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.

2015: Kicking in your door.

This is the annual blog post where I resolve to do things, to better myself as a human being. The problem with resolutions, is they tend to get left by the wayside as the year wears on and different problems take precedence. Or maybe that’s just for me. Still, its good to have goals, and one of the best ways of keeping to them, is to be able to track them and see how good you’re doing. Also, know your limits. You probably aren’t going to get six pack abs by July unless you’re also prepared to completely give up pizza and spend all your time in a gym. I’m prepared to do neither of these things. Here’s my resolutions: Continue reading…

2014 in Review

I don’t know about you, but its been a pretty good year in House Swanson. We went to Phoenix Comic-con and had a blast with the Edge of December crew, despite the state being filled to the brim with creatures whose only purpose is to kill. I’m not even talking about the con attendees. I can not fathom how people have cities in a place where you might have a scorpion in your shoes in the morning. It might be there, or not. A venomous surprise first thing. Schroedinger’s scorpion. I remember we went out to swim in the pool one night, and Glenn was looking around for something near the pool, and he said, “Be careful, there’s some black widows over here,” like I might say, “Hey, there’s some ice on that stair.” *shiver* The two are NOT EQUIVALENT!

Katie and I moved into a nice new house. Its been a great little house so far, and we’re looking forward to staying there for a few more years before we’re ready to actually buy a house and settle down somewhere.

I completely recoded and revamped WordKeeperAlpha and launched it in … August, I think. Since then I’ve gone from about 5 users on the old system to over 250 at last count. Prior to the new version being launched I got maybe 5 hits a day, most of those from some dumb web crawler out of the Netherlands…which I’m still trying to figure out how to ban from my sites completely. Jerks. I digress… Now I’m clocking in at nearly 40 hits per day, and as many as 80! Its really kind of awesome that people are actually using this thing that I made. I know that I’ve said that before, but I really thought that I’d be fortunate if 100 people ever found it, let alone used it on a regular basis.

I got started with a new writing group, well, just one patient person who’s helping me with Impervious, as I’m helping them with their project… at least, I hope I am. Still, its good to be in a writing group again.

Impervious is coming right along, even if the second draft isn’t done yet. I’d hoped to have that done by the end of the year, but I’m at least still making progress. I’ve got a nice week and a half before I have to go back to work, and I’m going to be using that time to punch in a few more words before the years over and to get a nice head start on 2015. I’ve got some grander goals for 2015: getting my second draft finished, the third draft started and finished, starting the second draft of the second book, and using NaNoWriMo to get a jump start on the third book in the trilogy … if its a trilogy, I’m not sure yet.

I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo this year, only clocking in at 25,000 words. Am I disappointed? A little. But, it seems like NaNo is going to be more for punching out most of a first draft than working on second drafts. I’ve been much more picky working on the second draft of Impervious, which is why it hasn’t been coming along quite as fast as the first draft did.

I was hoping that I’d be able to write at least 180,000 words in 2014, but I ended up getting about 120,000 done. I still feel pretty good about that, mostly because of everything I was able to get done with WordKeeperAlpha. I’m not really going to be talking about my goals for 2015 right now, I’ll get into that in a different post at the start of 2015, but I am going to be putting more focus on both reading more books and writing.

So. 2014. I didn’t get in shape. I didn’t finish the second draft of Impervious. I did kick ass at making WordKeeperAlpha. I’m happy, healthy (relatively speaking) and not wanting for anything other than more hours in the day to do more stuff. I think I’m going to call 2014 a success, and work on making 2015 an even better year. Here’s to all of you lovely people, hoping you had a great year, and the coming one will treat you better still. Happy New Years, folks!

NaNoWriMo 2014 Postmortem

Well, ladies and gentleman, November is over and its time to look back upon it and gaze upon my fine works.  Courtesy of WordKeeperAlpha here is how I did this month!

NaNo 2014

Final word count for the month was 24438 words, just about half of the required 50,000.  Do I feel bad? Maybe a little, but not as much as I might for past years.  I’ve won two years in a row so far and produced first drafts that needed to be all but rewritten before I felt comfortable showing them around.  This year I was working on the second draft of Impervious, which I found out was perfectly legal to do, (legal for the official NaNo rules) provided I was writing all new words and not just editing existing ones.  Turns out, pounding out that crap first draft is a whole lot easier than pounding out 50,000 words that you actually don’t mind showing people.  While I didn’t hit that lofty goal, I did manage to get a fair chunk of the next draft finished and am now sitting on 11 finished chapters and will be starting in on chapter 12 … well, soon as I figure out what the hell I need to happen in chapter 12.  Still, the writing will go on.

Unfortunately, this means that I’m not going to be able to get the second draft done by the end of the year, which is going to change the date when the third draft gets done, yadda yadda yadda.  What do you expect?  I’m an author and we are a shiftless and lazy bunch.  Still, I’m going to get this sucker wrapped up in 2015 and get the second draft of the sequel started on, with the goal of writing the first draft of part 3 next November.  Big plans, I know, but I think I can hack it.  This year I managed just over 100,000 words, AND created the new and much improved WordKeeperAlpha.  In 2015 I want to average around 15k a month, while still pushing out updates.  It should be doable, seeing as how most of the core functionality is already in place and I’ll just be making regular updates and new feature releases.  How did I do this year? Why, WKA knows that too!

WordKeeper graph for 2014

Yeah, November kind of kicked the rest of the months’ collective asses.  August absolutely sucked in terms of writing, and so did September, but that’s when I was really focusing on getting WKA pushed out.  Still, next year, more writing every month should let me get a considerable amount done.  I’m looking forward to it.  Impervious is really coming right along and I’m excited to show it to people.  I’m not writing December off either … well, I will be writing but… you know what I mean.  Shut up.  No, you shut up!

*pausing for Seth’s post NaNo psychotic break* 

Whubba?  Oh, right.  Sorry, I had a little moment there.  I think my cold meds are starting to kick in.  I’m going to go lie down for a bit.  I’ll be back soon with some new WordKeeperAlpha news as well as the awesome thing that happened halfway through November regarding my little abomination of code and graphs.  Later.