My Thoughts On Spoilers

[PHOTO NOTE: I typed in “Spoilers” in the Pexel image search and this is what popped up first. Appropriate.]

A week or so ago, I ran across a review of the movie Nope online. I’m a fan of horror – not a surprise. I’m a fan of movie reviews – also not a surprise. Also, I happen to be a fan of the movie’s director, Jordan Peele, ever since his Key and Peele days. So, I was interested in reading through it.

I did read over the review. I liked it, but I also saw a feature article that went into a plot point that didn’t seem to have any relevance to the main movie. However, I thought it explained and analyzed this particular plot point quite well – I mean, we were talking Roger Ebert-level analysis. As I sometimes do, I decided to post the article on my writing pages on Facebook and Twitter.

Here is the article in question. Beware of spoilers.

At the time I posted it, I was a bit worried about doing so. It was a very good article, but because of the nature of that article, it revealed some massive spoilers about not only major plot points, but even the outcome of the entire movie.

I mention this, because I know that there are many people who are horrified at spoilers and want to avoid them like the plague or warm pop. They structure their entire lives around not putting themselves in situations where they might hear something about films, television, or books before they have had the chance to consume that particular story. They even go so far as berate their own friends and family against possibly revealing anything about those stories. Here’s an example of that behavior as well. (I loved Portlandia, especially since I am a Sleater-Kinney fan. Just Google everything I mentioned if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: The video sketch about spoilers does, in fact, contain actual spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.]

(This was my first attempt to embed something in one of my blogs. I’m quite proud of it LOL.)

So, I am well aware of some people’s feelings about spoilers. In fact, I know that if I ever found myself in the same situation as these people,

I would not be able to care less.

Yes. I, in fact, am the complete opposite of the people I mentioned above. I am perfectly fine with spoilers, I have no issue with them whatsoever. My recent experience with this article started me thinking about exactly why that might be the case.

To begin that journey, we have to travel back exactly 40 years into the past to go back to my first experience with a spoiler. (Yes, I’m an older guy). Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan just happened to be in the theaters. I had seen the first one either in the theaters or on HBO – I think it was the latter because we had HBO (the old cable channel) for a few years in the early 1980’s.

As I may or may not have mentioned before, I was a big fan of libraries as a kid. One of my other favorite places to go when I was a kid was bookstores. There was one sizable bookstore in my hometown mall (Waldenbooks) and whenever I would go to the mall, I would go and see what some of the new books were. I would make sure that I actually bought a book every once in a while so the clerks there didn’t think that I was just loitering in there for no reason. (To be fair, they never did have a word with me.)

I went there maybe less than a month before I would see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in theaters. As it turned out, I found a copy of the novelization of the movie on the science fiction shelves. Novelizations are books based on the screenplay of a movie that often gets commissioned with the intent of making a few extra bucks and helping to promote the films as well1.

It was then, as I was skimming through the book, that I came upon the biggest spoiler of not only the movie, but possibly the entire Star Trek series. As a courtesy, I will not reveal that spoiler here, even if the idea of a spoiler for a movie that was released forty years previously seems ridiculous to me2. So, did that spoiler ruin my possible enjoyment of the film, even so much so that I might have been tempted not to watch it at all?

Reader, it did not.

When the film finally got released, I was in a line at the Riviera Theater in Muscatine with my parents ready to watch the movie. It was one of the old time theaters that used to be everywhere in the US but eventually shut down.

From what I was able to look up, this had been opened as the Uptown Theater back on 4 November 1931. It was renamed the Bosten Cinema on 3 February 1971, and renamed one last time on 3 April 1983 as the Riviera Theater. This picture dates from 1988, two years before the building was demolished3.

Anyway, I watched it and I loved it intensely. I knew what was coming and I was internally jumping up and down with excitement when I saw it unfold on the screen. The fact that I knew it was coming had no dampening effect on my enjoyment whatsoever. I was just as excited as everyone else who was seeing it the first time.

There have been other examples of this through my life. I remember watching a video a few years back that showed a long line of Harry Potter enthusiasts in line outside a bookstore waiting to get their hands on a copy of the latest book in the series. The videographer and driver of the vehicle rolled down his window and shouted out a major plot point to that very novel to the crowd. You could easily hear the shrieks of rage and disappointment as he drove away.

I would never be someone to do such a thing to those who do not like spoilers. But I have to admit I cackled for a long time as I rewound the video more than once.

I’ve given some thought as to why spoilers don’t bother me as they do other people. Although I can’t speak for other people who don’t mind spoilers to stories, as for myself I believe there are two reasons in particular why they don’t bother me.

Tropes

If you look at the history of literature – any type of literature, to be honest – you begin to see different ideas or themes that repeat themselves in different stories. There’s a situation where something improbable resolves a story. There is the situation where items in stories often occur in groups of three (like the idea of a love triangle). There also something where characters often have to go on a journey.

These patterns keep repeating because they’ve been part of our storytelling culture for centuries, even millennia in some cases. It gets people’s attention, it’s familiar to them. They play toward the myths and stories that have been circulating around campfires since at least the latter parts of the Stone Age. People want the new and original and unique, this is true. But, they also crave the familiar as well. From that perspective, spoilers are a part of our culture.

The Mechanic Theory of Enjoying A Story

I’ve come to the conclusion that I read like a writer – or, at least, I try to. As I read something, it’s natural for me to take apart the narrative somewhat like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works or what is wrong with it. I want to see how they use dialogue or description to set the stage for a story, and how they build characters, for example.

As I do that, it becomes less of an issue for me what type of ending or surprise that might be waiting for me in the story. I believe that as a result of this focus, this interest I have in analyzing stories, I don’t really respond too much to surprises in the text. Relying too much on surprises or spoiler-level material in a story is a horror-film director relying on jump-scares to keep the audience interested. I’m more interested in how the storyteller gets to the ending or surprises rather than just the result itself. Someone who takes a turbocharger apart for a living or hobby doesn’t get too surprised to see it in action after you finish repairs.

So, I will do my best not to have any obvious spoilers on this page, in any capacity. But, don’t worry about doing the same for me.

1. They still do this, in fact. I was hearing some reviewers say that the novelizations for the third Star Wars trilogy gave a lot more background and context to what happened to be a confusing mess. I still don’t understand how Disney decided to commission a new Star Wars trilogy and not have an overarching plot planned out for it, especially considering how much money they spent on it. I mean, maybe it’s my bias of being a writer and wanting to get your story sorted out, but oh, well.
2. However, I have to keep in perspective that there are many people who are not as aware of the past as I am, whether it is due to not reading up on the past or, more often, not having lived through that past. That became clear to me several years ago when I looked out into a class of language arts students that I was teaching and realized that none of them had any direct knowledge of the 20th century whatsoever.

3. In remembering this, I think the old theater and whatever fragmentary remembrances that I have of it might be worth another A Writer’s Biography blog.

Writing Journal: 3 August 2022: Good numbers

I’m going to keep this brief.

Last week went well – not perfect when it comes to writing productivity, but I will take these numbers most any week. I came close to my productivity of last week, which is a good thing, and my overall July numbers are also seeing an upward trend.

I felt bad honestly that I wasn’t able to get out the blog post I wanted this weekend. Part of that was because I was helping my daughter move into her new apartment this weekend, so that took some time away and might affect some of next week’s numbers… but hopefully not by much.

School will be upon me in 20 days from now, essentially. I’ll be teaching all-language arts this year as opposed to being mostly special education as I had been for the past seven years. I think that should go all right? It’s been a while since I was teaching all language arts.

I also need to read some more from the people who have subscribed to my blog. There are a lot of good writers out there.

So, more of that, another blog post this weekend, and more work on the self-publishing front. See you later.

Writing statistics for the week ending 30 July 2022:
+6,081 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 0 of 7 for 0 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.
Writing statistics for July 2022:
Words: 20,392
Revise/Plan: 390
Daily Writing Goals Met: 72%


Writing Journal 27 July 2022: Great writing week and progress on other fronts

[PHOTO NOTE: This was the first thing that popped up when I did an image search for “progress.” You’re welcome.]

Last week just goes to show that you never know.

I was expecting to have a bad writing week since I was going off on vacation last weekend. You might remember that it prompted me to do a blog about writing on vacation. I figured, “well, it will be a wash.” But then, I think that idea of a fall-off gave me the motivation to not fall off… and as a result, I had the best writing week since early April of this year.

I feel myself getting to be a stronger writer. I have so much to learn still, but I’m believing that I’m only going to get better at this.

One quick note as well – I finally got myself signed up for an account on Kindle Direct Publishing. I’m going to be reading a lot of material and advice before moving forward and publishing my first self-publishing project. However, that process is finally moving forward. I think with a bit of research and the assistance of my writing group, I have every confidence that I should be able to make this thing work.

Well, I’m getting back to it, then. Hope you have a great week, and all of you writers keep writing.

Writing statistics for the week ending 23 July 2022:
+6,305 words written.
Days writing: 6 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 6 of 7 days.

Writing When You Are Away From Home

“Did you remember to bring your laptop?”

Those were the words I heard from my wife a few days ago when we were leaving for a quick extended weekend getaway from everything. I had already planned on doing so beforehand, but it was really sweet for her to have a thought for that even while her head was filled with issues regarding our plans and what we were going to do when we get there.

Laura does not, under any circumstances, has a passion for writing. She is a good writer for her profession (city management, in case you were wondering) when she needs to be, of course. But she is not someone who relaxes with trying to write a story or poetry, or try blogging. She has read some of my work before (especially this blog), but she has not made it a habit. Regardless of that, the question she asked me before I left was one more thing of many that let’s me know how much she realizes writing is important to me. And that really means the world to me.

All right, enough with the mushy lovey stuff, let’s talk about writing.

One of the views from where I was at.

People who know me and some of the people who read this blog realize that I talk about Stephen King more than a little bit. In some of the past interviews of his that I have read, King talked about how much writing was a habit for him that the only times that he didn’t write was on Christmas Day and on his birthday. As I recall, he later admitted that was just a tall tale that he had spun for that reporter, and that he wrote on Christmas Day and his birthday as well.

I appreciate that dedication and productivity in a writer, a level of which I will likely never reach on a career basis. However, this whole process I have been attempting to commit to has been an effort to make me a better writer and get some King-like productive years out of me before everything is over. So, I have tried to emulate that with varying degrees of success.

Then there is writing when you are on vacation. That becomes a different situation altogether.

Another pic from vacation.

The first thing that gets complicated when writing on vacation are logistics, of course. You need something to write with, which can be pretty complicated if you’re not one of those Luddites who insist on writing everything with paper and pen or pencil, or the even bigger insanoes1 that insist on using typewriters. Usually, this means carting laptops (or desktops? No, more insano2 behavior) to wherever you are traveling to. If you are basing your vacation plans around a hotel, you’re in luck – most of those places if they are not in the Stone Ages will have at worst a coffee table and power outlets and at best a designated writing desk and USB ports nearby.

As for all of you whose vacations involve physical challenges like canoeing down the Mississippi River or hiking the Appalachian Trail… I guess you’re screwed3? My best possible advice might be to bring some lightweight writing equipment (Chromebook, iPad, something lightweight that isn’t a power-guzzler), some recharging ability, and some water-proof storage? I guess?

Enough of that. So, even if you are in a hotel, bed and breakfast, AirBnB, or whatever, it’s not exactly a straightforward process to just get writing. For example, what if the desk or writing surface you are using isn’t the same height that you are used to? That can get awkward, even to the point where your arms are cramping up by not being where they usually are.

For me, not having the right chair is one thing that can really throw me off. I honestly can’t concentrate on anything if I’m worrying about backaches or whatever. In the hotel room that I was in recently, I had to try out two different chairs before figuring out what works. If you are sitting somewhere for a while, you want to make sure that it is a sustainable writing position4.

Lighting is another thing. I typically want a place to be lit well enough so that I can see to grab, say, a pencil or notebook or something. However, I don’t want it to be so bright that I feel like I’m Spalding Grey5 sitting behind a desk on a stage with however many spotlights above or in front of me. You want it just right.

Of course, there are other items that come into play. When you are on vacation, especially with a significant other and/or kids, you are expected to do some activities. This might involve museums, art galleries, tourist attractions, kids’ parks, or various other entertainments. Obviously, this takes a bit of time away from when you can write. But then again, unless you are actually doing this for a full living, or retired, or living in a hovel alone, that’s going to be the same situation as it is at home. You just manage to carve out the time the best you can, whenever you can. Hopefully, you also have traveling companions that realize that even on vacation and even if you don’t spend a lot of time with each other back home, everyone does need some alone time.

The actual fact is, you’re likely not to get as much writing done on vacation even if you promise and dedicate yourself to that goal. There’s plenty to do, and you want to have at least a little bit of a mental vacation as well.

The point is, that is all right. You don’t have to be. Take it from someone who procrastinated for so long, you can forgive yourself if you are not quite as productive. Just get something done. It could be a five-line poem; it could be a 200-300 word section of your latest story; it could be you tour around some beautiful place and get inspired to do a new story or add something to an old one. Get done what you can get done and the rest will sort itself.

Take care, everyone, and you writers keep writing.

1. I just made that word up.
2. See #1.
3. For me walking around a city center is the height of physical exercise, so I wouldn’t know about hiking the Appalachian Trail or other such nonsense. To be fair I’ve been walking a bit more than I used to3a.
3a. Frankly I would be the one enjoying the night air when the comet or whatever it is comes by to wipe out Earth rather than scrambling to find an underground bunker. Although I was intrigued by The Last of Us when it was released a few years back, I in no way would do as well in that world as Joel and Ellie, for example. I know my limits.
4. I refuse to believe that standing desks are a thing, so don’t even bring that up to me in the comments. Writing and exercise are two totally different things.
5. Google it kids.

Writing Journal, 20 July 2022: Part of my frustration with keeping the numbers up

[PHOTO NOTE: I image-searched “frustration,” and this was one of the images that came up. Yeah, it’s really complex.]

The numbers were not quite as good as last week, but this week I have a decent excuse for it – an excuse that leads me into thinking of some of the frustrations I have with trying to reach this 200,000-word goal this year.

Back last Saturday, I posted a review of the writing/blogging service Substack. I actually thought it was a nice little review. I also ended up using much of the information that I had gathered for my article for a presentation for my writing group. It ended up going over pretty well with them.

However, it took me a long time to research and plan for both that article and the presentation. I logged in 300 hours of planning and/or revising during that week (not all of that was dedicated to the article, but much of it was), and that took away at least some time from actually writing stuff.

I go back and forth about whether I need to judge myself differently from some of the other writers that I know because most of the ones I know now are doing this full-time. I’m still doing it on my off-time… then again, this is the summer for me. (Insert shrugging gif or emoticon here.)

Well, I still am proud of what I did last week, despite the “lower production.” Anyway, I’ll make sure to put something out this weekend, as well.

Here’s the stats. See you around.

Writing statistics for the week ending 16 July 2022:
+3,111 words written.
Days writing: 3 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 3 of 7 for 300 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 3 of 7 days.

Substack: A review

Every so often I have to remind myself of a rule that relates to my work output. It was very much the case in my younger years, but even now when I’m slowly beginning to increase my output, it still applies to me. As it turns out, I typically manage to be more productive when I’m facing a “hard” deadline.

Such is the case here, as I attempt to put together this blog starting on Monday with enough time to make sure it is completed on Saturday. Confidentially, it is also serving as a presentation for my writing group on the same day. As I once heard about the game of chess, if one move can accomplish two tasks at once, it is always a good move and usually the best move available in a given situation. So, this blog will serve the same purpose.

Introduction

It is strange how, during the course of my life, I’ve had the opportunity to see publishing, such as it is, warp from a 20th century print emphasis to a 21st century online emphasis. In the 20th century, you worried about finding a publisher for the work that you wanted to write, or possibly and agent. You would have to consult tomes, not regular books, such as Writer’s Market and other similar resources to find suitable outlets for your literary efforts. That’s how our great-grandfathers, grandfathers, and fathers did it, and we were expected to do it as well.

Then the Internet became a thing.

It turned out that you could go out onto what they called the online world and somehow make a living at doing different things. It turns out that people could take a look at something at Wal-Mart on a web site and order it to come to your house. People could reach potential customers from all parts of the world rather than just their own neighborhoods. Also, it opened up markets or services that went way beyond what people expected in the old days when people out West were amazed that you could order a Colt revolver that shot .45 caliber ammunition in their Montgomery Ward catalogue and have it arrive in person a few days later1.

So, if one is to look out into the online world, there are many places where people are trying to make a living writing online. The legacy newspapers and magazines considered the Internet a side gig where they could promote the print product until younger people realized they’d prefer to have the articles on their laptops or smartphones rather than some awkward pseudo-blogger (lol).

As such, I was trying to find the best platform for me to try and write and make a good living at it. And the more I hung around Facebook or other social media platforms, I kept hearing about something called Substack. I kept seeing authors I admired such as Robert Reich and Amanda Palmer using Substack as one of their platforms.

Although I have been blogging on WordPress now for about five years, I’ve been interested in other ways of reaching people through writing and at least making some money from it. From my initial glances at Substack, it seemed to be a platform that someone could make a living – not a prosperous living, but something to help authors out. If I wasn’t going to be a starving artist, and if I wasn’t going to be a hustler like some of these guys on YouTube and TikTok, I had to have something that would be simple, easy to understand, and capable of maintaining with few if any logistical complications.

I decided to look into Substack and see if it might meet my needs. As I do that, I will also look at my experiences using WordPress and comparing my experiences with those services.

Getting Started

Getting going on Substack is insanely easy on www.substack.com. Once you have an email address to use for setting up an account, signing up for an account is as easy as pretty much any site or online service you might encounter. They also have an app in the Apple store for Substack. I went ahead and got both the app for my iPhone and also access the site through my desktop, although the mobile app is only a reader for the service and does not have editing capabilities.

There is no cost to setting up an account or using Substack’s basic services, although if you do start charging for subscriptions they will take a cut of that. But I’ll get into that later.

Writing Something Down

When you start composing something for publication, you do so on the Dashboard section of the site. The Dashboard is the way you access not only your posts, but other information such as for subscribers, statistics, podcasts, and other features which I’ll discuss later.

I did like the straightforwardness of the drafting and editing setup for posts. You are able to put in a variety of text styles and formats, and embedding other items such as YouTube videos, Spotify tracks, and others is as easy as cutting and pasting the link into a new line of the post. I still have frustrating memories of trying to get HTML programming perfectly and trying to cut and past relevant codes I had saved for different posts on an old Blogger site I operated for a few months way back when I had a lot less motivation to write. I’m very glad sites in general are more plug and play, so to speak, than they were before, and Substack fits this bill.

The one disadvantage, however, to the editing is that you can’t substantially change the style of the Substack posts themselves, the basic formatting. By contrast, WordPress gives you several paid and unpaid options for changing the look of your blog which I have used to freshen it up at least a couple of times over the years.

When you do publish posts, Substack gives you the option of simply posting it to the web or both publishing and emailing your subscribers at the same time. One good thing about that is if you have to revise or change something, it won’t send out other emails when that happens, so that cuts down on spam quite a bit.

You can also set up separate sections of your Substack site that can host different newsletters and podcasts, for example. This can be done through the Dashboard.

Building Readers

Writing something is one thing, but actually getting someone other than yourself or (maybe) your significant other to read what you write is something entirely different. Both Substack and writers on Substack, in some of the articles on the site regarding operations, gave me some good initial advice toward how to build such a readership. Some ways that Substack suggests to promote your site include letting people know about your site by word of mouth and promoting it through any communications and social media. Another thing they emphasized was being consistent with publishing content that displays your personality. They definitely have an idea of how to create a name brand.

Another method to promote yourself is using the Recommendations feature. This allows you to recommend fellow writers that you have admired, while also allowing you to be recommended in turn to others. This feature is pretty straightforward and is a lot simpler than trying to make an Amazon review and wondering if it will get deleted because you and the author are connected on social media.

Subscriptions (Free and Paid)

When talking about subscriptions, I should mention that they can be either free or paid. Either kind are alerted to new posts via email. Free subscriptions are recommended for new authors on site. This gives you the opportunity to help build your audience for when a paid-subscription service is viable.

As for paid subscriptions, they can be at varying levels depending on your wishes. You choose how much those subscriptions are and what do readers receive for them. The website will receive 10 percent of the income that you receive from paid subscriptions as well as any credit card fees. The general advice that the site and its users give regarding paid subscriptions is to build your free subscriber base first and have a very solid plan for what people will get for those subscriptions.

Paid subscriptions are supported through a payment system called Stripe. I managed to get signed on to Stripe with little difficulty in about 5-10 minutes.

Metrics, Statistics, and Traffic

The Dashboard for the site is the place to find out all sorts of information about what is going on with your page. When it comes to posts, it gives detailed data regarding who’s seen it, shares and subscriptions from reading a post, click rates, and several other items.

The dashboard also has specific subscriber statistics. It tells you who has signed up for your email lists and its growth. You also get the total email list, total subscribers, and the revenue from those subscribers.

Other statistics the site provides includes where the traffic to your page is arriving from, along with unique visitors. There are also other sections, such as email and podcasts, that provide data for those specific operations.

Podcasting

Substack also has a podcasting feature by which you can host a podcast on your page. It allows you to import existing podcasts to the Substack page through RSS, and allows you to submit your podcasts to Spotify and other services.

However, while Substack does allow you to upload any audio files for the podcast, there isn’t any functionality that allows you to produce, edit, and revise podcast episodes. By contrast, WordPress is in partnership with Anchor (a Spotify division) that provides a very good production element). In some of my initial work with Anchor, I was able to use it to provide a fairly solid production, complete with intro/outro music, effects, etc.

What if You Need Help?

Substack has an extensive help and support section. Some of the articles are produced by the company, while some others have been contributed by successful users who pass along their knowledge. I found all of the articles to be quite helpful in walking through the publishing process. They also have “Writers’ Hours” during the week, but that can be at an inconvenient time for many. For example, they are usually going on during middays on Thursdays, so people who work during the week might find it difficult to participate. I would love to have either some later times or weekends to be able to take part myself.

Comparisons Between Substack and WordPress

WordPress has been my main blogging platform, so I usually compare a blogging platform to my experiences there. Both Substack and WordPress have an ease of use about their sites. However, I think it might be easier to embed items from other media into Substack. The statistics I get from Substack were very thorough and easy to understand. However, the ability to customize Substack doesn’t compare to WordPress.

In addition to WordPress’ ease of use, I like the creativity it allows me to alter the look and feel of my blog. The mobile app for WordPress is much better than that of Substack because it allows me to post and edit posts, unlike the Substack app. However, I do have to make some modest investments – maybe around $150 annually – to have the site have the functionality that it does as well as for domain and email services.

My verdict

Substack has potential as a possible supplement and revenue stream for my writing work. With the time and effort I have put into my WordPress blog, as well as the features of the platform that I think can match what Substack does, I don’t see myself abandoning WordPress as a result, but I get the feeling that I will be crossposting items from WordPress to Substack in the near future.

I’d score Substack as being 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a great program, but it doesn’t necessarily have every single function that I would like in a publishing platform. It’s something I will make use of in the future.

Footnotes:
1. I’m trying really hard not to get off topic. I might not succeed. But I am trying.

Writing Journal, 13 July 2022: Good (acceptable?) start to the month

[PHOTO NOTE: The picture was the first thing that came up when I put “July” in the photo search.

Last week was… acceptable, if not good from a writing perspective. I’m ahead of the game regarding my writing pace, although I’m frankly disappointed that I didn’t get more blog posts done than what I have done.

However, I am working on a presentation that I will be giving this weekend to my writing group, and it will be a presentation on the blogging and subscription website Substack. As part of my work on giving that presentation to the group, I will be putting together a blog post and review of the site – basically, my first impressions after starting to use and experiment with it.

Not much else to mention about that, although I will be posting that midday on Saturday (16 July 2022).

Anyway, that’s it for now. Stats are below. Take care everyone.

Writing statistics for the week ending 9 July 2022:
+4,895 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 60 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 6 of 7 days.

Writing Journal 7.6.2022: Limping into July

I had some personal things come up last week with that messed with my writing schedule and then I went into a slight unrelated mini-slump which there’s not much of an excuse for. The former is not to be worried about – it’s certainly not life or death – and the latter is just up to me.

I will say that last week was not a totally unproductive disaster because it was at least four times as productive as my worst week of the year LOL. And even considering that it was a long month, my performance was still better than last month’s.

I’m not spending much time on this because I do want to write some substantial articles this week and not just me talking about writing progress (although I’m going to work on a first-half of the year recap lol). I have the Fourth of July coming up, so I’ll try to think of something that I can write on my phone. There’s a quick checkup next week which will be a bit thorough, and then I’m planning on getting out of town for an actual vacation further north. I reckon that I will have to bring my laptop with, which should not be an issue.

More later.

Writing statistics for the week ending 2 July 2022:
+2,744 words written.
Days writing: 3 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 0 of 7 for 0 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 3 of 7 days.
June 2022 statistics:
Words: 19,163
Revise/Plan: 240 min.
Daily Writing Goals Met: 66%

Recap: First Half of 2022:

[PHOTO NOTE: Get it? Because it’s in halves… anyway.]

And just when I think that I have been doing horribly, I find that I actually have been productive writing this past six months.

For those not in the know, I have been keeping track of all the stuff I’ve been writing, all of the words whether fiction or nonfiction, on this blog, for the past five years. (I’ve been doing it longer than that, but the early notekeeping was for me.) For the past four years, I have been keeping records in the present format. It’s more than a little bit of data.

This year, I decided to actually set a goal for the entire year rather than just try to make daily goals. Based on what I had done over the past four years, I decided to try 200,000 words written for 2022 and meeting my daily writing quota (500 words per day or 30 minutes of planning and/or revisions) at least 70 percent of the time.

How am I doing so far?

Obviously, at this point in the year I should be at 100,000 words written and meeting my daily writing goals 70 percent of the time. Time to open the envelope and see what there is to see. (Reminder: all revise/planning numbers represent total number of minutes.):

Writing statistics: First half of 2022:

  • Jan:
    • Words: 13,954
    • Revise/Plan: 165
    • Daily Writing Goals Met: 68%
  • Feb:
    • Words: 16,770
    • Revise/Plan: 90
    • Daily Writing Goals Met: 86%
  • Mar:
    • Words: 27, 101
    • Revise/Plan: 375
    • Daily Writing Goals Met: 86%
  • Apr:
    • Words: 20,791
    • Revise/Plan: 225
    • Daily Writing Goals Met: 86%
  • May:
    • Words: 12,563
    • Revise/Plan: 255
    • Daily Writing Goals Met: 54%
  • Jun:
    • Words: 19,163
    • Revise/Plan: 240
    • Daily Writing Goals Met: 66%
  • 1st part of the year:
    • Words (total): 110,342
    • Words (avg.): 18,390
    • Revise/Plan (total): 1,350
    • Revise/Plan (avg.): 225
    • Daily Writing Goals Met (avg.): 74%

So, I am 10,000 words ahead of schedule and above my percentage of daily writing goals met… by a good margin, if not a comfortable one. However, it is much better than the same stats for the first year of 2021:

  • 1st half of 2021:
    • Words (total): 86,852
    • Words (avg.) 14,475
    • Revise/Plan (total): 1290
    • Revise/Plan (avg.) 215
    • Daily Writing Goals Met (avg.): 57 percent

So, I’m ahead of last year in all statistical categories. That’s a great feeling.

I am definitely not going to get overconfident with making my goals this year. But I am cautiously optimistic. My current yearly word record is 208,919 set in 2020, and my current yearly record of daily writing goals met is 78 percent set in 2019. Could I possibly make those goals? Maybe, but for now I am going to take the win and start writing some other stuff. I’ve been doing too many journal posts and not enough other stuff.

Take care, everyone, and for any Americans reading this – have as good of a Fourth of July as you can.


Writing Journal 6.29.2022: A bit better but inconsistent – also, a quick note on “non-writing” stuff

This last week went better than the previous week from a writing standpoint. It was not a fantastic week by most standards, and I wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be, but it was up above the pace I needed to get to.

As it turns out, I already am halfway to that goal even before June is done, which means I am ahead of pace for the year. Despite this, I feel like my attempt to get to 200,000 is a bit of a cramp on my other plans, such as to move forward on research and backwork for future projects. When I consider that, I might look at doing a more modest word count for next year while trying to keep up or improving my percentage of meeting daily goals.

Some things that I am trying to work on now would include doing more research on Substack and how to get the Amazon KDP publishing. I have already published stuff on Amazon through a conventional publisher and now I am looking into self-publishing because I think that would work best for me at this stage, considering that my main goal is to put out as much material as I can in whatever time I have left. (Those are the types of thoughts that start running through your mind a bit more the further you get on in life.)

So, those are some things to start thinking about for both this year and next. as well. I feel good that I had a generally good week and hoping that the last week will finish strong and put me in a good position for the second half of the year. I will likely make the writing journal for next Wednesday double as the first half of 2022 recap as well.

Until next time.

Writing statistics for the week ending 25 June 2022:
+4,590 words written.
Days writing: 6 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 0 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 4 of 7 days.