Daily Update, or Dragging Today

Self Portrait
Self Portrait

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

Last night was a difficult. More so for my son than me. He was the one fighting growing pains all night. I just didn’t  get sleep. That, and it felt like I’ve been coming down with something.

After I finally dragged myself up this morning and tried to get some work done. I spent a little time messing around with my plugin for tracking word counts. I originally created it back before the shortcode API was introduced and I thought I would switch over to using the API instead of my own handler.

I didn’t have much time to work on the plugin, a few minutes, before I switched to write a little of my word count for the day.

At work I tried to stay focused on the job. That usually helps. At lunch though I sat down and had to fight sleep when I tried to write.

After work I mostly relaxed. We’ve been saving up episodes of Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so we watched “Providence” and “The Only Light in the Darkness”. I’ve been enjoying the show, and trying to stay away from spoilers, but I was glad to see today that the series has been renewed for another season.

Tomorrow

Hopefully tonight will go better and I’ll feel better tomorrow. I don’t want to get sick.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Time on the Road

South Bend Timberland Library
South Bend Timberland Library

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

I knew coming into today that it would be a tough day. I needed to go out to the coast to do training at our library in South Bend. That meant several hours driving to get there and back. Add to that meetings later meant no time for breaks. I didn’t even stop for a lunch break, just ate in the car.

Knowing that I wouldn’t get much time today, I made a point of getting started on my creative efforts this morning. I worked on the story for this week, finishing the interior for the paperback. Then I sat down and started writing, working on my novel. I like starting the day with more words added to the book, to a story, something. The hardest thing getting started early is having to stop.

I’ve started reading Austin Kleon’s new book:
I started down this path a couple years ago. For a year I ran a mostly monthly magazine of my writing and thoughts on writing. It started out much like Dean’s Smith’s Monthly, putting out what I worked on each month. Then it morphed into something similar to this blog.

I’m enjoying the book. It’s giving me some ideas and things to think about.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or the Tooth and Dreams

Self-Portrait
Self-Portrait

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

It’d be a perfect day to go out and run, and I even had time this morning, but my leg has still been hurting. Yesterday on the playground with the kids reminded me of how sore it is so I’m still taking it easy. I find it frustrating because I have a dreams of being strong, healthy and in shape. The reality doesn’t quite mesh with the dream.

Hugh Howey just posted about Goals vs. Dreams.

My goal was to write and complete a single novel. My dream was to be an international bestselling author.

He’s absolutely right. There’s a big difference between goals and dreams, and both are important.

I have a lot of dreams. I have dreams for my son’s future. For our future. Dreams about what I’d like to do with our house. Creative goals and dreams. I read ImagineFX and dream that I’ll be able to create the sort of amazing art that I see on those pages. I realize that I can’t simply sit down and do that. Instead I have goals. For one, I’m doing daily sketches and posting those here. Each week I’m also creating a sketch for a short story cover. And each month or so I’m doing a more involved illustration for a novel cover. I’ve posted my cover gallery. It’s a way of tracking that goal, as I put up each of the covers.

Does it match my dream? Not yet. I’m I meeting my goals? Most of the time. I’m studying resources like ImagineFX or Carlyn Beccia’s The Digital Renaissance.
The primary limiting factor with all of my goals is time. Money plays a factor too, although that’s where having a great Day Job makes things easier. It relieves some of the financial stress and gives me some options.

I dream of the day when I can write and paint full-time. In the meantime I have clear goals. Daily word counts to meet, weekly and monthly publishing goals. Goals to create and share artwork. Creative goals to improve both my writing and painting skills.

Here’s the key: Goals are in your control. Dreams aren’t.

Say I want to sell 10,000 copies of my Dead Things books this month. Can I make that happen? Not directly. There’s nothing I can do that would directly make that happen. Sure, I could set up a promotion plan and increase the exposure of the books, generate more awareness in the series. It’d make more sense to do it once the third book comes out at the end of the month, but all that promotion still doesn’t give me direct control over whether or not the books sell. Could it help? Sure, possibly it would if more people were aware of the series. But it’s still not in my direct control. All my work might result in 500 copies sold. Is that a success or failure?

If I understand the difference between goals and dreams, it could be a success. Say that one of my goals was to Tweet three times a day about the Dead Things series (I’m not saying that’s a good goal, but let’s go with it). That’s an easily measurable goal. Did I do it or not? I can track it. If that was my plan and I successfully met that goal then I’ve succeeded. It might not have resulted in increased sales of the series (probably wouldn’t),  or it might have generated some interest.  That part is out of my control. As much as I’d love to see the series sell 10,000 copies this month, I can’t make people pick up the books.

I ordinarily prefer goals that are either production goals (such as writing every day), or creative goals (such as studying a particular book). At the same time Mr. Howey is right that it’s important to dream. The dream of selling 10,000 copies or writing full-time is a powerful motivator. I love the part of his post where he talks about dreams because it resonates so well with my experience. Some dreams are more grounded than others, but they keep me going. I had a dream when I was a teenager that I would someday be a full-time writer. That dream continues today. It carried me through college and grad school. It’s taken me to workshops on the Oregon coast. Each step along the way was made of concrete goals that were in my control.

Has that dream come true? Not yet. I haven’t given up. It’s not my only dream. Dreams grow and change. I’ve achieved some  dreams and then I dreamed up new futures. I don’t see that process stopping.

The Rest of the Day

This morning I worked on the first part of this post. Afterward I turned my attention to the story I’m working on this week, and then I headed out to an appointment with the dentist before going to work at the Day Job.

The dentist visit was fine, no issues there. Thanks to my parents for good dental care growing up.

After that work went fine. I managed to get in some good time working on my novel during lunch. The novel is coming along well. That’s a bit of an understatement. It’s fun. I’m having a blast.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Fatigue Days

Tired? Why?
Tired? Why?

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

It was a good day, just an exhausting day. This morning I worked on my novel and managed to get in a bit over half my word count. Then it was off to Wolfhaven with our son’s scout troop. That didn’t work out too well, he needed to be a bit older to appreciate it. We did get to have a nice walk on the prairie trail.

After that the group went off to the Tenino city park, kids running around playing. They have so much energy! It’d be nice if I still had that energy.

By the time we got back this afternoon exhaustion sent in. It took time afterward to get back into working. I needed a nap. I dozed off for a bit and gradually got back to working. It took time but I did finish my word count. Then I worked on my sketch before taking a break.

Days like this, feeling tired, it happens. Family, Day Job, and still trying to live a creative life. It’s important to take some time, to take breaks. Tomorrow’s another day.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Trying to Fit Things In

Days Off
Days Off

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

May the Fourth be with you. Happy Star Wars Day. I wanted to do so much more today than I have actually accomplished. I’m not saying that it was a bad day, it wasn’t. I worked on publishing tasks this morning.

After that it was out running errands. Shopping, a trip to the  feed store and lunch. I was tired by the time I started writing and progress was slow. I took a break to play Lego: Star Wars with my son. Lots of fun. Afterward I did a little more writing before another break for dinner and the evening.

There’s so much to do, so much life, so many things share with family, to read, to watch, so many plans for the future. It’s hard fitting things into a busy day. Some things slip away. With each choice, something else slips away. Even if the planet spun slower on its axis I don’t think it’d make much difference.

Today I didn’t make my word count. Tomorrow’s another chance. Since I typically hit my target over my goal, I’m ahead so far this year and my streak is still unbroken. Tomorrow I’ll give it another shot.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

The Greatest Gig

The Greatest Gig

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

 The Greatest Gig is now available . This is a light, fun science fiction story about Chrystal Eagle, starship plumber. It was the first story I wrote in this universe, first with Chrystal Eagle and led to writing my novel Stowaway to Eternity. The novel is set in the same universe, but a different ship and different characters. If things go as planned, it should be out in about a year. I’d like to see it out sooner but there are just so many titles to get out!

This story has been out before, but this is the new preferred edition, available in e-book and paperback formats. Some of the sites are still updating and will be linked when it’s available.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I woke up around 2 AM with leg pain. I took some ibuprofen, had a snack and finished reading the Hamilton book. That’s a fun, long-running series. I’ve started reading Alan Dean Foster‘s Icerigger Trilogy now. I tried going back to sleep, but it never really took.

Up at 5 AM, getting ready, reading during breakfast, and then I worked on the first part of the post before leaving for work.

The rest of the day went okay. It was a slower day on the Day Job. I was also feeling tired and worn out, which made the day more difficult. I still wrote on my breaks and managed to get the bulk of my word count done. I finished the rest after I was home.

In a lull in the rain I also repaired the door to our chicken coop that had been torn off in a storm a few weeks ago. That done, I spent the rest of the evening relaxing. We watched TV, my son fell asleep early.

Tomorrow

My weekend from the Day Job starts, so there are errands and other activities to take its place. That means I still need to be focused if I’m going to get in my words for the day and manage a few other tasks. Maybe even study some. I have a new art book, The Digital Renaissance by Carlyn Beccia that I’m looking forward to reading.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Juggling Creative Tasks

Shakespeare
Shakespeare

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

This morning I took a rest day from running to let my aching legs rest. I’m still getting used to the workouts, building up over time, but it’s much slower than when I was younger.

After the run I worked on the illustration for one of my favorite stories, The Greatest Gig, which comes out in a new edition tomorrow. I worked on that this morning before the Day Job. On breaks I got in my word count and I read. I’m nearly done reading Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton.

This evening I switched gears and worked on the story again. It’s always fun working on the stories and getting them out.

After that, I worked on this post. It’s been a fun day, switching back and forth.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Everything Changes

Happy Boy
Happy Boy

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

Everything changes. We say that often. We live in a world that constantly changes. Some things don’t change as fast as we’d like. Some change faster than we’d like.

I went for a run this morning. Off to the Day Job. I wrote on breaks and finished up my word count. I received a story back from a market.

Everything changes and sometimes it stays the same. Today was one of those days when everything went the way it should.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or April Wrap Up

Keeping Track
Keeping Track

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

Today

This morning started with a two mile run. No computer this morning. I left it off to avoid distractions. The run went well, with celebratory burpees afterward. I did a little work, and then it was off to the Day Job. Wrote on breaks. I spent time reading.

Today’s sketch was practice from Matt Dixon’s Fantasy Artist’s Figure Drawing Bible.

I love this book. I need to spend more time going through it, there’s so much still to learn.

This month I started the second novel in my Land Lubbers series, Sea Legs. It’s been a blast working on the novel. This is a series that I started a couple years ago when I wrote the first book. It had a limited release at the time in a serialized fashion as I wrote it, but I haven’t had a chance yet to release the book the way I want. That comes later. After the second book is done, when I’m working on the third. Then I’ll start releasing them in the editions I want to create.

I posted daily about working creatively while also holding a full-time Day Job. And along with that I did daily sketches.

On the publishing side, two stories were reissued and the second book in the Dead Things series came out.

Dreaming Dead Things

 

It was a good month.

Summary

Here’s the monthly calendar, showing all my daily word counts for the month. Most days I met or exceeded my goal of 1,370 words per day, and mostly met or exceeded my target of 1,500 words per day. Even while working full-time at the Day Job, I still made time to write.

[monthly_cal]2014-04-01[/monthly_cal]

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Use the Force

Use the Force
Use the Force

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]

 Today

I did the drawing today in honor of the episode VII cast announcementStar Wars was a big part of my childhood growing up. The action figures, the toys, and the rest. It was a lot of fun. It and Star Trek, I always had plenty of room for both and tons of other movies and books.

When episodes I-III were coming, it was the same hopeful anticipation. I enjoyed the movies, I didn’t come at them with enormous expectations or a super critical mindset. I’ve just started watching the Clone Wars show on Netflix, and have enjoyed the first few episodes.

I’ve read a few of the books, not many, and played various video games from the franchise. One of the earliest books I read was by a favorite author, Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.

Star Wars created a fun, exciting universe. I’m looking forward to what comes in the future.

Today I got up, I started slow but I made the time to get in the word count on my book. I don’t know that any of the worlds I recreate will find their audience, those doubts are always present, but I’m closing my eyes and using the Force.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.