End of July Report

We got back from Vegas last night. My beloved had to go for a work conference, and he doesn’t fly without me, so I had a writer’s retreat. Nope, I didn’t gamble, didn’t see any shows, shoot, I only went outside twice, and the second time it was so hot we got about 100 feet and retreated to the air conditioning. I did a lot of writing, shopped some, and ate some really good (and some really not good) food. It’s not the traditional Vegas experience, but it worked for me.

The month didn’t have a great start. Early July never does since we always have company about that time. Mid-month it picked up a bit since I knew I had my retreat coming up. I got back on the wagon with some world building rather than jumping right back into the WIP, and it paid off. By the time we were settled into the Mandalay Bay Resort And Hotel, I had a clear picture of what I needed to do.

It wasn’t without drama. My laptop died last year, and since I only work remotely a few weeks a year, I write on my iPad with a wireless keyboard. It’s bare bones, but it travels light. This time, I arrived not realizing that while the Word and Excel apps are free, you need a subscription to actually use them. Not only that, but I didn’t have the current version of ┬ámy WIP, even though I specifically remember saving it in the right place.

Whatever.

I busted out a new Google Doc and worked from memory. Amazingly, it only required the sacrifice of 38 words when I got home. I’d started with basically what I ended with in Scrivener, but I wrote it better, so the old words got cut. I’m not heartbroken.

Here are the numbers for those of you keeping score:

July time: 32.4 hours

YTD time: 199.67 hours

July words: 12,981

YTD words: 101,227

Yes, that’s right! I broke 100k! Today, as a matter of fact. I haven’t gone back through my old spreadsheets to see if and when the last time was, but I’m pretty certain it wasn’t in July. I have a lofty plan to average 25,000 words a month for the rest of the year so I can break another 100k. I know, the numbers don’t match, but I’ve got a good month’s worth of activities (excluding Christmas, because I don’t know what we’re doing yet) that will keep me away from Balphrahn, so that will carry me right up to the new year. If I plan 25,000 and only hit 20,000 I might not end up too much behind.

In the meantime, the book 1 draft is done, and the book 2 draft is started. I call that a win.

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End of May report

I have no idea how it’s June already, but my calendar says it is. I think it’s a lying cuss, but I can’t prove it.

May was marginally better than April. Not that April was hard to beat. The goal now is for April to be the worst month all year. Numbers for the month: 8,296 words, and nearly 13 hours. I did manage a 12 day streak at the end of the month. The second half was far better than the first. Now it’s a matter of maintaining, although I’m starting to wonder whether I should allow myself a day off once in a while and not concern myself with the streak so much. Maybe focus on days/month instead of days in a row? That might be a more workable solution.

I made some progress on Balphrahn, and I read some books. I’ve also been working the new day job, and that’s been zapping my creativity a fair bit, but like I said, it’s better than it was. At least I’m down to one job now, and that’s freed up some time. That’s good, because I put my garden in. Between the garden and pots, I have 20 tomato plants and 10 green peppers. I did potatoes and sweet potatoes in pots, but I think I drowned the potatoes. They don’t seem to be doing much.

One sort of odd thing I’ve noticed is I’m watching less TV. It just doesn’t keep me occupied like it used to. I still have favorites I like to watch, but between DVR and the Netflix/Amazon/Hulu trifecta, I can watch when I feel like it. That’s helped productivity in other areas.

Oh, and I figured out why my dryer wasn’t drying. The outside vent had significant lint build-up, and there wasn’t anyplace for the moisture to go. I cleared it out and it works like a champ now.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Plugging along. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

 

March Wrap Up

Wow, that month went fast. It’s been a ‘head down and gitter done’ kind of month. It wasn’t without disappointment, though. I realized yesterday if I pushed a little bit more, I could double my word count for the year. I tried. I stared at the screen, turned on some music, and pestered Walter The Muse, but there were no words. I finally saved everything I’d already done and walked away, planning to hit it again after dinner. It didn’t happen. I missed my goal by 895 words.

I’m actually not too broken up about it. It was a really good month despite the day job challenges. I continued my streak of writing every day, and put in nearly 57 hours. Total word count for the month was 27,443, bringing year to date to 55,781.

I also read quite a bit. Currently I’m reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield (I read it often and highly recommend it), and “The Story Equation” by Susan May Warren. I also read all of Susan May Warren’s Heiress Trilogy (“Heiress,” “Baroness,” and “Duchess”) again.

Based on my progress this month, I’m awfully glad I went to Deep Thinkers last month. It seems to be just what I needed to get things rolling. Here’s to April!

When

I bit off more than I could chew in November. Moving and Thanksgiving would have been enough. But I also decided not only to do Nanowrimo again, but also to write another book this year. Never mind that it was late October when I made the decision. Never mind I’ve never written a whole book in under six months before. Getting the book done by New Year’s Eve would allow me to make 2014 the Year Of Rewrites. It would give me four books that need attention. Three months per book, and by September I’d have at least two ready to pitch at the annual ACFW conference.

The first two weeks went pretty well. I knocked out word count, most of the time before lunch, leaving afternoons free for packing and sorting. There were a couple days I had to pick up some words in the afternoon. Then I had to add a few after dinner sessions. By week three, I was behind pretty consistently, and no wonder. I had to get ready for company to come for Thanksgiving, and even though they’re all bachelors, there are still things to do to get ready for them to come: make beds, make sure there are clean towels, clean the bathrooms, stock up on chips and soda. Something had to give.

Last week I decided to drop out of Nanowrimo. I’ve “won” several times in the past. It’s not as if I’m going to get anything more than an e-mailed GIF and 50,000 messy words. It was more important to spend my time with my friends, even though they would have been all right with me disappearing for a few hours a day.

I’m writing this not because my specific choices are important. I’m one person. What I do will not change the world. But maybe someone out there can learn from my choices, maybe make a conscious effort to unplug from the hype, decide to be a little less perfect, love a little more. We all know people who have lost loved ones in the last year, or maybe have a friend holding onto life by their fingertips. But really, none of us knows how much time we have left. If this were my last minute, I’d be at peace with the unfinished book on my hard drive.

Christmas has taken on a life of its own. We feed the monster when we shop on Thanksgiving, or max out credit cards to buy things our friends and family don’t need. We all need to figure out what’s most important and learn when to say when.

Alternate Novel Writing Month wrap-up

The skewed timetable should be a clue that things did not go as planned. Technically, tomorrow is my wrap-up day, but I’m calling it now. I have written 43,129 words (in 28 days) on “King Or Country.” I expect it will take another 15,000 or so to finish it off. My last writing day was Saturday because I’m busy getting ready to go out of town for my research trip to Rhode Island. Yes, the next project has interrupted the current project. I hope that won’t become a habit!

Overall, this has been a positive experience. It was the research trip that caused me to push my timetable back two weeks. It would have been smarter to do three, but I’m not often accused of being smart, especially with a computer engineer and two science majors in the family! (On the other hand, the computer engineer has me edit his grad school research papers, and the science majors often ask me how to spell things, so maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit!)

So that’s where it is. I’m calling it successful because it did get me in the habit of writing every weekday and some on the weekends. Mentally, I’m more focused and happier with the daily writing. I tend to get cranky when I haven’t written for a while. I’ll try it again when things settle down. August, maybe. My calendar looks pretty clear right now, and in August it’s too daggone hot to do anything outside, plus it has 31 days! Yeah, August is a definite possibility. Maybe by then I’ll have figured out how to write, do the dishes, and vacuum all in the same day!