What’s in a word count anyway?

ROW80I’m making an executive decision and declaring this week’s word count goal has been met!

I can’t prove it by what shows in my spreadsheet or in Scrivener’s word count. By that count I’ve only gotten 714 more words since last week. But I am certain that I delete at least as many as I wrote, since I’m scrapping a lot of repetitive stuff in the technical sections I am working on now. I’m not only plugging ahead, but rewriting as I go. So I suspect I wrote at least 1500 new words this week, but I have no way to prove it.

Thus: executive decree. I certainly made good progress anyway.

Here’s a link to the blog hop list for this Sunday’s check-in.

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Wednesday #ROW80 Check-in

ROW80Short and sweet: so far I’ve gotten 417 words of my 1000 word goal for the week. Since I haven’t sat down to write today, there’s a good chance I’ll pass the halfway mark when I do.

I ran into a technical section yesterday where I had to sketch out some notes and then skip on to another section. Since I’m writing for a non-technical crowd, I always have to juggle the presentation of subjects that can have lots of technical detail. Eventually I’ll figure out how much detail really fits, but I’ll need to see the section in context with what’s around it. When you’re writing at book length, there is so much to do that there’s always a section somewhere to work on!

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My first week of ROW80

The week has gone well for me. My goal was to write 1000 words of fiction or nonfiction, not counting blog posts and internet blather. I wrote 1143 new words on my nonfiction. I suspect my total word count was higher, but I went back and editing the first couple of chapters and took out many redundant words there so that my word count actually went negative at some points. But I pushed through it all and in the aggregate I more than finished my word goal for the week. I only hope I can stick with it for this entire round.

ROW80One very nice thing about ROW, and something I hadn’t expected, was the kind support from many of you who are also taking part. Both the support and the structure are helpful for me as I try to get back into writing. So thank you all, very much.

See you Wednesday!

Here is the blog hop list for this Sunday.

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First Wednesday

Just starting on this #ROW80 round. My goal is 1000 words, new words not including blog posts or other internet writing. Yesterday I pulled out my ‘Grow’ nonfiction book. I edited through the first part and wrote 265 new words. That’s a decent start.

I was pleased and a bit confused to find the book had nearly twice as many words written than I had noted on my spreadsheet. Still not sure why that is, but better more done than less!

Still about 750 words to go this week. Onward!

Edit to add: Link to the blog hop for today’s check-in.

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What I did on my summer vacation

When we last left our intrepid author (that’s me), she had met with an extreme failure of something — courage or imagination or stamina — and found herself in the midst of several writing projects, unable to move forward with any of them.

And so this has been a summer for introspection, as I tried to come to grips with what was in my way. Some of it, I’ve come to believe, is structural. I need to change my approach to writing. I’ve always written on pure intuition, and that’s creatively liberating and in many ways lots of fun. It also tends to leave me with lots of lovely bits and pieces that don’t necessarily hang together. So I need to figure out how to incorporate into my creative work the knowledge I’ve gained as I’ve grown older and more precise in my way of thinking and my approach to life.

I also spent time confronting a lot of old scars, familiar scars, psychic scars as well as physical, that stop me in my tracks far too often. I don’t want to discuss that here and now, but you can take as given that I was actively discouraged from creating, thinking, striving, trusting, for far too much of my life.

All of my good but incomplete works of writing have been stuck in the middle of these things. And there they sit at this moment. I don’t believe they’re dead since thoughts and dreams of them still arise in my mind unbidden. They still throw up fresh shoots from time to time. But I haven’t been able to move them forward.

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Updating the “Resources” page

My Resources for Self-Publishers page gets steady use. It’s always fun to see the page views jump when someone new finds it and explores the links.

It does need some updating, though, so over the next week or two I’ll be going through the links one by one and checking that they still work, and then re-organizing a couple of the sub-sections. I started the list here because I needed to keep all the links I was digging up for my personal use and thought I may as well put them in a public space where others could use them.

Over time the sub-sections have grown so much that they are less useful than I’d like. I particularly want to re-organize the marketing info, and the ‘Random for Writers’ section. I wish I knew how to sub-divide the ‘Services’ sub-sections on Editing and Cover Art, but I haven’t yet thought of an organization that would be useful and also make sense.

Anyway, don’t be surprised if the page shifts around quite a bit over the next couple of weeks as I play with new arrangements.

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Truth

“At some point, you have to sit down and face the page alone. At some point, the final decisions need to be yours. At some point, you have to give yourself deadlines and stick to them.”

— John McNally (via writingquotes on Tumblr)

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Today’s confession

So I sit here with three-quarters of a novel, and a piece of another one, with two short stories partially finished, and outlines of several more, and I can’t finish any of them. I’m not sure if I don’t know how, or if I am scared, or whether I’m a terrible person and a terrible writer which is of course how it feels. But so far at least, my writing has crashed and burned on the shores of everything I attempt to finish.

And so I remind myself, and all of you, of this bit by Chuck Wendig, which I’ve posted before.

…But worst of all, every time you fail to finish your work it wears another small hole in your soul. You can feel it there — that ragged tear in your cloth, wind whistling through the gap. Because you know what it means. You’re giving up. Giving in. Handing over the keys. Letting the terrorists that are your Doubt and Fear and Uncertainty win….

I haven’t given up yet, though I don’t know how to get myself to move ahead. So I’m scratching around trying to figure that out, trying to repair that hole in my heart, keeping the cold wind out. It’s spring now, but I’m not feeling it yet, and I can’t seem to force myself through. Maybe soon.

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Tuesday check-in

Mr. J and I have been sick for more than a week now. I’m not quite done with it yet, but getting closer. I managed to keep breathing and I am grateful for that. I am exhausted still so sleeping extra every night and generally taking it easy on myself.

I’ll try for a better update soon, but wanted to reassure everyone that I haven’t really vanished and I’ll be back to writing soon.

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And so, that’s that.

The Author Earnings reports have, finally, clarified at least the outlines of the “shadow industry” of self-publishers on Amazon. The self-publishing industry is real, and it’s large, and working within it is in every way a valid choice for writers to pursue as a career.

I’ll keep the list of links in my post below, but probably won’t update that post further. The one bit that’s stayed with me, though, was from Eoin Purcell’s Why Traditional Publishers Should Surrender to Self-Publishing. Purcell said:

Well the truth is, if there was a war between self publishing and publishing, it’s over and authors (who are the major self publishers and hence the foot-soldiers, commanders and field marshals of self publishing’s forces) have won it.

That’s a strong statement, and it mirrors my own take on the situation after watching the self-publishing industry for three years now. The authors have won. That’s excellent, and may it continue going forward. If the entire publishing industry becomes more author-centered, that can only be good.

I look forward to seeing what Hugh & Co. come up with once they scrape some data from Barnes and Noble and other places. Many thanks to Hugh and Data Guy for this fine bit of work.

Update: And right on cue, Author Earnings publishes the report on Barnes and Noble. Go read it!

Second Update: I think this section of a blog post by Randy Ingermanson is worth noting:

There will always be a few big winners and a large number who don’t earn very much. There is a “high head” and a “long tail.”

But the important point is that there is a “broad shoulder”—a set of writers who are not at the very top and yet are earning substantial money (thousands of dollars per year, or tens of thousands per year). For most of them, this is not enough to live on. But it’s enough to make their life better. That’s cool.

And it is, both cool and hopeful. I think that’s what Hugh has been trying to prove for a while now.

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