Tag Archives: task list

Scouting Ahead

I like to formulate a plan for what projects I might take on during the coming weekend. This weekend, I lucked out and got four days.

One of my first priorities is going to be Lisa Burton Radio. I have two friends who sent me stuff, and I need to get those working. The interviews go back and forth a few times, and I can likely finish both of them this weekend. With a bit of luck.

I’m earmarking some time for BookBub. I signed up, but I haven’t done anything with it. I see people are finding me there, and I need to do some follow-backs, and add some book reviews too. A bit of monkeying around will give me confidence to do more with it. Also, after I get caught up, it will be easier to stay on top of it.

I’m also in need of some page long micro-fiction for my October posts. I have a list of concepts, and usually free write them, so it might not be too rough.

I have a couple of novels languishing on my Kindle app, and need to get on with reading them. I also have a couple of story-craft books I want to spend some time with.

I also have a couple of guest posts to assemble and schedule. I’ll make sure I take care of my friends before I do anything else.

Lower down on the priority list is editing. This starts with word searches for things I frequently get wrong. After those are addressed, I need to start reading it and finding the confusing passages.

There are some mundane things too. I need to replace some lightbulbs, pick up some branches, that kind of thing.

I’m hoping to make some serious progress this weekend. Some of the small things like scheduling the guest posts, I’ll actually finish. Others, like reading and editing will likely go on for weeks.

It’s an ambitious list, but I think I can make a dent in it. What do you guys have planned? Are you working on projects, or doing something more fun?


Filed under Writing

Procrastinating and falling forward

It wasn't quite the weekend I intended, and then it was. That's kind of cryptic, but here's how it happened.

I needed to keep the Lisa Burton Radio line moving. I'm in the habit of telling folks two weeks out when to expect their radio interview. At one week out, I send a final proof to that week's guest, assemble, and schedule the post. That was my primary goal, because folks are counting on me to get it done. Mission accomplished.

I needed to write my last micro-fiction for October, but put it off all day Saturday. I've learned, when procrastinating on these, that something isn't quite ready yet. That was the case with the last story.

The novella, called The Hat, tried to seduce me all day. I promised myself I wouldn't start it until next weekend, and staved off the craving by writing a blog piece about the Research Sirens. This was only partially fiction. Conversia, one of the sirens, wanted me to interview some folks to get the details right. I have reached out to a medical person and a musical person, and they are willing to help me. In the comments, I also got another offer of musical assistance. It's so cool to know folks who will help out. I'm willing to consult on anything I might know about too if anyone needs it.

I spent a big part of today on email, and Sharknado Five. Yeah- yeah, these films suck, but how bad they suck is part of the appeal.

Old What's Her Face, said she needed a pedicure and asked if I could watch the dogs while she was out.

“Well, of course, Honey. Whatever you want.”

While she was gone, the stars lined up for my last micro-fiction. I wanted some confusion, and I want readers to see it right away in this story. I'm doing it on purpose, and don't want readers to think I'm just an idiot when things happen out of order. Today, I was ready to put it all on paper, and did. This one made me emotional when I wrote it, and I hope that comes across.

These micros will post, one per week, during an October event I call Macabre Macaroni. Tuesday is usually a non-blogging day for me, and works perfectly for this event. This year there are five Tuesdays, so I needed five stories. I have them now.

I've adopted the philosophy that if I'm going to fall – fall forward. That's kind of how it worked, and I'm pretty pleased with my weekend effort.

I have to make a road trip to Moscow, Idaho on Wednesday. I will drive back on Thursday. I'll check in when I can, so make sure to treat Lisa's radio guest well during my drive home. I'll weigh in on the comments as soon as possible.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

A recipe for dead motivation

My critique group met last night, and we exchanged efforts. Everyone is loving Yak Guy still, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

I stayed up late last night playing Diablo III with my son. We downloaded a new expansion pack and created a couple of new necromancers to fight evil with. This is part of the recipe… up late.

At four AM, Nyx started barking behind my headboard. She squeezed back there and couldn't figure out that she had to go backwards to get out. She decided to try digging at my nightstand instead. I had to remove a king sized mattress, partially slide back the box springs, and motivate her with words I don't usually speak at four o'clock.

I tried to go back to sleep, but at six I gave up. Sleep deprivation, part of the recipe.

Otto returned to the vet yesterday, and he is doing better. He has good days and bad days, but there is nothing wrong with his bones or joints. More pain meds for him for the time being. Emotionally, part of the recipe.

I've hit it hard in the early part of my vacation. I even managed over a thousand words of a short story I agreed to write. The target is 5000 words by August, so I'm in good shape there.

In order to get this vacation, I agreed to a business lunch downtown today. I also agreed to proofread some things from my Executive Director. She emailed what she has and I marked it up and threw it in my truck.

This was the point where my mojo took a leave. I knew I had this meeting. I have to put on pants. From six AM through the meeting, I did virtually nothing. Nyx wanted to cuddle most of the morning and I let her. She never wants to cuddle, that's more Frankie and Otto's thing. Maybe she's being sorry for the headboard incident. I also read a few chapters of a craft book I've been picking away at.

I've been productive, and I'll include some details. I will be productive again this week. Today may not be the day. Here is the list I posted on friday:

Projects for my week off:

  • Re-read The Enhanced League and make edits.
  • Figure out how to add images to the back of the book and actually make them look good.
  • Get the final MS out to the formatter, and pay her. Still waiting for an invoice.
  • Assemble a guest post I agreed to host. Became two and I did both of them.
  • Work on Lisa Burton Radio stuff as it comes in. Moderate success, needs more effort.
  • Finish up a post I've been working on to appear elsewhere. Delivered it too.
  • Start the word searches on Yak Guy.
  • Read Yak Guy and start editing.
  • Write blog tour posts for Enhanced League. Have five done, need more.

Depending on how well I do, I can get to some of these:

  • Research and assemble something I'd like to post for July 4th.
  • Publish The Enhanced League.
  • Put out a request for blog tour hosts.
  • Do some deeper research and start writing my time travel short story for an anthology. 1000 words and counting. Target is 5000.

Looks like I need to focus on Lisa Burton Radio, the blog tour posts, and my short story. Yak guy can take a back seat while I get Enhanced League out the door.

I may find some scraps of motivation today. I'll update this evening. Right now I have to find pants.


Post meeting:

My daughter was supposed to give me a haircut this afternoon, but has misplaced her shears and her combs. She really does give the best haircuts, but aside from chewing the hair off, I don't know what she can do. This would have been the perfect day for it too.

Now one of her friends is here, and they're watching movies in the living room. Some days you just have to run up the white flag and surrender.

I still have four more days to work on projects, and my wife decided to go to Nevada this weekend. That will make for a nice quiet house.


Filed under Writing

An old reminder, enhanced by puppies

It's one of my favorite old sayings, and it came back to me in the comments of my last post. I've been whining about having too much to do. While blogland appreciates a good rant, they don't like it when it drifts into whiny territory.

I've been at this point before, and I will be there again no doubt. How do you eat an elephant?

Task lists are the elephant. I'll do what I can, when I can, and it will all get finished. It's a constant effort to remind myself there is no supervisor that's going to be upset with my progress. That's the paycheck world.

Even puppies know that a bunch of small efforts can add up. It took two weeks, but they slew the giant.

Note: Otto is fine. He is regressing to puppy mode and plays with the girls constantly now.

My wife and I are taking our mini vacation, and I'm not going to worry about this stuff. When I return, my tasks will still be waiting, and the elephant should be properly aged to make for fine dining.

I never mentioned it, because I thought I might play the “Where is Craig” game with you. It didn't work out so well when we went to Jackson, Wyoming, so I'll skip it. We are spending our holiday weekend in New Orleans. Neither of us have ever been there, and we're both pretty excited.

We don't have an agenda, but we are booked into the walking tour of New Orleans Voodoo one night. I hope to take some cool photos and maybe buy some fun stuff. We will no doubt find some beignets and some good seafood. I want to sneak a peek at their telephone book too. I constantly struggle to come up with decent character names, and this could be a great resource.

We're going to be staying relatively close to a site where a big shootout went down in The Playground. I'm tempted to take a cab and see how wrong I got it, but that might encroach onto my wife's plans. Some of the sites in Panama burned down years ago, but I might do a quick search for them too.

Come back tomorrow for Lisa Burton Radio. I'll get to play in the comments, and share it everywhere. After that, I'll update from the road, but it might be sporadic.


Filed under Uncategorized

The working weekend, day one

Last night I made a list of projects, and scratched making a list off my list. Yeah, it was a cheat, but it's not like I'm being graded here. I also reminded myself to enjoy what I am doing. I turned off the computer and watched the return of Sleepy Hollow, then cleared Flash out of the DVR. While Sleepy Hollow aired, I recorded Last Man Standing, then I watched it.

The television hasn't been on yet today. Here's how it went.

I added words to The Yak Guy Project. It may have only been a thousand or so, but I'm struggling with world limitations here. This isn't science fiction where he can take a speeder halfway across the planet in one paragraph. He's riding around on a yak, for cripes sake. This takes time, and requires a bit more observation. Yak Guy Ted's journey is also a spiritual one, so there is a certain amount of thought and reflection required. The yak calls this rumination, and it's kind of a gag in the story. I need to write it this way, and may remove bits after the draft gets finished.

I added words to the retro science fiction piece, and it's getting closer. The characters had some sexy time and now my rocket boy needs to decide between duty and country, or riches and the girl. Yeah, I wrote a sexy time section, I've done it before.

I got the camper battery all charged up, and got through all my critiques.

I even managed to promote The Experimental Notebook on a Facebook group. One friend saw it, and shared it. No idea if it did any more good than that, I'm new to Facebook. Nobody freaked out and accused me of breaking the group rules, so I've got that going for me. I have a list of other groups, and need to join them too.

Reminder: You can follow Lisa the robot girl on Facebook, and there is an Entertaining Stories page too. In fact the widget in my sidebar will take you to the Entertaining Stories page.

I spent the afternoon with my beta reading project. In case you're reading this today, I'm at 61% according to the Kindle app. I should finish this by Monday with a little luck.

I did not attempt a blurb for The Playground and didn't attempt any guest posts for it. That will have to be on tomorrow's agenda somehow. It still takes a back seat to new words on my stories and the beta reading project.

I'm feeling pretty good about today. I'm working off a weekend long list, and not a one day list. I got some things scratched off, and others moved ahead. It's about 6:30 here now, and maybe I will see what's on television.

Then again, maybe I'll get started on that blurb.


Filed under Writing

moderate success

I wound up getting through about four chapters of editing on my epic fantasy, The Cock of the South. I also wound up reading about 10% more of Few Are Chosen.

It was a day for a little of this and a little of that. I made a few fountain pen notes for some short pieces I want to write.

I also opened a wonderful bottle of actual mead. I’m enjoying it right now while watching the second episode of The Strain.

All in all, it doesn’t look like a very productive day, but I moved a few projects forward. Forward momentum is good, even if nothing is complete. I still need to find a good fantasy artist.

I’m off tomorrow and will probably set an alarm so I can get more time to myself. Then I have to help my parents find a new car.

That’s about it. I’m off to oil my kraut bat. No that isn’t a metaphor for anything.


Filed under Uncategorized

And I had the nerve to call it a vacation

I used some of my vacation because I wanted to work on Arson. It wound up being a lot of work.

The Harley rumbled up the dirt road toward the cabin. Lindsay* and Lisa** steered around the small herd of musk oxen who formed a defensive circle at the sound of the bike.

“It’s about time they got back,” Perry* said. “I’m starting to get hungry.”

“Let’s get the coals lit, and see how they fared,” I said.

“We ought to wait for Lindsay. She likes to light the barbecue.”

“That’s fine, as long as we don’t get glue fumes or anything on our food.”

Lisa parked the bike and Lindsay climbed out of the sidecar. Lindsay held a bag of groceries, and Lisa untied a huge mesh bag from the tiny luggage rack.

“Fresh clams,” Lisa said.

“What happened to hot dogs?” Perry asked.

“Live a little, would you,” Lindsay said.

“It’s no problem,” I said. “Throw them right on the grill. When they open, dinner time.”

Lindsay lit the coals, and when the flame went out we added corn and potatoes.

Perry rummaged through his car and brought out a silver briefcase. “I’m supposed to give this to Lisa.”

When Lisa opened it, she read, “By breaking the seal on this briefcase, you have thirty seconds to transfer the tracking software into this wristwatch. Mr. Wolfe then has thirty seconds to enter the security code in his possession. Failure to complete these tasks will scramble every officer in your vicinity to apprehend Lindsay Pennington.”

Lisa pulled a cable from her purse, and plugged it into her navel. She plugged the other end into the watch.

“Slow down,” Perry said. He patted his pockets and took out his wallet. “Between us we have a whole minute. I need to find the code.”

“You’re such a dipshit,” Lindsay said. “Did your mommy write it in your underwear?”

“No. It’s right here in my wallet.”

Lisa uncoupled from the watch and slapped it on Perry’s wrist. “Done.”

“Is that a six or a ‘G’?” Perry asked.

“Can’t you read your own writing?” Lindsay asked. “You’d better figure it out quick.”

“Okay, six or nothing. Crap, where’s the backspace? My fingers are too big.”

Lisa grabbed his wrist and entered the code faster than any of us could move our fingers. “Let’s barbecue.”

I spread newspaper over the picnic table, while Perry fetched a growler of porter. “Long weekend, huh?”

“Yeah. I started back on edits Wednesday night, ran personal errands on Thursday, finished reading a book, and posted a review. I added a cover page and some book promos to my manuscript and uploaded it to Amazon, on Friday.  I spent the other days updating my Gravatar, my ‘about me’ page, making changes on the Rave Reviews Book Club site, adding a linked cover to my blog, and still managed to update my blog a half dozen times. I just got a promo for Arson added to the back pages of Wild Concept and Panama, but I haven’t uploaded them yet.”

“Yeah, sounds boring. I hate all that computer crap. I’d rather watch a game or something,” Perry said.

“I can’t wait to go back to work so I can slow down.”

He handed me one of the enchanted beer horns and said, “Relax and enjoy the barbecue. Take the last hours of the day for yourself.”

*Perry is the main character in my new book, Arson. Lindsay is a supporting character in the same story.

** Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and helps me around the writing cabin these days.


Filed under Muse, Writing

What to do? What to do?

Okay, so Wild Concept isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. I have no idea what I’m doing, but doing something crappy is the first step to doing it well. Tally HO!

I have to set up an Amazon author page. I’ll add that to the list.

I know positive reviews are a good thing. I won’t pay for one, because I think that’s unethical. If there is a service I should know about, please say so in the comments. Sounds like I need to research; another item for the list.

I need to read more. Item #3.

I want to start my St. Patrick’s Day beer tour at Old Chicago, because I need a shamrock shirt.

Two new movies look interesting. I can probably catch one of them.

Most of my writing will probably be in the form of blogging. I have several topics to touch upon. I’m off Monday, and might manage a few lines of new fiction.

If the weather cooperates, I have some fruit trees that need pruning.

I need to get to my critique group pages. I have them all, I just need to read them and mark them up.

Then there’s my uber cool new fountain pen. It reminds me so much of my last story called The Cock of the South. I wonder if Amazon will accept that name? I filled it with ink called Bad Black Moccasin.

Right now it’s Olympic speed skating and fountain pen. After that, I’ll work on the list.

I used to do promotions in the analog world. I’m open to suggestions in the digital age. Let me hear from you.


Filed under Blogging, Writing

Blogging, writing, and rambling

This is going to be one of those rambling posts. I learned about a writing exercise called “free writing”. This is where you just write, without any outline, specific plot, or preconceived outcome.

Apparently, I’ve been doing it with my blog. Whenever I write about my Muse, or my characters, I’ve been free writing. This isn’t to say that I don’t check my spelling or give it a quick proofread. I want everyone to enjoy it. I’m just not doing a deep edit and spending hours making it just so. I even found an ly adverb in an old post.

This isn’t the same effort I put into my fiction. I’ve been working over some of those stories for years. I learn something new, then give an old story another read. They ought to be pretty decent when I finally get them online.

I’m reading an older book that was quite popular. (No names) The author made a lot of mistakes. It gets hard to tell who’s speaking in several places, and I’m having a hard time visualizing what he wants me to see. The formatting is awful. I won’t blame him, since he died before ebooks existed. There are places where two or three words don’t have spaces between them. Words like ‘in’ became ‘m’, and ‘f’ was translated to ‘t”.

I pray for the skill to format my manuscript such that I don’t irritate readers. I also want to make sure readers can see what I need them to, without being annoyingly descriptive. (Look an ly descriptor)

I was told (ordered) to read Stephen King’s On Writing. I was really struck when he said writers need a special place, a far seeing place to just ruminate and receive new ideas. I’ve been telling you about my imaginary writing cabin in some of my old posts. I guess I’m getting some of it right.

No one wagered a guess at last month’s background image. It was a group of trees covered in mistletoe. I changed my background to one of ice for January. No need to guess, in my mind January means ice.

I am starting to see a lot of re-blogs in my Reader. There are a couple people that re-blog a dozen or more posts per day. This probably goes back to my fear of blowing up your timelines. I promise not to re-blog something unless I think it’s particularly interesting. One of them re-blogs exclusively, there is never any original content. I promise to provide original content. I figure you can surf around for interesting stuff as well as I can.

I had a secret dream to get 100 followers by 2014. I wound up with 92. Since I’ve only been blogging since September, I’m actually very happy with this number. Hello and welcome to the visitors I had from Germany and St. Vincent. I’m embarrased to say I had to Google St. Vincent. It looks like a cool place. I love seeing my map expand showing the international visitors.

I have plenty of work to do in 2014. I need to make changes based upon my critique group, then take up the more serious tasks I got from the editor. I want to read more, which is easy enough. I also want to keep working on my new story. My word count is in the toilet now, but I’ll get back on track. I also need to take the editing lessons and apply them to my old work. Somehow, I’m going to get them up on Amazon this year. Then there’s the need of my real job, you know, the one with a paycheck.

I don’t do New Years resolutions. I can attempt a change any time I want. I like to have a kind of task list though. I suppose this post was a step in that direction. Happy New Year.


Filed under Blogging, Writing