What a writing journal can teach you about productivity

A great post by Tim Kimber of rightplacerighttim.com on how to use a writing journal to increase your output!

Right place, right Tim

This week, I reached 115,000 words on my novel. I’m three and a half chapters from the end, on the home stretch, and already dreading the editing.

Since October 2015, I’ve been tracking my progress with a writing journal, in which I record the time of each session, its duration, the number of words written and what chapter I was working on. A year later, I’m up to my eyeballs in data, and can draw some enlightening conclusions therein.

But first, a graph! Gadzooks!


As you can see, there are a number of lulls in productivity, loosely matching life events: Christmas in December, getting married and going on honeymoon in April, and being on holiday in August. Oddly, it is my holiday time that I’m at my least productive.

Getting deeper into the data, I can glean which type of session I get the most out of…

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From Apathy to Determination


From Apathy to Determination

I wrote about apathy earlier this year because I couldn’t bring myself to write at all. I was just fed up with everything – a crappy family situation and other things not going well. I rested, I reevaluated, and I nearly lost my full-time job because of burnout. The family situation hasn’t improved, but my writing determination has. I went back to Far Flung – my work that was an online serial, but which I haven’t updated in quite a while now.

I looked carefully at it, and I took in some new inspiration. I played a bit of No Man’s Sky (I’m one of those chumps who preordered, sigh), I read the Legacy Fleet series by Nick Webb, and I started reading The Expanse by James S.A. Corey. Suddenly, Far Flung took over my consciousness again, but I found I din’t want to continue the serial without some better incentive. I simply don’t blog enough to get many readers – I find it too difficult to make good blog entries often, and I type too darn slowly. But if I had something real to show for my work – say a book on Amazon – that might be just the kick I need to revive both Write, or Else! and TCC Edwards dot com.

Just like that, I started writing. I took on Far Flung, going back to the beginning and editing the story. I’m now expanding what I already have, with the goal of producing a book between 300-400 words. I’ve set a goal to finish this draft by the end of November, with editing to follow after that. I’m considering the Inkshares program to get it edited and published.

Just as suddenly, other projects showed up on my radar.

IWSG, a group I love being part of, has a new anthology in the works. My writing group is starting another book. Writers in Daejeon, a city not too far from mine, want me to join their book. And I still have to get something on my blogs, darn it!

I have my fingers in all of these. I have a draft for IWSG in the works, but it’s a trainwreck right now. Editing it into something I’d actually want to submit could take too much of my attention away from other jobs.

I wish I could work faster!

Unfortunately, it’s looking more like I’ll scrap the IWSG project in order to keep the most important things going.

Funny, huh? I went from writing nothing to taking on more than I could handle. It’s a shame – I really did want to be in the anthology with the other IWSG folks, but I have to do a bit of project triage here. The last thing I want – the very worst thing that could happen – is to get too frustrated and find myself unable to finish the book. I need a book out there – a real novel, with my name on it, properly edited, produced, and published. I need it as soon as reasonably possible.

So that’s where I’m at! Working away on this novel and trying to keep my social presence both online and with my writing group. Having to choose carefully what I take on and in what capacity. Deciding what to do with these blogs I pay for.

Honestly, writing itself is the easy part. It’s all this decision-making and figuring out that some things just aren’t going to work that gets difficult!

Far Flung gets an update on Inkshares – #amwriting

This is a reblog from my other site:

Far Flung is going well!

Click here to see the work on Inkshares.

I am drafting a novel of Far Flung, and you can see where I’m going with it. Over at Inkshares, I have the first 7 chapters up today. My regular readers will notice many differences between this novel-in-progress and the episodes I’ve posted on this blog. First of all, I’ve gone with a third person POV for the novel, as that will allow me to bring the reader more detail and better characterization. The blog episodes will remain as first-person log entries with the occasional transcript – the plan is to have the blog episodes tie-in with the trilogy of novels.

Did I just say ‘trilogy’?

Read more on my other blog, or click the image below to go to Inkshares! Back to writing for me…




#IWSG – A late post about being ready!


There was a really good question for this month’s IWSG – When do you know when your story is ready?

The Busan Writing Group that I’m with has put out two anthologies, Nothing too Familiar and Convergence, and each one is a self-published collection of our own stories. We reviewed and edited our own submitted stories in our workshops. We knew we were done when a) our agreed-upon publishing date was looming and b) each story had no major problems that we could identify as a group. I won’t say it’s a perfect process – I have a suspicion that if we had all tried to submit our final stories to magazines and contests instead, only one or two might have been accepted. The stories met our standards as a writing group trying to show that we do actually write and publish.

So my answer to When is it done? is “When I’ve shown it to a good number of people and I’ve acted on their feedback accordingly.”

What the heck is a “good number of people” you ask? Ah, well that varies wildly. If there are plenty of friends around with MFAs in writing or an established sense of good writing, I might only have to show my story to 2 or 3 people. If the people around me don’t have as much experience with writing, then I’ll probably share my work with 5 or 6 others and get a sense of how well the story reads to the general public.

But finishing a story always means sharing it. I’ve tried publishing stories that I didn’t run past others, and it wasn’t pretty!

With how many people do you share your story before finalization?

How important is “beta reading” to your story-writing process?

Leave your answers in the comments!

General Updates – Bound releases a dev update, writing progresses smoothly, Online Book Club

Just some general updates for the week of September 25 – Oct 1:

  • Bound is a mobile fiction project I’ve been following for several months now. They are developing fiction in a format that can be easily read on mobile devices while waiting in line at the airport or wherever. To say I am interested would be a huge understatement. After a long period of radio silence, Bound has emerged again into social media with this update from the devs. The post reaffirms their commitment to delivering stories in short, but meaningful segments, while providing access to cool 3d models of things that appear in the stories. Awesome stuff indeed!
  • I am writing. A lot (for me). I’m meeting my word count and getting this serial of mine fleshed out into something that ought to engage readers. I’m also researching both traditional and self-publishing options, and I’m always on the lookout for good editors and beta readers. I’ll keep updating as I get this thing done.
  • I’ll also remind readers about the Online Book Club – I posted about their review program before. They want you to read independently-published books and help beginning writers reach a larger audience. I encourage you to click and find out more about their paid review program.

That’s it for now. I hope to have some new content for this blog soon – I just have to figure out how to get it into my schedule, what with all this writing …

I #amwriting a Far Flung novel


As I posted on my other site, Far Flung is on hiatus for a good reason now.

I’m writing a novel. I’m getting Far Flung on Kindle first, with other formats to follow. This work might just help with the apathy problem I’ve talked about here.  It’s hard work, I’m doing something I love, and I’m working toward a deadline. I’m building on the existing episodes of Far Flung, fleshing out a story that will cover the same events in the serial. And yet, if I do this right, the book will be enjoyable for people who don’t read either of my blogs.

Only a short post today. I’m a tad busy …


Online Book Club – Write Reviews for Free Books and Get Paid #amreading #amwriting

Free Books for Reviews – The Online Book Club Review Program

Forums for Book and eBook Lovers

I’ve been a member of the Online Book Club forums, forums.onlinebookclub.org, for several months now, and it’s been a great way to see books I might never otherwise hear about. People in the forums talk about books of all types, but the main focus is on ebooks, especially those released through programs like Kindle Direct Publishing. Online Book Club has a mailing list which features new releases from authors in the forums. Many of these books are offered absolutely free, while others can be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. All books have been vetted and reviewed by a team of reviewers – and you can join the team!

Reviewers Get Paid, but it’s no day job…

As they say, the main draw for reviewers has always been the exchange of books for reviews. No one goes into this expecting to get rich or anything! As a serious writer, however, I need to read, so this program appeals to me as a way to get some pocket change while I keep up with what independent authors like me are writing. If you are a writer yourself, or you just like to read a lot, this is a chance for you to get a bit of money for something you already do. So if you don’t read very much already – you won’t get much out of this.

As a new reviewer, you can probably expect not to get paid at first. You still get free books, and your review will be featured to members of the forums. By participating in the forums and reviewing as often as you can, you can expect to get better opportunities for reviews as you go. Once you do get paid, you can expect between $5 – $60 per review.

Myself, I only read through 1 or 2 books every month. I listen to many more on audio – I have an hour long drive to work, and I like to use that time, darn it! However, I am reading, and I will use this review program not so much for the money, but for a chance to keep up with current writing trends and to network with other authors.

This program seems worthwhile if you also need motivation to keep reading, or if you already read a lot.