Category Archives: Progress

Just keep writing

WIP:  Goth Girl and the Queen Cobra
Words:  ~1000

Many, many long (and frequently unpleasant) moons ago, I made a promise that I would blog each day that I write up until my trip to Mexico.  Well, then I entered the period of my incarceration (the not moving due to herniated disc in back).  And while I did not blog each day that I wrote, I also didn’t write much.  (Sitting and computers for any length of time were not an option).

And my trip to Mexico got delayed for a year since I couldn’t sit on an airplane and the thought of lying around all day was horrific (that was all I was capable of doing for the first three months of this year, and I crawled my way out of that situation very gradually, yuck).

But now I’m working on getting back in the habit.  Getting the writing juices flowing.  Insert any type of familiar metaphor you like into this spot.

It’s not my first day back writing.  But it’s my first really owning up to it.  It’s like getting back on that bicycle.  You may never fully forget how to do it, but boy is it uncomfortable if it’s been a long time.

I feel uncertain and clumsy.  But better that than staring blankly at a screen.

It probably doesn’t help that this new project is in a new style for me.  It’s a fun, dark romp though. And with that, it’s time to close up shop for the night

Happy writing, joyful reading!

~Samantha

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Time Accountability

Thanks to my recentish iPhone purchase, I’ve discovered that these days it is much easier to be accountable to myself than ever in the past.

Because there are apps.  There are apps that make it ridiculously easy to track your food intake (more on that in a later post), to track your money, and to track your time.

Now I recently took a RWA (Romance Writer’s of America) course through their Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal online group on Writing as a Business.  And much of that course boiled down to:  act professional, look professional and keep track of your stuff as a professional.

One of the specifics then from this was the recommendation to keep track of your time.  Should the nightmare happen and you get audited, you have a stronger case if you can show how much time you actually spend on this second job (with it’s typically horrible hourly wage of next to niente).

Well, keeping a log is effort.  And not fun.  And those two things combined typically kill something for me.

But with my recent iPhone acquisition and success in taking control of other aspects of my life by using the tools it offers, I had to know, was there another tool out there waiting for me?

Why yes, yes there was.  Hours Tracker is its name.  Tracking jobs is its game.  So I entered in all of the different stories I’m working on and the typical other work associated with writing, such as blogging and email management (gods, how I loathe email, but that’s neither here not there for this post).

And when I start working on something I tell the pretty little app that I’ve started and on what.  When I’m done, I turn it off.  And it keeps track for me.  Tallied by project and possibly by month (but I haven’t been using it long enough to tell).  And it’s exportable.  So at the end of the month I just export the data, print out the report and file it as my physical backup.

So easy.  So lazy.  So fun.

So suddenly noticeable as to how much time I’m actually spending writing.  Okay, sure, I can still use the ‘recovering from back injury’ excuse.  And it is true, but the reason is disappearing in direct proportion to my physical improvement.  And I’m left staring at the number, or lack thereof, of hours spent actually working on specific stories.

That leaves me only one question.  Am I going to change my behaviour and get writing more?  Or not?

Sh*t or get off the pot, as they say.

So when I…you know, this analogy is starting to disturb me.  So let’s go with, when I start logging hours on writing that isn’t blogging, I get this happy, positive reinforcement from seeing the hours start to add up on the app.

Accountability and reinforcement.  For me they are wonderful tools for getting me off–no, wait, that would be on my ass and writing.

It’s amazing what a little awareness will do for our behaviour, don’t you think?  And being accountable, even if only to yourself, of how your time is spent.  Well, it got me in my chair tonight typing rather than on the couch watching Hot Fuzz.

Anything that helps me with writing is a win in my book.  Okay, I couldn’t resist the pun which is a clear sign it is time to get some sleep!  So I will stop now but would welcome hearing what self management techniques have working for you!

Writers, may your words flow onto the page; readers, may the stories delight you.

May we all dream in technicolor,

~Samantha

Whiteboards rock!

In my work place (I work at a University), whiteboards are so ubiquitous that my office came standard with one, but I had to specially request a corkboard.

Now I’m addicted to them.

I’ve acquired 3 for home.  A small one for planning my week and keeping track of immediate tasks and planning.  Two for story planning.

It would have been one, but then I would have had to erase it to work on my plotting issues on the other WIP (work in progress).  To which I said hell no!  Besides they stack very neatly against each other, so there’s no problem with multiples.

So yes, I use them for plotting, story planning, world building.  Really, any kind of idea generation works so well on that smooth expanse of white.  Even post-its don’t work as well for me as scribbling notes that I know I can just erase, re-scribble and keep going with.  Maybe paper’s just too much commitment for me and my commitment phobia is resurfacing in a strange and peculiar way.  Or I just love being able to scribble where I want.  Either way, I find whiteboards the perfect way to work through all these story areas, particularly plotting problems (my personal bane).

It’s easy to switch colours for different concerns, straight lines for those scenes I’m certain of, dashes for those that may need to get reviewed, changed or moved.  Red notes on the places that I have questions.  Odd random notes in the corners for things I need to remember.  Different colour for the sections I haven’t written yet but have the basic, broadest strokes defined in my head.

Or in other words, whiteboards rock.  So much flexibility. And with digital cameras, it’s no cost and no effort to record whatever you’ve written down before wiping it away and starting all over.

So if you, too, are staring at blank post-its and wondering what to do, consider the power of whiteboards.  Just saying.  😉

Story submitted!

Okay, I may have been quiet on here, but I’ve been active elsewhere!

April was the month of classes and I enjoyed them all.  The Business on a Shoestring was particularly fascinating since it was almost all new to me.  Thanks to Dr. Pepper I’m known logging my hours for all things related to my writing career.  Career, what a lovely word.

But today’s success is about getting in my short story submission to Misanthrope Press for their Etched Offerings pagan anthology.  While my story certainly is pagan-centric, I’m hoping not too dark for ’em.

So yay for my achievement of the day!  On to the next task:  buying Wicked tickets.  It’s finally come to Vancouver and a group of us are going together.  Saw it in New York and loved it and now I don’t have to travel across the continent to see it again.  Yippee!

Happy Friday to all 🙂

Slight Step Forward

It’s been a long 3 months with a ridiculous amount of drugs (largely painkillers) and time spent on my back (and not in a fun way).  I’m starting to get back to positions of an upright nature and it turns out that it is a lot easier to type on a computer when upright than when lying flat.

And so today I’m back at the writing, in itty bitty baby steps.

Working on a short story for submission to Misanthrope Press for their pagan anthology “Etched Offerings”.  Haven’t got much farther into it, but hey, every little bit counts!

Keep writing, keep living!

Scrivener

That’s right.  I’m giving Scrivener a try.  Taking my writing to a more organized level?  Perhaps.

I will say that even a few hours in, of just transferring over my work from NaNoWriMo, that it was already feeling more under control, more organized.  Apparently digital recipe cards work a hell of a lot better for me than the real thing.

Go figure.  I’m mildly disturbed by this.  I like my physical, hands-on world.  Going fully digital?  (Yes, despite my love and use of computers since the first one entered our house when I was eight.)  Disturbed.

Silly me.

But Scrivener seems pretty awesome so far.  If you have any experience with it, I’d love to hear your comments.

It’s the annoying things…

Location:  couch (but hey, I got an hour of walking, physio and stretching in so I’m okay with that)
WIP:  Agent of Fate
Work:  outlining

Yep, it’s outlining time.  This novel was pushed out faster than others in the past so before I hit the finishline on it I need to go back, add in some subplots, get it all organized and add in those scenes I know that I juts danced on by.

To do all these wonderful things I must outline what I have, get it onto cue cards and post-its and spend some fun time organizing.  I’m looking forward to that part.  Not so much on the outlining.  But I’m plugging away on it.

Progress!