Where I will make exactly one resolution

I don’t have anything against New Year’s resolutions. I really don’t. The only one I can remember making last year was to write more than I did the year before. In that I succeeded. I had other goals: such as finishing Impervious and getting more done on WordKeeperAlpha. Well, I didn’t finish Impervious. I didn’t even finish the second draft, which is a little disappointing. WordKeeperAlpha, however saw a lot of success in 2015 as I added some new features, tightened up existing functionality and in general made it marginally better.

This year, like last, I’m not going to make a lot of resolutions. I’m going to resolve to write more than I did last year, and that’s about it. That means I need to write more than 130,000 words.  All said and done, that shouldn’t be too difficult. I did that this year and that was with buying a house.  Granted, 50,000 of those words happened in November, but I’ll take any win I can get.

What I’d really like to do, is focus much more of my energy on completing the second draft of Impervious, then finishing the third draft and so on.  I’m going to do my best to stay focused on that goal, and get the second draft done as early on in the year as possible. I just finished plotting it out through the end of the book, and I’m getting close to the point where I won’t have to completely rewrite quite so much of the content.  I’ve got a few plot snags to tighten up, but otherwise I feel really comfortable with wear its going.

Don’t worry, anyone who’s reading this for the WordKeeperAlpha update. I also plan on putting a lot of effort into that. I’m going to have an update sometime in the next two months that will add some much requested features (which I’ll explain in another blog post) and hopefully give a visual refresh to several pages.   I gotten a lot of work done on WordKeeperAlpha already this year.

I’ll also try to keep my blog updated with relevant information, and maybe I’ll even get around to writing a few more interesting posts. *sigh* I need to keep my social media more updated anyway. I’ve been letting Twitter and Facebook slide lately. Part of that is because Facebook is just lousy with politics and if I see exactly one more person come out in support of Trump or Cruz I’m going to get a little stabby.

 

A knife holder that signifies my feelings about certain presidential candidates.

You get stabbed! And you get stabbed! Everyone gets stabbed!

 

Anyway. Here’s to writing, coding and staying sane this year amidst the storm of politics that is going to descend on the land.

Oh…and any of my friends abroad…you guys got a place to crash? No reason…just … Ugh… Trump. *shiver*


2015: Excuses and Explanations

Ok, so, as years go, 2015 was actually pretty good from a writing perspective. Granted, I didn’t accomplish several goals that I set for myself, but I did make significant progress on many goals, and accomplished others that I hadn’t set. One goal that I did accomplish was writing more in 2015 than I wrote in 2014. I’ve got graphs to prove it too! Still, the title of the blog post has more to do with my love of alliteration than of anything else. Now, onward!

In 2014 I wrote a little more than 100,000 words. There are significant periods where I wasn’t writing much, which was primarily due to working on WordKeeperAlpha.

wka2014

In 2015 I wrote around 135,000 words, which, while not the 180,000 I was aiming for, is a significant improvement. This year, too, there were significant dry spells, having to do entirely with buying a house.  That was a pretty huge thing.

wka2015

While I wanted the second draft of Impervious done by November, that just didn’t happen. I did make really excellent progress with it though, the story going through several changes and revisions for the better. I’m roughly half way done with the draft two rewrite at the moment, with a pretty clear path of how to finish it out.  Draft three will have some significant work involved, but thankfully not a full rewrite. But, that’s for my “2016: Some clever title” post (coming soon.)

I spent a fair amount of time working on WordKeeperAlpha this year as well. Not too many new features, but mostly because I’m saving them all for one large update in the first half of this year. I’ve made significant changes to the graphing system that will let users choose their own goal graphs and graphs based on projects, too. I’ve also got the beginnings of an API that will let users post their progress on their blogs.

I ironed out a lot of bugs over the course of the year. Thanks to all my users who let me know about them when they crop up. I try my best to correct issues you guys have as soon as I hear about them, so please, keep letting me know.

Other things that happened in 2015:

  • We bought a house and moved! It’s completely awesome, and my office is sweet.
  • I got glasses and became that much older.
  • I won NaNoWriMo, which felt good after not completing it last year.
  • I built more IKEA furniture than I knew existed.
  • I replaced a faucet, earning my Homeowner merit badge!
  • Played perhaps too many video games and didn’t read enough books.
  • More stuff I’m forgetting about, because it’s lost in the pre-history of ‘last year’.

Well, that’s another year done. A new one is already under way, but as I said, I’m leaving goals and projects for another blog post. November – December were kind of non-months in terms of blogging, and that means I’m going to overcompensate by stretching out my ‘life-update’ posts as much as possible. That being said, I’m going to check out and try to get a head start on this year’s goals.


Monthly update – WordkeeperAlpha & Impervious

Greetings fellow nerds. I write to you tonight from the comfort of my own home, drinking a nice Blue Moon Belgian Ale and listening to the new Nightwish album, Shudder Before the Beautiful.  Truly, life is good.  However, life has not been entirely productive this month.  Mid-month writing progress is kind of disappointing, as is work on WordKeeperAlpha.

I’ll admit it: I’ve kind of been wasting my free time for the past few weeks.  I’ve been hitting the video games a little hard and its been fun.  Soon enough, time gets away from you and you forget what in the hell you were even working on. Thankfully, last month went pretty well as I clocked in at just shy of fifteen thousand words.  My goal was to write for a total of twenty days, and I made nineteen.  That sort of goal seems to work best for getting my writing done.  You can kind of tell when I got serious about it.

 

April Writing - WordKeeperAlpha April writing – WordKeeperAlpha

 

With that knowledge, I’d have liked to do that again this month, but I’ve putzed away most of the days this month, and the rest of the month is filled with stuff.  I may be digging something of a hole, in terms of my word goals, that it will be hard to get out of.  Right now, I’m doing pretty well for my year goal, only being a few thousand behind total.  This month may be something of a low point for the year.  Speaking of which, here’s how that’s looking:

 

Graph for 2015, Generated by WordKeeperAlpha 2015 so Far – WordKeeperAlpha Graph

 

If you compare that to LAST year, I’m doing pretty good on my goals of writing more.  This is what last year looked like:

 

Graph of writing for 2014 Writing for 2014 – Graph by WordKeeperAlpha

 

Yeah, so if you were wondering, THIS is what’s so awesome about WordKeeperAlpha.  Being able to see that, despite how I feel, I really am doing better, is a huge boon.

So, I might not be making all my goals, but I have been getting much better about my writing.  And I’ve been focusing much better on Impervious.  I wish I was keeping to my one chapter a week goal, but as usual, there are extenuating circumstances.  Most of them are related to my inexperience in writing a whole epic fantasy novel.  Every now and again I come to a problem in the plot that can only be fixed by going back and doing about two weeks of work on worldbuilding and figuring out why something works the way I want it to.

Bah, but enough about that. While Impervious is my main project, I’m also working, if slowly, on WordKeeperAlpha.  So far this month, I’ve identified several areas to improve upon, marked down many new tasks to take upon myself for later versions and mostly played around with the code behind the scenes, making it a bit more robust and preparing it for future upgrades.  I know you, the users, might not notice much, but I AM working on it.

Something that’s really of note though, is that I’m rolling testing for the API.  By that I mean, the first function on the API is live and waiting for someone to try it out.  So, if you’ve got some coding know-how and want your blog readers to see your goals and progress on your blog or website, let me know and I’ll fill you in on what you need to know.  I’ve got another few features to finish before the whole API is good to go, but once it is I’ll work up some examples to make it more easily accessible for the non-tech savvy types.

Now, with my blogging duties done, I think I’ll get some work done on Impervious before I kick off for tonight. Later mi amigos.


I am not my word count

… my story however… That’s a different … story … thing.  You know what I mean.  Tonight is a writing night, a night I’ve specifically set aside for the writing of words and the making of stories.   Only writing is hard some nights.

I know I’m not alone on this.  Other authors get a really good story going, only to crap out half way, either do to lack of motivation, or entirely too much self-doubt, or something else that’s shiny pops up and they just have to chase it because you always have to chase the shiny things! Uhh… what was I saying…something something shiny thing…  Ah writing!

So, in my famous last post I claimed the goal that I was going to write twenty days this month.  That goal is not off to an inspiring start.  Here we are on the eighth, and I’ve got fuck-all done so far.  As the year goes, I’m not doing so bad, but if I want to finish this bloody book, I’m going to have to start cranking out more words.  I didn’t make WordKeeper just to sit there and mock me for how bad I was doing, sticking to my goals.  I made it to motivate me to see those numbers go up, and while that was happening my story would, of course, be writing itself or something.

*sigh* No, WordKeeper is doing exactly what I wanted it to do.  And if I feel like its condemning me every time I log into it, that’s my fault.  I mean, writing is still fun, I’m still full of stories that I want to tell, but writing this second draft is becoming painful.  Its becoming like … GASP! … work!

I know, I know.  Super surprising, right?  Writing a book is actually a ton of work, like every blog I’ve ever read claimed it would be.  And writing Impervious is still fun.  I still love doing it… its just much more… “work” than it was in the first draft.  I didn’t have to worry about anything in the first draft other than putting words on the page as fast as I could type them.  I didn’t have to worry about consistant worldbuilding.  I didn’t have to worry about settings, or characters that made sense from one chapter to the next.  All I needed was a loose idea of who was going where and I was good for a night.  That is probably why NaNoWriMo works so well for me.

So, no, I am not my word count.  My word count is goingto be hard as hell to keep where I want it while I’m in the middle of the second or third draft.  My book, on the other hand, is my word count.  So, no matter how painful it is on a given night, I need to write, and I need to make those words count.  A play on words was not intended there.  Lots of people don’t like keeping track of word counts.  They say “Don’t count your words, make your words count.”  Which is fine, I guess.  But you actually have to write words to either count them, or make them count … and right now, I’m just about writing them.

Impervious is happening people.  This is a book that is going to exist in real life, and people other than me are going to read it.  I don’t care if its just those family members I can guilt into it.  That being said, my hands are now warm.  I’ve chased the shiny little thoughts down the rabbit hole and I’m ready to get back down to business tonight.  To my fellow authors, whether you’re counting your words or you’re making them count, good luck in writing that thing.  Remember Chuck Wendig’s Penmonky’s Paean.  “I am a writer and I will finish the shit that I started.”


The Second Draft

My thirty thousand word month didn’t really come together like I’d hoped it would.  My goal is to write everyday, but I’m much better writing in spurts than I am writing regularly.  Having my own motivational program is helping, but it is also a bit damning when I look back on the month and see all the days that I didn’t write.

WordKeeperAlpha Graph for March 2015What is really good is that my writing is much more focused. You can see that I’m focusing much more on my work on Impervious, which is what I need to be doing. Unfortunately, as my beta readers know, all that writing you see up there wasn’t on new chapters, like I’d hoped it would be. No, just about everything that you see up there is worldbuilding and character work.

When I had writing group at the start of the month, they pointed out that my current chapter had some serious plotholes in it, holes that would show more and more later in the story.  What it all boils down to is that I didn’t actually think things out beyond a certain point in the story.  Certain characters were also hollow placeholders and needed some serious fleshing out, if only in my own mind.  Thankfully, I’ve got most of those details cleared up, and have several more chapters of details to fill in.   I may have even outlined another book that could conceivably be a prequel.  Go figure.

Which brings us to April.  I still want to do a thirty thousand word month, but I also need to start doing some more serious work on WordKeeperAlpha, which means I’m going to have to temper those goals.  I think, for April, my goal isn’t going to be a specific word count, but rather to write at least twenty days out of the month.  When I sit down and actually get to writing, I can usually bang out at least a thousand words.  So, if I can write twenty days out of the month, I should clock in somewhere around twenty thousand words, which would be pretty respectible.  Not only that, but I’d just about be back on target for the year.

My resolution this year was simply to write more than I did last year.  I’m happy to say that, three months into the year, I am really accomplishing that goal.  In may last year I wrote less than five thousand words, and this month I should clock in at around twelve thousand, which is about what I did in January and February.

Still, I’m finding that getting that first draft done was the easy part.  While Impervious is a much, much better story than it was, its also a lot harder to write.  In the first draft, I could sit down and just write whatever the hell popped into my head.  Now, it has to make sense.  *eye roll* What a pain.

So, this month: write for at least twenty days, minimum fifteen thousand words and make some significant progress on new features for WordKeeperAlpha.  To my friends who are reading this, I’m counting on you to bug me and hold me accountable.  Now, I have some more writing to do tonight, if you will excuse me.