Monthly Archives: February 2011
Only one-third to weekly goal

Well, I’m posting my Wednesday update a bit late, as usual.

I had some stress today. First, I left my flash drive at work, which is never fun. But I’m pretty sure it’s there, in my work PC, and not lost. If it is lost, I have the most up-to-date version of my manuscript backed up via email, and all the other contents backed up in two or three locations; but I’d rather not have to buy a new flash drive, you know? So hopefully it’s at work.

Then I had some financial stress I won’t go into, but let’s just say I’m nearly $500 lighter in my bank account and grateful I’m not overdrawn. Good thing I put off that tune-up on my car, though.

Then there was some bad news. Our cat, who has been with my wife longer than I have, has been having some tooth trouble, so when she took the cat into the vet today, we found out Otis has heart problems. He’s 14, almost 15, which is pretty good for a cat; but she’s not ready to lose him and we’re now more aware that his days might be numbered.

So, it’s been a high-stress day, getting all of that at once.

Still, here’s where things stand. My Week 8 goal was 3,000 words. So far, I’ve written 1,118 words on the week, but I had a chance to go see the Minnesota Timberwolves in a corporate suite last night, and watch Kevin Love earn his 44th consecutive double-double, despite playing in another loss. So I didn’t get any writing done last night.

I’m not counting anything I may do tonight. But as of now, I am officially down-scaling my Week 8 goal: Instead of 3,000 words, I’m now revising that goal to 2,500 words.

Also, I got restless with the look of this blog, so I have switched up the look of it. The pink neon’s just a tad loud for me, but I like that look of it in general, and as a Minnesota resident, I like having something up with a tropical feel; it reminds me winter can’t last forever.

I’ll eventually change it up again. I tend to change the look of my blogs about every three or four months or so. Hope everyone else likes it, too.

Posted on February 25, 2011, 12:00 AM By
Categories: ROW80 Tags:
Snowed and slowed

We had an entire week of mid-February thaw here in Minnesota this past week, but that came to an end on Sunday; the snow’s back with a vengeance. As I write this, we’re in the middle of what is projected to be 12-18 inches of fresh snow by the time it’s all done, and we’re expecting a second round later this week.

The thaw, which reached the middle 40s more than once, did a lot to get rid of a fair amount of that snow-and-ice pack that came with the December blizzard that destroyed the Metrodome roof. Now we’re getting almost as much as that again. Yikes. It’s times like this I wish I lived in Oregon. Or Florida. Or the Carolinas. Or somewhere where 12-18 inches of snow just isn’t a possibility, much less something that happens two or three times a year.

Global warming, my little toe on my left foot!

Anyway, it’s check-in time for ROW 80 and to be honest, my cold’s been hanging on and Delsym as become my best friend as this cold comes with a lot more coughing than sneezing. Yuck.

I did manage to get a fair amount of paid blogging done, and I helped my wife with her masters-degree work by looking over and editing some papers she was working on.

I did not, however, reach my modest goal of 2,500 words for the week. What I did reach was 1,444 words. About three-fifths of my goal. So that’s a C+/B- result. Not bad with all that I had on my plate; I did a lot of blogging, but even that suffered as I left a fair amount of assignments to slip into the next pay period. All while battling this dumb cold that won’t go away. Time to make an appointment, I think, and make sure it’s not settling into my lungs and becoming an upper respiratory infection. The wheeze is back, which concerns me a bit.

Anyway, so what’s my goal for Week Eight? That’s a good question.

I want to set a realistic goal. My cold’s not gone, but I have plenty of time-sensitive paid blogging assignments unfinished and I can’t let those go. They need to be done this week, or they’ll disappear.

So, I’ll keep the goal modest and reachable, but a bit more aggressive. So it’s 3,000 words or bust. That’ll get me to 35K finally, which I should have blown past by now. But I haven’t. And it’s time.

So, there it is: 3,000 words for the week… and get those leftover paid blogging assignments done (which, in all honesty, probably comprises an extra 3,000 words or more, but it’s not part of my novel so it doesn’t really count).

Let’s hope by mid-week, or at least Week Nine, the cold is gone and I can get back in the groove creatively. I’m frustrated by all this “too exhausted from being sick to feel up to writing” crud. I appreciate the rest… but I want that good ol’ forward progress feeling back.

Slow start to Week 7

Tonight’s check-in night and it’s the first night this week that I haven’t felt totally burned out and exhausted by the tail-end of this cold. So it’s the first night I’ve been able to get any writing done at all.

And it’s a meager sum at that: a mere 764 words of forward progress. That’s not even halfway to my goal of 2,500 words, and I haven’t even begun my paid blogging yet, which will rob me of time for the novel.

I still love the story, I still feel the rhythm, but at this point, to quote Shaul the Emissary (the Apostle Paul), “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is week.”

Hopefully I’m past the worst of this now and I’ll finish strong; but even with a modest production goal, this week’s gonna be a tooth-pulling week. Which is a shame, since this was my week for having my pep talk posted at the ROW80 site. Hope you all enjoyed it and thanks, Kait!

So right now? I’m not expecting any kind of spectacular week. We’ll see what the weekend brings, though.

Week 6 undone by illness

At my last check-in, in the middle of Week 6, I was rolling strong. I had written 2,806 words on the week. And now, reporting late for my Week 6 check-in, I can tell you I finished at not much more than that… 3,452 words, or about 650 more words than I had at mid-week.

The truth is simple and boring: I caught a cold and felt miserable, overtired and ill-rested all weekend. I was barely fit to finish out my work-week at my day-job.

And this was a pretty bad cold with a hacking, phlegmy cough. When I hit the sack both Friday and Saturday nights, I had a wheeze in my breathing that seemed almost independent of my actual breathing, like the buzzing of a cell phone on vibrate, and it was loud enough to wake me up several times during those nights.

Fortunately, the cold has backed off some and I’m now more capable of thinking clearly. But not necessarily by a lot, just yet. It’s probably more attributable to being well-medicated. But at least there’s no more wheezing.

So, taken all in all, I finished the week about 548 words short of my 4,000-word goal. That’s not terrible, and if I’d not felt like dung the last few days, I know I would have blown by my goal with ease.

So, it’s a B-plus week, and that’s good enough under the circumstances.

I’m not back to 100 percent yet, and I have a lot of paid blogging to do this week. So I’m setting my goal low for the week, so that I can at least hope to attain it, assuming my cold doesn’t return for Round 2.

For Week 7, it is my goal to write 2,500 words. That’s all. Anything above that is gravy. That would still leave me short of the 35K benchmark, but I’m OK with that. I don’t want to set my goals too high on a week that I’m still recovering from a cold and which I know will contain a lot of other demands on my time … including my writing time … anyway.

Yet, who knows? I might just find some night this week where I feel good and get ambitious and knock out a lot more words than I’m planning.

But for this week? I’m not going to count on it. Better to keep it realistic and achievable.

Posted on February 15, 2011, 1:11 AM By
Categories: ROW80 Tags:
Past the 30K mark!

Well, here we are at midweek and I have some exciting news to report. First and foremost, last night I passed the 30K mark on EMBER’s word count. As of bedtime last night, I had reached 30,474 words.

That’s not bad at all, because for the week, that places me at 2,806 words so far. That’s nearly three-fourths of the way to my 4,000-word goal on the week. So I have a chance to really blow past my goals. Reaching 35K words isn’t out of the question, either, even though I don’t write fiction on the Sabbath. (Sundown Friday through sundown Saturday.)

But even with that, I have at least three nights in which I can write before Sunday’s check-in, so if I just average what I’ve been averaging per night that last two nights, I’m on pace to add another 4,200 words, which would put me just shy of 35K.

Even if I don’t reach those kinds of totals, it would be hard for me not to have a great, productive week this week. So I’m stoked.

But I’m doubly stoked because in writing about 2,000 words last night alone, I came up with a fresh injection of energy to the story that I think I pulled off well, and which should ramp up the suspense. Plus, the scene seems pretty scary.

It involved the introduction of a new threat to the storyline. My initial plan was to have most of the antagonism in the story come from a primary source for Ember; but the story was feeling a bit too “slice of life” and not enough of a genuine suspense plot. I needed to ramp of the threat level.

So on the spot, I came up with an ideal “bad guy” that will complicate Ember’s life in many, many ways. And unlike my other primary threat to Ember, who is a “slow build” villain, this character is a proactive threat; just really really dangerous.

Now the novel’s pace is starting to pick up and I’m starting to get excited about writing it each night. Not that the earlier stuff was boring by any means; but I just love throwing a proactive threat to contrast off the slow-build threat. Dynamically speaking, it just makes for a lot more fun.

I’m trying hard here to speak in storytelling dynamics without spoiling my own plot. Let me know how I’ve done!

Finished 150 words shy, too…

As it turned out, between paid blogging and family obligations, I never did get around to writing any more on EMBER in the second half of Week 5, so I finished exactly where I was last time I checked in: at 150 words shy of my goal.

But that’s OK. Given the busy second half of the week, I’m still proud of how much I got done through Wednesday, so I’m giving myself an A-minus for the week. That’s a passing grade for a busy, busy week in just about anyone’s book.

This week, I want to set the bar a little higher because I won’t have as many writing obligations outside of EMBER. So I’m calling for myself to reach 4,000 words this week. That should add around two more chapters to EMBER and make up for the dead halt I came to at the end of Week 5.

Week 6, here I come: 4,000 words or bust! That’ll put me well past the 30K mark and on my way to 35K. That’s where I want to be come Sunday night.

Posted on February 8, 2011, 12:38 AM By
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Within 150 words of goal already!

As I write this, my production for Week 5 if ROW 80 is 3,357 words of new progress on EMBER. My goal was 3,500. This means I can concentrate on my blogging for a while, since I’ve pretty much already reached my goal.

I just hope I don’t take too long away from my novel getting my blogging done, because I’m in a very productive groove lately and I don’t want to lose the magic. Right now, EMBER is at 27,668 words, and counting. And I’m really feeling good about where things are going with the story. The characters seem like home to me; like friends I’m checking in on several times a week.

That’s always a good feeling, and it’s one that comes from the project having been percolating in my mind for so many years, I think. That’s also probably what made it hard for me to make real progress on my two mystery series, the PIZZA DELIVERY MYSTERIES and my BEN ROSEN MYSTERIES. Both are solid concepts, but very new by comparison and I’m still learning their worlds. Maybe after I write a couple of EMBER novels, one of them will feel more “ready for prime time,” if I need a break from EMBER.

But at the moment, a break from EMBER is the last thing I want. Words are rolling out onto the screen for me better than they have in months!