Monthly Archives: March 2011
Draft complete… revisions next

So I put in an extra hour today in my late-night writing session and finished entering my 20-year-old draft of MOST LIKELY… into a word processor so I can update and revise it. In the end, MOST LIKELY… ran 60,683 words in its current form. I also became more revision-prone as the light at the end of the tunnel came into view.

In my final day entering the old draft in, I entered 6,314 words, a tremendously productive day. Ahead of me lies several hours of much-needed, sweet sweet sleep. I need to catch up on my paid blogging, since it’s my only direct form of income right now, so I’ll likely dedicate my late morning-afternoon shift to that cause.

Then it’ll be time to move MOST LIKELY… into my MS Word 2007 novel template, get it formatted properly, and begin the pain-staking process of revisions and updating the novel 20 years. It’s hard to believe a novel so filled with passive voice passed muster for my creative thesis in my MA program, but it did. It’ll read even better once I’m done revising it, though, and it makes me happy to see I’ve grown enough as a writer that I can look at 20-year-old prose I once produced and identify where it can be strengthened.

Still, I’m impressed with some of the subtleties I pulled off even back then.

I may have this puppy ready to send off to my beta-reading crew before Session 2 of ROW80 even begins. That’s progress, folks!

Closing in on the end

As I write this, it’s late Tuesday night/almost Wednesday morning. In the past 48 hours, I’ve typed up another 9,433 words of MOST LIKELY… The word count stands at 54,369 with about 17 pages remaining to enter in. That should put me just over 60,000 words.

I hope to complete that entry task on Wednesday so I can import the novel into MS Word 2007 to being revisions, formatting and prepping the novel for beta-readers. That’s how the rest of the week will go, on into the weekend and early next week.

I’m excited. This is the light at the end of the tunnel. At least in terms of getting MOST LIKELY… in shape for revisions, betas, editing and the like. I still have some work ahead of me, but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I can realistically see MOST LIKELY hitting the Kindle store soon, possibly something in April!

That would be huge.

And while waiting on my beta-readers, I can begin work on some short novels I can turn around quickly, too. Celebration time is drawing close. Yay!

Posted on March 30, 2011, 2:30 AM By
Categories: Writing Tags:
Solo check-in

Well, ROW80 might be on hiatus, but as a full-time writer (if I don’t write, we starve) I have to keep rolling on, except on the Sabbath. So since ROW80 ceased for a nice little respite, I thought I’d still do a check-in of sorts for those who keep an eye on me. (And thanks for the accountability, folks. It helps!)

When last I checked in, it was late Thursday night and I’d reached 40,592 words on MOST LIKELY…, a work that remains my sole focus for now. I haven’t had a ton of writing time since then, but here’s what I’ve accomplished.

On Friday, I put in a good day right up until 6 PM, when I stopped for the Sabbath. On Saturday night, after the Sabbath was over and after a pleasant date night with my wife, I felt over-tired and didn’t do anything. Zip, nada, nothing.

Today (Sunday), I got up and corrected/reviewed a couple papers for my wife. After that, I worked on MOST LIKELY… for a bit, then succumbed to stomach cramps and a case of the drowsies, so I napped most of the afternoon away, though I got a little more writing done after my wife woke me up to remind me we’d be taking Dad out soon. We took my Dad to Don Pablo’s for supper. Then I came back, spent time with my wife, and came into the “office” here to catch up on things in Kindleboards and get set for an evening writing session.

I haven’t started that just yet; I’m posting before I begin.

At the moment, MOST LIKELY… stands at 44,936 for a total of 4,344 words since Friday morning. I’m nearly done entering chapter 5. I want to at least get that much done before I hit the sheets tonight, so that all I have left is the 40-some pages that make up chapter 6, the final chapter of MOST LIKELY…

On Monday, I have a meeting and a check-up scheduled, so I won’t be around from about 2:30 PM to 8 PM. But that only loses me a couple hours, because I typically take a break from 4 or 5 PM through about 10 PM, so that I don’t neglect my family in the evenings.

All the same, my goal is to complete entering Chapter 6 of MOST LIKELY… no later than Wednesday, and preferably by Tuesday night. It’s about 40 pages, or roughly 15,000 words, give or take. Wednesday is for sure, barring the unforeseen. Tuesday is a hoped-for achievement.

Once the re-entering is done, I’ll move MOST LIKELY… from FocusWriter into MS Word and begin the revision process. Here are some of my priorities for the first round of revisions:

1) Break the six chapters up into smaller, more manageable chapters. Modern readers don’t like chapters that are longer than many short novels.

2) Relocate the novel from fictional River Bend, MN (an allegory to Mankato, MN, where I spent my college years) to Hope, WI (an allegory to Burnett and Polk County, WI, where I spent five years as a journalist). The fictional setting of Hope, WI, is where EMBER will also take place, as well as many other novels I am planning. This relocation goes beyond changing the name of the town, but includes recasting some minor roles, as well as changing some descriptive passages. (River Bend is more of a town set in a river valley sort of area… Hope is more of a deep woods setting.)

3) Be alert for passive voice overuse and revise as necessary.

4) Keep an eye out for formatting changes. (I use italics to indicate characters’ inner thoughts, but I foolishly set FocusWriter to .txt instead of .rtf, so none of that is present in the manuscript as-is.)

5) Also make sure I maintain “third-person close” perspective and don’t head-jump willy-nilly.

Those five items are the major tasks for the first-pass revision. Which may take more than one pass to accomplish. Once that’s done, I’ll either develop a list of second-pass priorities, or perhaps determine it’s ready to send out to betas.

Once I get MOST LIKELY… off to my beta readers, I’m going to go back to first-draft concerns, but not immediately to EMBER. I have a couple short novels I want to get out there because they’ll come together quickly.

One is an EMBER prequel. I’m seeing it as something that will add to the EMBER experience, and that I can offer for $0.99 because it’ll be a shorter adventure, about 10,000 to 25,000 words, but a full, complete, and satisfying story.

The other short novel I want to work on, at around the same length range, is a project that for now, I’m going to code-name IDEA WAREHOUSE. It’s a nice thriller-chiller that should please folks who kinda liked the subtle touch I brought to my short story (free for reading on this site), SHALL ARISE FIRST, which originally appeared on Amanda Hocking’s Web site for her Zombiepalooza event.

So the priority list is now: MOST LIKELY… typing and revision, IDEA WAREHOUSE and EMBER PREQUEL, then back to EMBER. Somewhere in there, MOST LIKELY… will come back from my betas, and I’ll go through more revisions before sending it off to my editor. Then final revisions and uploading.

With some good fortune (and swift beta-readers and editor) I hope to release MOST LIKELY… in April, as well as perhaps one of my short novels. Another short novel will follow in May, and then, with some hard work, maybe I’ll get the first full-length EMBER novel out in July as I originally hoped for.

MOST LIKELY reaches over 40K

Well, I certainly can’t complain with how I finished out ROW 80.

At the last check-in, I set a very ambitious goal of 5,000 words a day for the last four days of Round 1. On Sunday night when I did my check-in, my word count on MOST LIKELY… stood at 25,742 words. Tonight, as I pen this final ROW 80, Round 1 check-in post, my MOST LIKELY… word count stands at 40,592 words. That’s a total of 14,850 words of new progress since Sunday night. And to be honest, I gave myself the entire afternoon off today.

Now, meeting that very ambitious 5,000 words per day goal in the final four days should have landed me around 45,000 words, not 40,000, but you know what? I’m still working out what I can realistically expect of myself on a full-time writing schedule, and nearly 15,000 words in four days is still excellent progress. I’m deep into a very long fifth chapter and once that’s entered, only another very long sixth chapter remains.

I think I’ve done quite well, to be honest.

When I started ROW 80, I had about 16,000 words done on EMBER that were keepable after my NaNoWriMo flame-out. In 80 days, I pushed that total to 36,210 words… over 20,000 words of new progress. And almost all of that came before I lost my day job and was writing only a few hours per evening, four or five nights a week.

Then, after losing my day-job in the last ten days of ROW 80, Round 1, I prioritized re-entering an old novel into a new word processing file so I could revise, update, and edit it for Kindle and Nook publication. I had, to that point, re-entered MOST LIKELY when I needed time away from EMBER, and had reached about 5,210 words on MOST LIKELY… before losing my day job. Since then, I’ve reentered another 35,000 words or so, making it my front-burner project because I know I can have it ready much sooner than EMBER.

So my final totals for ROW 80 Round 1 are 20,210 words on EMBER and 40,592 words on MOST LIKELY… for a grand total of 60,802 words in 80 days … and only 10 of those days included being a full-time writer. That’s an average of 760 words a day. So I expect my numbers to go way up for Round 2, when that gets underway April 4. But that is still the better part of a novel, if not a complete one, in 80 days.

All in all, it’s been a great experience and really helped me prepare for the shock of losing my day-job and becoming, by necessity, a full-time writer. Between now and Round 2, I’ll still post here at Craig-Hansen.com about my progress; when you’re full-time with no books out yet, you really can’t take a 10-day break. So I’ll keep you all posted on what I’m up to.

I fully expect to have the final 20,000 words of MOST LIKELY… entered and to have begun the revision process in earnest by the time Round 2 begins.

In the meantime, for the next 10 days, people… keep me accountable! See you all here and on Twitter in the interim, then see you for Round 2!

Penultimate ROW80 check-in

This is the second-to-last check-in for Session One of ROW80, the 80-day writing challenge marathon founded by Kait Nolan that has been the source of inspiration spurring me on to productivity in my writing since January. When ROW80 started, I was coming in fresh of a NaNoWriMo burnout experience and wasn’t sure I was ready for another “writing challenge.”

But ROW80 has been a different experience. The goals are our own, and changeable as life changes for us. And oh, how my life has changed in the past eighty days.

When I began ROW80, I was working full-time for my faith community, and writing was something I did late at night, robbing myself of sleep to accomplish. I began slow, then did better, then slowed again, then finished strong.

And five days ago, I lost my day-job and suddenly, after a long conversation with my wife, we have decided the time has come for me to take my writing seriously. As in, this is what I do now, full-time. No more filling up my weeks scraping for temp-job assignments to bring in some meager pay and rob myself of writing time.

I can think of no bigger change than that.

At my last Sunday check-in, I was still working full-time. I set a goal for my week: 5,000 words at least 1,500 of them coming from EMBER, and by Wednesday’s check-in I had pretty much already surpassed that goal, because I had lost my job one day before check-in.

So, with full-time writing now my main focus, I reset my goals for the second half of the week. EMBER became lower priority because I need to get something on the market as soon as possible, to start bringing in money. EMBER’s a first-draft project and MOST LIKELY…, but YA coming-of-age novel that served as my master’s thesis twenty years ago, only needs to be reentered, updated, revised and reviewed.

So I called for myself to finish out the second half of the week by re-entering at least 9,500 words on MOST LIKELY. The sooner it’s entered, after all, the sooner it can be revised. I’ve even started making mild revisions as I go, when I spot passive voice and other pet peeve flaws.

How did I do? Well, as of Wednesday’s check in, my word count on MOST LIKELY… stood at 7,388 words. As I enter this post tonight, my word count on MOST LIKELY stands at 25,742 words. That makes for a grand total, of 18,354 words entered since Wednesday’s check-in. So, for the week, my MOST LIKELY word could stands at 23,567 words on the week, plus 1,018 words of new progress on EMBER, written before I lost my day job and re-prioritized my WIPs.

So, overall? My combined goal for the week was 14,500 words and I actually produced 24,585 words.

That means this week was a no-holds-barred success, in terms of my productivity.

As we enter the final days of ROW 80, Session 1, I find I’m more energized than ever to write each and every day. Some of that is the necessity of no longer having a day job. But at least part of that is due to ROW80. Where NaNoWriMo left me drained and dispirited, ROW80 leaves me doubtful that I could take a 10-day break before ROW80 Session 2 begins on April 4.

Because, with its movable goals, ROW 80 isn’t a wind-sprint challenge; it’s a marathon. It’s a lifestyle. Quite simply, it’s what works for me.

So here are my goals for the final days of ROW 80, Session 1:

I am now just under halfway through MOST LIKELY… I need to press on and get the rest of the novel finished as soon as I possibly can, so that revisions can begin in earnest.

With four days left before the final check-in, I want to enter at least 5,000 words a day, and reach 45,000 words by Thursday. That would leave me 15,000 words or so left before MOST LIKELY… is complete, a goal I could reach while ROW80 is in recess. That would also allow me plenty of time to start revisions on MOST LIKELY… and I should be well into that process by the time ROW 80, Session 2 begins.

That’s my goal for the last four days. See you on Thursday. I’ll let you know how I did.

Final pre-Sabbath progress

Well, I made my final push for progress prior to the Sabbath and I went above and beyond my goal. Last night when I hit the sack, my word count on MOST LIKELY… stood at 18,139 words. I am now at 21,012 words, making today’s pre-Sabbath total 2,873 words. That’s beyond my Friday goal of 2,000 words, so it’s all good.

My goals at check-in were 2,000 words before bedtime Wednesday, 3,500 words on Thursday and 2,000 words before Sabbath on Friday, for a goal-so-far benchmark of 7,500 words.

Instead of that, I’ve achieved 9,142 words of progress on MOST LIKELY…, which is twenty percent over goal so far. That’s certainly good enough to feel satisfied with where I sad, prior to the start of the Sabbath.

But now I’m checking out until sundown tomorrow. I’ll pick things up again tomorrow night. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Posted on March 18, 2011, 5:58 PM By
Categories: Writing Tags:
Progress on Day 2

So, here I am, unemployed for a second day. My output today was a bit lower, though still great.

Last night, after doing my ROW80 check-in, I wrote another 2,500 words or so. Today, I wrote just short of 4,000 words on the day. That’s a lot less than yesterday, but still above my goal for the rest of the week.

Right now, my total words re-typed on MOST LIKELY… comes to 18,139 words. The novel as a whole is around 60,000. Nearly one-third of the way home!

If I only do the minimum tomorrow before Shabbat begins, I’ll hit over 20,000 words. But I’m hoping to get a lot more done than that. The sooner I re-enter the novel as it stands, the quicker I can begin revisions.

Actually, I’m starting to become more proactive about cleaning up really obvious errors as I type MOST LIKELY… up. I suppose that’s a bit inevitable, but I don’t want to really get into revision mode until after the novel’s completely entered in.

But it’s past three in the morning now, and time to stop. I was up till six last night, working on a mock-up cover for MOST LIKELY…, but I don’t want to repeat that because it caused me to oversleep; I didn’t get started on my day until half-past noon, which is probably why I only wrote about 4,000 words today.

But I did get about an hour of swimming and sauna in, which was good. Really looking forward to my next shower, but it’s too late to do that now; great way to start off the day tomorrow, though!

Change of pace

Hi there.

What a difference a few days can make. When I set my goals for this week, I was looking for progress of about 5,000 words for the week, with 1,500 words coming from EMBER at the minimum. What have I accomplished so far?

Well, on EMBER I have written 1,018 words of new progress, most of it on Sunday night. Since then, I’ve been working a lot on re-entering MOST LIKELY so that I can start revising that. At the last check-in, my word count on MOST LIKELY stood at 7,388 words. As I write this check-in, that count is now up to 11,870 words. That means I’ve re-entered 4,482 words in the last couple days.

So between EMBER and MOST LIKELY, I’ve written 5,500 words already this week. Goals blown out.

But it’s time to reset my goals for the week.

On Tuesday, I was let go from my day job. Downsized. And I’ve decided to really push myself to see if I can make a go at being a full-time writer, before panicking and looking for another cruddy day-job. Something my wife has urged me to do.

So, I say, goal met for the first half of the week. The goal for the second half of the week has to be an upgrade, though.

Here’s the new goal: at least 2,000 words yet tonight, at least 3,500 words on Thursday, at least 2,000 words on Friday before sundown, and at least 2,000 more words between Saturday night after sundown, until I do my Sunday check-in.

That would mean another 9,500 words, with at least 500 words coming from EMBER, so that I make good on that goal, between now and Sunday. Considering MOST LIKELY runs about 60,000 words, that’s the least I can do.

See, my priorities have changed. I need to get something out on the market, and while I refuse to rush things in a way that sacrifices quality, I also want to play it smart and get something done that can get to a “ready to publish” state quickly.

That makes MOST LIKELY the priority project right now. As a twenty-year-old novel and the creative thesis that earned me my master’s degree, MOST LIKELY is at least an “advanced draft” project.

That makes it a lot closer to “finished” than EMBER is right now.

Sure, I need to update the novel; I want to change the setting, repair the writing that I now know can be stronger, and bring the story into the present day setting.

But re-entering the novel can and should go quickly. Revisions, while detailed, won’t require major restructuring at this point. Updating, strengthening, but not major surgery. If all goes well, and my beta-readers are swift, I could get MOST LIKELY to market a lot sooner than July, my most optimistic estimate on EMBER. And I need to get something out there without sacrificing quality, so that’s the direction I need to go.

MOST LIKELY is now my top-priority project and EMBER the second-priority project. MOST LIKELY will hit the market before EMBER, but hopefully EMBER won’t experience a major delay as a result of this re-prioritization. EMBER should still come out in 2011. Maybe not in July, though.

I am also considering developing a couple short-novel projects that can also hit the market more quickly, due to their short length. One of these projects will be an EMBER prequel. A story from earlier in her life, something that takes place before the novel begins. It could be a good promotional tool for EMBER, and it’s another thing that I could put out there on the market more quickly.

I am also thinking of moving up the priority of some of my Messianic theological books, since I have rough drafts of those at hand, and just need to dig deeper, flesh them out, and write them for a general audience uninitiated to the Messianic movement. But that’s nonfiction work.

I also don’t want to juggle too many projects at once, though, so for right now I’m not going to worry too much about my nonfiction. Instead, I’ll work hard on my fiction. Priority one: MOST LIKELY. Priority two: EMBER. Priority three: A couple short novels, including an EMBER prequel.

Goal by Sunday check-in? Another 9,500 words or better. Time to get serious about my writing career. Seriously prolific.

Downsized

Today begins a test of inner strength, for me.

On Tuesday, I found out I was downsized at my day-job. If I were still in my twenties, I’d brush it off easier. But I’m in my mid-forties. Not so easily brushed off.

I’ve come to depend on that regular paycheck. Who wouldn’t, right?

Trouble is, this wasn’t a, “Whoo-hoo, I’m all about being an indie writer, I’m leaving my day-job to write full-time,” sort of deal. This is an, “I’ve been downsized, so I think maybe being an indie writer full-time might keep me sane, compared to going back to temp-work to fill forty hours a week at cruddy pay and the chance of being downsized again at a moment’s whim,” sort of moment.

It’s a do-or-starve sort of moment.

Still, it’s also a “this is what I choose to make of it” sort of moment.

I don’t know if I can make ends meet writing full time. But I know I’d be a darn sight happier doing that than I’ve been in a while, so maybe I need to grab this curve ball by the stitching and see where it can take me.

I’m not happy being unemployed. But maybe it’s the spark I need, as well as the rush of time I need, to really ramp up my production and make a go of being a writer.

Yeah, I’m a little scared. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Posted on March 16, 2011, 1:57 AM By
Categories: Writing Tags:
At last, a 5K week!

Hey all.

I skipped out on the mid-week check-in this week. There’s a good reason, though; I stayed focused on forward progress this week, and I blew away my 5,000 word goal for Week 10. That makes this the most productive week of ROW80 that I’ve had during all of Session 1.

Unfortunately, all of my progress came this week on one project: re-typing MOST LIKELY into FocusWriter, so I can start revising it after I’m done with the first draft of EMBER. It’s not that I’m no longer interested in EMBER; in fact, I’m more enthusiastic about that novel than I’ve been in a while.

But it’s odd; I feel creatively odd because I know where the next 20,000 words or so will take me and as much as I’m anxious to get going on it, it feels, I don’t know… a bit too easy, while simultaneously feeling quite difficult. I’m at that, “the story is taking on a life of it’s own and should start coming quickly” point. And for some reason, it scares me a bit. I’m not sure why.

So this week, I spent all my writing time on re-typing MOST LIKELY. Last week, I reported I had retyped the first 2,175 words of Chapter One of MOST LIKELY into Focus Writer. As I write this post, I’ve completely re-typed in all of Chapter One and the first sentence of Chapter 2 and my word count stands at 7,388.

That means that in the past week, I’ve written 5,213 words on MOST LIKELY, even if it is just retyping. Of course, it’s a bit more than retyping. If it was purely and only that, I could have someone else retype it for me, far faster than I could pull off. But since this is a twenty-year-old novel, I need to retype it in myself to refamiliarize myself with this work, so that when it’s all retyped and time to revise comes around, I’ll go in with the story and its flaws fresh in my mind, ready to perform surgery on it, knowing where the problems are.

My goal for the week was to reach 5,000 words of forward progress, one way or another, on either EMBER or MOST LIKELY. And now I’ve done that, and even surpassed my weekly goal by almost five percent. So I’m happy about that, even if it was all just re-typing.

As predicted, blog assignment pressure was low this week, and since my wife completed her first semester of graduate school before this week began and had an off-week in between semesters, I haven’t had to correct any papers for her. That helped a lot.

This week, the blog pressure will come back. My wife’s starting her second semester of graduate school on Monday and is likely to have assignments for me to review come this weekend. That’s fine.

So my primary goal this week, I’m going to go ambitious on, even though I know I could be setting myself up for disappointment by the end of the week.

For week 11, I want to write another 5,000 words. And to make sure I don’t let the fear of finishing get to me too much, I’m going to add a stipulation: at least 1,500 words of that new progress must come from EMBER. Heck, it can all come from EMBER, really, but I don’t want to just retype an old novel for a second straight week.

So that’s my challenge for the week, even though it’s going to be a busier week: produce another 5,000-word week, with at least 1,500 words of that total spent on moving EMBER forward.

Plus, complete all my blog assignments by deadline, and help my wife out by reviewing any papers she needs a second set of eyes on.

That seems like a great Week 11 goal to me. Time to “close strong” as the first session of ROW 80 is soon coming to an end.

New tires, lots of exhaustion

So today, Monday, is a day where I usually get a lot done. And I did, but not much of it happened in front of a keyboard.

Today my wife and I took my father in to make sure a skin tag that had become irritated hadn’t developed into something worse. We won’t know for a while.

Then my wife and I took my car over to Discount Tire and we put four new tires on my beat up, old Chevy Lumina. We were expecting to put on only two, but it turns out all for were in pretty bad shape. One had threads showing. Two were on the verge of popping. I knew they were bad, and now everything’s peachy because I have brand new tires, but for some reason I’m more stressed out about it now than I was before we put the new tires on.

Maybe it’s because I have a history of cars dying on me shortly after I invest in new tires. It’s happened to me more than once and even more than twice. And I can’t afford to replace my car just now… or anytime soon, really.

Maybe it had something to do with the price tag, which was over $105 per tire after all the fees and taxes and such were added in. Yuck. Maybe it had something to do with finding out how close I’d come to a blow-out… in the winter, no less.

Another thing: it’s been over two months since I last donated to the American Red Cross. For the last two years plus, I’ve done this twice a month, like clockwork. I donate platelets because I know they help a lot of people, and I can do it often. I started doing platelet aphoresis donations back in 2008, the summer I learned my mom had Stage 3 cancer. She died a few weeks later, but I’ve kept donating in memory of her ever since.

Before that, I would donate double-reds or a regular unit of blood once or twice a year, but that was it.

But back in late December, I went over to do my donation and for the first time ever, had problems. The needle didn’t get positioned quite right and there was trouble with the return and some fairly intense pain. The crook of my elbow bruised up pretty good, and it lasted for almost three weeks.

Because they weren’t able to return the blood already in the machine properly, I had to agree to take two months off. That’s over now, but I find myself hesitant to go back. There’s no good reason not to go back. I’m just not all that eager to return, and so I keep putting off making an appointment. Mondays are when I donate, so that’s been on my mind today, also.

After his minor procedure, we took Dad out to the casino… a weekly treat we do for him. He had a little luck but not a lot. I played on a “free” $5 credit the casino puts on my membership card each week, which is usually all I do, and today I won nearly $43, so I came home happy about that. I picked up a gift for my wife who completed her first semester of grad school this weekend, and got myself a goodie as well.

So, really, there’s a lot more going well right now than is going poorly. I really should be feeling pretty good about things.

But for some reason, I’m tense and I’m not sure quite why.

I did listen to a gloom-and-doom video online yesterday, some economist’s prediction about how the US dollar is about to lose it’s status as the world currency and how this will ruin our lives and create inflation unlike anything we’ve ever seen… and because I’ve heard news bits about places like Iran wanting to “go off the US dollar,” this seeped into my brain and so now I’m sitting here wondering when gas is going to suddenly be about $40 per gallon instead of $3.50 and how we’ll avoid ending up homeless and…

…and well, I think I just need to never listen to gloom-and-doom economists anymore, for one thing.

And maybe I need to spend more time writing EMBER and less time listening to the news of the day. Maybe.

Posted on March 8, 2011, 12:14 AM By
Categories: Writing Tags:
A solid Week 9

I should probably feel a bigger sense of accomplishment than I do.

After all, I pretty much exceeded my goal for the week. My goal was either 2,500 words of progress on EMBER, or to try and get the first chapter of MOST LIKELY typed in, as well as to finish all of my paid blogging assignments.

And here’s my progress report.

On EMBER, I wrote 1,510 words of new progress on the novel. The narrative direction is really taking shape, too. I now know where the next 20,000 words or so will take me, more or less. It just needs to be written. I even bypassed my 35,000 word benchmark, meaning EMBER is far and away longer now than it was when I dropped out of NaNoWriMo. That’s satisfying, even if I feel like I should have spent more time writing EMBER. Next landmark: 40,000 words.

On MOST LIKELY, I didn’t get all of Chapter One typed in, but I did make decent progress. After checking with FocusWriter for an official word count, I typed in 2,175 words of my two-decades-old novel. I wrote in huge, 10,000-word chapters back in college, so that’s only about a fifth of the way, but what’s a person to do?

So, between EMBER and MOST LIKELY, I have forward progress of 3,685 words in Week 9, between the two projects. That’s far beyond the 2,500 word goal.

I also finished all my blog assignments (35 of them) so that counts for at least 3,500 words, too. But on those, I’m not concerned with word count so much as knocking them out so I get the income from doing them. It’s not a lot of money, but every little bit helps.

Plus, I proofed three papers for my wife this week; she’s in graduate school and this was finals week for her. Between the three papers she had me do, I probably proofed close to 4,000 words for her.

So, now that I am mentioning the “other things I do” that distract me from my novels, I don’t feel quite as unproductive.

This was an A-plus week all around.

So now we’re about to enter Week 10 of ROW80. The final stretch for this first session.

I want to be more aggressive this week. Blog pressure should be low, so I’m going to set a more ambitious goal: I want to complete 5,000 words of progress between either new progress on EMBER, or retyping MOST LIKELY. I’m going to strive for my first 5K week of ROW80 while the first session is still going on!

I started off ROW80 kind of slow, gained some great momentum, fell off again, and now I’m back to being pretty productive. So I want to finish this session strong, so that when ROW80 breaks for a while in a few weeks, I’ll feel like I’ve earned my time off between sessions.

Will I be back for the second session of ROW80? You bet I will. As I’ve said before, this is now my “way of life” from a writing perspective. So long as our fair organizer, Kait Nolan, keeps ROW80 going, I’ll be here.

Week 10, here I come!

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