GTD: A to Z Challenge

117 fiction words, 579 total words, .5 hours towards publishing

I have done it. Five days before the end of the month I scheduled the last post for the A to Z Challenge.  That gives me a self-imposed six days to get Space Cats edited (first reader catches), polish up the cover, and get things ready for publishing.

Then I’d like to do some editing on A Brief History. See if there are any letters I missed. Get that ready as a separate ebook.

And at that point, once I have the three projects I’m working on wrapped up, I’ll start another writing project. So I’ll have several days with no writing, I think. Unless by some miracle something gets in my head I can’t shake. I really would like to keep my writing streak going, but I also don’t want yet another thing to do.

The whole thing offers a sense of urgency to the publishing bits so I can get back to the writing bits.

I used 117 fiction words to finish up the A to Z challenge and wrote a total of 579 words yesterday, along with spending 0.5 hours towards publishing. I expect today will go similarly, with fewer fiction words, as I don’t have a writing project right now.

We’ll see how it goes tomorrow!

Know when to fold ’em

I will cheerfully blame my mother for my love of horse operas. She was an avid reader of Louis L’Amore novels when I was young and had an enormous collection. They lived in the stairwell to the basement which hadn’t been insulated past the first floor. We also kept canning on those studs, and they really made a lovely shelving unit.

At any rate, though you won’t often hear me enjoying country music, I dearly love The Gambler, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, and the like. And that titular song has it right. You’ve got to know when to give up and get the fuck out of Dodge.

Anyway! That probably seems really pessimistic, but it really is for my own good. Trying something 6 times and getting the same result (but expecting something new) just seems silly. I’m done! And that’s all I have to say about that.

So yesterday something happened – I finished that story I started in December and thought for sure I’d finish in January! I don’t have a really great title for it yet. I’m still running with Space Cats from Space Earth whenever I talk about it, but I need to replace that because I don’t know how a strikeout would work on Amazon. I suppose it would end up being Space Cats from Earth there, with the cover being the only place you’d see the strikeout. I’m not certain how I feel about that, except that I’m certain I can do better.

Since I ended up writing/finishing three chapters and an epilogue yesterday, I wrote 1,228 fiction words (and 1.358 total). It wasn’t my best writing day, but it felt like the best since I finally finished the story/book. Here’s the stats block for last week.

Weekly total words: 5,884
Weekly total fiction words: 4,247
Weekly total blog words: 1,637
Difference from last week: 0% (only 5 words less!)
Weekly rank: 5 (of 12)
March fiction total: 9,937
February fiction total: 9,217
January fiction total: 18,615
001* Words: 36,591

*If you hadn’t sorted out from the tags on these posts, 001 (and then 001-1) was the number of this story in my pursuit of Pulp Speed. It’s as good a code name as any, and allows me to easily keep track of which story I was working on in my word count tracking spreadsheet.

Well, that’s what I have for today! I’m off to start waking the household.

“N” works

I got an obscene amount of hair and fiber from underneath the N, A, and S keys last night, but the good news is that the N now works when I use it. The S is still a little funny, but not enough to drive me nuts. My keys are very flat, and there are a couple small pieces of plastic underneath that fit together just one way. I’m glad I know how to do it now, but the first time I took a key off I thought it was broken forever.

Well, no excuses. I wrote 341 blog words, and 241 fiction words. I didn’t subtract all the words I cut out from what was written before. I would do that in November, but not now.

I’ve already written more today than yesterday, which is a good sign. We’ll see how the rest of the day pans out.  Wish me luck!

Slicing off the unwanted fat

My “n” key is not reliably working. Occasionally my “s” and “a” will follow suit. This is displeasing because I use those letters often. I’m going to have to try popping keys off later, even though it’s a struggle to get them back on with this computer. The alternative is trying an external keyboard, but I don’t think I’m ready to do that yet.

I got up at 5:30 this morning, and it feels good to be back in that routine. I had the thought yesterday that I really enjoy taking the time to make my #BuJo layouts “pretty” (banners, doodles, quotes, etc), and so instead of trying to write first thing this morning, I used my pen.

Then, I started deleting words.

On the way home last night, I realized I was rushing some things in my story, and avoiding others that needed attention. So I saved a new copy, chopped out some words, and smoothed out some edges. I think this will be better, and it will get me moving quicker towards the real problem in the story, which will let me solve the problem, and finish this so I can start another.

Yesterday I blogged 390 words in two blog posts and wrote 333 words mainly at my writing/editing group. I think I’m in a better place to start writing faster this morning. There’s quite a bit of cleaning that needs to happen this evening, too. Hopefully, I’ll have a very productive day.

Unbreaking things

I don’t know how I managed quite so many years without a single problem on Off the Beaten Plan. Knowing that too many plugins and such can break a blog, I try not to do anything I don’t understand, or am unfamiliar with.

Imagine my surprise when I found my blog broken-ish for much of yesterday.

Worse, this morning, when it was broken completely.

Fixing WordPress isn’t easy, and there’s not a lot of resources that are clear on what might fix the issues. I took advantage of the WordPress Codex on common errors (along with several websites that offered the same advice), and finally, this morning, managed to get things sorted out.

I also spent much of my evening yesterday with my daughter shopping for news shoes, hopefully to alleviate the foot pain she’s been experiencing. We bought a nice pair of ryka’s, but had to travel across the Valley to do so, and got back quite late. Though the trip was ultimately successful, it was a late night. Piling the intermittent service with the blog, my word count was awful.

But damn it, I wrote. 30 words of fiction, and (somehow) 237 words of blogging. And this morning, I fixed the blog. Hopefully now will all be right in my world, because the entire process angered me greatly. I’m determined not to let it bleed over into the rest of the day. I shall say no more.

Happy Tuesday!

Losing and finding the things

I have a spreadsheet in which I keep track of my words. I had planned to take a few minutes during lunch to write my blog post there, but I couldn’t find my spreadsheet in the cloud. I had to call home, warn the person using my computer I was going to log in, and then I found it. Completely in the wrong spot, naturally.

Yesterday’s writing was 259 for blogs, 444 for fiction. The afternoon was rough, although not insurmountably so. It resulted in more Mad Men than was strictly necessary, and the consumption of the remaining eggnog in the refrigerator.

Here’s where I stand for the past week:

Weekly total words: 6,608
Weekly total fiction words: 4,457
Weekly total blog words: 2,151
Difference from last week: -25%
Weekly rank: 2 (of 3)
Average weekly words: 5292
Difference in average words from last week: 14%

I’m not satisfied with my weekly fiction totals and intend to improve those numbers this week. It will take quite a bit of work, especially since I’m entering my last half hour of wakefulness for the day and running out of time to write. I’m sure that won’t stop me from trying, though. 😉

Weekendness

Even though we just had a load of holidays, I would have enjoyed having Monday off as well. Alas, that is not to be, and I will be returning to my office in short order.

One would think my weekends could be more productive. And yet, yesterday’s words were hard to come by. 248 of them came from two blog post, and the other 501 of them were from fiction. I was happy to manage more than Friday, but geez.

I think it’s important for me to remember that just because this is another, new year, I have not yet fallen into my regular routine. Life has gotten in the way, as I assist family with a move and am able to take less time for myself. I will need to forgive myself a little, and work a little harder in the new spaces I have for work.

Like now. I have turned off the television and the kids are happy on their devices. If I go and write for 30 minutes, see what I can accomplish, I believe I will feel better about my production tomorrow.

So, if you will excuse me, I need to go prepare some amazing numbers (and move this book further down the line towards production) for tomorrow.

Busy, busy, busy!

Do you know how difficult it is to get sand out of the base of a portable basketball hoop? The hole is about as big as a child’s wrist, and as it’s had a decade to settle. Inevitably, moisture has made it’s way inside as well as several generation’s worth of spiders.

It is difficult. And heavy. Quite, quite heavy.

Four of us worked on it for an hour. Shaking, thumping, rocking, stabbing, and sweeping, and then once it was light enough for two men to lift, we shoveled the sand onto the grass, then swept the grass with a deck broom.

And then it started to snow. So heavy things were carried from the basement to the front porch, to the garage!

I’m pooped, is what I’m getting at. And that is why this post is a bit late.

Yesterday I watched too much television and wrote too little. 291 fiction words were all I managed in two sessions. Blog words hit at 277 for two posts (nowhere near the 1,000 I wanted). I was incredibly productive in other things, and while the other things aren’t my passion, it’s always good to feel accomplished.

Discipline, you must be my friend

I had a dream last night where Robert De Niro (current, not young) was a ballet dancer back to the troop to win back his love interest but was pursued the entire time by her current boyfriend. It was odd, as it ended with me in an airport, signing not my name to my driver’s license that I made security open (it had apparently arrived in the mail) on my way to my flight.

I’m sure there’s a story in there somewhere. If you find it, you’re free to take it and give it a loving home.

Yesterday I did not write with discipline. Before I hung up the keyboard for the night, though, I did have the WIBBOW thought, and I pushed through to get my fiction words for the year to 10,013 since I was close. Still, I chose Mad Men over work ethic, and even though I knew it was not the right choice, I continued.

I still seem to think I need to wait for “the right moment” to begin writing. I want to change that way of thinking, and write like it’s my job. Fake it ’til you become it, remember? Because I not only want writing to be my job, at this point, I need it.

Yesterday I wrote 362 words in two blog posts, and 558 words in two sessions of fiction, for 920 words total. I also went to bed pretty late, so I didn’t even hear my 5:00 a.m. alarm. (Normally I hear it, but turn it off.)

Today I plan to write 1,000 words of fiction. I don’t have goals for blog post words, just posts – one writing update and one photo challenge.

Out of order

I like to write in a line. I start at the start, I go to the end, I get in my car, and I go home. I have never even had the tiniest interest in writing a fun scene in the middle because writing in order is what my brain (creative voice) wants to do. It’s never wanted to skip the line before!

Last night it wanted to. So, finishing up the conversation and scene/chapter I was working on, I did.

My brain was just like, “Hey! Skip over the next boring bit, and what happens if G says something to A, and F doesn’t know it? How does A cover the surprise?”

It was fun. Before I sat down to work I thought that I need to be sitting down to write and having fun, but I haven’t done so in a couple of days. I’m not sure if that means I’ve been writing bloat, or if my critical voice has just been too loud. Who knows, but he (because my CV is a boy) sure got the hell out of the way last night.

Yay!

I wrote 1,415 fiction words yesterday in two sessions (morning and evening), and 369 blog words in two posts. I’m determined to pass 10,000 fiction words today (currently I’m at 9,455), and I have a total of 12,936 total words for the year.

I still haven’t got a good title for my current story (at 13,690 words right now), but I’m leaning toward Space Kittens from Space Earth because I can picture the cover in my head, and I like the idea I have of how to explain the strikeout. But I’m not at that point in the story yet, so 001 it is.

In other news, my cats are in need of parental intervention. I’m going to go see what they’re destroying right now so I can put it out of their reach. If you will excuse me…