Proofreading Done on “Love Runs Out”

Yesterday the proofed version of Love Runs Out plopped into my inbox.

I impressed me, I did.

In a 44,000-word novel, there were about 30 typos, and 2 issues with wording, both effectively typos.

That’s a 7/100s of 1% error rate.

James does excellent work. He catches errors even after I’ve gone through a dozen times. His attention to detail is flawless. He also does a certain level of editing, questioning unusual wording, and he loves fact-checking. He really loves fact-checking.

I’ll have the manuscript finalized by end of week, meaning all I have left now is to settle, for sure, finally, absolutely, on the font for the cover.

A New Jake Calcutta Story in March

The second Jake Calcutta story is getting a final proofread this week and will be ready for newsletter readers in my March 1st newsletter, he said with an unusual confidence in his communication schedule.

The second Jake Calcutta story, The Illuminating Adventure of Jake Calcutta and the Second Bite, is less adventure, more backstory. It’s the story of his grandmother, Rachel Kolkata, inventing time travel and taking Jake under her wing in the process. You’ll see Jake meeting the triplets in the lab, and the illustrious and ethereal Felicity Bruttenholm. (You are pronouncing that correctly, aren’t you?)

This one will be for newsletter subscribers only. Won’t be selling it at Amazon, at least not this year, and won’t be giving it away anywhere else.

Progress on Love Runs Out

I’m halfway through rewrites. Plan to finish in early March, then have it edited by end of March, proofread and published by end of April, he said once again obliviously confident in his scheduling prowess.

It needs a new cover, though. The story isn’t red-and-black dark, it’s blue-sky green-forest with dark undertones.

The Best Beloved Seal of Approval

When Sue read the near-final draft of Rafe Keyn and the Temporal Lisle I only wanted one piece of feedback: does it work?

No writerly feedback. No plot ideas. No character suggestions. None of the stuff people always want to say to writers.

Did it suck you in and keep you in?

This late in the game, that’s all I need to know.

And her answer was “Yes.”

It’s being proofread right now, and I have one or two sentences that need polishing after my current read-through. The cover is done. (See? Right there above.)

I can see the checkered flag. I’ll keep you posted.

Ignore Willpower. Create Habits.

drip, drip, drip“People who are good at self-control … seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place.”—psychologist Brian Galla, quoted by Brian Resnick in the article Why willpower is overrated.

From the same article:
“Structuring your life is a skill. People who do the same activity, like running or meditating, at the same time each day have an easier time accomplishing their goals, he says — not because of their willpower, but because the routine makes it easier.”

Willpower gets used up and simply cannot be used until it is replenished.

Habits, once established, require no willpower.

I’m planning more articles on developing the writing habit. In the meantime here are some I’ve already written:

This is an area where knowing your specific struggles will help be research the best advice to share.

Where do you struggle to create the habit of writing?

How Long Does It Take to Write 1,000 Words?

stopwatchThat search shows up here more frequently than any other except searches for my name.

Here are a few answers:

  1. At a typing speed of 25WPM, about average for a nonprofessional,
    1,000 ÷ 25 = 40 minutes
    At a more professional speed of 50WPM, it’s 20 minutes. If you’re my wife and type 80WPM it’s less than 13 minutes. This is the least meaningful answer I have.
  2. My scenes tend to run about 1,000 words. Most writers manage 2,000 per scene, but I’ve tried adjusting my stance and leaning toward the plate, and I’m still not hitting it, so I do what I do. One scene, about 1,000 words, takes me about an hour, because although I type 50WPM I also pause sometimes to ruminate on the next bit. Sometimes I can blaze away for 90 minutes nonstop, but that’s the exception. The rule is, about an hour for a 1,000-word scene.
  3. The writer who pauses to fix every typo, polish every sentence, adjust the punctuation, and carefully balance sentence lengths, paragraph lengths, and whatever else they balance, all the while keeping one eye on the word count meter, will take a week. Or a day. Or a month. Or forever. I don’t know. At this point, it’s the wrong question.
  4. How long does it take to write 1,000 good words? Still the wrong question.
  5. How long does it take to write a 1,000-word story? Good question. I write what I call 1-Page Classics. I shoot for 1,000 words. They take me about 3 hours, start to finish, idea to polished prose.
  6. Now we’re talking about storytelling, real writing, and not word count. How long does it take to write 1,000 words of good story, in addition to all the words you already have? It depends on whether you’re in the flow, brain dumping a scene you envisioned en tableau, and spend half an hour, or grinding your way through a vital slice that weighs heavily on your emotions, dredging up doubt and anguish from past pains and future fears. That might take all day, all week, even.
  7. What if you haven’t even started yet? Your first 1,000 words might flow like mad, at nearly typing speed (20 to 40 minutes.) If you spent some time planning, or if an idea gripped you and won’t let go till you spill, that’s feasible. Otherwise, if something doesn’t feel right, either because you didn’t stop to celebrate finishing a novel yesterday, don’t have an idea what this one is about, or need to get paid so it doesn’t matter, you just need to get the blasted thing written, we’re back to hours, maybe days.
  8. One last answer: sit down at your computer, start a timer, and write until the word count meter says 1,000. Check the timer. There’s your answer. Not the dumbest answer, but perhaps the least satisfying.

How long does it take you to write 1,000 words?

You’re Not Getting Your Writing Done Because You’re Building the Wrong Habit

Tom’s cat. No, it’s not a tomcat.
Editor Tom asks how we manage to start writing projects without bedeviling ourselves.

Short version: make it a habit.

Slightly longer version: make it the right habit.

Full version:

After 18 months of experimentation (following 18 years of dabbling) I’ve made writing my habit. It’s part of my daily routine.

Every morning, Best Beloved and I have our tea and a chat. Then, I go downstairs and write one scene (+/- 1,000 words is where mine seem to fall.)

Continue reading “You’re Not Getting Your Writing Done Because You’re Building the Wrong Habit”

What is Your Writing Goal for Today, for This Project, for Your Life?

what are you aiming for?A subtle theme, more a motif, runs through my conversations with authors. When they talk about their writing, there’s one thing they don’t mention:

When it will be done.

There’s a reason this site is named Someday Box. A reason I chose Getting Your Book Out of the Someday Box as the title for that book.

“Someday” is not a goal. Someday is a dream, a vague notion. Sir Ken Robinson tells the story of chatting with a brilliant pianist whose name I can’t remember. Robinson said “I wish I could play like that.”

The pianist said something like, “No, you like the idea of playing like that. If you really wished you could, you’d be doing something about it.”

Do you want to be a writer or do you just like the idea?

Continue reading “What is Your Writing Goal for Today, for This Project, for Your Life?”

Progress Report on ‘A Long, Hard Look’

It’s edited and proofread, and almost ready to be formatted.

James, the world’s greatest proofreader, found some logical inconsistencies in the story.

Tom, the editor, agrees with me that, in his words, “It isn’t an equation, its an ebb and tide of hypotheses.”

So, today I check the proofreading notes, make my final font choices, and send it off to Leigh Anne Aston to be formatted.

She’ll have it back by Monday(ish) and then we upload it to CreateSpace, order and check the printed proof, and then you all order a handful of copies each for your reading groups, friends, family, and others.

Yeah. That’s the plan.

Where’s the Order, Where the Habit?

My unconscious is apparently toying with me. Write a post Monday about being orderly and habitual to reserve mental and emotional energy for art, and then don’t write posts the next two days.

This comes, perhaps, from not having specific goals, either targets to aim for or purposes for the actions. “I should write a post every day” isn’t meaningful. “Engaging with readers regularly builds loyalty” is a bit better.

running the maze

This year, my goal has been to write more mysteries. Our 3 businesses, Spinhead Web Design, Someday Box, and Chief Virtual Officer, are all doing what they do without much input or marketing effort from me.

After writing a 60,000-word mystery, one chapter a day, over at my personal blog, I may not post much there until there’s a specific reason. Continue reading “Where’s the Order, Where the Habit?”

How an Orderly Life Benefits Your Art

rock paper scissorsYou’ve seen the common perception of “artists” — disorganized, flighty, not always entirely in touch with reality. Mess and disorder, partying ’til all hours and sleeping in, drink and drugs and bad behavior of all kinds. Artists aren’t expected to behave like “normal” people because, y’know, they’re artists.

Truth is the more habits you institute in your life the better it is for your art. Here’s why.

Using Up Willpower

Exercise strengthens muscles. It also strengthens willpower.

Muscles get tired and have to rest.

So does willpower.

Continue reading “How an Orderly Life Benefits Your Art”

After the Storm There’s No Time to Relax

To stretch that anchor/storm metaphor:

After the storm has passed the crew can’t take a break. First order is damage assessment and vital repairs.

Once the fires are put out, literally or metaphorically, the ship still needs sailing. A myriad little things need tidying up.

If the crew takes it easy after the storm they condemn their ship.

Continue reading “After the Storm There’s No Time to Relax”

Lost Days, Lost Time; Or, You Can’t Fill a Black Hole

I have struggled with depression my whole life. During the past 10 years it has improved immensely, especially the past few. I now consider myself a happy person, a content person. The black days which used to be the norm are now rare.

But they’re not gone.

Continue reading “Lost Days, Lost Time; Or, You Can’t Fill a Black Hole”

Back on the Rails

image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/796527 by Dominic Morel http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cx_edThe double-fudge-loaded cheesecake derails your healthy eating habits.

Disturbed sleep derails your writing habit.

Surprises in your schedule derail family time.

Unexpected behavior from others derails your best intentions to be the best possible version of yourself.

Time goes into stealth mode and derails your blogging routine.

Some of those seem trivial. Others are major events. Each of us would rate each of them a little differently.

Continue reading “Back on the Rails”

Marketing Strategy: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1379787 by Jan Willem Geertsma http://www.sxc.hu/profile/jan-willem. . . blog.

If I had to choose one marketing strategy to fit into an incredibly busy life and didn’t cost a penny, it would be my blog.

This blog automatically feeds every post to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. As soon as I sort the technical details, it will automatically post to Google+ and Pinterest.

(Update #1: Continue reading “Marketing Strategy: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .”