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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Plodding Along

I haven't posted a blog entry in a while. Mostly, it's because I have a day job... and a family. I've been working hard to compartmentalize the two so that I can continue working on my book. In an ideal world, I'd be spending two to four hours a day pushing out exquisite pages of compelling words. (lookee, I can use big words too!) Lately it has spiraled down to tow to four hours per week. Work, it seems, saps a lot of brain cells.

As a computer programmer, I approach my work from a right-brained perspective. As such, I find my work progresses in varying blocks of hours. Some days I only have six hours of creativity available. Some days it's ten or twelve. I can't predict the flow of the work. All I can predict is that I have a 40 hour limit per week. Usually that means I need to spend a couple of ten hour days pushing out and testing code. If I don't, I often end up writing code on the week ends. I simply can't predict the non-productive days. In all good conscience, I can't charge my employer for unproductive time. My job is to create good code, not bad code. As such, I limit my non-creative days to things that are productive, like the busy work of server management or answering emails. I run out of those items in just a few hours. Couple this with one or two creative moments and I'm topping only five or six hours. Soooo.... I stuff my creative days with code so that my overall week is not weak.

What this leaves me with, unfortunately, are non-creative days with more free time and creative days where my brain is toast at the end of the day. This leaves practically nothing left with which to write a book. So, I typically spend a few hours on the weekend hacking out words instead of code. So blogging was pushed a bit to the bottom of my priority list.

Yesterday, I had a good day writing. I only spent about three hours for a paltry 1,700 words, but they were good. It was a chapter that I was having particular trouble starting. I was proud of those 1,700 words. Very satisfied. Today, I went in to start the next chapter only to discover that all of yesterday's work, aside from a paragraph and a half had vanished into thin air. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

For a bit of background, I'm beta testing Scrivener for Windows as my writing tool of choice. It's an excellent program, originally developed for Mac, a Windows version is about to be released. Unfortunately, I got bit in the butt by the beta. As a programmer, I have no excuse. I know what beta means. It means, "you are really stupid if you are trusting a beta program with something important like your precious book!" Not that I don't believe in the project. It's still a good project. It's just the version 0.2.2 has an awful bug of sometimes not saving your work, even if you do remember to tell it to! As a side note, wait for the production release of 1.0 for Windows (or, at least, beta v. 0.2.3).

So today, I pulled up the pitiful half paragraph that was left of that beautiful whole chapter and cried... well, sort of. I debated whether to try it again or to skip to the next chapter and go back to it later. Instead I decided that today was a good day to blog.

What did I learn today? Life happens. I have determined that I'm going to continue to use scrivener with a twist. I will save to both scrivener and notepad until the bug is fixed... Or until I finally break down and buy that Mac with Scrivener for Mac! I also learned... No, I already knew... that anything worth doing requires diligence and patients. Yeah, I lost a few hours of work. I'll just do it again, but better. I may not finish my book in the couple of months that I had planned. I will, however, finish my book, books, really. It will just take some time.

In the meantime, now that I've finished venting, I'm going to restart that chapter with the couple of hours I have to spare today.

Have fun writing and remember, never give up!