Halloween!

I feel as if I should write something spooky, but eh, I’m not feeling it.

Yesterday no words got written. But I did reformat A Gift of Time, proofed it again (seance was the trick word that the formatting screwed up) and posted it to most of the sites. I also resolved my kitchen remodel dilemma, more or less, and went out to dinner with my dad. It was a really nice day. It should have included some writing but I’m going to make up for that tomorrow, the beginning of NaNoWriMo!

Today I’m going to finish updating sites. Tomely doesn’t have all the new covers, I need to upload the new files for Time, and I need to update my web sites. I’m also going to outline my NaNo project in yWriter, including as much character information as I can, so that I don’t waste time looking up names from previous books. Some names I remember–Maggie is unforgettable. But other times, I have to return to the books to remember who a character was. This time, I’m going to have all that information at my fingertips. It’s going to be fun!

If you’re trying NaNo yourself, my user name on their site is wyndes. Look me up and let’s be writing buddies!

No writing but…

Yesterday’s blog post was the only writing I managed to do yesterday. I completely and totally forgive myself.

I worked hard, without taking good breaks, and late. I managed to get both Ghosts and Thought completely updated, falling slightly in love with the process of creating an ebook in pure HTML, up until Calibre screwed with my files, and then got both books posted on (I believe) all the sites where they were originally posted. Oh, drat, I just remembered Tomely. I didn’t get there with Thought. I guess I won’t worry about that too much, since no one has ever bought a copy of a book from Tomely, but I will try to update that site later today. Oh, and my own sites–I didn’t update those either. Okay, I *almost* got done. Either way, it was a ton of work, a lot of hours spent at the computer, and I feel like it was a successful day, despite the fact that it wasn’t a word-filled day.

It was also good because I spent a lot of time proofing A Gift of Thought (because of the weird artifacts caused by some symbols) and really refreshed my memory about some of the character voices. It made me more excited to start working on A Gift of Grace, which I will be doing starting Saturday morning.

With NaNo, some people start at midnight on Halloween. I will not be doing that. But I will start first thing on Saturday and I am going to try to keep a lot of time very clear for the first week of the month. I always lose in the first week. By the end, I’m so far behind that I know I will never catch up. Not this year. I’m not going to assume that the book I write will be any good–it’ll be a fast first draft, it might need a ton of work later–but I am going to let the words pour out and have fun with them. Anytime I get stuck, my plot ninja will be to bring in one of the characters from a previous book for a scene or two. That almost feels like cheating to me, but for a character-driven author (which I very much am) having a pre-established pool of characters to play with ought to be amazing.

I am really liking my hero, too. Poor guy is tortured, but he has a sense of humor about it. Ah, but I’m not starting today!

Today, A Gift of Time gets reformatted. A person comes to look at my kitchen and give me a quote for the repairs I need in there. And my dad stops by to bring me some stuff and maybe take me out to dinner. Plus, I will wander through my house appreciating my exceedingly pretty new floors. Yesterday was a pretty noisy day and I maintained great focus. Today is going to be a quieter day, but I hope I can still keep the focus up.

As for the writing: um. Maybe finish the scene for APB that I’ve been stuck on. Maybe write another blog post and show off pictures of my pretty floor and/or my prettier book covers. Maybe… maybe these 500 words counts as writing for the day. I’ll find out by tomorrow. 🙂

18 words

Not exactly what one might call a flood, but I actually feel as if I was pretty productive with those 18 words. I think I have decided to start a new project for NaNoWriMo and I spent some time having fun plotting it. Then I managed to switch gears and think about Fen for a while. I only eked out those measly 18 words–which, I admit, I might delete today–but I also tweaked some of the words leading up to those 18 and felt generally pleased with the quality of the words on the page.

NaNo starts Saturday, so my goals for the next few days are to keep working on Fen and–more importantly–to get all of my files with their new covers posted to all of the sites that I want them to be posted on. That’s a big job and I want to finish it, not having it drag on throughout the month of November. If I can finish it by Saturday, then I go into NaNo without the lurking weight of all the things I need to take care of dragging me down. I’ve always failed NaNo grandly–within the first week, I’m thousands of words behind and wanting to spend all my time asleep, but this project would be one where I know my characters pretty well (with one exception) and a lot of the events can evolve in a very natural way. I think I might be able to really fall into it. And maybe for once the whole goal oriented nature of NaNo will work in my favor.

But still, that’s three days away. Today, I’d like to finish the scene I’ve been working on with Fen, and get Ghosts re-formatted. And now that I’ve written a blog post, maybe I’ll let myself actually get to it!

Priorities

Yesterday I was exhausted. I didn’t write a word. I didn’t even open up the file. But I did dismantle the plumbing under my sink to unclog my clogged drain which involved completely emptying the cabinet and then putting everything back into it and I did deal with some work stuff, including some that was not pleasant, and I did call CenturyLink to find out why the internet wasn’t working, so it wasn’t a collapse-in-a-heap sort of day. I could have written. I should have written. At least a couple sentences to get myself back into the spirit.

Today I am off to take my car to the shop (and have breakfast!) and when I come home, I need to move most of the small items in the house, including all the books, into my bedroom, so the flooring guys can fix all the floors tomorrow. Doesn’t that sound fun? I am so not in the mood. But I am going to try to write–not 1000 words, because that would be a ridiculous goal and I’m sick of failing the goals I set for myself, but at least a paragraph.

Tomorrow, flooring guys. I suspect the day will be disrupted and loud, but I will try to write.

Thursday, the cabinet people come. I’d like to make it to yoga, because apparently I’m not going to make it there today or tomorrow, but I think choosing yoga is probably ambitious enough that it would mean not choosing writing. Maybe I’ll play it by ear.

But I need to stop letting one disruption dictate my day. In my head, writing is my priority. In my life, other stuff keeps stealing my energy.

I still haven’t managed to reformat the books and post the new versions, so I’ve also got that as a goal. But first things first–off I go to the car place.

Today’s goal: to write something!

Admitting temporary defeat

Yesterday was a day of many distractions. My early Christmas present — a new (to me, used to my Dad’s neighbors) grill arrived. Yay! We had fun setting it up and then I had to run to CostCo and get propane, clean it up and try it out. Plus, some usual stuff, answering emails and paying bills. Plus, too many hours spent on the formatting project. I still had one long writing stretch that netted me about 250 words, but I couldn’t break through a patch where I didn’t quite know what happened.

And today–well, I might manage to break through it today, but I have a lot I want to get done and writing is not going to be my priority. In fact, for the next three days, I’m not going to worry about writing. Whatever small chain of days I had accumulated gets broken and on Monday, I’m back to zero. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing and sometimes it takes precedence. This weekend is one of those precedence ones. I’m doing a workshop, gone tomorrow from early in the morning until late at night. If I’m going to stick to my crazy diet–which I am–then today I need to cook all my meals for it, so I can bring them along. That means a big chunk of hours spent in the kitchen.

I also really want to finish the formatting of Ghosts and start the formatting of Thought. Well, I’d like to finish the formatting of Thought, but I don’t know yet how hard it’s going to be. Yesterday I had a major disaster with my formatting, wiping out all the work I had done during the day, so today I’ll be recovering from that and moving on. It might take me two hours, it might take me eight. But those are my goals for the day: cook all the meals for the weekend, format Ghosts so that I can get the version with the new cover up on all the sites, not just Amazon. Anything else is gravy.

On Monday, day zero begins and I start over. AND! I sign up for NaNoWriMo. Maybe this year can be the year that the pressure doesn’t make me shut down and I let my fingers fly.

EBook Formatting

I’m already off to a late start today, which annoys me. I spent much too much time awake at 3AM, pondering the vagaries of ebook formatting.

A while back, I got impressed with the quality of ebooks Amazon was turning out and decided it was time to move from simplicity as a deliberate design decision to something a little more creative. I worked on A Lonely Magic and spent a solid couple of days figuring out how to reformat it, how to use flourishes under my chapter titles and for my section breaks, how to start a new chapter with an indented line, how to center text so it stays centered on ibooks, etc. I finished, sent it to a couple of people to check, and declared myself satisfied. But frustrated. I’d had to give up on embedding fonts–the technology is just not there yet–so I’d wasted a lot of time. Still, done was done.

On Monday, I reformatted Ghosts the same way. I finished, after spending more hours on it than I wanted to, declared myself satisfied, and tried to upload it. Nope. Tried again. Nope. Got it working on Amazon finally, gave up on the other sites. I hadn’t intended to waste so much of the day on a project I thought I’d mastered, but it didn’t work. I figured I’d try again later when I wasn’t so tired of it.

I tried again yesterday and it turns out my file does not validate. My file very, very, very much does not validate. Hours of research later, and I still have no idea why. But the internet consensus sort of seems to be “give up and start over from a clean file.” ARGH!

Writing yesterday did include one long stretch of words, a solid block that got me over 300 of the little pests. It also included more after that, some solid thinking time, and a plan for where I’m going next, but no execution of the plan. And, unfortunately, the day also lost a lot of time to formatting. Today I expect is going to be about the same. Goal: one long writing stretch that gets me at least a few hundred words and moves Fen to the damn Great Council meeting where I’ve wanted to get her for days, maybe weeks. After that, work on the formatting until my brain hurts, and then maybe back to the writing again.

But I won’t even get it started until after 9, because it’s already after 8, and the poor dogs don’t understand where their walk and breakfast has gone. I can’t explain to them that it was lost to the useless middle of the night hours spent pondering stupid formatting issues.

Sprinting

I did not manage a single writing sprint yesterday. Not one! Nor did I get my 1000 words done. I did write about 200, in bits and pieces, a sentence here and a sentence there. I also met with the flooring people, worked on picking out a new floor, scheduled car maintenance, went grocery shopping, made meatloaf and mashed cauliflower and asparagus for dinner, did a bunch of back-and-forth on new covers, plus about a half-dozen other things that have been needing to be done, so it wasn’t a wasted day by any means. But it wasn’t a day that included a single sustained writing burst. Something else always wound up taking priority.

I’m looking ahead into today and I already know a bunch of other things are going to be interrupting me. But I also know that’s no way to create a career as a writer. Writing has to become my priority–the first job done, the most important thing on my list–not the thing that I try to squeeze in around the edges of the rest of my day. That said, I’ve got a lot of things that I want to get done today, from figuring out why my Ghosts file isn’t working the way it ought to and uploading it to the smaller sites, to measuring rooms for the flooring, to working on the formatting of A Gift of Time, to yoga… yeah, there’s a lot I’d like to get done today.

I think my goal is one sustained writing sprint, offline, of at least 45 minutes with as many words as that gets me, and ideally breaking through my indecision about the current scene that I’m in and getting into the next scene. I don’t care how many words that takes me as long as tomorrow the story has moved to the Great Council. And now I’ll think about that while I walk the dogs and get the day officially started.