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Hello

Posted on 2007.12.11 at 09:44
Still here, still kicking.  These past months have been challenging, and I think I'm going to leave it at that.  Counting pains is pointless.  Counting blessings is generally a lot more productive, so that's what I'll do.  Today is another day and tomorrow is coming soon, and all of it is fraught with possibilities for Good.  Jenn is healthy and doing well at work.  Jack is turning into a bubbly little kid.  In the past few weeks he has started crawling, cut two teeth, and become very jabbery with the "ma ma"s and "da da"s.  It's a thrilling time.

The writing report is: nothing to report since my last entries.  On occasion I've knocked an idea or two around, but that's about it.  There's a story or two in me that will likely come together with some ease once I sit down to commit them to paper.  Not sure what to do with the novel at this point.  It's not far off track, but it's off enough, and I don't yet know how to go about righting it.  But I will know, and soon I hope.  Productivity goals are dashed, obviously, but I'll figure that out too.

I hope this note finds you all well, and on track for a joyous holiday season.

Yours,
--K


Time Out

Posted on 2007.10.12 at 09:44
Well -- it has been a crazy couple of weeks.  But sometime in the next couple of days I intend to get back on track.  Probably won't be able to hit the Oct. 31 deadline for my first draft, but the jury is still out on that one.  We'll see.  More soon.

--K


Progress: Week 5

Posted on 2007.09.24 at 07:07
9/24: 1026 words, Chapter 6 complete @ 2100 words (no story production)
9/25: 1039 words, Chapter 7 opening
9:26:
9/27:
9/28:
9/29:
9/30:

Week 5 Total:


Progress: Week 4

Posted on 2007.09.17 at 05:35
9/17: 753 words, Chapter 5 opening (590 words, story 4A opening)
9/18: 733 words (484 words story 4A)
9/19: 1020 words (363 words story 4A)
9/20: 765 words, Chapter 5 complete / Chapter 6 opening (500 words story 4A)
9/21: 723 words (415 words story 4A, complete @ 1900 words)
9/22:  no production
9/23: no production

Week 4 Total:
4000 words novel (9500 total), story 4A complete, story 4B aborted.

Life interfered this weekend.  Ultimately, I chose to abort this week's second story.  4 completed stories in 4 weeks is only half of my intended production, and yet... I'm going to be okay with that.  It a fairly intense productivity level and it leaves me with 4 pieces I didn't have before.  Also: in the wake of this aborted effort I received an invitation to try something for an upcoming anthology and it really set my gears to turning.  This next short story effort may turn out pretty nifty.


Progress: Week 3

Posted on 2007.09.09 at 13:24
Tuning the Standards

700 words novel production Monday-Friday mornings (weekend production optional), story A production Monday-Friday afternoons (complete by Friday), story B production Saturday/Sunday (compete by Sunday).

9/10: 717 words, Chapter 2 complete @ 1300 words (150 words, story 3A)
9/11: 797 words (167 words story 3A)
9/12: 701 words, Chapter 3 complete @ 1300 words (250 words story 3A)
9/13: 1,438 words, Chapter 4 complete @ 1700 words (515 words story 3A)
9/14: novel day off (1,953 words short story 3A complete @ 2,600 words)
9/15: 500 words short story 3B
9/16: 600 words short story 3B complete @ 1100 words

Week 3 Total:
3700 words novel, Stories 3A and 3B complete.


Wrastlin' and Wranglin'

Posted on 2007.09.06 at 19:19
Having a lot of trouble getting a lock on [Story #1, Week 2].  Daily progress has been okay in term of sheer numbers -- but numbers are meaningless when the story makes no sense.  It's a strong opening and then... bleah.

The problem, I think, is my interest level.  My investment in it.  Each day when I finish production on the novel, I'm eager to write more.  I'm in love with the characters, the world, and everything going on in it.  It's all coming very naturally, too, as if I've been cooking this thing in my subconscious for a few years. 

I feel no such affection for this short story.  Gotta find it.

--K


Progress: Week 2

Posted on 2007.09.05 at 07:14
09/03: no production
09/04: no production
09/05:
618 words (+520 words continuing short story)
09/06: 617 words, Chapter One complete @ 4000 words (+420 words continuing short story)
09/07: 627 words, Chapter Two opening
09/08: no production
09/09: 2400 words new short story.

Week 2 Total:
1800 words novel, 900 words short story #1, 2400 words short story #2 complete.

Seeing a need to reset the standards a bit.  To ensure production of a complete story each weekend, I'm going to give myself a break from novel production on those days.  Weekend novel production is optional.  However, in the interest of hitting the novel deadline, I'm upping my daily production quota M-F to 700 words.

--K


Progress: Week 1

Posted on 2007.08.31 at 06:20
8/27: 543 words
8/28: 586 words (and 599 untitled short story opening)
8/29: 583 words (+ 500 continuing story)
8/30: 565 words (+ 559 story*)
8/31: 537 words (+555 story**, +161 story***)
9/01: no production
9/02: no production

Week 1 Total: 2,814 novel (2,374 story) for 5,188 total.


Upping the Ante

Posted on 2007.08.28 at 18:41
WARNING: Spotty Sports Analogy Ahead

Yesterday was Day 1 of my new writing habit.  If you do the math, that makes today Day 2.  Two days and a thousand words into this thing is probably a bit early to be upping the ante.  However, life -- God? the Universe?  Randy Johnson? -- likes to throw you a curve ball every now and again.  Our current curve ball is financial in nature.  There is a slight gap between our earnings and our outlay.  We could use a little extra money each month.  Not a lot.  Just a little.  But it's a crucial just-a-little. 

The tricky part is: without a major career revamp for Jenn or me or both, there's not a lot of room for added jobs -- or extra hours on current jobs -- without incurring the cost of daycare.  We have so far managed to avoid that cost, which is enumerated not just in dollars but in quality time with our son.  My day job is such that, even at 70+ hours a week, I can take care of Jack most of the time.  And whenever I can't, Jenn can. 

We're not futzing with that unless there's no alternative.

And there appears to be an alternative.  It's kind of crazy.  Or a lot crazy.  And it comes with no guarantees.  But as Adam West's Batman always liked to say: it just... might... WORK!

I could write more.

Specifically, I could write short stories.  I could get very, very serious about writing short stories again.

Okay -- you writers out there just did a classic spit-take.  Well done.  And point taken.  Generally speaking, writing and submitting short fiction is no way to make money.  If you write fifty and sell a half dozen a year, you're doing pretty well.  If you sell a dozen a year, you're upper echelon.

The thing is, there was a time when I did all right with short fiction.  Toward the end of my run at it, I was selling 90% of what I wrote.  So as far fetched as it might sound, it's not impossible.  I know I can do it.  Rather, I know I have done it.  The question is: can I still? 

Well... we're going to find out.

Starting today, we're cranking up the pressure cooker.  Monday through Friday of each week I'll write one story.  Saturday and Sunday I'll write another.  It doesn't matter if I have an idea waiting or not.  If I've nothing in mind when it's fingers-to-keyboard time, I'll pull a Bradbury, a McIntyre.  I'll make up a title at random and GO.  So happens that has been the formula for most of my own best stories -- best received and best compensated; I can't really speak to their literary merit -- so I'm confident this method can produce good, salable work.

What's more, I find that I'm really excited about the idea.  It's quite a shot in the arm.  Jenn's thrilled, too. 

And who knows?  Sometimes that curve ball is just what you needed.  Sometimes you hit it out of the park.

--K


Getting Clear, Getting Started

Posted on 2007.08.27 at 11:53
If you have ever uttered the words "I'm just gonna rest my eyes for a second" -- if you've awakened hours later in panic and confusion -- you have a pretty good sense of where I'm at right now.  These past few months have been so... full... that I actually managed to forget about writing altogether.  Not "no time for writing today; I'll set aside a block this weekend."  I'm mean no consciousness of it at all.  No awareness, no longing, no ideas tugging at my waking thoughts, no dreams cooking stuff up in my sleep.  No nothing.

This has happened before.  A few years ago I hit a pretty rough patch in life.  I lost sight of writing then, too.  And as things brightened up, as I saw how far I had wandered, I blamed the bleakness of that time.  I told myself it's easy to lose your way when things are tough.

Well, turns out it's just as easy to lose your way when things are good.  Basically, it's easy to lose your way.

The younger Me would have been very self-critical about this.  He would have been angry.  He would have chastised himself for being unclear about his aims.  He might have even called himself a fraud.  "If you really wanted to write," he'd say, "you would write.  It's that simple."  And somewhere in there he would certainly have a point.

The older Me, however, knows that life really does get complicated.  At best, you lose a few months here and there.  At worst, you wake up after fifty years with the ghosts of various Christmases stopping by for tea.  It really does happen to all of us, in small ways and large.  That's why A Christmas Carol and stories like it are so compelling.  Everyone knows what it's like to get lost.  Everyone wants to believe in the power of redemption.

Yeah.  Screw self loathing.  I like the idea of redemption, too. 

The time off -- not just the past few months, but the past, oh, decade or so -- hasn't been devoid of creative energy or intention.  It has been a time of living, seeing, experiencing.  I find that after all this time I am possessed of something more than just an arbitrary need-to-type-stuff.  There's a lot I actually want to say.  Stories I want to tell.  Feelings I want to share.  I want to lift a reader up.  And in all honesty I want to break him, too.   I want make him shake his head and stare at the wall for a while.  I want to make him cringe and savor. 

I want to play my part -- the part so many writers have played for me -- in taking him somewhere else for a while.  I want to help him exist in that space, in moments throughout his day, for weeks on end.  I want him to want to wish he could go back there. 

I want him to realize he can.

So: today I'm starting a new novel.  And I'm signing a little contract with myself, with the intention of keeping on track.  It's comprised of four basic commitments.

  1. Write every day, no less than 500 words.
  2. Share each day's production with Jenn.
  3. Post daily productivity notes on my writing blog.
  4. Finish a first draft by October 31st, 2007.
Pretty basic.  Productivity and accountability.  The rest of it will happen in the writing.

Here goes!

--K


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