I thought I had 4 hours to write? Where did it all go?

Damn! Four hours flew by. I don’t think I even saw it go.

When I woke up this morning I was thinking “Yes! I’m in the mood to work on The Scout’s Captive.” By the time I finished feeding the cows, loading hay in the truck, flushed out the water system in the cabin, fed the cats and dog, made hubby dinner, cleaned the kitchen, ate lunch with hubby, and sent hubby off to work, I was too distracted by thoughts of what I want to do with my writing career business hobby, making future plans for writing projects I want to do and need to do, the website updates I need to make and what I need to change, and how I’m going to juggle pen names to do any writing.

So writing ended up being a huge bust this afternoon because I couldn’t focus on it to save my behind. But I will say that I made a big ass dent in the website changes and what I’m thinking about with a pen name. I hope that after I deal with dinner, kids’ homework, and picking up the house, I might be able to squeeze in a few hours of writing before hubby gets home from work.

If not, I shoot for some quality time between my laptop and me this weekend. I’m thinking of disappearing into a bathroom and closing the door. Good thing there are two bathrooms in this house. The back one might just be my office tomorrow. ūüėÄ

March 2017 Goals Review

We’re now moving into month 4 of 2017 and I’m back for a third ‚ÄúIn Review‚ÄĚ Post. I believe I’ve found a¬†layout I like, but we’ll see as I go along.

I think I’m doing better on the goals I made than I had hoped. Most likely because I’m reviewing how I’m doing on a public forum, and with so many eyes reading these posts it makes me want to rock these goals. Now if I wasn’t doing this in private, I probably wouldn’t be doing as well.¬†Can we say, pressure to succeed?


So, my Life this Month…¬†

There were a lot of changes this month, but most of it was Behind the Scenes, and some of it will never be seen because I either changed my mind about that (Hey! I’m a woman and an adult. It’s my right. Don’t judge.) or it’s still in the planning stages. What I did share with you all was:

List of posts for the month


My Goal to Finish Writing 5 Books in 2017

Another awesome month of writing! Yay!

So far it’s looking like I might be¬†finishing the books ahead of schedule, which is good because I’d like to take my time editing and making sure I don’t leave plot threads dangling in the breaze.

the_warlords_daughter_1_webThe Warlord’s Daughter

Phase: writing completed 01/5/2017
Word Count: 66,715 (but only because I moved two scenes to TSC. I have two, possible three scenes to write.)
Due: February 1st

the_scouts_captive_2_webThe Scout’s Captive

Phase: Writing
Word Count:  78,422
Due: April 1st

the_lost_heir_3_web

The Lost Heir

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 27,734
Due: June 1st

the_empty_throne_4_webThe Empty Throne 

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 27,910
Due: September 1st

the_rebel_queen_5_web

The Rebel Queen

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 43,039
Due: December 31st

Note: This goal doesn‚Äôt include editing or publishing the books, although I’m hoping to get started on those this year too. First, I want to finish writing the entire series before I even think about editing them. Then I’m looking at 2018 for publishing all five books and the series box set.


 My Goal to Write Everyday &
Write 300,000 New Words in 2017

Part of my writing goals for 2017 is to write every weekday and add 300,000 new words this year. This month I’m back to writing in the morning time before Hubby is home from work. Awesome-sauce!

Days I wrote:
Days I didn’t write:
Total Days I Wrote for 2017:

Word Count for January:
Word Count for February: 28,346 new words
Total Word Count for 2017:
¬†— new words

Note: The 300,000 words doesn’t include words written for blog posts or web pages unless it was something creative. I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to keep track of my progress and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to do the same. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.


My Goal to Write in my Work/Writing Journal

After reading Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, I decided that I wanted to keep a writing journal for my works-in-progress. I started this goal in December in my Bullet Journal.

In January 2017, I started to use one of the journals I’ve had lying around forever. So far I like how it is turning out. I don’t always remember to write in it before I start writing but I figure it’s a work-in-progress.

work-journal

I believe I bought this leather journal in 2001 with several refill journals and never used it. Ah, such is the life of a writer.


And My Office Goal

Yet another goal of mine is to create¬†an inspiring work space, which I knew wasn’t going to be easy when I made the goal because even though we are living in a house that is two to three times larger than our cabin, my office area is smaller than ever.

officebefore

My old office in the cabin was roughly 4’x8′ and there was more storage space with my printer stand/shelves & filing cabinet that you can’t see in the picture.

office

My office space now is about 2’x4′ and doesn’t include the filing cabinet which holds other paperwork unrelated to me at all or my printer stand/shelves which was re-purposed for something to do with movies.

Since¬†I’m once more in the living room, which is filled with distractions and very limited on space, and everything I need for writing has to be on the desk,¬†I’ve had to make some changes like:

  • The wire basket on the left side of my desk holds notes for current writing projects, my day planner, and blog notes. Then if I have to work somewhere else, like the kitchen table or the counter in our bathroom, I can take the basket with me. Anything I don’t need for the moment¬†has to be stored elsewhere in the house (which is really annoying).
  • The big black binder on my desk is my story binder for The Queen’s Rebellion. It holds all my notes on the world and characters for the series, plus pictures and maps and timelines. I found the printed version much easier than the digital one. It’s in need of an update though. (My favorite how to create a series binder explanation is on YouTube¬†by author Kami Garcia.)
  • The black book on the right of my laptop is the work/writing journal I mentioned above. It’s where I record all the boring details of what I’m writing, how I feel about what I wrote, ideas for the stories, etc.
  • The stacks of crap in the shelves on the right side of my desk is everything I’m working on¬†making digital or that I need close by. It’s been a goal of mine for a few years now to make my office as digital as possible. I’ve been going through all my papers when I have time and deciding what to keep and what to toss. When I have the chance I type up notes for future books (I love using Scrivener¬†for this. I find it very helpful) and any notes I’ve made while reading books or articles (I like OneNote for this).
  • Since my desk faces the window and I have no walls to hang my corkboard of inspiring quotes, writing calendar, dry erase board for notes, or pictures,¬†I’m creating a¬†desktop slide show for quotes and pictures, and my planner for my writing calendar.¬†So far I have eighteen pictures or inspiring quotes. I’ve been thinking of placing it on this website as a freebie for other writers, but I have to look into copyright issues¬†first.

If I could find another space in the house for my office space that didn’t include me getting rid of my awesome desk or our furniture, I would do it in a heartbeat, but it’s not possible. Trust me, I’ve looked. ūüė¶


My Plans for Next Month…

Are limited to watching for that first cow who is going to calve, feeding the livestock, working toward finishing The Scout’s Captive, and starting The Lost Heir.

Wishing you all the best,

stephanniebemansignature

March 2017 In Review

Yay! Third In-Review post in a row. I’m on a roll!¬†ūüėÄ

Just so you know, I’m once more tweaking the layout of the post, so please bear with me as I work toward a format that I like.

My Life this Month…

Since it’s Winter here on the ranch, things are slow and both hubby and I are chomping at the bit to get working on the projects we have around here to finish. It becomes a nice bonding experience for our family and it gets us all our vitamin D. The first cow has finally calved. Yes!

Now that Winter is starting to wind down, I’m looking forward to returning to my twice a day walking routine. I really missed it. When I lived in town over 13 years ago, exercising outside was much easier during the Winter months. Walking in the country during the Winter is liable to hurt as the lane is slick and the meadow has snow drifts to my knees.

I’m still working on cutting back on the electronics and TV during the weekends for the family this month, but as long as the weather is crappy outside I don’t see my goal being very successful. However, with the more Spring-like days, the girls are spending more time outside playing then inside. Lately, their game of choice to outside has been four square, and they always seem to want mom and dad to come play. ūüėÄ

The girls are also back to working on the Fort they built with a friend two years ago. It’s becoming quite the project with them finding all sorts of objects that have been trashed over a half a century ago and dragging it back to their Fort. As I look at it, their helping clean up their environment and at a later date we can collect it all for recycling and the garbage, but for the time being they are free to use it.

Now on to my goals…


Finish Writing 5 Books in 2017

March has been a month of deep contemplation in regards to the¬†direction I want to take this writing hobby of mine, the type of books I want to write in the future, and how I want to handle some of the books I have already written. I’ve even started to¬†solidify some changes I decided upon. I want to make a more detail post on this later this month when I have a better idea of what I’ll be doing. I’m only mentioning it here because my plans pertain to my goal to “Finish 5 books in 2017.”

So, yes, I will be finishing at least 5 books this year, plus a ¬†few more if my plans work out the way I hope, but not in the way I planned to when I made the goal. I’m making good headway with this and I’m hoping ¬†to increase my writing output significantly with the¬†changes I will be implementing this month.


Write Everyday & Write 300,000
New Words in 2017

In January I figured that I would have to write nearly 30,000 words a month to reach my 300,000 new words in 2017 goal. Since my best output comes in the winter months before the kids are out of school and the ranch work begins, I have until May to create a good buffer. I had accumulated about 9,000 word buffer before the 1st of March and lost most of it before the end of March due to some bad writing days.

Days I wrote: 26
Days I didn’t write:¬†5

February’s Word Count for March:¬† 19,495 new words
Total Word Count for 2017:
 85,043 new words

Note: The 300,000 words doesn’t include words written for blog posts or web pages unless it was something creative. I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to keep track of my progress and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to do the same. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.


Take 1 writing related workshop in 2017

I know I mentioned that I probably wouldn’t be doing this. Well apparently I lied. Sorry. ūüė¶

Around the first of the month I ran across 5-Figure Author Challenge/ AuthorRemake eCourse¬†¬†and joined at a discounted price I couldn’t pass up. I’ve really wanted to learn more about platform building because basically I suck at it. Maybe this eCourse will help me become better at it, or at least less awkward.

I’m still going through the course information, but it felt really nice to cross off this goal off my list.


My Plans for Next Month…

I have five main focuses this month:

  1. Keep writing no matter what life throws at me. ūüėÄ
  2. Remember to make weekly goals and review them to get shit done!
  3. Solidify my plans for the series I’m working on and write that blog post explaining a few things.
  4. Watch for more calves to drop.
  5. Start walking again as the weather permits.

Wishing you all the best in April,

 

Writer Doubts and Pushing On

The last two weeks I’ve been plagued with doubts about The Queen’s Rebellion Series. The kind of doubts that can be crippling. Things like:

  • Am I going about this character/scene/plot line the right way?
  • Am I doing justice to the character/plot?
  • Should I keep this? Should I delete this? Is this really necessary?
  • Am I making the plot/theme of the story clear?
  • Should I slow down and explain more? Or do I need to explain less and speed up?
  • Is book #1 interesting enough for people to continue to read the rest of the series or will it fall flat?
  • Would the people reading this be confused because I forgot to put something in?
  • Did I start too soon in the story? And should I get rid of book #1?

Anyone seeing the start of a pattern here? Yeah, I’m having issues with book #1. I know that I¬†finished writing it back in January and moved on to book #2, but I’ve got this niggling feeling that I’m doing it wrong.

Wow! Just had a flashback to the movie Mr. Mom. For those who would like to know what I’m talking, here’s a YouTube clip to explain. ¬†

Anyhoo, right now I’m filled with doubts about this book and really wished I had an alpha reader or several. I’ve been wanting to use that new (for me) term forever BTW ūüėÄ . Because I would really like to discuss the particulars of the story over with someone who reads (sadly, hubby is not one of those people) and see if I’m missing something or if I’m doing packing to many subplots into the story.

But since I don’t have an alpha reader, or beta readers anymore, I’ll just have to push on and hope for the best.

Cross my fingers and pray! LOL


Want to know the difference between an Alpha Reader and a Beta Reader?

The Alpha Reader gets to read the unfinished draft, pieces of the draft, or may even act like sounding board for ideas. They should give you honest, immediate feedback on how the story plays, not line-specific notes. They’re the people who tell you what bores them, what confuses them, what’s cool, and what’s unbelievable.

The Beta Reader gets to read through the “almost ready” for publication draft and give you honest feedback on¬†how the story plays –like what bores them, what confuses them, what’s cool, and what’s unbelievable– typos and grammar mistakes they find, and line-specific notes.

{Behind the Scenes} Pen Names, Branding,

Man! Last month was a mental month. As in “I spent way too much time in my head overthinking things” and not as in “I’m writing this from a padded cell because they overlooked my cell phone and there is awesome Wi-Fi in here!”

First off, I dropped the idea of having a pen name. Not going to happen. I don’t need the hassle of juggling both websites/blogs, the headache of keeping both names afloat, or the pressure of writing under two names. What I write is what you get, don’t like it, don’t buy it.

Wow! That kinda sounds bitchy when written out. Maybe I should take my kids advice about the vlogging seriously so that you can hear me say it. Way, way less bitchy and there was a big smile with it.

Anyhoo, my second change of the month was more about branding and genre. You see, the books I want to write, and the reason I’ve been going back and forth on the pen name, don’t fit the brand I’ve created for myself here. But I’ve decided to write the book, brand the look, and let the readers figure it out. If I’ve done a good job with the look of the cover and the blurb then it should be easy to know if the book I publish is one you want to read.

February 2017 In Review

I’m back for a second ‚ÄúIn Review‚ÄĚ Post, however, I decided to change the layout this time. I might tweak it again next month, so please bear with me as I work toward a format that I like.

Now personally, I’m constantly reviewing my life to see where I can improve, what I can get rid of, and make sure I don’t get caught up in the “you should be doing this” (total bullshit, BTW) rather than the “I want to be doing this”. I’ve learned from my mistakes in writing for business rather than pleasure and it’s not something I want to repeat. (I promise! Really! LOL OK, so probably not so much.)


So, my Life this Month…¬†

Ran smoothly for the most part, thanks for asking. ūüėÄ

No surprise firestorms or hurricanes, although there was a lot of snowstorms  this month, and even a snow day or two. We were even able to make it to the orthodontist for a six-week checkup and back without incident.  Little T, my oldest daughter, might have her braces off sooner than planned. YAY! But Little K, my youngest daughter, still has a few months and should have an x-ray soon to see if she has the needed room for her teeth to come in properly.

I’m looking forward to the braces being gone. The extra time taking care of them and travel to their offices and back is a pain in the ass.

This month I spent most of my mornings hanging out with hubby before he heads to work, writing during the four hours that I have before the girls get home, and hanging out with the girls for the rest of the evening before bed.

Little K came home around the first of the month with a desire to do Yoga. She was inspired by a teacher who showed the girls how to do the “Crow” (outside link for the interested). Ever since we’ve been trying to integrate Bedtime Yoga into our evenings although with less advanced positions. I’m just not that balanced. LOL


My Goal to Finish Writing 5 Books in 2017

This went awesome!

I really want to finish writing all the five books in The Queen’s Rebellion Series¬†(crossing my fingers that I won’t find a reason to write more. I believe five books in a series is my limit.). I started these books in 2014 and due to personal and family stuff I wasn’t able to finish them. Now I’m back to writing and working toward finishing them. I know, “It’s about damn time!”

Now this goal doesn‚Äôt include editing or publishing the books, although I’m hoping to get that done this year too. First, I want to finish writing the entire series before I even think about editing them. However, I’m looking toward a 2018 release date for all five books and the series box set.

There was one draw back this month, but it turned out to be the best one so far. When I finished The Warlord’s Daughter and started writing The Scout’s Captive, I had this niggling feeling that something was off with the story and so I finally broke down and printed off all 340 pages (that’s 8.5″x11″ sized pages, not 5.5″x8.5″ sized pages) to look over. I found that I needed to make some changes that I wasn’t expecting but which improved the stories of each book. You can read more about in¬†Listening to my Inner Writer.

Due to these changes, I’m hoping that I will be finishing the books ahead of schedule.

the_warlords_daughter_1_webThe Warlord’s Daughter

Phase: writing completed 01/5/2017
Word Count: 66,715 (but only because I moved two scenes to TSC. I have two, possible three scenes to write.)
Due: February 1st

the_scouts_captive_2_webThe Scout’s Captive

Phase: Writing
Word Count:  78,422
Due: April 1st

the_lost_heir_3_web

The Lost Heir

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 27,734
Due: June 1st

the_empty_throne_4_webThe Empty Throne 

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 27,910
Due: September 1st

the_rebel_queen_5_web

The Rebel Queen

Phase: Waiting to be written
Word Count: 43,039
Due: December 31st


 My Goal to Write Everyday &
Write 300,000 New Words in 2017

Part of my writing goals for 2017 is to write every weekday and add 300,000 new words this year. This month has required a little more discipline on my part because Hubby’s work schedule changed and so my schedule had to change with it. So no more writing in the morning after the kids leave. ūüė¶

Most days I’m forced to wait until the afternoon to start writing and by then I’m tired or distracted by other things.¬†I wish I could say that the change is easy for me, but I’m a very routine oriented and the constant back and forth every month screws me up for a few days to most of the month.

Even with the change in schedule, the word count and writing every weekday goals went better than I thought they did. Despite thinking that I would take the weekends off, I usually ended up writing something, even if I did it old school and wrote a scene in my notebook rather than on my laptop.

Days I wrote: 20
Days I didn’t write:¬†8

February’s Word Count for February:¬†28,346 new words
Total Word Count for 2017:
 62,979 new words

Note: The 300,000 words doesn’t include words written for blog posts or web pages unless it was something creative. I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to keep track of my progress and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to do the same. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.


My Goal to Write in my Work/Writing Journal

After reading Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, I decided that I wanted to keep a writing journal for my works-in-progress. I started this goal in December in my Bullet Journal.

In January 2017, I started to use one of the journals I’ve had lying around forever. So far I like how it is turning out. I don’t always remember to write in it before I start writing but I figure it’s a work-in-progress.

work-journal

I believe I bought this leather journal in 2001 with several refill journals and never used it. Ah, such is the life of a writer.


And My Office Goal

Yet another goal of mine is to create¬†an inspiring work space, which I knew wasn’t going to be easy when I made the goal because even though we are living in a house that is two to three times larger than our cabin, my office area is smaller than ever.

officebefore

My old office in the cabin was roughly 4’x8′ and there was more storage space with my printer stand/shelves & filing cabinet that you can’t see in the picture.

office

My office space now is about 2’x4′ and doesn’t include the filing cabinet which holds other paperwork unrelated to me at all or my printer stand/shelves which was re-purposed for something to do with movies.

Since¬†I’m once more in the living room, which is filled with distractions and very limited on space, and everything I need for writing has to be on the desk,¬†I’ve had to make some changes like:

  • The wire basket on the left side of my desk holds notes for current writing projects, my day planner, and blog notes. Then if I have to work somewhere else, like the kitchen table or the counter in our bathroom, I can take the basket with me. Anything I don’t need for the moment¬†has to be stored elsewhere in the house (which is really annoying).
  • The big black binder on my desk is my story binder for The Queen’s Rebellion. It holds all my notes on the world and characters for the series, plus pictures and maps and timelines. I found the printed version much easier than the digital one. It’s in need of an update though. (My favorite how to create a series binder explanation is on YouTube¬†by author Kami Garcia.)
  • The black book on the right of my laptop is the work/writing journal I mentioned above. It’s where I record all the boring details of what I’m writing, how I feel about what I wrote, ideas for the stories, etc.
  • The stacks of crap in the shelves on the right side of my desk is everything I’m working on¬†making digital or that I need close by. It’s been a goal of mine for a few years now to make my office as digital as possible. I’ve been going through all my papers when I have time and deciding what to keep and what to toss. When I have the chance I type up notes for future books (I love using Scrivener¬†for this. I find it very helpful) and any notes I’ve made while reading books or articles (I like OneNote for this).
  • Since my desk faces the window and I have no walls to hang my corkboard of inspiring quotes, writing calendar, dry erase board for notes, or pictures,¬†I’m creating a¬†desktop slide show for quotes and pictures, and my planner for my writing calendar.¬†So far I have eighteen pictures or inspiring quotes. I’ve been thinking of placing it on this website as a freebie for other writers, but I have to look into copyright issues¬†first.

If I could find another space in the house for my office space that didn’t include me getting rid of my awesome desk or our furniture, I would do it in a heartbeat, but it’s not possible. Trust me, I’ve looked. ūüė¶


My Plans for Next Month…

Are limited to watching for that first cow who is going to calve, feeding the livestock, working toward finishing The Scout’s Captive, and starting The Lost Heir.

Wishing you all the best,

Where did they all go?

I’ve been doing a lot of online research lately, not only for the Urban Fantasy book I’m writing under Anne, but also on website design, blogging, author business planning, creating editorial calendars for blogs and book publishing, and various genre rules that I shouldn’t break but probably will out of ignorance to the rules.

But all that isn’t the point of this post. Nope, the point is that I want to know where they all disappeared to and why?

Who you ask? The authors, silly.

One day they’re there going strong, the next day they’re gone. Vanished. No website. No books. Nothing more than a memory and a few small ghostly footprints left behind by their passing. Like the fading gravestones in a cemetery. Slowly, ever so slowly worn down by time and elements, fading away. Only in fast forward.

Damn that morbid.

Of course, this strange phenomenon made me think of the writers I met when I finally joined the online world back in 2008. Do you know what I found?

Maybe a handful of those I knew are still writing and publishing. Everyone else has disappeared, or stopped writing from what I can tell. Their website sit neglected, pathetically crying for attention. Even those that seemed to be making descent money from their book sells are  gone.

I know last year was hard on all writers, but it still makes me sad to think of all the writers gone, all the good books I will never get to read because life happened or they gave up.

But it also made me realize something about myself. No matter hom much I might want to give up some days, no matter how little I’m making, I’m not smart enough to my sinking abandon ship.¬†I’m determined to stay and apparently drown, because to be frank my¬†ship has sunk and is sitting at the bottom of the ocean waiting to be salvaged.

But that doesn’t matter anymore, because of something else I realized this week. No matter how little I’m making writing. No matter how much I may bitch and moan to my writer friend until I’m pretty sure she is now avoiding me like a plague carrier. No matter how little time I have in the day, my butt will always find it’s way back into the chair and my fingers to the keyboard of a computer. Hell, give me a pen and paper and I’ll write you a story longhand. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Which reminds me I should probably get that notebook out of my work pants and type up the notes in there just in case. I’d hate to relive the washing machine debacle of 1996. That perfect idea for a story would have made me famous if my mom hadn’t washed it. JK, I doubt it was that good, but my 16 year old heart was sure it was the greatest idea of all time.

Anyhoo, the point I’m trying to make is that I’d rather be writing then almost anything else, and the one other thing I would rather do… Well, I’m not got to mention it here.¬†Now I’m really curious to know what you guys would think my favorite activity would be? I’m also scared to ask. I’m not going to ask.

Instead I’m going to embrace my writing as a hobby and let the business aspect ¬†take a flying leap. ūüėÄ