My Short Middle Finger

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<p><strong>By My Estimation…</strong></p><p><p>So I spent a few minutes yesterday working out the numbers on my big plan mentioned in an <a title=”14 Titles” href=”http://www.jeremyckester.com/blog/14-titles/”>earlier post</a>. I must admit that it doesn’t look promising to me.</p> <p>Originally I said January would be a wild estimate.  I chose today to instead make my goal a late March 2015 release (not a firm date, just a goal to shoot for) and calculate the math.  This decision was to relax me some from my crazy self-inflicted, unattainable goals. Running the numbers: I can firmly say that even March is a wild estimation.</p> <p>Setting all redrafting, editing, and design work aside, I have to write at a brisk pace of 727 words per day to accomplish this feat. Not even close to impossible. Even with my busy schedule I can manage in excess of 2K per day if I put my mind to it.</p> <p>I just don’t put my mind to it or the effort to maintain that speed.</p> <p>I fizzle out. I get distracted. Etc. Etc. Etc.</p> <p>Working it out even further, I decided to eliminate Saturdays and Sundays as writing days. More often than not I just simply do not write on those days. Such an assumption pushed my necessary daily writing count to just over 1K. Again, not impossible, just even more improbable.</p> <p>I have proven a sustained writing velocity of 350 words per day (again not including redrafting, editing, design work and so on). A slow pace of 350/day just won’t cut it.</p> <p>What does this all mean? Not sure yet other than I have to get writing. If I want this bad enough, sitting around and bemoaning about how difficult this is won’t cut it. For now, I still say that March 2015 will be my aim. I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I am going to push to figure out a way.</p> </p></blockquote>

By My Estimation…

So I spent a few minutes yesterday working out the numbers on my big plan mentioned in an earlier post. I must admit that it doesn’t look promising to me.

Originally I said January would be a wild estimate.  I chose today to instead make my goal a late March 2015 release (not a firm date, just a goal to shoot for) and calculate the math.  This decision was to relax me some from my crazy self-inflicted, unattainable goals. Running the numbers: I can firmly say that even March is a wild estimation.

Setting all redrafting, editing, and design work aside, I have to write at a brisk pace of 727 words per day to accomplish this feat. Not even close to impossible. Even with my busy schedule I can manage in excess of 2K per day if I put my mind to it.

I just don’t put my mind to it or the effort to maintain that speed.

I fizzle out. I get distracted. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Working it out even further, I decided to eliminate Saturdays and Sundays as writing days. More often than not I just simply do not write on those days. Such an assumption pushed my necessary daily writing count to just over 1K. Again, not impossible, just even more improbable.

I have proven a sustained writing velocity of 350 words per day (again not including redrafting, editing, design work and so on). A slow pace of 350/day just won’t cut it.

What does this all mean? Not sure yet other than I have to get writing. If I want this bad enough, sitting around and bemoaning about how difficult this is won’t cut it. For now, I still say that March 2015 will be my aim. I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I am going to push to figure out a way.

Filed under blog blog post goals independent writing writing

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<p><strong>A New Mantra</strong></p><p><p>Listening to <a title=”that episode” href=”http://www.nerdist.com/pepisode/nerdist-writers-panel-154-legend-of-korraavatar-the-last-airbender/” target=”_blank”>&#8220;Writer&#8217;s Panel,&#8221; a nerdist podcast, the writer&#8217;s of Avatar: The Last Air Bender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra</a> said something that finally hit me:</p> <p>There are still things in Avatar that they&#8217;d wish they could have changed.  They still see tons of flaws.</p> <p>What it meant to me was that seeing something like Avatar, which I easily rank as one of the best shows to have ever been on television/one of the best cartoons ever, a piece of perfection, to have it criticized as not good enough by its own creator struck a chord.</p> <p>It finally hit me.</p> <p>I will never be good enough. No matter how good, popular, successful, or whatever other positive moniker one could give my writing career, I will never feel as though I am good enough for it.  Each piece I put out will stare back at me with gaping wide flaws.  And I just have to accept that.</p> <p>Thus, I&#8217;ve put a new saying on my notebook and will be using this as one of my mantras:</p> <blockquote><p>It&#8217;ll never be good enough; so let it be good enough.</p></blockquote> </p></blockquote>

A New Mantra

Listening to “Writer’s Panel,” a nerdist podcast, the writer’s of Avatar: The Last Air Bender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra said something that finally hit me:

There are still things in Avatar that they’d wish they could have changed.  They still see tons of flaws.

What it meant to me was that seeing something like Avatar, which I easily rank as one of the best shows to have ever been on television/one of the best cartoons ever, a piece of perfection, to have it criticized as not good enough by its own creator struck a chord.

It finally hit me.

I will never be good enough. No matter how good, popular, successful, or whatever other positive moniker one could give my writing career, I will never feel as though I am good enough for it.  Each piece I put out will stare back at me with gaping wide flaws.  And I just have to accept that.

Thus, I’ve put a new saying on my notebook and will be using this as one of my mantras:

It’ll never be good enough; so let it be good enough.

Filed under blog blog post goals independent writing lessons mantra Nerdist writer writer's panel podcast writing

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<p><strong>More Than I Can Handle</strong></p><p><p>I can see myself doing it again. On the heels of jumping off social media (which was supposed to free me up) I have begun to load more on me than I can handle.</p> <p>In one of my latest posts, I revealed that I have 14 titles in WIP at this time.</p> <p>14 is too many titles to be in WIP.</p> <p>Now granted, they are not all being actively worked on. 2 are in revision status, and 5 are not truly started beyond planning and a few paragraphs or a chapter here and there. That leaves 7 remaining titles.</p> <p>Of those 7, 4 are short stories. They are what I would call ‘quick wins’ as their completion is much easier to accomplish due to their lower word counts.  Only one of those 4 will be a longer short story of nearly 8K in total word count.  The others will run between 2K and 5K.</p> <p>That leaves 3 titles to manage on a day-to-day basis. And it still feels like it is getting to be too much.</p> <p>What it boils down to for me (and this has been concurred by both my boss and my wife) is that I have a tendency to get a bit lofty with my aspirations.  What I mean by that: I will plan much more than what I am capable of actually doing. I need to stop doing that to myself.</p> <p>Overloading myself only ends up backfiring. I promise, I can’t deliver, I disappoint, I fail. Everything fails and then I end up half-assing a portion of what I initially intended.</p> <p>Part of this new plan that I adopted (I certainly was not smart enough to think of it on my own) was so that I took the necessary time to ensure that multiple works were complete so that I wasn’t scrambling to finish things to meet some arbitrary deadline. The plan is to have all I need to release 8 total titles over a 3 month time span. I want all of them complete on day zero.</p> <p>When is day zero? MAYBE January. That is a long shot though, and it will take a lot of effort on my part as I am not sure that I am 100% up to it. Even having an arbitrarily estimated date in place is causing enough stress to concern me.</p> <p>The point is that I am doing better now than I have done in quite a long time, if not ever. I have to be weary that I am not going to sabotage myself by loading too much on and then letting all of the balls drop in one gloriously terrible juggling disaster.</p> <p>Frankly, I am a terrible juggler.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p></blockquote>

More Than I Can Handle

I can see myself doing it again. On the heels of jumping off social media (which was supposed to free me up) I have begun to load more on me than I can handle.

In one of my latest posts, I revealed that I have 14 titles in WIP at this time.

14 is too many titles to be in WIP.

Now granted, they are not all being actively worked on. 2 are in revision status, and 5 are not truly started beyond planning and a few paragraphs or a chapter here and there. That leaves 7 remaining titles.

Of those 7, 4 are short stories. They are what I would call ‘quick wins’ as their completion is much easier to accomplish due to their lower word counts.  Only one of those 4 will be a longer short story of nearly 8K in total word count.  The others will run between 2K and 5K.

That leaves 3 titles to manage on a day-to-day basis. And it still feels like it is getting to be too much.

What it boils down to for me (and this has been concurred by both my boss and my wife) is that I have a tendency to get a bit lofty with my aspirations.  What I mean by that: I will plan much more than what I am capable of actually doing. I need to stop doing that to myself.

Overloading myself only ends up backfiring. I promise, I can’t deliver, I disappoint, I fail. Everything fails and then I end up half-assing a portion of what I initially intended.

Part of this new plan that I adopted (I certainly was not smart enough to think of it on my own) was so that I took the necessary time to ensure that multiple works were complete so that I wasn’t scrambling to finish things to meet some arbitrary deadline. The plan is to have all I need to release 8 total titles over a 3 month time span. I want all of them complete on day zero.

When is day zero? MAYBE January. That is a long shot though, and it will take a lot of effort on my part as I am not sure that I am 100% up to it. Even having an arbitrarily estimated date in place is causing enough stress to concern me.

The point is that I am doing better now than I have done in quite a long time, if not ever. I have to be weary that I am not going to sabotage myself by loading too much on and then letting all of the balls drop in one gloriously terrible juggling disaster.

Frankly, I am a terrible juggler.

Filed under blog blog post fear goals independent writing writer writing

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RemindersReminders: they’re everywhere. Even Monday, as I entered yet another new workout regimen, I was reminded again that I am not as strong as I thought. But that is a good thing.
It means that I haven’t plateaued. I means that I can still continue to challenge myself in new and interesting ways.
If you aren’t one to grab a gym membership, if you are one not to go workout, you should. I knew this before, but I am reminded as to just how much working out can do for you. It’s not easy by any stretch, but the effort will pay off.  Were it not for my gym time (coupled with my dropping social networks) I would not be getting the output from my writing that I have been getting of late. It just wouldn’t be happening.
There is always room to improve. There’s always more that you can push yourself. This has helped me see that.

Reminders

Reminders: they’re everywhere. Even Monday, as I entered yet another new workout regimen, I was reminded again that I am not as strong as I thought. But that is a good thing.

It means that I haven’t plateaued. I means that I can still continue to challenge myself in new and interesting ways.

If you aren’t one to grab a gym membership, if you are one not to go workout, you should. I knew this before, but I am reminded as to just how much working out can do for you. It’s not easy by any stretch, but the effort will pay off.  Were it not for my gym time (coupled with my dropping social networks) I would not be getting the output from my writing that I have been getting of late. It just wouldn’t be happening.

There is always room to improve. There’s always more that you can push yourself. This has helped me see that.

Filed under blog challenge exercise goals workout

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14 Titles14 Titles.
That is how many stories that I currently have in process in some stage. That is in addition to my webserials that will be released near the same time as the first wave.
I didn’t realize that I had so many stories that were in close stages for release. Four will be short stories. 3 are connected to my Gravity saga. The remainder are novels and novellas in various stages. I can maybe even say that I have a half-dozen more titles waiting in the wings, but I am already starting to feel stressed with what I have.
I have an ETA of January for the first wave of titles. That will put 5 out at once. The date is pending and not even close to official. After that, single releases will follow a monthly pattern, with a good chance that half of the remaining titles being already in-the-hole (meaning complete and ready).
My banishing social media has helped a good deal, but I still have demons to flush out before I am 100% confident in my follow-through. It is an exciting time either way.

14 Titles

14 Titles.

That is how many stories that I currently have in process in some stage. That is in addition to my webserials that will be released near the same time as the first wave.

I didn’t realize that I had so many stories that were in close stages for release. Four will be short stories. 3 are connected to my Gravity saga. The remainder are novels and novellas in various stages. I can maybe even say that I have a half-dozen more titles waiting in the wings, but I am already starting to feel stressed with what I have.

I have an ETA of January for the first wave of titles. That will put 5 out at once. The date is pending and not even close to official. After that, single releases will follow a monthly pattern, with a good chance that half of the remaining titles being already in-the-hole (meaning complete and ready).

My banishing social media has helped a good deal, but I still have demons to flush out before I am 100% confident in my follow-through. It is an exciting time either way.

Filed under blog book goals independent writing novel short story writing

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<p><strong>Do I write for money?</strong></p><p><p>There is an ideal that we all strive for. My own is being a full time writer. So what is to say other than I am really in it for the money.</p> <p>But then again I am not.</p> <p>I’ve been writing (sporadically) for over 20 years now. And regardless of whether or not I make it as a professional, I will continue writing until the day I am taken from this world. It is just too much fun for me not to.</p> <p>One day I do hope that I will be able to walk into my job with a resignation letter on the heels of a novel or few stories that I’ve put out to the world. But never achieving that dream will not ever prevent me from continuing to write.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p></blockquote>

Do I write for money?

There is an ideal that we all strive for. My own is being a full time writer. So what is to say other than I am really in it for the money.

But then again I am not.

I’ve been writing (sporadically) for over 20 years now. And regardless of whether or not I make it as a professional, I will continue writing until the day I am taken from this world. It is just too much fun for me not to.

One day I do hope that I will be able to walk into my job with a resignation letter on the heels of a novel or few stories that I’ve put out to the world. But never achieving that dream will not ever prevent me from continuing to write.

Filed under blog independent writing writing

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What do I care about tradition publishing’s ebook pricing anyway?

Having been increasingly read on the battle between Hachette Publishing and Amazon.com, I am becoming more inclined to say: screw it.

This isn’t to say that I do not favor one side over the other, but here’s what I think:

  • Ebook prices should NOT be higher than the physical copy of the same title.  There just are not the same costs to both products.  It is not justifiable.
  • Amazon has done a wondrous job for building the independent publishing market and will continue to do so. Writers such as myself will continue to pursue that realm because of the great effort they’ve made. This battle won’t change that.
  • Traditional publishing is a dying industry. It will not be able to continue as-is and will need to change dramatically as time progresses. Mostly this is due to my thought above.
  • Companies should be able to set their own minimum price for a product. If a publisher wants to price something high, that is their choice. (I can agree that Amazon does see likely higher profit margins for all parties involved, but it just shouldn’t be their choice.) This is regardless of how stupid that price may seem, it’s still their choice.
  • By the same token, sellers should have full choice as to what they sell and do not sell and why.
  • The world and the industry is changing and will change in ways we will not be able to predict, so why get so uptight? What we fight about today may not even make a difference tomorrow.

Honestly there is also a part of me that will fully support ebooks priced at $14.99. Why?

Why not? It means that my titles (which I plan on pricing my next releases no higher than $4.99 for ebook versions) will undercut that level of competition. I may not have the marketing or editing backing that a publishing house may have, but I will challenge them to prove that their $14.99 title is 300% better than my $4.99 title to justify their 300% higher price.

Maybe it is just the competitor in me. I am smelling blood in the water and my time will soon come. So why get into the fray now?

Oh, and my books will be available thanks to Amazon regardless of who wins.

Filed under Amazon.com blog ebook goals Hachette independent writing pricing traditional publishing writing

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Death to Editors!Yes, I am calling for an entire way of life to be summarily dismissed, to have all of the editors in this world drug out into the street and eradicated.
Well not exactly.
Yesterday I visited The Passive Voice, a blog about the publishing industry, and it had quoted a large section of an article written at Gawker.com. The article spoke against editors. Quickly I linked over and read the the article in full and with great vigor.
It connected with me as an editor myself (I’ve helped many friends in my time with their own work – but not professionally), but most importantly it connected to me as a writer (that didn’t believe he needed an editor yet was always made to think so).
No matter where in the world you are in writing and publishing, editors are seen as a must have. That assertion never sat well with me. It is as though someone says: “your work just isn’t good enough on your own.” I think that is bullshit.
I can agree on the pro-editor side for a few points:
A good editor would challenge the writer to constantly improve
A good editor can catch and help to correct most grammatical errors (as grammar education was always lacking throughout this writer’s life).
A good editor will ask the right questions to ensure the writer is making the right decisions with their piece.
(The challenge part is what I find most important.)
And for this we are expected to shell out considerable funds for where a good set of alpha and beta readers as well as strong disciplinary processes can easily suffice.  (And we cannot forget that we as writers should have some decent grammar skills to show at the first word.)  Particularly in fiction, the only goal is to get the reader to turn the page. While an editor may help to provide a smooth pavement with few potholes for the reader’s eyes to fall into, it does little for the scenery around the path or the destination.
But here we are in an era where if you don’t have an editor, you are almost shamed into non-importance.
“That work wasn’t edited! It MUST be trash!”
“Oh, he/she should’ve paid for an editor, I can’t see anything but errors!”
Let’s face it… I’ve read many “professionally edited” books where I would have stained the pages a deep red had I had my editing pen with me. As the Gawker article suggests, give an editor a previously buttoned-up, heavily edited article poised as a draft and they will happily find you errors.
And while doing a quick little search, not much about editors as a must have in writing is found in history beyond assembling anthologies.  Editors were there to ensure a cohesion of voice, not as a critical eye to bully us writers into submission plaguing off of what we already believe: that our work just isn’t good enough without them. They appear to have perpetuated a market virtually requiring their very existence.  You at least have to give them credit for that feat.
Maybe someday I will find someone I am willing to have as my full-time editor. For now, mostly since I am poor and cannot part with the monetary funds to secure one, I will pass on editors. Furthermore, I haven’t been convinced of their greater importance in writing. At least not yet. Though I did have one good experience, it still hasn’t solidified the need in my view. Just get yourself some good alpha and beta readers and some grammar lessons. Things will work out fine. Hell, the work might even feel more natural.
And no, this isn’t me saying my work is perfect as is, thank.you.very.much.
-No editors were harmed (or used… and god is that a terrible tragedy… this article could’ve been so much more interesting and well put together) in the writing of this article… but they are currently being hunted.

Death to Editors!

Yes, I am calling for an entire way of life to be summarily dismissed, to have all of the editors in this world drug out into the street and eradicated.

Well not exactly.

Yesterday I visited The Passive Voice, a blog about the publishing industry, and it had quoted a large section of an article written at Gawker.com. The article spoke against editors. Quickly I linked over and read the the article in full and with great vigor.

It connected with me as an editor myself (I’ve helped many friends in my time with their own work – but not professionally), but most importantly it connected to me as a writer (that didn’t believe he needed an editor yet was always made to think so).

No matter where in the world you are in writing and publishing, editors are seen as a must have. That assertion never sat well with me. It is as though someone says: “your work just isn’t good enough on your own.” I think that is bullshit.

I can agree on the pro-editor side for a few points:

  • A good editor would challenge the writer to constantly improve
  • A good editor can catch and help to correct most grammatical errors (as grammar education was always lacking throughout this writer’s life).
  • A good editor will ask the right questions to ensure the writer is making the right decisions with their piece.

(The challenge part is what I find most important.)

And for this we are expected to shell out considerable funds for where a good set of alpha and beta readers as well as strong disciplinary processes can easily suffice.  (And we cannot forget that we as writers should have some decent grammar skills to show at the first word.)  Particularly in fiction, the only goal is to get the reader to turn the page. While an editor may help to provide a smooth pavement with few potholes for the reader’s eyes to fall into, it does little for the scenery around the path or the destination.

But here we are in an era where if you don’t have an editor, you are almost shamed into non-importance.

“That work wasn’t edited! It MUST be trash!”

“Oh, he/she should’ve paid for an editor, I can’t see anything but errors!”

Let’s face it… I’ve read many “professionally edited” books where I would have stained the pages a deep red had I had my editing pen with me. As the Gawker article suggests, give an editor a previously buttoned-up, heavily edited article poised as a draft and they will happily find you errors.

And while doing a quick little search, not much about editors as a must have in writing is found in history beyond assembling anthologies.  Editors were there to ensure a cohesion of voice, not as a critical eye to bully us writers into submission plaguing off of what we already believe: that our work just isn’t good enough without them. They appear to have perpetuated a market virtually requiring their very existence.  You at least have to give them credit for that feat.

Maybe someday I will find someone I am willing to have as my full-time editor. For now, mostly since I am poor and cannot part with the monetary funds to secure one, I will pass on editors. Furthermore, I haven’t been convinced of their greater importance in writing. At least not yet. Though I did have one good experience, it still hasn’t solidified the need in my view. Just get yourself some good alpha and beta readers and some grammar lessons. Things will work out fine. Hell, the work might even feel more natural.

And no, this isn’t me saying my work is perfect as is, thank.you.very.much.

-No editors were harmed (or used… and god is that a terrible tragedy… this article could’ve been so much more interesting and well put together) in the writing of this article… but they are currently being hunted.

Filed under blog editing independent writing writer writing

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Sending Social Networks AwayA couple of months ago I found a new blogger who decided it was time she went on a social network strike. Though I agreed with the principle of the decision, I didn’t foresee any reason for myself to partake in the same endeavor.  This was despite my having written previously regarding social networks being evil. They are distracting and unfulfilling though they can be used for good.  I have been using them as a distraction.
So I have finally decided that I am taking part in that endeavor and jumping off of them… at least for now.
What I should be doing to distract myself is spending time with my family and writing. Working on marketing plans, website design, drawing, cover designs, and the like are all other things I can and should be doing to occupy my time.
In the spirit of trying to more forcibly send myself in those directions, I removed the apps associated with all of my accounts so that I cannot visit them via my phone.  The computer will be more of a personal battle, but I am ready.
I assure you that this isn’t some pretentious decision where I am trying to become some superior person because I don’t use social networks.  This is temporary. Once I get past this stage, I’ll go back on, but in a more controlled capacity.
You’ll continue to see updates on a few networks during this time. My site is connected to my accounts, so when I post, it’ll transfer to them. But be assured, that isn’t me relenting yet.
Wish me luck.

Sending Social Networks Away

A couple of months ago I found a new blogger who decided it was time she went on a social network strike. Though I agreed with the principle of the decision, I didn’t foresee any reason for myself to partake in the same endeavor.  This was despite my having written previously regarding social networks being evil. They are distracting and unfulfilling though they can be used for good.  I have been using them as a distraction.

So I have finally decided that I am taking part in that endeavor and jumping off of them… at least for now.

What I should be doing to distract myself is spending time with my family and writing. Working on marketing plans, website design, drawing, cover designs, and the like are all other things I can and should be doing to occupy my time.

In the spirit of trying to more forcibly send myself in those directions, I removed the apps associated with all of my accounts so that I cannot visit them via my phone.  The computer will be more of a personal battle, but I am ready.

I assure you that this isn’t some pretentious decision where I am trying to become some superior person because I don’t use social networks.  This is temporary. Once I get past this stage, I’ll go back on, but in a more controlled capacity.

You’ll continue to see updates on a few networks during this time. My site is connected to my accounts, so when I post, it’ll transfer to them. But be assured, that isn’t me relenting yet.

Wish me luck.

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