Word Count Zero

Word count, yesterday: zero.

Word count this week: trivial.

I’ve done lots of other stuff–yoga and lots of cooking and some errand running, meal planning, reading–I read TWO books yesterday–redesigning web sites and reformatting books, but I just cannot seem to get into the word flowing stage. I don’t even know why.

But it’s a beautiful September day, and on a day much like this thirteen years ago, thousands of people died and the world spun into a different place. And so I’m not going to beat myself up. I’m going to appreciate my life and my time & I’m going to swim & play with my dogs. I will write, too, but I’m not going to lose the beauty of the day staring at an open document on my computer screen.

Last year I asked R what he remembered from 9/11 and he remembered nothing. It pleased me, because I tried very hard to shelter him from it at the time. But it is still strange to think that there are teenagers alive now who weren’t even born when the towers fell.



I spent all of yesterday–literally, the entire day, working until past 8PM–trying out new formatting on my books. In the past, I’ve tried to stick with super-simple, super-clean formatting. Nothing special, nothing complicated, just the words, with a working table of contents and the most basic of styles attached to chapter headings. I knew enough about html formatting and device compatibility to realize that trying to force design onto an ebook was likely to be more frustration than it was worth.

Yesterday, I fell into that frustration trap. I’m not sure whether it was worth it or not. I guess I’ll see. But I spent hours trying to embed fonts and that part is definitely a no-go. Anyway, my efforts were mostly because Amazon has been producing such pretty ebooks lately. It made me think it was time to try. I definitely managed to level up my skills–my CSS book stylesheet is quite lovely now and if I could embed fonts, the way I did some decorative elements would rock. And although I didn’t succeed in what I was trying to do, I do have nicer formatting on at least two books now, so that’s something.

Today I was determined to write and I definitely got some done. Not 1000 words, though. Maybe 400? I’m trying very hard to get into the rhythm, but I’m still at the drifting off to research interesting ideas stage & very definitely the “but I don’t know what happens next” stage. I’ve got some big ideas for this book, but they’re not translating into how I move the characters from the place they’re at to the next place, though. At any rate, I reminded myself tonight (it’s currently 10:26 and I should be going to sleep) that last year, working out my issues on this blog got me moving again–the write push, ha. So I’m going to be trying that again. And these words make another few hundred to add to my daily quota.

Tomorrow: Fen will take some sort of proactive action. Enough wheel spinning. It’s time to go places!

Not a word

It’s been an off weekend. Although useful in ways like organizing the tea cupboard. (Why, yes, I do have an entire cupboard devoted to tea. Doesn’t everyone?) Also grocery shopping and hanging out with dogs and cooking crazy food, and yes, yuca root does actually make a pretty good pasta-style dough. I’m going to try it with some type of Chinese dumplings next time–maybe shrimp and spring onion?

Ahem, but none of that was why I’m here. This blog post by Patricia Wrede, Recruiting Extras, is so darn useful for writers that if you’re reading this (and you’re a writer, but then probably you are, else why would you be here?), you should go read that immediately, instead. It is packed with good ideas about writing crowd scenes–such good ideas that I want to write a crowd scene just to use them! Oh, wait–I am writing a crowd scene. Well, ha, perhaps my banquet just got a lot more interesting. Someday I will finish this banquet scene, I’m sure of it.

I’m equally sure that today will not be the day.

Goal for today: a healthy dinner, happy dogs, some Doctor Who, and a big win on Covet.

Goal for tomorrow: to stop acting like my life is a weekend. And write 1000 words!


300+ words this morning and then I got stuck. A cute little plot device suddenly had a gaping hole in it, a solution that would be immediately obvious to all involved. Ouch. I hate that.

I wound up shutting down the computer and spending a couple hours napping amidst my flock of dogs, and doing house things. (Side note: I can’t believe I ever thought the bed was crowded with two dogs. Organizing them all so that there’s room for me to take a nap is on an entirely different plane of crowded.) I think I resolved it and it was definitely good story plotting time. I had an… event… planned for later in the book that I hadn’t quite decided how to work and I got a nice solid idea for how to make it happen gracefully.

Now I’m off to do a little more research–I need to invent some terminology, but my translation program would translate it into something that Fen could understand, so I need to figure out what that would be. But I plan on getting back to that document and getting at least a few more words written before I shut down again.


Time flies

12:15 already. I’m hungry and I haven’t written a word. I haven’t even opened up the file! Time zooms by sometimes. But I’m not beating myself up, because a) the day has plenty of hours left in it, and b) I’m through all my email, a phone call that I’ve been dreading, all the dogs are walked and fed and behaving, and I did a grocery store run. So yeah, it’s not as if I’ve been lounging in bed all morning.

Yesterday the writing didn’t go well. Probably more to the point, it didn’t happen. I wound up backing up and re-reading a bunch of ALM, trying to get back into my sense of the world and remember specific details. I did a ton of entertaining research on some useful and not-so-useful things. And my one fun edit of the day was that I changed a line where Cyntha threatened bread & water as a punishment to sea slug paste & water. I probably spent an hour making that change, but hey, it’s world-building and it amused me.

Today, I’m definitely going to get more done. In my spare moments, the characters are starting to chat in my head again. I wish I’d caught a conversation that they had yesterday while I was swimming–I can’t even remember what it was now. But it was fun while I was imagining it and I’m looking forward to having fun again.

Today’s goal: 500+ words. I’m going to work my way back up to 1000 a day. Today I’m still in the dreaming stage.

On Hold

Breakfast this morning: citrus-glazed bison meatballs, with a salad of mixed greens, avocado, and a dressing of lemon balsamic vinegar and lime juice.

Yeah, I know this isn’t my food blog. But I don’t feel like posting the whole recipe, so my blogs are blending together for the moment.

I wrote 1000 words by midnight last night, but they wound up being words where I was thinking out what I wanted to do. Some of them related to the story, some of them didn’t, and by the time I finally finished, I had concluded that I’m putting Ghosts of Belize back on hold. I think this story has a lot of potential. Some of the parts that I’ve written are really fun. But the pieces aren’t fitting together into a whole. Despite all of the many days that I’ve spent on this story, it’s not working. One approach would be to keep pushing through with it, keep trying–I’ve spent over a year coming back to it and then leaving it again. I started it literally last spring, I think. (And not the kind of literally where you really mean not literally at all.) But I think I’m going to try to let it percolate some more instead. When I finish my next project, I’ll come back to Belize and try again. Ironically, I have a really pretty cover ready for it. Once I write it, it’ll be practically good to go. But I’m tired of beating my head against the wall that is that story.

So today’s plan–pick up A Precarious Balance where I left off a couple of months ago and get moving on it. First, though, I have to take the dogs to the vet and discover that at least one has an expensive ear infection. Better one than two, I tell myself, so fingers crossed that it’s not both of them.

Edited to add: Three out of four ears infected. Ugh. That’s still better than four out of four, right? Sometimes thinking positive is harder than other times.

Setting a goal

1:23 and I haven’t written a real word yet. Not off to a good September start! But I’m setting a goal right now and making it official: 1000 words before I go to bed tonight, with at least three writing sprints of either 20/10s or 45/15s. (The latter being better, of course, but I’m not going to ask for miracles from myself.)

And just because beating myself up is not a good mental health strategy, I’m going to remind myself that I invested some hours in learning more about ebook formatting this morning, swam and played with the dogs, ate two super-healthy meals, and started a load of laundry. I am being productive and now I’m going to go off and be more productive. 1000 words. I will do it.