Writing Journal 9.30.2018: Success on the last week of the month and moving forward on my new book

Wow, I was really busy this week. For the first time in a long time, I met my daily writing goals every day this week. Here’s the numbers:

+2,464 words written.

Days writing: 2 out of 7.

Days revising: 7 out of 7 for 465 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 7 out of 7 days.

[NOTE: Some of that word total includes publishing notes and other writing related to my projects, which I think should count toward my total in the end product.]

Much of this work is due to the revision/proofreading I’ve kept busy with; check here if you want all of the explanation/links to what has been happening.

It will be tough to keep up that pace for this week, even though I will have a short work week in store for me. Probably trying to get back on the revising horse for my WIP and deciding which project to move forward with on a rough draft.

Seriously, that’s all I have to talk about this week. I’m hoping to get a few more of those midweek posts I had planned before finished up. I’ll write more later; I promise.

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Keeping busy

So, I was going to do the long writing thing… and I did… but something has been occupying my time for the past several days.

So, I’m putting it off for another week. Right now, I have to complete revisions/proofreading on my book, write out a lit of corrections, find a synopsis that might work for a back jacket blurb and throw together an author bio. Hopefully I can have it all completed before next week, although I’ll be pushing it.

Plus, I’ll likely have to look for something to post on the social media feeds for next month. (Well, it will get done.)

That’s it for now. Sometime Sunday I’ll give you the rundown on how the week went.

Writing Journal 9.23.2018: Unexpected news throws off the week

So, I’ve… sort of been active? Here’s the numbers.

+842 words written.

Days writing: 2 out of 7.

Days revising: 4 out of 7 for 170 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 5 out of 7 days.

Anyway, I let you know about the news that I just received my book proof last week from my publisher and that threw off what I had planned for my revising and writing. Given the thoroughness of the proofing that I will have to do, I am going to count that toward my revising time for the writing journal.

I’m going to try and finish at least one to two chapters every night, as I am hoping to finish the process by the end of the month. I’ll probably have to start planning some more social media posts for next month sometime, as well.

Anyway, wish me luck.

An Update re: Publishing

…and I’m going to have to delay the post I had in mind this week. It’s coming next week.

But… I decided now might be the time to break some news regarding that book that’s been in the publishing process. That book? I just got the proof copy back from my publisher this Tuesday.

Right now, I’m in the process of editing, reviewing the copy, making sure everything is ready to go. (I’ll count that work towards my revising totals, as I might be too occupied for other revisions for a bit.)

As soon as everything is in place, I’ll be releasing all details about the book, especially where you can get it. 🙂

My mood is cautiously excited and my daughter appears impressed, which always makes me happy. The whole family is happy for me, although this is new territory for them as well.

If I don’t celebrate being a published author before the year is out, I have a feeling it will come soon afterward. It’s a cool feeling, no matter how many people buy my book at this point.

I’ll get back in touch later.

 

Writing Journal 9.16.2018: A lull but still active

The totals:

+1,395 words written.

Days writing: 4 out of 7.

Days revising: 2 out of 7 for 60 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 2 out of 7 days.

Not much to write about. Not nothing, but not numbers to brag about. To be honest, I haven’t had those for a while, but I’ve also been in revision heck for a while, too.

I have to say that part of the deal with me recently has been me waiting for what’s going on with my past project that is now in the publishing pipeline. I am getting anxious for it to come out and be able to start promoting it. I am not expecting a bestseller, by any means, but I want to be able to say that I’m a published author so that I can take that and build on it. From what I have observed, getting published begets more getting published, and I am increasingly anxious with getting on to the begetting. However, I have to have patience, as everyone who I know who has been through the process has told me.

The overall result has been that I’ve felt stalled on future projects even though nobody is stopping me at gunpoint from working on them. I can apparently focus on a couple of things at once, but when it gets down to several projects, my focus drifts. I’ve mentioned how my focus can drift before.

Currently, there is one book in publication, one that is in version 3.5 according to the revisions, and two other projects that are in various stages of rough draft (between minimal and drafts in the low five figures). I just told you about the first one, the second one I’m trying a mini-revision until thoroughly going over the notes of one of my beta readers, and I’ve not touched the last two projects for at least since the beginning of summer. So, there’s that.

I have to say that I’ve gotten a bit more active on the blog than usual, thanks to some good inspiration. I’ve got at least one more idea for a good post that will likely come out Friday, and then I’ll have to see what is stirring my attention.

This was interesting – I did a rough word count of my Writer’s Biography posts today and the numbers are in the low five figures. I never thought that I would have anything of interest worthy of a memoir, but perhaps I’ve started writing it and not noticed.

Also, I realized I’ve been using a certain catchphrase at the end of my posts quite a bit. Even though I think it’s cool, I’m going to calm down on using it so it doesn’t annoy anyone actually reading this. However, according to the stats I have more than 80 followers at this point, so I’m going to assume at least someone is. Take care.

A Writer’s Biography, Volume III, Part 1: What made me start writing again?

black click pen on spring notebook
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The title of the piece is the big question. I might have alluded to this turning point, at different times during this blog. But I really haven’t described the process behind going from someone who talked more about being a writer than actually someone who wrote. It’s probably about time I talked about that, right?

In the movies – hell, in plenty of novels – there usually is some sort of turning point scene, one moment when the protagonist’s life pivots and moves in a new direction. It is one moment of clarity, after which that person’s life has forever and irrevocably changed.

It wasn’t really like that for me. In looking through old word document files in my “fiction” folder, I see several starts and stops among the last decade. Some of them I talked about before; others fell stillborn after a few months of typing and procrastination. Then there was the anonymous blog I ran for a few months somewhere in the past decade. However, it really didn’t have any focus except as an emotional purge, and I eventually decided that I needed to shut it down to avoid any static in my real life.

But like St. Augustine once prayed during his youth, “Oh, Lord, make me chaste… but not yet.”

I think things started to coalesce in my head right around 2010. That was an interesting year, to be frank. I’m not planning to get into in here, but there was a bit of turmoil and uncertainty in my professional life. For a brief moment, I had a dream of becoming a college writing instructor full-time rather than teaching for a couple thousand per class. I say a dream rather than a goal because I only had a vague idea of what the job involved and how I would achieve it. (After a few years and different circumstances, I’d set that idea aside. An earlier version of me – maybe the guy featured in Volume II of this series – would have been disappointed. Nowadays I barely remember the idea.)

Recently, I had a chance to read through a notebook I was writing in for about three months or so back in 2010. I tried to read all of it, but it was a cursive scribble stream of consciousness. It was lists and lists of various things I was both positively and negatively obsessed with, among other things.

In reading through that notebook, I think I did what we used to call “burying the lede.” Others, like writing teachers, might call it an implied main idea. What I think I was describing in those entries was being addicted to distraction. Anything I could use to procrastinate from doing anything, thinking about anything, I’d be into.

I’ve discussed those tendencies before. But there was a time in my life that they would dominate me. For several years of my life, it seemed being entertained, being satisfied in whatever way, was more important than anything else that wasn’t my family.

Around 2007-2010, right after I moved back to Muscatine, I really started heavily surfing some backwaters and little-known areas on the Internet. It may have given me a couple of writing ideas, but mostly I was looking for, as I normally did, for a distraction.

Back in those days, I often read the web site Postsecret. It allows people to anonymously send it postcards on which they write their deepest and darkest secrets that they would not tell anyone. Around 2010, I read this postcard on the site:

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For me, that had two effects. First, it gave me hope that it really wasn’t too late to get started (or restarted, whatever you want to classify it as) on my dreams of becoming a writer of novels. I always heard about people like Frank McCourt writing their debut books when they were in their 50’s, 60’s, or beyond.

Secondly, it was a prod in the butt, something that said yeah, if you’re about as old as this guy, why not get started now?

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So, did Liegois actually take the postcard’s advice and Rollins’ advice and move forward?

As I said at the top of the article, nothing that dramatic happened. Someone’s personality and habits – at least, not my own for sure – is not something that can change direction like a fighter aircraft or speedboat. The process more resembles having to maneuver a jumbo jet or mega-tanker a few degrees of course.

Did your life actually change?

Over time, yes.

It was soon after that time that I began to reminisce about some of my days in journalism, what was happening to newspapers in this country, and the weirdness of the time specifically around 2008. Going by my computer file history, I’d have to say that I started to play around with the idea of doing a journalism/political thriller around 2011. By 2013-14, ironically when I was taking one last adventure into journalism, was when I finalized a rough draft.

It was somewhere around 2013 that I began keeping track of the word count that I was getting done on a daily and weekly basis. Although not effective at first, I think that having to keep track of what I am actually writing or revising has helped me be accountable to myself and have goals to work for, even though I rarely have weeks where I meet my daily goals throughout the entire week. (This is probably worth a separate post at some point.)

It took me until 2016 to get another draft of the piece I was now calling The Holy Fool done – I had to do a little bit of cutting to trim it to well under 100,000 words. By 2017 I had revised it into its current form and had begun shopping it around to agents and publishers. I’m now awaiting the publishing process.

Also by 2016, I had worked up the courage/willingness/audacity to write a novel about someone who played a sport I hadn’t played myself since elementary school and located in both a state I hadn’t lived in since I was five and another country I had never visited, much less lived in. However, I was ready for the challenge, and by the next year, I already had a rough draft in the bag for my next project. By this year, I’ve gotten deep into the revising process with it, and I’m liking how my refined techniques have sped the writing process along.

Would I say that I have fully defeated my addiction to distraction and procrastination? Not by any means. I still exhibit those behaviors today, in doses both big and small. However, I’ve just started to get to the point where I’ve been able to manage this addiction to the point where I’ve become a productive writer. And I want to stay that way. I’m not exactly sure how long I have or how many books I have in me, but I want to make that time count.

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(Btw, I take horrible photos so I put them through some weird effects like what you see below. Enjoy if that’s your thing.)

Tuxpi photo editor: https://www.tuxpi.com

Anyway, welcome to the start of the current writing experience. That’s it for now; I’ll write more later.

Writing Journal 9.9.2018: Took a break on revisions, but doing a bit of blogging recently…

Yeah, this has not been the typical week for me. Getting the idea to think back on my life has proven to be pretty inspirational to me. The raw numbers:

+3,236 words written.

Days writing: 6 out of 7.

Days revising: 0 out of 7 for 0 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 3 out of 7 days.

So… interesting. Not even the most productive weeks as far as total writing… but I’ve been feeling inspired.

So, a couple of quick things about the writing.

  • Had a good check in with the people doing my publishing. Hopefully I’ll have some actual news on that front before the year is out.
  • I do plan to write another of the pieces I had planned to do during the middle of the week, and by the middle of the week could be Friday by my definition. 🙂
  • A quick shout-out to my #1 Facebook page fan (other than my mom), Pat, who helped beta-read my project The American Nine. Pat, the comments were much appreciated and I’ve been reading through them for the past couple of days. They are really going to help when I get back to the latest revision for that piece.

That’s it for now; I’ll write more later.

 

A Writer’s Biography, Volume II, Part 5: My time in journalism

Last week, I met with an acquaintance at my house. The guy, Dale, was picking up some old files from me for a writing project that I was dropping and he was passing on to another writer.

As I asked about the writer, I learned that he’d worked at the same newspaper as Dale had years back. That was more than a few years back, “before the buyouts.” And just like that, for a few moments we were swapping stories back and forth – the buyouts that had hollowed out Dale’s former employer, the cuts at the hometown newspaper that I used to work for that left it more of a zombie publication than a living, breathing institution.

I was flashing back to my time as a journalist. I call myself an old retired journalist, even though I’m 20-40 years younger than most of the people who claim that description as their own. In years past, I would have been in my prime as a journalist, with honors aplenty and years left to go in my career. Now I’m retired from the profession, with no foreseeable way to return to it, or any real desire to do so.

Continue reading “A Writer’s Biography, Volume II, Part 5: My time in journalism”

Unplanned Posts

There’s been a few times when something I’m writing has turned into something totally different. Usually that’s been a good thing for me, so I’m hoping it’s a similar situation here. It’s the first time it’s happened to me blogging.

Remember how I mentioned about that one blog post that I was planning on writing last week? The one about the thing that happened with me about an aborted project?

Well, now that’s turned into no less than three Writer’s Biography pieces.

Let me explain.

Without giving away the entire story before I write it, a few years ago I began initial plans for a nonfiction book, which was the first time that I had ever thought of doing anything like that. Essentially, the lure of fiction called me more than the subject I had been researching.

Last week, the guy who had passed the project off to me asked for some files that he had given me a few years ago because another writer was interested in it. No problem there, I thought.

So, that planned visit got me thinking about the differences between fiction and nonfiction writing – a difference I was familiar enough with from my dive back into fiction and my years in journalism. I thought it was at least worth a post.

Then Dale, the writer who first mentioned the project to me, came to my house last Thursday. Our conversation went into old journalism days, long-ago projects, and other related topics.

That got me thinking about three things. First, I realized that it’s been since last May when I last wrote one of my A Writer’s Biography posts. For those not familiar with this blog, those have posts that have looked back at my life and my experiences with writing and literature. Some might have noticed that I’ve broken them into Volume I and Volume II. Volume I has covered my experiences as a kid, while Volume II explored experiences I had as a young man. However, to my surprise, I’ve read through all of my Volume II posts and I have not yet written any post specifically about my years in journalism. Considering that I spent 12 years overall working full or part-time as a journalist, I though that was a bit of an oversight. So that’s has to be worth a second post.

That led me to my third realization, which was that I have yet to write a Volume III entry. I’m going to classify Volume III as stories from when I decided to rededicate myself to writing in middle age to the present time. It would make sense to add the whole nonfiction book story to that list, since that just happened a couple of years ago. It would be a good Part 2 for that volume.

Why Part 2? Because I also realized that Part 1 had to be an analysis of how I turned things around and got back to my passion of writing. As I considered this, I really tried to search my brain and try to recall a single instance where I decided to get back to what I considered to be my passion. I’m not sure there was such a moment, but I think there might be enough for me to talk about it in depth. Creating this blog was a big part of that gradual turnaround, but I haven’t discussed it head on before.

[EDIT: If you’re interested in (rough) timelines, etc., I’d estimate that Volume I covers 1980-1995, Volume II covers 1995-2010, and Volume III covers 2010 up until the present time.]

So, that means that I now have enough stories to last the entire month. Not sure about what order I will post them in, but they will be related to each other. It’s been a bit since I’ve been excited about upcoming posts. I’ll be interested to see what comes out of the process.

That’s all for now; I’ll write more later.

Writing Journal 9.2.2018: Trying to break out of a slump

Well, the title says it mostly. As for the numbers – well, they’re slightly better than last week thanks to some Labor Day weekend activity.

+293 words written.

Days writing: 2 out of 7.

Days revising: 3 out of 7 for 120 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 4 out of 7 days.

And there you have it.

A few thoughts.

  • Right now I haven’t heard much about the progress behind the publishing of The Holy Fool. I know that I’ll have to call up for a progress report on that soon; with all of the things I’ve been doing getting ready for school, that’s not been on my mind. Or, maybe it has.
  • Call what I’m doing with my current WIP The American Nine revision 2.5. I’m polishing up some last minute things before considering a more serious revision.
  • There are two rough drafts of other projects on deck for me right now, and I’ve been debating whether to go forward on them for at least a month. I might just try to dive into one and the other and see what happens.
  • I was going to write a piece mid-week last week about something that happened to me regarding a project that I decided to pull the ejection lever on. That didn’t happen, but I’m thinking that it is actually going to prompt not one but two Writer’s Biography pieces. You’ll see at least one this week.
  • As for tonight, dinner with friends, a little planning for the next week at school, and getting some social media posts for the Twitter and Facebook pages. Glad I’ve been saving up some good material on writing I’ve come across.

That’s it for now; I’ll write more later.