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Non-Fluff

2nd Quarter Results

First, the easy part: 2nd quarter results for this year.

What did the second 3 months of my serious attempt at writing bring me? Less than I had hoped.

I have still written some every month, even if just journals. February is still my worst month this year. My average this quarter? 8308 words a month; not bad in the long run, but 3k less a month than first quarter. I did write some short stories in this quarter, and even put one on a critique site for some feedback. But I also went long weeks not writing at all.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I can!

Err I mean, because accountability! And being conscious of my own progress!

Because its my blog and I can write what I want on it!

 

In other news, instead of writing I have finished a quilt, got 2 new dogs, did tons of gardening and yardwork, and generally did not writing things. I’ve been a bit busy. So rant rant rant, I need to write more, read more, be more what I want to be. But I am working on it! I still think about it every day, even if I don’t write. It may be a slow process getting where I am going, but at least I am trying.

That sounds so pathetic, and trying is not the same as doing, but you know, positive thinking and such.

Non-Fluff

[Non-Fluff] First quarter results

I have made it through my first 3 months of being serious about writing. Hooray! I am still going strong, not giving up. This is a huge deal for me. I’ve been looking over my numbers in general, its nice to see.

For starters, I started a blog. This was something that I didn’t expect to do as early as I did. Unfortunately, I have persuasive friends. In the end, it was more words getting done and even if I wasn’t writing here, it has kept me going and more focused than I would have otherwise, I think. I keep worrying about not writing here though. I want to be more… professional? … dedicated? … Not sure what the right word would be. Just want to be doing it right. In 3 months I have gotten 11.3k words done on this blog. That’s still 11.3k more that I wouldn’t have got done if I didn’t do it. I shouldn’t sell myself short on that. But I have only done 29 posts in 3 months, little over 2 posts a week average. Not horrible, not what I wanted. But, only the first 3 months, still need to give myself some slack.

On the flip side though, since starting this blog I have actually written less story stuff, only about 1100 words and that was all in January. I try, I really do try. But I can’t do it – yet. I have spent much time working on fixing this, reading, learning, trying different things. I am optimistic, something that I don’t often feel, that I will be able to do much better in the next quarter. And practice, practice, practice. I also stopped doing critiques after January which were part of my word count, just felt bogged down by everything and unable to focus enough to do critiques well.

Where I have been shining is my personal journal. Any words are good words, and I have been slinging a lot of words there. What I find interesting is that in February I did decent on my blog, but my personal journal went down the drain. I try not to throw personal stuff here, and I don’t think I did, so trying to figure out why the dip. I have never been good at writing a journal, especially when I need to. I internalize way more than I should. It was the first month of homeschooling, the first month of the blog, last month of a long cold winter stuck inside and lots of changes in my personal life. But lately I have been redoubling my efforts. It has become a brain dump and has helped get the words flowing. This in turn will help with brain dumps while writing.

So in the end, I am sitting at 35.5k words for 3 months of work. I am averaging 2700 a week, my goal was 5k a week, but it’s not a bad start. The last 2 weeks I have hit 5200 and 6000, so I know I can do it. February’s dip was what killed my average, if I can just persevere reaching my goals would not be difficult.

So, going forward what do I need to do? Write more. Bottom line. Always.

Even with as much as I did, I need to do more. I started off doing a book a week with a review, then I hit a book I didn’t like and faltered. This always stymies my reading for some reason. I need to get reading more, I just don’t have the technical skills to write if I don’t. Certain things don’t come second nature while I am writing, it makes writing even harder and I have enough troubles writing. So, more reading. Going back to a book a week. Even if its just a short story or a novella, I just need to be reading.

I need to be writing more. 5k a week is possible, I have proven that, I just need to find a way to do it. While I am good with any words written are good words, I do want to increase my word count to at least 25% being story words. Even if its just crappy first drafts, I need story words, not just ranting at the world words.

I also need to be blogging and critiquing more. I need to find better content for my blog. I am not very chatty really, so being chatty on a blog isn’t working for me either. I still don’t know what to do about that. Hard to write when I don’t know what I am writing about. Critiquing is a matter of focus and drive. I understand the value of critiquing, both to myself and others. It gets me exposed, gets me reading, gets me writing, gets me thinking like a writer and helps me with editing my own stuff. With the sites I use it also earns me the right to post my stuff to be critiqued, when I get around to writing stuff. Then it helps others get feedback and continue the loop, a nice pay it forward system. So, how to focus and get critiques done? Not sure. Sheer determination, which I love to fall back to but unfortunately doesn’t always work.

Lots to think about, lots of good work done, lots more work to do.

The too long; didn’t read version? I am awesome and I am doing what I love and getting it done. Go me!

Non-Fluff

[Non-Fluff] Blogging like an idiot

Okay, so I have now missed 3 blog posts last week and 1 already this week (which I guess is actually the one I am writing now, just late). I hate this. I should be okay, and just let it slide and not stress, but I hate it. I want to do this right which means making a job and blogging 5 days a week like I said. I cannot let myself slide.

So on that note, I spent several hours yesterday putting together blog post ideas, taking notes, looking at writing crap that I can blog on, etc etc. A large part of my problem is I’m still not sure where my content is going on this blog. I don’t know if its a blog on writing or a blog about a writer. Technically its both, even say so at the top of the page someplace (On writing, and not), but still hard to wrap my head around that some days. It means I am sitting here staring at a blank screen and having no clue where I am going or where to even start.

Posts on writing seem shallow to me because I don’t do enough writing. I can write about all the advice I hear and try and sound like an authority, but I am not yet. I can write about my trials and tribulations except I don’t do enough writing to have trials and tribulations at the moment. I am still trying to get past putting an idea onto paper. Being a pantser isn’t working but can’t flesh out an idea enough to outline either. Mainly because I don’t start with an idea, I just start writing a scene and hopefully the scenes will build upon themselves and figure out a story that I can cut to ribbons and tighten up later.

Posts on not writing seem boring and trivial. My day was tedious enough for me and I lived it. Who wants to hear about it later? Tons of people probably, if I had an interesting voice to make it exciting but I don’t think I am quite there yet either.

Sometimes I think I just started this blog too early, but on the other hand I think starting it early will give me sufficient fuck up time before I have to be good at it. The bottom line is I need to be writing. I need to write blogs and stories and journals (which I’ve also been skipping lately). There are a million reasons for my lacking at this point, OCD and depression being the main ones, but I really can’t let myself lean on reasons. I just need to get off my ass and do what needs to be done.

In that vain, all that research that went into blog posts will continue and I am going to try and work up a backlog. But first, food. Cause its noon and I still haven’t eaten and my tummy is feeling it. (The theory was to get up and write this post and get food, but got distracted and stressed, which is doubling the tummy ache, so no post, no food. Post done, I get food now!)

 

Edit: Oh yea, and something about a picture gallery that I started working on a week or two ago and need to finish. At least I’m getting some stuff done!

Non-Fluff

[Non-fluff] Swashbuckling Pen Monkies

OOOooo, get to make a new category! I’m expanding! — Though as I write the actual post, I haven’t decided what it will be yet. I just know that my current ones don’t fit. Maybe [Non-fitting Fluff] or [Serious Crap]. Theoretically, I’ll figure it out by the end of this post.

Today’s regularly scheduled book review will not be shown in order to bring you my views on piracy. I have no stance on Ninjas vs Pirates, though pirate chicks are way hotter. No, I mean book/music/game/digital piracy. This post is brought to you not only because I failed to read my required one book a week, but also because I was saved coming up with the blog idea myself. Per Chuck Wendig‘s post today, he called for an internet wide Please Don’t Pirate My Book Day. You can see his thoughts here, and listen to my ranting below.

I went on a while ago about Doctorow’s anti-DRM awesomeness, and I still agree with that, but Wendig brings up several points as well. Writers do need to eat. While they may create stories with self sustaining technology and utopian societies, that isn’t reality yet. Authors need to be fed, the team that supports the author needs to be fed. While delicious, the blood of word babies they bring into this world is not nutritious enough.

Someone needs to contribute money to this ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean the current methods of paying for media are the best way to go. DRM is straight crap, no matter how you frame it. Having to pay for things multiple times is crap. It pisses the consumer off and while many people will fork up if they have good reason, it turns just as many away from one or all media systems in frustration. If you buy something, even the digital right to read a book, it should be yours regardless of where it goes in your control.

The problem is that many people get uppity about people then sharing that. Libraries have been around forever, people have lent books, people have read parts aloud forcing their friends to suffer through until they feign interest and are allowed out of the handcuffs just to escape out the back door. Authors are still making money. Yard sales and used book stores and library sales have been around forever. Authors are still making money. E-readers, and the easy access of books in digital form, have been around several years and people are still buying hard cover books. I have several ways to read books in digital format, and I still go to the library and check out books, I have both a digital and physical monthly spending limit on books. There is also the word of mouth factor, lending someone a book often helps them find a new author. They get excited and go buy all of their books for themselves.

So how to feed the starving masses of wordsmiths and make the consumers happy? No one has come up with the answer yet, and I don’t know that a good one will ever be implemented in America, we are too capitalistic. Even if one idealist publisher came up with the perfect system and implemented it, there would always be someone out there pitching a fit or trying to take them down somehow. A DRM-free system is a must. A Netflix-like rental system for e-books would be awesome, especially audio books. The downside would be some people want to own what they pay for and do not like the idea of renting. How to appease them?

I really like the idea of all physical media coming with digital media as well, even if it were a little extra. Books are one thing that I love to have around, just a comfort thing, but I still love having digital copies to make finding and taking them elsewhere easier. There would still be people complaining though, people always complain. Something about the physical copies being resold, or even the digital copies. Well, if companies price individual physical/digital copies for low enough, people would be more willing to buy it directly than from resellers. If the difference between new and used is a dollar, most will go for new. For digital, most people will hit trusted sites than risk downloading some fatal computer crud.

On a side note, I argue that those who would buy books, will buy books because the type of person that enjoys reading is the type of person that has common sense and is a generally honest individual. Those that pirate, either a- do it because they can but don’t necessarily get around to looking at everything they pirate or b- enjoy with the full intention of buying a physical copy later when they are able. Yes, broad generalizations, but reading commentary on the subject and my own experiences leads me to believe I am mostly accurate. But music and video games don’t hold the same kind of culture.