So Close!

I am getting very close to finishing up my litRPG novel. One scene left to write! For a while there I was thinking I would go over my estimated word count by a solid 10k words, but actually I am going to finish pretty close to 120k.

Of course the length could and most likely will change once I get through the editing phase, but for now I’m just glad to finally type the words The End.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Habit Checkpoint (Reviewing Tasklist)

Now we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as how well I’ve stuck to things.

In the amazing book, Getting Things Done, by David Allen, he outlines a method for keeping track of all your tasks, projects, to-do’s, appointments, etc. He really just teaches you how to get your shit together and be productive. How to use a trusted storage system for all the thoughts your mind has, so they aren’t swirling around in your head.

Core to this methodology is sitting down Yearly, Monthly, Weekly, and Daily, to review different parts of your productivity plan, i.e., you life-goals, yearly goals, monthly projects, etc.

Well, this is where I fall apart. I simply don’t do it. It’s never been a priority for me to focus on things like this, to the detriment of my productivity.

I know I need to do better, but honestly, look at all the other things I’ve managed to do! I’m going to pat myself on the back for all my other accomplishments and be okay with poor performance on this one.

That said, I’m not satisfied with that outcome, I do want to change. I’m currently reading his book again, and unfortunately have been checked out while doing it, so I’ll be going back over again taking careful notes through the whole thing, possibly even a third time while I follow along with his methodology to hopefully get my life in order.

I’ll report back later on this one for sure, because it’s always been one of my hardest things to do, is stay on top of the myriad tasks I have that are always piling up. I have thousands of tasks sitting on my phone being ignored right now, and I need to fix that going forward in my life.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Habit Checkpoint (Meditation)

Ahh, meditation. This one is a bit of a newcomer to my list of habits.

Meditation has, of course, been around for a long time, and while it might be shown as a bunch of hippie nonsense, it turns out that using focusing exercises, aka mindfulness, has has a lot of research around it in the area of productivity.

Sure, you still have those people that believe that meditating for 10 minutes a day will cure your cancer, but I’m talking about productivity here.

After listening to a couple different podcasts extolling the benefits of focusing exercises, and how it carves new neural pathways through your brain, I decided to give it a shot.

I download the Headspace app, and tried out it’s 10 day free trial, and I specifically used it at the end of my day job as I was transitioning into my writing job.

I have to say it helped. focusing on my breathing for those 10 minutes calmed me down from the day’s stresses, and gave me a solid separation between the different segments of life. Now if that is because of the meditation itself or just the fact that I focused really hard for ten minutes to forget about work and empty my mind, I’m not sure. Maybe a bit of both? Maybe they’re the same thing?

I can’t tell you if neural pathways have been carved, I’m sure when I die the autopsy will be riveting world news, but I can tell you that I would finish those 10 minute sessions, make coffee, and 12 minutes after finishing up my stressful day of work, I was diving into writing head-first for my 1300 words-per-day sessions.

My wife has also started using it as a way to clear her mind before bed. Personally, I haven’t gotten that far, partly because I like surfing the web and youtube right before bed. It’s relaxing, but gun to my head, it’s probably a better use of my time to follow her lead and meditate.

Just because it seems effective, doesn’t mean I’m sticking with it well. I fact, while I was very diligent for the first 15 days, I’ve gotten really spotty since. I still try to do my meditation before writing, but it does’t always happen, particularly when I’m already pretty relaxed, like on a weekend. I’ve also gotten into the habit of listening to Brain.fm or just a specific Writing Muzak playlist on iTunes. Either of those work great at getting my brain “into the zone” when I write, but the combined meditation and music while writing seems to get me into the zone faster.

So I need to keep working at it.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Habit Checkpoint (Daily Blog)

On to my third Habit: Daily Blogging.

This is something I sort of decided on a whim at the end of last year to do. I’ve had this site for a while, but never really did anything with it. I’ve tried blogging unsucessfully in the past, I have three abandoned personal blogs sitting out there on the internet archives, plus a group one that collects digital dust.

but I wanted to change that this year, so, on or around December 31st of last year, I decided “I’m gonna blog ever day this year.”

And thus my fate was sealed.

I haven’t missed a day, but I have put out the occasional post at 10 pm instead of my normal 9am. I give myself leeway for that though. I make no money from this, I get hardly any traffic to the blog, and even the traffic I do get (I love all five of you!) doesn’t really translate into any sales.

I do it because I like it. It’s a nice thing to do at the end of the day, and it turns out that it’s one of those things that many to most successful people do on a daily basis. Writing down your thoughts at the end of the day helps you to remain introspective, which allows you to see where you’ve come from and where you’re going.

I also have kind of turned 2017 into the year of “getting serious” for my writing. This is opposed to the getting serious of 2016, or 2015 the year prior, or ever the three years before that.

I’ve failed most years (even though I’ve technically written about a book a year since I start writing 6 years ago) I’ve only published the one (A Moonlit Task, on-sale now at your friendly neighborhood Amazon.com!) But since I’ve started, I’ve published four other short stories, and I’m working on finishing up the Korrigan series later this year or early next year. I’ve already written my standard 1 book for the year and I’ll have two more under my belt in another 100 days. I’m killing it this year.

AND I’ve blogged every day! That’s a shitload of content. 64,000 words, btw. I just looked it up. That’s another full-length novel that I’ve written while lying in bed, for 15 minutes a night.

Let that sink in.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Habit Checkpoint (1300 Words Written Daily)

After daily exercise, my next goal in line was to write daily. I specifically gave myself the goal of 1000 words per day back in the beginning of May, and but for a couple days early on, and a couple days this weekend when I was on my proverbial death-bed, I’ve met that goal.

In fact, on average, even including the missed days, I’ve averaged 1351 words per day for the past (almost) three months. I’ve even upped the daily word count goal in Scrivener to 1300, and will raise it another 100 when I’m consistently going over 1400. Ultimately, I want to pump out a consistent 1500 words per day. That’s over half a million per year, which I think is plenty for a man holding down a demanding full-time dayjob and also keeping up with daily YouTube content. And daily blog cough.

That’s impressive! So impressive that I’m currently just shy of 120,000 words in my current litRPG, and I’m very close to wrapping up the rough draft. I also have the next story’s outline worked out and ready to go so that I can hit the ground running the next day with my next story.

All-in-all, though, I’m mostly proud of myself for making sure that this is a priority. It’s what makes a writer different than anyone else. They write. Every day.

That last part might ruffle a few feathers, but I’m okay with that. If you’re not writing every day, you can call yourself a writer, but are you, really? Daily writing means it’s a top priority for you. As much as anything else you do every day. You go to work everyday, eat, breathe, shower, etc. If writing’s not a big enough priority that you only get to it once or twice a week, then you might wanna rethink that novelty mug your kids got you that says “I’m a writer.”

It’s not about time, it’s about priorities. You have time everyday to write, you just have to turn off the tv, internet, YouTube, or whatever else it is that you think is so important to you.

Ultimately, it’s about priorities, and turning those priorities into habits through consistent focus on your goals. Do I enjoy kicking back on the couch after a stressful day at work and watching re-runs of my favorite sitcom? Of course I do. But I love having written a new book more. (Sorry Tina!)

So stick with it, because it’s worth it.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Habit Checkpoint (Daily Exercise)

It’s hard to believe that July is nearly over. Seriously, why does the time seem to fly so much lately? I know I’m a busy beaver over here in Hansenland with my hands in tons of cookie jars, but even then it seems like I should be getting more done than I currently am.

I was actually talk to some authors tonight about this very thing. Pile of tasks, and nothing gets done. It’s all-too-common an issue to be honest, and I think it’s high-time I take better control of this in my life.

In the last few months I’ve initiated some changes. Prime among them was the habit of waking up, and getting exercise. I don’t even have coffee anymore right thing in the morning, like I used to do. Instead, I wake up, chug a bunch of water, put on my jogging clothes, and hit the road.

Yes, it’s miserable here the valley with the insufferable heat, but honestly, it’s either hit the pavement early in the morning, or hit it later at night, and honestly, I have too much stuff going on at night.

So morning it is. I’ve hit that goal nearly ever single day for months now. The streak finally broke this weekend when I got hit with some kind of blizzard sickness that left me delirious of unwilling to do anything for an entire day. Saturday was a complete write-off and I ended up taking it easy on Sunday since I was still pretty woozy in the morning.

So yeah, the habit got broke, but honestly, I think I have a good excuse.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about my habit for writing, then after that I want to delve into some of the lesser successful habits I’ve been working on.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Glimpses Anthology

In addition to yesterday’s anthology announcement, I have a exclusive new short story that will be featured in a new anthology called Glimpses. Sixteen unseen and never before released short stories have been selected, and packaged up for your enjoyment!

The best part is that the whole anthology is free!

It will be free for an entire month!

I’m not 100% on how the thing will be sold but I believe it will go on Amazon for a while after it’s free, and possibly be available in other stores.

Most of all, let me know what you think of the story! I’ve had a lot of feedback on that story from my writing groups as one of the best I’ve written. Gypsy Joe will be a character in my second End Gate series and he’s very dear to my heart. A guy, down on his luck, with a heart bigger than anyone else out there, fighting for the littlest among us.

Till tomorrow,

Tom