Daily Writing Habit

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Another thing that I read a lot about when it comes to being a successful writer is developing a daily writing habit. This is nothing new. I’ve heard it and read it dozens of times. The most prolific and successful writers write every day. So, I’m trying to do the same. I recently got an iPad and a bluetooth keyboard so I can be a bit more mobile and I leave my laptop up all the time so if I can find 30 minutes, I’ll sit down and start writing. With writing sprints being a real thing now, 30 minutes is actually enough time to get something done in.

I wrote using my phone while we were in line at 6 Flags. I wrote on a trip to the Dodger game. I even woke up early and wrote on Easter. I’m getting there.

I did take yesterday off however. I didn’t really mean to. I was taking a little bit of a break in the morning because I was super tired and a bit worn out but by evening I was just kind of run down and couldn’t motivate myself to get any writing done. Plus, we started watching Santa Clarita Diet, which is a fantastic show and I highly recommend it.

My dog woke me up at 5:30 this morning to go outside and even though I laid back down my mind was already running with what I was going to write today so I got up, made coffee and started working. I’ve already edited 10,000 words and I’ve get plenty more in me. Happy Saturday everyone!

Word Counts

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After reading, 5000 Words Per Hour (The Book), I added a couple of things to my writing strategy. First of all was making writing a daily habit. Done. I did miss the second day, boo…. but I even wrote on a day we were at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and even wrote on Easter. Crushing it!

I am also interested in rewarding myself with short term and long term rewards to motivate me to continue but also to wire my brain with little dopamine burst to keep me going. I haven’t really thought of the reward that I can feasibly do every day but I’ll think of something.

Of all the tips though, I feel the one that had been the best for me, it documenting how many words I write, how quickly I write them and also how many I edit. The author, Chris Fox, discusses how he built his word efficiency through word sprints in which he tries to write as many words as possible in a short amount of time. I began with 10 minutes then up to 20 after a week and yesterday did a sprint of 30  minutes. All throughout I have maintained 3000-3500 word pace. That means that yesterday during my 30 minute sprint I knocked out more than 1500 words. Pretty freaking good. A couple of sprints like that a day means I would complete more than 3000 a day. If (and yes, it’s a big if) I could maintain that for a month then I have an entire manuscript written in a month. Crushing it!

To keep myself accountable, here are my numbers through the first two weeks:

Week 1: Total words written 9,000. Best daily: 3000

Week 2: Total words written 13,690. Best daily 3,000.  Total Words Edited 27,500. Best Daily 10,000

 

Here’s to many more! Cheers!

Thoughts on Indie Life

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I once heard that that worst thing about being unemployed is that you’re on the job as soon as you wake up. First of all that’s hilarious and depressing at the same time. Secondly, the same this is true of an indie writer. If you’re a writer, you are at work all the time. Hence my focus on improving my productivity. My lap top is set up in the living room and whenever we watch TV or whenever there is nothing going on, I lift it up and do some writing or editing. This spring break I’ve been very productive and I look forward to having something to show for it by Monday morning when I have to go back to work. I should probably grade the tests from my World History students as well before then.

So, it’s 8:30 and I’ve already edited a few thousand words, written another thousand and read a couple chapters from Write. Publish. Repeat. because the better I can get at this the more success I’ll have. It’s simple. Here’s to another productive day! Cheers! (with my coffee)

Crushing it!

Had my most productive day so far. Been working on word sprints and keeping a solid pace. Stretching my time out to ten minutes already and knocking out more than 600 words in those sprints. I managed 3000 words written today and 10,000 edited. I’m excited to be so productive and looking forward to finishing projects and getting into a good pattern. Until then, happy Easter everyone! Or Passover! Cheers!

Focus

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I took a couple of days off and did a little vacationing with my wife. It was a great chance to reflect, think and plan where to go with regards to writing.

One of the problems I have is that too many projects going on at once and so all of them are progressing but none of them as quickly as they could. So I need to prioritize.

Since the goal is 3 books this year, I need to focus on editing Sureshot the Assassin which is already written and get it published in the next month or two. At that point I need to probably finish Sureshot 3 (the King) and look to get it published by December.

That means Goblins need to wait. It makes me a little sad only because I’ve been having such a good time writing it but focus is more important. I also decided to stop posting those chapters here because they’re first drafts and the story really needs more editing before they can be enjoyed fully.

So I will probably post a lot of Sureshot excerpts here as I work through editing Sureshot Rises and get it published ASAP. Let’s go!

 

I Hate Editing

I’m supposed to be editing my final draft. I hate it. I would rather blog about how I hate editing than edit. So, here I am.

It’s good though. I’ve come a long way. I literally used to argue with my teachers, who only wanted to make me a better writer, that I didn’t need to edit. Then I’d get my papers back with tons of red ink on them. Seems I should have edited and drafted. Lesson learned. In my 20s I was still reluctant to draft and edit. I was so excited when I finished a story that I didn’t care about drafting. I just wanted people to read it. Now I’m older. Slower. Closer to life’s end. So I’m editing and drafting more.

For my final edit, as I mentioned before, I’m reading the entire draft out loud. It is super effective actually. Reading aloud lets me hear how it sounds. Duh, right? But it’s great! When I read silently my mind skips over all sorts of mistakes to make sense of the passage (it’s a legit brain thing, our minds want to make sense of stuff) and besides, I wrote it, I know what I meant. But that isn’t good enough.

I figured an editor would be able to iron out any errors in my writing, but again as I shared before, that didn’t really work out either. So, after much research, I concluded that it is best to be a good self-editor besides working on the writing. So here I am, reading my own story to myself.

I highly recommend it though. I edited plenty of lines that I would not have noticed otherwise. If your story sounds good read out-loud, then it sounds good.

Try it!

Alcohol in Writing

More than ten years ago when The Sureshot was first published there was one main issue the editors had with my story; alcohol. They didn’t catch a hundred spelling and grammar errors, they weren’t interested in improving the story arch, nor character depth nor conflict resolutions. Nope. The biggest issue the chief editor had was that my characters drank alcohol.

I had not even thought about it when I wrote the story. The setting reflected medieval Europe and so when I wrote it I had characters drinking mead or ale. I didn’t do it to promote drinking. In fact, I didn’t even know why I wrote it like that except that in any story I ever heard of about medieval Europe, including most of the Disney stories, they drank alcoholic beverages. I didn’t know why, that’s just what they did. The editor said to take it out (they were Bible belt protestants) so I wrote generic “drink” in place of things like mead or ale.

I always thought the edit was stupid and continue to believe that. I did research on why people drank alcohol and mostly it was because of the lack of clean water, lack of refrigeration and besides, it can get your drunk!

It turns out that even today, many microbes live in water. Bacteria cause millions to get sick and many of those to die every year in the 21st century. In the days before bottled and purified water, only boiled water was safe and who wanted to boil water every time you were thirsty? No one. Alcohol is fermented to the point where the yeast, as well as any bacteria, die. I even saw a video where some people used water from a duck pond to make beer. They measured the level and types of bacteria in the water before the fermentation process and it was essentially deadly. After they made the water to make beer there was zero bacteria in it. So it is simple, beer is much safer to drink.

Needless to say, I wrote alcohol back into the story so cheers!