#NaNoWriMo Week 1 Update

Just a quick after-the-patriots-before-the-pizza-arrives update on my NaNoWriMo Week 1 progress.

Billy, show ’em the chart:

Nano15 Week 1

As you can see, I’m a bit behind the curve and I know why. I violated one of my rules and did not use the Pomodoro timer at all until yesterday (the word count spike). The new words from today are in week two.

I find my lack of Pomodoro disturbing.

A mistake I shan’t make again.

I hope you’re doing better than I am.  Until next time…

Be safe and be well.

NaNoWriMo Productivity

NaNoWriMo Productivity

It’s only a few days until NaNoWriMo starts again so I thought I might give you a little bit of encouragement in your attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. What most people don’t understand is that writing the 1667 words you’ll need to write every day is not as difficult as it seems. As a matter of fact it’s as easy as writing a blog post every day.
If you’re in the habit of blogging on a regular basis, and some of you are, then you already have the discipline to write at the “blistering pace” needed to reach the goal. Many other authors, all of far more successful than I am (or probably never will be), will tell you that 50,000 words in a single month is standard for a full-time writer who makes his living from the printed word.
For the purposes of this exercise, and to help you understand that it is very much within your ability to “win” NaNoWriMo, we’re going to take the very blog post you’re reading. Continue reading

Not Just Pretty Designs

Groovy Geometrics for Adults

Groovy Geometrics for Adults now on Amazon

When I told you a few days ago that I had spent the majority of the last year designing a series of coloring books, I was not as honest as I could’ve been.

As it turns out, I was working out a draft of a rather long series. I didn’t realize I was doing so at the time; such is the nature of my genius. 🙂

I’m taking some well-deserved time off from my EDJ during which time I will eat too much, drink too much, spend too much time in the sun and do very little writing to advance the outline of which I just spoke. It’s not that I need to break from writing (I really need a break from job), but I need to let the outline float around in my subconscious a little more.

I’ll be using the excuse of NaNoWriMo to see just what kind of output I can get. I know I can get 15-20,000 words out of my brain in the course of the day if I spent all day focusing on productive writing, but I’m not going to get that chance in November.

It will also give me an opportunity to determine what my current “Pulp Writing Speed Warp Factor” is. I would very much like to have 1 million words written in 2016. If I take weekends off that’s about 3800 words a day, but I don’t take weekends off when I’m writing. I may reduce the amount of time I spend writing because I have other things to do, but I don’t completely stop.

I just wanted to take a moment here, at 6 AM on my first day of vacation, to let you know I will be posting far more frequently than I have in the past year.

 

Be safe and be well.

 

My Fifteen-Thousand-Word Day

Below is the chronicle of what I did yesterday, followed by observations on an epiphany.

6:30 AM : Setting things up to begin at 7:00. I’ll be writing for the next 8 hours, maybe 10, with occasional feeding and watering. Plus I have to drive my son to work.

7:00 AM : It begins.

Cumulative Word Counts:

Hour 1 7-8:    1625 (1625)
Hour 2 8-9:    3692 (2067)
Hour 3 9-10:  5791 (2099)
Hour 4 10-11: 7754 (1963)
Hour 5 11-12: 9732 (1978)
Hour 6 12-1:   12762 (3030)
Hour 7 1-2:     12762 (0 – lunch break)
Hour 8 2-3:     13496 (734)
Hour 9 3-4:     15505 (2009)

So, in the last nine hours, I did eight hours of writing, taking a 10-15 minute break every hour.
My average is 1938 words per hour, though I admit I lost focus in hour 8 (the 7th hour of writing).
My best output was hour 6, 3030 words in that hour or 50.5 words per minute. Considering I took a small break in each hour, the Words-Per-Minute are a little higher.

Continue reading

Goals Not Resolutions

So its New Year’s Day, give or take, and time for everyone to tell you to get those resolutions going.  You need to make something bold for ’14 don’t you?

Um…No, you don’t.  Resolutions, in many cases, are just people’s ways of saying they’ll do something they don’t want to.  It makes them feel better that they’ve made the first step in some change, and they get to tell everyone that they’re doing something really special with their lives now.

So, yeah, you go and be all special and see me in eight weeks and tell me how THAT’S working for you.

I hope you do it. I really do.  Me?  Screw that resolution crap and give me something to shoot for that I WANT to do. That’s a goal, a concrete something that I can get my teeth into.  If you want to do it, then I don’t think it’s a resolution, I think it’s a goal.  In my tiny little, fevered mind, there is a vast difference.

So, you may well ask “Gee, what’s your goal this year?”

*assumes you asked*

Well, thanks for asking!  I’m going to set a completely achievable, no-nonsense, and real world goal for myself this year. Make no mistake, this is something I not only want to do, but also need to do.

I AM GOING TO WRITE AND PUBLISH AT LEAST FOUR NOVELS THIS YEAR.

All caps and bold and shit. You can tell I mean it.

And I do.

I got all this NaNoWriMo stuff written that was not really cohesive and worked it into the premise of a story that might just take a few million words to tell.

Yeah…

I’ve got the plot and research all done (I found out I am a plotter – big-time) and spent all my NaNoWriMo time doing research and writing scenes for this endeavor.

I’ll be able to do it because I discovered earlier today that I am able to type things from my mind to the keyboard much faster than I could ever write things from reading them, like those traditional tests to measure typing speed.

I can crank out about 30 words per minute from the reading of text, but I find out that when I type things from my mind, it comes out SO MUCH FASTER!  Like this blog post right now.  I have given myself fifteen minutes to write as much as I can about this particular topic so I can not only get a blog post up, but so I can also re-verify the discovery.

Now I have only done the whole type-from-the-mind thing two or three times (I think this post is the third) but if I can get myself into a situation where I can type the scenes of my WiP just as quickly, I might be able to hit 500,000 words this year with only a single hour a day devoted to the ass-in-chair.

Of course, the work will need to be line-edited and content edited, but it’s the “sitting down typing part” with which most people have the greatest difficulty. I’m hoping I can get the two thousand word hours (2K1H?) into about 300 days this coming year, once I get into the habit.  That’s plenty of time to get the thoughts on paper, get them edited and make the necessary postings to Amazon, SmashWords and the other places you can buy them.

So fear not! I won’t bore you with the excruciating details of my day-to-day struggle to get my 2,000 words.  I’ll just put up a chart every day, or every other day, that will show you the progress I’m Making.

So that’s my fifteen minutes.

Be safe and be well.

(BTW, This post was written at almost 41 WPM, the other test I did was a little over 50 WPM.  I guess this averages out to be about 45 WPM. That’s about 2700 Words Per Hour, but I don’t know if I can keep that pace for an hour. So 2000 WPH or 33 WPM seems quite doable. And this aside does not count in the word total of the post. So, yeah, you can do this, too.)

Wasted Time

So what constitutes wasted time?

Spending three self-guided hours introducing yourself to InDesign and utterly failing to produce anything usable?

Writing 3,000 words only to realize you need to rewrite a majority of it because you based it on the WRONG character’s actions? Jimmy was in Baltimore on Thursday, you dolt. *sigh*

Having a long, silent conversation with a character about something she’s about to do and you’re trying to talk her out of it? Yes, we all hear the voices, it’s natural.  Well… natural for a writer, anyway.

What about doing house- or yard-work?  Someone has to do the laundry…

If you think you’re not being productive in your writing because you are off doing IRL (In Real Life) things, you’re accurate, but not entirely correct.  Taking a break from your writing once in a while is sometimes more important that forcing your backside into the chair when you’re distracted by these pesky things like good oral hygiene, walking the dog or communicating with people that exist outside of your head and/or the printed page.

Make sure you take time to get up and stretch at least once per hour while you write.  If you’re really in the zone and prolifically pound prose nonstop for two hours once in a while, that’s OK too, but beware the arms, shoulders and back.  I have back issues so I’m forced to get up.

Do a Pomodoro session (this is my thing – Clockwork Tomato App for Android), set a stopwatch or the timer on the stove to remind yourself to get up and stretch.  And maybe click the button on the dishwasher or sweep up those coffee grounds.

Image

Take time to feed the squirrels. Photo by M. Frank Parsons

Or go feed a squirrel.

Remember that time spent doing something you have to do, or something you enjoy doing that is not writing, is not necessarily wasted time.

Be safe and be well.

Write. Every. Day.

Life.

I know, I’m not supposed to talk to you about it.  Now if you’ll stop being a psychologically damaged android for just a moment, we can get something done, K?  K.

If you have 15 minutes to write, then use that fifteen minutes to write.

Like I’m doing now.  I have about zero minutes to get my crap together and get out of the house, but OH LOOK, I have time for a blog post. No its not art, but it IS writing.

If you are a writer who writes for the love of writing (someone who strives to make new words as often as possible because your soul requires it and/or you love to), then this should not be a problem.

If you are a writer who writes because they think its what all the cool kids are doing… well…  I have no idea WHAT the cool kids are doing.  Probably getting arrested for trying to live real-life GTA-5 or something.  I just know I need to write.

Why is fifteen minutes of writing OK?  Let’s ask Dean Wesley Smith:

If you type 250 words in 15 minutes, and considered your writing important enough to type for 15 minutes every day, you will finish 91,250 words in one year. Or about one longish novel.

Think about what that kind of consistency can do for you over the long haul (talking five plus years) if you quadruple that number and dedicate a whole hour to writing.

You’ll be a ‘prolific’ writer, and possibly have a nice little career going.  Or at least a big backlist, the copyright to which you/your estate (grand-kids) will own for 70 years after your death.

Be safe and be well.