WordKeeperAlpha Update – June 2015 Edition

Hey there, fellow Keepers. Yes, I’m calling you Keepers now. Shut up! You can’t tell me what to do! Ahem. Thought I’d give you all a heads up that I’ve just pushed out an update to the Progress page that should fix some problems that have been reported with Goals. This will also push out a some tweaks to how goals are displayed, and what you can do with them. Here are the salient points:

  • You can now create 1 day goals.  Going to be writing all day long, and have a specific goal for the day? Now you can do that.
  • You can now attach projects to repeating goals (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly).
  • Goals are now sorted differently.  Repeating goals are in their own list.
  • More information is displayed for goals.  Should be helpful.  I don’t know, I like it.  Let me know what you think.

So, as per usual.  I’m a one man shop, you’re all my guinea pigs. I’ve done some testing on these changes, but chances are that I’ve missed something.  Really, I’m watching Daredevil right now, and thinking about playing another couple rounds of Heroes of the Storm…so, most likely, I broke something trying to fix other things.  Please, let me know if you notice if anything doesn’t work.

As always, I’m working on more updates and upgrades for WordKeeperAlpha.  I’m going to try and finish up with the API here in the near future, and get a working example for other people to work with.  Very soon, you should be able to put our your progress to your blog!  This month I kinda dropped the ball on working on all my projects, so in June I’ll be kicking up my efforts to make up for lost time.  If you’ve got ideas or comments, please, let me know here through the contact page on WordKeeperAlpha.


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.


Fight for the net. Here we go again.

I’ve read over and over that it’s a bad idea for an author, especially a beginner to get political.  But damnit, I’m not going to be able to keep things to myself and I need a longer format space to vent about all the shit that’s going on in washingtop.  Full warning, this post is going to get a little sweary, so if “Adult” language bothers you, perhaps skip this particular blog entry.  

Congress, that spoiled little brat of a kid, has its hand in the cookie jar, yet again.  After we have repeatedly told them “NO! BAD!  Go sit in the corner and play with your military contractors.”  I am, of course, talking about the internet.    Comcast has its hand so far up Congress’ ass, whenever Ted Cruz speaks, I hear nothing but “Sponsored messages”.  Perhaps someone can refresh my memory… but I seem to recall something in the Constitution about the government being for the people, not for coorporate America.  If that’s right, then why does corporate America get such a big say in Washington?  Oh right, millions and million spent in lobbying and campaign donations.  

And you have to hand it to the internet.  Social media has allowed it to build its own defense mechanisms.  Public backlash against Washington’s hamfisted attempts to give both Internet Service Providers and media providers like the MPAA and RIAA everything they wanted have, thus far, met with failure.  Unfortunately, for me at least, this isn’t proof that our system is working anymore.  Its proof that we don’t live in a democracy (or a republic) but an oligarchy.  He who has the gold, makes the rules.

Proof positive of this is the FCC’s recent ruling on Net Neutrality and supporting strong rules protecting it.  Do NOT listen to conservative ass-clowns like Cruz and Limbaugh on this (or really any other issue regarding technology…or science of any kind).  As much as they blather on about a government run internet, they’re all pretty much parroting what ISP’s want them to say.  Net Neutrality largely happened because of the overwhelming surge of public support that drove it forward.  Net Neutrality IS the will of the public.  The will of the people.  Yet, what is Congress doing right now?  Putting legislation through that will reverse the FCC’s decision.

They’ll spout reasons that sound good like “protecting the internet from harmful government regulation” or “the internet moving at the speed of government” but once again, they’re full of shit, packed tight in there by the grasping paws of their corporate sponsors.  See, Congress didn’t give two shits about Net Neutrality, until it looked like it was really going to happen.  I’m guessing most behind the recent legislation would have responded with some flavor of “Wha?” or the legalese equivalent of it.

So, we had to fight to even get it through.  Tom Wheeler, who, I’ll grant, eventually did the right thing, really had to be forced into it by an overwhelming amount of public pressure.  I may be wrong about him, but I’m highly cynical about government’s relationship with the Internet.   Now, we’re going to have to fight an even harder battle to keep it, since the ISP’s are fighting it both in the courts and in Congress.  Why do you think they’re fighting?  To protect us?  No, because there’s money at stake. 

We had to fight down SOPA, we had to fight down PIPA, we might still be fighting down CISPA, we’re fighting to keep the Net Neutrality victory that we just won, we’re fighting to end government surveilance and protect privacy rights online.  And now its time to fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  

The TPP is a piece of closed door legislation, funded by corps that has its roots in SOPA and PIPA but also contains crap from other things we’ve been fighting.  And wouldn’t you know, the government didn’t want anyone to know about it until it was too late.  Thankfully, it leaked, but Congress has it about to try and get it on a fast track before the internet can bring its guns to bear.  

Well, tough luck, fuckers.  Wednesday, the 23 of April we’re voting.  As a form of protest, there will be an internet vote, where websites will enable users to vote on how they think Congress should handle the TPP.  I’ll be putting the banner up on WordKeeperAlpha, and I encourage all my users to reject what Congress is trying to do.  A bunch of mental deficients who can’t tell an <HTML> from a <SCRIPT> var a = “Dumbass”; </SCRIPT> statement shouldn’t be making laws that will effect the internet, not just for America but the entire world.  Their ignorant pandering to corporations, if successful, will make it harder for small businesses who are actually innovating to make it.   Tell those bastards to keep their hand out of the cookie jar.  These are my cookies, and they can’t fucking have them.


Quick WordKeeperAlpha Status update

You know how you’re all ready to sit down and spend a rainy day writing at the coffee shop, you get there, and sit around for an hour just staring at your computer?  Yeah.  That’s where I am right now.  So, while my writing brain is spinning up, figuring out how to start this new chapter, I thought I would pop in and give you an update on what’s going on with WordKeeperAlpha!

Lets start off with ongoing issues.  I know there’s a problem with the site not remembering people past a couple hours.  That’s not supposed to be happening and I’ve been working on it for the longest period of time.  Its frustrating, for both you and for me, but as yet, I don’t know what the heck is going on.  I’ve tried out half a dozen different solutions, but nothing has really seemed to stick.  Rest assured, I’m looking into it.

The goal graph continues to be something that I’m working on.  Right now, the only goal it tracks is a monthly recurring goal without a project.  My aim is to have it so that you can have that track any Goal or Project, potentially seeing many different Goal graphs and selecting what you want to see as your default.  I’m also thinking of changing the goal graph to be the default graph, to be more like NaNoWriMo and provide a bit more motivation.  Still, this is a ways away from being fully functional.

New features:  I’m most focused on finishing up the API right now.  For those of you who aren’t coders, this will be a feature that will let you get your Project and Goal information and progress on other sites.  Once this is done, you’ll (or a coder acquiantance of yours) will be able to create a WordPress plugin or widget that gives a live feed of information off WordKeeperAlpha, so you can share your projects and progress with whoever you want.  Don’t worry, this will be something that you have to enable in your user settings page, so if you don’t want that data available, then it will stay safe.

I’m always refactoring the code for the site as I learn new techniques, but every time I do that, potential errors sneak into the code.  A special thanks to my users who report those problems to me as they occur.  I’m a one man team, so its all but impossible to catch everything. :-/

Social features are on the way, starting with the API, but then moving into public author pages, “friends”, writing groups, challenges and events.  My main focus, at the moment is finishing Impervious, but soon as that and the API are done, I’ll start in on some of the features that will allow more community involvement on WordKeeperAlpha.

Thanks to everyone who’s been using WordKeeperAlpha.  I’m up to over 400 registered users now, which is WAY more than I thought I would have by this time.  As always, I’m interested in your feedback, and can’t wait to hear about what you think of WKA and how it can help you write more and better.  Till next time, keep writing! 


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.”