Tag Archives: schedule

*taps the mic* Hello?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I guess you deserve an explanation. To put it simply, the past month has been unusual. Life intervened. Many things happened back to back that were both unexpected and expected. I won’t go into too many details, but this is the tl;dr version:

Emergency hospitalization (not me!), new job, short trip, and new puppy!

The puppy!

Mostly, I’ve had to do a lot of running around, adjusting to a new schedule, and many other things. But I have to say this:

This blog is not ending!

So, what’s going on then? Where’s Authors Answer? There are still three more Authors Answer for October not posted, but they will be. I didn’t announce it publicly, but Authors Answer is on a hiatus until the New Year, as I try to figure out what direction to take it. It’s getting more and more difficult to ask questions. Have they all been asked? No, but they’re very difficult to think of. The final Authors Answer of the year is a big one, though. Look forward to that one!

If you’re a subscriber to my YouTube channel, then you know I’ve been somewhat active there. I haven’t been as consistent as I should be, but that has a lot to do with what’s been going on. I’ve also been in the planning stages of a new series for my science channel, which I hope will be well-received and popular. I’ll update you this weekend on what I’ve posted on YouTube.

I also have an office now! This means I should be able to do some writing in privacy, at least during certain times of the day. I’d like to get a couple short stories out in the coming months while I’m working on Journey to Ariadne and my first novel. Progress!

With all that said, how about you? What have you been up to lately?

Authors Answer 122 – Should You Write Every Day?

This month, we return to regular questions and answers, but we have a theme for the month. We’re looking at common advice that may be considered either bad or good advice. We’re starting off with how often we should write.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 122 – Write every day. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Although I might possibly be the worst person in the world at actually adhering to this advice, I do actually agree. In order to be a writer, you have to write, and write a lot, so the best way of accomplishing that is to write something – anything – every day. In that way it becomes a habit, something that you do automatically. Additionally, if you’re writing daily – even if it’s not anything that goes toward your current WIP – you’re getting lots of practice in, and that is never a bad thing. The more you write, the better you’re going to get, and even if what you’re writing is complete crap, it could eventually become something that you come back to and turn into a masterpiece.

Gregory S. Close

Sure, write every day.  If you can.  If you can’t, don’t waste any time worrying that you aren’t writing every day – just write when you can.  It’s great to set goals, so if a realistic goal is writing x amount of words every day – then set it.  If it’s not a realistic goal, then please don’t.  I would substitute “consistently” for “every day” and that’s a more accurate measure.  Write consistently, push yourself when you can (don’t just let yourself off easy), but there’s not a hard and fast rule that says you have to write every day to be a good or successful writer.

Jean Davis

Disagree, sort of. Should you try to write every day, sure, it’s a good way to train your brain to be productive, but my writing also benefits from taking a break for day or two when my creative juices run dry or my head just isn’t in the game. Forcing myself to pound out words I know are no good or stare at a blinking cursor isn’t good for me or what I’m trying to write.

C E Aylett

Yes, I do agree. Writing every day gets you into the habit, then you find you can’t NOT write. I also don’t believe in waiting for inspiration to hit. That may have worked well back in the days of the Brontë sisters when the aristocracy had nothing better but to gaze out of their country manor windows, but in our current lifestyles, when so many things compete for our time, we have to
set aside time for it. Once you make it a part of your daily routine, ideas begin to pop so fast you can’t keep up with them. Also, if you are working on bigger projects, keeping them in mind on a daily basis, even if it is only writing 100 words, keeps you connected to the story.

In saying that, I have writing bouts. Usually in the school holidays I don’t work much on novel projects, and I can go for several weeks not really writing anything. Maybe I’ll edit instead and leave the creation of new material for when the house is quieter. Once I get back into it, I’m on it every weekday. Weekends I reserve for writing blog articles.

Either way, some sort of writing or editing will occur on a daily basis.

Beth Aman

Somewhat agree.  There’s definitely something to be said for writing consistently, for setting aside time daily to meet with your story.  That’s part of the beauty of things like NaNoWriMo: they force you to stay in your story, to keep your head in the game.  HOWEVER.  If you have a life outside of writing, it’s not necessarily practical to write every single day.  And it can be counter-productive to teach people “you must write every day or else you’re not a writer.”  The important thing is to write whenever you can, and to forgive yourself when you can’t.

Eric Wood

I guess it depends on why you’re writing. If you’re writing a book with the hope of being published to make money then I would say yes, write every day. The more you write the more the ideas will flow. I count the editing process as writing, too.  If you’re just writing a blog as a hobby (as I do) then write just enough to keep you interested. If your interest feels more like work than play then it’s no longer interesting.

D. T. Nova

The fact that many writers simply can’t do this should not be minimized.

I would say “Write on every day that you reasonably can.”

Cyrus Keith

Of course, write every day. You want it to be a job? Treat it like it’s your job. In a good way, that is. But still, discipline yourself. Many pro’s have daily word quotas, even if it’s unassociated drivel. You’re a writer. Write. Stay on rhythm.

H. Anthe Davis

I agree with making an attempt at this.  It’s one of the things that pushed me from only periodically hacking at my manuscript to actually making leaps and bounds of progress, and publishing three books (with two more still being worked on).  I used to feel that I could only write when I was inspired to, and while that still stands for short stories (which otherwise I hate writing with every fiber of my being), with novels there’s a lot of material that’s just setup, or explanation, or rough-draft raw material that doesn’t require you to be possessed by the creative fire at the time.  I’ve found myself far more capable of writing decent text even when I feel like a lump of crud; this delusion I have that I’ll forget how to write if I’m in a mood or put it off too long is, indeed, just a delusion.  Most of the work in writing is the refining of the drafts anyway.  What you put out from day to day isn’t the final version that everyone will see.  So even if it does happen to be sludge, it’s the sludge of progress.

That being said, everyone needs their rest days, or has days when opening the document is just too much stress.  Still, constant progress is a good habit to get into, as is understanding that every word doesn’t need to be perfect right as it’s first spilling out of your pen (or keyboard).

Paul B. Spence

Disagree. I write when I can. I have a life, career, etc., outside writing. I write well when I think about my subject and let it percolate in my brain. Seems to work for me. If you average the number of words I write in a year, it comes out over 500 words a day. So even when I sleep, I’m writing. *grin*

Jay Dee Archer

In principle, it’s a good idea to write every day. Realistically, I don’t think it’s possible for most people. If you do it full time, then write as much as you can. If you want to write every day, then go ahead and do it. But even authors need to have days off. Between books, some authors may take time off to promote their books, go on signing tours, and so on. But do they write during that time? Some might, some may not. Personally, I’ve been terrible at writing my book every day. But I do try to write something every day, and that is this blog. I’m doing something, even though it might not be fiction.

How about you?

If you’re an author, do you agree or disagree? Should you write every day? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Schedule Disruptions Continue

It’s still the holiday season, especially at work. I work six days this week, so I haven’t had as much time as usual at home. I’ve also been working a lot of evenings, which is different than usual. Unfortunately, this has led to some disruptions to my schedule already this month.

I said I’d be doing two posts a day this month, but I missed one yesterday. I worked late, and didn’t have much time to do my second post. I also haven’t had time to record videos as usual. I have to actually sacrifice my regular Retro Book Review that I’d normally post tomorrow. I may still do it on Saturday, meaning two videos that day. But I also work on Saturday, so we’ll see.

Next week, I’m free all week. My daughter goes back to school, both Kindergarten and Japanese school. Since I have this free time, I’ll be doing several things:

  • Regular videos, possibly getting ahead of schedule.
  • Getting my science channel under way, probably posting the channel trailer at the end of the week.
  • Lots of book reviews for the blog.
  • Playing NHL 17 on the Xbox.

The last one is just for my own enjoyment, of course.

I’m thinking about getting back to doing Quick Facts for the moons of the solar system, as well. I have my job to thank for the inspiration to get back to it.

In case you’re wondering about the videos I’ll be doing for my science channel, I have a few things planned:

  • Weekly science news (this will include astronomy news and more, as well as weekly facts, such as world population updates)
  • Weekly science videos (I will focus on astronomy at first, but expand to other sciences later)
  • Raw science news updates for any big news that I want to report about right away. These will be kind of rough videos with little editing.

To do these videos, I need to get to work on using a new video editor that allows me to do video overlays and picture in picture video. I’m going to install it soon.

Anything you’re looking forward to?

A Strategy for Reading and Writing

I’ve never really thought about having a strategy for reading and writing before. But with the kind of work schedule I have, I really need to think about it. 

First of all, for reading, I tend to only read while I’m taking the bus to and from work. I don’t always take the bus, though. I never get any reading done on my days off. So, I need to set aside time to read every day. I’m thinking 15 to 30 minutes is good. With that amount of time, I should be able to finish books faster than I have been. 

As for writing, any time I have alone could be a good time to write. But that’s not often. So, I’ll try squeeze in 15 minutes to write every day. That’s far better than I’ve done in recent months. 

Do you have a strategy for reading and writing? Share it in the comments below. 

Scheduling Blog Posts

To reach the greatest number of readers possible, timing is very important. I have to think about where my readers live and when they’re likely to be online. When I lived in Japan, I tended to make a post around noon and one in the evening or very early morning. That corresponded to North American times of evening and early morning. But I’m now considering scheduling my posts so they’re up at the same time every day.

First of all, I need to think about where my readers live. Most of them are American, while Canadians are in second place. After that, it’s British or expats living in Japan, and below that, it’s Australians. But there are a lot of other Europeans that read, as well. I need to cover all three general time zones with my posts.

Since North America is my biggest audience, I try to post around 6 pm Mountain Time, which is between 5 pm Pacific and 8 pm Eastern. That covers most people, and is the best time for people to be reading. It’s morning in Australia and Japan, so they can read, but Europeans are probably sleeping.

For my other post, I need to think about what the best time is to schedule. I’m thinking that 12 pm Mountain Time is best. That means Europeans get to read in the evening, but those in Australia and Japan won’t get to read it until they get out of bed. It’s not easy to time it well.

What do you think? Is this a good way to schedule my posts? What time do you usually read blogs and where do you live? Depending on your answers, I may adjust the schedule a bit.

A Look at My Weekly Blog Post Series

It’s about time to think about what I’m doing on the blog, and to set up a schedule. I have several weekly series that I have done, some wonderfully successful, some not.

Here are the weekly series:

  • Authors Answer – Every Friday
  • Science Sunday – A weekly science video every Sunday
  • Week in Review – Every Saturday or Sunday
  • Quick Facts – I’m thinking twice a week, but I’ll go with once a week for now. Tuesday, I’d say.
  • Worldbuilding – I’ll get this started up again, but I may go twice a month.

I also have monthly series:

  • Month in Review – First or second of the month.
  • Commentition – The twelfth of every month.

I also have an upcoming series that’ll be a flash fiction competition. I’ve mentioned what I’ll be doing for that before. When it starts, I can’t say yet. I need a bit more time to make sure I can commit to anything like that.

That’s about it, as far as I can remember. There is the Instagram series, but that’s not on a set schedule.

So, what’s next is to get myself back to twice a day posting, a good daily schedule for myself (this really depends on work), and some privacy.

Authors Answer 72 – Writing Targets

A full-time author’s job is to write. For many of them, they spend a full-time job’s amount of time writing, editing, promoting, and doing many other things for their books. But many authors write only part-time, as they often have a non-writing job. But they tend to have their own routine, or some just do it whenever they can. How about our authors?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 72 – Do you have a daily or weekly target for writing? What is it, and how do you achieve it?

S. R. Carrillo

For the past 2 or 3 years, I have made monthly goals of writing, at a minimum, 10,000 words on any given project. It’s a realistic goal for me – especially since I was playing G.I. Joe when I made it.

As for how I make it happen – I simply make it a priority. I finish a scene, start a new one, outline an idea for further down the line, edit some lines that were bothering me, all until I meet my goal. If I don’t, I work harder at it. If I do, I keep going. ^_^

Elizabeth Rhodes

It’s been so long since I was actually writing a new story (I’ve spend most of my time editing and then releasing/promoting Jasper) that I haven’t yet established a habit. In a perfect world I’d be writing a thousand words a day, but that’s definitely not happening right now. I don’t hold myself to that goal, but I plan to get a chapter down per week at minimum.

H. Anthe Davis

Normally I have a target of 2-3 pages per writing day, and I write five days a week.  I write before I go to my Day Job, so 2-3 is about the amount of writing I can squeeze in between gaining full consciousness and being forced to run out the door.  There are two writing-days where I don’t have the Day Job hanging over me, so sometimes I get 4-6 pages in, and there are always outlier days where I get up to 8 because I feel very motivated.  My main goal is to get -something- down on the page, and keep pushing at it until I have to break off for the day.  It’s just persistence — and a steady schedule I guess, because my Day Job schedule was wacky for most of February and totally threw me off my writing game.  Hopefully by the time this posts, I will have gotten back into the proper swing of it.

Eric Wood

I don’t really have a target. Though I do try to write daily posts for my blog. I attempt to write at least 500 words per post. Sometime they’re longer. Sometimes they’re much longer. Sometimes I fall short. I certainly don’t beat myself up over it. If I succeed great. If not, I’ll try again tomorrow.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I definitely should have a daily or weekly target, for motivation purposes if nothing else, but I don’t because it would only set me up for disaster. That may sound a little jaded, but since my day job requires me to work 12-hour days for 14 days straight, there are often periods of days at a time during which I simply cannot write unless I’m willing to give up even more sleep than I already lose while on shift, so trying to hold myself to some kind of target just doesn’t do me any favors at all. I mainly just look at my monthly totals and then try my hardest to beat that total the following month.

Jean Davis

Ideally, I aim to write a thousand words a day if I’m working on a novel. Some days life happens and I don’t write at all. Other days I get two thousand words in. It seems to level out. When I’m in short story mode, I aim for half of that because there’s a lot more thought involved to be concise when transferring the story in my head onto the page.

D. T. Nova

Not a very specific one. I’ve gone through periods where I had the goal of always wanting to get something substantial done every day, but allowed enough flexibility that it achieving wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately, I’ve been having trouble with it recently due to personal reasons that have nothing to do with writing.

Linda G. Hill

My daily target is to write something. Anything. Even if it’s a sentence. I achieve my goal (sometimes, not always) by tying up my son, gagging him, and then ignoring an hour’s worth of pleas to be let loose. … yes, I’m joking. I just ignore him for two minutes. It’s about all he can take. 😉 But seriously, I’d love to spend hours every day working on a novel. The only time I seem to manage that is when I put my nose to the grindstone for NaNoWriMo.

Allen Tiffany

No.  I push relentlessly on writing and marketing my work, as well as learning about such things, but I have no word count goal. And I don’t think such things are conducive to good writing (just my opinion). I much rather mull things over, add, delete, rewrite, rewrite and rewrite. I have great confidence that problems with my story, the plot, a character’s motivation, etc., will eventually resolves themselves (often in something of an epiphany) if I give it enough time and thought.

Gregory S. Close

When I was writing full time I would set goals – usually tied to scenes rather than word count.  Now, I’m just happy to get writing time in at all.

If I can return myself to a routine, then writing first thing in the morning yields the best results, leaving time to edit the prior day’s work in the afternoon or evening. Getting something in every day (or at least 5 working days a week) is really key to establishing a good rhythm.

Paul B. Spence

Not really. When the mood strikes me/life gets out of the way/stress decreases, I tend to write a few thousand words a day. If you average it out, even on days I don’t write, I ‘write” a thousand or so.

Jay Dee Archer

I’m in a unique situation right now, so I don’t have any targets at all. Since I’m moving half way around the world, I can’t concentrate on writing. However, after the move, and once we’ve gotten everything settled, I can finally get myself into a writing routine. Ideally, I’d like to write at least five days a week and achieve a minimum of somewhere between 500 and 1,000 words. More is fine. But I can’t really say until I’m able to write, and see where I feel comfortable. With so many unknowns, I can’t really answer this very well.

How about you?

If you’re an author, what kind of target have you set for yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

Changing How I Read

It’s been a frustrating year for reading for me. I’ve only completed seven books this year, which is far behind what I did in the last two years. I feel like I haven’t been reading as much, yet I read at the same time and frequency as I did before. So why am I getting less read?

It could be because of the rather large books I’ve read this year. But my page count is also far behind. I can’t seem to figure out why it’s taking me so long to read each book this year.

Looking back before I was married, I read quite often in bed, on the train, during my breaks at work, but I read fewer books, as well. I’d go weeks without reading at times, too.  But this year, I’m not taking breaks, other than the last two weeks.

So, I’m going to try to change how I read. In addition to my commute and breaks, I’m going to read for a while every night before I go to bed. Maybe I can actually finish a few books by the end of this year. One thing is for sure, my reading schedule may be completely thrown out. One of the upcoming books I’ve been planning to read is now in Canada.

Doing Collaborations

Recently, I’ve been asked to do some collaborations or to join a team on an online magazine or website. While these offers aren’t often, I’ve recently had a couple come up that look interesting, but I honestly cannot do.

It’s six months until we move to Canada. We’re busy with preparations. I work full time, and my free time is taken up by my family, this blog, and a couple other things I’ve taken on or already agreed to do. Authors Answer is my big collaboration project right now. It’s not stopping anytime soon.

Next year, after we’ve moved to Canada, I’ll be busy with getting everything settled in Canada, including school for my daughter, job, and taking classes. I’ll have more privacy at that time, so I can finally get some serious work done on Ariadne. That will be my creative priority, as well as this blog. Add on my YouTube channel, which I fully intend to regularly update, and I’m busy again.

I’ve had people ask me if I could review their book. I have a backlog of around two hundred books. I can’t take review requests at this time. It’s unlikely I ever will.

So, basically, I’m busy. I don’t have time to do anything extra. I have some things you don’t know about that I’m working on behind the scenes that are not related to this blog or my writing, but have to do with something else entirely.

So, I respectfully ask anyone who wants to collaborate with me to give me at least six months until I can commit to anything. I’ll update on this stance when I’m able to do something more. Thank you.

Failing Terribly at My Reading Challenge

It’s only the end of July and I have read less than a book a month. That’s awful. Take a look at my Goodreads reading challenge.

Seriously? That's awful!
Seriously? That’s awful!

What’s wrong with this picture? 11 books behind schedule? What is going on? Well, I have to blame all the big books I’m reading this year. Turns out I gave myself a rather difficult schedule. The book I’m reading now has more than 1200 pages. But I’ll be finished soon! Lets take a look at my schedule.

For physical printed books, I have this schedule:

  1. The Neutronium Alchemist – Peter F. Hamilton (currently reading)
  2. The Iliad – Homer
  3. The Dragon Reborn – Robert Jordan
  4. Mercury – Ben Bova
  5. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
  6. Redemption Ark – Alastair Reynolds
  7. Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett
  8. Green Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
  9. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  10. Dune Messiah – Frank Herbert
  11. Children of the Mind – Orson Scott Card
  12. Exile – R. A. Salvatore
  13. The Naked God – Peter F. Hamilton
  14. Armageddon’s Children – Terry Brooks
  15. Blue Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
  16. Memories of Ice – Steven Erikson
  17. The Ringworld Engineers – Larry Niven
  18. Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clarke
  19. Stone of Tears – Terry Goodkind
  20. The Shadow Rising – Robert Jordan
  21. Prince Caspian – C. S. Lewis
  22. Absolution Gap – Alastair Reynolds
  23. A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin
  24. Black Powder War – Naomi Novik
  25. Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett
  26. Sojourn – R. A. Salvatore

Some of the upcoming books are shorter, so that’s good. And now for the eBooks, which I haven’t been getting through very quickly, either.

  1. The Book of Deacon – Joseph R. Lallo (currently reading)
  2. Keepers of Water – R. G. Porter
  3. Young Lord of Khadora – Richard S. Tuttle
  4. Blood and Steel – Martin Parece
  5. The Seekers of Fire – Lynna Merrill
  6. The Prophecy – Jeffrey M. Poole
  7. Legon Awakening – Nicholas Taylor
  8. The Shadowbearer – Terry C. Simpson
  9. Supernova – Crystal Ward
  10. Collapse – Richard Stephenson
  11. Book of Remembrance – Tania Johansson
  12. The Weight of Blood – David Dalglish
  13. The Burning Sky – Joseph Robert Lewis

And then there are a couple art books I should really get finished. They’re quick reads.

  1. The World of Robert Bateman (currently reading)
  2. Robert Bateman: An Artist in Nature

As you can see, I like to plan out my reading schedule. Before, I’d just pile the books up around my bed, back when I lived by myself. It was easy. Now, I keep my books in a closet, and I can’t stack them up like I used to. But with the schedule, it’s easy for me to check and see what’s next.

Of course, I can’t get through this entire list before we move to Canada. I’ll be sending my books back to Canada. No, I will not sell them, I spent over $1000 on my collection of books, considering prices here in Japan are double or triple what they are in Canada. But that’s because they’re imported.

How’s your reading going? Like my list? Anything stand out? Let me know in the comments.