Monday, April 17, 2017

Balance is hard

I haven't posted since I finished the second short story on Thursday, so I thought a brief update was in order before we resume our regularly scheduled programming.

My Friday and Saturday were spent with friends who I hadn't seen in a while. The past month has been a pretty constant grind of either streaming, writing, or school work. I had the chance to catch up with some people and took it, even though I knew it would mean nothing else would get done. Friends and family are the most important part of my life, and always will be, no matter my personal goals, and I enjoyed the much needed time with them.

Sunday was Easter, which ended up being the day I tried to recharge and figure out what I have to do this week. Since I started this blog, I've been trying to figure out how to balance everything. I haven't succeeded, and Sunday afternoon I started to feel a bit overwhelmed by the effort. As I'm sure many of you can attest, there is simply not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

This week, my last week of classes for the semester, I have 5 papers to finish up. That doesn't bother me, as writing papers is right up my alley, but I am aware of it, and aware of the time it takes. That means less time for other things, and causes that feeling of frustration as I try to figure out how to fit it all in.

The truth is, I can't. In terms of what I can get done, I had to get organized and look at things objectively. My list of personal priorities looks something like this:
  1. Health
  2. Friends/Family
  3. Work/School
  4. Writing
  5. Streaming
  6. Everything else
That's the order I view them in, too. So, having established that, I had to look at what I want/need my typical day to be life in order to accomplish what I want to accomplish.

I came up with a basic daily structure - exercise, followed by school, followed by writing. That means I have to get up early and get my exercise in first thing in the morning. It also means that the end of my day is devoted to writing, since most days I have either school, work, or both.

Friends and family I fit in as occasion arises. I try to spend at least part of two days enjoying time with the important people in my life.

Streaming, sadly, is difficult to find time for. I miss it, but not enough to move it up the list. It is where it belongs. I'll fit it in when I can, which, honestly, isn't going to be very often, and isn't going to be a focus at all until I nail down the daily schedule of exercise/work/write.

I've finished two short stories in 2 weeks. I will work on a third this week, and plan on finishing it by the weekend again. I'm happy with that progress, even though I haven't gotten around to editing either story. I think about the edits I want to make a lot, but it just has to wait until I have the time. that should be after all the school work is done for the semester.

Tomorrow, I get my ass up and to the gym. I'm tired now, so I'm going to relax for a few and get to bed early, so I can wake up early and start sticking to that simple schedule.

Gym/Work/School/Write

That's got to be my day. That's got to be my life. It's what I want, and the only thing keeping me from it is myself.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday

Class today, then homework, then a nap, because I didn't sleep well last night. Woke up, had dinner, watched some television, and got to writing around 10:30.

Wrote for an hour and a half and finished short story #2. There are minimal edits to be made. The story clocked in at 4108 words, and is the beginning of a series. I'm not sure how I'll approach it yet, though I expect there will be several shorts and eventually a novel, or perhaps just a collection of the stories that forms a longer work. In any case, it's done except for edits, and I have some background writing I'd like to do for it to figure some things out. That can wait, though.

Work tomorrow, and then plans to go out, so writing is suspect. I'm going to try to start something new longhand on my lunch break and see how that goes. If not, no biggie.

Fiction word count tonight - 1588
Fiction word count April - 20012
Blog word count tonight - 169
Blog word count April - 6409

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Wednesday

Woke up with a mild hangover this morning, which was to be expected. I started the day drinking plenty of water and catching up on some Netflix before I transitioned to homework. After I ate some lunch, I was feeling fine, if a bit tired. Getting old sucks.

More homework in the afternoon, and then spend a couple of hours finishing the Iron Fist series. It wasn't good, but I didn't find it as bad as the reviews say it is, either. Mostly, I felt compelled to finish it to keep up with the continuity and prepare for the rest of the Defender shows in the Marvel Universe. I'm hoping they bring things together sooner rather than later.

Played a couple games of Rocket League and a couple games of Hearthstone, and then figured I'd better get some writing done, so I opened up the story from Monday night and put on some music and got to it.

Wrote for an hour and a half and wrote about 1500 words. The story is two-thirds done already, and I know where it's going now, having thought about it a lot yesterday. I went back and cleaned up a few things, too, since I had no idea what I was even writing about on Monday. Now that I know the story in my head better, there were things that needed fixing before I moved on.

I'll probably finish the story tomorrow night. Still have to get to editing the first story, which will most likely have to wait for Sunday at this point. I'll get to it though.

So, yeah, I was able to take a day off writing and then get right back to it tonight. I wasn't too worried, but it still feels good to have not gone down that road. Honestly, I didn't intend to take last night off, but I was a bit too drunk when I got home to do anything but go to sleep.

Fiction words tonight - 1483
Fiction words April - 18424
Blog words tonight - 339
Blog words April - 6240

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuesday

Taking the night off from everything, except getting a buzz on with my best friend, 'cause sometimes you just need to say fuck it.

Word Counts unchanged.

See ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Monday

Did the work thing all day, during which I read the play, Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley. Solid piece of writing, readable in under an hour, and I enjoyed it. Not a feel good piece, not at all, as it deals with sexual abuse by a priest, but the writing is sharp and the whole play works brilliantly. I guess that's why it won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Headed to school and discussed said play, then came home and ate dinner and got in a stupid argument. No real reason for it to escalate, but it did, and that put me in a bad mood for a few hours, so I turned to Netflix for a chill pill.

Ended up watching Louis C.K.'s latest stand-up, which turned my mood around, and then figured I'd better get to writing. I didn't want to just edit, figuring I'd save it for tomorrow when I have more time, but I didn't have anything in mind to write about. So, I pulled a trick I'd learned from Dean Wesley Smith's blog and looked for a random title.

Now, Dean has a list of half-titles that he's pulled from old magazines, and he smashes them together until he finds something interesting.  have no such list, so I turned to the internet.

There are a few random title generators out there. I tried three different ones, with awful results, before I figured I'd just let my mind wander and see what it came up with.

The first thing I latched onto was the name, "Half Moon Canyon," which I thought just sounded cool. I tried to find another half for it to give it some sense of action and urgency, something that would drive me in the direction of a story. First thought was Bad Day, which turned to Last Day, which then turned to Last Ride. I ended up with Last Ride to Half Moon Canyon as my title, put it at the top of the page, and tried to come up with a character name. Once I'd gotten that, I typed it in and off I went.

I wrote for about 45 minutes and banged out 1037 words, which is a solid start for what looks like a shorter story than the last. You never know, though, or at least I don't. I know from experience that I tend towards a longer form, but I'm trying to learn to write a nice, concise short story, and I'm focusing on that a bit more this time through.

Anyway, leaving off there for the night. Kept the streak intact, got the second story started, and I'm off and running. Tomorrow I'll try to get the editing done on story #1, which is titled Fairway to Heaven. Then, in the evening, I'll continue with story #2.

As soon as I feel like Fairway is ready to go, I'll post it here for you to read.

Fiction word count tonight - 1037
Fiction word count April - 16941
Blog word count tonight - 501
Blog word count April - 5901

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday

I finished catching up on sleep today, staying in bed til noon. I felt more refreshed than I have in a month when I finally got up, and was pleasantly surprised to see it was a beautiful day, nearly 70 degrees and sunny.

With nothing planned today but finishing up the story, I decided to take it easy for a bit. In fact, I started browsing the internet stock image sites in search of a good image for the cover for the short story, and found a couple I like. One is perfect, but rather expensive, and probably out of my budget, so I'll probably go with the other.

I thought I'd like to do some reading on the deck while the day was nice, so I grabbed the book I started reading last night, Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin, and set myself up on the deck to get some sun.
I sat out there until almost 5:30, turning pages and just enjoying the novel. When I finally felt like I'd had enough sun, I went inside, sat down on the couch, and read til almost 7, finishing the novel in one day.

Think I enjoyed it?

I had dinner with the wife and we watched Arrival Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Good, intelligent sci-fi flick where the aliens are really just the backdrop piece, and the characters are everything. That's almost always a win in my book, and I enjoyed the movie, but I would like to watch it again sometime, as I feel like I got lost a bit along the way.

At 9 pm, I figured it was high time to get to work, so I sat down with the intent of finishing the short story. I wrote for about 2 hours, getting in more than 3000 words and finally wrapping up the story after a whopping 53 pages. I have some definite edits I want to do, and I'll work on them tomorrow night with the hope of posting the story for your reading pleasure late tomorrow or, at the latest, sometime Tuesday. I'll leave the story up for a week, at which point I'll pull it, slap my cover on it, and get it up for sale.

If things go according to plan, I should have another story up next week, and every week thereafter. I hope the next one is a bit shorter, though. this was way longer than I expected. It almost could have been a novel if I'd taken it a different way. When it's done, I expect that I'll chop around 10 pages off, which still leaves me with a 12,000 word short story.

I'm very happy with how this first week has gone. I still have to work on getting the exercise thing down, but as far as writing, it's worked out very well. I've gained stamina and feel like my writing chops came back and improved as the week progressed. I averaged more than 2000 words of fiction a day, boosted by the 7000 words I wrote the last two days, but still, it' been a solid and productive week.

This week, I'll work on the next story, work on the cover for the first story, and try to get a bunch of school work done early as the end of the semester nears. I'll continue to blog every night, and my goal is still simple: at least 1000 words a day.

I hope you all enjoyed this first week as much as I did.

See you tomorrow.

Fiction word count tonight - 3304
Fiction word count April - 15904
Blog word count tonight - 592
Blog word count April - 5400

Saturday

Got up this morning, went to work for half a day, got out, came home, had lunch, and immediately fell asleep for 4+ hours. I thought I'd take a short nap, but apparently my body had other ideas. I've been complaining about being tired all week, so I guess I must have needed the extra rest.

Once I was awake, I finished reading Farmer Giles of Ham. It's an excellent read, very Tolkien with the feel of an old fable, and surprisingly evocative of all things medieval and fantasy. Somewhere between Ivanhoe and Arthurian legend, I'm glad to have finally gotten around to it.

I had dinner with the wife and watched Counting Cars for an hour, decided that the next car I spend money on will be a classic American muscle car appropriately restored, and figured a shower was in order.

Finally, at about 10:30, I sat down and opened up the story to get some writing done. I hoped to finish it tonight, but that didn't work out. I did, however, write more than 4000 words between 10:30 and 1:30. The story has blossomed to over 40 pages, and even with what I want to edit and cut it will be 30+, but I'm happy with that.

Most importantly, the streak is intact, and I've proven to myself that I can write for longer sessions when I am well rested. I just have to keep working on getting this sleep schedule in line and I'll be feeling good.

I have no school work that is pressing this weekend, so the plan is to get a good night's sleep and then get up and finish the story tomorrow. Then, I'll do a quick edit and cut where I already know it is needed, and sometime Monday I will post it here.

I failed at the exercise thing again today. It's starting to bother me, so I have to make time for it. I'll get it done tomorrow. The first step is always the most difficult to take.

Fiction word count tonight - 4006
Fiction words count April - 12600
Blog word count tonight - 347
Blog word count April - 4808

Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday

Man, I'm tired this week. It must be a combination of doing the writing every night, which is fun but draining, and of catching up on sleep. Now that I've given into it, my body just seems to want more.
Still, I managed to get through the day job today. Nothing worth talking about, really. It was par for the course, and I kept my stress under control. I left and drove home, and by the time I got home I was feeling like going right to sleep.

Ate dinner and watched T.V. with the wife for a while and felt a bit better, but I still wanted to grab a book and go to bed early. I figured I'd better sit down and get some writing done.

I opened up the story and read the last line of what I'd written yesterday, and started typing. I have to tell you, that;s a great feeling, and it shows that my body and mind are adjusting to writing every day. All day, I didn't think much about the story, but I did think a few times that I couldn't wait to get back to it tonight. That's a feeling I've been missing.

I wrote for about an hour and got 1347 words, and was surprised at the story taking a new direction that I hadn't planned or anticipated. The lore of the place I'm writing about seemed to want to take over, and this character I had been playing around with went from a one-dimensional foil to a well rounded, interesting dude. What was a cliche became something not exactly original, but certainly unique to the setting of the story. The whole story became deeper and richer for what happened in writing tonight, and opened up a world of possibilities.

There was a comment that mentioned that mornings were supposed to be good for creativity. I've heard that, and even tried it out at times. What I've found is that the best thing for creativity is relentless creativity.

The more I've been writing, the easier and better I write. It doesn't matter where I write or when, so long as I have a place to go where I'll be relatively free of distraction, the writing will happen, and the quality is independent of whether I'm fresh off a good night's sleep or tired after a long day and longing for bed. The only thing that matters to the quality of my writing is that I'm mostly sober, and that I've been writing a lot. The more, the better.

The best way to get better at something is to do it a lot. It's really that simple, and applies to everything I've ever tried or heard of. If you can just get out of your own head and out of your own way and get to whatever it is you want to do, the rest will take care of itself. Show up, put in the work, reap the results.

I have a long way to go, and a ton more hours to put in before I'd even begin to call myself a "good" writer. That's okay. It doesn't matter. What does matter is I'm doing it, and I'm better at it today than I was yesterday.

I didn't finish the story tonight, and exercise continues to elude me. I have to get better at making time for that, so I'll be focusing on continuing the writing and blogging streaks, but also on making time for daily exercise. Tomorrow is Saturday, My goal for the next seven days is to exercise for at least a half hour every day. I just have to get started, and I'll gain momentum, just like with the writing.

I'm going to grab that book, now, and read until I fall asleep, which won't be long. That's fine. I feel happy.

See you tomorrow night.

Fiction word count tonight - 1347
Fiction word count April - 8594
Blog Word count tonight - 662
Blog word Count April - 4461

Thursday

Short blog tonight, 'cause I'm tired.

Got up and went to school all day. Got in a walk between classes, and also a nap.

Came home, ate dinner, played some Rocket League on stream, as well as some CS:GO and Diabl0 3. Streamed for about an hour and a half, just because I had the time and I felt like it.

My plans for Friday night fell through, so I decided to finish the story then rather than tonight.

Honestly, if it wasn't for the streak I have going, I might have taken the night off writing. I'm glad I have the streak, though, because when I miss a day of writing, it's always difficult to get back.

After streaming, I watched Impractical Jokers and the second half of Deadpool. Damn good movie, but that didn't keep me from falling asleep on the couch.

Woke up, realized I had to get at least a thousand words in to keep things moving, and sat down to do so. Again, that;s a big change for me, and a good one. I was already procrastinating a bit on the writing, and I can't tell you how many times in the past I have just gone to bed in that situation, figuring I'd make it up the next day. The thing is, I almost never do, which is why for the past twenty-five years I've done everything but be a writer.

No more. I sat down and got to writing. I had a moment of not knowing how to continue the story, but I told myself that there was no wrong way to go, and the best thing to do was move the plot along, so I did.

1233 words later, and I'm damn happy with the words I wrote tonight. The story has come together, and tonight was the first time I didn't feel like I'd have a lot of cutting to do.

So, I kept the streak alive, including this blogging streak, which is at five days now.

Tomorrow, I work all day, but in the evening I have no plans. That means I will be sitting down with the intent of writing until the story is done. I may not make it, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

Fiction word count tonight - 1233
Fiction word count April - 7247
Blog Word count tonight - 394
Blog word count April - 3799

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wednesday

Today was a bit of a down day, which was nice. I got to sleep in a bit, ended up cancelling my haircut this morning because I was working on a problem with the mobile site for the blog and lost track of time, and instead spent some time reading and doing some school work to get a jump on the day. Then, I actually took the time to watch some Netflix. I'm almost done with the horribly reviewed Iron Fist series by Marvel, and I don't think it's as terrible as people say. It's not up to the standard of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, but it gets the job done without feeling like Kung Fu.

After that, I did some more homework and went for a 30 minute walk, because it was too nice out to go to the gym. I haven't done any exercise in a few months either, so I didn't want to rush over to the gym this week and start trying to pick up lifting and jogging where I left off, end up injuring myself, and put exercise off even longer. I'm easing into it this week, and I'll ramp it up slowly next week.

I came home and sat down to read. I almost got to the end of Lock In by John Scalzi, which I just
started on Saturday, but ran out of time and had to get to school for a lecture on ethics in college athletics in lieu of my English class tonight. I was disappointed. The book is an excellent and quick read, a near-future sci-fi thriller that kept my interest, and I wanted to know how it would end. I resigned myself to finishing it after school tonight.

The lecture was alright. The speaker was Jack Ford, who has an extensive resume as an attorney, journalist, and sports guy who has a gig as the sports columnist for 60 Minutes and is on ESPN quite a bit, whenever the law and sports intersect. He gave a good presentation about ethics and the problems of money and the perceived exploitation of college athletes, and then he opened the floor up for questions and discussion. I thought things got a bit dull from there on out, as no one was very prepared with any insightful points or questions, but Mr. Ford kept the discussion moving and did his best to elucidate on whatever people brought up.

I got home, had some dinner with the wife while we watched Bar Rescue (guilty pleasure - I love that show), and then sat down to finish a school project and write up a reaction to Colm Toibin for class. Once I'd finished that, I decided to play some Rocket League before I wrote more of the short story. Played 6 games, lost 2, streamed it, and then transitioned the stream over to the creative writing time.

The story is coming along well, and I'm aware of what I want to clean up almost as soon as I write it. There are silly things, like overuse of the word "pretty" as in "pretty good" or "pretty sure." Then there are just parts that are drawn out and can be reduced for better writing and effect. I'm resisting the urge to edit as I go, though, because I've made that mistake for years. It's why I have so much trouble finishing anything. Better to get the damn thing written and then clean it up after.

Now that I'm done with that, I'm going to read a bit. I finished the last chapter of Lock In while my wife was making dinner, and started a book my friend, Joe, gave me last year. It's called Smith of Wootton Major/Farmer Giles of Ham and collects a couple of stories by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's about 150 pages, so I'll most likely finish it tomorrow. That will be the tenth book I've read this year, which puts me a bit behind pace on my Goodreads challenge of 101 books read in 2017, but I know I'll catch up over the summer when I have less school work to occupy my time.

That's all for tonight. Tomorrow, I have school all day, but I shouldn't have too much homework in the evening, so I'm hoping to get in a longer writing session, or maybe a split session, and finish up the story, which I'd guess has about 2-3k words left in it. 4k tops. If nothing changes, that's my goal for tomorrow night,a dn then I plan on spending some time this weekend cleaning it up and putting it up here on Monday for my first ever Free Fiction Monday.

Fiction Word Count today - 1410
Fiction Word Count April - 6014
Blog Word Count Today - 809
Blog Word Count April - 3405

Oh, I also wrote over 1000 words of school papers tonight, and about 3000 this week so far, but I'm not counting that.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tuesday

I woke up this morning and go to school on time, which is always a good thing. This going to school full time in my 40's is a strange thing. This is my second semester, so I've adjusted a bit, but in my get sometimes I still feel like I should be making money every day and not taking this time to finish the degree. It's difficult to let finances take a back seat for the time it's going to take me to finish school. Something about it feels like I'm letting my family down.

I know that's not entirely rational, and that school is a very good thing for me. I enjoy it, for one. I excel at it, for two. It's something that I should have done a long time ago, but my head was never quite right about it. I spent a lot of time working for whatever job I could get just to keep money coming in, and in retrospect, that was pretty dumb. It would have been much easier to take this hit financially in my 20's, and I would have reaped the rewards of the degree for a lot longer. Still, this is the right thing to do. I believe that, even though my instinct is to run back to full time work every time a bill comes.

School was interesting today. I got through my classes and figured out the classes I'd be taking next year, which was stressful but fun. I ended up deciding to get a double minor in Journalism and Professional Writing, because I have a bunch of elective credits to take and a bunch of English classes to take consecutively, so it's going to take me four full semesters after this one to finish up. I figured I'd might as well get the most out of those electives.

To end the school day, I went to the college's visiting writer series, where a guest writer reads from his work and answers some questions. I'd been looking forward to this all semester. The writer was Colm Toibin, Irish novelist and gay rights activist who authored Brooklyn, Nora Webster, and a few other novels. He also writes plays and poetry and teaches at Columbia University.

He was one of the most well-spoken people I've ever had the pleasure of listening to, and he intertwined exerpts from Brooklyn and Nora Webster with personal anecdotes that told a whole new story. The only writer I've seen speak and read who put on a better show was Neil Gaiman, but Gaiman's reading felt very well rehearsed, whereas Toibin speaks to you like he's reading to the crowd in a pub and has somehow gotten their attention. He's just easygoing and not at all stiff or calculated, and the effect was captivating. By the end of an hour and a half, you couldn't help but feel like you'd known him for years.

The man's work speaks for itself. What I will say is I left feeling inspired and a little hopeless all at the same time. I struggle clumsily over words in speech and writing at times, and despite my belief that practice will indeed help me find my own voice, I have a natural fear that I'll never approach the skill of writers like Toibin.

 I grabbed a bit to eat and walked around Barnes and Noble with my best friend, who was having a rough day. We talked it through and I think she felt better when we left. Life is tough, folks, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. I've been there, and that's where she was today. The good news is, usually you come out the other side stronger and moving in the right direction. I hope I helped her do that tonight.

Barnes and Noble, or any bookstore, really, is my personal zen space. Whatever mood I am in when I get there, I always walk out feeling happy and refreshed, and usually ready to write. Tonight was no exception, but I felt like procrastinating when I got home.

Well, not really. Truth is, my wife wasn't home from he night class yet, and I didn't want to start writing when she was likely to walk in the door at any minute. Instead, I straightened up the house, put away some laundry, took a shower, and played some Rocket League. I love that game, but man, am I terrible at it. I guess that's a testament to how much fun it is though, because I can lose several games in a row and still have a great time.

She finally came home, watched some T.V., and went to bed. It was already midnight, so I logged into Word with the intent of banging out a quick thousand words tonight, getting the blog done, and heading to bed. That's what I've done. The story is progressing well, even though I think there's going to be a lot of cutting when it's finished. I should be able to finish it up by Friday night, and then the cutting will begin.

So, it's just turned 1 in the morning. I got the writing and the blog done, so it's time to read for a few minutes and hit the sack.

Fiction Word Count - 1159
Total Fiction Words April - 4604

Blog word count tonight - 913
Total Blog Count April - 2596

By the way, I weighed in at 244 lbs on Monday. My goal is to get down under 200. I'll get started on that in earnest tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Monday

I failed to get up for the gym this morning. Actually, i made the decision not to because, after getting homework done last night and then writing, I didn't get to bed until almost 1:30, and getting up at 5 didn't seem like the best idea. I've been struggling to get on a regular sleep schedule lately, and I knew I had a long day ahead of me today, so I decided to sleep in until I had to get ready for work, which at least got me six hours of sleep.

Last night, after I finished homework, I sat down and started writing a short story. I figured I'd do something different and stream it on Twitch, just because it was something I'd thought about doing a while ago and because I'm in the habit of streaming pretty much every night. I was surprised when some of my regular viewers showed up and hung out for the stream, but it was pretty cool to just listen to music and get back to putting words on the page. I barely noticed them watching me, and once I was in a bit of a writing groove, even chatting with them didn't slow me down or distract me.

I wrote 1331 words last night to get things started. I wasn't happy with the beginning, and realized immediately after that I was searching for a way to begin the story and that a lot of those words could probably go. That;s fine, though. I'd rather write too much and have to cut it down than sit there looking for the perfect words and not get started.

Today, I worked all day and had a bunch of down time, so I spent the day reading. I finished the novel The Coquette, which I'd been reading for school, and then I resumed Lock In by John Scalzi. All told, I ready around 200 pages at work, which is bonus money as far as I'm concerned. My job doesn't have much going for it at times, but that's my kind of work day.

After work I came home and had to take a test in lieu of class tonight. I got that done in about an hour, an immediately moved onto a paper.  The paper took me a little more than two hours, at which point I needed a break and something to eat. I then did more homework and started another paper before deciding that I'd better get my 1000 words in tonight to keep the fledgling streak alive.

I decided to stream it again, just because. People showed up again. Weird. Cool, but weird.

I got productive tonight, and ended up writing 2114 words in about an hour and a half. That brings the total on the story to 3445 words, and I'm into the meat of it now. I feel better about the writing tonight, but I still think I'm over-writing. Well, that's fine. I'm going to keep plodding ahead and finish the thing. My goal is to finish it by Friday, do a quick edit, and pop it up here for a Free Fiction thing by Monday.

I had wanted to get to the gym tonight. I didn't. I just had too much to do. That's ok. All of this goal setting is new this week. I'll get on track and get the schedule worked out, and by the end of the week I'll have a bunch of school work cleared out and be writing, gyming, and getting everything else I need to done every day.then I just have to stick with it.

Well, I'm going to go bang out a short assignment for class tomorrow and get some sleep.

Word Count
Sunday - 1331 words
Monday - 2114 words
Total - 3445 words

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Goal Post

Good name for a sports bar, right? I'm sure it's been done.

This is where we get some of the goal stuff out of the way. I'm a big believer in writing things down and making a plan, because it's damn hard to accomplish something if you don't know what it is you're trying to accomplish. I have to be careful, though, because there is a difference between goals and dreams.

Goals are things you can control. They are measurable, and you can make a plan and know when you've accomplished your goal. Dreams, on the other hand, are usually not in your control.

For example, I can set a goal to write at least 1000 words of fiction every day. I will know every day whether I've accomplished that goal, and, barring rare exceptions such as being hit by a bus, that goal would be completely in my control. I just have to set aside some time to sit down and get it done. If I don't accomplish it, it's because I didn't do it.

If I said my goal was to be a best-selling novelist, well, I'd be wrong. That's a dream. I can do all of the things I need to do to become a best selling novelist, things like writing every day and learning the craft, learning how to market my novel, learning how to find and agent if I want one, learning how to edit and proofread and rewrite as necessary, and generally learning how to do all the things that it takes to become a best-selling novelist, and then doing them, and I might still not become a best-selling novelist. Why? Because that involves other people taking action, and I can't control that.

See, people would have to buy my novel for me to become a best-selling novelist. I can write it, even make it pretty damn good assuming I did the work on becoming a better writer. I can sell it to a publisher or publish it myself. I can promote it, market it, and get it in front of as many potential readers as possible. But I can't make people buy it. That's just not in my control. I can do a lot of things that make it more likely that they will, first and foremost by writing a damn good novel, but that doesn't mean anyone will buy it. So, I can't set that as a goal.

What can I set as a goal, then?

Let's make a list. Here are my goals for the rest of 2017, writing and otherwise:

Writing Goals
  • Write at least 1000 words of creative fiction every day.
  • Work on one writing project at a time (for now) and finish what I start.
  • Get everything I finish to market, whether through traditional means or published independently.
  • Blog every day, even if it's just a word count update.
Fitness Goals
  • Exercise for at least 1 hour every day.
  • Count calories and monitor my macros. Track it all. Adjust as needed.
  • Weigh in every morning and track it.
Life Goals
  • Continue working towards my degree in creative writing.
  • Make quality time for friends and family every week.
  • Make a weekly planner every Sunday and plan my time effectively.
I think that's enough.

There are 275 days left this year. If I stick to my most basic writing goal, writing 1000 words a day, I will write at least 275,000 words this year. That's basically three novels. I'd sign up for that any year.

If I did just that, every year for 20 years, I'd have written 60 novels. That sounds like a career.

Tomorrow, I'm getting up early to head to the gym before work. I'll post my weight, my workout plan, and what I hope to achieve fitness-wise.

Who am I?

Hi, folks. I'm Joe Cleary, writer, student, and gamer.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a writer. I started writing short stories way back in third grade, and ever since, I've dreamed of making my living as a fiction writer.

Instead, I've done everything but write.

I've been a retail manager, banker, cab driver, bouncer, short order cook, delivery guy, and professional poker player. All of those things have paid my bills at one time or another, and all of them were interesting in their own way. None of them were truly fulfilling, though, because none of them scratched the itch I've had since I write that first story.

The older I get, the more I realize that what's really important in life has very little to do with money or how other people view you and what you do, and an awful lot to do with whether or not your life is fulfilling. The dreams that so many people have when they are kids,  and forget when the reality of paying bills and surviving in this fast-paced modern world intrudes, are really the only thing that matter. Everything else is just passing the time.

Please note, I'm not talking about family and friends, here. People are and will always be the most important thing in my life, so let's not get off track. I'm talking about defining your own version of success and being willing to do what it takes to achieve it. I'm talking about taking risks, staying true to yourself, and finding a way to make that dream a reality.

For me, that dream has always been writing. I've put it off for far too long, and for too many reasons, and I'm not going to do that anymore. I don't like where it's gotten me, and I'm not going to continue down that path.

These days, I work part-time and go to school full time to earn my degree in creative writing. I stream video games in the evening on Twitch.TV, and have a small but growing audience. And, as of now, I write every day.

Oh, I also need to get in shape. Dying prematurely is a real and permanent obstacle to making it as a writer.

This blog will be about me trying to make it as a writer, including all of the things that go into making my life what I want it to be, instead of settling for what it is.

Don't get me wrong. My life is pretty good. But I'm not who I want to be. It's high time to start working.