I just spent the day formatting Twilight of Lanar’ya for CreateSpace and Smashwords. Now all I need is the cover, spine, and back and I’ll be ready to roll everything out.

Formatting is probably my least favorite part of publishing a novel. I understand the necessity but there are times I wish I had the programming skills to create an application that would just take the raw output and magically render it into perfect formatting for where ever I’m publishing. Every service has a different way it wants things formatted and you’ll easily spend an hour or two getting your document redone along the lines they require.

Ah well. At least that part is over and done with and I have a better idea of how to format things in the future so it will go more quickly. For now, I’m going to go play Star Wars to unwind a bit. Tomorrow it will be time to get back to the grind. I hope to finish the first draft of Midnight of Lanar’ya by the end of April and have it ready for publication this summer. I also want to get some kind of commercial done for Twilight of Lanar’ya and a few print banners done to distribute around my home town and in bookstores in the area to try to get some more sales. Also, once I’ve approved the proof, I’ll need to start getting cracking on my online marketing presence. Books don’t just sell themselves, after all.

Latest Update Posted

Latest Update Posted

I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW RP forum. This week’s update takes the characters through the Majordomo Staghelm and Ragnaros encounters, clearing out the Firelands arc.

I didn’t get any work done on Alayne’s Story this week due to a trip up to New England for a job interview. I think the interview went well and I’m really hoping to hear back from them soon. The company reminds me a lot of how things were with my former employer before the company got huge. I really enjoyed the smaller atmosphere where everyone knew everyone else and job descriptions weren’t set in stone.

At any rate, I’m going to go get back to work and get caught up on Alayne’s Story and put the finishing touches on Twilight of Lanar’ya which should be available Soon(TM).

Writing Traps: Powering Through

Writing Traps: Powering Through

We had a little visitor this weekend who left a gift for my mother and I: a head cold. I’m well on the mend, though, after spending a day lazing about with a sore throat and a mild fever. However, the resultant lack of energy means I haven’t done much writing this week. And, I’m not going to get a terrible lot done the rest of the week due to other commitments. But, I am not worried overmuch about it. Why? Because, years ago, I learned that the absolute worst trap I can fall into is attempting to power through.

Some writers — and I must include myself in this — feel it necessary to meet a deadline; even just a deadline we set for ourselves. I generally like to get at least five pages per project added each week. And, I generally meet, if not exceed, this goal. However, on weeks where real life commitments or illness prevent me from hitting my target, I’ve learned to relax a bit instead of trying to power through late in the week or forcing myself to double-up the next week. The few times I have tried either strategy my writing has been mediocre, if not regrettably poor, in quality.

Many people who do not write tend to think that writing is something you can do any time and that it requires little energy. Some new writers also believe these things and fall into the trap of powering through a rough time or over-committing themselves. Writing may not be a physically demanding pursuit like carpentry or sports but it does require a tremendous amount of energy. That energy may be mostly mental but it does not matter to the body. Energy expended thinking and analyzing is no different, on a bio-chemical level, than energy spent walking. True, it does not raise your metabolism or get you into shape, but it is energy spent that is then unavailable for other pursuits.

When you are not feeling well, your body needs energy to fight off the infection as well as to maintain itself. Since writing involves a high amount of thinking and analyzing and your body, when ill, prioritizes such higher-function tasks as secondary to survival, that means you have less energy to devote to writing when ill and you should not power through just because writing involves sitting in front of a computer and pushing some keys.

I expect that tomorrow I will be back to form and will probably get some writing done. I may even hit my five-page-per-project goal. However, I’m not going to beat myself up if I do not. If I can get three pages per project tomorrow, I’ll be happy. I do have another commitment to meet that requires me to travel out of town next week so my schedule may be thrown off then as well (though I do plan to take my laptop with me).

For now, I’m going to go get some more rest. I want to be at my best next week, after all.

Latest Update Posted

Latest Update Posted

I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW RP forum. This week’s update takes the characters through the Shannox encounter in Firelands.

I’ve just finished up the End Time and Well of Eternity parts of the Hour of Twilight arc. My guild is progressing through Dragon Soul nicely — if not as quickly as we’d like due to reality interfering in people’s lives at this point.

Also, I’m blogging about my other projects over at G. K. Bookmark that site if you’re interested in following my non-World of Warcraft writings.

And now, back to work!

Balancing Work, Writing, Gaming, and Life

Balancing Work, Writing, Gaming, and Life

I am a gamer. More than that, I am the kind of gamer who, if I get caught up in the story of a game, will play until ridiculous hours if I don’t have some urgent responsibility weighing down on me. When I was working full-time, I could usually get myself into bed by midnight at the latest and be up at 6:30 the next morning. But now that I am not working full-time (though I’m job-hunting), I find my sleeping schedule getting more and more erratic. If I’m not up until 3 am writing, I’m playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, or I’m reading. That means I may not wake up until 9 am which throws my whole morning off.

And yet, despite that, I’m still generally able to hit my daily and weekly goals. Even this week, when I didn’t get much work done on Monday or Tuesday due to various Real Life Issues, I’m still easily on track. That is partly because I did a lot of work this weekend and partly because I’m so caught up in the events of Midnight of Lanar’ya that even 48 hours off doesn’t throw me into a spiral of confusion.

Another reason I’m able to keep pace with all of my projects and still have time to play World of Warcraft and Star Wars is because I am a relentless and religious scheduler. I’ve found that appointing each task its proper “time of day” helps me keep my life balanced. Here’s how things normally work out on a day for me:

Morning — Wake up, check email, check the news
Noontime — Quick lunch. Possibly work out a bit (go for a walk)
Early Afternoon — Raid in WoW if needed or do dailies
Mid Afternoon — Work on Midnight of Lanar’ya
Early Evening — Check the news and work on websites
Mid Evening — Do WoW dailies or play Star Wars while working on Midnight of Lanar’ya
Late Evening — Play Star Wars
Night — Go to sleep at some point

When I was working full time, my schedule looked more like this (still balanced though!)

6:45 am — Wake up, get dressed, go catch the bus
8:00 am — Get to the office and start updates while checking my work email and the news
8:30 am – Noon — Work!
Noon – 2 pm — Lunch break. Eat, play WoW, write.
2 pm – 5:30 pm — Work!
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm — Walking home
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm — Cook and eat supper. Write.
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm — Play WoW (raiding, dailies, dungeons).
10:30 pm – 11:00 pm — Write.
11:00 pm — Shower and bed.

On weekends, my schedule now is pretty much the same. So, if you’re struggling to hit your goals, do what I did. Sit down and think about what you need to get done in life and appoint each time of day its proper task. You can do it by time of day (as I do at the moment) or by hour (as I used to do when I had a full-time job). Then stick to it! After a week, you’ll find that the habit becomes so strong, you don’t need to think about it too much.

And now, it’s almost lunch time for me so off to grab something light and then get back to work.