Tag Archives: goals

The Night Shift Method

So, Friday night into Saturday morning I started work on entering the changes from the first round of paper edits on Book 5 of The Academy of the Accord series, and it… didn’t go so well.

I looked at the words on the paper and on the screen and just stared at them in disbelief at how utterly horrid they were.

I know I suck at setting a scene, but I had poor Marsden just noticing someone in the middle of nowhere. (Until a paragraph or two later I established that he was, in fact, in a town.)

Then I read more and wanted to tear my hair out. Had I not read the preceding books? Like, ever? Why was I basically ignoring everything that had previously been established?

And the wording itself was beyond awkward.

So, yeah. The first couple of pages are getting a total rewrite.

Saturday night into Sunday morning went a little better. At least, it did once I decided to copy the stuff that’s giving me trouble into a separate Word doc and print it so I can do a paper edit on it in the future. With that out of the way I could get on with the rest of it and finally started making some progress.

Sunday into Monday went well, lots of progress made, but now I’ve run into a bit of trouble. I’ve hit the part where there are decisions that need to be made and a lot of fiddling to that it matches other books, and stuff needs to be imported from other files and…

Yeah.

I don’t even know if the parts I need are in that doc or if I have to find them and pull them from another one – or two.

So, I still have a long way to go and it’s not all going to happen this run of night shifts, but by the end of the month I should have it done and be ready to move onto the next book.

I think I might just start using night shift for editing and do my writing during daylight hours. That might help with the juggling so many projects thing…

So overall, I’m calling this experiment a success.

So far at least.

 

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Finally February!

Is January over yet?

It is? Really?

*sighs in relief* That has to have been the longest month in the history of months. I have no idea why, but it felt more like 31 weeks than 31 days. (And I’m not the only one that felt like that; we were talking about it at work the other night too.)

Anyhow, January is finally over and February has started and even if that thrice-cursed groundhog saw his shadow it’s time for new goals.

But wait, what about my old goals? How did I do in the never-ending month of January?

Lousy.

So, this month’s goals are to tackle last month’s goals again. In case you’ve forgotten, they were:

“This month I want to get the changes to Book 5 (of the Academy of the Accord series) entered, and get Book 5.5 ready to print, and get the concordance caught up through Book 5.”

Oh, and re-number all the books after Book 5.

Yeah. None of that happened and the concordance has still not made a reappearance.

So, I still need to tackle last month’s goals, in addition to this month’s goals, which are:

Book 5.5(6) first round paper edits done
Book 5.5(6) changes entered
Concordance caught up through Book 5.5(6)

Actually, if I can get Book 5.5(6) ready to print (and printed) I can take it to work on night shift and do the first round paper edits. But I have to get to that point first.

And I still have to find the concordance.

 

 

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Current Status

I remembered that it’s Friday! And I remembered that I write a blog post on Fridays! My new not-so-evil day job is doing wonders for me already.

I was off yesterday and didn’t do much except go out for lunch. Today has been a stay home and chill day, which I desperately needed.

As far as writing-related stuff goes, I started setting up my notebook for story starts and ideas. I work afternoon shift tomorrow, but night shift on Sunday and Monday, so in preparation I’m printing off the stuff that I have on the computer so I can get it all put into the binder.

I still haven’t found the concordance for The Academy of the Accord, but I have found one more place that it isn’t, so… progress?  I’ve also verified that it still isn’t in three or four places that I’ve looked previously, just in case the gremlins put it back where it wasn’t.

(On a brighter note, I think I found half of a pair of Crocs my roommate was missing, so I’m pretty sure the other one is in that general vicinity somewhere.)

And in the “Why do I do this to myself?” category, I signed up for InCoWriMo – International Correspondence Writing Month. It’s a challenge to write a letter a day for the month of February. (Or a note card or post card or whatever.) Because… sanity is overrated?

 

 

 

 

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Halfway to Nowhere

The fifteenth? Already? The month is half over already? And my goals for the month are… not halfway done. Not even halfway started.

*sigh*

I do have two days off in a row coming up, though, and then I’ll be starting to work some night shifts so I’ll have time to write with minimal interruptions.

(Now, if I can just convince gmail to let me access it from a strange computer. I appreciate the added layers of security, but sending a secret code to my cell phone when I work in a jail where I can’t have said cell phone isn’t very helpful.)

Anyhow…

That “sort of” plot bunny is growing by leaps and bounds. I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing, given the current state of my pile of projects, starts, and novels I’m ignoring.

Another major (although not as high priority as the Academy of the Accord stuff) is to organize all of those projects, starts, and novels I’m ignoring. I think I’ve settled on putting them all into a three ring binder, organized alphabetically by title, working title, or some kind of word combination that will give me some sort of hint as to what it’s about.

I think that’s going to be another good project for downtime at work, maybe on evening shifts, at least until I find the concordance for The Academy of the Accord so I can get back to work on it.

(Some people need to find themselves. I just need to find my stuff.)

 

 

 

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I “Plumb” Forgot

Even with a planner I forgot that Friday was Friday. In my own defense, though, I was more focused on the weekend and getting water back in the kitchen, since we haven’t had any since around Christmas.

That got fixed on Saturday (major all day project) but in the process something happened to the drain pipe so he had to come back on Sunday and fix that (another major project).

Seriously, I’m lucky to remember that today is Monday.

Not much writing has been getting done. I did start on a flash fiction piece for a contest but it hasn’t gotten very far and I have no idea where it’s going.

And there’s a new plot bunny of sorts nagging me.  (“Of sorts” means “Two main characters without names, an antagonist without a name, and no plot other than some background info on the three nameless characters.”)

So, yeah. It’s not going to be an actual WiP for quite a while. (She says with hope in her heart, but a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.)

Of course, that brings me back to trying to figure out how best to sort and organize all of my projects and ideas. I think it’s going to work best to have a three ring binder with lots and lots of pages. I’m not sure whether I should alphabetize them by title (or working title) or just number the pages and set up an index, though. Probably alphabetizing would be best.

I still haven’t found the concordance for The Academy of the Accord. I keep finding places that it isn’t, so sooner or later I should find the place that it is. (Shouldn’t I?)

So, so far I’m not doing well at all on monthly – or yearly – goals. I need to buckle down and do stuff.

Do: my word of the year.

 

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One Week Left

So much for catching up! A couple so-so days of writing, plus losing most of Wednesday with cooking for Thanksgiving dinner (two nurses in the household – holidays happen when they happen) and I started yesterday 8414 below par.

I had a good writing day yesterday, though, to the tune of over 3300 words, so started today 6912 behind. Now if I can just have a few more back-to-back 3K days…

I’m not sure it’s going to happen today, though. I have about a thousand words done and lots of time yet, but I’m running just enough of a fever to feel like crap. But I will push on. I want to get at least two thousand words in for the day.

I’m liking my revision of how the story is playing out as far as Zin and Boyin meeting, but I’m really dreading revising the beginning of this thing.

I’m dreading revising the middle that I’m writing right now, too, because a lot of it is just stuff to get words flowing and is probably going to need to be cut, but there is enough good stuff popping up that I’m not ready to throw in the towel and skip ahead just yet.

Besides, if I do that then I’ll be missing the fun of getting there, not to mention that sometimes things happen that I can use later.

(No, I’m not pantsing this. Yes, I do have an outline. Yes, the outline is being followed. Sort of. Sometimes.)

And meanwhile I have a million ideas for other creative projects crowding into my head, and fingers itching to hold a crochet hook.

One more week…

I’d better get writing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Number Crunching

I started today at 6962 words below par at the start of the day.  That’s worse than on Monday but a little better than my 7001 yesterday. And I’m looking at a 2K day today which will be the most I’ve written in one day all month. (Now if I can just keep it up until I catch up…)

I’m doing too much telling and not enough showing (a fairly common flaw in my first drafts and I’ll fix it later) and description is sorely lacking. (I struggle with description. Fixing the tell/show thing is a lot easier than describing people and places.)

Sometimes the words are yanked kicking and screaming from my head to the screen and sometimes they flow willingly. The kicking and screaming ones are the worst parts: stilted, awkward, and definitely not happy about being forced to come to the party.

And I’m now at over 23,000 words and still haven’t introduced the second main character.

I think I’ve figured out how to fix that, though. I’m going to be cutting a lot of what I’ve written (basically anything to do with Boyin, which should cut a fair number of words) and make him the second main character. I can merge Boyin’s current back story with the back story created for the original second main character, Arthen. (And get rid of the name Arthen which I wasn’t really happy with anyhow.) I’m still not sure where or when he’ll show up now, but hopefully soon, since Zin is almost free of the Fortress.

I might also cut a lot of the stuff at the beginning, before Zin leaves his home, and put it in journal entries at the start of each chapter instead. We’ll see.

But all of that is for later. Cutting stuff from the novel is for rewrites and editing, not for first drafts. In the meantime, I’ll just cut all of those scenes mentally and once Zin meets his partner I’ll use Boyin and pretend that everything else never happened.

Meanwhile, I’m addicted to the stats page on the NaNoWriMo site. It lets me set small goals for myself as I write.

For instance:
Words Written Today = 1673 means that I just need 27 more words to hit 1700. (I told you they were small goals.)

Total Words Written = 23044 means that I need 56 more words to hit 23100.

And by then the number of words I need to hit par for the day will be low enough that I can reach the next hundred on it. (I keep a calculator open on my computer and run numbers through it every time I update my word count, which is frequently.)

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get lucky, the words will flow, and I’ll have a 3K day.

 

 

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Gotta love NaNoWriMo

I’ve managed to stay above par all week, although not much above. (I was two words over it when I went to bed last night.)  Things are starting to pick up some now though (I’ve written over a thousand words so far this morning) so I’m hoping to get that much-need cushion built up before I go back to work.

(I have no idea when “back to work” is going to be now, as it’s looking like the kiddo might not be discharged tomorrow as planned, but I hope to have more information by the end of the day today, or at the latest some time tomorrow.)

It really helps to have accountability partners. There’s a thread in my local NaNo FB group for it, and another friend and I are posting excerpts from what we’ve written each day, even if it’s crap (which most of mine is).

Another help is to have a reward system. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about being a jigsaw puzzle addict and that I can spend far too much time on JigZone. Well, the new rule is that I can’t do the puzzle of the day until I hit par. And I can’t do a second puzzle unless I’m at least one thousand words over par. (For every thousand words over par I get to do one extra puzzle.) (So far I haven’t done any extra puzzles.)

My current problem – if you could call it that – is that I really like this minor character that I’m working with now, and, unfortunately, he’ll soon be out of the story and he’s not in the series. I don’t have enough to give him a spin-off and I’m not sure I can use him elsewhere in a different guise.

Oh, and Zin, one of my main characters, still doesn’t have a full first name and his son still has no name at all and now there’s a possible character rebellion brewing further down the line involving Zin’s wife and his Warder.

*sigh*
Gotta love NaNoWriMo…

 

 

 

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Downs and Ups

It’s been an interesting couple of days.

Due to some confusion at the garage I got my new muffler Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday morning, which freed up all of Thursday for a trip to a town (DuBois) about an hour and a half away to go to a craft store (Pat Catan’s) that I’d heard great things about but had never been to.

And a trip to DuBois isn’t worthwhile without a trip to Dutch Pantry for lunch – and an Apple Fritter Sundae for dessert.

Only it wasn’t.  Horrible service there this time. Definitely not the norm but definitely beyond bad.  Sort of ruined the day.

Which means that I wasn’t in the mood to explore the craft store.  Which means that I’ll have to go back to the craft store another time. (Such a sacrifice!)

My Work Box 3.0 was, according to tracking, scheduled for delivery today but apparently that only means to the freight carrier’s hub, so I’m not getting it until Wednesday, which means I have to take another (unpaid) day off work. I’m not a happy camper because I was looking forward to getting it today (since I was already off) and having all weekend to get it assembled.

So I emailed work to request the day off (because by that time talking to people was probably really not a good idea). I got a reply (that gmail, for some unknown reason, decided to hide in my spam folder so I didn’t find it until the office was closed for the weekend) stating that I can’t call off via email.

Um… Okay, but I’m not calling off.  I’m requesting a day off, in writing, just like I did for the 31st and first.

So I called and got the on-call supervisor who was as confused as I was and agreed that wasn’t calling off.  I’ll reply to the email (when I get my snarkiness under control) and will also call on Monday when the regular people are in the office.

So, anyhow, I’ve kind of not been in the mood for much of anything creative lately and I swear the universe is conspiring to piss me off. (And succeeding quite well.) It’s enough to make me want to log into Materia Magica and kill things.

But on a brighter note, I have tentative names for the two main characters (and one secondary character) for my NaNoWriMo novel.

And on an even brighter note, I have figured out how to use Asana to manage trilogies and beyond.  Name the project for the trilogy (or series) – The Other Mages, for instance. Then, instead of adding a task, add a section (it’s kind of hidden next to the “add task” button), and then add tasks below that.

This means I have no excuse not to enter the Academy of the Accord series into it now. (That’s going to be a task and a half!)

 

 

 

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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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