Wednesday Writing Journal: 2013-06-26

Just taking a quick break from writing to drop an update on the word count of Warmistress. I had hoped to be in the 25,000 word area at this point, but I’m only at 20,700 and change. I’ll let you do the math on how behind I am.

When I look at Scrivener’s Project Targets window, it’s telling me I need 533 words a day (every day) to finish this novel by the end of November.

That’s totally doable. That’s an easy target for me.

However, I have to walk away from this post and get back to the novel if I’m going to make it!

New Look!

I just spent a few hours updating the look of the web site. I really wasn’t too happy with the old look/feel. The new one isn’t much different, but it makes me a little happier. Perhaps this one will last a while before I get tired of looking at it and change it again.

Maybe I’ll actually break down and hire someone to make me a slick design some day. Perhaps I should wait to sell a novel or something before I go that far? Dunno. We’ll see…..

Wednesday Writing Journal: 2013-06-19

Another week of no progress. I’ve been swamped with Pikes Peak Writers stuff this week. As you already know, I was out of the house for part of last week because of the Black Forest Fire. That didn’t help progress or my psyche any.

I flew out to California Sunday and have been here at my new job doing the training and education and orientation type stuff. That’s leaving me mentally drained at the end of each day. It’s a struggle to focus at the end of the day, and all of that focus goes into PPW stuff.

I know. I know. It sounds like I’m belly-aching and making excuses. I guess I am in a way. I just need to get life back to normal (not sure what that means anymore) and get back on the horse.

I’m going to challenge myself to produce at least 1,000 words a day between now and the next time I report in. That’s 7,000 words this upcoming week. I may have a day where I do nothing. I may have a day when I crank out 3,500 words in a day. I suppose I’ll have an even mix of both.

I do know that this weekend I’ll be in my hotel room pretty much all the time. If I can keep the television off (highly likely) and away from Facebook (somewhat likely), I’ll be able to get some good progress done on my novel.

Monday Muse: Black Forest Fire Edition

Sorry folks. The muse has been silenced by the Black Forest Fire. I had all of last week between jobs (today is the first day at the new job). I had planned to crank out 10,000 words or more on the novel, but that just didn’t happen. A huge fire broke out in Black Forest (south of my house by a few miles), and quickly spread. We were evacuated Wednesday afternoon, and could not return home until Saturday night.

Through the generosity and graciousness of some of our friends, we (and our animals) had a place to stay while we were out of the house. I haven’t had a chance to hang out with these folks in a while, so I spent a vast majority of my waking time alternating between worrying and praying about the fire, and chatting with my friends about everything else in life, except the fire.

All-in-all, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to write anything on the novel, but compared to how 483 other households have fared in the fire, I count myself very fortunate. I can’t stress enough how much I love the community we have in Southern Colorado. There were over 48,000 people evacuated from the fire. From the vague news reports at the shelters I’ve read about, there were only a few thousand people resorting to sleeping on the floor or in tents at the shelters. This means that well over 40,000 people found a place to flee to in the form of friends and family and (in some cases) total strangers.

That makes me proud.

Personally, I received over 15 direct emails or phone calls with offers of shelter from the fire. I received many more general offers that were put out on public forums. All but two of these came from the writing community here in the Pikes Peak region. Writing may be a solitary endeavor most of the time, but when the community is threatened by anything, anything at all, writers band together stronger than any other group I’ve seen. We’re brothers and sisters in arms, but we wield pens, not swords.

There is nothing that will tear us apart.

I’ve always been proud to be a writer. Now I’m even more proud to be part of the writing community that holds strong against all odds.

Thanks to all of the writers, friends and family that are out there supporting the victims of this horrific disaster. I pray for those who have lost most everything. I pray for the souls of the two people that died in their efforts to evacuate their house as trees exploded around them. I wish they could have escaped their house, but it wasn’t meant to be. I pray for the heroic first responders (firefighters, soldiers, police, national guard, pilots, paramedics, and more) that bravely rush into chaos where those who are sane flee. Thank you to all of those who are still battling the blaze.

My family and friends are safe from harm. For that I’m thankful.

I’ll trade the loss of productivity for that outcome any day of the week.

Updating Podcast List

A while back, I put out a call for new podcasts. Thanks to the generosity of some kind folks on the Internet, I found a few more right up my alley. Good stuff out there. I’m sure there are more podcasts that are of high quality, but here’s what I’m listening to these days. These are in the order they live in my Feedly feed, so they’re really in no particular order.

Looking back on the list, I could have maybe broken them up via topic. I hope the labels I put out to the sides work for you.

As you can tell, I love listening to certain types of things while on the road.

Huh. I just realized that I’ll be “losing” my (approximately) 25 hours of drive time to/from work/home each week. I wonder when I’ll be able to listen to all of the wonderful podcasts out there? I hope I can keep up! I don’t want to drop anyone from my list.

Wednesday Writing Journal: 2013-06-05

This past week has been crazy and exciting all at once. I’m in the last week of my current job. I had two new job offers come in last week, and I accepted one of them Friday. The one that I turned down called me on Monday and upped the ante a enough that I went back to the job I accepted and pulled out of the acceptance. All of the interviewing, negotiating, talking and thinking about everything sapped my time and energy to the point where I only managed to write a few thousand words last week.

However, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Two of them as a matter of fact.

The first is that I have all of next week off work as I’ll be between the two jobs. A vast majority of that time should be put to use at adding words to Warmother. It’ll be a great chance to test out the marathon writing chops of mine.

The second light at the end of the tunnel is that I will be getting back about 25 hours a week with the new job. You see, the current job is 75 miles from my house through the worst of Denver’s traffic. My average time on the road each day is 4-5 hours with 5 being more common than 4. Do that five times a day, and that’s a good chunk of time just lost to sitting in the car. Yeah. I get to listen to some awesome podcasts while on the road, but that’s about the only upside. The new job I’ve accepted is a full-time, work-from-home position for a company based out of California. Except for a week a quarter, I’ll be at home. Do the easy math and you’ll see that I’ll be gaining back 25 hours of my life each week. That’s huge.

Will I spend all of those 25 hours writing? Probably not. However, a good chunk of that time gained back will go into my writing efforts. My original goal of having Warmother done by the end of November just might be pushed up by a few months. We’ll see how it goes.

As the new job unfolds, I’ll make sure to keep everyone in the loop on what I’m doing and how things are progressing.

Monday Muse: 2013-06-03

From time to time, my muse rears her head and talks to me. I’ve managed to capture some of these conversations and am sharing them with you. I will warn you that my muse is a potty-mouth. I have no control over what she tells me. Sorry.

Muse: Listen up.

Me: *stays silent and listens intently*

Muse: You’re a little over a month from your 40th birthday.

Me: Yeah. I’m aware of this fact. So?

Muse: Stan Lee created Spider Man when he was 40.

Me: Oh?

Muse: You’re going to do the same damn thing.

Me: But Spider Man’s already been invented. What am I supposed to do? Create Arachnid Boy?

Muse: Don’t be a smart-ass with me you little shit. What I mean is that you’re going to do something great this year. It’s your year to break out.

Me: Oh. Wow. Okay. What should I do?

Muse: Do what you’ve been doing, but amp up your game. Finish Laurin’s story and launch into something fresh and new. You can do this. I… I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I have absolute and total faith in your abilities to create something that will last the ages.

Me: *blushing and tearing up a little* Really?

Muse: Okay. Don’t get all mushy on me. I really do believe you can pull this off with my help.

Me: *wipes tear away from cheek*

Muse: I said no mush! Get over your emotional moment and get back to work. Your stories won’t tell themselves.

Me: You got it. *turns back to keyboard*

Muse: *fades into darkness with a smile on her face*