Tag Archives: creative process

Goal Tracking App Update

On Monday I talked about a couple apps I was going to try out to help with productivity: Habitica and Asana  . Since then I’ve come across another one (WordKeeperAlpha which I found via Rachel Poli’s blog (and she found it via Skye Hegyes’ blog).

Anyhow, I promised you an update on what I thought of them.

Mostly I’ve played with Habitica because it’s fun and addictive. Is it the time sink I feared it would be? Not quite. Yes, I spend time there that I probably shouldn’t, but it is productive time. I’m already up to level 4 and halfway to level 5 and it’s keeping me on task for habits, daily (also weekly) goals, and to do lists. However, I find that I’m using it more for mundane things than for writing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and I really enjoy using it so I’m going to keep on using it, and maybe find a way to revamp my writing goals to put into it. (Right now the only writing things it has are daily goals to work on Onyx Sun and The Academy of the Accord (which currently means my outline for November) and I’m not sure exactly what (if anything) I should change for it. I think I’ll let it go as is at least for now and rethink the writing aspect of it after NaNoWriMo.

(Fun notes: you can get “pets” in the game. The first one I hatched is a red wolf. Red Wolf Inn plays a key role in some of the Academy of the Accord novels. The second one is a purple tiger. Purple Tiger is one of the things that “P.T.” is rumored to stand for.)

I haven’t fooled with Asana much but hope to do more with it over the weekend. Right now it looks most useful for tracking progress on several different WiPs. With Asana you create a project and then set tasks under it.

For instance, Onyx Sun is a project. Tasks under it include:
Finish Space Battle Scene
Add scene where Soraine “pays back” her rescue
Change “More Araxians” scene to passengers
Put additional scenes into main manuscript
Print for paper edits and revisions
etc

Academy of the Accord hasn’t been entered into it yet because I’m not sure if I should make it one project or make each book of the series a project.

But what I really want to do with Asana is create a project for each Work in Progress, even if it’s just a “story start” (sort of an advanced plot bunny), that takes it from outlining through writing and editing and into publication. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now but wasn’t sure how, and Asana looks like it might be the solution I need. Hopefully I’ll have time to play with it more this weekend.

Then there’s the newest discovery, WordKeeperAlpha. I just registered on the site so I don’t have much in the way of first hand feedback for you yet, but I love the fact that it has graphs to track your progress and if you set goals it will tell you how many words you need per day to reach it. (Yeah, some of the stuff I miss having in non-NaNoWriMo months.) And it lets you post your progress directly to FB if you want.

I’m still trying to find my way around the site (it seems to have eaten the project I entered to test it out for this post) but it’s kind of cool and I see it becoming really useful in the future – probably in December.

So there you have it. All three are pretty cool and have (at least in my mind) different uses, all of which are things that I’m finding helpful.

Now, if I just knew how to code I’d create a website that combines all three.

 

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Revising Goals

On Monday, I wrote “I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.”

And so far I’ve done a pretty good job at that, despite having spent most of the week battling the cold from hell.

Unfortunately, all of it has been for the prequel to The Academy of the Accord (current working title: Creating Accord) and it’s been nothing more than a few notes jotted down in the traveler’s notebook that I carry with me at work. Some of the notes are things to check (or possibly change) in the other books and some are notes for this one.

So, it’s been some progress, but not much. (The lack of productivity is mostly courtesy of the cold from hell and the evil day job, but mostly the cold from hell.)

Since the cold seems to be breaking up and I’m starting to get some energy back, I think I’m going to have to revamp my goals a little bit, by changing just one little word.

No more “or.”

“Or” is now “and.”

I need to do one small thing daily for both The Academy of the Accord (either the series or the prequel – probably the prequel this month since it’s looking like it’s going to be my NaNoWriMo project) and Onyx Sun.

Otherwise, Onyx Sun will continue to be ignored, and I’ve already missed several “I want to release this by” dates, which is only adding to the frustration with it and the feeling that it will never be done.

Will this work any better?

I have no idea.  Monday will be too soon to tell so I’ll give it until next Friday to see how it’s working.

 

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Grecian Formula for Plot Bunnies

It’s been a fairly productive weekend. Not so much where writing is concerned, but with taking care of other stuff that I’ve been procrastinating on.  It’s been too hot to do much, though, which means that I still have a couple swaps to finish up tonight so I can get them in the mail after work tomorrow. (On the other hand, glue is drying pretty fast.)

Back to work today, and it was a fairly low key day. We’ve kind of started a pool as to how many days he’ll be in school this week. (The world of nursing is strange. Almost as strange as the world of a writer.)

Writing-wise, nothing’s been written except blog posts. The journaling challenge that I’ve been doing on my other (Pagan) blog only has a few more entries to go, and I’m both happy and sad about that. It’s been nice to be kind of “forced” (even if it was voluntarily) back into the groove, but a post a day in addition to everything else gets to be a little much.

That’s not to say I’ve neglected novels.

Part of my mind is working out stuff for The Academy of the Accord and another part is busy trying to hide from old (ancient) plot bunnies.

Seriously old plot bunnies.

One wandered in the other day and I thought, “I should ask Danielle what this term makes her think of.” Then I started thinking and… OMG, I felt old! Danielle is one of my best friends and I have plot bunnies that are older than she is. (This one originated during the first Star Wars movie.)

(Do they make Grecian Formula for Plot Bunnies?)

And on that note I think I’ll go sit in a corner and melt…

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday Already?

Why didn’t someone tell me?

Seriously, I’m having a major issue with the day of the week today. On the one hand, I know it’s Friday because I have an appointment to get my car inspected tomorrow (Saturday).  But on the other hand, I had stuff to mail today and almost panicked thinking it was Saturday and I had to get to the post office before noon.

Work being weird isn’t helping. The kid I ride the van with was supposed to be back in school on Thursday, but then they called and said he’d be back on Wednesday.  So, yay for a three day pay instead of a two day.

But Thursday morning I got a phone call telling me he was back in the hospital until the 29th. A few hours later I got a phone call telling me he’d be released on the 22nd instead, and would be going back to school on the 25th. (Could someone please make up my mind?)

So, that’s where work stands, at least for now.

Despite the lack of structure with my job I have managed to get a little more writing done, but we’re coming up on a space battle and I’m dragging my feet (fingers?) because I really hate writing fight scenes.

So, inspire me, folks. Or at least let me know I’m not alone.

What kind of scene do you find the most difficult to write?

 

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Happy End of Un-Labor Days to Me

Tomorrow I start my new job.

It’s been two months since I worked at my last one, and I am… nervous? anxious?

Part of that is because…

Well, because it’s been two months since I put on a set of scrubs and dealt with people.

So there’s the “hermit doesn’t want to leave her cave” anxiety. The longer I’m away from people the happier I am and the harder it is to go out among them again.

And then the fact that it’s kids and I’m… not a fan. (Yes, I know I was one once, but that was a long time ago and I didn’t really like them then, either.)

Add to that the fact that I still don’t know anything about the kid I’m to be riding with, (and as far as I know the agency still doesn’t have any doctor’s orders on him either), and the fact that the logistics of what I’m doing have changed four times since this all started, (not to mention the fact that this was supposed to have started last Thursday) and I’m really not looking forward to my first day.

I am (kind of) looking forward to getting back into a routine, though. I’m hoping that it will give me the chance to get more done than what I have been doing (which is basically nothing so anything will be an improvement).

It will, however, probably take a week or so to find a rhythm. Keep your fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping to write at least a hundred words this week. (Low goal? Yeah, but it’s a hundred more than I’ve been writing.)  And I’m going to post them on Friday so watch this space…

 

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Rags

I was actually going to call this post “Ragweed” because pollen count has been making me miserable the last few days. (Seriously. I was ready to drill a hole through my cheekbones to relieve pressure the other day.)

Instead, I’m going with the title “Rags” as a nod to Thursday Threads, which gave me the subject for this post.

What is Thursday Threads?

It’s a weekly flash fiction contest hosted by Siobhan Muir. You can find the rules here, and follow the Face Book group here.

(Unlike my Wednesday Words prompts, Thursday Threads is actually judged.)

Anyhow…

Yesterday’s prompt (“Do I make you nervous?”) brought up a great scene in my head. Unfortunately it didn’t make it to the contest, but I did start writing it. And saved it in a Word doc because it wants to be a side story for the Academy of the Accord series.

(Please note: this is only a side story, not another novel. It doesn’t even involve any of the characters in the series. At least, so far it doesn’t even involve any of the other characters in the series and I’m going to do my best to keep it that way.)

So, yesterday’s Thursday Threads prompt turned into a scrap of a story – a rag, if you will.

Actually, a lot of the Thursday Threads prompts do that. I can’t even begin to tell you how many novels have been started on Thursdays. (But it’s a lot more than the number of actual Thursday Threads entries I’ve made.)

And so it goes…

Now, if will just go from rags to riches…

(But that’s a plot bunny of a different color.)

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The Best Laid Schemes…

(of crafters and writers)

… gang aft agley.

Remember on Friday when I said that my plans for my weekend home alone involved rearranging some stuff in my craft room? (I believe the phrase I used was “editing my living space.”)

Uh-huh.

A plot was outlined. The characters (myself, the dogs, and an absent roommate) were developed. The scene (a craft room that looked like an episode of Hoarders) was set.

In short, plans were made.

The gods laughed so hard they had hiccups.

Cue inciting incident on Saturday morning in the form of the panicked voice of my not-done-packing-yet roommate yelling, “Paula! The washer’s overflowing!”

Sure enough. Apparently the washer had decided that “full” wasn’t “full enough” and kept on filling… and filling… and filling…

There was about half an inch of water covering roughly half the (carpeted) floor in my craft room.

So, instead of just moving the buffet table and the bins of yarn, I spent the weekend running the shop vac and moving over half the contents of my craft room into the back half of the basement and then back to where they belong.

I really didn’t lose anything to water damage because most of the stuff on floor level was in plastic tubs. (I learned that lesson a few years ago when the hot water tank declared war on the carpet.)

Epilogue to the weekend:

The carpet is a lot cleaner than it used to be.

The new washer comes on Wednesday.

My craft room is still a disaster but there is more room in it now. Not because there is appreciably less stuff, but because it’s better organized. (I “tightened the writing,” so to speak.)

There is still a lot to do.

The carpet is still slightly damp. (I think water is leeching back up to the surface.)

There is still a lot of unsorted stuff in boxes. But at least the mad rush on it is done, although I do need to still make more room by Wednesday. (Mostly I just need to move some stuff that is rather precariously stacked so it doesn’t get knocked over by the guys bringing the new washer.)

And the sink needs cleaned out – I was emptying the shop vac into it and it’s kind of full of sludge.

Let round two of the edits begin…

 

 

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Who Ya Gonna Call?

Have you ever just been bopping along, doing your own thing, and suddenly one of your novels (or a character) just walks up and slaps you in the face?

That’s what happened to me earlier today.

I was scrolling through Face Book clicked on a link someone had shared and found this article.

My first thought was of Marsden from The Academy of the Accord because that is soooo something he would do.  (If, of course, he was a cop in today’s world, but that’s a minor trifle.)

The part with the hand on the shoulder and “Easy… I’ve got this one, son” is what really made me think of Marsden. That is something he would say and do and the description is spot on too, although he’s not quite that old – at least, not at the start of the series.

So, while it was really cool to come across that, now I want to get back to work on The Academy of the Accord.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but Onyx Sun is still supposed to be on the front burner.

I think maybe I need a staff of ghost writers…

 

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Unhappy Camper

Well, this hasn’t been going according to plan.

And by “this” I mean “Camp NaNoWriMo” of course.

And by “plan” I mean at least one thousand words a day.

It’s day three and as I write this I have written less than a thousand words.

What happened?

I wish I knew.

Saturday I had every intention (Yeah, yeah, the road to Hell is well-paved. I know) of writing three thousand words.  I managed a little over seven hundred.  (Soraine is being a very uncooperative pirate captain and is trying to do some sort of odd heroic thing that is going to completely mess up other stuff… But maybe I should just scrap the other stuff and let her go and do it.  But anyhow, I digress.)

I did have one hellacious headache all day, though, which didn’t help.

So, Saturday was a bust.

Sunday was even worse – I managed to scrounge up another two hundred words or so, despite the headache that staggered in from Saturday.

And so far today hasn’t been very productive either. I was running errands for a large part of the day, though, so at least I know where some of the time went, unlike the two previous days.

But still… How did I get this far behind already?

I think maybe part of it was the departure from what I had planned. I’m fighting against the natural flow of the characters and story, trying to force it into what I had planned.

Or maybe it’s that I didn’t really have a whole lot planned for this scene, but when it made a 90 degree turn from my expectations I still insisted that it needed to follow along my non-existent planned route.

Either way it seems that the problem is my reluctance to give up control and go with the flow. (Maybe because what I’m writing is an extra scene to a more or less completed (a beta reader wanted more added) novel that I’m trying to finish up?)

At any rate, the solution now seems clear.  Strike through a lot of what I have written (don’t want to lose the word count) and start fresh, letting the characters lead the way.

On Friday I’ll let you know how that works out.

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De-Stressed

Well, somewhat.

I had an appointment with a cardiologist yesterday and he cleared me – no stress test needed.  Happy happy happy day!

The countdown has begun – only 16 more shifts at my current job. Just having made up my mind to not go with the new company has relieved most of my stress. Now if my doctor would just get back to me with when I can pick up my physical form…

And with the stress starting to fade away my energy has started to come back.

Yesterday I planted some tree lily bulbs, Dutch iris bulbs, and some other kind of bulbs that my mother thinks are some kind of lily. I also planted some chocolate mint and regular mint.

This gives me hope that my will to write will come back soon too, so I can do something about these plot bunnies that are nibbling away at my mind.

Meanwhile, I still have other stuff to plant, and some columbine to pry out from between the bricks in the retaining wall and transplant to my garden.

And lots of other craft stuff to keep me occupied.  (Not to mention the Kindle app on my phone.)

And I only have three weeks to decide what I’m doing for Camp. I should work on Onyx Sun or the Elven Bard novel.  But doing one thousand words for 31 different plot bunnies sounds like fun too.  And then there’s the werewolf thing that’s preying on the edges of my mind. It has some characters (without names) and a scene or two, but no real plot. Of course, I have 3 weeks to flesh it out. But I should work on Onyx Sun or the Elven Bard novel…

I hate being undecided.

Or, rather, I hate being decided on too many things – I want to write them all! Right now!

Sadly, I have to go to work.

Sixteen more shifts.

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