Category Archives: Progress Report
Happy New Year!
I mostly took December off from writing. It was an important holiday season to get right for me (lots of firsts, both good and hard, this year), so I feel no guilt over it. EXCEPT for the fact that if I had written a little bit here and there, 2018 would have been my most productive year ever. ARGH!
Words written: 200,796 (honestly, I’m sure it’s more than that and I simply forgot to log everything, but…c’est la vie)
Best words written previously: 202,620 (2015)
Books completed: 2
Books published: 0
Number of countries where my books have sold: 4 (US, Canada, UK, Germany)
Income from books: $20.15
Amount spent on publishing-related things: $950
Career re-evaluations: 7
Massive life changes weathered: 2
Major health concerns battled: 3
Trips to the ER: 2
Trips to Disneyland: 1
Family drama survived: Number does not compute
New books planned: 12
Despite my lack of income, this has been an enormously good year. I made changes that needed making, finally set my feet on a path (how uncomfortable and weird that feels after so many years in the air!), came to some decisions, rediscovered my resolve, and seriously leveled up my resiliency, self-care, time management, consistency, emotional stability, and on and on.
Onward to 2019!
May it be glorious, messy, joyful, human, and delightfully eccentric. ❤
What are your life stats for the year?
Such an original title. 😛
One of these days, I’m going to start crafting actual, useful, “professional” blog posts. But I’m moving in two weeks and now just doesn’t seem like the right time. ^_^ So instead, a quick update!
For those waiting on Reluctant Godmother #2 (A Wand a Day – come squee with me over the cover if you haven’t seen it yet…or even if you have!):
I am slowly but surely adding more words. It is by far the messiest book I’ve ever written, and I anticipate a lot of work even after I finish the rough draft (nooooo!). All of the key factors are in place, I pretty much just have to get the words on the page. Now that I know what I’m doing with my life (see the moving statement above), those words should get there faster. I just went through my calendar and I’m hoping (if all goes as planned, which of course it never does) to release it sometime mid-summer. Then I’ve got a special present for fans planned shortly thereafter, and I’m hoping to have the third book out this fall. (But seriously, no promises – my life is like a balloon somebody forgot to tie off right now.)
For those waiting for word on 13 Colonies:
Uh…yeah. I unpublished One For All because I need to update it and redo the cover (as well as some personal reasons). But I promised my cousin (who was very sick last year) that I’d continue it when he got better, so somewhere in my timeline I’m going to fit in a novella or two. I mean, I have one that’s a third done and one that’s fully plotted, so what the heck, right? (C’mon, Girly, get it together!)
And lastly, for those waiting on any kind of whisper about The Eternals:
Yeah, I got nothin’ for ya right now. I do intend to finish the serial. Like 13 Colonies, the majority of it is plotted and ready to be written, I just have to find the time. This one’s unfortunately at the bottom of my to-write list, though. Sorry. 😦
I’m intending to be a better blogger, too, so keep an eye out for fun stuff here in the mean time!
This summer has been a pain, both literally and figuratively. After spending the first three-ish weeks in June sick, I sprained my right ankle. Just as I recovered from that, I sprained my left ankle. Clearly, my body is trying to tell me something. 😛
In contrast, I spent the first week of July (in between sprains) writing a tv pilot. I doubt it will ever, ever, ever get produced, but someday I may turn it into a book series. In fact, that was my original intention – books first, show later. It just randomly happened that I needed exactly that sort of script (military sci-fi) to apply to my dream day job. So I churned it out in a week.
I haven’t had that much fun writing in…goodness, I don’t even remember! Scripts are so very different from prose. Harder in a lot of ways, simpler in others. Extra hard on the ego, if one is used to writing prose. (I would spend 8 hours a day on it and net a total of about 2000 words. Oh, the agony!) But I discovered that casting my characters made them instantly more alive when they landed on the page. This has been true in the past, too – in my first completed manuscript, I based the villain on Jason Isaac’s portrayal of Lucius Malfoy. I loved writing the character and never lost touch with his appearance or his voice. The voice, really, is what makes it easy. And in a script, the characters ONLY talk. If they’re not saying it or showing it, it doesn’t get written. That was the beautifully challenging part. It made me pick up scenes and flip them around in my head to figure out how best to convey important information.
Fun, fun, fun!
That fun – and the habit of writing almost every night until 4am – brought energy back to my creative brain. It REALLY needed a boost! This was an awesome way to get it. 😀
I think I’ve finally decided on a direction. I’m not going to tell you what that direction is quite yet, but it feels good to have my head on straight. Backwards was really giving my neck a crick. 😉
Look for updates soon, and follow me on Twitter for more in-the-moment tidbits.
I just looked at the calendar and discovered it’s been almost 5 months. 5 MONTHS since I last published an installment of The Celluloid Files.
You have my deepest apologies, dear readers.
My original goal was to write enough and publish it weekly so that we could have a whole story before us by the middle of July. Obviously, that’s not going to happen.
I’ve been struggling with a pretty phenomenal case of writer’s block. This particular block involves a lot of stress and worry over finances (the sort that ends with crossing all major body parts under the covers at night and whispering into the darkness, “Please let us be able to pay rent this month,” over and over again). Part of this comes with the territory, of course – we chose, early in our marriage, to follow my writing dream instead of financial security (how I feel about that choice now, nearly a decade later, is a post of its own). We’ve never expected to have a surplus of greenbacks rolling around in even the smallest of backyard money bins. We’ve made sacrifices we didn’t think about having to make, and survived…and we’re okay with that. But there eventually comes a point where we sit back, take a look at our bigger picture, and, well, totally freak out.
From a writer’s perspective, that means I’m forced to take a hard look at my projects, my goals, my intentions, and my trajectory. What was supposed to be three novellas released a year ago was actually one novella published six months ago. By now, I aimed to have a successful Kickstarter under my belt and be two weeks away from the release of my first novel. Instead, I discovered the book – nay, the entire series concept – needed a return to the drawing board. My writing time slowly eroded beneath the sharp winds of job hunting and other serious life concerns.
So where does that leave Celluloid Files?
I’m sad to say that as much as I love the idea, it’s not close to the top of my priority list. It’s fun, absolutely. I love sharing it. I want to be able to share more. But right now, there isn’t any more. I have to write it, which takes brainstorming, plotting, and, well, a lot of time. Because of our financial situation, I need to use that time on something that has earning potential…even just a smidgen. Since I’m committed to never charging for Celluloid Files, I can’t logistically support its creation (short of taking donations, which is…possible, I suppose, but feels…weird).
It’s not off the table completely – in fact, it’s hanging out with the salt and pepper and sugar packets as a staple of possibilities. But it is on hold until I get a paying story finished.
Sorry, guys. 😦
I’ve been promising updates, exciting information, and reasons to check back…and none of it’s happened. Many humble, tummy-to-floor prostrations for my silence! Life got stressful, as it’s wont to do. We had to decide if it was worth it to move (it’s not) and then figure out how we’re going to pay for our rather ridiculously expensive apartment. Which means I’ve been searching for a day job. I found one that is *perfect* for me, so fingers crossed and happy thoughts for me that I get an interview. Because otherwise, I’m about two breaths away from applying at Chick-fil-a. (Not to knock them; they are a FINE, TASTY emporium of savory chicken…we eat there way too often. But I’d really like to make more than minimum wage…ah, to dream!)
The awesome thing about not moving means that we’ve turned our now-vacant third bedroom into an office for me to write in. It’s doing double-awesome duty because I now have room to work AND my son has room to play Hundred Lego Pick-Up at the same time. Except I’ve discovered my office chair is absolutely HORRID, and largely responsible for A) my shoulder issues and B) my neck problems (and possibly C) my lower extremity circulation troubles). I’d love an ergonomic chair (heck, so long as I’m dreaming, what I REALLY want is one of these spectacular Zero Gravity Workstations…), but they’re pricey. I should probably get a new desk, too. As it is, I’m making do with my old, crumbling desk, my cheap new monitor raised on a pair of old bed blocks, and my exercise ball. I just read that sitting on a ball for too long can put undo strain on your lower back (more than simply sitting in a chair, even), but I guess we’ll deal with that when we come to it. Right now, the only problem I’m worried about is how to type comfortably and remain in the same place. Typing comfortably means holding the keyboard on my lap, but then I come close to dropping the keyboard all the time and falling off the ball. Remaining stationary means leaving the keyboard on the tray but makes my back and shoulder ache before too long. Ah, the woes of a modern writer!
I’ve still got some big news coming, but I decided to hold off until I knew more about it and was ready to do a full reveal. Or at least close to. The change of venue plus futzing with my setup plus all the stress of finding a job means I’m having a killer case of writer’s block. It doesn’t matter what I try to work on – and I’ve tried lots of options. I can’t get ANYWHERE with ANY of it. Practical, day-side me says I should stop worrying about it and focus on getting a job, paying the bills, figuring out daycare, blah blah blah. Creative-side me says, “Don’t you dare! You can’t just publish a book and give up!” Unfortunately, they’re both right. I have yet to determine how to reconcile this conundrum.
Rest assured I’m TRYING. I really am doing my best. I’ve sworn off Facebook and computer games for all of June in the hopes it helps me concentrate. I’ve resolved to blog at least once a week. And I’m going to try REALLY HARD to balance my fitness needs with my writing needs (there’s never enough brain power in the day, it seems). Come hell or high water (or extreme heat, as is looking might be the case right now), I will have a story to talk about come July!
Here’s a jumble of possibilities, just to give you a glimpse at my plate:
The Shot Heard ‘Round the Planet: A tale of Colony 1 (13 Colonies, sci-fi) – I’ve been working (and subsequently stuck) on this for what feels like FOREVER.
Secret, Unnamed Project (Paranormal YA/NA) – This is the one I started a month or two ago to give me some fun outlet while stuck on Shot. Except I’m now stuck on this one, too.
Gryphon’s Overture Rewrite (Steampunk Romantic Fantasy) – This is my Kickstarter project…the one I realized needed a complete rewrite from beginning to end before I can ever consider running the Kickstarter. (That was a very sad day.)
Unnamed Traditional Project (Urban Fantasy) – I started this one two years ago, and I LOVE it. But it also doesn’t contribute to my indie career, soooo… (Plus, my long-time friend, Kathryn St. John-Shin, is working on a Greek-mythology-based traditional novel right now, and I don’t want to cross wires. It kills me that she won’t let me read it. Argh! But I suppose that’s best…for now…at least until I come up with some mastermind scheme to snatch it from her clutches…) I still get caught up in the protag’s succubus call from time to time, though.
And of course, there’s Celluloid Files. I should really do a post regarding its status, shouldn’t I? Slacker, Girly, slacker!
So that’s where I stand right now. A little dazed, a lot confused, and just plain stuck. But looking forward to (hopefully) getting a lot done in the bright, sunshiney months ahead!
If you have any questions, please do leave a comment and ask them – I’m gonna need content for future posts. 🙂
Remember that Twitter challenge from my last post? I forgot about the Twitter part. Ha…
To be fair, I’ve been posting to Twitter almost every day I write. That hasn’t been every day, but it’s been a lot more than I was worried it would be!
As of today, my new story contains about 23,000 words. Woohoo! Not as many as I hoped, but who cares?? It’s 23,000 new words!
(Personal aside: This is me, on a challenge. Some people set rigid goals; I only look like I do. I told myself I wanted a whole novel done, but will I say, “Gosh, what an awful writer I am – I only wrote half a novel in six weeks!” ? Of course not. My goals are simply motivational tools so I shoot high and land higher than I would have without them. In fact, I purposely set goals I know are pretty much impossible. Maybe it’s the “gifted slacker” mentality I grew up with. Whatever it is, I’m not actually a goal-oriented person. I don’t need to beat records or show up other people or their expectations. It’s nice to engage in word sprints with other people and be named the winner, but…enh. I’m in it more for the camaraderie. I get my warm fuzzies from the journey, not the destination. So just remember that: I will never “win” a challenge I set for myself, but I only “lose” if I forget about it or give up. I find this is much more motivational for me than things like NaNoWriMo, which emphasize the finish line. That’s just me and the way I work; YMMV.)
It occurred to me as I sat down for today’s session that 23k is almost a novella. In fact, that’s about how much I have left to write on the next 13 Colonies story. And how cool would it be if I released “The Shot Heard ‘Round the Planet” on the same day as the actual shot heard ’round the world was fired? Pretty darn, at least for the history buff I am. 🙂
Granted, it’d be close. I’d have to upload it April 17th or 18th to ensure it went on sale the right day. I have exactly 6 weeks to finish the sandpaper draft, revise to rough, edit to beta, wait for beta response, edit to gamma, polish, format, and upload. As well as contract art to be finished in 2-3 weeks. That’s a pretty darn tight time frame.
But then, wasn’t that the whole point of the novella series to begin with, at least in part? To be able to release something new within my zany home schedule that won’t take an eon to create?
I say, let’s do this thing!
Now I just need to find my notes, import into Scrivener, and get a better handle on the plot so I can figure out what was wrong with the last scene that made me stop writing it. (I think it had something to do with the central character of the scene being a Person of Color and my getting bogged down in what message I wanted to convey with him. But that’s just a guess.)
Wish me luck!
I’ve been remiss in updating. I wanted to post Monday and completely spaced it. Why? Because I’ve been working!
I haven’t added any new words to the work-in-progress. This bums me out. On the other hand, I have spent literally days on Kickstarter plans! And despite my lack of updates, I have, in fact, made good on my BEGGAR challenge. Most days, I’ve been planning and plotting and marketing and researching. I’ve gotten in 30 minutes every day since we started. So even though I was really wanting those 30 minutes to be actual writing, I’m perfectly happy with 30 minutes spent on my writing career. 🙂
That’s my progress; how’s yours?
And just in case you need the extra fun, here’s a challenge!
This week (near-week, as I’ll check in on Monday), compile a list of story ideas. We’ll make it 8 ideas for the shorter week. They don’t have to be complex ideas, just seeds from which you might grow a story later. I often find that what I think are new story ideas are actually ideas that can be worked into my current story in a fun, unexpected way. And if not, at least it gets the creativity flowing!
My example for today: A little girl discovers a fairy hiding in her Christmas tree.
‘Tis the season!
See you Monday!