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.”


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.


The Ides of March – WordKeeperAlpha update

Alright.  So it isn’t really the “Ides” of March yet, but I like say “ides”.   But I digress (“Digress” is another word I like). Here we are, three and a half months into the year and what do I have to show for it?  Plenty!  You just may or may not notice it.  That’s because I’ve been diligently (kinda) working on bugs and other issues that have been reported to me by my wonderful users.

That isn’t sarcastic.  You guys really are wonderful and I really do appreciate it when you let me know when something isn’t working right.  As stated before, I’m only one man, and the likelyhood that I’ll find everything wrong with this Frankenstein’s Monster that I’ve cobbled together is minimal, especially when I think it works perfectly.  Trust me, I know it doesn’t.

WordKeeperAlpha development has is largely limited to the weekends now, while I focus more on getting my book done.  That doesn’t leave me as much time as I’d like for adding new features, but I AM working on them.  If you haven’t noticed the bugs, I’m not going to lay them out for you here.  If you have noticed bugs, and they haven’t been fixed yet, please let me know, and I’ll make it a priority to fix.  One major one that has been repeatedly pointed out to me is that the “Remember Me” box isn’t working properly yet.  *sigh*  Don’t worry, I’m not sighing at you, I’m sighing at me.  I’ve though that I’ve had this stupid thing sorted out twice now, but every time I think I’ve got it whipped, it rears its ugly head once again.  I am working on it… in fact its my primary goal right now.  So please, bear with me for just a while longer.

Other feautres that I’m working on:

  1. Public author pages (don’t worry, you’ll chose if you have a public page or not.)
  2. An API, so that other people can develop WordPress or other blog plugin’s to share your progress and projects.
  3. A semi-public writing room and simple text-editor to accomidate word sprints. More on this below.

I’ve always wanted WordKeeperAlpha to be a more social experience for writers, but at the same time, I also don’t want to be the Facebook for authors.  There’s already one of those.  It’s called Facebook.  What I want is to create something that will let authors interact and motivate each other.  Motivation is the key here and I think word sprints are the first thing that I want to take a stab at.  I’ve been on the fence about it, since there are scads of different options for you to write in.   Hell, I’ve got no less than six apps on my iPad that I can write in, distraction free.  I don’t need to reinvent that particular wheel.  What I’m shooting for is a really simple writing environment that will let many authors participate in the same writing sprint.  It may work, it might not, but I’m going to try it and see what people think.

This, of course, is where you come in.  Do you think I’m going in the wrong direction with WordKeeperAlpha?  Is there something that you’d like to see more than a blog plugins or a feature that supports word sprints?  Do you think that would be the bee’s knees (I have yet to figure out why a bee having knees would be anything someone would be excited about)?  Leave me a comment and justify my exist…  I mean give me feedback on what you think I should do with WordKeeper next.

… … 

Seriously, someone leave me a comment.  Its way to quiet around here.