Updates – 3/17/2017

Obviously, I’m not good at regular blogging. There are lots of reasons, most of them based in fear, if I’m perfectly honest. It puts a record out there, and I always wish my record was better than it actually is.

But there’s a virtue in facing reality. Which is why I’m tracking my writing habits. And I think the tracking is actually helping. Exhibit B:

January through March, 2017

I’m writing at fits and starts. When I do write, I usually write a solid amount: between 500 and 1000 words, and I’m writing more than 1000 words with increasing frequency. That’s good.

But when I don’t write, well, you can see the gaps in there. So my average words-per-day (including the zero days) peaked at 451 in mid-February, then dipped down and has slowly stabilized around 420. I would love to get that average above 500, but that will take some significant improvement in the writing every day aspect of things. I’m actually proud of the days earlier this week when I wrote less than 500 words: at least I got something written, when my previous inclination was just to give up and take a zero. That’s progress!

By the way, today’s word count: 1246.

I mentioned in my last post that I had a passage I’d like some critique on. I’ll post that a little later today. I’m writing about things I have little personal experience of, so I definitely need some help in giving my imagination a reality check.

Thanks to all of you who are following this blog – sporadic as it is! Knowing I have readers is a huge help for me. I hope that my journey is some kind of help to you, too!

Word count – 1/12 & 1/13/2017

Tuesday and Wednesday, I didn’t get around to writing. More on that below.

Yesterday’s word count: 743 (goal 700-800)

Today’s word count: 819 (goal 700-800)

The pattern over these past couple weeks has been: I write when I get to a writing group, but not when I stay at home to write. For some reason, the mere fact that other people are also there writing is hugely motivating. If I’m tempted to distract myself somehow, I can look over at the other writers and remind myself: that’s how books get written, by people sitting and writing them. I’m lucky enough to have a few published authors among my friends, so sometimes I can even tell myself: “That’s what a professional writer looks like” as I watch them pulling their hair and gazing into the distance, but always returning to the keyboard to put words on the page.

So, consistency remains my goal. For now, I seem to need the crutch of a writer’s group. Well, if that’s the crutch I need, then I’ll use it as much as I’m able.

Word count – 1/9/2017

Today’s word count: 593 (goal 500-600)

When I’m in a writing mood, I can write over 1000 words per hour for several hours on end. It’s not quantity of writing that’s a problem for me. It’s consistency.

Last week, I had a bum day where I got no writing done. My habit has been to let an off day turn into an off week, or month, in which I think about writing a lot, but get few to no words actually onto a page.

For me, getting back into writing after only three days down is pretty good. Honestly, this blog is one of the reasons I was able to turn it around. Thank you, positive peer pressure!

Okay, here’s the plan…

photo by nicoleleec (https://www.flickr.com/photos/51550312@N08/)

I live in Seattle, where you can’t toss a stone without hitting a writer’s group. It might be a requirement for residency to be an aspiring writer of some sort or other. So it’s no surprise that I’m also a writer.

I mostly write fantasy space opera. I like epic heroic stories in which both science and magic work alongside each other. Likewise, I aim for grand universe-shaking plots that also rely on profound relationships between characters. Why have either/or when you can have both/and?

Ambition’s not a bad thing, is it?

So far, my problem has been in finishing work. I’ve finished some short stories, but the feedback is universally that the story doesn’t feel “ended” or “complete”: it feels like part of a novel. I’ve finished exactly one draft of a novel, back in college, but it was hardly coherent as a story. Since then, I’ve started several novels and have lost stamina partway through.

I have two goals for this blog: first, to provide some public accountability; and second, to solicit some feedback. Therefore, I plan to post daily (or almost daily) with just a simple word count for the day. It helps me to know that I’m writing for someone, so I’ll leave comments open even on those posts. Maybe you can comment with your word counts, too, and we can build a community of support?

Regularly – at least once a month, but maybe as often as weekly – I’ll post excerpts from my current work-in-progress. I might ask for general impressions, or I might be looking for a specific kind of feedback. I’ll be looking for honest opinions and, as much as you’re able, the specific phrases or┬ápassages┬áthat gave rise to those opinions. For example, “When she kicks the cat, it makes me think she’s cruel” is more helpful than “I hate her!”, and “The 2000-word description of the door slows me down; one sentence is plenty” tells me more than “So boooooring!”

Finally, I’ll randomly post links to stuff I find helpful and interesting around the internet. Because this is a blog, after all, and somebody’s got to keep the internet going!

Thanks for joining me on this journey!