Monday, 6 June 2016

The Daily Check on His Enchanted Girlfriend

Very excited today! My latest 50-word story ("The Daily Check on His Enchanted Girlfriend") was awarded "story of the week" on the 50-word stories site! And the piece has been ranked alongside the awesome Bob Thurber (read his stuff - it's brilliant!), so I'm feeling kinda good about myself right now :-)

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A million words in 2016 (June)

I'm writing a million words in 2016!

Below is the progress diary for June (I'll be updating it as the month goes on). If you're interested, here's the intro, and here are the diaries for January, February, March, April and May.

The red number in the right-hand column is the total word count. Please wish me luck in watching that number tick up to 1,000,000 over the rest of the year!

The Million-Word Diary: June

1st June764,786
It's time for another spreadsheet. Yep, another! Sometimes I feel like I spend more time playing around with writing-related spreadsheets than I do actually getting the writing done. Actually, no, I don't feel like that at all. The spreadsheet is a motivator to help me get all this crazy typing finished so I can use it in some projects! 

The typing is a separate task to the million words project, and it's kinda killing me. The notebooks I'm typing-up all came from 2015 and 2016, during which I attended a thousand (slight exaggeration, but probably not by too much) writing courses, classes, workshops and groups. As a results, I have literally hundreds of scribbled hand-written pages of ideas, notes, first-drafts of scenes, and god knows what else. All of it has to be typed so I can start hacking it about and making it into something useful.

The typing is taking ages, so that's why I'm spreadsheeting. This task is horribly dull so - for the sake of my sanity - I need to be able to say "I typed 44 pages today" and have something reply with "that means you'll be finished in 50 days". My lovely spreadsheet is doing that for me. Thank you, spreadsheet. (No problem, replies the spreadsheet, would you like a cup of tea?)

Along with the typing-up task, I'm also managing to keep the word count going. Feeling a little more enthusiastic about it now - I hope that feeling lasts! Today saw another 4,735 words so the total's now 764,786.

4th June778,633
The awesome Sophie wrote today to tell me off because I haven't yet submitted anything to Domestic Cherry 5. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm quite up to their standard, but I haven't written any flash fiction in ages so sat down to scribble. And - oh my god - it worked! I lost myself in the scribbles and ended up with eight flash fics. Eight! Okay, I don't know if anyone else will like them but I fired three of them off anyway. Fingers crossed!

The word counts for 2-4 June were 1,446, 5,890, 6,511, so my total's now 778,633. The "typing-up of notebooks" task is going well too - the file's now 100k words long! That's 100k of notes and scribbles and free-writes and, well, stuff. And I think most of it's actually useful!

6th June786,733
Last year I worked out how to submit work for publication, and *wow* what a rush! If you've never sent anything off, I really do recommend it. Yes, rejections sometimes hurt a bit, but it happens to everyone and there's nothing - nothing! - quite like that first buzz of seeing your work in a proper publication, whether it be hard-copy or online. I was bitten by the bug and started submitting like mad. And I got acceptances! People actually published my work! Wow, validation at last. Okay, I'm not going to pretend I produced any works of genius, but it was nice to discover that some of my stuff was deemed worthy. And there was an unsuspected bonus... my brain reacted to the validation and suddenly it was much easier to write. Publication is amazing for confidence levels!

Unfortunately, submitting takes ages. Producing the work is fine, but writing a decent cover letter (and spending ages scouring through badly designed websites to find the name of the editor) is slow slow slow, and excruciatingly dull. So this year I've hardly been submitting at all.

That said, there's still the occasional bit of validation. And each time it happens, something seems to "unblock" in my brain, and out come ideas. I just wish that feeling lasted.

Word counts for 5-6 June were 3,457 and 4,643. The total is now 786,733.

10th June800,235
Nothing much new to say apart from I'm still manically typing up my old notebooks, and I'm still manically trying to write a million words this year! I'm bored, bored, bored with it all but am managing to keep going so that's what matters, right? :-)

Word counts for 7-10 June were 4,451, 4,911, 793 (awful day!) and 3,347 and so the total is now 800,235. I've passed the 800k barrier, woohoo!

16th June826,431
Typing, typing, typing! It feels like I've hardly been doing anything but typing up notebooks these past few weeks. I had a year's worth of notes and scribblings to type, and I may never stop moaning about it. Moan moan moan. Anyway, I finally finished at about 4 AM this morning. Here's the final pile of now-typed-up junk!

It's all typed up at last!

Too many notebooks! Too many scribbled-on bits of paper full of suggestions from writing classes! I'm never writing longhand again! There was tons of useful stuff... but as a big pile of paper it was completely useless, so the typing had to be done. And I'm going to keep telling myself that because it is actually true, no matter how often I thought it'd be easier just to burn it all! 

Anyway, it's all complete now and I can sort all the typing out into projects... and then finally start working on turning it all into something worth reading! I may collapse in exhaustion for a while first though, if that's okay?

Final total for the typing-up came to more than 183,000 words. Some of that probably should count towards my "million words in 2016" project but it's too much hassle to work out what was written this year and what wasn't. So I'm ignoring it all! The million words project is continuing though. Word counts for 11-16 June were 5,380, 5,493, 4,240, 4,199, 3,285 and 3,599, and that means my total's now 826,431.

22nd June839,330
Disaster! All that typing was too much for my laptop - it died! Luckily I had everything backed up, but now I find myself de-computered right at the stage where I desperately needed a fast machine to work on. Aargh! *bangs head on wall in frustration*

I've ordered a new laptop but I'm currently living in the middle of nowhere and god knows how long it'll take to arrive. Ah well, at least I was organised enough to bring a spare one! It'll keep me going while I wait for the new laptop, but sadly it's the oldest machine in the world. Windows 10 has hobbled it so severely that it takes at least 17 extra hamsters to get it started. I probably sound like I'm exaggerating but imagine typing a whole sentence and then stopping to watch the screen as Windows thinks about what you just did, and then, finally, the sentence appears. Ouch. Yes, I know this is a first world problem - but the delay is death to the creative flow... and that's kinda painful when you've taken a huge chunk of time off to be creative!

I'm writing a few little bits and pieces longhand but am ignoring them for the moment because, well, counting words by hand doesn't sound much fun. So 20th June is officially my stopping point for now. Word counts for 17-20 June were 5,105, 4,125, 2,167 and 1,502. 

The total's now 839,330. And I guess it'll be staying that way until I get my new laptop... Sad face :-(

30th June839,330
End of the month and still no new laptop. It's all a bit painful and frustrating, but at least it gives me an excuse to fall asleep in the sun every so often. Talking of the sun - ouch - it's a bit warm here in Greece! My wimpy English skin is in shock at the heat, and it's not even July yet!