Writing Journal 2.24.2019: Getting some new writing done as February winds down

This week was a good change of pace for me. For the first time in a while, I’ve been getting more new writing done than revising. Not that there’s anything wrong with revising, but it’s good to get new material in the mix, too.

Here’s the numbers, and looking at my past journals this year, this was the most productive writing week for word count in the year so far.

+3,238 words written.

Days writing: 7 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 105 total minutes.

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

To be honest, I would have met my daily quotas every day this week if it was not for the fact that I was out of town for the majority of Saturday. However, I was attending one of my daughter’s show choir competitions for the first time, and I think me being there was a pleasant surprise.

OK, I’ll update you on the projects.

  • Project A: not too much change from last week. I need to start the hunt for someone to possibly take this on (agents/publishers). I think the plan for me should be to get with Writer’s Market and look into some possibilities. Since the main character is LGBTQ, I might consider publishers who specialize in LGBTQ themes.
  • Project B: Stronger than I initially thought – got quite a bit of work done on this. The draft is now over 50,000, but I want to keep it short and lean. I don’t feel like this book should get over 60,000 words. Since there’s a lot of material I’m considering deleting, I don’t think this will be much of an issue. My timetable on this is 2-3 months from now; I’ll only know later if this was too ambitious or not.
  • Project C: I’m really getting into this. I’ve come up with 2 1/2 poems this week and I think I have the potential to get through several more. Right now I am not considering revisions on these – I’m just trying to put together enough to make a proper collection that might be tied together by a few themes, at least with the new material. I am still thinking six months from now I’ll be wrapped up with a first draft, but I have no idea.

That’s it with the writing; I think I will do a mid-week post on all of the other writing-related activity going on with me then.


Writing As Comfort: A Short Post

Don’t worry, this is going to be brief.

Last night, I was talking with my wife, and I said (this might not be a direct quote, but anyway),

You know, one of the things I really enjoy about writing is how much it is helpful for my mental state. I could have a long day or maybe a stressful day at work or somewhere else in the world, but when I’m sitting down in front of the computer, all of that goes away. It’s what I look forward to at the end of the day, resetting myself for the next day.

She replied (also maybe not a direct quote – anyway),

It’s like when I go work out, when I want to relieve my stress. That’s how it works for you.

I love her. And I love writing, too.

A Writer’s Biography, Volume III, Part 4: On Leaving an Author Behind

There’s always been discussion about whether to separate artists and their behavior in real life from their art. This debate has grown exponentially given the political climate over the past two years, but that is just a reflection of the conflict that has gone on for many years before.

It may be strange that I’m posting this as a Writer’s Biography blog, but I’ve long held to the belief of Stephen King and others that reading other people’s work is nearly as much a part of building a writer as the actual writing process itself. So, something having to do with what I chose to read in the past, present, and future is part of building me as a writer moving forward.

I’ve written before about authors I’ve admired in this series, as well as authors that I’ve fallen out of love with for various reasons. However, I’m finding myself making more decisions regarding what authors I choose to read and what authors I choose not to read.

Basically, more and more new authors are coming out with more and more new stuff. Since I happen to be a newly published author myself, I have made the decision that I want to do what I can with the financial resources that I have to support these types of authors, especially those whose work I admire and/or those who have been a support to me now and in the past.

There are a lot of authors out there to choose from. So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to devote my time to any authors that I think are problematic for whatever real life reason. Some that argue the opposite way would say that to do that would ignore many great works of writing. My counterargument to that is, there are plenty of authors out there who are good people. Why force yourself to make moral judgements when there are plenty of great alternative authors and writing out there? It’s too much work and I don’t want to support people like that financially or with attention if I can help it.

One example of this cropped up with me last week, and one particular author. I’m not going to name the author here, but he’s active in the entertainment industry as well as being an author. I had the chance to read a memoir of his, and I thought it was some great writing about his experiences in the industry. It was definitely one of the better books I read during the past couple of years.

However, I was on social media and I found him making some profoundly unfunny jokes about people, and it was apparent from other posts and information that he’d turned into some sort of right-wing crank. Within a half-hour, that book was no longer in my personal library and I put him out of my head. It was that quick.

I regret that the guy turned out to be someone I couldn’t approve of, but I don’t regret my decision. You may have to work with and live near people whose personal philosophies you disagree with, but there’s no requirement to have to rely on them for entertainment and reading joy. Both reading and writing are my passion, my escape, and my art. I have no problem having what I read reflect my passions and views just the same as my writing does.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: For a while on my blog, I’ve been posting stories about my past that helped build and mold me into the writer and person I am today. You’ll be able to find these (and a couple of other stories) in the Biographies category section of my blog. Here’s a direct link, too.

Writing Journal 2.17.2019: Making progress on various fronts

This week slow and steady numbers – not the best, but I did make my daily quota all this week, which was a plus.

+446 words written.

Days writing: 1 of 7.

Days revising: 7 of 7 for 210 total minutes.

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

So, not spectacular numbers, but consistent.

So, on to upcoming items:

The Holy Fool/General Promo items

  • Had my first book signing event yesterday at the Coffee Belt in downtown Muscatine. Ownership and staff could not have been nicer. My wife Laura was a big help with logistics. Saw a lot of family and friends down there, and had much more success than I expected with the level of promotion we had for it.
  • I’ve talked with the Musser Public Library in Muscatine about doing a book talk/event over there, and they seem open to it. This will likely happen late next month. As soon as I have a date for that, you’ll see it here. I also might look into some appearances/etc. at some libraries or locations north of me in the Quad Cities. The Midwest Writing Center might also host something for me later.
  • Yes, I will get something started regarding a book giveaway on Goodreads. I should start that soon, within the next couple of weeks.

Project Statuses:

  • Project A: Finished latest revision, and the word count is down to under 84,000. I think I will do a proofread edit soon, but I might have lucked into a beta read for it in exchange for beta reading the screenplay of a fellow writer I know. Finding an agent/publisher is now getting to be a priority.
    I’m considering whether to sign up again for the online Writer’s Market. Would another resource be better, or is this a good first step? Let me know in the comments if you have a thought on that.
  • Project B: Still progressing. I’m thinking of ways to flesh out the character in a way that will make it realistic for an ex-con and his struggles. I still think this will take about 2-3 months, maybe -there is a lot to revise, but the book is mess than two-thirds the size of Project A. After that’s completed, then I’ll put out a call to beta readers.
  • Project C: Starting to come up with some poems, which might boost up my weekly word counts slightly, but not by much (poetry and all that). Still thinking maybe 6-9 months before I have a rough draft.

That covers basically everything for right now. I’m hoping that I’m not going to get any more snow days this week. My school district is adding 30 minutes onto our days, so we actually have a chance of getting out of school for summer break before June. I’m definitely in favor of that.

I’ll keep writing and reading, and hope you do the same.

Writing Journal 2.10.2019: Weird week leads to a slow week

(You notice how I’ve been using photos of winter scenes? It’s snowing a lot.)

The numbers are not too much to write home about, but here they are:

+469 words written.

Days writing: 2 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.

Yeah, not really impressive given last few weeks. I have been making progress, but not as much as I want. Work has gotten in the way some (even with all the snow days, imagine that.) And the fact that there might be another snow day or two during this week will not help, either. Oh, well, I’ll be teaching in June anyway.

I’m just doing one post this weekend, so I’ll try to get in everything going on all at once.

Promo items/Stuff for The Holy Fool

  • I mentioned that I will be having my first promotional appearance for my book this Saturday. It’s still on. All of the information is here.
  • I want to set up a book talk at my local library here in Muscatine. I think it would be more of a book discussion than a signing, although I would be giving a copy of my book to the library as well. Once I get that sorted out, I’ll let everyone know date and time.
  • Now that I have books in hand, I want to start doing a giveaway or two through my Goodreads page. As soon as I have that locked down, you will hear it here first.

Writing Stuff

(I went over all of these books here, just to get you caught up).

  • Project A: Wrapping up my latest revisions on it, likely within the next week, after my beta reads. After that, I will be proofreading when I have time and begin considering markets for it. Some possibilities would be publishers/agents who are interested in books with sports themes or LGBTQ characters.
  • Project B: This will likely pick up when I finish the latest revision on Project A. Length of time on this would likely be 2-3 months. I’ll also likely need some beta readers to review as well. After that, I start considering publishers/agents.
  • Project C: I’ve compiled a collection of poems in one location. My initial thoughts are that I will need a bit more material before I consider shopping it around. Length of time to complete a full compilation before starting revisions would be maybe 6-9 months.

That’s about all I have for now. Keep reading me and everyone else, and if you are in the Midwest and getting as much snow as I am, stay safe.


A Poem Idea?💡

Today I’m off from school due to ice storms.

This is the eighth snow day at least since school got stared.

That’s not counting early/late outs due to weather.

During the past three years I had maybe three snow days combined.

I think there might be a poem in the idea of sitting at home late at night or early in the morning, checking your phone or the local news, seeing if you are staying home that day more than you expected and all day.

There also might be a few lines covering what it’s like to be off those days, relaxing but not really relaxed, wondering how this throws off all of your well-laid plans.

What do you think?

I think I’m going to give it a shot, even if what I produce is rubbish in the end.

If You’re Interested…

I’ve got the first official public event for promoting my book – the first of many others, I am hoping.

This will be more for people in my immediate area who want to meet me and hear more about my book, but if anyone online happens to be wandering around Muscatine in less than two weeks, feel free to stop by downtown and touch base with me.

As the picture says, it’s 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at The Coffee Belt, 210 E. Second St. in Muscatine. I’d like to see you there.

Writing Journal 2.3.2019: Slowed down a bit as the month ended

I was doing so well… and other items got in the way. Still, it wasn’t too bad of a week.

+920 words written.

Days writing: 3 of 7.

Days revising: 4 of 7 for 360 total minutes.

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

But, I’m hoping to do a little better this week, even if I will be busy with work and with some real-life stuff. In reviewing some of the projects I talked about last week sometime, it’s going to take me at least six to eight months to get everything finished up. Some of it will be finished in a month if I get ambitious, but some others are going to require a little more heavy lifting.

In addition, I’ll be looking for opportunities to meet with potential publishers and/or agents for some of this new work. I know that I was fortunate in working with Biblio for the first book, and it might be more of a drawn-out process to get other books published in whatever format.

Honestly, that’s it for now. I’ll keep writing and revising and keep track of it all, as always.

I Have Books

Another short blog post to let people know that I have books.

Just got the delivery from my publisher this week. So, I do have physical copies of my book in paperback format. A couple are already spoken for, but some are not.

It may take a while for some of these to get out, given the polar vortex sitting over Iowa and a couple of other states, but it will happen. I’m also planning at least one giveaway through my Goodreads page.

I’ll have some word about at least one book signing coming up soon, and perhaps some other items coming up. I’ll keep you in the loop when plans are set.