This wasn’t what I planned on writing about today… But since I’ve updated my gaming machine the other day (Goodbye Vista! – yeah, I was surprised too, to see it was still running that…) I’ve been doing a little bit of clean up on it. The usual, tune settings, update drivers, remove unused or broken programs… That’s when I spotted something I haven’t used for a very long while.
Oh, my. Now that’s a blast from the past. I felt a bit sentimental when removing it. But these days I’m addicted to Spotify. It’s funny how things evolve. I don’t have many paid subscriptions, especially for things that aren’t related to running my business. Spotify is one of the few exceptions.
As a kid I started out with cassette tapes, but during my teens we quickly moved on to CDs. And then there were mp3s. I used to hoard those. Although I didn’t have a portable player for a long while. Though, funny enough I can’t quite remember what I used for on the go music in the period between tapes and an mp3 player – since I’m pretty sure I didn’t have a portable CD player… But back to my hoarding habits. Although mp3 players and then phones allowed me to take a selection of my files with me it wasn’t quite the same as having access to everything. And then I lost it all. Or almost all in a hard drive disaster. My fault really since I didn’t have a backup.
I tried restoring that collection and overtime grew my hoard a bit again. But before I had a chance to go on a proper shopping spree I found Spotify. At first I was a bit doubtful if it could replace “owned” music for me. But as time went by I found, that pretty much anything I wanted to listen to was on there. Almost everything… and on that in a moment.
Funny enough I didn’t start paying for Spotify for it’s mobile use or to get rid of the ads. I actually enjoyed the ads. Most of them were funny, at least back when I was on free. No, what got me to pay were my bad listening habits. Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who listen to something over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and… you get the point. Playlists, sometimes an individual song. So when they introduced a play limit on the free option that was it. I had to become a subscriber.
So, you might wonder what is it that I’m missing with Spotify. Well. The one thing that still isn’t there is non-English music. That’s something I lost when my hard drive died – a whole lot of Polish music. Some of it I could in theory recreate from the CDs I owned (or tapes??? As if anyone still had something that plays those…), but there were a few random indie/local bands I just had a song or two of. But in the end you just move on. On a positive note, I’m actually seeing more and more Polish artists on Spotify too. It’s frustrating that sometimes they’ll just have one, latest album on there, when I’m looking for the classics I know.
I remember the awe and excitement when instead of a single album or a handful of pre-selected songs I moved to my extensive playlist on an mp3 player. I get the same awe now when I stop to think about the music I have at my fingertips through my phone. Everything available anywhere you are (OK, abroad trips can still be a challenge).
Just as I never though I’d move on from mp3s stored on my drive, I can’t imagine moving to some other way of consuming music over Spotify now. But maybe the successor is already out there. Anyone know of a revolution going on?
While trying to setup a starter project I hit a bit of a snag. Turns out the latest less files don’t want to play nice with the grunt-contrib-less (0.5.2) that comes with SailsJS (0.9.8).
parse error: failed at &:extend(.clearfix all);
Since the required version is written explicitly in SailsJS package.json it’s not enough to just update your own project dependencies to the newer grunt/less versions (duh! took me a while before I realized that).
Another one of those, everyone is doing it, so should you things – the revision of the year behind us and the planning (including the obligatory New Year’s resolutions) for the year ahead. Ah, what the hell, I’ll bite.
The Dreaded 13
I’m not superstitious. I’m really not. But after 2013 I just, maybe just, have started to believe those suffering from Triskaidekaphobia are on to something. In many ways this year has been terrible – business wise, and with disaster after disaster coming left and right. Want some examples? My place in Poland got flooded twice in the same month.
But I’m not one to wallow in self-pity. So just to be contrary I will ignore all the negative things and focus on all the awesome stuff that happened last year. There had to be something, right?
I don’t care it’s a bit out of order, but since it’s big news it deserves to go first. Andy proposed during our trip to Svalbard. So despite not seeing any polar bears or northern lights, that’s one memorable moment from the holiday!
Also since the ring was a tad too big, I’ve learned that adjusting the size takes a whole three weeks. I have a feeling they needed to melt the thing down and forge it all over given how long that takes… Though it was worth the wait.
Oh, and the holiday was lovely too. ;)
Although I started several projects not all of them have seen their deadlines met in 2013. Still, I published 3 books this year, including my longest published work: A Fool’s Embrace (Vampire Bytes) and two titles under a “special” pen name (yeah, naughty books are fun to write too…). Those three titles come to 38.5k words in total. Unfortunately I haven’t been running a writing total from the beginning of the year so not sure how much I actually wrote since the former number is what has been published.
I have a rough estimate for December 2013 – about 16k words of fiction and November 2013 – about 20k. Just need to get these things finished and published. I did complete a sci-fi short story for an anthology but since that won’t be released till a bit later this month (?) it will count for 2014 stats (I’ll publish it as standalone a bit after the anthology is out).
A Proper Grownup
Not sure if this should qualify as a pro or a con of this year, but I’ve moved from the young and spritely category to the old and boring over-thirty. Nah, life hasn’t really changed much. The big three zero hasn’t brought any life shattering revelations with it – mentally I’m still about fifteen…
This is one area I definitely made a lot of progress in. And not in the “yucky” use for web design. Still think those peeps are crazy and Fireworks is the best tool for that. Nope, I’ve been editing photos, mostly designing book covers. I’m quite proud of the things I’ve learned and how I went from mainly a single photo with minimal tweaks plus good typography, to more advanced photo manipulation. My portfolio has definitely grown a lot during 2013.
I still haven’t sat down to do an action plan for my business (and it desperately needs some focus). Want to have that done by the end of next week. Though that isn’t much of a resolution.
Have a game night once a week. It’s way to easy to just spend our free time watching stuff on tv and browsing articles on the web in the evening. Both my finace and I love board games, but seem to never have time to play these days. Will be working on that.
Write a blog post once a week. I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry seeing that the updates on this blog have been: 01/2013, a few sporadic ones and then 11/2013. It’s almost like I should move to Tumblr or something. I think part of the problem is the pressure of preferring one blog over another (I run several sites for different purposes). So the rule will be at least one either for DD or that I can link to from DD. That way I won’t feel guilty for posting on my author site (like this post about the Photoshoot).
Write 500k words of fiction. Well at least one of these goals has to be ambitious… Then again if I wrote five days a week it’s just under 2k per those writing days, so not unachievable if I’m disciplined about it. I love what DWS wrote about this specific topic in his recent post. I have to agree, that we should learn to take away what we can from failure and move on, rather than dwell on it.
Read 50 books. Nuff’ said. And I mean other than the ones I’ve written myself.
Finish this website. Erm, yeah, that’s long overdue…
I have quite a few things I’d like to achieve this year, but I think these are more goals and ongoing challenges. So I’m not going to vow to eat healthy or exercise just to fail by the time next holiday comes around. I’ve been working on that for a while, and however flawed my efforts have been they need to be more than a resolution. Besides in my case it’s starting to be a matter of not crashing after a high carb/sugar meal rather than dropping a dress size or two. Oh, all right, yeah that would be nice, too.
With November (and NaNoWriMo) finished it’s time for the final update.
Total: 31,646 (1175)
Blogs: 608 Fiction: 473 Total: 32,727 (1081)
Total: 33,242 (515)
Total: 34,437 (1195)
Total: 35,831 (1394)
As you can see from the final day entry I ended up coming up short of my 50k target. I did want to catch-up more, but unfortunately client work has pretty much taken over my life. However this will make for an interesting comparison point for this month.
Take aways from this month’s experiment:
It’s interesting to track all sorts of writing. I never realised how many words I’m “losing” on forums, blogs, emails, etc. Turns out it’s not just time spent reading what others have to say on writing that takes my time away from writing, but also my own replies too. Next step would be to try and time these longer replies – might turn out I get a better typing speed there.
Despite planning to devote two hours a day to writing, that’s been rarely met, especially in the later part of the month. I’m still unsure of how to qualify the time spent writing for clients. Should that go under the “client work” or “writing” block of time? With more editing work coming my way that is another problematic task, when it comes to classification.
Regardless of typing speed I noticed my mind gets tired and starts taking shortcuts around the 1k words mark. Seems like I need a break or I naturally drift towards ending the scene. Would be interesting to see if it’s more to do with the time it takes me to write this amount or the word count itself.
Sometimes I don’t really know where the time goes. Another week’s gone by and my word count seems stuck in place.
Total: 22,984 (701)
Another short day. Stayed up late playing a game with friends on Sunday, and then had another one Monday evening.
No fiction, just a few smaller blog posts.
Started work on a ghost writing project. Had to put my own book on hold for a bit.
Total: 25963 (1131)
Making decent progress. As usual it seems my brain can handle one scene per day.
Total: 29,191 (3228)
Decent progress on fiction. Unfortunately need to push harder if I am to come even close to my goal.
Total: 30,471 (1280)
Working on the ghostwriting project.
Sundays are proving hard for writing. Though the RPG games we play are a great inspiration, both literally and as far as a more general creative brain reset is concerned.
Well, I’ve reached 30k. That’s more than my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. Can I reach the 50k? Unlikely, but I’ll try to get as much writing done this week as I can. The non-writing work really does eat away at my time. I’ve had some things to do for a loca charity too that I’ve been putting off for way too long.
This leads me to an interesting statement about NaNoWriMo I’ve read somewhere recently. The author didn’t comment on this explicitly, but talked about how by the 20th day people drop out and other cheer them up with words akin to “Don’t worry, you’ll get it next year.” This really struck me as strange. Maybe they are referring specifically to the 50k goal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of them meant it as, “yeah, go back to your day job now, and wait till next Novemeber with this writer stuff.”
Well, whether I fail or succeed this month, it doesn’t mean I stop writing in Decemeber, Janurary, February… you get the point. Every month should be a challenge, pushing for, well not necessarily higher word count, but definitely getting more written and published*.
I’m already pondering on keeping up with the weekly stats at least for December, and maybe later if I don’t get bored with taking notes and people still want to read the numbers.
OK, I think I can see where my word count is “leaking” during the day. I should probably revert to forum posts that consist of “I concur.” or “Well done!” – my responses are way to elaborate. Kind of depressing I write those a lot faster than a regular 900 words of fiction too.
I’ve been recently swamped with work and this really is starting to affect my word count.
Total: 19,854 (0)
Yeah, one of those days. Tried to get some work done before going out to hang with friends. These meetings somehow always seem to end way after midnight. Not that I’m complaining, but that doesn’t leave me many working hours. And clients do get priority over fiction…
No fiction, but I did catch up on some notes from our games. Since these often act as inspiration (and future reference material) at least it counts towards my FaNoWriMo word count. Met up with a different friend and went tot h cinema together, so I did end up going to a different town. Can someone please invent teleportation, please?
Total: 22,283 (0)
Every two weeks we have two games around the weekend (Friday and Sunday). The plan was not to stay up to late, but again – back home at 3am. Ended up working on client projects for a little bit and no time for writing.
I need to focus on a short-story for an anthology and a few editing projects this week, so not sure how that will affect my word count. Since the short needs some planning and plotting that won’t give me words towards my goal. The thing has to be under 6k too. If I had the time I’d overlap the plotting with writing for the other story, but that’s looking very unlikely.
Time for another update. All the way till day 8 today and I have to say, if I were to go with the daily target I’d be lagging behind. Still a while to catch up though.
Two sessions that gave a nice outcome for the day.
Uhm, yeah, not great. Spent some time out with friends, still had to do client work, so not much time left for writing.
Nice chunk written. A lot of my scenes are around the 1k mark, at least in first draft. Or mini-scenes, where I reach a good point to break writing even if the scene is not done. Seems like my brain gets tired after two hours (Did I mention I’m a slow typist?).
More work on The Hunt – things are going forward and I found a solution to my dilemma. The side character somehow gets a life of her own, too. So many secrets…
Another full scene finished. I’m happy that I’ve finally joined up to where I was before in the story (scrapped part of the concept, added characters and reworked the plot, so the story had a slight detour from the original concept).
Seeing the total, I’m actually quite happy. It is an average of 1k per day, so I’m less behind then I thought – I note down the numbers but summed up only today.
I might need to start adding any longer forum/social media posts to the count. Just to see how much word count that steals from my day.
Since I’ve established my writing speed hovers around 500 word per hour I’ll try to do some dictation to see what the speed is with that method. Though I struggle a bit to get overcome feeling silly when talking out loud and it does throw me out of Scrivener, since DNS behaves funny in that. So need to copy&paste from DragonPad.
Couldn’t help feeling jealous reading through a thread about writing 50k in one day. Seeing my current speed is more like 500/h, I need to start thinking less and typing more.
Total: 2,315 (3,587)
Funny how I’m making progress but can’t seem to find a good point to break the scene. At this rate this short story turned novellette might actually level up into a novella. Also towards the end my typing speed got a bit faster, but still nowhere near a level I’d be happy with. I forced myself not to fix typos as I write, so the new part isn’t available on Wattpad yet. Need to do a bit of a clean-up tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow is a relative term in my book.
It’s that time of the year again. Beginning of November, the time when most writers, especially the aspiring kind, get excited and plunge deep into writing. It’s like the writer’s New Year. Time to wipe the slate clean, and make some “resolution”.
I have to say that I’m quite sentimental about NaNoWriMo. After a long break in writing fiction it was this initiative that spurred me back into action. Well, end the character’s nagging in my brain, but that’s another story. It was this contest, that got me started two years ago on the Dragon’s Reborn series. I think fondly of that NaNoWriMo, despite the fact that I failed miserably at it.
Turned out switching into a foreign language and upgrading my technical skills from “aspiring” to a professional level required a lot more work. I just wasn’t ready. Though I still have the nearly 20k words I wrote for that project.
When looking for feedback while working on it the dreaded “too much telling” came up. I knew in theory what it meant. But I didn’t see it back then. I didn’t feel the difference. After two years, I would like to thing I improved a lot in that department.
There are a lot of rules beginning writers need to take in. But you can read and learn about the theory forever, only practice gets you to a place where at least some of these rules become so ingrained that you apply them subconsciously. Or at least they immediately jump out at you in revision (yes, I word vomit my first draft, so no way to skip revision).
But I digress. As I mentioned already, I always think fondly of NaNoWriMo, but I won’t be participating this year. At least not directly. Rather than start a new novel, I have several projects screaming at me and demanding to be finished. Since I’m trying to cut down on the number of projects active at the same time and get stuff done this year I couldn’t officially participate and play by the rules.
Instead, I will try to aim for the 50k word count for this month. This will likely run across several projects (including a short story for a sf anthology). My main goal is to finish The Hunt, which has been work in progress for a bit too long.
Since I’m having fun with that one by posting the draft as I write it on WattPad, you can follow my progress there. OK, draft plus a quick revision… I’ll write progress posts on here too, just to give myself an extra challenge.