Tag Archives: 750 words

Another Stinking Badge

They made a new badge on 750words.com and I’ve earned it!

At some point in the last couple of months, the lovely and talented Kellianne (or maybe her lovely and talented spouse, Buster) introduced a new badge for those who have written 1 million words. They call it the mega flock. I’m not sure when I received it; I just noticed it the other day.

Previous readers of this blog may remember that I threw a party to celebrate my millionth (verifiable) written word way back in August of 2014, but 750 Words didn’t have the badge then.

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Here’s what it looks like

I love stinking badges and other silly ways to gamify any improvement in my work habits. Thanks again, Kellianne and Buster, for keeping me on task.

For those of you who don’t know what 750words.com is, or what it purports to do, I talk about it here.

You can find the 750 Words site here.

I am a flying squirrel!

(Sorry if you get an ad before the video starts, but you should be able to click it away after a few seconds. Or who knows? Maybe it’s for something you want.)

I’ve been participating on the 750words.com web site for so long that I thought they ran out of badges for me to earn. Imagine my surprise and delight when I received a new one yesterday.

It looks like this:

flyingsquirrel750

Isn’t it adorable? I got it for a 1000-day writing streak. Whew! Maybe now I can take a break.

Keeping My Hand In

The writing hasn’t been going so well lately. Maybe the Mojo has left the building.

However, I gave up on writing once before and it took me many, many years to get back to it. I would rather not do that again, at least not yet. So I’m doing things tangentially related to writing, just to keep my hand in. I’m still writing my 750 words a day, but most of that writing is like pulling teeth. It’s not pretty; it’s also not fiction or in any other way marketable.

I’m also still posting on my blog and planning my Million Word Party. Yes, you’re invited. It’s on August 2nd. Other details will be posted soon.

In the meantime, I promised more vacation pictures from the Ladies Weekend I spent with Sis and some of the cousins. Part of it was in Monterey and part of it was in the central coast area/Paso Robles.

While in Paso Robles we visited wineries, of course, but the best part of being there was simply relaxing at the house my cousin Cecelia found for us called (I kid you not) Rancho Deeluxe. Here are a few Paso Robles pictures for you.

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Rancho Deeluxe – a gorgeous log home, with views

We spent as much time as possible on the deck featured above, drinking coffee in the morning and wine at night, and looking at the surrounding countryside.

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A view from the east deck

There were hummingbirds. I see them occasionally in Illinois, but I’d never seen any like the ones who visited the trees and flowers around Rancho Deeluxe. I wish I could have taken a picture that would do this little guy justice, but he was a fast little sucker!

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Hummingbird – probably an Anna’s

I woke in the mornings to what sounded like a golf cart. The nearest neighbor made his rounds of the vineyard in the evenings and in the mornings, often with a small child in the passenger seat and a big black dog scouting ahead.

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View from my bedroom window

Naturally, I wanted to note my impressions of my glorious vacation surroundings. We hardly ever used the den, so I made it my writing area. I described every sensation I could, but much of my writing time was spent pondering what a great writing retreat one could have at Rancho Deeluxe.

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Where I sat to write, mornings

Rancho Deeluxe will sleep up to 15 people. I’d go back in a heartbeat, and sharing with a bajillion people would make it more affordable. So. Who’s up for a writing retreat?

Scoreboard Update & Party!

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wikimedia commons image, artist unknown

I suppose it’s no secret that I’d like to have a fabulous writing career. I haven’t figured out exactly what that means. I’ll probably flesh it out as I go along, kind of like an outline. Here’s what I do know: I want to write things that people are interested in reading and I’d like to be paid for doing so. I hope that will lead to more people discovering it, and enjoying it. Upshot: I’d like to be published in the traditional way, by folks who have been at it for a while and know what they’re doing.

There’s a whole discussion on the interwebs about traditional publishing vs. self-publishing (aka independent publishing). I don’t know what my entire writing career will look like by the time it’s all over. Independent publishing might figure in, but not until I’ve learned a hell of a lot more about it.

My plan for now is to submit my fiction to magazines when it’s short and agents/publishers when it’s long.

However. I don’t have total control over how soon anyone will be interested in publishing my fiction. One thing I can do is to improve my writing, and thus my odds. There are multiple ways to do that, and I’m trying a few, but the underlying tenet is this: I need to keep writing. That’s why I post ad nauseum about writing daily, with a heavy emphasis on 750words.com.

The other thing I can do is to submit stories. It does me no good to sit on a story, stew over it, or endlessly show it to various groups for critique. I’m still working on when to let a story go. I may blog about that some other day. For now, I’m trying to aim for sooner rather than later. I have one story that’s as ready as it’s going to be, and which has, in fact, been submitted to several markets. I have another story that’s close, I hope. It’s the one I submitted to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction a while back, and which I’m revising next week. I will be looking for new readers for it soon. It’s already been through alpha readers and beta readers. What’s next, gamma readers? Omega readers, since I hope this will be the last pass? Anyway, if you’d be willing to read a 6000-word story for me, please leave a comment below, or facebook message/tweet/email me to let me know, and we’ll work out how to get it to you.

Ahem. I promised scoreboards today, didn’t I? Here’s my progress report.

Updated Scoreboard 1: Submissions

March 7, 2014
Submissions: 3   Acceptances: 0   Rejections: 2

I win!

If that’s not immediately clear, let me explain. As I said above, I have limited control over how soon my writing will be published. Two things I do have control over are:

  1. my writing process (practice makes perfect) and
  2. my attempts to get it out there (it does me no good sitting on my hard drive)

As long as I keep writing daily, with an eye to reducing suckitude, I’m doing what I can for the first part of the puzzle. As far as the second part goes, here’s my goal:
#Submissions + #Acceptances > #Rejections.

Since 3 + 0 > 2, I win!

As long as #Submissions + #Acceptances > #Rejections, I’ve done what I can on my end.

Updated Scoreboard 2: Words Written

March 6, 2014
-885,494 words- from a 478 day streak (out of 907 total) on 750 words.com

That word count puts me within 115,000 words of the million words Ray Bradbury says you need for mastery.

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Bradbury Image by Rev. Terry Canttel*

If I can manage to write an average of 800 words a day going forward, I can have my million-word party in about 143 days. As of this writing, that makes it July 25th, or thereabouts. I’ll firm up the date later.

So here’s the plan. If you want to come to my million-word party, leave a comment below, or message me via email, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+  to let me know. I’ll make sure you receive all the relevant information.

I don’t know what all will happen at this party, but there will definitely be singing and alcohol. And seriously, I’d love to see you there.

* Bradbury Picture Creative Commons License

The Three-Legged Stool of Creativity

(edited)

Daily Writing
Part One of a three-part series on helping creativity flow

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Leg One – Daily Writing

The way to be any kind of writer is to write, and to write regularly. Just ask Stephen King, who writes about 2000 words a day, sun or rain, winter or summer. I think he might have missed a few days when he was hit by a minivan, but otherwise, he writes.

This blog is what you call a case in point. I started it largely because I need the practice, and vowing to post at least twice a week up gives me regular deadlines to meet outside of November (aka National Novel Writing Month).

Actually, though, I’ve been writing daily since shortly after my first NaNoWriMo. I write at least 750 words a day, thanks to the web site called, funnily enough, 750words.com.The guy who started it, Buster Benson, read a book called The Artist’s Way.

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From Julia Cameron’s website

In case you’re unfamiliar with the book, the author, Julia Cameron, recommends that anyone who is having any sort of trouble with their creativity should make a practice of rolling out of bed (or not; you could just as easily do this in bed) and making a three page journal entry first thing in the morning. You needed to write, as fast as you could, making no judgment at all about what you were writing.

There’s something stress-relieving about writing pretty much any old crap that spills out of your mind. I tried this practice myself, back somewhere around 1995 or so. What I found was that once I was done writing those 3 pages, I was done writing for the rest of the day. Maybe that’s because it takes so long to write by hand and my penmanship is so gruesome that I could never make any sense of it later. I quit doing it for quite a while, but a few years back I heard about 750 Words which was started as a way to do your morning pages online, and it changed my life.

Okay, it changed my habits, but that’s a first step, right? Since September of 2011, I’ve written 842,346 words on the site. I never thought I’d keep up the habit, but the site lets you earn badges for writing streaks of varying lengths, as well as other behaviors like writing quickly or making a donation to the site.

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My Latest Badge

I’m a sucker for swag, even the virtual variety. I have my eye on the Space Bird badge, which you earn for a 500-day streak. I should have it already, but I missed posting one day a year or so back. It was during NaNoWriMo, so I actually wrote that day; I just forgot to paste the words into the 750 words site so I could get credit for them. I had to start over again from the beginning. Boy, did I feel like a doofus!

750 Words also provides a lot of interesting metrics about what you’ve written; that’s how I know about the 842,346 words I’ve written there so far.

I’m sure there are other ways to help yourself get into the habit of the writing. One of my writing friends is trying the “Don’t Break the Chain” method, and other swear by HabitRPG. I haven’t tried either site, but they sound useful and/or fun. I never underestimate the power of fun little rewards, even if they’re as silly as badges, just to keep me going.

The point is: I write daily. I recommend it to anyone who’s trying to be both creative and productive.