Moving Forward

Well, this is the second week in a row I rolled into the weekend without an idea of what to write about. Hopefully this is not a trend.

Again, I’m facing a bit of inertia, as I once wrote about. The situation is that I am, in a sense, in between projects. There has been more than a bit of uncertainty for me for at least the past two years. Unfortunately, the work I did to get my first novel out stalled over the past two years due to both the COVID situation and my moving away to a new location. I’ve been trying to find my footing ever since.

Also, the uncertainty over what I was going to be doing this fall (teaching or not teaching) was sort of weighing on me. I’ll be honest, I sort of bugged out between June 4 and July 4 of this year after I finished up the school year. I was looking forward to actually getting things done… but, as I detailed, I have to admit that I didn’t use that time wisely. i think last year in the classroom, for many reasons, was very tough for me. I was prepared not to teach full-time and instead to tread water as a substitute (and substitute teachers are in big demand throughout the state, especially due to COVID absences). However, I managed to find a job at a small school district near my home… and I’m enjoying the classroom this year. I think it is a good environment and that is good, although once again I am back in the teaching bubble where I end up noticing little but the classroom and everything supporting that work. Working as a teacher and commuting to work can quickly dominate your life, but things are still much better for me now.

Now, I have to consider what is next for me. There are a few things I am facing.

  • You may remember that I have a project that longer readers of my blog, or readers willing to go back and read my older work, might remember as Project A. This has been written, revised, and professionally proofread. With the lone exception of one last small revision and some slight editing on one issue, this is ready to go.
    • I like the project very much. I have at least two other ideas to make this into a trilogy. But, as I’m considering whether to submit it to any publishers – I’m just dreading the long, drawn-out process. And, I’m seriously wondering whether I shouldn’t just try and go the self-publishing route, which I have long considered but I have never tried.
    • Right now, I’m sick of my inertia on this. I just need to get moving on seeing what it would take to get this published on my own because I’m really tired of calling myself a writer and I’ve only done one book that has been published.
  • For the past couple of years, I have been concentrating on fan fiction projects. This has been something that has revived my interest in writing and has been an irreplaceable experience. I’ve connected with so many readers and fellow writers, and discovered so much great fiction that isn’t in traditional publishing. I’ve really been amazed with the response that readers have given my work, and I will always treasure the opportunity I have taken.
    • However, I do think I need to give some more priority to my original content (OC). I am hoping that after I finish up some parts of the series I am working on, I will reduce the amount of time I am working on those projects. I am planning on continuing to write some stuff on AO3 (the main fanfiction site I use), but it will not be my main creative focus. I do think that the particular fanfiction I have been working on (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones) has given me a strong interest in producing some of my own fantasy writing.
    • I also need to finish reading Lord of the Rings. I started that early during the pandemic and I let that fall through the cracks. Maybe I need to add it/adapt it to my podcast that I just started.
  • Also, I need to release some more episodes of that podcast on a regular basis, similar to what I am (trying) to do with the blog. I need to sort that out, but at least I have plenty of old blogs that would be great to build up some material.
  • I need to do some research into building some email lists and how that can help with promoting my writing. That I need to do more work on.

There’s plenty of stuff I can be doing… but I’ve learned the hard way that trying to get too many things done in too short of time is a recipe for a disaster. So, I think I will concentrate on getting the writing journal done, writing one article about my experience with the legendary Alphasmart, and another about what I might be thinking of regarding a mailing list.

That would be a great start, I think.

Writing When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

I call myself a writer. I am a writer, in the past, now, and in the future. But there are days when I really don’t feel like writing.

There were years in times past where I never wrote anything except news articles and the odd lesson plan. Those memories of the old days make me always a bit guilty when I go a day without writing.

I’m a little irritated that I haven’t done a new podcast recently. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, since it’s not like I’m trying to monetize it (yet) or that I’m that experienced at it. But if I consider myself a creative person, I need to create and hustle, right?

It’s sort of like some aspects of teaching for me. There are times when I have fun in the classroom, especially teaching writing. (That likely will be worthy of at least a few later posts). However, I can take or leave having to sit down and grade stuff.

The point is that there always are things that you can take or leave about any job or any passion. Sometimes you get in the groove and can write for hours and hours. And there’s other times that I can stare at that screen and want to do anything else.

There’s times when I just need to get distracted, to be honest. Today I wanted to just relax before getting back into the groove of the teaching week. (Last year in the classroom was massively stressful for me. I’m feeling much more comfortable in my new district.)

So, I sat down for the day. I checked out the Italian Grand Prix, as I’ve started to get into Formula One this year. I watched Liverpool beat Leeds today 3-0 and saw poor Harry Wilson get his ankle done in. I saw Aaron Rodgers and the Packers get whipped, and now I’ve got Football Night In America on.

For the later part of the day, I’ve had my son back home for the day after he moved to Des Moines for a new job. I enjoyed watching the games with him and dinner, even if he snoozed through a good part of it.

And, all this time I thought I didn’t really have anything to write about. Maybe this wasn’t the perfect post, but at least I wrote something.

Sometimes that is good enough.

Coming Up…

I got tied up, but I am planning on writing a piece to be released tomorrow (Sunday). It’ll be a quick talk about what equipment I actually use to write and could lead into some more posts getting into more detail.

As before, I could have just blown it off, but I want to hold myself more accountable. Plus, who knows, maybe people are actually waiting for me to write something.

See you then.

Getting Caught Up…

… and I screwed up getting a blog out this weekend. I am in the process of writing it, but since it is getting late, I will be putting it out at noon tomorrow (7.26.2021). Once I get that done, I’ll get the writing journal blog ready for Wednesday and another out for Saturday at noon.

I may not have mentioned it, but I decided a few months back to go to another school district to work, and I found out that I will officially be on with them next academic year. With that in mind, I will be working to make sure I can keep up this writing schedule not only in the summertime when I have all the time in the world to work (or procrastinate) but later when I get back to teaching full-time.

Maybe I am right – in the end, I do better when I hold myself to a hard schedule and not give myself much time to make it. Maybe I do better on a deadline.

See you tomorrow.

Writing Journal 7.21.2021: Worst week this year

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: I typed in “Worst week ever” for my Pexels image search and the featured image was one of the images that popped up.]

I’m not even going to try to whitewash things today: Last week was a disgrace for me writing. Absolutely the worst writing week I’ve had all year after one of the best ones last week.

I could mention that I had finally gotten a new laptop after a week of mucking around with the old one, I could tell you that I got hit with the procrastination bug – but that would all be excuses. I just need to sit down and freaking write and get it over with, starting with this blog.

It never ceases to stun me how when I have more time than I could ever make use of over the past several weeks that I haven’t made use of it at all. Sometimes I waste time so much it’s disheartening to me.

The one good thing I can say in my defense this week is that I am sticking to this new program of doing the basic journal updates on the Wednesdays after my writing week and my more feature-type blogs on Saturdays, as well as some other times during the weekend. In fact, right after I finish this blog, I’m going to look through my drafts to see which one might be the best candidate for this coming Saturday.

So, here are the stats, for those who want a laugh. I know I’ll manage better this week. Hopefully, I’ll manage a lot better.

Writing statistics for the week ending 7.17.2021:
+553 words written.
Days writing: 2 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 1 of 7 days.

Writing Journal 7.17.2021: Hitting a good stride… for now

I’m only sort of celebrating today. I wound up getting an award from my writing group for my work output last month – the Weekend Warrior award. It will be interesting to see how often I might win it, but I will bring it back to Des Moines for our next meeting.

Whether I will be a repeat champ is a big question. One issue I can blame it on is attempting to find a new rig to write on. But I also think there is still a bit of procrastination, especially with writing actual blog posts that have something to do with more than just my weekly totals.

Since I have been doing better with planning writing journals in advance, I need to make a similar vow for my blogging on other topics. I am going to make a resolution here that I will put out a midweek blog about non-journal stuff. Or, now that I’m thinking about it, should I do the journals on Wednesdays and save the other stuff for the weekends? I just thought of that right now.

Let me try that this coming week, and I’ll see how it goes. I have a backlog of material I keep saying I want to get to, but I never do. Now might be my chance at that. So, next journal blog on Wednesday, and at least one other blog topic on Saturday. Let’s see if I can stick to that.

So. here’s the stats for last week. These are much better than the last couple of week’s to be honest. Actually, I’m not going to lie, this was a rock star week for me. Actually, forget rock star, this was the MOST PRODUCTIVE week I’ve had all year. That is cause for celebration (yea, yea, yea). See you around.

Writing statistics for the week ending 7.3.2021:
+9,328 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.

Writing Journal 6.26.2021: On deadline and… maybe turning things around? (Last week still sucked – the worst this year.)

[PHOTO NOTE: Did another Pexels search on procrastination, and I got this image.]

There’s not too many ways I can sugarcoat this – my writing productivity has sucked all this week and honestly this month. I know for a fact that this month will be the worst of the year and will likely bring my averages down for sure.

What I am going through is not a writing block but writing procrastination. I know exactly what I want to write, but I don’t want to get down to the grinding business of actually putting it down. Trust me, I know a bit about procrastination. But, maybe it can be a good thing for the creative process, like this article in LitHub discusses.

Why it’s effecting me is a totally different question. To be honest, I have finished a really rough school year of teaching – so rough, in fact, that I decided about halfway through the year not to return after my contract was up. For a while, I questioned whether I should remain in teaching at all, but I have decided to see if I can continue either full time or part time with another district. I want to see if it was the place that was the reason for that dread and not something else.

So, trying to recover from all that has been an issue. The other issue is that I have been working on some of this fan fiction for a while, and maybe I’ve gotten somewhat tired of having it in my head. In the new writer’s group I joined in Des Moines, one writer talked about how she preferred not to plot out too heavily in advance in writing because she found that she had often gotten tired of the story before she had even written it. By that, I think she meant that the story wasn’t as fresh to her as it could have been. I think I can relate to that, although I won’t give up on the story I’m telling, though.

I’m about 20 minutes before the end of Saturday, so I need to wrap stuff up before I hit my deadline.

Keep an eye on this page – I will be mentioning the first in-person event and meet and greet I’ll have hosted in… a long time, with both my move out to South Central Iowa (Chariton) and the whole COVID mess. I will have details in the next blog or two that I do.

Again, my record for last week was the worst weekly total I have had all year. However, I took a look at some of the preliminary numbers I have for the current week. I’m definitely on the upswing, and I’m easily going to have the best week I’ve had all month,

Anyway, here are the numbers. Keep safe out there, and talk with you soon.

PS – I was having some trouble with cross-posting these blogs to my Twitter handle. I think I’ve sorted that out.

Writing statistics for the week ending 6.19.2021:

+856 words written.
Days writing: 4 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 1 of 7 days.

Writing Journal 6.12.2021: June is starting off rough, but I’m hoping for a turnaround

[OBLIGATORY AT THIS POINT PHOTO NOTE: Since we are now well into June and everyone is thinking of sun and warm days, I decided to use a photo my wife recently took of our local waterpark/pool. She’s been spending a lot of time there, not to get rays, but due to the fact that the city owns it and she (as city manager) is trying to help out due to some short-staffing issues. Anyway…]

Yup, as I feared during my last writing journal, this past week’s writing totals stunk up the joint. I think that they might actually be the worst weekly totals of the entire year. (Lies – One week back in January I had half the total of last week’s.) I’m going to put it down to pure procrastination and end-of-school-year vibes. As I write this, I’m hopeful that the extra time I’m going to have will give me more opportunities to write.

Picture related

So, with all that said, and not much else to say for this post, here’s the numbers for last week. Short and sweet – hope the summer is getting to a good start.

Writing totals for the week ending 6.5.2021:
+976 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): 0 of 7 days.

Writing Journal 6.5.2021: Last full week of May a bit disappointing

[PHOTO NOTE: The featured photo was what I got when I did a Pexels search for “disappointed” and it was too funny not to use.]

This is way later than I usually post these things. I blame procrastination more than anything else. I also blame the end of year craziness that I have been dealing with regarding the school year. Yesterday was my last day on contract, so I am hoping that I have more time to write and not worry about school. I also have to admit the Memorial Day weekend was a total wash, as it was the end of the Premier League season and you know how obsessed I am with soccer.

I have also been really deficient in reporting my daily totals to this new group I have joined, the Iowa Writer’s Corner. Rather than the weekly tabs I have been posting here, I have been keeping daily totals there. It has been tough to write consistently on a daily basis. It is a bit embarrassing to not be productive, but I have to say that I think it has been good for me to have a challenge.

So, I will make a pledge that with summer now started in earnest, I should have more time to write, get to know central and south-central Iowa, get to know the new town that I live in better, meet more people… did I say write? I definitely want to write more.

Coming up this week, I want to get one or two other blog posts going. One of them needs to be about writing groups and how they’ve helped build me as a writer.

Anyway, here’s the stats for last week, and next week’s won’t be that stellar either – in fact, I almost guarantee it will be worse. However, I’m hoping tonight is the start of the turnaround. Actually, the numbers are better than the previous week’s, but not as good as I like. And next week will be worse, but hopefully not the following week.

Later, everyone.

Writing stats for the week ending 5.26.2021:
+4,238 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): 4 of 7 days.

Writing Journal 2.20.2021: It’s nice that I’m not blowing my journal writing deadlines at least

Well, it appears that reporting a week later than I had been was the way to make sure that I didn’t miss my deadline. Who would have thought that as a possibility?

My writing on my fanfic project continues at a steady clip, although I’m now starting to consider a new fantasy world… of my own design. Although I had some good initial experiments and Wonderdraft is turning out to be a good tool, I had to retool my map. And, I think I’m getting something that has promise… but I’ll talk more about it some other time.

With the school year and COVID still on the warpath, I’m doubting that I’ll be able to get out and about for too much having anything to do with books (mine or anyone else’s) or local writers until summer happens. I’m looking forward to that very much.

There’s more than a couple of snow days I’ve had in the past several weeks. At this point school will be ongoing until the first week of June at the very least, although I think the cold is finally going to lift here pretty soon. It does not really matter to me.

I might have some IRL announcements to make on that level… but not yet; I’ll hold off for a while.

Anyway, here’s the stats. I saw a slight improvement over the previous week’s numbers – hope I do even better this week.

Writers keep writing and everyone keep safe.

Week of 2.7.2021:
+3,004 words written.
Days writing: 4 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 3 of 7 for 150 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 6 of 7 days.