2018 Productivity and writing
Its been a while since my last post, especially after posting day after day for a while. It’s over a month, I had taken a break from the book, the first initial draft had been done and then I did Nanowrimo, the book was put on hold and Christmas and New Year happened.
I asked a friend to have a read through of the draft, which I had already started to think to myself there were points that could be improved. I haven’t had all the feedback yet but the general gist was there were a few things that could be tweaked. Feedback is a gift.
The next step I need to print off in its entirety and read through, taking a book to get published being one of 2018 goals.
I took a different twist with regards my 2018 goals, I decided to pay money for a notebook/ planner. I saw one planner that looks really good but discovered it was only quarterly and expensive and only available in America, the minimum delivery charge made a 90-day journal far more expensive than a year journal for one I did get.
The journal I ended up with is called inspire now which I can say I am pleasantly pleased with. Even if it is making me do daily tasks towards my goals.
As for my goals, that’s for another post as I have a couple more tasks to achieve today before I can get my reward of a can of diet coke, thanks to dry January.
I’ve been taking a break from the blog, to concentrate on editing my novel. I decided I need some explicit rules around grammar. I was confused by the placement of quotes and full stops and next sentences. Word, as in Microsoft word didn’t help. I managed to get into some situations no matter what I did around quotes it always had the red squiggle. Also another thing, it was insistent, telling me that the word unfortunately, placed in the middle of a sentence should have an uppercase U. I started to search for some books on the subject. That’s when I came across a wonderful resource Grammar for Fiction Writers (Busy Writer’s Guides Book 5) by Chris Saylor & Marcy Kennedy. This is one of a series of guides. The guides are well constructed and really useful. Since I started reading them, I have made many edits to the book. Gone are words such as actually, very, a bit, replaced with better constructed descriptive sentences.
It was surprising when searching through the book, just how many occurrences of certain words that I use.
I have learned a lot just from this short book, the biggest takeaway, how quotes start on a new line if someone new is speaking. This might not be news for many people, but it made so much sense and increased legibility. It’s been enjoyable editing the book. I like writing don’t get me wrong. My daughter read a section that I was editing, she was highly complementary and asked “how do you come up with the ideas? Stating she would never be able to.”
I think everyone has a story to tell, I do think I can at times be creative. I’m starting to feel the book is coming along, satisfyingly. I’m excited. I have other books that I’m at various stages, which I now know I can improve. There are still edits and sections to be written.
I also need to work on the logistics, the synopsis is in one the blog posts for anyone interested. A quick overview is, the main character needs to lose his Facebook friends in 30 days. It’s more in-depth than that, there are twists and turns. He starts with over 5000, so tracking these specifics will take some time. I nearly wrote ‘a bit’ then but stopped myself. I need a timeline, with key points to make sure it flows and it’s correct.
I found a section of the book that I’d missed out. A minor character that I realised I hadn’t finished, possibly as I didn’t at the time know how this would happen. I do now. Again I am excited to write. I want to make this my thing, writing. Oh don’t get me wrong it’s not always easy, as I am not the most gifted when it comes to the English language, it takes effort but boy it is going to be worth it.
I’ve gone and broken it. The first streak is over. I should try and take a positive spin as I’ve been doing remarkably well. I’m notoriously bad at enforcing habits. Yesterday I woke later than normal and didn’t do my morning routine of stretching.I have a bad back and had a few weeks ago had an injection for some pain I’ve been having, it had improved it. It still isn’t brilliant but I was able to achieve more and hopefully strengthen the muscle. Umm, that sounds rude, anyway I digress. I didn’t stretch in the morning and as it wasn’t my routine of an evening so completely bypassed me. It was only today I realised. I don’t it seems have evening routines, don’t get me wrong I remember the blog but that’s now more or less ingrained. If it’s any consolation I did extra this morning. Life’s like that you have blips you carry on.
The book is still being edited, corrections made but I’m feeling more and more comfortable with it. It now just needs time. I want my daughter to draft a cover as she can draw but getting her to read the book it is the biggest challenge I’ve listed some of the parts in the book a list and see what she can come up with. Without giving any major plot lines away.
- The EDL
- Using Scrabble to communicate
- Two-night stand
- American special forces
- Racist toilets
- Brendan Rodgers, not the football manager
- Pink helmet cam
Additional Authors note – that isn’t me in the photo btw.
It’s Friday. Another day for not having a set routine. I am working from home today and I don’t know why but I struggle to get up at half five when I am at home. Routines change, I tend to start work at a similar time, even later. I have a tendency to miss out on writing time I usually do on the train. My mornings are more productive when I work and commute it seems. I’m writing this post on the phone it’s just after 7am and this the first of the many things to do. I went for a meditation walk after I got up, not that I knew what that was, but it meant I did something different and it was very relaxing. Weirdly, after I moaned about not commuting then the universe got wind of this it seems. The ability to work remotely seems to be snatched away from me, with the IT systems not accessible or even email to see what the issue is. Therefore I find myself sat at the train station later than I would normally. I’m not liking the WordPress application, there doesn’t seem to any word count feature which isn’t very useful when my aim is writing 250 words a day. Different challenges each day keep it interesting. In the end, I didn’t update the book on the train, but I created a 300-word short story for a competition in October. I might break the rule of 250 words tomorrow and post it.
It all nearly fell apart, after maintaining my initial daily routines, write, write, read meditate, stretch and not always in that order, I went to bed to meditate as I hadn’t done it at that point. This all seems to stem from swimming in the morning, as I messed up my routine. I fell asleep with headphones in, woke late to find 10% battery, and managed to not set an alarm. Not the greatest of starts, however, I had technically meditated subconsciously. It still counts. The streak continues.
It feels like it’s starting to fall apart in slow motion. I am finishing off the 250 words, which isn’t a lot I must admit. It’s 23.18 the first part written somewhat 16 hours ago, that’s ludicrous. I have spent, the evening watching Misery (spoiler alert) after a trip to the gym. I now wonder if this happens to all budding writers. I don’t recall watching it before other than the French and Saunders parody. I would never have coped with typewriters, my typing has so many typos. How many people have been constrained by the typewriter I wonder. My writing has so many edits, so many changes I can’t start to imagine how challenging it was to write a book before the computer. I can’t maintain meditation or writing at the hour approaching midnight when I insist on getting up at five thirty. Something will give, I still strive for the elusive 21 days. The magical number of days I have been told forms a habit.
It’s 7 AM, It’s not as cold this morning, there are no smoke rings to blow, Unfortunately. I am contemplating do I do too much or do I do too little. I haven’t done my stretches for my bad back, I haven’t meditated or had breakfast. The reason was I got up and went for a swim at the local gym. I feel good for that but I have put myself under pressure because of it, or have I? I read something yesterday in a fleeting glance about people if they don’t go home after working in a dead job and not work on their dreams there is something wrong with them. I am not saying I am in a dead job here, just should I do more. Probably. I paraphrase as didn’t capture the exact words at the time, and I imagine I could trawl through lots of things and still not find it. That is the way with the connected society. I listened to a video ( by Simon Sinkek , look him up) before bed last night on the virtues that people don’t know how to talk to each other and mobile phones have created these environments where people never give each other the time they deserve and how it to the detriment of society. I am sat on a train full of people stirring into little glowing boxes, no one talks and it’s not the quiet carriage they don’t have those on Northern Rail, he might have a point.
You might have noticed yesterdays numbers were not in the correct order, there was after writing several tweaks where story parts didn’t work and I wanted certain characters to arrive in the story sooner. I am in the process of reading and correcting on a chapter by chapter basis. This is leading to rewrites of bits and adding story hooks into things will occur later. I don’t know if ‘story hooks’ is actually a thing, but it works for me. I have been keeping to the daily tasks, meditation, brain training, writing and the 250 words like I don’t have enough with already. I am adding another one to the mix. Reading, I won’t set any specific goals other than reading daily, and I’ll include audio books. I have a subscription to Audible and a back catalog of books to read/listen too. I also recently got into a few podcasts, one in particular which I should really give a mention, ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’. This is exactly what it says on the tin, someone dad writes a porno and his son and friends critique it while reading it chapter by chapter. It is hilarious and has caused several proper laugh out loud moments on the train. I’m now wondering it #Porn is allowed on WordPress umm. I would recommend it, it also made me question several bits in my book, not that there is any porn, I hasten to add. You tend to find everything you do influence your writing.
I mentioned my approach to writing yesterday. I am finding that exactly 250 words can be challenging. I start writing on an app (writer) on my phone and email it myself. The app had a word count function. Then I complete it in Microsoft Word, which also has a word count function as does the WordPress site. What I am noticing, however, they are giving different word counts, which has made editing quite interesting, I suspect the 250 count of previous days might not all be correct. I also use a Chrome extension called Grammarly which is an online grammar checker. The intention of 250 is there so I will not worry too much about it. With the book, I have had the odd occasion where a piece I have written had not saved, which was quite annoying as it was trying to save to one-drive without a connection while commuting on the train to work, so each time I write I incremented the version numbers Brewsters 5000 V56 and save locally. I also maintain a word count at the end of the book, the date and the number of words written. Additionally, I have added the word count for each chapter, so I know the small/large chapters, where I need to add more content, split chapters up. Each chapter is given a relevant title and as it’s a header I have a map of the story. I haven’t decided if these chapters titles will make it to the final version of the book.
I suppose it’s worth discussing how the current book started and my approach to writing. I can’t recall the actual time I came up with this idea of the book. I have many unwritten books in my head, one I’m quite excited by as it more the genre I read, sci-fi and fantasy but that is no more than an idea at the moment. This book started being called Brewster’s 5000, I however never liked the name. It was influenced by the ‘Brewster’s Millions’ film with Richard Pryor’s years ago, actually was 1985 as I just looked it up. This is a modern-day equivalent with the spin it’s a man with 5000 Facebook friends and an unnatural obsession with social media who by the twist of fate needs to lose his Facebook friends within 30 days and be seriously compensated if he can achieve said feat. It goes without saying it’s not as straightforward as one might expect. This starts as a wager with a rich old man who gets annoyed by Johnny persistent Facebook interaction. The man decides to teach Jonny a lesson one that he won’t forget. The main protagonist Johnny Brewster doesn’t realise the impact of the rules imposed on him. He’s not allowed to share anything of the nature of why he seems to start to become, a really annoying arrogant arsehole as he can’t unfriend anyone only they can do it do it. There are several rules he must obey else he loses everything, with several unfortunate incidents occurring.
I suppose it might be worth filling in the gaps of how I got to this point and what this point is. I can’t recall the actual point where I decided I want to write a book. It’s a well-worn saying that everyone has a book in them. That said how many people have a book in them that will get published? Even at this stage, I don’t know if I do. I’m not belittling my belief in myself. I know my book(s) will bring someone some joy. The same joy that I have felt when reading a great book. The joy of finding a new author who has a back catalogue of books. Books just waiting to be read and not some author who’s written two amazing books in a trilogy and many years later the third is still not in print. You know who you are Patrick Rothfuss, which said if and when the final one is published someone will have an amazing time reading one after the other. I suppose at some point I’d like to be discovered. However, if that didn’t happen (But it will ;)) I will have had the most amazing of times writing. The joy of living your characters like friends you haven’t met, the sad and funny moments. Being proud of certain sections and the joy of coming up with the ending. I had several endings in mind, but wouldn’t allow myself to sit down and write it till it was time.