February Update

Well. So, 2017 is certainly starting off interesting. I'll save the politics for a specific post sometime. I imagine that most of you who keep up with me in the real world and online know my political leanings, so it won't surprise anyone to know that I'm not enjoying the new regime.

Now, I'd love to be able to blame my lack of writing progress on that, and there might even be some credit to that, but it feels a bit like a cop out. I mean, not everything bad that happens can be blamed on Trump. Doesn't mean I can't try.

That being said, work on Impervious is progressing, though I have to say, I've been a little less enthusiastic about the project since I discovered I'd have a next to impossible time selling it, no matter how good the finished version turns out. Also, its becoming increasingly obvious that its going to need another fairly substantial edit, with a significant amount of world building going into the next draft. I'm having a hard time figuring out if shelving it until my career is at a point where I could have a shot at publishing it is the right move or just cowardice.

It's a good story, I like it…but the ending just isn't giving me the punch that I want. I'm sure that my author friends can relate to those feelings.

While all this is going on in my head, I stumbled back upon my NaNoWriMo project from 2014, a first-person urban fantasy about a novice vampire. Its nerdy, its fun, and (in my opinion) a surprisingly well written first draft. I spent the last week just reading it, wondering how in the world I'd forgotten about it. The project doesn't have a name right now, but I'm leaning toward punching out an ending to the first draft, then smashing out a second draft.

It would be a shorter novel, but something that would be much easier to shop around to agents and editors, or if that doesn't work, something much easier to toss together into an eBook and put up on Amazon to start a little self-published series. You'll undoubtedly hear me talking more about this in the next couple months, because I'm itching to do something with it.

I'm also going to be working on an Edge of December light novel: something the size of a novella that Glenn would then add illustrations to. Like last year, my New Years Resolution is simply to write more than I did last year. So far, that isn't working out so well, but I think if I focus on some smaller projects, things I can get done quicker and not get burned out on, I'll have a decent shot at increasing that word count.

I'm also regularly working on WordKeeperAlpha again. I know that progress on that hasn't been anywhere near as fast as it should be, but the features I'm working on are turning out to be bigger than expected. Still, they'll be worth waiting for. I've got a big update coming soon for Goals and Projects, and then I'll do some minor tweaks to the front page and a couple more small upgrades that I've been meaning to get to.

I've been promising social functions for a while now, and I'm still going to do them, but they might have to wait for version 3.0, which I'm planning to get to next year to really get going. Sadly, I've only got so much time in any given day, and its just really hard to fit in writing and working on WKA. Progress will continue…just slower than I'd like. For the most part I'm working on WKA on the weekends while I write during the week. At least that's what the plan is. We'll see if I can stick to it.

That's about it for me. My goal for the rest of the month is to average 500 words a night for the month of February. Right now, I'm not doing all that well toward that goal, so I'll have to kick it up a notch or two over the next few weeks. I'll check in with you guys in March and let you know how I did. Give me a poke on social media and let me know that you've got your eye on me.


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.


WordKeeperAlpha Update 12/2014

Wow… So this month has been a little bit crazy.  Yeah, National Novel Writing Month didn’t help, but MAN it’s been crazy for Word Keeper Alpha too.  Here I was, minding my own business, when I decide to look at my traffic numbers…because that’s how I validate my worth as a person… and I notice that they have tripled.  Not only that, but all of a sudden I started getting all sorts of email from WordKeeper users … granted, most of them wanted to know how to delete word counts (more on that in a bit) but they also seemed to like it!  You can ask my wife.  I’ve probably been super annoying over the last week or so.

One of the reasons is because I got linked by PCMag.com (this article, toward the bottom) and they said nice things about WKA! I’ve also been getting traffic in from other places like writing.com and the nanowrimo.org forums.  I’ve now got over 200 registered users, and my daily traffic has better than tripled!  I could not be more excited about this.  I’m just happy that people are finding and using this thing I made.

Of course, that means I have to keep polishing of the rough edges, and the roughest edge that’s been pointed out, so far, is that people can’t delete or update their word counts.  If you’re a user, and you’ve run into this, I really apologize.  Part of the problem of developing something to use yourself, is that you know exactly how to use it, and never consider that someone might come in, make a mistake, and then want a way to fix it.  I mean, everything makes perfect sense to me, the guy who made it… Yeah, I should have thought about that.  So, my bad.

Don’t leave in frustration!  I’ve read your emails (just the ones you sent me, the government is busy reading the rest) and this is my top priority now.  This weekend I’ll be rolling my programmer sleeves up (metaphorically, because my computer room gets DAMN cold) and getting this thing done.  I’ll put up a notice here, and on WKA when this function is out and ready to use.  After that, I’ll probably work on revamping how the goal graph works, so that you can use more than just the Monthly goal on it.

I’ve got even more stuff in the works, including a more organized and sensible About page, the ability to share your progress on your blog (bit bigger job that), public profile pages, collaboration and much more.  Trust me, my work on WordKeeperAlpha is far from finished and you will all reap the benefits.  Until then, I hope you enjoy using it.  Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments or get in touch via the Contact page.


WordKeeperAlpha Updates

Hey, everyone! I thought I’d pop on to let you know what’s been going on with WordKeeperAlpha since I went live a couple weeks ago.  I’ll admit, I probably got a little overexcited wanting to get it out and live in the real (digital) world.  There were some unfinished, unpolished bits, a few more bugs than I would have liked but my users (new and old) have been great at reporting them to me.  Here’s a couple things that I’ve done over the past couple weeks.

  • Added a tutorial for new users, currently stationed at http://wordkeeperalpha.com/about.aspx.  I’ve got some more plans and updates for this coming in the near future.
  • Finished the Author page.  Right now, its only used to update your email and change your password.  Later I’ll be adding sharing options.
  • Fixes to the registration / password change system.  Now you can feel free to use more complicated passwords.  Use strong passwords for everything, even for WordKeeper.
  • Finished fully integrating the sights new SSL Certificate.  I take everyone’s security seriously, and I’ll take every step I know how to do to make sure people are safe on WKA.
  • Made some changes (technical stuff) that just about halved the sites load time.
  • Various bug fixes.  Thanks for telling me about them!  The more you tell me about, the better WKA will work. 🙂

What I’m working on right now:

  • Updates to project deletion.  There were a few things I didn’t really think through enough, so there should be some updates coming.
  • Enter a word count on the wrong day?  Want to attribute it to a project that you just made?  I’m working on that.
  • Facebook sharing option.
  • Various other tweaks and fixes.

I’m going to have to work out exactly when and how I put out updates with new features…but then since its just me, I can keep something of a change log on here and ignore some of the standard doctrine with software release.  Right now, I’m leaning toward putting up one of these status updates every month.  This has the benefit of directing more people to my blog… Look, those reader stats are like crack!  Just gotta see how many people are using and reading and… *calms breathing*  I’m ok… I’m ok.  God… I may have a problem with numbers and the graphing thereof.

In other news, I’ve much more than doubled the number of registered users since launch … which sounds good on paper but there’s still under a hundred users, and probably only a handful who are active every day.  Still, its great my usage stats get to the point where the average is above even the highest peak for the last version of WordKeeper.  If you didn’t know, yes there was a previous version and it sucked.  It was hideous and as proud as I was when I first made it, I hate it now.  Anyway, the average user session is around 6 minutes now which is AWESOME.  The drop rate (when someone comes to the site then leaves after viewing the first page) is always WAY down.  Amazingly so, in fact.  Really, I never expected WordKeeper to become an overnight success, so I’m really happy that people I’ve never met are using it and seemingly liking it.

Now that I’m done tooting my own horn, it’s time for me to ask you to start tooting my horn.  … …  That sounds awkward, but we’re all friends now, right?  Ok.  Maybe we’re not THAT good of friends.  Still, if you like WordKeeperAlpha, consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  Consider giving my Facebook page a like, or following along on Twitter.  These little things help spread the word and also make me feel better about myself as a person.