Making the most of limited time

Time has been a major constraint for me in the production department. I either have too much (thanks, lame-ass long commute with standing room only, I love my Kindle) or not enough (thanks, day job. I’m not going to speak ill of the soon-to-be-departed, though.)

Flagging sales and a backlog of completed rough drafts have spurred me into action. I must act now, or lose myself in the purgatory of eternal editing and languishing in square one. It dawned on me today–I spend too much time mired in trivial day-to-day bullshit. My job’s a temp job, it should cease to exist for me the moment I walk out the door. I don’t have any kids and it’s not like I am the most social person to have ever lived. I can squeeze my days for a little more.

With that in mind, I’m setting the following goals for the rest of September:

  1. Weeknights: Edit 1 chapter. (For me, a chapter is 2000-4000 words.)
  2. Weeknights: Write a blog post, a review, or edit another chapter. Otherwise, get more involved with outside writerly-world-thing-community that apparently exists out there.
  3. Weekends: Edit 1-2 chapters.
  4. Weekends: Write 1500+ words/day. (I can do this in about 60-90 minutes.)

It’s amazingly simple. With these goals, I can finish the first edit of Bedlam by October. As well, the first draft of The Pandora Machine should be completed.

If there’s one thing taking more calculus classes than I will admit to publicly helped me, it’s the understanding that with effort, my limits go straight to infinity. Without effort, zero is the best I can hope for.

What kind of goals do you set? Word count, chapter edits, or do you choose another way to gauge success?

I Am A Sprinting Writer With No Stamina

I can crank out sweet word counts for the first hour, but then I need to fall back and recharge. I wrote 1100 words in just over an hour, but then it was like my mind melted. My total count per burst is getting higher, but I just have no stamina whatsoever! It’s the new writer’s block.

Yesterday, I made a YouTube video to talk about Zombie Bedtime Stories. Check it out.

Tomorrow I’m going to RibFest in Ottawa, and I get to see my cousin that I never get to see! I’m so stoked. Stay tuned for another cover art sneak peek – Locked In is getting a face (font) lift.

Review deadline met, bring on July 1

I got my reviews in on time. I’m embarrassed by how stuck I got, it’s like my mind blanked out the whole play.

Tomorrow it’s back to creative writing. I missed you so much! Day job is becoming more day job-like, as in I have to do work. But the extra security sure is nice.I got a complete critique of Locked In back, so I have a project for the rest of the week. Then I’m putting out version 6 for my test readers.

I had two more ideas for zombie universe expansion. It’s kind of strange, the more I stressed about the review, the more good creative ideas I had. Well-worn idea notebook to the rescue. I swear I’ve used up the majority of an 80 page notebook.

I’m thinking of playing around with Microsoft OneNote for mind mapping and character sketches. The hierarchies, sup-pages and ability to move ideas around on the page strike me as potentially very useful. I’ve been using OneNote for my work quite a bit. One downfall is that it won’t work on my Android tablet, Linux laptop and computer (where I do most of my writing) or my Blackberry. None of the mind-mapping/organizational software I’ve tried (that’s free) even comes close to what I need.

Reviewing brainmush is worse than writer’s block

At least with writer’s block there’s no pressure. I have to have this review perfect by Wednesday morning. I was hoping I could get it done today so no more stress, but it never seems to work that way.

Seems I need a new strategy for deadline reviewer’s blocked. It only seems to happen when I enjoy what I’m reviewing. The negative reviews always write themselves. I’ll remember that for when a reviewer tears me a new one at some point in the future.

But, it seems like my reviewing days are over. I had a falling out with one of the places I review for. It’s no big loss, but that leaves my internship which ends at the end of summer. If I want another writing gig, I’ll pick one up.

However, I do take requests and do interviews. You just need to ask. 🙂


Nothing like a day off to beat writer’s block

I took yesterday off completely. I didn’t think about writing, or worry about it. I saw my friends, played some games and fussed with my garden a little bit.

I was back with a vengeance today. It seems like if you have writer’s block, to just forget about it for a day and it will come back. I managed to crank out 900+ words today, which is a pretty high daily count for me.

I’m starting to get a feel for the story and the characters. I was still stuck a bit when I first sat down today, so I started describing scenes and characters. Then, I started giving them more traits, more neuroses, more personality. Then I made them just a little more real. And then I made them talk, with extra conflict.

It’s looking good, and it’s going to be much longer than I originally planned.

In other news, day job is picking up again, and Twiter is still way too much fun. However, I wish it would stop recommending fake Portal/Half Life accounts. And everything NASA has ever done. I love you NASA, but you have too many Twitter accounts.

All work and no play means no writing and no podcasts

Intense working weekend. Them’s the breaks when your deadline gets surprise upped by a few days on you. I was hoping to spew more of Locked Out, but it seems like that will have to wait. It’s so lame when the whole story clicks in your head and you’re just too busy to get to it.

I should have more time after Monday-ish. I have some rad ideas for good blog posts. My brain is mush right now. It’s not even zombie food.

I’m thinking of getting into podcasting. My years of soul-crushing sales and call center jobs tell me that I have an amazing voice. I should use it for something that’s not soul-crushing for once. I’m thinking of making audiobooks of my stories, and doing some good old fashioned talking.

Right now I’m so overloaded that I can’t deal with all my creative influx. I did start a twitter, it appears to be good for you. I have more zombie channels than friends. Love me, love my twitter!

As of Wednesday I should be back to my normal schedule. I hope my neovellas are still waiting for me when I get back. I miss you sweet bodily-substance spewing little jerks. Want to help me write horrific things? Check out the following two links before I finish both stories myself:

Bobby the Incontinent Space Cadet

Buster the Effeminate Cucumber Farmer Looks like it picked up again. I know what I’m off to do, and it’s not going to be pretty, but it’s going to be fun! I should be working on some outstanding reviews, but I just don’t want to. Maybe I can podcast the neovellas, that might rock if I could keep a straight face.

Business writing makes a good diversion

It’s kind of funny. The more I write reviews and fiction, the easier business communication becomes. I was able to spew out a fairly awesome cover letter for anonymously-obsessed-boyfriend today. He insists I could get paid for this stuff.

My theory on cover letters and business writing is that it should be engaging and fascinating. They exist to start a dialogue between yourself and your audience, much like reviewing or fiction. Why condemn your writing  to being rote and trite, even if it’s “just” for business? Professionalism does not negate creativity.

Feeling a little case of writer’s block coming on. A lot of it is my own self-doubt and uncertainty. Someday I’ll learn to cork that genie until editing time, when I need him.

In other news, I liked the Zombie Empress joke/identity so much that I’ve decided she needs her own blog, where she can post in-character ramblings. I have a few other ideas in store for her, as well. Check out The Rise of the Zombie Empress

Now, I have a review to write. It never ends.

Outlines and picking up new gigs

I’ve noticed that I put a lot of my thoughts down in a notebook before I ever open the word processor. For some reason, having it there, handwritten, makes the idea seem real, and more mine. Writing is probably more psychological than most people understand. Having the concepts written down makes come points more solid, and the really irrelevant fluff fall aside. It might be a matter of perspective.

I’ve been working on picking up some new gigs. My primary gig is not exciting for me anymore, for reasons that are probably unprofessional for me to elaborate on. I can write and not be paid for it with infinitely less frustration than I have now, so why stay?

I’m already getting run in my new gig/internship as of June 1, and I even get to pick my assignments. It’s time to branch out. I deserve exposure, and I want to write my stories and books while doing my gigs in a positive environment.

Third draft done. Bring on the fourth

I finally got it inputted. Finally. I agreed with most of the changes I made, and even threw in a few others. It reads much more smoothly and is more involving.

I started laying down the outline for June’s story. It just might be something.

I have come to the conclusion that I may, in fact, be demented. I am completely okay with this. Nothing beats coming up with the most depraved supernatural romance ever. It is possibly also the only dark romance I’d want to actually read. There’s also nothing like zombie stories to make you question your own sanity.

Life’s just more fun when you learn to love being insane.

Internship approved my idea. I’m so happy. It’s time to write about some anarchy!

Now, time to whip out the red pen of doom and finish this.