Writing in Public, Too: Day 5

writinginpublicNo escaping it – into full on work days now. Up at 6am, out the door after a quick shower, and then at work before 7am. There until almost 4pm today. Hit email over lunch break, so I’d have less to do there when I got home. And had an absolutely awful end of the shift; really rotten on a couple of counts. So I was tired and a little fried when I got home.

Played a few rounds of the Rome 2 game, which gave me about an hour of recovery time. The game is a little buggy, but fun. Honestly think I might have liked the original better than the new version, but I’m giving it a little more time before I make that call. One plus about a game like that is I can play it in small, bite sized chunks. And it pauses well.

Right around then my wife was leaving for a meeting, and I started on the kids’ dinner. Which they ate. Kinda. It was an unenthusiastic day all around. ;)

Got upstairs after dinner and did some non-writing job work for a while. Finally kicked off writing around 9pm, and got 1300 words done before my wife got home around 10. I’m still working on Ashes, and this part is practically plodding. The good news is, I can feel that I am about two scenes from the tipping point. This book is something like a roller-coaster: long, steady build up, and then a rocketing ride to the finish through the second half. Once that part takes off, I think the speed is going to increase dramatically. I can feel those scenes itching to get out. So much so that I almost opted to start on a later scene, skip ahead a little bit. But that’s not my usual work pattern, and I had a feeling it might hurt more than it would help. So I’m working my way through these last scenes of build up.

Things go “bang” in about two or three more scenes. And stay that way for the following 20,000 words or so, I suspect.

Well, I’ll find out for sure over the next few days! ;)  Looking forward to it.

 

Totals for Day 5

Daily Fiction Wordcount: 1300 words    Month to date fiction: 10750 words

Daily Blog Post Wordcount: 387 words    Month to date blog posts: 3715 words

Writing in Public, Too: Day 4 – A slow day

writinginpublicToday was a slow day. Got to get up late – 7am – because I had to go to the doctor’s for a physical and some bloodwork. Stuff I needed for the new job. Got that done, then off to work. I got there about 10:30. Work is…a little confused right now. But the folks there seem nice, and I’m giving things a little while to settle down. Trying to learn what I can about how they do things; it’s always a little different everywhere.

So I was there until about 3:30pm, then headed for home. The drive took over half an hour, and I got in a bit after four. Was tired and a little out of sorts (from the rather disorganized day), so I hit the computer for email and a little surfing. Talked with my wife about getting the Rome: Total War 2 deal. I’m fond of the series – nice blend of strategy, tactics, and long term planning. And the deal I’d seen for about a quarter off with the first expansion free was still running, even though it was supposed to have stopped when the game released September 3rd.

Yeah, I like computer games sometimes. I try not to spend TOO much time playing them, but they’re a fun diversion.

So I got the green light to buy the game, and started it downloading. About halfway through the VERY long download, I ran out of steam. Just too tired to stay awake, so I napped for a while while my wife made dinner. She woke me up just before it was done, and I served everyone.

By the time dinner was done, it was around 7pm, and I was back upstairs, talking with Susan and trying to get the game to load up. I loaded it. It crashed. Hard. Rebooted my computer. Loaded it again, got to play for a short while, but it crashed as I was entering my first battle. Again, had to reboot my desktop. Guessing I have something set too high for the computer to handle, and I’ll have to turn the settings down. My computer isn’t some sort of gaming monstrosity; it’s just a decent desktop. So I’ll fiddle with it another time. Checked into Kindleboards briefly, and then watched some TV with my wife for an hour after getting the kids to bed at 9pm.

At 10pm, I started writing, and got an hour in. Oddly, I found I had to do some quick research in the middle of the writing. That’s unusual for me, but I realized I knew darn little about the African campaign in WW2, and that I needed at least a broad frame of reference for the story. So I spent maybe half an hour getting the general overview. I’ll do more in depth reading later, and make corrections in the text if I am off on any specifics. But mostly I am shying away from specifics – the story is set in the modern day, so all I need are broad strokes from the war.

All in all, I got a little over a thousand words done. My lowest wordcount yet. But I’m still doing a good job, overall, for monthly count. I am noticing a trend of downward movement in daily fiction counts, though, so it’s something I want to keep an eye on. Need to get the work done, even if I’m coming home a little tired. That’s the challenge, of course!

 

Totals for Day 4

Daily Fiction Wordcount: 1000 words    Month to date fiction: 9450 words

Daily Blog Post Wordcount: 595 words    Month to date blog posts: 3328 words

Writing in Public, Too: Day 3 – Working the Time In

writinginpublicI set my alarm for 5am last night, with the idea of waking up, getting ready for work, then spending an hour writing.

I lasted seven whole minutes out of bed, after shutting off my alarm, before deciding discretion was the better part of valor and climbing back into bed. Hey, I’ve never really been a morning person. And I’m still trying to adjust from being able to sleep in until 8 or 9am. But I do want to keep trying to get some writing in early. I have this idea, you see, that if I start off those work days with some creative fire, it’ll help make the entire day go better. By starting off with the writing, I set the writing up as a priority in my mind. I also head into work knowing I’ve already accomplished a good chunk of what I wanted to get done for the day.

At least, that’s the theory. Actually making it happen is going to require some changes in sleep patterns!

Work ran late today, and I didn’t get home until almost 5pm. I’m usually 7am-3pm, but leaving late put me in traffic, which made me even later.

On the plus side, I don’t have to be up until quite a bit later tomorrow. I have a doctor’s visit tomorrow morning – just a physical for the new employer, but it had to get done. So I have to be at the doctor’s at 8am, instead of work at 6:45.

Works for me. Otherwise, I think I’d have had to get to bed before this.

Home at 5pm, and fairly burned out. The scene I was left with was a rough one. It’s more or less introducing a new major character to the series, and I needed to do it right, but I wasn’t quite sure how to fit her in. So instead of writing, I hit the email that had piled up all day. Then dinner, and I was finally ready to really get to work around 8pm. I wrote for a bit, chatted with a friend on the phone, then watched a TV episode with my wife for a break after getting the kids to bed at 9pm. By 10:30 I was back to work, and wrapped up a little bit before midnight to write this post.

I’m totally into unwritten ground now in the novel. Fun stuff. I have a decent idea where things are going, but there’s lots of room for new stuff to crop up along the way. And I still don’t know just how it’s going to end, yet.

But I’ve managed to keep on track as far as wordcount goes on this first day of the challenge plus work hours. Which is good. My biggest worry is getting derailed by being too tired from work, physically or emotionally. If I can maintain a steady pace, then I think I’m in good shape. Looking at the totals, I’m still holding well ahead of the curve. Which is excellent, since I’m sure there will be some days ahead where I get little if anything done. That’s just the way life rolls – things happen!

Most of all, I’m really happy with three straight days of steady progress.

 

Totals for Day 2

Daily Fiction Wordcount: 2450 words    Month to date fiction: 8450 words

Daily Blog Post Wordcount: 558 words    Month to date blog posts: 2733 words

Writing in Public, Too: Day 2 – More Ashes

writinginpublicA good day today.

Got up at 9am again. Last day off before the work week. Got up in a good mood, checked email – and saw a bunch of comments on yesterday’s blog posts, which made the morning even brighter. Loved hearing from folks – thank you all. I may not reply to each and every comment made in the weeks ahead, but I’ll try to do so for as many as possible.

The morning was email, some replies on LinkedIn, and about a thousand words for a new scene in Ashes. Worked with the kids on their homeschooling off and on, and helped fix one of our twin girl’s laptop – it was shutting off every few minutes. Just needed a reboot, as it turned out. It’s my old machine, and starting to go, but it’s a good machine for a seven year old.

After making everyone lunch, it was back to work. And here, I guess I need to explain this story a little.

I’m working on “Ashes Ascendant” – the sequel novel to “By Darkness Revealed”. Originally though, Ashes was going to be a short story, since I am planning a mix of short stories and short novels about the main character, Ryan Blackwell. Then I realized it was a little longer than a short ought to be. But not quite long enough to be a novel. I didn’t want to introduce novellas into the mix, as I thought it would be confusing to readers. So I was in a bind – a story too short and too long for the series I was working. I set it aside for a long time, and worked on other things.

I’ve since come up with some great additional material, and a solid character arc that takes Ryan through the story. Really, I know the arc more than anything else. I know what Ryan is going to learn in this story – the feel, the flavor. I don’t know precisely how it’s going to end, although I have rough “beats” lined up for a chunk of the story. The ending is a bit of a mystery still, which ought to be fun.

But I’ve got a lot of new material I’ve been writing, alongside a bunch of old material from my first run at the novel. Today, I hit the old material. Some of it I kept. Some of it I tossed out. Some of it, I tossed out the actual text but kept the scene, rewriting the scenes from scratch. Even the stuff I kept needed some tweaks to bring it in line with the rest of the story.

For the record, I hate this sort of work, which is why I put it off. I was half tempted to toss out EVERYTHING I had already written and just redo the entire thing, but there’s some good stuff in there and I didn’t feel like I would do it better on a second run.

So, this afternoon between about 1pm and 5pm, I trashed about 2500 words, tweaked about 4000 words and put them in the right place in the story, and wrote 1900 new words. I’m not counting the tweaked words toward my word count, but getting that stuff done was a big step forward for this story. I have another 2300 words to go over, and then it’s clear sailing – I’m in new territory at that point, and writing fresh story.

At 6pm, we had company come over for an ice cream party – some friends of the kids, and their parents. My wife and I talked with them for close to two hours while the kids played. It was a good time, and a great way to slow down after a busy day. Then upstairs to watch a couple of episodes of “Lost Girl” via Netflix with my wife. It’s an interesting show – and watching urban fantasy while writing it works for my creative headspace.

It’s about 11pm now, and I’m just finishing this blog post before heading to bed. Have to be at work tomorrow for 7am. Not looking forward to the early morning, but then I’ve never been an early morning person.

Tomorrow is another day, and we’ll see how well I can continue to do with wordcount over the next four days, when I’m working 7am-3pm.

 

Totals for Day 2

Daily Fiction Wordcount: 2900 words    Month to date fiction: 6000 words

Daily Blog Post Wordcount: 735 words    Month to date blog posts: 2175 words

Writing in Public, Too: Day 1 – First Steps

writinginpublic
Today was a busy day. Aren’t they all? (grin)

I rolled out of bed at about 9am. Not a work day, so not a problem. Spent the morning hanging out with the kids and wife. Helped her cook up a dish to bring to a party she was going to, and made chocolate chip cookies for the kids. Also checked email and did a few posts to LinkedIn. I’m not counting those toward writing totals. I value the LinkedIn discussions – they’re about publishing and writing, and educational – but they’re not something I can produce and publish. So I’m counting only my publishable fiction & nonfiction, and my blog entries for purposes of this challenge.

My wife left around 3pm. I spent 3-6pm working up the courage to post that first challenge blog, and then figuring out what precisely I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it. Then I made dinner, ate with the kids, and dished out cookies for dessert.

Then back to the computer for a bit while they wound down. More email answering. Finally, I was doing a little writing, as best I could between the kids needing help with this or that. Didn’t get a whole lot done, and it was creeping along. One of those days where you can barely get words down.

Got the kids to bed at 9pm. Wife still not home, and the kids stayed a little noisy til around ten. Just one of those nights… Still, made forward progress, and then even more once they settled.

Wife got home about 12:30am, and she filled me in on how things went for a half hour. Then I polished up the last bit I was working on, ended the chapter for “Ashes Ascendant”, the next Ryan Blackwell urban fantasy novel, and wrote this post.

Not the banner day I was hoping to start with. I had daydreams about kicking the challenge off with a good 8k+ word day. (chuckle) Not too worried, though, as it was a good start. Part of what this challenge is about is building the habits of success – continuing to push, not in little spurts, but every day.

So I’ll call today a win. Made some good headway, and I’m pleased with how the story is going.

 

Totals for Day 1

Fiction Wordcount: 3100 words

Blog Post Wordcount: 1440 words