Building better writing habits

I’ve had a slow start to the year and that’s not what I want, so now that I’ve caught up some publishing stuff I needed to get caught up, I’m turning my focus back to writing.

I want to write more this year. Write more words, write more books, write more often.

Unfortunately, my word counts this year aren’t that great.

1/1/17 1/31/17 3,507
2/1/17 2/28/17 22,886
3/1/17 3/31/17 689

It’s time to focus on writing more by writing more often. :)

I’m going to spend some time and energy trying to build some better writing habits.

I’m stressed, so of course I decided to rename all my files

I’ve been feeling stressed this week, after a book release that’s going nowhere fast. I expected this one to do better and it hasn’t. So as usual, when feeling stressed, I turned to my computer for solace.

I decided it was imperative that I rename all my files.

Yes, I know I just renamed them all barely more than a month ago, but at least I’m not reorganizing email again. :)

I spent most of yesterday and all of this morning and early afternoon renaming 12,000+ files. I used a bulk renamer where I could, and then went through every directory and tidied up where necessary.

Basically, I abandoned Pascal case and went back to dashes between words. I also stopped putting the full title of my books in most of my supporting files in my publishing folder.

I really wanted shorter file names, if only because I found myself annoyed at the long file names in the file tab in Adobe Photoshop Elements and GIMP when I was working on those paperbacks. I want (need!) to be able to see the differentiating parts of the file name when I’m working with similarly named files and I couldn’t, but I also still wanted my files named in a logical order.

So I went from files named like this: MyBookTitle-Cover-PaperbackBackText.psd to this: cover-mbt-pb-back.psd

pb = paperback (everywhere)
mbt = acronym for My Book Title

All lowercase and dashes for ease of reading.

And I use that acronym in my daily word count log and a few other places so I recognize most of my books right off the bat from those letters. :)

Then, of course, they’re in folders named for the title of the book so there’s really no reason not to use the acronyms to shorten those file names.

I tested a couple of folders side by side with files named in various formats, and it was obvious at a glance which one I found easier to read. Skimming is easier when the first part of every file name isn’t the same book title!

It seems kind of silly that wasting all this time on renaming my files has made me feel better, but it really has. I feel lighter and less stressed now and I’m about to get started on a story.

By tomorrow, I expect to be ready to get back to my challenge to write 6,000 words in a day. But today is out.

I have a few obligations to deal with that preclude me being able to put in the time I’d need to even come close this evening to a high word count, so I’m just going to work my way back into a story and enjoy that—and maybe click through my folders a few more times and enjoy the neat and orderly look of my files. ;)

Paperbacks are done

I still need to proof them, order the print proofs, and proof them too, but I am done with formatting.

Tomorrow I start writing again, and I’m happy about that even if I still don’t know exactly what I’ll be writing.

I need another day before I restart my 6000 words in a day challenge, because I also need quite a bit of time free tomorrow to go over those digital proofs.

But yay for the fact that I’m finally caught up with that. :)

No time to ramble tonight so toodle-oo. Be back tomorrow.  :D

And that answers that question about my paperback covers at CreateSpace

Got this just a short while ago:

Congratulations!

Your interior and cover files for xxxxxxxxxxxxx, #xxxxxxxx meet our technical requirements for printing.

The next step in the publishing process is to proof your book:

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO GET STARTED:

Which I assume means the embedded fonts in the paperback cover are A-okay.  There was no additional message about corrections made for me, on my behalf, or anything like that, so this answers the question of whether or not the PDF cover files would be accepted by CreateSpace with fonts embedded instead of being flattened into the image. Should’ve guessed, really, but I just wasn’t sure.

I’ll be ordering a proof to check this out and compare the quality of print to the covers I didn’t embed fonts for (sending only a flattened image PDF to CreateSpace), and scouring over the digital proof from CreateSpace. If the quality of the text appears better, I’ll definitely be doing this extra step from now on. If it isn’t any better, then I’ll just use GIMP, and only add Elements into the mix when I need to use a font that brings out that unfortunate GIMP text rendering (?) bug.

Also, I discovered something with this round of paperback creation. I’ve consistently had a problem with my PDF cover as exported from GIMP having a transparency that CreateSpace fixes for me. I’ve not had that problem this time. The difference? This time when GIMP popped up the little message during the PDF export, I unchecked all the little boxes for things GIMP was offering to do for me during the export. And now, no transparency warnings from CreateSpace for the three covers I exported directly to PDF from GIMP. Pretty happy to have figured that out. I was exporting a completely flattened image to PDF so there shouldn’t have ever been any transparency anyway, but obviously something GIMP was doing during the export on my behalf was creating it.

I am not going to finish those paperbacks today

Dang it. I’m not going to finish those paperbacks today. I got caught up with tweaking the look of the interior and spent too much time on the cover of one of them today (perfectionism is a trap), and here it is just about bedtime for me (oh, my tired eyes!) and I’ve submitted the files for only one paperback today.

So 2 down and 5 to go. Except I’ve realized that I still need to correct a book I found an error in a few weeks ago, so that means 6 to go. But that one doesn’t need a cover, just a few changes to the interior.

I’m very close to finishing a second tonight, and I think I’ll try to get it submitted before I call it a night. The other paperbacks are just going to have to wait. I want to do some writing tomorrow before I come back to them, maybe in the later afternoon. We’ll see.

I definitely want to wrap these up ASAP, because they’re one of the few things left that I need to do sooner rather than later, and when I’m done with them, I can truly focus for a while on just writing my books.

I’m going to finish those paperbacks today

I’m going to finish those paperbacks today. All of them.

I’m not going to batch process them the way I’d planned either. I’m just going to start one and work it all the way to the end. Format the book, then make the wraparound cover.

Since I’m not worrying about creating the perfect paperback style set in Word, things are going much more smoothly now, and faster. I swear, that perfectionism bug is hard to get over. I’m going to quit looking for the perfect system (in anything I do) and just concentrate on finding one that works, something that makes my work easier, even if it’s not the easiest it could possibly be, because setting things up to be the easiest it can be is fraught with trouble. One little thing breaks and I’m right back where I started (example: the paperback style set for yesterday’s book).

What happened, you ask?Ah. Let me tell you. :)

Since I use a slightly different paperback interior look for every series, I had to create a generic set of styles and then modify the set for each series. So I ended up with six sets. It was a lot of work. And I’m not sure I finished it, because as I said yesterday, when I went to use the style sheet for the paperback I was creating, the set for that particular series didn’t work right. My copyright page styles were all messed up, my paragraphs indenting where they weren’t supposed to, things like that.

I’ve decided it just isn’t worth the trouble to maintain these style sheets. My ebook style set works great and I’ll just modify those styles on a per book basis going forward. It’s just easier that way. Sure I do a bit more hands on adjustments, but sometimes easier doesn’t turn out to be faster when you look at the entire picture.

So I’m moving on. I’ve got a system now that is working and I’m just going to keep doing it this way for the foreseeable future.

Paperbacks are taking longer than I had hoped

I finished one paperback today.

Meaning I have 6 to go.

:o

Here’s what went wrong. My paperback style set didn’t work. I’m not sure if I didn’t finish it, or what, but when I applied it to the document, only a few basic styles changed and the rest just kind of … broke. I don’t really know of a better way to explain it.

So instead of getting frustrated and trying to create a new style set (which was my first inclination), I just made manual adjustments to the styles, got everything the way I wanted it, and then saved over the old style set with the new ones.

It’ll either work or it won’t, but I got one paperback done today and that’s all I care about.

While I was doing all that, I used OneNote to create step-by-step list of what I need to do to make sure I don’t forget anything during the formatting.

Now, I’m calling it a night. I got up way to early again today and I’m too tired to stay up. :)

One more day

I’m delaying the resumption of my challenge one more day in favor of catching up some stuff I’ve been putting off for months. 

It’ll feel good to get that stuff off my back. 

Plus, I have two stories to choose from for my next project and I just haven’t decided which one to do. One’s a short story and one is a novel. I’d thought about going right to the novel, but decided to do the short story first as a break, but now I really don’t want to do either. After I catch up some stuff today, I’m going to read what I’ve written for both stories already and hope it helps me decide. If that doesn’t work I’ll give myself permission to work on multiple stories until something clicks with one. :D That should do it.

Would you believe I’ve written almost 5000 words today?

Believe it, because it’s true. I’ve written almost 5000 words today, on the first day that I’ve taken a break from my 6000-words-in-a-day challenge since I started it twelve days ago.

Oh, the irony.

ETA: Scratch that. I have written 5000 words today. 5,100 to be exact.

ETA2: And I came in at 5,816 words for the day which is a new record for me. I also created a personal record for time spent writing: 10 hours and 33 minutes.

Two-thirds of 6000 is 4000 (challenge update)

I made it past 4000 words again. But I am done. More than nine hours of writing went into those words and I’m finally just pooped. I need to get on a better pace for this to happen. I’m taking a day off the challenge tomorrow and the next day, then I will try again.

I am still planning to write every day though so don’t go thinking I’ve given that up already. :p