Weekly Report: Progress

Not much to say, or to complain about lately. I’m progressing on editing, on writing, I’ve got a solid lead on a major life improvement… the works.

It’s all positive… but the kind of positive that’s a bit of a mental challenge. Everything’s going well from a process point of view, but of course there’re no results to show for it. An unfortunate consequence of long-term projects.

Still, I have no right to complain. So let’s keep going, shall we?

Good News!

No, I haven’t found an agent.

But lately I’ve started editing the first few chapters of Book the Second (mostly because writing didn’t fit my schedule at all and I wanted to keep my streak of good days going.)

So for a brief window I’ve been editing my first draft of Book the Second, and the later, already edited once or twice parts of Book the First.

And Book the Second is so much better. Seriously, there’s a massive jump in quality between the two novels.

I’m pretty sure it’s not new project enthusiasm. It’s straight improvement. Which means that Book the First was probably worth writing even if it never gets published, just because of how much better it made me write.

Hopefully, I’m better enough to find an agent for Book the second. We’ll see!

2018 Resolutions

As may be apparent, I’m currently not as gung-ho about this whole becoming-a-writer thing as last year.

Doesn’t mean I’m quitting, just that I’ll be taking it a lot easier on myself this year. So our goals for the year are:

1-Read twnety books I’ve either never read before, or which I never read critically. I’m going to go easier on myself on the actual book choices, however. No complaints if ten of those twenty books turn out to be from a midlist fantasy series or whatever. I will still be venturing out of the comfort zone some times, and I’ll definitely keep going on Proust. Beyond that, it’s whatever I want.

2-Fifty-two blog posts. These can be anything, from a one-line note that I caught Paraguayan Death Flu to more Bonus Creativity. That’s an easy enough goal.

3-Get Book the First out of my head. That means finishing the current round of editing, throwing say twelve more queries out, and if that doesn’t pan out e-publish the thing and be done.

4-Work on the actual, not abandonned Book the Second. Goal for the year is to get to the “better finish it than abandon it” stage (so probably about 66% done or so)

5-Make progress on improving this site.

Overall, the goals aren’t super ambitious I think, but I want to focus on the means this year. So our ground rules:

1-No taking on distracting projects. I’ll take paying writing work, but beyond that it’s just the projects I’ve talked about (and sorry, but the Europa Universalis Let’s Play isn’t going to pan out, at least not on a World Conquest.)

2-I have to put some work in every day on actual “writing career” stuff. It can be editing a single page of the book, just doing some updates on the tags and categories for old posts, writing one goddamn sentence in Book the Second, or whatever. For what it’s worth, I’ve put that rule into effect a bit over a week ago, and so far we’re good.

3-No putting myself into crazy pressure situations. So no big to-do lists, no challenges, no NaNoWriMo hopes.

So that’s what we’re focusing on this year.

Corner Turning?

For the first time in a while, I have free time and the mental energy to create something.

Let’s not get carried away: it’s an afternoon (and parts of an evening), not a five-week vacation. But I will write a few words today if it kills me!

I also will push through at least one chapter revision. I’ve received my newest post-manuscript rejection, and it was… honest. As in brutal. “Not agent-ready.”

So yeah, I think I need to finish that editing pass, and probably do another one (if I can’t find the money to pay an editor.) All the while enduring that nagging feeling that my time would be better spent working on another manuscript.

In addition, I’m getting frustrated by the life-preventing-me-from-having-a-writing-career trap. It’s probably easier to write when you don’t have to hold a job, can pay an editor, and are famous enough to be able to deliver less-than-perfect manuscripts to your publisher (I’ve read ARCs by famous authors which were far less well-edited than my current manuscript.) But there’s nothing I can do about that except to keep rolling the dice.

In any case, I need to get back to work ­čÖé

The Great Fall Task List

All right, so what am I planning for the rest of the year?

1-Writing an average of 500 words a week on Book the Second. That’s not a lot, and I feel I should be able to do better than that, but let’s stick to something I’m sure I can do.

2-Get back on track for my blog schedule, my reading list, etc. I’m on track for the reading list, being almost done with Proust (and then the rest is just entertaining fiction or short.) For the blogs, I have thirty Secret Project blog posts ready to go (with more in the pipeline) so I should be able to make up for lost ground fairly easily.

3-Finish a thorough review-and-fix of Book the First and have it published online. My revisions are the main holdup, although I’m also waiting on a cover page suggestion.

4-Once I get my cover page, I’ll do the long-awaited switch-to-a-custom-look for this blog. At the same time, I’ll officially try to turn that into an “official” writing blog, complete with tip jar to beg for money and email to ask for writing jobs.

To get that to work, I’ve decided to rely on an computerized todo list – I’m using Todoist – so that I can manage my time efficiently. I still need to write down everything I need to do but at least I can do that once when I’m motivated, and then have the guilt to motivate me. We’ll see how this works out!

 

 

Weekly Report: Almost Successful

How productive was I this week? Well, let’s look at last week’s goal list:

1-Write 500 words on Book the Second.

Status: I did get some writing done, but didn’t get to 500 words. Pathetic (but I had an extremely busy week, so I don’t feel as bad as I should about that.)

2-Book the Second tech bible: I didn’t do what I wanted to do there, but I put in quite a few hours to figure out a better way to organize my creative stuff going forward. So it’s a “Did way better than what I had planned” – enough that I can call this a success.

3-Another Bonus Creativity post: Done.

4-Review my agent list: Done.

5-Notes on e-publishing: some work, but nowhere enough not to call this one a fail.

So… 3/5 successful tasks, plus enough work put in on the others to call that a 4/5. But the 500 words were mandatory, so it’s still a Fail overall. Close call, though (and given the week I’ve had, I feel okay about it.)

Goals for next week:

1-500 Words Redux. Same deal as last week.

2-Get the Tech Bible structured properly (and with some of the content put in) – there’s a lot of work to be done there, but I need to be satisfied with what I’ve done to call that a success.

3-Notes on e-publishing: at this point, I need to get at least the structure of the blog post completed. Which means finishing up the research.

4-Put it some work on the paid writing project. Not sure if I can finish it this week, but I want to be within sight of the finish line at least by next Monday.

5-Hammer out another blog post for my Secret Project – this represents at least 4-5 hours of work, but it’s very enjoyable work.

Well… let’s get to work!

Goals for the Week

Well, returning to work has been tough on my energy level and general motivation. As in, I didn’t get anything done this week.

In part this is due to general disorganization (and a stupidly large amount of stuff on my non-writing to-do list that I just don’t feel like handling… leading to copious amount of time wasted on the Internet.)

There’s one cure for that: an OFFICIAL TO-DO LIST!

So, by next Monday, I must:

1-Write 500 words on Book the Second. That’s a ridiculously low bar. But it’s a reasonable target given the rest.

2-Finish the last details I wanted to do on the Book the Second tech bible. That’s just copying manuscript notes into the Word document, so it’s a “whenever I have time” task.

3-Another Bonus Creativity post. I already know what it will be about, so it should be a couple of hours top.

4-Review my agent list – just basic maintenance work, again a matter of minutes.

5-Formalize my notes on e-publishing, and plan my blog post(s) on the matter.

Five goals. The passing grade is 3/5, but┬ácompleting task 1 is mandatory. Let’s see how well I’ll do.