“10,000 ways that did not work.,” LifeSupercharger/Flickr , under CC-License.

DiaryA Gutsy Year for 2014

Last year I made a big mistake. I made promises that I thought I could keep. I said I was going to have something submittable to the 2014 Amazon’s writing challenge as suggested by Galleycat. How did I do?

Progress Over the Year

I managed not to post to this site in a year. I have plenty of excuses: adding a floor to my house, getting involved in my kids’ lives, etc. All of them are pitiful excuses. However, I did manage to finish the draft to Bellicose. It needs help being revised, etc. But, it is drafted. I finished it by 1 October, which is when I have arbitrarily decided “New Year” really starts. (It is my birthday, and the start of the fiscal year, after all.)

But I did very little else. Bellicose only added about 45k words to where I was in 2012, so that’s not much to say. I assure you, I found plenty of excuses. It could be submitted, but there would have to be a good revision or two before I’d be happy making it public. I would like to have Bellicose published by April 2014, if that’s not too much to ask. To that end, I engaged in a design contest via 99 Designs at the suggestion of my friend Keith Henning of Spore Press. I’m past the preliminary stages, so I’m looking at selecting finalists.

Setting Up for Another Year of Failure

Another local author, Jamie Rubin set a goal last year that seemed easily done: 500 words per day. I’ll let you read his smashing success.

I’m going to attempt a similar goal. Part of Jamie’s success was the feedback he set up through Google Docs and scripting. My toolchain is pretty stable right now with Sublime Text, so I don’t see me running to Google for writing. It’s about like running to MS Word. Over the past few days, I wrote a script that crawls my active writing projects for wordcount, and dumps the data to Google Drive in a JSON format. From there a Google Script parses the data and puts it in a Google Spreadsheet. Automatic. All I need to do is add a daily/weekly email that feeds back progress. Jamie shows how to do that, so no problems there.

I’m not going to write 500 words every day of 2014. I’ve sworn off Sundays. Instead I’ve committed to writing 500 words for 300 days of 2014. That yields 150k words, which is enough to write two novels.

Another of my personal goals was to not actively market until I had the first four books of the Postal Marine Series. Here’s where I stand on the first four books today:

BellicoseFirst Draft Done
LuctationStarted 2012 - Stalled (25,516 words in).
ImbroglioStarted...you don't want to know when - Stalled (10,825 words in).
ScintillaPublished 2011.

One-Hundred thousand words will finish Bellicose, and probably have Luctation and Imbroglio in a publishable state. Thus, if I make this goal I will have hit the point where I would start marketing the series. Oddly enough, this also requires that I have four marketable covers…

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Five-hundred words a day is maybe 30 minutes of solid productivity. What could possibly go wrong? My son was in Cub Scouts; recently attaining his Bear rank. We’ve transitioned to Trail Life USA. Since I can’t keep my mouth shut, I was asked to be the Ranger, which is the equivalent of a Cubmaster in Scouts; though the committee is centralized in Trail Life so I have a slighter role. If you’ve not been noticing, Trail Life is new, so this is a green-field effort, all be it in previously tilled ground. I was never a cubmaster, and somehow think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

There are also a few work-related things going on, but who cares to hear about work.

I hope to also publish a few more blog articles this year as well.

© 2013 Ben Wilson. All Rights Reserved