Category Archives: Time management and goals

There is a tide in the affairs of men, but it isn’t as predictable as real tides (#SFWApro)

So last Friday I mentioned that I had another possible paying gig. It’s a legal news service, providing freelance content to various legal papers around the country, and they liked my first story, so I’m in.

And then Wednesday of this week, my former clients at Demand Media (now Leaf) emailed me with an offer to work on one of their special projects.

And Thursday, someone for another website calls to ask me about doing some articles.

Which is very cool. I like people calling to ask me to do work . But why on Earth now, in particular? It’s something I’ve thought in the past when I suddenly sell two or three short stories in a relatively brief stretch of time: why didn’t it happen say, a year earlier? Or ten? Am I suddenly that much better? Is it all blind chance? Or what?

First world enigmas, I guess.

Of course it’s not like even if all these clients plus Screen Rant provide tons of work (I’ve had clients in the past who liked my stuff but didn’t generate much work) it would let TYG quit her job and live a life of ease. But it still feels good to have money coming in. How will all this work with the fiction I like doing best? Well, we’ll see.

As to actual accomplishments this week, my new Screen Rant column is out: 15 Heroes Who Quit and Never Came Back. This was surprisingly tough to write, as I kept finding characters (the Bronze Age White Tiger, the Patriot, the Earth-2 Batman) who quit for years — oops they got back into harness! Back to searching for someone new. Hellboy is top of the list.

And I got probably ten thousand words done on Southern Discomfort, though I’m unsettled by how much of it was new material (new scenes, radically rewritten old scenes). That means more polishing down the road, which takes more time, which could delay completion even more.

I had hoped to wrap up turning Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast into a hard copy via Createspace, but I ran into some log-in problems. Hopefully I can get it done next week, and then work on that book will be over.

Wish me luck.

(All rights to Hellboy cover remain with current holder)>

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

Perfect Balance? (#SFWApro)

Last weekend was surprisingly good.

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I got a lot of little errands done, including buying replacement light bulbs, refilling prescriptions, buying replacement batteries. And I fixed the errors I found in Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast. But I also managed to spend a lot of time relaxing, reading and watching movies. I keep trying to organize my weekends to be all laid back, but it often doesn’t work. It actually felt a little weird during the down-time stretches — shouldn’t I be doing something productive? I thought I’d gotten over feeling like that, but it stuck back up on me again.

There will be no week-in-review post today, due to a crazy day ahead. Book and movie review posts for the weekend will proceed as usual.

All rights to Connery-as-Bond image reside with current owner.

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Filed under Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Time management and goals

Regaining some balance, losing some face, facing some weather (#SFWApro)

The weather was freaky this week. When I took this photo Wednesday, I was out bicycling in shorts, even though the sky looked ominous (the photo doesn’t capture it as well as I’d hoped). Today I wore a sweater to walk the dogs, and it was cold.  Overall it’s been much warmer than last year, when we had icicles hanging from the bird feeder in late February.

img_1128Now, as to the balance — specifically between fiction and non-fiction as I discussed this morning. I didn’t really get the balance right this week, but I can see it improving. The tractor article is done. Screen Rant articles (I finished another this week though it’s not up yet) are getting easier as I stop fretting about their requirements and just write. I passed my trial period so now I can select images directly from SR’s library. It’s much simpler, to my surprise, than emailing the editors with a list of what I want.

I devoted today to finishing the Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast index, and I’m very glad I did. As with Now and Then We Time Travel indexing turned up eight or nine errors, several quite substantial. If I go this way for another nonfiction book (and I’m thinking about it for Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book), I’ll definitely index before publication. I feel really, really embarrassed to have released something inaccurate, hence the losing-face reference in the post title. I guess it shows why so many self-published writers recommend hiring an editor … but then again, the issue isn’t style or spelling but facts. So would it have helped? At least I did find them — I’m in the process of getting the ebook changed now (and pulled it from my sidebar and Nonfiction By Me pages until it is). Meanwhile I’ll add the index to my text to create a second PDF and see if the pagination is accurate. If it is, I submit to create space to get hard copies. If not, I submit without an index — I’ve had requests for hard copy and I’d like one myself.

And that was pretty much my week. It would have been more productive if I hadn’t forgotten most of the photoshopping techniques for Screen Rant that I’d figured out last week. I did get some more work done on Southern Discomforts but not as much as I’d wanted. Hopefully that will change as we move forward in March.

Have a great weekend. For the record, while the weather is cold today, the sky is much more inviting than these photos (art by me, please credit should you choose to use).

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

What have I become? What do I want? February in review(#SFWApro)

garden-forkingI dropped from completing 79 percent of my goals in January to 60 percent this month. Which is understandable because the tractor article and my Screen Rant stuff took up lots of time I hadn’t planned on spending. As a result, my fiction writing got short-changed (Illustration from the Illuminations blog. Don’t know photographer).  Which is the point of this morning’s post.

Between the time I finished Now and Then We Time Travel and the time I proofed and indexed it, I had about eight months to focus on nothing but fiction (plus And columns and blogging). I really liked it. I’ve always had to balance fiction writing with a day job (before moving up here) and paying freelance gigs (after moving up). It was refreshing not to have any.

But of course nonfiction brings in more money. Not a lot, but some. It’s not a significant amount compared to TYG’s salary, but I do like contributing. Particularly when who the hell knows what will happen over the next year.

Fiction, however, makes me much happier. And who knows, if I ever sell a novel, that would bring in some money too, so I don’t want to just let Southern Discomfort sit in limbo. I stopped working on it during the crunch-time period of writing Now and Then We Time Travel, and I don’t want to fall behind again.

Fortunately I seem to be getting much more efficient at the Screen Rant articles. As that process gets smoother, my time will free up for fiction. Unless something else comes in (I just applied for an online reporting gig. No word back yet).

Yes, first world problems and not even most first-worlders — poor me, having to choose between selling articles and writing fiction!

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Regaining my rhythm (#SFWApro)

I finished another Screen Rant this week (I’ll let y’all know when it goes live, of course), and it’s getting both easier and faster. That’s a good thing, as I’d like to keep doing them. And because it was easier and faster, I got more other stuff done.

800px-farmall_tractor_pulling_a_combine_harvester_queensland_1950_5682298084-1•I finished my History article on tractors (illustration via Wikimedia Commons found here). I’ll format it (as I’ve said before, I don’t trust Apple Pages to do it right), proof all the dates and names and send it out Monday.

•I got several thousand more words done on Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book. Though I think the chapter I finished today is less well-structured than the first three.

•I got a little bit of work done on indexing Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, though not as much as I’d hoped. But indexing goes much faster with a book that’s so much smaller.

•And I finally got back to work on Southern Discomfort. The plot for the final section is still unpleasantly vague, but I decided to start rewriting anyway. I got in about 4,000 words.

•Plus I spent a great deal of time sorting receipts and tax paperwork and assembling forms. Because lets face it, it has to be done.

And that’s that.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

I rode myself hard and hung myself up—wait, does that sound right? (#SFWApro)

It was a week that did not go as I planned.

I submitted my first Screen Rant article, and then my second, but they both took way longer than wanted. And that required really pushing myself, hence the title. I need to trim the time down, and I need to relax and have more fun with the writing too. I love comics, which makes it easy; I’m working under a tight deadline and specific format requirements which makes me veer serious. I did better with the second one though (I’ll post a link when it’s up), so hopefully next week will be better yet.

I have my History article on tractors 80 percent done, and I should be able to get it out next week. So yay!

And I started indexing Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast for a Createspace edition. If I’m going to go hard-copy, it should have an index. Annoyingly, I found one minor error in the intro, so I have to correct the ebook too. I’ll wait to see if I find any more — indexing is good for that.

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But I got almost no fiction written, which is not yay. That’s happened before and not that long ago — back last year when I was wrapping up Now and Then We Time Travel, for instance. However, I don’t want to be doing that now, if I can help it. I enjoy nonfiction (obviously. I’ve written enough of it), but fiction is the reason I write. And I do want to get two more drafts of Southern Discomfort in this year. So like I said, I’d better get more efficient.

I am pleased that despite the rush to finish up Screen Rant #2, I made time for essential stuff like exercise, and making sourdough bread while the dogs were in doggy day-care on Thursday. It’s important not to let even demanding deadlines roll over normal life, if I can possibly help this (and if I want to do Screen Rant regularly, I have to help it). I was sufficiently rushed I forgot adding the salt to the dough (sourdough buckwheat bread) but that’s easy to fix with a little salt sprinkled on each slice. It’s an easy mistake — I’ve done it before when I was rushed.

I’ll close with a shot of some dead leaves I took this week. It symbolizes … well, whatever you want. Free symbol! Please credit me if you want to use it.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Now and Then We Time Travel, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

My week in review makes me think of that TV series Hindsight (#SFWApro)

One of the things I liked about VH1’s Hindsight was that after the protagonist travels 20 years into the past and fixes her big problems (her train-wreck first marriage and her dead-end job), she has no idea what to do next. Knowing what was wrong in her past doesn’t show her what path will lead to happiness (her best friend points out that she’s no worse off than anyone else). Which is sort of what I felt like working on Southern Discomfort this week.

The one part of the book I still haven’t outlined is Joan and Maria journeying to Caer Gwalchmai. It has to be less than the relatively simple “waltz through the Otherworld and get the magic McGuffin” sequence in the last draft, but I’m not sure what. This week I got a clearer idea of what I don’t want: it shouldn’t be just a struggle fighting through supernatural forces and monsters. My gut says that’s wrong, and I trust my gut. However I’m not sure what the alternative is. A series of traps and wards they have to circumvent? Maybe. Or something I haven’t yet thought of. Quite possibly. I’ll keep pushing until I figure it out. And start on the earlier chapters while I’m thinking, so I don’t waste too much time staring into my navel for inspiration.

I did not get as much work on the novel done as planned because of those two assignments I mentioned last week — a History Magazine article assignment and a trial run as a writer for Screen Rant. I got the History research collected and managed to bat out a rough draft (very rough, but it gives me a sense of how I want the piece structured). And I found the photos I need online.

The first Screen Rant column, as I suspected, took much longer than I wanted it to. If I’m going to stick with the gig (assuming they like my work), I’ll have to write much more efficiently. But that was the case with Demand Media: the first few articles were crawling, then I found my rhythm. I’ll also have to structure my time so that I don’t work on them over the weekend — this one will have to be wrapped up Sunday. The writing’s done, except for proofreading, but I have to enter it in the system, which will probably take a bit longer. And I have to find illustrations and crop them which will be a pain. But then again, writing about comics and getting paid for it is pretty damn cool, so onward!

I applied for a couple more freelance jobs, and that was about it for work, even with more than the usual number of hours in. Of course that’s partly because reading White Flight was slow going, because the book’s so packed with information. And I got stressed and tired Wednesday which made hump day less productive than I’d planned.

To end on a high note, here’s a look at Plushie after his new cut. Adorable, is he not?

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Filed under Nonfiction, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, Story Problems, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing