Writing Journal 4.20.2022: No jokes to be made

Heh heh.

Right, on with it.

Despite my slight self-handicapping, a slight hiccup regarding my writing space, and the Easter weekend, I wound up having… not a bad writing week? And maybe one of the better writing weekends that I’ve had for a while, despite not typing anything during Easter Sunday. Anyway, I’m going to keep up with my new routine and see if that doesn’t have repeat results%.

I’m also happy that I wrote some blogs, even though they were sort of first-person-heavy, but I think some people might have gotten something out of it? Anyway.

My plan for the next few nights:

  1. Write, no matter what it is or what type of quality results.
  2. Somehow complete this review regarding Wheel of Time that only I think I probably care about all things considered.
    1. Again, at this point quality is not the primary concern, completion is.
    2. This is more a point of pride at this moment than anything else.
  3. Maybe, possibly, fool around with Substack and see what sort of information I can find out about writing there.
    1. It could be an interesting idea where I would build a small side living with writing.
    2. I have a long way to go before I get things going there.
    3. It would not take the place of this site. Somehow, I would crosspost somehow.
  4. Start thinking of a gameplan of how I’m going to use all this free time from mid-May of this year to mid-August. I don’t want to waste it like I did last year.
  5. Keep up the writing pace. At least that’s working for now. Even with the lighter numbers, I was still on pace for this week, both in total words and the percentage of days I met my quota.

Anyway, here’s last week’s numbers. Hope your Easter/Passover/whatever season worked out for you.

Writing statistics for the week ending 4.16.2022:
+4,229 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.

% – I’m not getting into what the routine change is. Honestly, it’s so mundane that it would hardly qualify as good advice for anyone. Some things I’d prefer to keep to myself.

Writing Journal 2.9.2022: Trying to pick up the pace, or, have you ever had that one project that keeps sticking around…?

Today’s featured photo is a bit of home, a bald eagle in flight around Muscatine courtesy of Dad (William Liegois) who’s one of the best photogs I ever saw not working at a newspaper. Even though I do like my home, I do miss the Mississippi River and seeing bald eagles now and again.

Anyway, on to the writing. It went OK last week. Not mind-blowing, not a disaster… but OK. But I am driving myself more than I have ever had on just sheer writing.

It was probably about six or seven years ago that I started keeping track of my writing output, and the total number of words that I would write for any given day, week, month, or year. At first, I wasn’t pushing myself. I was just reminding myself that I did want to consider myself a writer and maybe, just maybe, I should write. And that was enough to get me out of the funk where I spent years without typing a single word of fiction or writing that had nothing to do with my day jobs.

Then, I started putting quotas on myself. I’d had some experience with NaNoWriMo, but 1,667 words a day (which will give you a 50,000-word manuscript in a 30-day month) was a little heavy, so I decided to dial it down to 500 words. I hit that number… a lot of times, but not every day. There was at least one day last week where I was so yakked out by a cold I couldn’t even think straight. I’m doing better now, and I had maybe the best weekend (Friday/Saturday) numbers that I’ve had for a while.

And now that I have had a few years of writing statistics, I felt comfortable for the first time setting a total word count goal for the year ahead of time – 200,000 words in total, and a hope that I meet my daily quota 70 percent of the time. (I count time toward planning and revision work toward the latter total – 30 minutes a day of that activity is the same equivalent of 500 words a day.)

Did I meet that daily quota every day this week? I did not. But, I did manage to get more than 4,000 words written. And even with the modest start to the year, if I manage to average at least 4,000 words a week for the rest of the year, I’ll make 200,000 with at least 5K in words to spare.

And I can manage 4,000 words a week as a “weekend warrior,” as my one writing group calls guys like me who have a job but write on the side. I just did that two weeks in a row. That’s a victory I’ll take.

On another note… I am going to write something other than journal posts. Eventually.

There were long stretches of this blog where all I did is post only journals. Sometimes it was all I had to talk about, other times I had losses of ambition. This time it is because I’m trying to finish up the last chapter of a passion project (fan fiction) that I’ve been working on for a while. And I’m so close to getting done. I think I have maybe two scenes left until I can put this story to bed. I’ve felt compelled to finish it, so that needs to get off my plate before I can concentrate on anything else.

I will write about other stuff, eventually. Trust me.

So anyway, here’s the numbers. Take care everyone and I’ll be back here soon.

Writing statistics for the week ending 2.5.2022:
+4,332 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): 5 of 7 days.

Writing Journal 1.12.2022: Sticking to my writing goals… for now

These posts are getting a bit repetitive… but it’s interesting now that I have a target.

For the past few years, I have kept to daily writing goals. I have often fell short of them, but sometimes matched or exceeded them. Before now, however, I didn’t really have a target total that I wanted to reach. Since I have all this data from the past few years, I felt more comfortable shooting for a yearly total, and it is a total that I have communicated with my writing group Iowa Writers Corner.

These will be my goals for this year:

200,000 words in a year

Meeting my daily quota at least 70 percent of the time (an average of about five out of every seven days in a week)

Liegois

That will wind up being about 3,850 words per week – slightly over a “quota” week of 3,500. However, I think it is attainable, and I want to challenge myself. As a result, I’m going to add some additional points to the weekly totals to show where I’m at and do the countdown on a running basis.

Obviously, the question is “How do we know that you’re not just making up the numbers?” Reader, you really don’t know that, it is true. I will say, however, that if I wanted to make up numbers, they would be a lot more impressive than some of them I have posted over the past four-plus years on this site. Just look up the category “Journal” on this blog and take a look for yourself.

Anyway, as always, here are the numbers – with some of the format alterations I mentioned. Enjoy and I’ll eventually write something more than journal posts soon.

Writing statistics for the week ending 1.8.2022:
+3,881 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.
Yearly totals:
GOAL: 200,000
Weekly average (Approx): 3,850
Monthly average (Approx): 16,667
So far: 3,881
Percentage of daily quota to meet: 70 percent

Mucking With Canva: A sort of review

In the interest of writing something about writing that has some interest to readers… I’ve been mucking around with Canva with the idea of maybe designing my own book covers. I’d heard a bit about the program and decided to see if it was going to be ridiculously difficult.

I was never what I would call a visual artist. My drawing ability was primitive at best, as was any sculpting ability. I would up turning into a decent photographer, but I have to admit that my father is better than me at it.

Computer programs have become my friend when it comes to art. I’ve had some past success with Wonderdraft to help draw maps for possible future fantasy projects, so I won’t have to have someone to do that for me. I always thought maps helped make those books, so that was nice to see.

I have Canva both on my laptop and phone for my use. So far, I have been using the mobile app more because it’s pretty easy for me to just whip it out and begin tinkering around with it.

Canva allows you to make a wide variety of projects for either digital media (like wallpapers, Facebook covers, etc.) or print products (fliers, postcards, book covers). There are plenty of options on background, coloring, design elements, and other items out there. I just spent what I thought was going to be a few minutes whipping up a quick logo for a fictional soccer club and it took me 30 minutes to do so not because it was a difficult thing to do, but I was overwhelmed by the choices I had and all the options there were.

Mostly, however, I’m planning on using it for book covers. Again, you can spend forever trying on different fonts and pictures. I’m thinking that photos can go over some of the covers… or maybe I just want some other abstract graphics that might work out easier.

One of the things I haven’t figured out with this yet is if it allows me to design book dust covers, or if I’m going to have to jury-rig something like making most of one page white for me to do that. That would be fairly simple, although I’d be interested to see what sort of detail I’d have to put in it.

I eventually went for the Canva Pro setup, which makes sense since it costs about the same as a decent meal out one night a month ($14 or so). You have a lot more access to a wider variety of materials and templates out there, so there’s that.

I think one bit of evidence that I’m starting to like this program is that I spent a whole hour messing around with it regarding this new book jacket. I don’t know if I would ever design a book cover with mo help, but this might give me some options. I’m giving it a tentative five of five stars (I reserve the right to drop it to four stars if something doesn’t work out on me saving files, but so far so good.)

I’ll try not to make you wait for this so late on Sunday I promihahahah who am I kidding this will happen again.

Anyway, see you later this week. Take care of yourselves, everyone.

Getting To Work

Today’s featured photos was one of the Pexels photos that I found when I did a search for “Getting to Work.”

Yeah, I was surprised at the photo too. (Credit for this photo goes to Maggie Rivers. Check her out.)

Honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed to be posting this late on Sunday. I know I was getting more engagement on a Saturday post, but I let things sit until now. Partly that was because I was busy putting together a few things for my wife this weekend, but partly because I thought I was going to be writing something far more profound that what I’m about to do.

I’ve signed up with ConvertKit to see if I can get an email list going. I know some people have already used their email to subscribe to this blog, but my thinking is that I need to have something dedicated specifically to building that list and attracting readers to me, my past and future writings, and my blog. So, I’ve taken the plunge. and am going to start setting it up. I’ll probably wait a little bit before an official launch.

I’ll probably have some exclusive content, like fiction, poetry, or articles, I will be giving away exclusively for those who sign up. I’m still trying to get it all sorted in my head.

This week, I need to pump my writing back up. I wound up finishing some long delayed revision work on a project I’ve had on tap for a while.

Plans for the week

  1. Continue to set up the email list, especially this “landing page.”
  2. Look into Canva. I suck at designing things.
  3. Set up a query letter for my new project.
  4. Get more writing done.

Yup, it’s not much. But I might as well keep going and make more progress.

Writing Journal 4.27.2020: Down week as I try to read as much as write

Not much new news, so I will keep this short.

 

Had a slight drop in productivity this week as opposed to last, but not a disastrous amount, so I was happy for a small favor. I’ve been honestly a bit lethargic for the past couple of weeks. If there is someone who might be able to deal with being alone or not, it’s likely me, but not going to a library has been a bit tougher than I expected. The fact that our two dogs seem to want to hang out in my bed every evening is a bit endearing and annoying at the same time.

 

However, things are getting better. I’m wrapping up whatever there is left of the school year and afterward, I will be looking forward to reuniting with my wife on a more regular basis when I finish the move to Chariton, although the full transition is going to take a while.

 

I think it’s important that I need to do better to try and stick to a schedule. That can be sort of tough with two teens not on a regular schedule and people coming in at irregular hours to look at the old house.

 

I’m going to make every effort to read farther along in Lord of the Rings and do a first reaction to the next couple chapters. Wish me luck, and here are last week’s stats.

 

+6,048 words written.

Days writing: 4 of 7.

Days revising/planning: 2 of 7 for 45 total minutes.

Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.

Writing Statistics for 2019 in review

So, I wound up doing this last year around this time and it was interesting to see those numbers. I also did a first half of the year review back this summer, so I’ll likely review my activity for the second half of the year, the year in it’s entirety, and maybe try and do some comparisons to the last couple of years that I was using similar stats to see if there are any changes.

Second half of 2019:

  • Jul:
    • Words: 3,465
    • Revise/Plan: 1,650
    • DWGM: 80%
  • Aug:
    • Words: 5,258
    • Revise/Plan: 1,290
    • DWGM: 82%
  • Sep:
    • Words: 38,711
    • Revise/Plan: 180
    • DWGM: 100%
  • Oct:
    • Words: 29,405
    • Revise/Plan: 1,260
    • DWGM: 94%
  • Nov:
    • Words: 10,474
    • Revise/Plan: 480
    • DWGM: 94%
  • Dec:
    • Words: 29,530
    • Revise/Plan: 510
    • DWGM: 79%
  • 2nd:
    • Words (total): 117,843
    • Words (avg.): 19,641
    • Revise/Plan (total): 5,370
    • Revise/Plan (avg.) 895
    • DWGM (avg.): 88%

And, the stats from 2019 as a whole:

  • 2019:
    • Words (total): 193,881
    • Words (avg.) 16,157
    • Revise/Plan (total): 8,865
    • Revise/Plan (avg.): 739
    • DWGM (avg.): 78%

So, how does this compare to the totals I saw the past couple of years? It’s definitely an improvement over last year, which was the first year that I used this format to track my progress.

  • 2018:
    • Words (total): 53,878
    • Words (avg.): 4,490
    • Revisions (total): 8,955
    • Revisions (avg.): 746
    • DWGM (avg.): 52%

As you can see, I did a much better job at reaching my writing quotas than last year. I wrote more words overall (even though a good portion of that is fan fiction, it’s still fiction, folks), only had a slight drop in revisions and planning, but, again, I made my quotas on a much more consistent basis than before.

 

So, I felt good about how my work output grew since the beginning of 2018. I might actually start developing some consistency if I don’t look out. 🙂

 

We’ll see how 2020 goes.

Life Changes IRL: An update

Well, I think part of the reason that I decided to take something of a writing pause is that things have been going on in real life (IRL) that have been a bit of a distraction. The biggest one of those distractions has been where my family will be living in the near future.

Normally, I don’t talk about my personal life here on the blog, but this is big news for me, and represents something of a crossroads for my family. So, I think I need to share it here.

My wife Laura has been busy with a lot of things over the past couple of years – running her own business, a close run for local political office, and, as always, volunteering in our community. However, one of her personal ambitions has been to be in city management. She worked in solid waste management for several years (long story) and had always wanted to move up the municipal ladder.

This month, we got the news that a city in south central Iowa has offered to make her their city manager. She’s going to start next month. I can’t tell you how proud I am of her, and it’s just the latest of many great accomplishments my wife has made in her life.

What it means is that there is now a countdown to my time in Muscatine. I’ve lived here for more than 30 years, and I will be moving away within a year, after our second and last kid graduates from high school here. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to handle it.

One of the strange things is that I won’t be a couple dozen blocks from the Mississippi River, one of the biggest natural features in my life. I’ve lived next to this river for 40 years (10 of those in Clinton) and I’m not sure how that will affect my head space. Somehow big bodies of water keep me centered, keep me at peace. I think that’s one of the reasons why I started Project C, this poetry collection. Many of the poems and writings I’ve put together as part of that collection have to do with life on the river. Some part of me thinks that I’ll feel like a refugee in the middle of Iowa. But, it’s a lovely town, and the people there want my wife to work for them. I can drive on over to rivers and lakes if I want to. It’s not like I stop at the Mississippi every day… but it was nice to know it was there.

Of course, I’ll miss my wife for the year that she’ll split time between there and here. But I’m used to that – we carried on a long-distance relationship during my and her years in college before getting married. We managed that without Skype, without Facebook, without even email or cheap long distance calling. I probably kept up my writing skills with the letters I sent her during those years. A year will go like a breeze.

As I go into a new adventure, I’m not forgetting my writing by any means. I’ll be away from the fellow writers I met at Writers on the Avenue here in Muscatine and the Midwest Writing Center in the Quad Cities, but I’m hopeful I can find other fellow writers in the area, especially being closer to the Des Moines area.

It’s a new and exciting adventure, and I usually do my best writing when I’m feeling good about things. All I know is that wherever I live with my wife, that’s going to be home to me. And I’ll keep writing, landbound or not.