Housekeeping and an Anniversary

Richard Skinner

Truly a “miscellany” post this evening. Several things about the blog, my anniversary” as a “writer,” and the (probably wildly optimistic) writing schedule.

Okay, the blog housekeeping first. Posts have been very late and very erratic over the last month. Not at all satisfactory to me – I’ve mentioned that I want to get one review post and one “technical” post out every week. Well, those are still on the schedule, but only the review posts have a definite subject assigned – whatever book I have reviewed for Amazon. Even there, I’ll have to catch up over the next week or so; I’ve reviewed one book by Dan Hoyt and one by Pam Uphoff for Amazon, but haven’t managed to finish up the more detailed reviews for the blog. (Pam’s I haven’t even started as of this writing. Sigh.)

The Learning Curve posts – well, I am editing the latest one on covers this evening, and it will go up either late tonight or in the wee hours of the morning, assuming my current internet provider problems get resolved soon-like. (If they aren’t, you won’t even be seeing this post…) After this one, though, I am not going to guarantee continuing the series on covers every week – they’ll appear as I get them done. While that is going on, there are going to be much shorter posts on various other subjects. Pretty much whatever has hit me upside the head during the week just past, or something on how I approach writing. Obviously, the latter is going to be useful for some, and useless to others – every writer has to develop their own methods for best results.

Let me see… Ah, yes. Once today’s Learning Curve post is up, I will get the Post Index page updated. Later on (I don’t know just when right now), I will be adding some of the “frills” that most blogs sport, like tag words.

Last planned thing on the blog (right now) is that I will be splitting up the Blog Roll into two pages as soon as I can get around to it. I realized the other day that the page, as originally conceived, is restricted to linking sites where advice about writing is dispensed. A good idea, one that works with the name I chose for this place – but leaves out people that should be of interest to a new writer. So, at some point in the near future, the Blog Roll is going away, to be replaced by Writers for Writing and Writers for Reading. Writers for Writing will have the links to the resource sites that are currently in the Blog Roll, along with some new ones as I update it. Writers for Reading, on the other hand, is going to point you to those writers that I think are great examples of writing and professionalism. Which means that most of the people on the other page will also be here, except with an additional link to their author page on Amazon – but also links to the blog (if they have one) and author page of writers that don’t particularly write about the writing process. Yes, that also includes some writers that are no longer with us.

Now, about that anniversary… Probably not a big deal to anyone else, but it was just over a year ago that I decided to try to become a professional writer. Note – try to become. I’m not there yet, quite a ways away in fact. But August 3, 2015 is the day that I started to get organized. Created a spreadsheet to log my word counts and time spent (which has since split and evolved immensely). Began a daily “writing diary” with my word processor – coincidentally called “Writing Observer.” Began organizing folders on the computer, and cleaning up the bits and pieces of documents that I had dabbled with before – as early as November of 2014. And so launched a new “career.”

It’s been a bumpy road, with an immense amount of learning along the way. Hampered by various life events and problems. Slowed immensely by procrastination. As you’ve noticed, it’s still not settled down to a routine – assuming it ever will. Anyway, I decided to share a few numbers, à la Dean Wesley Smith, as of the end (August 2nd) of this first year.

286,909 total words written;
767 average words written per hour (of writing time);
403 average words written per hour (adjusted for non-writing tasks);
537 average daily words (over the entire year);
9,043 total words written (last ten days);
904 average daily words (last ten days);
0,652 total words written (last thirty days);
1,355 average daily words (last thirty days).

Couple of notes to make here – “words written” includes actual manuscript drafts, synopses, character sheets, background appreciations, blog posts, and my daily log. Unlike Dean, I don’t include words written for correspondence. I do include the time on that though, which is part of the “non-writing task” adjustment. Including all of that explains why the word count doesn’t equate to at least three novels for sale right now.

The adjustment for “non-writing tasks” takes into account the time I spend reading the blogs I consider essential for keeping up, on copy-editing, preparing for publication, cover creation, the organization and reorganization of folders on the disk, etc. (You can see that nearly half of my time is actually consumed by things that don’t involve transferring words from the brain to the disk. Sigh. That has stayed steady for quite a while, but I am hoping to see it slowly decrease as time goes on.)

Now, so you aren’t tempted to whip out your calculator, when you divide total words by average words with other things taken into account – I have not quite worked even two hours a day on writing over the last year. Yeah, right – professional writer, my foot. Well, I mentioned procrastination and a few legitimate reasons that have kept that production down. Really, although you will have to take it on faith, since May of this year that figure has gotten much better, something more like five to six hours a day. Still not good enough! The goal right now is to ramp my work time back up to the sixty hours a week, or more, that I worked as a professional software developer. I will get there…

On that subject – getting there – I have some trepidation (well, outright fear to be honest) in sharing my publication schedule, which was actually set into stone just this last Sunday. With the caveat that I make no guarantees whatsoever, though, here it is:

Tales By The Road #2, Fugitive – August 15, 2016.

Tales By The Road #3, Rapid Transit – September 15, 2016.

Tales By The Road #4, Sacrifices – October 15, 2016.

Tales By The Road #5, Hunting Party – November 15, 2016.

Tales By The Road #6, Regular Visitors (A Christmas Tale) – December 1, 2016.

Talons of Vengeance (working title, first novel in a series) – December 15, 2016.

Tales By The Road #7, Clerical Affairs – January 15, 2017.

Tales By The Road #8, Soldiers – February 15, 2017.

Tales By The Road #9, A Passing Acquaintance – March 15, 2017.

Pavement Ends (short story, prequel to Talons of Vengeance) – March 15, 2017.

Counterattack (working title, sequel to Talons of Vengeance) – March 31, 2017.

Tales By The Road #10, Death In an Alley – April 15, 2017.

And that is as far as my courage, or hubris, has taken me for the moment. There are many more novels, in multiple series (including a sword and sorcery series), that I have on the “projected work” list – but they are far too nebulous right now. Some will undoubtedly be collapsed into one novel, or one will be split in two, as I think on them more (this has already happened, so I know there will be more of that in the days and months to come). Many shorter works will undoubtedly be coming to mind, too.

Please stay tuned to this channel…

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