Weekly Progress Report #48

Success! I managed to write every day this last week. Fantastic writing? Not so much. Getting back into the groove of daily writing will mean some days are going to be meh. I tried a few different styles of writing this week. Mostly to expand my writing. Still haven’t really settled on one genre, but I’m thinking I’ll never be able to be pigeonholed that way. That can be a good thing but also a bad thing. Quite a few authors write in a distinctive style and genre and build up an audience. If they go out of the prescribed style, then it usually isn’t received as well. Building an audience with an eclectic writing style is pretty hard to do. I do love a challenge!

This week, not only am I planning on posting everyday, but also start editing. I’m still not a fan of editing, but it is a necessary evil. I do know if I ever hit it big with my writing, I’m definitely hiring a professional editor. To me that will be money well spent as it will save me hours and hours of going over a manuscript. I’d rather be writing than editing and revising.

Health wise, I’m doing pretty darn good. I have about 80-90% mobility back with my shoulder. My last physical therapy session was last Tuesday. I had been scheduled for 3 more weeks, but my shoulder has responded to the therapy very well. I’m doing daily exercises to get that last bit of mobility back. But found out that I’ll need to continue the exercises probably for the rest of my life to keep the shoulder from freezing up again.

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


Weekly Progress Report #41

Sent out my memoir “My Cancer Journey” to several beta readers for review. Got great feedback from the ones that deigned to respond. I can’t thank them enough for spending the time and effort to craft quality critiques. I’ve been making a list of planned revisions that will help focus the story and make it more readable. Also, there were a few things in there that some did not understand. My information bias thought everyone would know these things. I will be expanding on what they mean.

This week, I’ll be concentrating on fixing the memoir. I’ll then be sending it out to one final beta reader that I trust the most to give me honest feedback. Also, I will be working on a book blurb. I’ve never done one of those before, so this will be interesting.

Slowly but surely, I’m inching my way to publishing. It’s been a battle. One that I’ve wanted to tear my hair out of my skull at times. It’s been said that writing is a solitary lonely venture. That may be true for the first draft and first edit, but after that, it becomes a team effort. I know that I couldn’t do it without help.

I’ll be writing up my Weekly Writing Challenge later today. The prompt is an interesting one as I’ll be using it to relate a true story that happened to me in the mid 90’s. Usually, I try to make up a story, but occasionally the prompt screams at me that I need to do a personal essay instead. Either way, the challenges have the effect of making me a better writer. Though I stumble at times and revert back to bad habits. I noticed my old bugaboo of using the word “that” reoccurred twice in the preceding sentences.

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

Weekly Progress Report #39

This has been an editing week. I’m really liking ProWritingAid as it points out more things I wouldn’t have even thought to look at. For instance, I have several paragraphs where I start every sentence with “I”. Currently rewriting those paragraphs to make the flow better and not sound repetitive. I’m currently at three (3!) passive sentences, down from originally 56. I’m struggling to rewrite the last three, but I’ll get there.

Speaking of struggling, this weekend is the half-way point of my Weekly Writing Challenge. To me, this one should be special. Stupendous, marvelous and, above all else, astounding. Unlike last week, where I could have gone in a dozen different ways to write the challenge, this one is pretty straightforward. And I’m drawing a complete blank. I can’t visualize anything but a boring story.

I’ve sat down many times in the last couple of days to see if I could come up with something that doesn’t completely suck. Usually, I’ll write a first sentence and the story will come to me. This time, not so much. I’ve written at least a dozen first sentence’s and every time it leaves me stuck. Could this week finally be my doom?

I’ve not written about cancer lately, due to me being cancer free, but I’ve noticed a peculiar thing. Every little ache or pain causes me instantly to think, “Cancer!” It’s almost as if I’ve become paranoid. I went to the dermatologist and had a mole that has been bothering me removed. During chemo, the mole dried out and split and has been flaky ever since. I can’t help but wonder if this is cancer. Friday, I received a call and the tests show it was benign. What a relief!

During my annual physical, I complained about my right arm hurting. The doc thinks it is because I had a rash of boils under my right arm. The scar tissue may have contracted my muscles. To be sure, he had me do x-rays of my arm and shoulder. I finally got to see the results yesterday and contrary to my fear of having bone cancer, it showed my bones are good. Looks like physical therapy is in my future.

It’s going to take a long time for me to get over this irrational fear of cancer whenever I experience anything different. I’m not used to living in fear and I don’t like it.

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

First Thoughts

I’ve been working with ProWritingAid Premium for the past couple of days. So far, I’m thrilled with it. As I was able to apply a discount code of 25% off, my total cost for this year is $60. That works out to $5 a month.

Unlike some programs, ProWritingAid doesn’t have an app. It has free app extensions for a multitude of programs, including internet browsers. This gives you a quick and dirty grammar check while you are typing.

For the full effect, you open a web-based site and log in. They store your work in the cloud and you can write a story there and then export it to wherever you need it.

At first, I used the free version to check my memoir. It found about 100 areas for improvement. After I had corrected all of them, I then ran it again with the Premium version. It identified an additional 200 areas that had some type of problem.

It’s not perfect. There are some suggestions that I ignored, otherwise, my document wouldn’t make sense. Once you ignore the suggestion, it does not bring it back up. One feature I really like is when it identifies that you have started multiple sentences with the same word. I had one section where I deliberately started each sentence with “I’m” for dramatic effect. Pretty easy to tell the program to ignore that section.

The one feature that I’m looking forward to using is the pacing check. It identifies where your story will bog down. As I despise stories that bog down repeatedly, this will be a significant feature.

I’ve only scratched the surface of ProWritingAid, but I’m duly impressed. If you are like me and have limited editing experience, this is the way to improve your skills and your writing.

Weekly Progress Report #38

This week has been all about editing. Not my strongest suit, but something that I need to work on. Slowly I’m getting there, but it seems like I’m slogging through a mud pit. I’ve decided that I need help. I’m going to pull the trigger on buying a year’s worth of premium for ProWritingAid. Of all the editing software I’ve seen, it fits the bill the best.

I’m on day 2 of my stop smoking process. I only get to smoke 19 cigarettes today. Yesterday was the first day I’ve only smoked 1 pack. I’ve been a pack and a half smoker for a while. When I visited with my youngest daughter at their new home, I went over two hours without smoking. When I left and came home, I smoked and I got a buzz. Felt lightheaded. From past experiences, this will happen more this week. Not a good recipe for success with trying to concentrate on editing.

I still need to write my Weekly Writing Challenge story. I will post it early tonight. It’s another vague prompt that could go in a number of different directions. Probably what I need to continue to grow as a writer, but indecision is wracking my brain.

I foresee a tough week ahead. I’ve been through tougher weeks in the past, so I know I’ll be able to get past all the obstacles.

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

Weekly Progress Report #36

Had good progress the first part of the week, then my PC died. Got a new one and am hoping to get back on track this week. I had bought my old PC about 10 years ago. Did a few upgrades over the years. The new PC cost me way less than my old PC and runs much faster. Go figure. Got the main part of tweaking the new PC done. I’ll be doing minor tweaking as I go.

Sent Part 1 of my book to a couple of Alpha readers and got great feedback. Started a revision list of things I need to do for Part 1. I should be able to get Part 2 first draft done this week.

I missed my Weekly Writing Challenge yesterday, but I’ll make it up this evening. Just didn’t have enough time to write it due to PC issues.

In health news, I got my annual physical Friday. My PSA is still very low, which is a good thing. My testosterone is slowly rising. It’s now at 20. Normal is about 200. I can confidently say that I’m cancer free. I’ll be updating and doing editing and revision of my memoir. I hope to have it ready for publication by September.

My blood sugar percentage is still slowly going down. Unfortunately, my bad cholesterol has risen. Making some dietary changes yet again.

Due to a rash on my right underarm I got during my cancer treatments, it’s tightened up my arm and shoulder muscles. I’ll be getting an x-ray this week to make sure that’s what it is and not some other issue. Then I’ll be doing physical therapy.

I’ve started Wellbutrin again. Last time I was on it, I managed to quit smoking. I was on it for 3 months. A few weeks after going off of it, I started smoking again. Doctor agreed I need to be on Wellbutrin for at least a year so I can permanently quit smoking.

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

News, News and More News

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

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.

Weekly Progress Report #12

I’ll try anything once, maybe twice, third time it’s a habit

by Matt D

It’s official, blogging is a habit.

For a week in which I had no definite plans, it has been a really good week for writing. I did not one, but two flash fiction stories. Finished editing “My Cancer Journey” and posted it as a separate page. Did Part Three of Writing a Book. Reached the 100th post milestone.

I also ended up writing about Christmas a bit. Originally I was shying away from it as this has been a hard year and I wasn’t getting into the Christmas spirit. We didn’t even put up decorations inside or outside the house. On Christmas Eve, I wrote about a silly family tradition and the spirit of Christmas arrived. I woke up Christmas morning to find all our Christmas decorations had been pulled out of storage and arranged throughout the house. Mrs. D had out done herself and it was a fantastic surprise.

I had hoped to get back to editing “Lump”, but never found the time or motivation to do so. My goal is to complete the editing this week. I’m off work until Wednesday, so it looks like I’ll have time to get back to my novel “Altered War” and see if I can move it along.

My new weekly goal is to write at least one Flash Fiction story between 500 and 1,000 words. Writing a Book – Part Four is on my “nice to get done” list, but definitely not on my “Must Do” list. It’s going to take a bit of time and research and will probably be a long post. I’m considering making a new Page at the top and slotting in the series there for anyone who wants to see all of it in it’s entirety.

Remarkably, I didn’t cheat my diet over the Christmas holidays. Maybe I can make it a full month of not cheating which would be a miracle.

I have not one, not two but three appointments this week. Tuesday I see the endocrinologist. The blood draw I did for him showed my insulin levels are all normal. I expect a battle to get the diagnosis of type II diabetes off my medical record. Later that same day, I’m visiting my dentist as I had a crown fall off. Don’t know where it went, most likely I swallowed it.

On Wednesday, back to my monthly checkup with the medical oncologist. I feel pretty good, so I expect this visit to go rather smoothly. Famous last words?

I’m going to talk to all my doctors about going back on Wellbutrin in order to stop smoking again. It worked the last time I quit, so let’s try it again for the second time. (see quote above)

Work is going to be hectic this week, mostly because I’ll only be working one and a half days. It will be maximum effort to get as much done before the new year. Annual inventory is on January 22nd, so have less than four weeks to get ready for it.

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


I had a long day at work. Started at 5 in the morning and didn’t get off until 4 in the afternoon. This is going to be a short week as we are off on Christmas Eve. You would think it would be an easy week, but every time we have a short week due to a holiday, it is usually more hectic.

Finally finished editing “My Cancer Journey”. I’m going to let it sit for a few days and then look over it once more for a final polishing. Tomorrow, I’ll tackle the editing of my short story, “Lump”. That one will take longer as I do need to figure out a few tweaks.

Is Editing Considered Writing?

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

After spending a few hours editing, that’s the question that comes to my mind. I’m moving sections around, correcting grammar mistakes and looking for tense changes. I’ve not written but a few words that I’ve inserted here and there. I’ve deleted two whole paragraphs because they interrupt the flow and are not germane to the story.

Answering the question of whether I’m doing writing, I would say no. However, I realized I had completely forgotten to write about a significant event that is very relevant. Next thing you know, I’ve got over 1,000 words written and still haven’t finished the section. Now the answer is definitely yes, I am writing.

Upon reflection, I realized that it didn’t matter whether I added the section. Editing is writing. It’s a part of the writing process. Sometimes it’s easy and pretty straightforward. Other times it becomes very difficult. Especially when I notice that I’m using the same word over and over in my manuscript. Now I’ve got to figure out alternatives that actually make sense. Sometimes that requires rewriting the sentence completely.

Editing is a love/hate stage for me. I enjoy making my sentences perfect, or at the very least almost perfect. It’s a joy to see a sentence that doesn’t look right and after revising the sentence to look back on it and see the transformation. I also hate editing as it takes time and does get tedious. Frustrations arise when I see a passage that clearly needs to be reworked, but no matter how many different ways I write it, the paragraph still looks amiss.

I tend to want to rush the editing. I’ll read and reread the story multiple times and it looks great to me. Then I set it aside and work on something else for a while (like writing this post). I go back and read the tale again and see things I’ve been missing that need to be corrected. This takes time and I want to get feedback now, not later. I’ll send it to someone I trust and when I get the comments back on it, I’m always amazed I missed what is obviously wrong.

Editing takes at least as long as the time I spent writing the story, usually twice as long. One day I’ll embrace that concept and develop the patience to self-edit the composition fully before sending it off for critique.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I may be doing editing all wrong. There has got to be an easier way. Maybe I should have paid more attention in my college writing classes.