I’ve been slacking off…

…but I still want to make this 25k goal.  Alright, so I haven’t really been slacking.  There’s a lot of stuff that’s happened this month that makes me think, I should have maybe made next month the 25k word challenge.  Weddings, family stuff, travel, Valentine’s Day.  All of it adds up to “It is Febuary 19th and I only have 5 point something thousand words written.”  But, I think I can still make the twenty five thousand mark.

Is it impossible? No.  I’ve got 10 days left to write just under 20k words.  It will be hard, but it isn’t impossible.  From everything that I’ve read, writing is hard.  It’s a commitment and in this case it’s not just a commitment to myself.  It’s a commitment to my story, it’s a commitment to my fiance and family and it’s a commitment to anyone who happens upon this blog.  Someday, I’m going to have to ask these people to trust me when I say that I want to do writing full time.  First thing they’re going to do is ask themselves if I’ve got the danglies to back up what I say I’ll do.  Next thing they’ll do is check my cup to see if I’ve gotten into the drain cleaner again.  Assuming I haven’t been huffing paint, they’ll need to see that I’ve done this thing.  I’ve written a book or four.  It’s making money.  I’ve done the hard work, seen it to the end.  This month is just part of that goal, part of that hard work.  ]

I can’t talk about writing in the fashion of anything like an expert.  I can only give you a blow by blow of how I hopefully go from shlub to published author.  I’ll still probably still be a shlub, but I’ll have done something awesome.  So, I continue on.  Here we go into the breach.  My word count for the night is 340 so far.  By the end of the night it needs to be over 2000.  Check in next week to see how things went.  To quote Chuck Wendig, “I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started.”

The Big Question: Why 25,000 words?

This question bares a little explanation, though not too much.  I’m not going to go off on another word spree here where I create a novella out of a blog post.  Thing is, I love the idea of doing National Write a Novel Month.  Being able to sit down and crank out fifty thousand words sounds like a lot of fun.  Lots of other authors like to set aside the month of November and have a good time with it.

I’m under no pretenses that you can just crank out a full novel in a month.  Though 50,000 words is an impressive feat, its definitely not a whole book, most certainly not for me.  Still, writing that much in a month is a feat I would relish, and probably brag about to no end.  All this being said, November sucks for NaNoWriMo.  Whoever put it there needs to have their heads examined.  There’s family, pre-Christmas preparation, and my birthday is in November (hint hint).  You take that many days out of a month and your word count per day is climbing dangerously high.  On a really good day, I can crank out three to four thousand words.  That’s on a really good day.  More realistically, if I’m writing every day, I can expect a good thousand to fifteen hundred words.  I feel really good on those nights.  Given all that November has going on in it, and my own time limitations, NaNoWriMo is a pretty hard cookie to crack.  But I wanted to do something.

A couple friends of mine were doing their own writing challenge in December.  I know, not much better on the time format thing, but I’d already missed NaNoWriMo and I figured that something would be better than nothing.  I set a goal of 25,000 words, half of what a NaNoWriMo participant would do and went at it.  That puts my average writing at about 1,000 words per day and gives me a few days off, which is pretty much double my weekly word count goal from last year.  I’m not sure that I’d ever tried to write quite that much in a month or that consistently.  But I was game for a challenge.  Long story short, there were set backs, pushes, and writers block, but with the word count goal in mind, I pushed through it.  I didn’t have time to go back and rework the last section, if I didn’t like something, I blocked off the section and started over, counting all the words written.  The lack of backtracking and constantly looking over my shoulder spurred me on in a way that was … well, pretty frickin’ awesome.

25,000 words turned out to be just the perfect amount to push me, keep me on task and make me feel like I’d made a major accomplishment by the end of the month.  It worked out so well that I decided I was going to do six of them this year, every other month.  In December, I cranked out a rough ten chapters of Impervious and while not everything I wrote will end up in the final novel, I got a huge start on the project.  Two or three more 25,000 word months will see a first version done and in between I’ll have time to work on side projects like prepping my short stories for submission.  Or maybe I’ll just keep writing on Impervious.  Who knows.  But there it is.  Why I’m going to be doing 25,000 word months.  I can’t say if the same thing will work for you or not, but challenging yourself to achieve something greater is always a good idea.  Maybe a different word count would be better for you, but give it a try.  You might find the results equally thrilling.

The Big Question: What are my goals for 2012?

Alright, so granted, its not a question that’s strictly about writing, but it’s the subject of this week’s entry.  I actually started writing this last week, but life kind of went and kicked me in the face.  Turns out there are some things that will just kill the impulse that I have to write.  One of those things turns out to be an eight hour car ride.  No matter how good the ride, or how pleasant the company, something like that will sand-blast the creative drive right out of your brain. The most complicated thing I was capable of doing was shoving knives into the backs of pixelated bad guys. Which, I love doing anyway, but that will perhaps be a blog or rant for a different time

At any rate, I digress.  This is going to be a big year for me.  How do I know?  Well, a lot of things are going to change.  First and foremost, I’m going to marry the most awesome woman in the history of mankind ever.  I will fight you over this.  Tonight she agreed with my idea to have boxes of Legos at the tables for our wedding reception for guests to play with.  Put very simply, I win.  Nyah nyah.  Bragging aside, though, (well, never really aside since I’ll be doing more of it in the months to come) going from single to married represents the biggest shift in my life since I went to college.  Things is gonna be different, but in a very good way, I think.

Beyond marriage though, things are going to change in how I approach writing.  First and foremost, I’m going to be writing more.  A lot more.  Last year I tried out a weekly word count of 3500 words.  This worked pretty well and I kept to it about two out of every three weeks.  Sometimes less, sometimes more, but I got a lot of work, and story done.  In fact, I’d have most of a book done now if I didn’t decide that it needed some heavy revision and that it needed to be taken back to square one.  That’s besides the point.  Point is, I set a goal, and shit got done, son.  Maybe not as much as I wanted, but stuff happened.  Also, I started writing for Edge of December, which has been an entirely different experience.  I’ve had to get to know a little script writing and focus a lot more on dialogue, background, and a couple dozen other different things.  It has been, and is going to continue to be a lot of fun.

This year, I’m going to continue to build on that model.  This is going to be the year of the writer.  In December I completed a 25k writing challenge.  Yeah, you can point and laugh at me all you want you NaNoWriMo winners, but this is big stuff for me.  I pounded out ten chapters of Impervious in 31 days and I intend to build on that success. So, here’s what I’m going to do this year:

First, I’m going to do six 25k months, every other month, except in June because, ya know, I’m getting married and that’ll take up just a little time.  Just a bit.  Second, I’m going to complete Impervious, making it my first completed novel.  Third, I’m going to write, and prepare for submission two other short stories.  Forth, I’m still going to be writing for Edge of December, just more.  This is a tall list of goals, but I think they’re doable.  I’ll write on Impervious during 25k months and work on my other goals in the off months.  If I keep to this, I can easily have the first draft of Impervious done by the end of July.  I don’t know now what I’ll work on after that, but it would be extremely exciting.  I’m also going to keep blogging on a regular basis.  Hopefully not as long as this monster, but we’ll see what happens.  I’m an author and pretty long winded once I get going.  So, there you have it.  In a nutshell, I’m going to get married and write my butt off this year!  If I can do all of that, then next year might even see me published, even if only self-published.  Who knows.  Maybe by that time someone will even be reading my blog.  Though, I’m not going to hold my breath.

The Big Question: What’s the deal with the “Big Question”?

I am an author, which I like to pronounce just as haughtily as I can.  This is my blog, when, I don’t think I can really make sound snotty since everyone and their cat has a blog.  What this means though, is that, by in large, this is going to be a blog about writing and my experiences with it.  Less the day-to-day, and more the week-to-week of what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.  In a way, this will be just as much for me as it will be for my…well, right now, no readers.

I think it will be a moderately interesting journey.  You see, to date, I haven’t published anything.  I haven’t finished a book, not even a first draft.  What I’ve done is had skads and skads of ideas, written hundreds of pages worth of stuff that has never amounted to anything.  Thing is, I turned thirty this year.  My ultimate goal is to become a professional author and be able to live on the means that provides, writing full time.  If I’m going to do that, then its high time I go off my butt and started putting some actual printable material together.  More than that, I need people who are interested in reading  what I write.  Thus a blog.

So, here’s what I’m doing as I take a journey from unpublished, unknown schlub to super-famous ultra-author drinking martini’s in my summer home in the Bahamas (Note: I know this is never going to happen, since it doesn’t happen for anyone except movie stars and I couldn’t tell you what an “ultra-author” actually is); I’m going to attempt to update the blog at least once a week and ask myself, what was the biggest question I tackled this week.  It might be an issue having to deal with my characters. Maybe it will be something having to deal with the world.  Maybe one week I deal with my own personal questions of whether I’m going to pursue traditional publishing or the more and more appealing route of e-publishing.  You’ll undoubtedly hear some stuff about Edge of December and the fun and challenges of writing for an awesome web-comic.  I may even go off topic.  Ok, I’m A.D.D., so I will go off topic.  Until then, I’m hoping you enjoy what you see.

This will have to do for now…

Well, this is interesting. I have a blog again… So. Yeah. There isn’t really all that much I have to say today, other than I wanted something up on here aside from the sample post. I’m new to the whole WordPress blog structure, so I will undoubtedly be tweaking things and trying to muscle things into place.

As you might have noticed, mericlese.com is changing, and growing. Part of this is a reflection of real effort on my part, another part of it is my opposition to S.O.P.A. and P.I.P.A. that made me abandon my old host, goDaddy.com. Still, politics and dislike of sitting legislation aside, this is something I needed to start doing. You see, this is the Year of Writing for me. I’m going to complete my first novel, and complete two more submission ready short stories. I’ve got a good head start on my novel from December’s 25k word challenge, which I met, but I need to keep the pressure on. So, I’ll be doing six 25k word challenges this year, and maybe even up that.

That being said, perhaps starting a new website in January wasn’t the best way to keep me producing new story. I’ve used most of my writing time this month setting up the new mericlese.com, but thankfully I’m almost done. Yes, I know writing comes first, but I’ve also got to put forth a professional image or as professional an image as I can afford, both in time and money. I know, the images are done by me, not a graphic artist of fantastic renown. The design is (mostly) my own and not outsourced to a company to make a spiffy looking page and logo. We’ll say that comes later on in the career. I need readers before I need anything else; hence, my shiny new blog. Thing.

What you can expect to see here over the next year will be copies of my posts from over at Edge of December, someplace that you should all go if you want to read an awesome web-comic. There will be more on this later, have no doubt. Other content I’ll put up will be updates on my writing challenges, progress on projects, lessons learned while writing and other important news, such as my upcoming wedding to the marvelous Katie (joy levels reaching CRITICAL MASS!). Phew. So, that give you an idea what we’re going to be all about here. Give me some time to get settled in, kick all the tires, change the paint a few times and see what the little red buttons on the side do and I’m sure you’ll be, at the very least amused. Perhaps, you’ll even find yourselves educated. I know I hope to be. On that note, I’m off. Bed calls, and I intend to answer, forthwith!