Writing Journal 5 October 2022: Strange end to September

So, taking a look at my numbers for the last week, they appear to indicate both good and bad news. Let’s just get to it.

Writing statistics for the week ending 1 October 2022:
3,038 words written.
Days writing: 4 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 3 of 7 for 390 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 4 of 7 days.

Writing statistics for September 2022:
Words: 15,558
Revise/Plan: 630 minutes
Daily Writing Goals Met: 75%

It was weird all around both last week and last month. The total word count was a bit of a drop from the levels I was at this past summer, but I’ve had at least two months with a lower count this year. This month was easily the most that I put in for revising and planning work, topping the second-highest month by at least 250 minutes. Finally, the number of times I met my daily writing goals was the best it has been for the past five months, so I’m happy about that.

As for my yearly goals, I am, as of the end of September, at 165, 604 words for the year to date. Despite the weird last week, that puts me more than 15,000 words above pace to match my goal of 200,000 for the entire year. I’ve also met my daily writing quotas an average of 74 percent of the time, above my goal of 70 percent for the year. I’m not even going to begin to declare victory with three months remaining in the year, but I definitely think these goals are within reach and it’s only going to be a slip-up from me that will make me miss it. I am working to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Well, I’ve been glad that I’ve been as active as I was this past week – a lot of material made it on this blog and the Substack blog, so I feel accomplished there. I’ll end up having to do more revisions this week, but I’m going to try and balance that with some new writing, so I’ll have a better week this week. My hope is to really kick it into gear during the next two months so that I can coast into December and the holiday lulls without much worry, like how a cyclist in the Tour De France will coast along with the peloton down the Champs de Elysee in Paris because they’re so far ahead on time.

I would love to coast into Christmas like that. Well, only time will tell. Writers keep writing and everyone keep safe.

2 October 2022: A quick note

[PHOTO NOTE: This was what Pexels Free Photos produced when I typed in “Ooops.”]

Just a quick note… I’m not sure anyone was expecting me to write anything this weekend considering I posted last weekend, last Wednesday, and last Friday as well. Regardless, I didn’t get to it this weekend.

The reason is that I was busy with some heavy revisions this week on a previous project. I hate being totally vague about this at the moment, but there are a few things up in the air, so I have to be at least a bit vague. As soon as I can announce stuff, I will announce it. Promise.

Anyway, the writing journal for this week will get posted on time. Not too much new material this week, but this was probably my busiest week of revisions, so my goal of making my daily quota at least 70 percent of the time seems pretty secure.

I’ll write more later.

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%

Happy Fifth Anniversary For the Blog, and Some Thoughts About Writing When Times Are Not Easy

The Anniversary

In case I didn’t mention it earlier, I just streaked past the fifth anniversary of this blog, Liegois Media. Happy birthday, I will say.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

The longer that this goes on, the more surprised I am about that fact. I would have to say that this is the longest sustained writing project that I have ever contributed to. I remember times during my youth where I would start ideas for books and then just drop them after 10 or 20 pages. I even remember the time when I started a blog several years back and then gave it up after puttering around on it for a few months.

I’ll get back to that last thing in a moment.

Anyway, even if I have not paid much attention to the blog at times (even in recent times) I am glad that I have stuck with the blog. As I get older, I realize that being able to write and express myself goes way beyond becoming famous or wealthy. It is a form of expression for me that I can’t see myself ever doing without.

For those who have taken the time out to read my work or respond to it, thank you very much.

When Times Are Not Easy

Anyone who has read this blog will notice I do not mention politics or current issues on here.

That is not an oversight.

Regarding that previous blog, I wrote it anonymously and talked about a lot of things, personal opinions about how the world is going. I realized that wasn’t sustainable for me.

While I have continued to give my opinions on current events and political philosophies on my own personal social media sites, I find myself censoring what I say because I do not want to bring undue attention on myself. Everyone needs to make that accommodation for themselves as best as they can. They wish to live however they can and under circumstances that are not fully under their control.

From the beginning, I wanted to have a page focused on something positive and where I didn’t have to think about what my opinions were on something. I wanted it to focus on writing and my writing life. I think that having that focus on this blog has helped me to make this blog work and at least sustain my interest in it.

However, I know that tough times or rough situations can derail people. I always had to laugh when I would hear of people who claimed to be inspired to write when they went through tough times or depression. When I’m feeling down or if I get in a depressive mood, I feel like turning off my brain for a good long while. Sometimes, that means I stay away from writing. (Like I need any excuse to procrastinate lol.) I’m finding out more, however, that if I can set myself down and try to write something, I get a great sense of relief in accomplishing something rather than just sitting and doing nothing. It doesn’t even have to be good writing, let me assure you. You can always revise stuff, even if you already posted it online. (I can speak from experience on that score.)

I guess I would send this message out to fellow writers and others alike: It is all right to take care of yourselves. It’s all right to keep your own counsel. I would say that being creative is a way to get yourself through difficult times, whether they are happening for you personally or just the general world around you.

I’m glad I’ve stuck with this project for this long and I hope that it continues for a long time to come. I hope that anyone reading this is able to find peace with being creative or whatever you do to keep yourself healthy.

Now as always, writers keep writing and everyone keep safe.

Writing Journal 4.13.2022: I’m officially in a blocked slump, but it hit me on the weekend so it won’t show up, and I have at least one legitimate excuse so lol

Hi everyone.

I’m officially in a writing slump, and it’s spanned a couple of months, so it’s a bit ridiculous at this point.

Actually, the past week wasn’t horrific – actually, it went fine – but the next week’s numbers might really suck.

Part of that is the slump I sort of talked about so I’m not rehashing it again until I have a better handle of what’s going on. The other (thankfully more legitimate) excuse I have is this:

Bad pic by me.

This Sunday in the early morning I took a tumble down the winding staircase in my house. Result: One left pinky toe dislocated and lacerated on the way down. Thanks to the local docs, it is now relocated and sewn up and so I am on the mend. Of course that took a lot of time to sort out, but accidents happen ha ha.

Today I know I’m not going to come close to making my writing goal but I am glad I was writing because I wasn’t writing for the previous 48 hours. That at least is a win I can build on.

I’m looking forward to the summer break and I’m vowing to myself not to waste this one like I did last year. I might be able to manage it because I actually have a yearly goal this time and not just puttering around with daily goals.

Like I said, last week wasn’t bad, this week won’t be good, but I’m looking to try something as far as concentration that might be able to work. Let’s see if it does.

Here’s last week’s numbers. Writers keep writing and everyone keep safe, especially when it looked like everyplace in Iowa was under threat of tornadoes yesterday. Cheers.

Writing statistics for the the week ending 4.9.2022:
+6,950 words written.
Days writing: 6 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.

Procrastinating Hitting Me Again While Realizing My Idols Struggled With It As Well: An explanation

I really was thinking about writing something this weekend on this blog. I really did.

But I found something else to occupy my time. I was an expert at that as early as 30 years ago.

It’s easy to distract myself, or get into something that takes up my attention. I see my students sometimes distracting themselves in the classroom, and part of me (the one that isn’t trying to get them back on task) is thinking amateurs.

This past weekend I had plenty of distractions. Some of them were actually healthy and cool.

Saturday we started to celebrate my wife’s birthday. We went up to the Des Moines area for a day out, had dinner at the best barbecue in Ames, Iowa, and took a tour of a really nice Christmas lights display at some gardens on the Iowa State University campus.

Sunday I got my wife her birthday gifts, checked out the last Formula 1 race of the year and went to see House of Gucci at the theater. It was a good movie, and very easily the most Italian experience that I’ve ever had. I honestly believe I deserve an Italian passport after watching it. But it’s a good drama, check it out.

I’ve started to realize, in my older age, that I’m not the only person who struggles with this. As I’ve mentioned before, Douglas Adams is one of my guys. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy was one of the books that made me fall in love with reading. I remember that one of the first great writing quotations that I remember reading was exactly about this issue:

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.

Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

This was a guy who had to be locked in a hotel suite for three weeks to finish the novel So Long And Thanks For All The Fish. You couldn’t even think about making that one up.

I also learned that one of the cartoonists that I grew up with had a similar problem. Back in the days when men were men, women were women, and newspapers were actual newspapers, Berkeley Breathed was the king of the newspaper cartoonists with Bloom County. Shoot, he even lived just down the interstates from me in Iowa City, Iowa. (He event name-checked KRNA in one of his strips.) I also appreciated that he ticked off all the old-fashioned editorial cartoonists when he won the Pulitzer for Editorial Cartooning back in the 1980’s.

However, I didn’t realize until I read an article last week honoring the 40th anniversary of the strip’s debut how must of a procrastinator Berke was. To quote the man:

Read this carefully: “Bloom County” had a weekly deadline for 10 years. I missed 100 percent. Each of those 500 weeks, I had to drive 40 miles at 4:30 a.m. to the airport at whatever city I lived in to put the strips on a plane as cargo, delivered by a cabdriver in Washington, D.C., a few hours later. Every. One.

Berkeley Breathed, New York Times, 8 December 2021.

I get the impression that the one thing that he really enjoys about having the strip online without a syndicator is that he can release strips whenever he wants without having to worry about any deadlines whatsoever.

What this is is not so much an apology – it’s not like I’m violating any syndicator’s contract by not posting something on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or whenever. I do want to write more often and more consistently. But I have got to give myself permission to fail. I have to give myself permission to have setbacks.

And, I have to give myself permission to write something that may not be a masterpiece of literary and television criticism, but that I might have a little fun doing. Because sometimes, you end up with something interesting.

Writing Journal 11.3.2021: Sliding out of October

Not too much to talk about, so I’ll keep it quick. Well, this turned out to be not exactly what I expected. Let’s carry on, however.

As I sit here at the beginning of November, I’m wondering if I have enough time to pull together a decent writing year with two months of 2021 left to go. I think there is a chance that I might be able to finish strong this year, but whether I finish comparable to 2019 or 2020 is up in the air. Like I analyzed back in January, I wrote more words in 2020 than 2019 and a lot more than 2018, but the percentage of times that I met my writing goals during the year fell from 78 percent in 2019 to 62 percent in 2018.

In the end… it’s a little difficult to exactly pinpoint the reason for the drop-off last year and this year as opposed to 2019. I’ve tried to think about it more than a few times.

There was the move to south central Iowa that disrupted my routines and stalled out any momentum that I’ve tried to build with The Holy Fool coming out in 2019. My connections to my little writing community I had been starting to develop in eastern Iowa and Muscatine over the course of many years got severed, and the COVID-19 outbreak also put a lot of potential public events out of reach for at least a year. It has only been recently that I have been trying to rebuild my writing community out in the Des Moines area because that is the biggest community within driving distance for me to find fellow authors. I think this is leading me to more gradual (and I hope permanent) changes that I am starting to make aimed at growing myself as a writer and as a brand. It would be nice for there to be a good writing community where I am currently living (Lucas County, Iowa), but due to the population out here, I don’t think I can count on that. In addition, I think I am at a different place than I was when I first became involved in writing communities. Before, I was concerned about finding people I could bounce ideas off of, get writing advice, and show me how I could become a better writer. I still want that, but I also really want to try and push myself forward, becoming someone who could turn my writing into something that could at least become a nice little side gig, if not a full-time calling at the moment. The people I have met in Des Moines have been published multiple times. I don’t think I’m going to have that level of experience in little Chariton of Lucas County, as compared to Des Moines.

Once I moved out here last year to Chariton, my mental state was honestly not the best, not necessarily because of the move but because of the working environment I found myself in. By the end of my time at this particular school district, I was even questioning my dedication to continuing teaching, as so many of my colleagues both at that district and other places have done. However, my wife (Laura) encouraged me to keep my mind open to other teaching opportunities. As of this writing, I’m in the second quarter of the school year with my new school district. While it is by no means a perfect job, I find myself being in a far more positive mind set than I was at all during the last school year. Whether it is the smaller school district environment, positive and supporting administration and staff, or a combination of them and other factors, I am usually quite happy with my job. I never understood writers who said they couldn’t write in a depressive or down condition. I usually find writing when I am emotionally not in the best space to be a very taxing situation, much like weeding a lawn.

This fan fiction work that I’ve been doing during the past two years has been rewarding emotionally, and I think I’ve learned about my writing during that process. However, I think that the momentum of that work is starting to wind down. What was doing to be just two stories has now branched into an entire series that will run well over the 500,000 word mark when it is done, I believe. That has been great, but I think I also want to develop and support my OC writing material, with the fan fiction work continuing to be an occasional side hobby. However, for the sake of being complete and not able to let go of an idea, that work will continue while I try to get on with things.

Anyway, here’s the stats. Hope we have a good writing week to come.

Writing Statistics for the week ending 10.30.2021:
+2,536 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): 3 of 7 days.

But Wait…

…I’m working on a post regarding writing software that I’ve been toying around with for a bit. I don’t think I’ll get it finished before late night tonight, so I’ll release it… twelve noon tomorrow? I’ll see if I can make it work.

I honestly think I am doing a little better trying to be more consistent with my writing on the blog and more productive. It will be interesting to see how things go two weeks from now when I am back at school – it’s my suspicion that my productivity will actually increase.

Anyway, see you tomorrow.

Hello From Des Moines

I’m at the Indie Author Book Expo at Valley View Mall in West Des Moines. This is my first opportunity to do one of these fairs and my first time that I have gotten to do an in-person event.

If you’re out in Des Moines, come out and see me and the other authors out there. I’m signing copies for sale, so get them while they last lol.

I’m Having A Promotional Event on July 10th. Think anybody can make it out there?

After an extended absence from doing any sort of in-person promotional events due first to my move out to South Central Iowa and the whole COVID situation, I thought it was time for me to finally bring that dry spell to an end.

I will be making an appearance at the 6th annual Indie Author Book Expo at Valley West Mall in West Des Moines July 10th. I will be at the expo from 11 am to 5 pm that day.

Come down to talk with me and pick up a copy of my novel The Holy Fool. It’s my debut novel, a journalism thriller about a reporter trying to break a big national security story in Chicago on the eve of the 2008 elections and the Great Recession while trying to help keep his paper alive. Go ahead and come to the My Works page on the blog for more information about the book and links to buy paperback and e-book editions.

Here’s a link to the expo. Hope to see you there.