I’ve been binge reading and I’ve discovered something in Calibre that might help my writing

I can’t even number the number of stories I’ve read in the last two months since I published my last book. Most of those have been fan fiction stories, I’ll say, and I tried to stick with longer stories, although I did read a lot of short stories too. :) I like all lengths, but I do love reading yummy long stories in my favorite fandoms!

So, the equivalent of a lot of books there.

In fact, since I download fan fiction exclusively from Ao3 in EPUB format, these stories are books. The keepers stay in Calibre, and the disposable stories get deleted after reading. That’s something I just started recently, mostly because I only want to keep rereadable stories. So even if I truly loved a story but if it’s something that I don’t see myself rereading for pleasure (and that happened–I don’t tend to reread stories with ambiguous or unhappy endings even if they really touched me) I delete them.

Same for original novels.

I do not reread stories that don’t leave me feeling good. I enjoy them, sometimes, and don’t often I regret having read them, but I don’t seek them out to reread, mostly because rereading is meant purely for pleasure and to uplift my mood. I mean, rereading is generally something I do when I need to feel joy but not the anxiety of not knowing what’s coming. :)

During this time, I installed a plug-in in Calibre to tell me the word count of all these stories and novels so I could tag stuff that’s especially short (<10,000 words) or especially long (>100,000 words). Fiction from Ao3 already includes a word count in the meta included at the beginning of the story and I happen know the word counts for all my own books and stories (which are also in my Calibre library for easy transfer to my devices), and this led me to note that the plug-in has reliable numbers (just a tiny bit high, tiny bit, but close enough).

And wow did it open my eyes to something I hadn’t noticed. So many books that I thought were longer were not that long after all. In fact, it has led me to rethink the length I go for in a novel.

Lately I’ve been far exceeding my 50,000 word target for my own novels. I’m going to work on not doing that any more. So many of the books in my library that I would have assumed were longer came in between 30,000 and 60,000 words. I just do not need to be writing longer books.

And although sometimes I can’t help myself, I know that I really prefer writing shorter books.

Time to get back to what I love. I’m a little sold on the fact that maybe one reason I’ve been unhappy writing lately is because so many of my books have gone long–much longer than I wanted when I started them.

Long equals a longer time spent writing one book and more chance of boredom interfering with my desire to keep going.

When writing becomes a chore, I’m just not able to overcome my resistance to continuing. Breaks mean I have to spend too much time getting back into the story when I finally do manage, and there’s just a whole lot of baggage associated with all this.

So, shorter books. :D

A theme change

I’m a little bored with the Twenty Seventeen theme I’ve been using here on the site, so today I started messing around with themes, figured out how to change the font to PT Sans, tried it out on several of the themes I have installed, deleted a bunch of them after realizing I was never going to use them again, and finally settled on changing my theme to Twenty Fifteen, a theme especially suited to a blog like mine (heavy on text, uses tables sometimes, and is pretty much just a blog).

Twenty Seventeen has a terrible layout for tables, puts the numbers and bullets for lists outside the margins of the paragraphs, and has a so-so default font (Libre Franklin). (I know, I know! It’s not that different from PT Sans—but it is!)

I also didn’t like that you can’t see tags or categories for posts on the home page. You had to click through to the post. That’s just an extra click that’s not needed for diary style posts.

I need to update my favicon. It’s been ages since I made the one I’m using now, and it matches the color and font styles of the old Twenty Thirteen theme, which was awful and I’m not sure why I even used it for a while. :D

Since I need to start another writing session, I’m going to stop this ramble right there. I have a scene to gut and words to write. :-)

Recommendation! Don’t use Wix for your author website

I wanted to save a few articles from an author’s website to read later, so I sent the links to Pocket using the right-click context menu. It’s something I do regularly when I want to follow links but don’t actually want to do it right then for whatever reason. (Because I should be writing!)

So I went to do some reading in Pocket later on my phone and here’s what I found:

See that “books”? Those are supposed to be posts/pages on that site, specific pages that I wanted to read. “Books” is the site homepage, and if you chop it off books like lots of people do (myself included) to get to the main author site, you don’t get a page at all. You get a 404 error. Now that could be the author’s problem, maybe they set up the site wrong, but the thing I’m concerned about, for every person out there who might be using Wix as a website, is the fact that individual pages are not viewable in things like Pocket.

From the pages I’d saved:

Every page I had saved was just like this. Blank.

I’m blaming Wix for this because Wix supplies the templates. Isn’t that the whole point of Wix, to make it easy for people who don’t know how to make a website or just don’t want to fool with the details?

Now I have to go try to remember what pages I wanted to read and find them again. Or if it’s even worth the trouble.

My suggestion to anyone considering Wix for anything as important as an author website is to skip it. Wix does not function the way it should.

Fiction Writers’ Social revisited

I’ve updated my Fiction Writers’ Social Google+ private community.*

It’s a community for fiction writers. To be exact: A conflict-free zone of friendly chit-chat and interaction, before, during, and after the day’s writing is done. Here’s to a fun, lively place to share news, chit-chat with fellow authors about life in general, and talk shop. All members should be respectful of others, tolerant of different mindsets, and friendly.

If you’re interested in joining, leave a comment on this post or get in contact with me. I’ll send you an invite.

Keep in mind that you need to be friendly and at least mildly active in the community to get anything out of it. This is a social group so any kind of active self-promotion is a no-no.

It’s also a new community, so yeah, I’m the only current member as of this writing. :D

*By updated I mean I retired the old community which never really got off the ground (the members weren’t very active) and which was linked to my personal identity. I started a new community of the same name that’s associated with Lynn and Perpetualized.

1,063 words and time ended 7:13 pm

Today was better than yesterday and that’s good enough for me!

DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY

Session 1 : 234 words
Session 2 : 92 words
Session 3 : 174 words
Session 4 : 244 words
Session 5 : 46 words
Session 6 : 177 words
Session 7 : 7 words
Session 8 : 80 words
Session 9 : 8 words
Session 10 : 149 words
Session 11 : -320 words
Session 12 : 172 words

For 1,063 total words.

As with yesterday, all sessions were 20 minutes.

I’m not surprised it’s taking a while to relearn how to focus on writing. Focus in quantity has always been difficult for me. I do seem to have episodes of hyperfocus, but to be honest, they almost always accompany things like reorganizing my file system or troubleshooting a problem I want fixed right now.

One thing I have noticed: It’s funny how often I don’t notice my bladder problems until I sit down to write and end up with my sessions constantly interrupted.

11:23 pm and too few words again today

I’ve managed only 2 of my 12 sessions today (20 minutes each). Part of the blame goes to my panic at realizing I had ruined the opening of my book by overworking it. I had to pull up backup copy 9 to get the old opening back. I’m currently at backup copy 20, and backup copy 9 was made on 6/11 (today is 6/24).

This all came to my attention last night when I sent my document to my Fire and read through what I’d written. My first thought was uh oh. So I pulled up the old version that I just happened to have sent to my Fire a while back and read the opening of it.

The old version was much better than the new. Miles better. Leagues better.

I was not happy to realize this.

I got up this morning knowing I’d have to fix it.  I’ve obsessed over things I didn’t need to obsess over today in an effort to avoid thinking about this.

I did a “compare documents” in Word to see just how bad it was. It was bad. More red than black, and ouch, I didn’t really need to see that.

It’s 11:59 pm and I should really go to bed, but I think I’m going to try to do a few more sessions so I don’t have this hanging over my head tomorrow. Then again… it’s late and I just want to put this day behind me, so maybe I won’t.

As for tomorrow, I think I’m going to forbid the internet until I’ve done at least half my minimum sessions. That’s only 6 and at 20 minutes each, comes to only 2 hours. I can surely hold out that long!

Now, time to get out of my own way and write this damn book without agonizing over every word. :D

DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY

Session 1 (20 min): -25 words (meaning I deleted more than I wrote)
Session 2 (20 min): 8 words

Poor little kitty

A stray, starving cat showed up in my back yard yesterday.

She looks much better than she feels, because what she feels like is a half-pound bag of bones. (If she’s even a half-pound. I’ve had blocks of cheese that feel heavier than her.)

Anyway, I fed her, a little, and then a little more, and a little more. I was most worried that she would make herself sick eating too much too fast, and I was right. Mostly I succeeded, but she did get a tiny bit sick by the time evening came. Today she’s doing well, and I think she’ll probably hang around a while. She’s a friendly little cat. As long as she stays, I’ll feed her. But indoor animals are not for me, so she’s definitely staying outside. I’ve put a bed out for her and a box on its side up on my deck where she’ll be safest from the predators lurking in the woods. She seems to like it. :)

I’ll add a picture later.

I hope she improves–I’d love to see her fatten up a bit. I can feel what feels like every bone in her little body when I pet her.

On vacation!

Not that I’ve gone anywhere, but today I decided what I was going to call this unexpected break of mine—something without negative connotations, a name that’ll help me fight off the guilt I don’t need to feel for taking some time for myself without stressing over what I “should” be doing.

What I decided was that I was on vacation. :) I don’t take vacations often enough as it is, so instead of feeling guilty about not feeling like writing, I’m counting this time as vacation time.

Now, back to Midsomer Murders and the “Days of Misrule.” ;) As an introverted homebody, this is the best kind of vacation.

New theme, new theme!

Can you tell I’m excited? I’m so happy to have a new theme for the site. It’s the basic Twenty Seventeen theme, but I really like it. I mean, it’s my favorite of the default WordPress themes to date.

I tried my picture in the header, but it was just too big. I can’t get past the desire to have text above the fold. For some reason, landing on a page that’s just an image really throws me, and I just don’t like it. So no header image, still.

On the other hand, the Visual editor window is so much nicer! I hated Merriweather (the font from Twenty Sixteen). I mean, it was nice to read, but it took up way too much space in the back end when I was trying to compose a post. I’d defaulted to doing all my composing in the Text editor. Now I can use the Visual editor more often again. I love that.

Now, off to put this theme on numerous other websites, because I like it just that much. :D

(Oh my goodness. I just realized I’ve spent 7 hours on this stuff, including a few blogs posts on one of the sites where I updated the theme. It’s 11:25 PM. So there went my plans for more than a few words of writing tonight. I’d better get to it if I don’t want to ruin my streaks.)