Dictation

Behind the Scenes Writing Updates

Hello to all the Archers Aim readers! The blog has been a little more quiet than usual the last week or so, but that’s because I’ve been busy writing elsewhere. Last week, I did have some freelance work that needed to be completed, but that’s not the really big news. It’s just one reason why I’ve been distracted, but the others are much bigger. Here are the top items:

Mage

As most of the readers on this blog will remember, I finished the rough draft of this book last month. Since then, I’ve been spending my evenings editing it to a more polished draft so that it will be ready for proposals that may require an initial reading by publishers. This particular fantasy novel is quite a bit longer than normal, so it will take some time to complete this process. However, I am about 25% through the book and I’m really creating a lot more consistency in it. I’m able to make notes about details that I had forgotten since writing on the manuscript began in March 2017. I was forced to write the early parts of the book for my agent around publication of An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow last year. It’s been good to get back to this book, finish it, and now begin to create a sense of cohesion throughout the manuscript. I’m having a lot of fun with it and hope to share more about it over the upcoming weeks.

Glove

Writing did not stop once I finished Mage. I immediately shifted over to completing Glove which I also began during 2017 to get to my agent as well. This novel is much shorter, so I’ve already finished it over the last week. Dictation has made completion of both of these novels much easier around my regular work schedule. I’m pleased to have completed Glove and look forward to editing it very soon.

Publication

Regarding both of these books, I don’t have a specific news at this point. It would be good to have some decisions from traditional publishers so I will know how to plan for the rest of the year in terms of editing and such. However, I’ve decided that I will be as prepared as possible if one or both of these books are turned down. With that in mind, I will prepare some proposals for hybrid publishers and also engage my editor’s schedule just in case I need to proceed in either of those directions. For me, a rejection from traditional publishers is not a big deal. It would be easier to handle the publication with a traditional publisher, but I understand that not all books fit a publisher’s needs at any given time. So, being self published means that I am willing to go that route if necessary. I’m confident in my editor and my cover artist so that I know I can produce a quality book. However, this time around I would like to be able to do more than initially publish in e-book only. For this reason, I am considering hybrid publishers so that I might be able to produce one or both of these books and release them in multiple formats, which is my preference.

What’s Next

I may have finished Glove and Mage in terms of writing the first drafts, but since I now dictate during my commute time, I still have time to write. So, even though I am editing in the evening, I’m also dictating while I drive. I have quite a few shorter books that I would like to see published as soon as possible so I’ve also started a LitRPG-style book which I hope will become the first of a series. I made quite a lot of progress so far, and, since it’s a novella that probably will be no longer than 50,000 words, I’m already about one third finished with the rough draft. This e-book may be done so quickly that it may wedge it’s way into my editing schedule so that I can possibly publish it within the next few months. I’ll share more news about it as work on it progresses, but I should have a faster schedule with this novella, considering it will most be likely self-published as an e-book.

Audio and The Bow of Hart Saga

Last week, I was also working on some of the details for my audiobook publisher, Podium Publishing. We had a number of regular email exchanges about various details of the upcoming production. I have been able to provide all of the pronunciation and character notes that should help the narrator and other people on the production team getting started. I’m pleased to announce that production will begin next week and it sounds like the narrator has a number of wonderful ideas concerning character accents. It should make for a very interesting audiobook production. It’s very exciting to be able to work with a professional narrator like this and it will be just a few short months until the series is released in this format.

Also regarding The Bow of Hart Saga, I have begun discussions with a hybrid publisher so that the series can make it into print, possibly this year. Since the entire saga has sold so many copies, and I have had a fair number of requests for the book in print, I feel that I should pursue every avenue possible to gain bookstore and library distribution channels. So I’m going to try a hybrid publisher and see how that works out. The series is pretty much ready for print so I don’t think that it would be a major project to get ready within a few months. The main work would probably be marketing. As soon as I find out more I will be certain to share it here on the blog.

Writing has become a very busy venture for me. I did not anticipate my first series carrying me as far as it has as an author. I always like to thank all of the readers because all of you are the reason that the books have done so well. Readers are also a big reason that I am pushing very hard to complete my next projects. I am very thrilled to have the reading audience that has come my way and I really want to share more of the stories that I have, including a possible sequel to The Bow of Hart Saga as soon as I can get to it.

I mentioned several months back, that I do have a lot of projects that need my attention. I’ve only mentioned three new ones in this post, however I do have at least two other series that I would like to start as soon as possible. It may seem that I’m juggling quite a lot of different projects and some people might even wonder how I’m doing all of them (or will be able to write well), but the dictation helps me keep moving with all of the projects that I have. I’ve learned quite a lot from the three books that I’ve published so far and I’m moving along very well with the editing. I certainly do need professional editing regardless of what direction these projects go. Since I have several ways that I can go to accomplish production of these books, I am confident that they will be of high quality.

Thanks for stopping by today and checking in with my writing progress. If you have any questions or thoughts, please leave them in the comments section and I’ll be happy to reply as soon as I can. I’ll share more about what’s happening behind the scenes in coming weeks so readers can have a good sense of what it’s like to write and publish fantasy books.

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Clearing Hurdles Behind the Scenes

Recently, I had quite a lot of writing tasks to complete. It seems that I am increasingly busy so I find it very hard to get enough tasks finished each day. What really happens is that I have so many things that I know need to be addressed that they tend to shut me down mentally. The best way to deal with this to begin accomplishing tasks so that you can mentally close tab which frees up more of your mind.

On that particular day, I was having quite a difficult time addressing any work. It seemed I had too much writing to do and not enough time, not to mention all of the other writing related jobs that needed my attention. It can be overwhelming with so many things on your mind – and it’s just the writing part of my life.

However, I realized that I had purchased one piece of software to help me clear this mental logjam. Dragon NaturallySpeaking was my dictation option because most everyone can speak more words in an hour than they can type. Remembering why I had purchased the dictation software, I sat down and put on my headphones to begin chipping away at the mass of jobs that needed my attention.

I immediately needed to address my freelance writing gig, so I started there. I made a quick rough outline and then proceeded to dictate the 1200 words necessary for this particular blog post. It wasn’t long, while ignoring all of my verbal mistakes, until I had completed the job. Things felt a little better.

But, I did need a blog post for my own website. So I dictated that one which was a bit more open ended. My job took even less time though I dictated close to the same number of words. It was a different kind of writing so it required less thought than something which had a tightly focused topic. However, completing this next small task created a bit more mental space as well as some momentum.

I quickly dove into dictating some notes for my current novel project, code-named Glove. This was something that I needed to have done for several days, and the lack of dictation preparation was slowing my pace as I worked on the rough draft. It was not long until I had can finished that preparation and felt much better about my upcoming day.

Within a little more than an hour I had cleared away three tasks which had seemed like a massive walls obstructing me from any progress.

Next, I tackled some verbal editing on my other novel, code-named Mage, and had soon cleared several thousand words of dictation – editing. Within the space of about 2 1/2 hours I had cleared away some rather large chunks of writing work that had seemed insurmountable because of the number of tasks confronting me. Once I had completed these larger tasks, I was then able to address several smaller ones in succession and quickly moved through the writing work, having accomplished more in a short period of time than I thought I could do in the space of a whole day.

I have been dictating now for several months and have made quite a lot of progress during that time. The one thing which I learned from this recent experience was that I needed to trust my plan, my process. Much of my day writing, regardless of what it may be, now needs to be done with dictation. I can do far more with my recorder and headphones than I can otherwise and, by using these devices, I can create more personal margin in my life. The day ended up being far better than it felt like because I had finally committed to the new process.

Even while I write this blog post, I am dictating into my recorder. At the same time I am transcribing dictation from Glove, saved in MP3 files, into my Scrivener project for the book. The transcription can take a bit of time, during which I cannot use my laptop. But, I can use dictation to get much further along than I would otherwise. Also, I can use my smart phone to do a number of other tasks, such as research. I finally learned to trust what my intentions were in buying the dictation software and my recording device by using it for other writing tasks besides my novels.

One thing that I quickly learned from the dictation was that since I was dictating several thousand words during my drive time each day, my anxiety about getting the work done went away. The same thing is true when I apply the dictation to the other writing tasks I have where possible. It reduces the amount of time that I am writing, and gets me much further along with everything else that needs my attention. This leaves me time for the business side of writing which demands my attention regularly. I hear that some authors now spend more time with marketing and other business aspects than they do writing. Dictation keeps my creative process moving forward instead of stagnating.

So that’s another look behind the scenes of my process. I am constantly busy and work a full-time job. But I have not let the job or how much I have to do stand in my way. Instead, I have chosen to get as much done as possible in as short a period of time as I have available. This allows me to have a little bit more margin while I’m still producing content that I hope to soon release to readers. It’s not an easy feat to write and complete a book. It’s even harder when your time is truncated. So I’m quickly coming to embrace and trust dictation as a way to accomplish all of my writing needs so that I can also have some personal time. It reduces the tension between the various demands on my time so I can happily move along with my creativity still percolating with vibrancy.

Thanks for reading along today. As usual, lose leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section.