Sunday, January 28, 2007

Redline ...

The pen wasn't new when I started, but it's sure out of red ink now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Reading Behind ...

Jumping ahead here by looking back (could be dangerous.) In about six weeks this blog will be a year old. While I celebrate beginnings, this one isn't a big deal to me. In fact, I had decided to start deleting posts at that point.

Why? The internet is well clogged with useless stuff and I don't want to add to it. While I am humbled that anyone stops by out of interest or pity to read these words, I don't pretend to be dispensing gems of wisdom that need to be carried on down through the ages.

I'm also going by my experience with other blogs I've come across. Take a look at CafeDave. (Please note: I don't know Dave, have nothing against Dave, and am not trying to criticize Dave. His site was just the first one I came across in Google that was helpful to my point here. And if he should somehow come across this post: Hi Dave!) Look at how far back his archive of posts goes. He's been blogging for over six years. If I were inclined to visit his blog regularly, there is no way I'd read through six years of his posts. And if someone new was reading my blog regularly, I wouldn't expect them to go through all of my old stuff.

So what is the point of keeping all those posts? All I could imagine was in order to establish a kind of blog cred that you'd been around for a while.

Recently J.A. Konrath had a post regarding this, making a case that blogging is forever. His point is, as people link to your blog and your posts, that is basically free and lasting publicity and networking opportunities for you. He also cites how it improves your blog's visibility with search engines.

Of course, he actually has some useful information on his blog. Even so, point taken. If, for some reason, someone had linked to this sacrificial post I had made last year, no one is going to find it. Blogger isn't even kind enough to redirect the person to my blog home page.

So, the posts stay, warts and all.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Low Budget ...

The first goal of the quarter is to set up a financial budget for writing expenses. This puts the cart before the horse a little bit since there is no projected writing income. However, this is a business and I need to be prepared. Besides, I have to admit:
[WARNING: Ubergeek statement to follow! Please escort small children from the room!]

Playing with spreadsheets is fun.

The amount was a little tricky, again as there is no income. Since the night job is interfering with the writing, it seemed a good idea to divert a little of that towards the preferred career. After consulting with my better half, I decided to set aside three paychecks/six weeks of part-time income towards writing expenses. Not a huge sum, but then it's not like I'm going on a book tour this year.

That left setting up some categories and estimating expenses for them. I won't go into detail since a lot of it is mundane office supply stuff. There are a few things I was on the fence about and for which I would be interested to hear thoughts, experiences, and opinions.

Business cards: This is a convenience more than a need. Right now, in the rare instance I'm asked about my writing, I mention my website. But I don't expect people to remember URLs. It would be nice to have a card to give out. It would be nice when I go to Boskone to have something to hand out if anyone expresses an interest. The downside is maybe it looks a little silly since it's so early in this career. But I think I'm going to go for convenience over what others may or may not think.

Web Hosting: I'm getting by with the free site hosted by Microsoft. The site is stuck in beta even though new users get the enhanced tools. Even so, it is very limited and my inner tech geek wants to play with php, er, that is enhance the end user experience of those visiting the site. The trick will be transferring the domain. Again, not a must have but more control will allow me to make the site look a tad more professional.

Peer Support: Most of us writers are in the same boat and we all gotta bail. Others have said this better but the bottom line for me is it's the right thing to do. Aside from buying books written by new authors there will also be some cash to help out Duotrope, Forward Motion, and the occasional struggling publication as necessary.

I was tempted to add liquor to the budget, but in life there are a lot of other reasons to have that beer at the end of the day.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Gooooooooooooals ...

A while back I figured I had five hours a day to write. That was before the night job kicked in. So let's say two on a good day now. And using the theory that it always takes twice as long as I think to accomplish a task, one productive hour. For this quarter that gives me something like 80 hours.

Not a lot of time. But this was how I figured my last quarter, with cold hard calculating numbers. And I got even less done than with my pie-in-the-sky mind-set the quarter before. Wha happen?

I came across a post by David Seah about over scheduling, that is setting up more tasks than you feel you can do comfortably. That's what the one hour estimate above is: comfortable, safe, conservative. Enough of that. Time to push the envelope again.

FY07 Q3 Goals

- Set up a budget by 1/14 to track and limit writing expenses for the calendar year.

- Move website to a different host by 1/28.

- Finish editing 'Midnight', SF novel, by 2/16.

- Finish writing 'Lodestone', novel for 2-year writing class, by 2/25.

- Write, edit, polish, agonize over, edit again, and submit a new short story by 3/31.

Looking back at 2006 as a whole, I am satisfied with what I accomplished. The challenge was to be sincere about writing. Now it is time to try for commitment.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Maybe Amazed ...

Just a quick post. I admire Tobias Buckell's fiction. His new year writing goal, however, is astonishing.

It is agressive: 6,000 words a week for several months. As an incentive, if he doesn't make his goal, he'll make a donation to charity. How much? Five cents a word up to the 6k. So if he only writes 5,900 words, that's $5. Misses by 1k? Well that's $50. And so on.

What charity? His blog readers get to suggest and vote on where to send the money.

Words fail me. I think it is very creative, very out of the box, very giving, very participatory for those reading and commenting in his blog.

Amazing, I think. Maybe I'll be just like him when I grow up. :-)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Trifecta ...

Happy New Year! May it bring joy and success to you.

It is the triple-whammy of new beginnings: a new month, a new fiscal quarter, and a new year. Beginnings are great. Review the past. Learn a little from mistakes. Move forward with confidence and optimism.

Let's take a look at what I set out to do for the last fiscal quarter.

* Have web site live by October 9th.
Completed on time. It's always nice to have a goal you know for certain can be done.

* Submit two new stories by December 30th.
Okay. Now I start to eat crow. One story was finished. It took six months from start to completion. Agonizing edits, sections rearranged, darlings killed, on and on. But done and submitted. The second story is going into the ash bin. Time to start anew.

* Catch up with word count for Two Year Novel Class.
Not even close. Excuses to follow.

* Critique one story a month on the Forward Motion Writer community.
I did one for October but didn't follow up for the next two months. Another 'F'.

* Complete second draft of SF novel.
Didn't even complete the edit, never mind the re-write. F-

Overall, rather poor effort. The investors are nervous, or bored. Some have fled.

There are excuses. The holidays certainly take up a lot of time in many little ways. The night job is the big killer. I can't get into a routine as there is no one block of time when I can sit down at the keyboard regularly. But, that isn't going to change and it's time to suck it up and figure it out.

To be continued ...