Writing Journal 11 January 2023: Modest but pretty solid start to the year

I was hoping not to start off with a slow start to my writing year. For the past couple of years, I wound up starting off pretty slow in the month of January which forced me to play catch-up, successfully or otherwise, in the months to come. However, I think I have a better handle on the type of productivity I need to be successful with my goals for this year.

Anyway, here’s the numbers for the first week of the year:

Writing statistics for the week ending 7 January 2023:
+3,779 words written.
Days writing: 6 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 0 of 7 for 0 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 6 of 7 days.

The total word productivity is slightly under what I would prefer (I want to try to get at least 4,000 words a week), but I do like the consistency I started with last week. I’ll take that as a win and hope to expand on that in the weeks to come.

I know this is short, but I feel like I’ve been talking numbers a bit much recently so I’m going to cut this short. The obligatory Substack plug is below. Hope to see you there, too.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal 28 December 2022: Off a cliff

[PHOTO NOTE: What I got when I did a Pexel photo search for “Off a cliff.”]

As I alluded to in my discussion about holiday writing, my numbers fell off a cliff this week. Thank goodness that I’m already past my personal best word count for the year.

I did have a good Christmas Even and Christmas, visiting with my kids and meeting with my in-laws on Christmas. Boxing Day was, as my new tradition, glued to the television all morning and early afternoon watching the English Premier League matches.

I’m planning on traveling later this week to visit my own parents, so I need to make sure that I bring my laptop with me on that trip. I’ve had slightly better luck with writing on the road than on vacation, so let’s see if that works out again this week (lol). There’s so much to write that I have including fan fiction, the new novel project, and blog posts here and on Substack, that I shouldn’t feel like I have nothing to write.

My guess is that I am somewhere above 210,000 words as of right now. If I can manage it, it might be fun to get that to 212,000 to honor my old middle school. The room at Central Middle School in Muscatine where students were sent to serve suspensions was Room 212.

Anyway, here’s the stats for last week, sad as they are.

Writing statistics for the week ending 24 December 2022:
+1,816 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.

And here is my perpetual plea to sign up for my Substack page and email list. Take a minute to do so – when I’m doing something or have something new cooking, you’ll be the first to know and the first in line.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

18 December 2022: How it’s going for me

This is going to be late today on Sunday.

I ended up blowing much of today watching the World Cup final today, and I’m actually watching a replay as I write this. Despite my previous efforts, this is a writing blog rather than a soccer blog, but what I will say is that I thought it was the best World Cup final I’ve yet seen, and I watched all of them since World Cup 1994. It was a great advertisement for The Beautiful Game, especially for some of the Americans who are getting more interested in the game. And it was really fantastic to see Lionel Messi finally win a World Cup, despite the fact that I considered him one of the best ever and you could easily fill an all-time team with great players who never even played in the World Cup, much less won it.

Anyway.

As for me… although I have not run the final numbers yet for last week, I strongly suspect that I somehow managed to creep over my all-time record of 108,919 words (set back in 2020) at that time. I’ll put out the official news here on Wednesday if you are that curious.

I think the productivity this year is absolutely a testament to my willingness to try and set a strong goal for myself this year and my rededication to writing here and on Substack. And I also think that the quality of those posts and the items that I’m working on away from here and Substack have grown, too.

I am still in a holding pattern regarding the new project that I announced a couple months back. As of right now, I was thinking it would be released in the new year, but exactly when the exact date that will happen is still up in the air. It is a bit of a cliche to chalk that up to the hurry-up and wait nature of traditional publishing, but it fits the situation here. However, I do have confidence that I will find out about this within the next few weeks. Watch this space.

I also want to get out more into the community, make more appearances in Iowa. I’ve only managed a few of those appearances last year, but I definitely want to do that more, especially this summer when my schedule as usual becomes much more open.

That’s about it for now. In about four days, I will be on break for the remainder of 2022. I’m definitely looking forward to it and the holiday season. Christmas with the family and the English Premier League on Boxing Day… good times.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

I Would Love It If You’d Subscribe To My Substack

My Substack page is now operating under a new name – The Writing Life With Jason Liegois. It is now a companion piece to this blog, and I have moved my archive of older posts from Liegois Media to that site.

This does not in any way mean that I am abandoning this site. On the contrary, this site will continue to be one of the main home bases, so to speak, for my writing and online activity.

However, I am using Substack to help build something that is far overdue for me… an email list.

One of the pieces of advice that I have been receiving from fellow writers both online and in real life (IRL) is that building an email list of readers has been a good way of getting people interested in what you are doing and what you are writing. I’m interested in building a community of readers, of people who get something out of what I write.

And I promise that I just won’t bother you every time I’m interested in selling something (like new books that might be on their way), but usually just to let you know what I’ve been writing, what I’ve been thinking of, and even just how things have been. You can get on Substack chats with me if you’ve got questions about writing or want to chat about whatever questions I’m chatting about.

So, definitely feel free to subscribe to my WordPress, but if you have already subscribed to that, I would absolutely appreciate it if you subscribed to my Substack so I could build that email list and you can get access to the newsletter. Send along your email and I absolutely promise I won’t send you any pyramid schemes, crypto scams, or phishing attempts. But you will get access to some good writing when it comes out.

Just click on the link below to subscribe to my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois:

https://jasonliegoisauthor.substack.com/embed

Now, you aren’t absolutely positively required to send your emails to me so I can send you new posts, new releases, and maybe even offer you a contest or two. But really…

Writing Journal 13 September 2022: If I could have a week like this every week, I would

Again, I’ll keep this short.

This past weekend felt like actual September should be like, not like an encore of August or maybe July. I would say October and either March or April are about the only months in Iowa where the weather is about perfect for my taste. Most older people are sick enough to want to retire to Florida or Arizona – I would prefer to retire to Minnesota. I would prefer to live somewhere where there are cool temperatures and that I won’t be either out of water or get flooded by seawater, thank you very much.

Minnesota does look pretty, doesn’t it?

Here’s another look.

Anyway, the writing went all right last week. Not a record-breaking week, but… honestly, if I managed to get this much writing taken care of every week, I would easily meet this year’s goals of 200,000 words written and meeting my daily writing goals at least 70 percent of the time. As I reported recently, I’m well on my way to making that goal, but I want to keep consistent. Making sure that I have that consistency has been what I have found to be a key to being productive.

Just a quick reminder: I’ve got an event this Saturday at the public library in Badger, Iowa. Here’s a link to all the information.

Anyway, here’s the numbers for this week. Writers keep writing and everyone keep safe.

Writing statistics for the week ending 10 September 2022:
+4,473 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for  120 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.

A Self-Publisher’s Progress, or Lack Of It: Why I’m Going to Go the Self-Publishing Route

These are interesting times.

You might remember that I managed to get a book published with an outside publisher a couple of years back. That was a feather in my cap, certainly, and I crossed a big item off my bucket list in the process.

Since then… I have not yet had a chance to publish another book. The publishing company I worked with previously is not accepting new fiction, so that avenue is closed to me. I have at least one or two possibilities for projects I could move forward with. I have at least one that is almost publishing ready, except for a few items.

So, I am faced with two different possibilities. First, there’s option of trying once again to find a publisher or agent willing to work with me to put together a new project. They would have a better idea of the current publishing climate than I would, obviously, and more connections in that area as well. Usually you won’t get a look from any of the Big FIve publishers – Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan – without an agent1. It’s a long-term process, as well – getting a book through the publishing process even if you succeed can take months and even years at a time, not even counting the initial writing process.

Or, I can go the self-publishing route. Selling physical books on demand is easier than ever thanks to Amazon, and e-book distribution can cut out even more middlemen out if you want to go the all e-book route. (As for me, I am too much of a traditionalist to totally abandon physical books. There I would be my own boss and have the majority of the profits. How much of those profits there would be is an open question. Some people can make a tidy career out of this. For others, the revenue is few and far between.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about this. As a result, I have elected to go the self-publishing route.

There are two main reasons that I’ve made that decision.

The first has to do with fame and fortune. When I was a kid, I may have had a small little dream to be a Stephen King-level writer. He was one of my idols, so of course I was going to think that. Then it turned out that for a long time I didn’t write a lot of stuff, as a young man. It would take me a long time to build up to being a consistently productive writer, and even then I wouldn’t imagine that I could be as productive as King, even in the early cocaine days2.

There are so many writers out there trying to make a name for themselves. A good number of them are truly great and talented, and most have at least some talent. Very few of them “make it,” just like so many talented actors, dancers, musicians, and other artists don’t make it. The ones who make it are successful enough to have publishing contracts, book advances, and teams of agents, attorneys, publicists, and other handlers to make their lives easier.

I don’t think that is going to happen to me.

I’d say that realistically, I am at the halfway point of my life. If it hasn’t happened at this point, I see an even smaller chance of it happening to me, even as you hear the tales of older authors becoming an “overnight” success. So if such a fate is not likely to happen to me, I shouldn’t want to concentrate on doing things with that in mind. I’d rather have full control over my fate, no matter what sort of financial rewards there are in it.

And that brings me to the second reason for this. I just want to write.

I’m tired of putting so much effort into finding publishers and agents, putting in so much time into it and not getting anything out of it. If I’m going to spend my time on this passion of mine, I want to start putting out the stories that I want to put out, and getting them out to anyone who wants to read them. Yeah, I’ll have to do promotional work, and other things like formatting and cover designs, but it will be a lot less foolishness than if I went the traditional route.

I know I only have a limited time in this existence, although I hope I still have many years still left. I want to do it telling the stories I have in me.

It’s going to take some time, even with the self-publishing route. But I’m looking forward to getting it started.

Footnotes:

  1. I should qualify this by saying that I would not include pay-to-play publishing or agents in this category. I have had past experiences and meetings with such people, and I’ve concluded that it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
  2. I do not endorse using hard drugs for any reason, but especially creative ones. Anyone who thinks it is sustainable needs to read The Tommyknockers and watch Maximum Overdrive. When he had a prescription drug relapse after getting run over by that van, he wrote Dreamcatcher. I rest my case.

Writing Journal 7 September 2022: Shaky week, but still keeping pace

Last week was not the best writing week, given me getting adjusted to school once again, a weird schedule, and the Labor Day weekend messed with my plans.

However, my overall numbers (and progress toward my writing goals) continued to look good, and I got started on Substack, so things are actually looking up.

So, here’s the numbers for last week:

Writing statistics for the week ending 3 September 2022:
+2,517 words written.
Days writing: 4 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 60 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 4 of 7 days.

And, here are last month’s numbers:

Writing statistics for August 2022:
Words: 19,312
Revise/Plan: 240 minutes
Daily Writing Goals Met: 74%

Remember, the goal I set for myself was to write at least 200,000 words of original content and meet my daily writing goals 70 percent of the time. As of right now, I am at least 15,000 words ahead of that pace and am currently meeting my daily quotas an average of 74 percent of the time. I’ll be a very happy writer if those numbers hold up.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Writers keep writing and everyone keep safe.

Writing Journal 10 August 2022: Sort of slacked last week, but I’m feeling good about the year, honestly, even if I’m not getting as much done this summer as I’d hoped for

[PHOTO NOTE: This was a shot of the skies around Duluth, Minnesota, in July 2022. I wrote that blog post about writing while on vacation there while I was on vacation. Clever, I know.]

So, I am getting big into August and it is getting ever closer to the start of a school year. I am far enough into the summer that I am now actively thinking of the next school year and not about “vacation time.” That typically happens around July 31 on the calendar for teachers. I likely mentioned this at least once or twice, but the fact that I will be teaching language arts exclusively rather than just special education over the course of this year after not doing so for a decade is… a curious and unexpected development. I do not anticipate it being a horrific or difficult development, but I will hope that things went as pleasantly well as the previous year. One can always hope, and my situation is much more favorable than many of my fellow teachers in this country and even in this state. I also am wondering whether the increasing shortage of teachers will affect my district.

However, such thoughts and debates are not really part of the theme of this blog. Likewise, some things that have happened with my family have been interesting, but all in my family are well and I likely will not mention them here unless absolutely necessary.

In preparing my youngest (my daughter Madeline) for moving into her new apartment to continue her college career, I ended up not getting a lot done. In addition, her continual playing of Minecraft got my curiosity and I might have started building a medieval castle in single-play creative.

However, I did get some work done this week, although not too much work in researching KDP publishing. However, I am planning on getting more of that done before meeting with my writing group this week.

Also, I was running the numbers for how much I have written this year, and I estimate that I am now 10,000 words ahead of pace to make my goal of 200,000 words this year. Good times.

Well, here are last week’s numbers, such as they are. I should get at least another post out this week. Take care everyone.

Writing statistics for the week ending 6 August 2022:
+3,146 words written.
Days writing: 3 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 2 of 7 for 60 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.

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%


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.