My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 28 of Writing Every Day In March

Well, it's the 28th and so far I've written every day this month! That is so awesome and exciting to me! It's a streak I haven't even accomplished during NaNoWriMo. I really wish I would have tracked exactly where I was in my manuscript so I could know the total number of words I will have written in March, but either way this little self-imposed challenge has been really successful so far. I'm thinking I'm just going to do it again next month - and try to keep it going for the rest of my life. Next month, though, I will be posting the word count for every day I write. Some days will be around 1,000 words or more, while others could be only a couple hundred. Below is a very rough approximation of my word count output so far this month:

Alright, here's a little progress report:

I'm just into the start of chapter 34 and at 38,247 words. The finished manuscript will probably be around 60,000 words. The story is going well and getting near the end of Act 2. Halfway through chapter 37 I'll be hitting Act 3. Then everything will ramp up and get harder and more exciting. My main character will really be pushed to try and get his goal accomplished. It should make for some exciting story. I can't wait to write it! It will be so exciting to finish this book. Writing every day this month has definitely gotten me a whole lot closer to finishing it. I'm so excited!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Day 19 of Writing Every Day In March

Yesterday was a close one. I almost didn't write! It was a very full day. I wrote a few sentences right before bed, but I wrote! I didn't break the chain of red xs on the calendar! Even though there were very few words written, it kept my head in the story and added to the pile that will someday be a novel. It's pretty clear I won't be able to finish this book in the month of March, but sometime in April seems very likely. That's still pretty exciting.

I have yet to publish a full-length novel. If this one turns out to be as fun and well structured as I'm hoping, then it will be my first published novel. I've written a few other full length novels, but they aren't publishable. There's some great stuff in them I'm proud of, but I still had a lot to learn about telling a story. I still do!

I'm also over halfway done writing another novel called "Zombie Super Powers" that I workshopped on The Roundtable Podcast, and that's what I'll be finishing next. I also finished a manuscript last year of a chapter book called "The Case of the Missing Snowman." That one is just waiting on illustrations to be finished. I'm the illustrator so I need to have a little sit down with myself and come up with a way to get those finished so I can publish that book.

If all goes well I will be publishing at least these three books this year:
  1. Haunted House Flipper (previously titled Ghost Hunting Realtor)
  2. The Case of the Missing Snowman
  3. Zombie Super Powers

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Day 15 of Writing Every Day In March

I'm currently in chapter 27 of my novel and I have passed the 30,000 word mark! The sometimes small amount of words I've been writing every day sure are piling up! I have been writing daily for 16 days now and I never want to go back! Before I was only writing when I happened to find large chunks of freetime.

I have found it so helpful to just make sure I write every day. Even if it's only for a few minutes it helps keep my brain in the story! That is so helpful. Anyways, 16 days of writing and I've written over 30,000 words in my novel now! I'm not sure on the total I've written this month but I think I was around chapter 20 or 21 when I started so I'm guessing from that it's around 8,000 words in the last 16 days.

I doubt I'll be able to finish my novel by the end of the month with the last several meager days of writing I've had, but I've still been writing everyday and I'm seeing progress everyday. It shouldn't be too long into April before I finish my first draft. I can't wait to get this book to beta readers to get feedback on it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Day 12 of Writing Every Day In March

I've been busy, but I have been writing. I haven't been writing much, but I still have dipped into my novel and tapped out a few words every day. The last few days the words have been sparse, but I haven't missed a day of writing. Even when I'm only able to write a little bit it still keeps the story fresh in my mind.

I'm having a little trouble making sure that the midpoint of the story does what it needs to. I don't think I had the character make dramatic enough decisions and actions so I've been adding little bits to chapter 26, and also going back into chapter 25 to beef it up a little. Once I get through this little midpoint logjam I think the story will start to flow again. I'm expecting my commute home today to bring a lot of new words and hopefully complete chapter 26. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope your writing has gone well. I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Day 9 of Writing Every Day In March

I know I got some writing done during my commute today, although my commute was much shorter than usual because I didn't go to work today. I'm taking the day off to spend it with my sweetheart. I'm writing this on day 9 instead of the day after my writing because this post date is my 10 year wedding anniversary! I am so thankful for my amazing wife. I can't wait to spend the next 10 years with her, and hopefully 50 more after that depending on how long we live. She's my best friend and I can't imagine life without her.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 8 of Writing Every Day In March

Yesterday I wrote around 900 words. I wrote on my phone on my commute using speech to text again. I wrote most of chapter 25. I'm pretty much halfway through my novel now! The story just keeps flowing and I keep coming up with ways to add tension to the scenes and I think it's really making the characters feel more real as they interact with each other in realistic ways.

Dealing with haunted houses and demons is one thing, but having to fix a relationship with your contractor because you were so mad you walked out on him just as you were about to start a job is another! I'm hoping these tense character interactions will flesh out the story and make it more than just a weird adventure about a realtor who finds the power to get rid of evil spirits in haunted houses so he can renovate and sell them.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Day 7 of Writing Every Day In March

Yesterday I wrote almost 900 words. I wrote on my phone on my commute using speech to text again. I wrote most of chapter 24. I'm getting so close to chapter 25 which is halfway through my novel! The midpoint where my character goes from reacting to acting. It's time to make plans to defeat the bad guy.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Day 6 of Writing Every Day In March

Yesterday I wrote a little over 500 words. I wrote on my phone on my commute using speech to text. I would have been able to write a lot more but the weather on the freeway was pretty sketchy with fresh snow. I was driving through slush so I chose to just focus on driving until I got off the freeway onto dry roads in my home town where the weather was much better.

I finished the 24th chapter though, so I'm still on track to finish the novel this month! I just have to complete a chapter every day. I shoot for 1,000 words but they usually end up being around 12,000 or even a little more sometimes. The manuscript is at 27,574 words with 24 chapters complete. At this rate the finished manuscript will be around 57,500 words. That will be a nice length. I outlined and planned for it to be about 50,000 words with 50, 1,000 word, chapters. Some of those will probably get shortened, but most chapters are turning out to be around 12,000 words so it's increasing the length of my book, which I'm totally okay with! It's still going to be a fun quick read.

As far as I'm concerned I still have a lot to learn so my plan is to write a whole bunch of short novels in several different genres. That way I can see if a particular genre or story grabs me and maybe from there I can start a series, but for now I just want to keep cranking out fun short adventure novels in lots of different genres and see if any of them find an audience.

There is one book I've written that I know is the first of many in a series. It's called The Case of the Missing Snowman and it will be the first in my Barnabas Thackeray Mysteries series. I'm still working on finishing the illustrations for that book but the writing is complete on it. Maybe I'll start the second one in the series after I finish this book. Or one of the other 50 ideas I have for books :) I seriously have a document with 52 book ideas at the moment. It's always growing too.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Day 5 of Writing Every Day In March

Yesterday I wrote a little over 2,000 words. I don't see how that's right because it didn't feel like I was even writing for very long, but I do remember the words were just pouring out of me super fast. I wrote on my Dell laptop. I don't like the keyboard on it nearly as much as my bluetooth keyboard, or our MacBook Pro, but it got the job done. This whole writing every day thing is really making a big difference in my productivity. Every time I sit down the words just flow because the story is still fresh in my mind. I'm used to writing in rare chunks of time that are few and far between. Often when I write it has been over a week since the last time I wrote anything. I don't ever want to go back there.

I really think having the simple goal to write every day is what has made such a big difference. I've never written this much in a week, other than during NaNoWriMo. I'm not getting up to the 1,667 words you strive for during NaNoWriMo, but I surpassed that word count goal by a little bit last night. I'm in chapter 24 and if I finish chapter 25 today then I will be on track to finish this novel by the end of the month! That would will be so awesome!

The best part in all of this is that I'm really enjoying the storytelling. I haven't once found myself stopping to check my word count. My mind is focused on the story. I don't even care how many words I'm getting down. I'm just making sure that I write something every day. I'm always surprised by how many words I get at the end of my writing session.

So here's to another day of not breaking my writing streak and painting another box with a red x on the calendar!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Day 4 of Writing Every Day In March

Yesterday I wrote a little over 900 words. I took my son to gymnastics and the other kids were going to play in the tubes and tunnels there, but they were closed for the day. So I took them to a Burger King with tubes and tunnels, or a "play place." They played, I bought a coffee, and I wrote.

I had my awesome wireless bluetooth keyboard with me that has a perfect docking spot for my iPhone 6+. In a little over a half hour I was able to knock out over 900 words. I think having headphones in playing the soundtrack to the Super Nintendo game Alcahest helped my productivity. Music in a public place really helps me drown out the noise around me and focus on my writing. I was at a table near a window and had a trusty cup of coffee by my side.

It was an excellent day of writing and my most prolific yet. The words just flowed. It was awesome. One more red x on the calendar!

Day 3 of Writing Every Day In March

Note: I'm posting this a day late because my wife and I stayed up way too late with some awesome friends playing a board game called Power Grid. It was so fun! Totally worth it but we went straight to bed once they left so I didn't have time to post my update for Day 3. Here's a pic of our fun:

Yesterday I wrote, well I'm not really sure how many words, but it was a good little pile of them. It was over 500 but I'm not really sure how many. It was another writing session that happened during my commute home with speech to text on my iPhone. I don't think I e mentioned that's how I do a lot of my writing. I prefer writing on a keyboard but speech to text is the fastest way to get words on the screen. It also is a great way to write dialogue. Since you're speaking the words they just come out a lot more natural than when you're typing. One more red x on the calendar!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Day 2 of Writing Every Day In March

Yesterday I wrote about 850 words. I had another nice long stretch on my commute home. That's still not a ton of words for a day but it is about 350 more words than Day 1. I have chapter 21 finished and most of chapter 22. I'm not writing a ton of words, but so far I have managed to write every day and I'm really happy about that.

When I finish the 25th chapter of the novel I will be halfway done with it. Wouldn't it be cool if I could finish my novel this month? That is my goal. With that said, I should probably figure out what my word count for each day needs to be and try and hit that. I have 28 days left in the month and about 28 chapters so I would have to write a chapter a day. I try to shoot for 1,000-word chapters but they usually end up being a little more than that.

I think I will do that. One chapter a day, but I'm still not going to beat myself up for days with only a couple hundred words. Even if I only write a little bit, but do it every day, I'll still have more words at the end of the week.

Two days in a row isn't much of a streak, but it's a great place to start! I can't wait to see this calendar full of red xs. I will be super bummed if there is even one day that ends up blank. My goal is to not let that happen. Even if you're coming in a couple days late, join me! Start your own calendar and paint it red!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Day 1 of Writing Every Day In March

Yesterday I wrote about 500 words. I did it in fits and spurts, but had one pretty good session on my commute home. 500 words isn't a lot, but I'm totally happy with it. I'm done feeling bad about writing less than a certain number of words on a day that I planned to write, because now I plan to write every day.

Easily Attainable Goals

I heard this guy, on a podcast or somewhere, who studied will power came up with an interesting plan for getting in shape. He took something that he was already in the habit of, brushing his teeth, and used that to spark a new habit of doing push-ups. He was smart about it though and tricked himself in a cool way. He knew that if he set out to do like 50 push-ups that he would probably fail or not even start the first one. So he had the easily attainable goal of doing just five push-ups every time he brushed his teeth. He found that he would always do the push-ups because he knew he could do five, but also that once he got to five he would just keep going. So he would end up doing way more than five push-ups, but if his goal had been more he might not have started. Pretty powerful stuff that really worked.

It seems like with anything in life just getting started is the hardest thing. So I've always wanted to be a writer who writes every day, but it just seemed impossible. I could never find the time. That's why at first I was trying to have a goal of writing just 250 words every day. It seemed pretty attainable to me. I still couldn't keep it up consistently, though. Now my goal is just to write every day. It's OK if I can only write for three minutes and get 150 words down. At least I wrote that day. I have found that the times where I have started to write with the knowledge that it might only be for a few minutes it ends up being a writing session where I get a lot more words down that I thought I would. So I am very proud of my 500 words that I wrote yesterday. I plan to write more than that today, but my goal is just to write today. I've heard that it's really good to have a word count you try to reach every day and I'm hoping I get there someday, but for now I'm just committing to writing every day.

I'd love to hear how you're doing in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!