Monday, September 18, 2006

Good Nights ...

Despite spectacular success in my writing career, it just isn't paying the bills at the moment. Back to work a few nights a week.

Early mornings are the best time for me to write. However, getting home at one or two in the morning makes it hard to get up at five. Nevermind maintaining anything close to a smile or a courteous word during the day.

I'm going to try shifting fully to night writing to keep my mind an body on a single schedule. If this blog post is any indicator, it will be a battle to be creative and motivated after 9pm. Maybe I just need a nap.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In The Right Place ...

It isn't personal when an editor or agent rejects a submission. For short stories it is truly a numbers game. Editors receive hundreds, thousands perhaps for some publications, of submissions. They may reject it because for that one editor at that single publication at the time the editor reads the story she or he decides at that moment that the story doesn't meet her or his short term needs.

Out goes the story, again and again if necessary, until it is published. I am very happy to write that my story, Paper or Plastic?, has been published by the online science fiction magazine Atomjack. This is a very, very good thing. :-)

Look at the other stories in that issue of Atomjack and you'll see a theme. The editor mentions that this was unintentional. There just happened to be a lot of robot stories submitted that he liked. One editor, at one publication, reading my story, and deciding, for whatever reason, that it fit into his short term needs.

As this is my first published short story, I need to give a few shout outs. The online community at Forward Motion Writers has been very supportive and helpful. The eclectic group of writers who meet every other saturday at Borders (TEGOWWMEOSAB? We need a new name :P) have been equally supportive and I hope I have been able to give back in kind. So thank you Chuck, Chris, Kathleen, and Leo.

Finally, there are many friends and family who have not laughed out loud when I said I was going to be a writer. Special thanks to my wife and daughter. I am a writer.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I Guess ...

The challenge was 30,000 words in seven days. My final total was 16,605, a little more than halfway to the goal.

In my previous career as a computer analyst, I often had to estimate deadlines for projects. For this challenge I went with my gut feeling that I could reach the 30K mark. What if I had used my prior skills to evaluate my chances?

First, my tested typing speed is about 50 words per minute (WPM). I can't expect to have a constant rate of 50 WPM, what with stops and starts, typo corrections, and minor battles with M$ Word. Let's be conservative, say 30 WPM, which translates to 1,800 words per hour.

During the challenge I had five days where I was productive for 3 hours, and one day for 1 hour. I was sitting at the keyboard for a much longer period of time, but must deduct time for coffee, bathroom, and stretching breaks. Not to mention feeding the cat, checking the latest Red Sox loss, etc. A total of 16 hours for a potential 28,800 words.

But wait! Let's not forget the golden rule of estimation (works for budgets, deadlines, and the amount of time it takes to get one's child ready and out the door). After all calculations are done, double it. So for this example, 28,800 should require 32 hours. The most I could reasonably expect in 16 hours would be 14,400!

Clearly I far exceeded the resonable expectations. I will now reward this amazing feat of statistical hoop jumping with another cup of coffee. Right after I feed the cat.