Saturday, January 21, 2012

Report On Quarter the Third

I began writing fiction seriously on April 9th, 2001, a little over 9 months ago. This is the third Quarterly Report I have done since then. It is complete happenstance that my quarters fall so near traditional business accounting-type quarters, although I do have to admit finding the convergence funny.

A) convergence may not be the right word, and b) I have a very strange sense of humor sometimes. Also, c) regarding the previous sentence--I am quite confused as to whether I should capitalize all three letters ( a, b, and c), since they are items in a series; only a, because it is at the beginning of the sentence; and/or whether the word convergence should also be capitalized.

I am amused by this confusion, as well.

Moving on.

I have only completed a handful of short stories since the last quarterly report. I was fairly lazy wordcount-wise in the month leading up to NaNoWriMo, as well as in the month after it. That said, I do feel like my most recent stories are some of my best, and the quality does somewhat make up for the lack of quantity. My total stories written tally stands at 34, not including my first novel.

This quarter I entered and won NaNoWriMo. It was my first year of participation (since I wasn't even writing when it was held previously.) I quite enjoyed the experience, although it was fairly brutal. It took me almost the whole month of December to write the last 6 to 8k of my novel, but I did it. It still needs editing to even be considered a first draft, but I am quite proud of myself nonetheless.

The 70k I wrote for the Zero Draft of my novel, plus the other dribs and drabs I wrote this quarter, mean than I wrote approximately twice as much this quarter as in the first two combined.

***A quick note about wordcounts--I am obsessed with them because they are the only reliable metric I have for tracking my progress as a writer. I can see progress in my writing, of course. But how to measure it? Later on, sales and income might help me to understand where I am at in my career, but I don't really have either of those yet. I write at different speeds on different days, so time spent with butt-in-chair is not exact. A Million Words Of Crap requires just that--a million words. The best way I know of to measure those million words is word-by-word.***

I already have on story published that will count towards the current quarter, "Out, De'Moan!", but I didn't manage to publish anything last quarter, despite the promising start I got off to with Tes-Nin's Elbows. I did do a ton of submitting to paying markets, and got a ton of rejections, including a number of personalized rejections. I've also come very close to selling a couple of stories (and those stories still have a decent chance of selling to the markets that are interested.)

I've also vastly improved my typing skills, as well as my ability to use a voice recorder to get more writing done when I am out and about. I started and have maintained a Daily Log, which has already shown it's value as  a personal metrics tool (yes, I just made that up. No I don't know what it means either, exactly. Except that a Daily Log comes in handy.) My punctuation and grammar have improved somewhat as well.

All in all, I've accomplished a lot this quarter. Not as much as I could have, but more than enough to satisfy me. The most important--finishing a novel (draft)--counts as not only an accomplishment in and of itself, but as proof-of-concept that I can write and finish long form fiction. I also verified the truth (for me) of what I have often heard: It is easier (at least in a wordcount outputted vs skullsweat inputted sense) to write long fiction than short.

Looking ahead: If I keep up the pace, I will likely end up with 250k or thereabouts written during my first year. More if I hit the goals I set for myself this year. I also hope to finish this first year with at least eleven titles published, a Zero Draft of a new novel, and a bunch more shorts. With some luck, I might start to make a little money off my self-epubbed stuff, and/or a few short story sales.

I've got plenty of content, now it's time to make getting it out there as much of a priority as generating new stuff.

Overall verdict: I kicked tail this quarter.

Weekly report:

I am still losing weight reliably. Nothing drastic or infomercial worthy, but I am down at least three pounds since New Year's, if not four or five. I am having no problems maintaining an improved attitude and outlook (40% improved, to be precise.) My wordcount was better this week (over 8k) but still not up to par. I do feel like I am gaining some momentum in that area, though. And I did do more (over 2k's worth) background material/Idea Bank writing.

I haven't done a self-epub for the week yet, but I am hoping to today or tomorrow. So there's a good chance I will get three out of four again this week. Things are looking good so far for the first month of this year's challenges.

Also, I am planning on doing FebuWriMo next month. If I do as good a job on wordcounts as I did during my last noveling stretch, I may have an easy March ahead of me. We'll see.

Media Breakdown:

It turns out both Superhero Squad and Transformers Prime are right up my son's alley. I like them okay as well. Not awesome, but not any better or worse (when considered objectively) than the cartoons I grew up watching (and loving.)

I've been listening to the album "All Eternal's Deck" by The Mountain Goats a lot. Not a lot of rock-n-roll, but really good, thoughtful, and emotional lyrics. Lots of bittersweet, lots of indie-acoustic vibe, a high degree of thoughtfulness and literacy. I highly recommend it.

And that's it for this week. See you all next time.

No comments: