July Write Day: The Return of the Summer Doldrums!

June was a slow month on the writing front, and kind of on every front. It’s yet another month that passed by so quickly, yet I can’t say with much confidence what I did.

We did a ton of work on our cellar, I suppose. It’s an old brick foundation with some cement, and we spent three or four weekends in a row filling in gaps and cracks with hydraulic cement, then painting over it all with water-sealing paint. We’re still not done.

As much as that stuff needs to get done, it definitely ate up my weekend downtime. But, no excuses!

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Finish the second draft of “Uprooted”.
  2. Write 12,000 words.
  3. Continue reading.
  4. Continue doing yoga daily (or almost daily).

So how did I do?

Finish the second draft of “Uprooted”?

No! Ugh, I have no idea what I did in June… aside from watching Community and sealing and painting our cellar.

What’s crazy is that I did not have an objectively bad writing month, it just looks so compared with the stellar progress I made in April and May. I wrote 4,031 words in June, but quite a bit of it was rewriting a pivotal section that I simply did not like from my first draft.

I had transcribed it the previous month, but then found that I couldn’t continue. It just didn’t feel right. So after mulling it over for way too long, I decided to change the scene entirely. That process of rethinking this one section of the story really slowed me down in the first couple weeks of June.

The rest of the time, I was just lazy. We’re going on a trip this weekend to a (socially distanced, non-touristy) family vacation home, and I’ve been looking forward to it all month. My brain started to slip into vacation mode, which always seems to happen to me around this time of year. Anyone remember this post?

Anyway, I didn’t make nearly as much progress as I had wanted to on “Uprooted”, but I’m not going to expend energy beating myself up about it. Maybe this was the mental hiatus I needed. Plus, I’m looking forward to starting part 2 longhand this weekend, while sitting by a lake sipping tasty concoctions.

Write 12,000 words?

I just realized that I had separate goals for finishing a draft and total word count, but the previous section flows pretty well and I’m not changing it. See above.

Continue reading?

Yes, but not as much as I may have liked. I’m just about finished my second Audible Original for the month, which always run short, but I haven’t read much in the way of paper pages recently. I’m just not yet into the fantasy book I had picked up, but I’m going to keep plugging away at it.

Strangely, a random post from a friend on Facebook led me down a rabbit-hole of Warhammer 40,000 related content, so I’ve been reading a ton of articles on a fan site. I started with the Night Lords and keep finding more things to read. Man, I miss that game. So expensive, though.

Continue doing yoga?

Yes! My one big achievement in June! I haven’t done it every day, but it has definitely been most days. I’m still using Sarah Beth Yoga on YouTube, and I now have a few favorites I’ll go back to for specific types of exercise, focusing on specific areas, etc. But, I’ve branched out a lot to and have made an effort to try new videos each week.

What’s great about yoga is that my workout can change depending on my mood. Some days I need high-intensity strength training. Some days I’m sore and want to loosen up. Other days, I just want to feel relaxed. Yoga gives me all of that, which has been incredible for my mental health as much as physical.

Goals for July

  1. Actually finish “Uprooted — The Herb Witch Tales #1”. I don’t think I’ll have a problem finishing. I’m now over a bit of a plot hump that coincided with the summer doldrums, and I genuinely want to complete this draft.
  2. Write 10,000 words. I’m going back to basics. Word counts sometimes put the wrong kind of pressure on my writing. I don’t care what I write for part 1 as long as I finish. Drafting part 2 longhand will be a longer process, especially starting out, so I’m aiming lower than last month.
  3. Continue with yoga and hit the gym. My gym is open with social distancing policies in place, so I want to get back into weight training. The good news is that I feel physically ready to do so, without the pressure of jumping into it too fast. For the first time in 15 years, weight training is now the complement to my exercise staple: yoga.
  4. Find a way to read more. Listening to audiobooks are basically the only thing I miss about driving all the time, but I can definitely be doing more. I still need to pad my 2020 reading goal for GoodReads posterity.

Steve D

Exercise 2: Am I Saramago

Steve’s post last week on his progress towards his goals was very inspirational. So I confess: I’ve never been good about setting writing goals. Partly because I have abysmal time management skills, but also because in the past I would write in fits and starts. I would plunge into a story and write for hours, day after day, and then when something would come up or the plotting/story would get hard, it would be weeks or months (or never – okay, pretty much never) until I would come back to it. I no longer have the luxury to write for hours on any day, let alone any sort of marathon burst of creativity. Life has forced me to write a little each day (only other option: none at all) and actually, this has served to turn the unsustainable torrents into more of a reasonable trickle. Circumstance-enforced discipline, I suppose.  So maybe it is time to retry Writing Goals.

One goal I have had in the last month is to post here on Mondays – and so to keep achieving goal number one, here is the next exercise from Ursula Le Guin’s Steering the Craft book. This is from Chapter 2, the chapter on Punctuation and Grammar. She calls this exercise a “pure consciousness-raiser” about the value of punctuation.
Continue reading “Exercise 2: Am I Saramago”

April Write Day: Writing in Quarantine

March has been weird for everyone, I’m sure. Maryland, my home-state in the US, has been under a state of emergency with escalating degrees of a shutdown for at least three weeks.

My wife and I are incredibly fortunate to both still be working. I am working from home, and she is considered an essential employee for a healthcare institution. (She works in a lab, so she’s not on the front lines of the pandemic response, like most doctors or nurses are.) My son is out of daycare for the time being, and I haven’t left my house in a week.

I’d be happy to talk about life under quarantine if you’re interested, but not in this post.

This post is about writing! And other goals. Continue reading “April Write Day: Writing in Quarantine”

March Write Day: Looking Ahead

February has been a month of preparation, or at least preparing for future preparations…

I’ve started looking into conventions I want to attend this year, and realized a little too late that I should have been doing this three months ago. Due to another trip I’m taking around the same time, I will not be attending Awesome Con in DC this year, which is a bummer.

However, I’ve found a few book festivals in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia that I’m looking into attending later this autumn. Some of the application dates are looming, so that will be a focus for me this month. I’d definitely like to attend two of those. I’m considering doing all three. Hopefully I’ll have more details this time next month. Continue reading “March Write Day: Looking Ahead”

February Write Day: Moving Along

January went by pretty quickly, but I feel pretty good about how I’ve started off the year. I was on a pretty good rhythm with both writing and going to the gym.

Last week, I attended a four-day seminar at work, which included later-than-usual nights and a couple dinners. It was a great time, but it threw me off my routine a little bit. I should be able to jump back in pretty easily though.

Continue reading “February Write Day: Moving Along”

2020 Marketing Goals: Short Story or Bust

Last week I reviewed my book marketing goals for 2019 and summarized how those went.

TLDR: meh.

But the past is gone and we must look forward! So here are my plans for 2020 on the book publishing, marketing, and selling fronts. Continue reading “2020 Marketing Goals: Short Story or Bust”

2019 Book Marketing Goals Wrap-Up

2020 somehow feels like it’s already gone by so fast, until I stop and realize it’s only the second week.

Anyway, now that I’ve reviewed the numbers for this site in 2019, it’s time to go back to my book marketing goals for a final check-up. Continue reading “2019 Book Marketing Goals Wrap-Up”

Numberbrag 2019! And 2020 Plans

2019 was a weird year. I helped raise an infant into a toddler. I lost my job, was unemployed for four months, and found a new job in a totally unexpected place. And, oh yeah, I transferred five years’ worth of website content to a new domain!

I legitimately forgot that we switched from Red String PaperCuts to Evening Satellite as our main site in 2019, until I read over my numberbrag post from this time last year.

In that post, I focused on the types of content featured most heavily on this site in 2018, and some loose ideas about where I thought we were going in 2019. I’ll do something similar for 2019 and 2020.

Continue reading “Numberbrag 2019! And 2020 Plans”

January Write-Day: New Year, New Adventures

December was a fun month. I’ll get into it a bit more with my goal review, but we got to watch our one-year-old open gifts and really be excited to play with new toys for the first time.

Writing time was limited due to the holidays, but that frankly wasn’t surprising. I’ve been productive in other ways, effectively planning how things are going to go on this site for this year. More on that in a few days. Continue reading “January Write-Day: New Year, New Adventures”

Pre-2020 Goals and Ideas

For whatever reason I’ve been thinking a bit about my writing and publishing goals for next year, including my goals for this site. That, of course, leads me into thinking about what I want to do with this site in general.

I’m not going to write my full book marketing goals post for 2020 yet, because it’s 11pm on a Monday, and it’s not quite 2020. However, I’d like to set the stage a bit for how I may approach the coming year, and get some thoughts onto virtual paper. Continue reading “Pre-2020 Goals and Ideas”