Mar. 1st, 2016

rowyn: (studious)
The three pounds that I gained last month have gone away again, yay.

I have been mildly sick for the last week. I've gone to work anyway, but I've been unfocused, unproductive and exhausted while there. I napped for about two hours after work each day last week instead of exercising. And I skipped Conflation this weekend. The weather was gorgeous the whole weekend, and I didn't get on my bike for even a short ride.  I was feeling mostly better by Monday, so I got back to exercising yesterday evening.

I finished seven scenes of Birthright this month, which to be honest is about half what I wanted to get done, and still more than I expected to do. I haven't finished any outline points yet, which is unsurprising; my estimate spreadsheet pegs the current point at a whopping 14 scenes. This part of the book was much easier to summarize than to write out.

I tried a new technique over the weekend: writing to a timer. Some of my friends on Twitter have talked about working in "pomodoros", which default to 25 minutes long. I did a quick Google search on the topic, and came up with the basics being "work for 25 minutes, take a break for 3-5 minutes, repeat 3 more times, then take a 20-30 minute break". I do not know the reasoning behind this, or actually anything beyond what I just typed, so I make no claim to doing this right.

I have tracked my writing based on time before, but never actually set a timer. It was always "write until you feel like stopping or for 15 minutes, whichever's longer." Anyway, I closed all my desktop distractions, set a timer (using, and started writing. I did let myself look up references relevant to what I was writing.

The most interesting thing about the experiment was that I found stopping when the timer went off annoying. Partly, this because the default timer sound is jarring, and I switched it to a pleasant harp-sound after the first time or two. But the act of stopping still irked me. "I'm in the middle of a sentence here! Let me finish."

Mostly, I didn't let myself finish. I figured stopping while I still wanted to write would make it easier to get started again. I didn't use the formula described above, but I did write, undistracted, for four periods of 25 minutes each on both Saturday and Sunday. I wrote about three scenes this weekend that way.

This was a productive weekend, by my modest standards, but the tactic feels more like a gimmick than an approach I should depend upon. Still. As long as it gets book written, I'll take it.

The Business of Writing
I made a website! is no longer just a redirect to It has actual content on it, albeit not much. I used plain css and html for it, instead of trying to learn Wordpress. So the "blog" part just links to my LiveJournal. Everyone tells me this is a mistake and I pretty much don't care. I like LJ. Yes, LJ might fail on me, but I kinda feel like I am more likely to bork a Wordpress update and take months to get it running again than LJ is to die.

Though it wouldn't kill me to cross-post to DreamWidth again as backup.

I need to do a monthly "RA sales" post. The short version is "sales are up, but not spectacularly so." FA gave a modest bump to RA's sales, and is itself selling, at something like 25% the rate of RA's first month.

I finished the RA headers! \o/ All seventeen of them.

Also drew 4 marker-pics from Twitter prompts, and one digital picture that I started coloring and may or may not finish, and three digital sketches I probably won't color.

And I made a rough version of the cover image for my current WIP. Which is a long way out from publication and hardly needs a cover yet, but I was curious if the design I had in mind would work. I think the concept is sound, although I might yet go with hiring a real artist for this one. I waffle on this, less because of the cost involved than because my primary market is e-books. I feel like the traditional "highly detailed paintings" of print covers are actually less appealing than a simple, stylized design, once they're shrunk down to a height of 250 pixels. Yes, my cover is my main ad, but that ad is 250 pixels high and it needs to be effective at that size.

I reinstalled CivV. This was less disastrous to my productivity than I'd feared. [ profile] terrycloth, [ profile] alinsa, and I have been playing it co-op in the evenings. It is still slow, but we will probably manage to finish a game after 8-10 hours of play.

Terry and I are playing one game against three AI teams, and each of us individually are almost outscoring each AI team. It's a little silly. n_n

I finished a game by myself over the weekend, and then decided to try a game on Continents, just to see if it's as bad as I remember. I usually play on a "tiny islands" or "archipelago" map, because the AI Civs are a LOT less likely to declare war if they don't share a land border with me. I have been more open to building military units this game (I hate fighting in Civ, it's such a slog, but if I avoid military as much as I want to, the barbarians get annoying, never mind the AI civs.) It seems to be going all right. We'll see.

I was supposed to go to Conflation this month but noooo. I did meet up with a couple of St. Louis friends who'd come to my city for the weekend, and we went to the Toy & Miniature Museum. Which I haven't been to in about 12 years. The miniatures collection is even larger and more astonishing than I remember. I want to shrink down to miniature height so that I can live in those doll houses.

Corwyn's birthday was last weekend, and I got out for that, too. \o/ Had a fun time at Dave & Buster's, playing video games.

Goals for coming month
With the headers done and Further Arrangements out in the wild, I am running out of ways to avoid working on Birthright. I really want to set an ambitious goal, like sixteen scenes. But ambitious goals usually paralyze me into inaction, so let's not go that route. I like modest goals that I can not only accomplish, but hopefully obliterate.
* Write 8 scenes of Birthright: I almost managed this in February, where I had a bunch of other stuff to do and two fewer days to do it in. This should be fine.
* Do my taxes.  I will probably break down and finally buy tax software this year, since I have a second source of income and a business now. Any recommendations?

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