2013 Progress – Week 4

As part of my accountability for my 2013 writing goal of 300,000 words, in addition to reporting in to Team 250k with the other Oregon Writers Network people, I intend to continue reporting my progress each week.  So without further ado:



Week 4 (beginning Monday, 21 January)

Goal – 7,500 words

Actual Word Count – 5,043 words

Week 4


Total for Year – 14,556 words (4.85% of goal)


So…not awesome.  I didn’t meet my goal this week.  But that’s ok, for a couple reasons:

  1. I got 5,000 words written. Score!
  2. My 7,500 word weekly goal is based on only writing for 40 weeks.  That means I can take 12 weeks off from writing completely and still meet my goal.  In no way does a 5,000 word week constitute taking the week off, so I’m still in positive territory.
  3. Yes, I’ve missed my goal 3 out of 4 weeks, so far.  But the first two were planned, and I still got SOME writing done in them.  In fact, between the three missed weeks and my excess above the goal last week, I’ve actually come close to fulfilling another week’s goals (those three weeks accumulated 7,056 words).  So in terms of actual word count I’ve effective only missed slightly over two weeks worth of writing goal.

Final assessment – I’m still on track, still positive I can do it, still excited, and still having fun.  In short, this year is off to a good start.  That said, I don’t anticipate getting a lot of words written this week, because there’s a big exercise going on at work which requires early mornings and late nights (well, later than normal).  So my energy and time available for writing will be reduced.  Again, that’s ok because it can’t be avoided and it’s not like I’ll get NO writing done.

Right.  Back to it then.  Until next time!

Progress Update

As I mentioned last month, I’ve decided to set a goal for myself of 300,000 words of new fiction this year.  I envision the distribution of that to be as follows:

  1. Finishing The Pericles Conspiracy ~40-50k words
  2. Writing the next Dawn of Enlightenment book (the sequel to Masters of the Sun) ~80k words
  3. Writing two sequels to Glimmer Vale ~100k words (~50k each)
  4. Shorter works ~70k words

I further divided the goal into a goal for each week, to make it easier to digest.  Assuming I write for 40 weeks (giving myself all kinds of time off), I need to do 7,500 words each week to meet my goal for the year.  Averaging about 1,500 words per hour as I do, that comes out to 5 hours of writing each week. Hardly the epitome of strenuous.  Unless you take into account my job, my wife, my four kids, the fact that I have to keep in shape (indeed I have to get in better shape, as I have my eye on a half iron man this coming Autumn), and the fact that I have to things like eat, sleep, and take shower.  But still, totally doable.

Going into this year, I knew I would not get much done the first two weeks.  Why?  Well, Week 1 was still Holiday time, and was actually the time I had off on leave.  So while I could have written a bunch, family took precedence, as it should.  And Week 2…  Well Week 2 was dominated by the release of A Memory of Light, the final Wheel of Time book.  As everyone knows who is even slightly acquainted with me, I am a big-time Wheel of Time junkie and a Robert Jordan fanboy.  So much so that I signed up for, and was selected to be, one of the Memory Keepers for Brandon Sanderson’s book signing for A Memory of Light here in San Diego.  More on that later.  Anyway, I knew I wouldn’t write much in Week 2 because I’d be reading a nigh-on 1,000 page volume of awesome.

And it was a volume of awesome.  Total awesome.

So anyway, as expected, I got little done those first two weeks: 632 and 1,164 words, respectively.

This week was the first week I’ve really been on the writing horse.  And I did well.  Check this out, from my goal tracking spreadsheet:

7,717 words this week.  Not bad.

7,717 words this week. Not bad.

Yup.  Met the goal, bringing my total for the year so far to 9,513 words.  So I’m well on track to success.

The interesting thing is I tried to work on Pericles.  I did.  But I got nowhere.  So instead I started the Masters sequel (no name yet), and I plugged away at my vampire bunny from outer space story a little.  But it was mostly Masters 2 this week.  I feel a little bad about that, because I’ve been wanting to finish Pericles for a while now, and it’s a great story, IMHO.  But for whatever reason, where I am in it right now is just hard to chug through.  So I’ve been cranking on other things instead.  I will finish it, though.  Before summer, I hope.

So that’s what’s up in my world.  I intend to post these progress updates each week as the year goes on, in order to crow or confess the error of my ways and hold myself accountable.  I’m also reporting my stats to a thing called Team 250, which a bunch of folks in the Oregon Writers Network (an email list and Yahoo Group for people who have been to Dean and Kris’ workshops) are doing.  It’s basically a 250k word goal for the year, with weekly check-ins and statistic tracking.  That will help for accountability as well.  🙂

Ok, time to sign off.  Hope all is well with y’all.  Until next time.

Changing the Covers

I use GIMP to do covers.  At least I do when I don’t hire out for them.  It’s pretty powerful, and the price was right – FREE!

Over the last year and a half I’ve learned a lot about how GIMP works, and I like to think I’ve gotten a lot better at covers.  Certainly the cover for The Necromancer’s Lair is pretty good, IMHO.  This one also is pretty good.  It’s for a novelette called The Suspect’s Wife.  I wrote it under my Mystery pen name, Alex Mariner, and released it last month.

Suspect's Wife Cover (1333x2000)I like it because it’s simple and to the point.

Now that said, some of my older covers REALLY suck.  I modified a few of them a little while back.  And while those modifications were improvements from the originals, looking at them now, some of them are still pretty weak.

Problem is, though I’ve learned a lot about how to use GIMP by trial and error, my knowledge is still fairly elementary.  Or rather, was.  A few days ago, I found a great GIMP tutorial site that gives step by step instructions in how to do a lot of cool stuff, some simple and some complex.  Just reading through a few of the tutorials showed me how to better use a number of GIMP’s features, in particular layer manipulation and text effects.  So last night, I decided to work on the cover for Lords of the Remnant, one of my earlier short stories.  I like the story, but frankly, the original cover was lacking.  Here are the results:

The original cover:  Lords of the Remnant Cover

And the new one:    Lords

I think this new one is about a 1000% improvement over the original.  I’m sure there are more ways to improve it, but I like it a lot.  I think I’ll be re-working the rest of my early covers over the next several months.  Stay tuned for the results.

In the meantime…

Lords of the Remnant.  A fun science fiction short story, now with a more fun cover.  It’s feeling lonely, though.  You should go say hi to it, check it out.  🙂  And while you’re at it, say hi to it’s cousin, The Suspect’s Wife.  You’ll be happy you did.  🙂