Writing Progress: Week Ending February 9, 2013

I didn’t reach my goal this week.  But despite that, it was a pretty darn good week:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 0 words

Story of V:

  • Wordcount: 1,297 words

Grand Total: 1,297 words

First of all… nearly 1,300 words isn’t nothing.  It’s not my goal, but compared to my productivity lately, it’s a very respectable amount.  But, more importantly, what made last week a good week is what those 1,300-ish words represent.

For those of you who benefit from the live twitter feed (or who happened to glance to the right sidebar where my recent tweets are syndicated), you’ll know the additional significance of these words: they’re last words of this story.  As in, they include the two contiguous words “The End” followed by whitespace.  So “Story of V” is done.

Well… not really, of course.  The first draft of Story of V is done.  After that, there’s alpha readers and editing and beta readers and more editing and then proofreading and polishing and… whew… there’s a lot of work left to do.  Let’s not think about that right now, shall we?

So, “Story of V” – which in the real world, by-the-way, is Officially Untitled – is in cool-down mode right now, and for the next few weeks, at least.  Dear Wife has read it, but that’s it.  For the next few weeks I’m just going to let it sit.  Then, I’ll actively solicit feedback of an alpha-read nature from willing volunteers.  After another month or so I expect I’ll have some of that feedback in hand, and I can start doing some triage and develop a plan for what I need to do next to improve this story and make it the best it can be.  I figure that in another month I’ll have gotten enough space from the story that I can be objective about it.

As for now… well… as if I had free time.  If i did, I might be up for a little self-reward for my accomplishment (i.e. play some Zelda), but I don’t expect to have actual free time, like that.

Instead… my mind is already back churning away at “Book of M”.  I’ve been on hiatus from writing that for several months, now… and I’m ready to get back in the saddle.

Hi ho, Silver!

I’ve also figured out, as of yesterday, what the next three short stories I’m going to write will be.  They’re all “Book of M”-related story ideas.  It’s something I’ve been seeing some pro-authors do: writing short stories in the same world as a novel.  It serves multiple purposes – for pros, it serves to build interest for the novel, for example – but for me, the primary reason is that the story is large enough to contain ideas and viewpoints (and time periods) that won’t make it into the novel itself.  I still have to spend some time ruminating on these ideas to make sure I can flesh them out with full beginnings, middles, and ends, but I feel pretty good about them.

So tell me, how was your writing week?  Anything new or exciting?  Any progress on projects?  Anything you want to share?

Writing Progress: Week Ending February 2, 2013

Yes.  The fact that this is the first Writing Progress post of the New Year means roughly what you might think it means:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 0 words

Story of V:

  • Wordcount: 436 words

Grand Total: 436 words

I haven’t updated you on my writing progress since mid-December, and since that time until this week I’d written exactly… nothing.

The long and short of it?  This means that until the very end of January, I hadn’t written a word since November of last year… I just went through a two-month long writing slump.  If you’re a writer, you can probably imagine how anxious I was feeling after two months without a word of new fiction written.

What happened?  The early part of December went down thanks to any number of little things here and there.  The latter half, on the other hand, was dominated by the Holidays (about which I’ve already spoken here).  After the Holidays came and passed, I might’ve expected that I’d be able to get back on the writing horse.  But… other things took precedence throughout the entire month of January.  The Casa Chez Watkins has been very busy, and there have been a lot of necessary things that have come up that needed to be taken care of.

Only toward the end of January did that flurry of activity begin to abate somewhat.

But, I expect in the next few months will bring a lot of busy times as well.  Hopefully not so much that I’ll go through an extended dry-spell like that again… but I expect that more often than not in the next several weeks I’ll fail to meet my new weekly writing goal for 2013.  I’m hoping, again, that things will settle down more and I’ll be able to meet or exceed that goal for most of the remainder of the year.

Well, that’s all the new I have that’s fit to print.  Tell me, then… how was your past week in writing – or your past month for that matter?

Writing Progress: Week Ending December 15, 2012

No defense is the best offense? Or other somesuch words of unwisdom:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 0 words

Story of V:

  • Wordcount: 0 words

Grand Total: 0 words

As is also often the case, there’s not really a story or explanation for why I wasn’t able to write this week (or in other words… I have no defense; thus the lame joke with which the post began).

Lots of little things going on, none of which makes for much of a compelling story on its own but which, when taken in aggregate, meant that I had no real free time for writing last week.  The largest of the little things that added up was probably Holiday Preparations.

And I expect more such Holiday Preparations to consume the majority of my time this week as well, such that I won’t get much or any writing done before the actual Holidays themselves arrive.    But by then we’ll have out-of-town guests (thus the frantic nature of our preparations) so I don’t expect much writing time then, either.

Basically, I’m looking at the remainder of 2012 and I’m thinking that there won’t be much new wordcount coming out of me before the clock strikes Midnight and 2013 rises to begin its shift.

So, I’m getting close to the point where it’s time to post mortem 2012 and then to lay out goals for 2013.  Inasmuch as I am able to find blogging time in the next few weeks, you can expect both of those from me.

But enough about me.  Let’s talk about you.  How do you plan to spend what little remains of the year that was 2012?  Are there any Holiday festivities which you have already enjoyed or look forward to enjoying in the coming week?  Do you find the Holiday season impacts your writing productivity, and if so how?

Writing Progress: Week Ending December 8, 2012

I’ll save the pithy commentary for the body of this week’s update:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 0 words

Story of V:

  • Wordcount: 0 words

Grand Total: 0 words

As is often the case, there’s a story behind my not having done any writing last week.

This time, it’s because I was playing at being a Single Parent.  Dear Wife had a work trip for which she was gone for a few days, during which time I was B.T.’s sole care-taker. 

You could say, then, that I have a newfound respect for the trials and travails of actual single parents, and my pre-existing respect for Dear Wife and all that she does in our home for our family has deepened. 

At the end of the first day as a Single Dad I was tired.  Too tired to write, but with just enough energy to find less mentally-taxing ways of entertaining myself.  So I played a little Zelda, which I haven’t done in quite some time.  By the end of the second day, I was exhausted.  After I finished all the regular chores that need to be done each evening – dishes, preparing lunches for the next day, and so on – I was too tired even to try my hand at a video game.  I retired to bed at my earliest opportunity.

I went through third day in full Night-of-the-Living-Dead mode: mostly a mindless, shambling zombie-like entity that survived mostly by acting out of rote memory.  By the afternoon of the third day I was so close to the cusp of shutting down completely that I actually resorted to “self-medicating” by going to the office vending-machine and purchasing a caffeine-laced soda.  (I don’t drink coffee, so an afternoon cup o’ joe was not a real option.)

Thankfully Dear Wife returned toward the end of the third day, so I was able to get to bed somewhat early-ish.  But it took several days for me to recouperate fully.

This week is looking likely to be busy in other ways.  At least Dear Wife doesn’t have any more work trips planned for the immediate future.  Hopefully I’ll be able to find time to wrap up “The Story of V” and get to “The End”.

How about you all?  How was your week?

Writing Progress: Week Ending December 1, 2012

It was actually a pretty good week for me, again (all things considered):

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 0 words

Story of V:

  • Wordcount: 1,437 words

Grand Total: 1,437 words

I’m pretty happy with that amount of progress.  At this point, with a total of about 3,900 words, the “Story of V” is pretty close to being finished.  I expect I’ll “The End” within another 500 – 1,250 words, give or take.  The end of this short story really is in sight.

What I think is particularly remarkable about the progress I made last week is that I was able to do that while also being pretty decently productive on the old Home Project front.  The last couple weeks have been some of the most productive Home Project weeks for Dear Wife and I that we’ve had in a while.  (Our list of things to do in the Home Project before we can call this done, for now, is still pretty long, but we’re making good progress on it.)   So I’m pretty proud of finding a good balance between writing and other stuff that needs to be done, even if just for a single week.  I don’t expect this next week to be similarly well-balanced.

Now, as you can see, my focus on the short story has come at the cost of forward momentum on “Book of M”.  That’s unfortunate, of course, but that’s how it goes.  In the meantime, I’ve felt really good about the progress I’ve made on “Story of V”.  And I think that bit of time away has reinvigorated my creative faculties, as I have a renewed interest and desire to push ahead with “Book of M”, as well as a new desire and new ideas to go back and fix the parts I’ve already written.

I’m weighing that right now: is it better to forge ahead knowing there are problems with what you’ve written, or update what you’ve written? What if the planned changes to what you’ve already written will alter the course, even if only modestly, in the direction the story will take?  I realize these are questions more relevant to “planners” and “architects” than to other kind of writers, but I’m curious how others of you handle this.

So, today, besides asking about your own projects and what’s up in your life right now, I thought I leave you with those questions.  Do you revise in mid-draft?  Do you hold off on making changes, but write going forward as if you had?  Or do you stick to your plan (if you have one) or stay on course with what you’ve already written, and pick up the pieces later?

Writing Progress: Week Ending November 24, 2012

It was Thanksgiving last week, and between travel and holiday festivities, I didn’t write too terribly much, but still:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 0 words

Story of V:

  • Wordcount: 506 words

Grand Total: 506 words

This brings me to a total of almost 2 and a half thousand words on “Story of V” (the code-name for the currently untitled Short Story project), at what feels like something close to or just shy of the midway point.  Which means that I’m roughly on target for my goals for the total length of this project: in the 4,000 – 6,000 word range.

So that’s encouraging.

It’s slow going, but hopefully soon I’ll have a first draft of this story done.  And maybe then… maybe then I can find alpha and beta readers.  I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Other than that, there isn’t much to talk about in my writing world.  So why don’t you tell me about yours, instead?

Writing Progress: Week Ending November 17, 2012

Another week that was surprisingly good on the wordcount front, all things considered:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 1,180 words

Story of V:

  • Wordcount: 200 words

Grand Total: 1,380 words

I did at last hear back about my standing on the Super Secret Project.  And it was not unsurprising.  Which is why you no longer see that listed among my active projects this week.

Someday, I may revisit my plan for the Super Secret Project, and actually write the thing, even without a market for it.  For now, however, it will not be appearing in the anticipated essay anthology.

Of course, I had been excited about the prospect of writing this, and I’m disappointed by the result.  On the other hand, however, I’m relieved to know for certain, and to have the freedom to arrange my writing time (limited as it is) around other projects (namely the short story I started in the prior week, code-named “Story of V” for lack of a real title, and of course “Book of M”).

Speaking of “Book of M”, this week went fairly well.  It was the largest single-week wordcount I’ve made on “Book of M” in over two months.  And it felt good to get some of that writing down.  I managed to overcome another difficult transition element in the story.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again: managing transitions is probably the single biggest difficulty I’ve faced in writing this.  I mentioned last week the excruciating frustration of writing only very little bits at a time, all herky-jerky like.  Transitions are one of the biggest reasons I find this painful.  It’s hard to manage your transitions when you’re putting down so few words at a time.  It’s hard to even know where the transitions are.

So it is that I strongly suspect, when this thing is finished and looking for Beta readers… that it’ll be in a terrible and almost unreadable state.

I also worked a bit on the short story this week, but didn’t do much with it.  I had to spend a good bit of time thinking abou the story and what I wanted to accomplish with it and how I was going to get there.  So I didn’t have much forward progress.  I’m feeling my way toward the story I want to tell.

And that’s writing, for last week.  I expect this week will be somewhat more muted in my writing progress, for reasons that may be obvious. (Or they may not.)  We shall see how it goes.

Now then.  Tell me: how was your week?