of that I have a tendency to get even less done because it takes time to get into the right frame of mind.

Anyway, I had planned on getting this blog post out first thing this morning, but early morinng issues caught me and haven’t let go. I’m taking a late lunch and hopefully I’ll get a little coding in before I call it a day and start typing words. Such is the life of a programmer.

Sorry, just needed to vent a little bit. I’ve got some Golden Earring – Twilight Zone turned up and a writing candle lit.

I hope you enjoyed last week’s little jaunt into my life. It’s been a fun trip and I know I have many stories to tell from those days. I wasn’t always all work and no play. Wait, I’m still not. I’ve just gotten older, not more mature, mind you. Hopefully I’ve gotten a little more responsible with age.

I had a lot of recollections while I wrote all that up. One thing I noticed is that I’m really bad about keeping in contact with people and oddly, I think those same people are just as bad in keeping in contact with me as well. Out of all my Navy buddies, I’ve only heard from two over the years who’ve tracked me down and only one friend from school who also tracked me down. I’ve always kept in touch with Sean and Jeff over the years and we’ve all gone our own ways as time has gone on. Even though all three of us still live in Southern California, we haven’t all gotten together in a very long time.

I think I’ll add that as one of my goals for this year. To get the band back together for at least one night. My friend Jeff plays in a Black Sabbath tribute band in L.A. and he’s playing all the time. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a date he’s playing, pick up Sean on the way to LA, and go hang out and have a good time with lots of loud music. You heard it here. Keep me to it!

I hit my writing goal for yesterday. Not just hit it, but passed it and kept going for a little while. I managed 2500 words even with everything we did yesterday. I feel great about that. It means I’m not going to let a little thing like not having enough time keep me from hitting my writing goals. We’ll see what today brings me.

Well, that was Lunch. I should go write some code now.

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: Writing, Working, Editing, I’ve got a heaadache

I’ve got a headache today. It’s not supposed to rain this weekend. There’s no low pressure system overhead. I’ve taken my sinus medicine so I’m not congested.

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. I will hit my 2000 words today. I didn’t yesterday. But I do want to keep at it. I’ve got a writing streak going since the beginning of the year. I’m happy about that. About half of what I’ve written has been blog posts and half has been new fiction. Being that I’m at nearly 80,000 words for the year, I can honestly say I’m quite proud of that for two months work.

Not only am I proud of how much I’ve written, but I can honestly say that it’s some of my best work. Sure we all grow as writers, but I’ve had a lot of starts and stops along the way. It feel good to get back on the horse and really start putting out words. I’ve got a lot of projects going on all at the same time with my writing and keeping them all going is a challenge.

I’ve taken a queue from my work.

With my work I create detailed plans on what it’ll take to get a project coded and deployed. I write up timelines, do costs analysis. There’s a lot more than just sitting and typing code. Keeping track of where you’re at is critical. I’ve applied this to my writing with my word count spread sheet and I find I output a lot more words by keeping close tabs on what I write.

To that end, it’s not always about creating new fiction. There’s editing to consider. I just submitted a story and after the first draft, I let it sit for a couple of days, I had some inspired thoughts, and did some rewriting. It was around 4500 words when done and I cut down nearly 400 and added back in almost 600. I did not count any of these words. I probably should have, but hey, it’s my system. Either way, I’m quite proud with how the story turned out.

On the work front, I’ve also been quite busy. I’ve got a large project, a couple of people I’m managing to help with the project, extra duties added to my workload beyond the project, deadlines, meetings, assistance.

Between work and writing, it’s a lot to take in. Combine the fact that my Favorite Daughter has he volleyball… well, you get the point. There’s a lot going on and only so many hours in the day.

I’ll do an Unorthodox Writing Tips, probably next week, about time management or something to that effect. As I had said at the beginning of the year, I’m going to treat my writing like a part time job and commit to getting words out there. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had to be flexible, but I’m getting it done.

I think that’s what’s led to my current headache, so I’ll take a couple aspirin and call it good.

Ok, so I left you hanging yesterday. I’m good like that. I’m glad you’re following along.

While going to ITT I met a lot of people. One of my classmates introduced me to a friend of his. She was nice, but I was busy and not really interested. We did wind up going out a few times, then a few more times. I started telling her my book ideas. She was enthralled. I let her read Of Gnomes and Dwarves (the comic version) and she loved it.

She wasn’t going to ITT, but to another school and she needed to type up something that someone else had written. Being that she had my hand written binder (and the only copy of my work at the time) she typed it up for me over the course of two or three weeks. I was quite surprised. It made me quite happy to see my nearly illegible words typed up.

Once I completed ITT (graduating with honors) and I wasn’t working and going to school,  I was able to dedicate some time to a relationship. ITT went from 6pm-10pm. I worked from midnight-8am. It made out schedules incompatible. Once I was done with ITT, we moved in together and I got a normal day job. I went to work for Qualcomm.

Let me just state this for the record. If I were an engineer, I probably would have been happy with electronics. Being that I was a troubleshooter on products that got returned, I was bored out of my mind. The most fun I had was with a 5 page pamphlet entitled HTML 1.0. Netscape was awesome, writing HTML code great fun. I really got into designing webpages for my Of Gnomes and Dwarves characters. My friend Sean even got a job working at Qualcomm under a different position and it was great fun working together.

I eventually bought a PC. I wanted to do web design for a living. Heh, didn’t we all during the mid 90s? Well, that didn’t go.

I wound up getting a job with ATT (PacBell at the time, then SBC, now ATT). I left Qualcomm with little thought. I’m not sure how the cell phone division did after I left, because I was moving onward and upward.

In that same year I got married, we had my favorite daughter. Life was awesome! I even decided to pick up those comic scripts I had started and translated them into a book. It had taken years, but I finally had a 60,000 word novel. It was a lot of data dumping, a lot of telling, a lot of bad grammar. It wasn’t very good, but I still to this day love the story and characters.

I had some friends read it. I got a lot of suggestions and made a lot of edits over the next couple of years. Then I moved into a new team. For that team I had to go away for training. I had been thinking about working on the second book which I had scripted and decided I would work on it a little bit while away on my training. I didn’t have anything else to do, I’d be away from home. Why not?

After that week I was wiped out. I had gotten up at 5am each day and started writing. I would take a shower at the last minute and rush to the training. I had a floppy disk with the file on it and would write in class during the hour lunch and during the breaks. I would go eat a quick diner and I’d be back in the hotel room writing some more. It was writing bliss like I’d never know and have never known again. After that week I had a SECOND 60,000 word novel.

It took me about a month to write the third in little snippets of time here and there and I now had three 60,000 word novels. All that time I’d spent agonizing over making the first novel perfect helped me write far better books the second and third time. I had gotten better and dialogue, showing not telling, no more data dumps of information. The characters really took on a life of their own.

I submitted the first book to many agents and publishers, but that’s a story for tomorrow.

Until Tomorrow!