Writing Journal 1.13.2019: The usual numbers and an announcement…

So, wow. Things are starting to happen/already happening.

First thing’s first – for the first time in a long time, I have made my daily quota every day this week. The numbers, as always:

+494 words written.

Days writing: 1 of 7.

Days revising: 7 of 7 for 240 total minutes.

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

The numbers are not the biggest I’ve ever had, but I do like the consistency.

That’s cool and all, but I’ve got something else to let you know about. Something that I have been hoping for, openly wishing and fantasizing for, pretty much ever since I started this blog 18 months ago. And now, the moment is just about here.

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I signed that book contract I was hinting about for a while.

 

On Saturday, January 14, I will be making an official launch post for my book, The Holy Fool: A Journalist’s Revolt. It will have:

  • A full synopsis for the book.
  • Info on the publisher I’m working with.
  • Most importantly, links to where you will be able to get the book, which is coming out in paperback. It will be available in paperback immediately and in e-book version sometime afterward.

Of course, as time goes on, I will be promoting the heck out of the book as time goes on. I will be setting up a permanent page on the blog to house links and info for that book and books to come. That will get rolled out on Saturday, as well. Word will also be out on my Facebook and Twitter writing bases, and I will also announce a couple of new additions to my online world as well.

SO, there is that news. Stay tuned for Saturday.

Wow, anything for an encore? Here’s a couple of items.

  • When not promoting the new project, I’ll still be revising some stuff. The current work in progress is still on the revising block. I have something of an ego wish to see if I can shave a few more excess words on that book and get it under 85,000 words.
  • For varied reasons, I wanted to take a look at the second manuscript I ever wrote – you remember I talked about that a while back, right? Probably not. Anyway, a quick review of it made a couple of things apparent to me.
    • A lot of the book is garbage.
    • But not all of it.
    • It’s pretty short – maybe half the size of my current WIP. If I can do some major league revising surgery on it, I think I would have a nice quick book that I might be able to put out with not as much difficulty as a full start-up project.
  • As for other projects, maybe I need to do a roundup of that sometime later. There are a few different “lanes” that I am pursuing with various levels of interest and time invested.

OK, that’s all I have for now. See you here Saturday.

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Writing Journal 1.6.2018: Good start to 2019

Made some great use of my last bit of winter break, but I think that I’m back in the writing groove. The numbers:

+1,101 words written.

Days writing: 2 of 7.

Days revising: 6 of 7 for 615 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 6 of 7 days.

Six out of seven days of quota-level activity is always good, considering how I lazed around this December.

As for what’s going on:

  • I am within a few days of signing a formal contract with the publishers I have been working with. I will give an announcement on that when it happens, but the rollout for the new book will likely come in stages. In addition to the publishers themselves, it will also be available on Amazon.
    My loving wife says that she would be willing to help me with a promotional campaign, and she actually has a bit of experience with that. It will be interesting having her help in this part of my author’s journey.
    I’ll likely have to add a wing onto the old blog and my Facebook page for the new items. Don’t worry; I’ll announce that when it happens.
  • I think this year will be more than a little bit of a promotional push. There’s a good writing community in Iowa and the Quad Cities, and I want to try to make the rounds and see what I can do to get my book out there.
  • Of course, what comes next will also be on my mind. I was very happy with the results of my latest revision to my current work in progress. I’ve managed to cut the manuscript down from 92,000-plus words to just under 87,000. Currently, I think my writing priorities will be:
    • Another revision to WIP #1. Main goal: to cut the size down to under 85,000 at least.
    • Decide which other WIP (call them A, B, and C) I want to concentrate on when not revising WIP #1. A is essentially a sequel (one of at least two in mind) for WIP #1, B is a period drama about a 1980’s-1990’s indie rock band, and C is an ultra secret project I’m not sure if I want to release, at least not right away. Right now, I am leaning toward B.
  • I have a feeling that my personal life will be much different by the time the next 18 months is up. My son will be graduating from high school this spring and my daughter will be graduating the spring after that. That will be it for the kids, and then it will be me and my wife, just like it was 20 years ago in some small apartment in eastern Iowa. I’ll be excited for both our adventures and the new adventures of our kids.

OK, enough for now. For all you writers out there, keep writing and keep supporting each other. We definitely need it.

A Year In Review: Crunching the writing journal numbers for 2018

Well, as I promised, I wanted to give you a recap of what my writing output was for 2018. I’ve been delighted with how I have been keeping track of my work. Even though I’ve been using a writing journal for some time, I think this year I have finally refined what I wanted to do with the list and how I quantified that work.

I am going to list all of my writing output below, then give some of my thoughts on it. I should explain things to you before I move forward.

  • I’m going to give you monthly totals, totals for the first and second halves of the year, and a grand total for 2018.
  • The numbers for revisions represent the total number of minutes I spent revising my work.
  • Daily Writing Goals Met (DWGM) – this represents whether I have met the goals I have set for myself writing on a daily basis. These goals are either at least 500 words per day or at least 30 minutes of revising existing work. On my weekly updates, I usually tell you how many times I meet that goal per week; on this chart, however, I will list it as the percentage of times per month I reach that goal.
  • In the first and second half totals and the yearly totals, I will also give monthly averages for words written and minutes spent revising.

OK. With all that out of the way, let’s present the numbers.

  • Jan:
    • Words: 6,658
    • Revisions: 60
    • DWGM: 26%
  • Feb:
    • Words: 3,509
    • Revisions: 600
    • DWGM: 25%
  • Mar:
    • Words: 4,328
    • Revisions: 1,115
    • DWGM: 54%
  • Apr:
    • Words: 3,386
    • Revisions: 1,200
    • DWGM: 50%
  • May:
    • Words: 6,164
    • Revisions: 660
    • DWGM: 51%
  • Jun:
    • Words: 7,638
    • Revisions: 330
    • DWGM: 54%
  • 1st half of the year:
    • Words (total): 31,683
    • Words (avg.): 5,281
    • Revisions (total): 3,965
    • Revisions (avg.): 661
    • DWGM (avg.): 43%
  • Jul:
    • Words: 4,094
    • Revisions: 960
    • DWGM: 68%
  • Aug:
    • Words: 1,742
    • Revisions: 960
    • DWGM: 51%
  • Sep:
    • Words: 7,937
    • Revisions: 695
    • DWGM: 61%
  • Oct:
    • Words: 4,035
    • Revisions: 1,265
    • DWGM: 74%
  • Nov:
    • Words: 3,081
    • Revisions: 600
    • DWGM: 57%
  • Dec:
    • Words: 1,306
    • Revisions: 510
    • DWGM: 54%
  • 2nd half of the year:
    • Words (total): 22,195
    • Words (avg.): 3,699
    • Revisions (total): 4,990
    • Revisions (avg.): 832
    • DWGM (avg.): 61%
  • Total for 2018:
    • Words (total): 53,878
    • Words (avg.): 4,490
    • Revisions (total): 8,955
    • Revisions (avg.): 746
    • DWGM (avg.): 52%

The reason I’m happy with this year’s list and was willing to share it in this much detail is because I think I can actually draw some conclusions from the numbers. For right now, this is what I’m noticing.

  • I saw a considerable amount more words written in the first half of the year than in the second half, by around 10,000 words. This was not a surprise to me, since I was finishing the first draft of my current work in progress at that time. In a related figure, the amount of time I spent revising jumped up by around 1,000 minutes, which makes sense because I have been heavily involved with revising that project as well as the project that will soon be published.
  • I got considerably better meeting my daily writing goals as the year moved on. During the first couple of months, I was only reaching it about 25 percent of the time. However, that jumped up to over 50 percent for the remainder of the year. I wound up meeting my goals 52 percent of the time for the year and 61 percent of the time for the second half of the year.
  • Probably my best streak of writing during the year was between June and October, and I would rank July, September, and October as my best writing months.
  • November and December, as I previously worried about, I’d consider to be something of slump months. Even though I met my daily goals at a better percentage rate than the yearly average, they didn’t crack the average for the second half of the year, and the word and revision numbers were both below yearly and second half numbers.

Now that I have all of this in front of me, I’m satisfied that I finally have a baseline idea of my writing productivity to date. Now, I can look forward to 2019 and see if I can make productivity improvements in all areas. It doesn’t make sense to work toward something if you don’t know what the mark is, but I now see what it is. I just have to dedicate myself to getting better in the year to come.

Writing Journal 12.30.2018: Quiet finish to the year, but more action next year for sure

If nothing else, my work has been pretty consistent over the last three weeks of 2018.

+270 words written.

Days writing: 1 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 180 total minutes.

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

So, yeah, that pretty much matched last week, although I got in more revising minutes than last week.

Lessee… I’m still on break until Jan. 3, then I will have a very short (two-day) work week until the first weekend of 2019. The plans for that time are:

  • More revising for my current WIP. I’m somewhere between one-fourth and one-third completed with the latest edit (calling it version 3.7 or whatever). If I kick ass tonight and the next few days, I might have the latest revision done by next week, but I am not sure.
  • My work on my first book for publication has made more progress. It is now getting to the point when we are discussing items as to when to put it out on Amazon. Trust me, the minute that things are done, dusted, and ready to go, you will hear all about it here first. Just know that it is going to happen at the first part of the year.
  • Also will get to work tonight coming up with material for the social media pages. I think with the new book coming out, I will be doing more promo work, etc., on those pages both as we get closer to the release and availability dates.

Can’t think of too much else to write about now, but I know I will be doing an end-of-year post midweek regarding my writing/revising numbers for 2018 and maybe one or two others depending on news. See you then.

Writing Journal 12.23.2018: Nearly identical results…

…as last week, so I decided to use the same featured photo for this week’s post, too.

Not lying – here are the numbers.

+260 words written.

Days writing: 1 of 7.

Days revising: 3 of 7 for  total minutes.

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

See?

Well, brief updates:

  • With the holidays now in full swing, I think it more likely that my book will be released early next year than very late this year. Fair enough – I’ve waited this long to be a published author, I can wait a little longer and make it go right.
  • Speaking of the holidays, I am well into my holiday break and will not be back at work until after the new year. Hoping to get a good amount of writing (revising, actually,) in.
  • Doing well on my plans to try and trim my new WIP. I was over 92,000 words at the start; I am now under 92,000 and feel fairly confident that I can trim it to somewhere under 90,000. Wish me luck on that, but I think I can make it.
  • Not sure if I will do any midweek posts this week or next, but that is a possibility. I think I do owe people a recap of the year as far as my total productivity for the year. I am planning on keeping up the journal from its humble origins to what it is now, and comparing my production on a year to year basis.

That’s it – sorry I ran this later than usual. Until next time.

Writing Journal 12.16.2018: Slowly picking up

So, making some progress last week. At least, it’s a bit more than what was happening the past month.

+231 words written.

Days writing: 1 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 150 total minutes.

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

Anyway.

I’m beginning to think that it’s difficult for me to have more than two novel-length projects going on at any one time. It splits my attention too much, to be honest. And right now, there’s two things garnering my attention, as I’ve previously mentioned.

  • Got another proof from my publisher regarding the first book. Everything is in place and corrected except for the author’s note/acknowledgements/dedication pages. They should get added in and I might have this published by early next year now. Publishing takes time is probably the truest thing I’ve heard about the business. I’m still very much looking forward to seeing it published, however.
  • Finally making headway on my second project/beginning book in a series with the next round of revisions. Looking at cutting things down to near or even under 90,000 words if I can manage it.
  • With that in mind, I’m going to hold off on starting a new book until the first one gets published.

In five days, I’ll be off work for the remainder of 2018. I’m excited about getting some writing time, and an extended vacation. Also, I’m interested in seeing what the year’s writing numbers look like. I know I’ll be interested in trying to improve those numbers in 2019.

Writing Journal 12.9.2018: Some signs of life

So, this week was… marginally better than the two previous weeks.

+545 words written.

Days writing: 1 of 7.

Days revising: 2 of 7 for 60 total minutes.

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

Looking back at my writing journals that I used in years past, I don’t think that I had too much of a dry spell related to the holiday months. I have to speculate that I am in a different situation now than what I was during the past several years. During that time, I was first writing my book which is now in the publishing process, then revising it. I then immediately started on my current project as a first draft. I’m considering that my current work in progress, as I am still revising it.

However, this year is slightly different. Regarding the first book, I’m waiting on the final proof to show up and finally get that publishing process to where I finally have a book to sell. I’m not currently writing a new manuscript, and I’m not certain which new one I want to take on.

So, right now I’m at something of a standstill. But, I’m trying to break out of it.

I’ll write more later, although I’m not sure there’s going to be a mid-week post this week. I’ll be working and writing, though.

Writing Journal 12.3.2018: Staring at a dry stretch as I begin December

Well, at least I wrote a few extra words this week. 🙂

+723 words written.

Days writing: 2 out of 7.

Days revising: 0 of 7 for 0 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 1 of 7 days.

So, not much change from last week. I had two snow days in one week after three winters in a row in which I had three snow days total. That can throw people off, especially after being out of school for a bit due to the Thanksgiving holidays.

I am literally going to sit down and force myself to write something for the blog on Wednesday, sort of a special #WritingAdviceWednesday (#WAW) piece. I call it that, but it’s more of a personal piece about how a grammar rule affects me.

Not too much else to write about, all things considered.

Other items:

  • No update on the book publishing… yet.
  • I still don’t like that the new proposed editing feature for WordPress doesn’t have sharing with Facebook and Twitter. Another complaint – it doesn’t allow you to use the Pexels free media library when you are selecting new photos. Are they going to fix that in the new system? Do we have to have a new system. How responsive is WordPress’ helpdesk?

I said it last week, but I know I will have a more productive week coming up. I’ll see everyone around.

Writing Journal 11.25.2018: Easing into the end of the month with a week of basically doing nothing

OK, here’s the numbers:

+668 words written.

Days writing: 2 out of 7.

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

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of revisions): 1 out of 7 days.

And, that’s that. Basically, I bugged out for the holiday weekend, spent a lot of time in front of the computer and staring at a screen, but not doing anything to the stories there. Just took a massive mental vacation and didn’t get too much sleep in the process. I’m feeling OK, however.

To be honest, I needed the Thanksgiving break to take a breather. (Depending on this massive snow storm in the Midwest, that break might be extended for another day.)

I’m also wondering if I have a tendency to burn out if I spend too much time on revising rather than writing and vice versa. That might be worth a separate post later.

Other items:

  • No update on the book publishing, but things are still feeling close.
  • I might get some more poetry done soon. I’ll run one of my older ones on Thursday. Never really thought about putting together a poetry collection, but I might have enough poems that aren’t complete garbage that I have to think about it. Not that it would ever make money, but it might be interesting to do it. (Another note: Since I don’t believe I’ve ever commented on it, I’ll probably have to do a post about me and poetry sometime soon.
  • I still don’t like that the new proposed editing feature for WordPress doesn’t have sharing with Facebook and Twitter. Hopefully they put that in or at least let me keep the classic editing tool.
  • Eventually will have to put together some content for the social media sites as December approaches.

Sorry this week was boring and I didn’t get much done. I know I’ll manage to do better next week.

 

Writing Journal 11.18.2018: A lull as I wait for the next step

To be honest, there wasn’t too much to brag about this week.

+354 words written.

Days writing: 1 out of 7.

Days revising: 4 out of 7 for 150 total minutes.

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

Excuses/explanations? Not too much. My family is in something of a transition and what’s going to be happening during the near future has been on our minds. (Sorry for being vague; I try not to get into too much personal business here).

I think I will update you on a few other items, though.

  • Been in contact with my publishers. They are on what appears to be the last proof of my book. Assuming everything I sent to them got fixed (only about five corrections this time), that might be the last proof and another step toward full publication.
  • Any thoughts on this new editing layout for WordPress that apparently is coming down the pike? I actually tried it out a little with this post, but did not finish with it. I’m a little irritated that it didn’t automatically save my past categories of posts and that it did not have an apparent option to save to other social media platforms. Anybody else have similar/different experiences with this?
  • Might have a quick midweek post in a couple of days (say, Tuesday). It’ll be pretty brief, and I’ll keep what it is a surprise.

That’s all I’ve got for now.