Weekly Progress Report #42

Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to go forward. This past month I’ve been focused on editing and revising. It’s become a chore. Yes, it advances me to my goal of being published, but detracts from the main reason I’m writing. Mainly, the joy of writing a story. Sometimes they are received well, other times they fall flat. Regardless, I enjoy writing each and every one of the stories. The more I write, the better the stories and more importantly the better the writing.

I looked back at some of my early writings and I cringe. What was I thinking? Some of them look like a total hack job. This shows me how far I’ve progressed. I’ve still got a ways to go. It is said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at anything. I’m not anywhere close to that number yet. I’ve yet to complete a novel. I’ll work on it in spurts, then something will come up to distract me from it. It takes a bit to get back into writing the novel.

I don’t expect my first novel to do well. Maybe my fourth or fifth. Just like writing short stories, it takes practice to write a novel that I will be proud of. Writing the novel is a major project. Editing my memoir is a major project. I’m not at the level of writing to be able to do both at the same time. I could edit and revise on certain days of the week and write the novel on other days, but it doesn’t quite work that way with me. I need to write on the novel for several days in order to get back up to speed. Once I stop writing, then I have to start the process over again.

I hope to do the final revising of the memoir this week. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. I’m not going to pressure myself. It will come when it needs to come. Meanwhile, I will post my weekly writing challenge tonight. It’s a hard one in that it could go several ways. I always have a problem with these type of prompts. So many ideas, but only one story. I could write multiple stories on the prompt, but I feel that would get repetitive and negate the purpose of the challenges.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Progress Report #40

At first glance, I didn’t accomplish much in writing this week. After coming home exhausted from work most of the week, I didn’t have the energy or creativity to do much on writing.

I did accomplish a major milestone this week. I finished editing my memoir “My Cancer Journey”. I also designed three book covers and managed to figure out how to put up a poll on which cover is best.

I’ll be doing a final read through of the memoir today. Then I’ll be sending it out to beta readers for a check on readability, grammar, typo’s and interest. Would you like to be a beta reader? It’s a novella length memoir, so it won’t take too long to read. If you are interested then send me an email with the subject “Beta” to Matt.DunlapATprotonmail.com (replace the AT with @) I never send out unsolicited emails, so you won’t get spammed by me.

My poll on book cover design is a sticky post that will remain at the top of my posts this week. I was a bit disheartened by the lack of votes yesterday. Not sure if I did the poll right or not. I had Mrs. D look at the post and I had to prompt her to vote after she read everything. I’ll have to look at a better way of wording posts like that.

In case you missed it, I have a contest(?) or giveaway that I announced with the book cover poll. Link to the post and you are eligible to receive for free an Advance Reader Copy of the memoir.

In addition, I did a deep dive into statistics. (I’m a statistics nerd) Saturday’s are my least viewed days. If I had known that, I would have waited to post the poll on Monday which is my most viewed day. I’ve suspected that Saturday is a day that most people take a break from reading blogs for quite a while. That’s one of the reasons, I’ve moved the Weekly Writing Challenge to Sunday night.

My prompt for this week is a doozy yet again. Of course, when is it not? I’m thinking of expanding my writing skills and venture into the genre of “Romance”. More than likely it will turn into a comedic farce as I really have no idea how to write “Romance”. No guarantees, I might do a different genre altogether.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Fair Warning

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On a whim, I sent a query letter to a publisher. Of course I didn’t research what should be in a query letter or even the proper format of the letter. Instead I shot from the hip and did a brief summary of my work in progress “The Altered”.

Naturally I received a rejection letter. However, they did express that they want to see the completed manuscript. Now I have a huge motivation to actually finish the book.

Posting here will be sparse, but on occasion, I’ll take a break and write about something that strikes my fancy. I’ll continue the Weekly Writing Challenge that is posted every Saturday. I may or may not do a Six Sentence Story.

I plan to finish the first draft by the end of the month if not sooner.

Weekly Progress Report #35

So-so week in writing. I didn’t get much progress done on my book. I did edit Chapter 4. My routine that I rely on was disrupted by a holiday. That tends to throw me off quite a bit not only in writing but also at work.

I did end the week on a positive as I returned to my roots of writing dark fiction in the Weekly Writing Challenge. I think it is one of my best works to date. I had pulled the prompt late on Friday. Usually I pull the prompt on Thursday to give me a couple of days to figure out how I’m going to use it for the story. Friday night, I slept horribly. I kept waking up through the night and then going right back to sleep.

It is rare for me to remember my dreams, but I still vividly remember the dreams I had on Friday night. Possible story lines for the prompt kept going through my head. Every one was discarded for various reasons. Some were tired tropes. Some fizzled out. Others made no sense.

As I sat down on Saturday evening to write the story, my mind was blank. Then I remembered when I was growing up one of my chores was milking the family cow. The winter months when it had snowed were a special time of peace. From there the story unfolded almost magically from my fingertips.

This Friday, I’m going to see my primary physician for my annual physical. He is also going to draw blood to test my PSA and testosterone level. I’m anxiously awaiting the results. Hopefully they are good levels. If so, then I can finish the final coda to my memoir. After that, I plan on being consumed with editing and revision.

The plan is to publish it on Kindle by September. Which means I’m going to also have to learn how to do book blurbs, formatting and coming up with a book cover.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Progress Report #34

I had hoped to get into a regular routine of writing, editing and revising this past week. So much happened that it was hard to do so. I unexpectedly started a new position at work. Moved to counter sales. I have little to no experience doing sales, so it is a huge learning curve. Plus having to deal with ornery plumbers is rather difficult. Thankfully, I have a lot of help in learning the plumbing terminology. Yes, I’ve been working there for two years now, but I know all the parts by their item numbers, not what plumbers call them.

My mom came to visit for most of the week. Huge disruption in my writing and more importantly, my thinking time. When it is just Mrs. D and myself, I have ample periods where I can let my mind roam free with thoughts of how this story or that story may go. I did have a good time talking with my mom. This was probably the first time in years that we really talked.

My youngest daughter and her fiancĂ©e moved here from Virginia. We will be going by their new house sometime today or tomorrow. They are hoping for some expertise in tackling a few home projects. As I’ve done that quite a bit years ago, I’m sure to have some good input for them in techniques.

I did get some writing done this week, just not as much as I hoped. One thing I’ve been putting off is continuing the Brandon Sanderson lectures. The next one is Worldbuilding Q&A. It’s kind of hard to see the value in a Q&A session, plus I have to watch it at least a couple of times to get all the detail. So it is a huge time sink. Since I’m not working tomorrow, I’m going to mentally schedule it.

I plan on writing one or two chapters of The Altered Part 2 this week, plus go back and edit and revise Chapter 3 of Part 1 and post it.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

News, News and More News

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Had a pleasant surprise today when I came home from work. My new hearing aids had arrived! I put them on the included charger and then popped them in for a test drive. I could definitely tell the difference. At first, I was a bit alarmed that when I talked, it seemed to echo in my ears. After talking with my mom, I found that it is normal and will go away in time. I wore them for about 4 hours which in hindsight was a bit much. My left ear started hurting. I’m going to have to work up to being able to wear them all day.

I started editing my short story Lump tonight as it is Thursday. Luckily, I only did about a half page. Then my computer froze up and I lost all my edits. This has been happening for a while at random times. Eventually, I’m going to have to invest in a new computer. I’m thinking of getting a laptop so I can write anywhere, not just my home office.

Last part of my news today, when I got my computer back up, I decided to shelve the editing of Lump and instead edited Chapter 2 of the Altered. It is now posted over at Post Apocalyptic Fiction forum. In this chapter, Leann arrives at her home and we are introduced to her husband Jack. This chapter also sets the stage. In the next chapter the action ramps up.

I’m really like the format of the forum. I like being able to put all the chapters in a single thread. This way, a reader can start from the beginning and then keep scrolling down for the next chapters. Now that I think about it, I could post it here also, but then I would have to create links to each and every post. I don’t know about you, but after a while that gets annoying to read. Plus, for any new reader that happens upon my little corner of the internet, they’ll see a later chapter first, then have to hunt down where the story starts.

A Small Surprise

Came home from work and was greeted by my biggest fan. My mother is visiting us from New Mexico for a week. Things haven’t always been this way between us. For a long time, I actively avoided seeing or talking to her. Through time and a lot of introspection, I’ve put aside the past hurts and disappointments.

We spent a couple of hours before dinner visiting and talking about my writing and her fostering of dogs. It was enjoyable and a memory that I’m sure to treasure in the future.

It was about this time last year that I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. I look back at all the changes I’ve made in my life in one short year and am amazed. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but I’m sure it will be interesting.

Oh, I also got a bit of writing done on my book tonight. I’m about a third of the way through a longish chapter. I’m figuring on three or four more chapters after this one to complete Part 2 of the book.

Trying Something New

I’ve been writing a novel off and on for a while. I like how it’s going, but have this nagging fear that it isn’t going to be any good. Yes, I know, Imposter Syndrome strikes it’s ugly head once again.

I came across this forum that you can post your story in chapters. All rights are reserved to the author. I went back and forth on deciding to post my book there. Finally I decided to take the plunge. As it gets lots of views, I think I’ll get good feedback on it. I posted the Prologue and Part 1, Chapter 1 today. I plan on posting a chapter a week. This should keep me motivated enough to keep writing the book until it is finished.

Or it could crash and burn into a million fiery inglorious bits. I’ll deal with that if it happens.

If you want to follow along and read the story as it unfolds, then go HERE and bookmark the story. You don’t have to register to read it, only if you want to comment on it.

The nice part of this forum is that I can have the story pulled if in the future I decide to publish it. Of course, I’ll probably have to do extensive rewriting.

Strange Mornings

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It’s been a weird week, especially in the mornings. Monday morning, I woke up and for some reason thought I needed to be at work earlier than usual. I’m the receiving manager and I start work a half hour later than the shipping manager. Occasionally, I’ll go in to work at the same time as the shipping manager, usually because there is an early truck to unload.

I couldn’t figure out why I felt the need to be in early. Maybe I forgot something? I finally shrugged off the feeling and went into work at the normal time. Sure enough, I find out that the shipping manager has a family emergency and wouldn’t be in. So guess who has to do both shipping and receiving. Yeah, me. Very long day at work and quite stressful.

Tuesday morning, I did something completely out of character for me. When I heard the alarm go off, I got up to turn it off and noticed that it had been going on for four minutes. What? I usually turn it off within seconds of it going off. I must have been tired from the day before, more tired than I usually am. Another day of doing both shipping and receiving caused more stress and I started having more hot flashes than normal.

Wednesday morning, I woke up normal. However, my morning routine was completely disrupted as my internet was down. I did an outage check and it was down for the whole neighborhood. I felt off the whole day. The shipping manager returned and I worked hard to catch up on my receiving. Hot flashes got pretty intense this day.

This morning, I woke up normally again, however, I felt like I could go right back to sleep. I struggled to keep my eyes open even after two cups of coffee. I poured a to go cup and went to work anyways. I felt tired all day. When I got home, I laid down in bed and slept for almost two hours. I haven’t done that since last October when my liver was declining due to the cancer treatments. Again another day of intense hot flashes.

I don’t know what Friday morning has in store for me. I’m hoping for a completely routine normal morning.

Meanwhile, I continued writing on my book Monday night and Tuesday night. I knocked off a chapter that may just be the pivotal chapter of Part 2.

Last night, I sat down to do the Six Sentence Story challenge. The prompt word is “Detour”. The obvious came to mind. Detour of life or taking a detour literally. I didn’t want to do the obvious. Call it ego, call it pride, call it whatever you wish, I try to do the non-obvious when I write the Six Sentence Story. I shelved the challenge and hoped that I may get inspiration later. I still have time as the challenge runs a couple more days.

For now, I’m going to take it easy for the rest of the night in the hopes that tomorrow returns to normal.

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

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Being a creature of habit, I formed a routine of writing after dinner each day. With the sun staying up longer in the day, dinnertime kept getting pushed back. This limited my writing time until I couldn’t reliably get into the writing zone.

Decided this week to change things up. When I got home, I set a timer for 45 minutes so I could relax, unwind and catch up on reading my internet news. Then I set another timer for 2 hours to write. I didn’t use all of the two hours, only 90 minutes. Wow, what a difference! I wrote 1200 words on my memoir. I’m getting close to finishing Part 3. Possibly by this weekend if I can keep this rate up.

Unless of course, I get the urge to work on another project. Either way, at least for the next six months, this is going to be my new routine. Once the days get shorter, I’ll probably switch back to writing after dinner.

For now, I agreed to help Mrs. D give Gracie a bath. It will take both of us as she hates water.

I recently installed a new handheld showerhead that has a gentle mist setting. Hopefully this will calm her down. If she gets distraught and anxious, then it is likely that I’ll get clawed.

Wish me luck!