New Project Progress Report

So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on a new project. This one is going to be a collection of short horror stories. Each will be a complete story, able to be read as a stand-alone piece, but the stories themselves share a common theme. I’m planning for this one to be book-length, as opposed to the single shorts I’ve been putting out, and I’m hoping to venture into paper territory (with e-book option, of course).

Pretty exciting stuff.

I’ve had a couple people asking, so I thought I’d throw out a little update on where it’s at:

The first story is complete: drafted, fleshed-out, edited and ready.
It fed into the second story, the one I’m working now, which is almost finished its second draft.
I have plans and loose outlines (the most I ever do) for the other stories, though at this point I’m not entirely certain in which order they will appear in the final work.
I have a firm title that I’m in love with, and some cover ideas.

All in all, if it goes according to schedule, you should see this one available for purchase by end of this summer. Hopefully I’ll be able to bump it up, but as it stands now it’s competing with a commission, so I’m giving myself some extra time just in case.

It’s going to be creepy, and gory, and really, really fun. More to follow; I think you guys will like this one.

My Filofax is Here!

Stationery nerds, your attention please: I have obtained the Holy Grail.

My Filofax Malden is here.

With all the time-management I’ve been attempting, I’m hoping this is The Answer. Mine and C’s work schedules, story notes, publication planning…I even bought a four-year-at-a-glance calendar to track my word counts. I’ve always been best with tactile information.

Plus, I’m a big fan of “permanent” things. Smart phones are nice; I have one and (mostly) love it. But if you get a big ol’ scratch on your cell phone, that could be the end of it. Five years from now your cell phone will be embarrassingly obsolete. I wanted something that will only gain character over time. Something made to last. I’m thinking this bad boy will see me through the next decade, at least, and I love the idea of seeing it age and change right along with me.

No rebooting, no charging. Room to doodle. The pleasing smell of leather. The ability to reorganize everything whenever life changes.

I am a very, very content little nerdling right now.

A Morning Person? Me??

Hah, bet that got your attention.

Seriously, though, I’m still trying to get into some sort of steady writing routine. My work schedule is kind of all over the place, so it’s been hard with this job to find a constant. I was finding that I’d come home from a long day at DayJob, and sit in front of the internet until it was time for bed. I’d write, sure, but I wasn’t getting either the quality or the volume I wanted.

I’ve always enjoyed staying up late, and I’ve always slept in. I decided to get up earlier and knock out a couple hours’ writing every morning before work. I used to think I could only be creative at night, but looking back that was a flawed assumption. Of course it seemed like I could only do stuff at night; I was sleeping in until the last possible moment before work.

I decided on this new morning plan a couple of weeks ago. Today was the first day it went according to plan.

The results? I grabbed a coffee and some breakfast, chowed while I caught up on time-wasters, and by the time I had finished breakfast I was ready to go.

I met my word-count goal for the entire day within an hour of waking.

Not only that, but already having accomplished my self-imposed goal for the day put me in a much better headspace for DayJob. I felt great.

My God, I think I’m becoming one of…those people.

What I’m Writing These Days

So, if you’ve followed the blog for any length, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted a new story in a while. (And by “a while”, it’s really not been that long, but I’m the type who has to be producing constantly so this is driving me nuts and oh my this is quite a run-on sentence.)

Anyway. You might not see any new shorts here for a bit. Why? Because I’m working on a new project, one that will hopefully straddle the line between short and novel length work. I’ve got this idea for shorts with a uniting theme that will go together to make a proper book-length…book.

Yeah. I promise it’ll be better written than this blog post.

Book Review: Your Money or Your Life

I’m going to preface this by stating the obvious: the first edition of this book (the one I have) was published twenty years ago. The internet was nothing like it is today. E-books were far fewer, and there sure as hell was no such thing as a Kindle. Even so, I’m using it as part of my Five Year Plan, to further my career as an indie ebook writer, which at first glance seems counter intuitive.

Stay with me.

This book is important, for anyone, but especially for people wanting to get away from a day job. It offers the standard advice, like making your own coffee* and packing a lunch. But where this one differs significantly from those other finance guides is in the perspective. The book’s goal is getting you to financial independence, and it may be closer than you thought.

But, you say, I need a million-billion dollars to support myself/my family, so I can’t ever leave my day job! “Your Money or Your Life” points out all the unseen costs associated with going to the day job itself. Do you spend money on special work clothes? On parking? On social lunches? These extra costs would disappear along with your 9-5.

And what about extra time? Do you commute? Do you spend a lot longer getting ready in the morning, so you can meet a certain office standard? What about after work–do you need mindless “unwind” time to get over your miserable day? Wouldn’t that time be better spent, y’know…doing something?

You may be working more hours for less money than you thought. And the more money and time your day job eats, the less of both you have to put towards working for yourself.

Pick this one up, from the bookstore, the library, or get it in ebook form. Sit down (when you actually get a minute) and read the entire thing. Even if something specific doesn’t seem to apply to you, read it anyway. It’s the overall mindset that’s important here. It’s about re-learning how to prioritize your money and your time.

As far as career goals go, I’d say that’s pretty damned important.

*pleasant side effect: since I make coffee in much larger volumes than I’d buy at the drive-through, my caffeine consumption is much, much higher and I am much, much happier. Caffeine is my happy drug.

It’s Spring! Writers, Get Organized

Spring always makes me feel fantastic. It’s not the frigid Canadian winter anymore (though I hate that less since I learned how to knit), and it’s not yet the scorching, disgusting summer when I turn into a walking freckle. Spring is when it feels like everything’s waking up again. It’s a great time to start new things, and with that in mind…

I started organizing. (If you know me well, I’m sorry I didn’t warn you to swallow your beverage before you read that.)

I’ve never been a consistent enough writer to need to keep track of things. I’d spit out a piece here and there, and there’d be huge gaps of nothingness in between. I don’t know how I lived for any real length of time without writing, but there you have it.

But now, see, I have plans. I have goals. I’m producing more and more all the time, and I started to realize a few things I need to keep track of. So I treated myself to an office-supplies fix shopping trip and set up shop, properly.

Now I have lists of character names, which stories they were in, dates of publication, sales information, outlines for future stories, a calendar…I actually feel like for once I know exactly where I’m headed with this writing thing, and how and when I want to get there.

I’m still feeling my way through this whole actually-staying-on-top-of-things thing, but it’s coming together.

What tips can you share on keeping your creative life organized?