Post 1000

Today finds me in Denver, Colorado for the MileHiCon science fiction convention. I have several panels scheduled today. When I’m not on panels, I have a table in the dealer’s room. If you’re also in Denver, I hope I’ll get a chance to connect with you this weekend. While I’m at MileHiCon, my blog has reached a milestone. Today is my one thousandth blog post!

It seems almost inconceivable to me that I’ve written 1000 posts since I started my WordPress blog. My first post was called “Blog: The Magnificent Ferret” and it was published on March 12, 2009. The post’s title refers to some background art in the New Scooby-Doo Mysteries episode, “Scooby-Doo Meets Dick Van Dyke.” In the episode, Dick Van Dyke has purchased a circus and one of the sideshow attractions is Blog: The Magnificent Ferret. In the post, I reflect on how blogs can be like sideshow attractions. I hope this one has been a fun, interesting, and engaging sideshow attraction. You can read the original post here: https://davidleesummers.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/hello-world/

My novels in 2009

In that first post, I noted that I had published five novels. In the thirteen years since, I’ve published seven more novels and I’m working on a new one. Among those novels were the complete Clockwork Legion series. Several of those novels have gone through multiple editions in that time. In a post a few days later, I noted that my daughters were six and thirteen years old respectively. Today, the oldest has graduated from university and works as a software engineer and the younger daughter is working on her geology degree. I started this blog about a year after returning to work as an observing assistant at Kitt Peak National Observatory. In that time, I’ve seen the Mayall telescope completely refurbished and repurposed, survived closures for pandemic and wildfire, and have seen several good friends move on to new jobs or retire.

My novels in 2022

The purpose of this blog has always been to provide news about my writing, where to find my short stories, and updates about my novels. I try to provide news of any appearances and places where you can find me. It also exists to provide insights into my writing. This includes reviews of movies and books that influence me along with a look at my job in astronomy and places I travel to. Some topics may seem familiar, but I hope I’ve also introduced you to some new books, movies, and places to consider visiting. My blog posts are typically a little over 500 words long, so it’s safe to say there’s a little over 500,000 words of material at this blog. That’s right around 5 novels worth of material at the length I typically write!

If you’ve found value in my blog, I hope you’ll visit http://www.davidleesummers.com and learn more about my novels and short stories. If you like my blog, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy reading one of my longer works as well. Also, you can show your support by joining my Patreon. There you’ll get more insights into my writing and some news about my books before I’m able to share it here. I’ve provided some sneak peeks at short stories and revealed covers there before I do here. What’s more, you’ll get copies of my ebooks as they’re released. Supporting my Patreon also helps to assure that this blog remains an ad-free experience. Learn more at https://www.patreon.com/davidleesummers

Here’s to the next 1000 posts!

Setting Mini-Goals

Earlier this week, I received a question here at the Web Journal about how I manage to post so frequently. I gave an answer in the comments, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought a little more insight into my time management process might prove helpful to some people. What’s more, talking about goals seems timely with high school and college graduation season upon us. Of course most commencement speakers raising the subject of goals will likely talk about long-term career or personal development goals. They may talk about goals for the next year or two. What I’d like to discuss are how I turn those longer term goals into more manageable daily goals.

Three of my goals for this year are to revise my novel The Pirates of Sufiro for its 25th anniversary release, edit the novel Battle Lines by Greg Ballan, and post an update to my blog every Saturday and Tuesday. These aren’t my only goals for the year, but these are three projects I’m working on right now.

The first thing that helps me turn a big yearly goal into a more manageable weekly or daily goal is to set deadlines. Deadlines for the blog posts are defined by the fact they have to go live by Saturday or Tuesday morning. Fortunately, WordPress lets me write posts in advance and schedule them. This allows me more flexibility for when I actually write my posts as long as they are written before the deadline.

Deadlines for The Pirates of Sufiro are defined by my promise to my Patreon subscribers that I will deliver at least one revised chapter every month. I know it takes about three to four days to revise a chapter at a nice, easy pace that also allows me to answer email, take a walk, and spend time with my family. By contrast, I only have one “hard” deadline for Battle Lines and that’s the fact that I want it out by November so it’s available at our dealer’s table at the TusCon Science Fiction Convention and available for holiday orders.

In effect, these three goals form part of a to-do list. Other things that go on the to-do list might include daily chores like making dinner, taking out the trash, answering email, or paying bills. With the to-do list in hand, what I do most mornings is to ask myself a question: What do I need to accomplish to make this day a success? The answer will be a list of mini-goals. These may be simple “to-do” items like: mow the grass, write a blog post, make dinner, and take a walk. It could be: revise two scenes of The Pirates of Sufiro, take my daughter out to practice driving, and review a presentation for the next convention. When I look at a project like Battle Lines, I may see how many days I have in the next two to three weeks to devote to editing, then simply divide up the pages among them, so that I have a manageable chunk to edit every day. The specifics are as individual to you as they are to me. The important part is to set manageable mini-goals for myself each day that help me move toward the larger goals.

I like to reward myself when I reach my goals for the day. A typical reward might be to watch a movie from my collection, or read a couple chapters from a book. If I reach a milestone, the family and I might go out to dinner. When I don’t reach my goals, I try not to let disappointment get me down. After all, life happens and sometimes something demands my attention that I didn’t plan for such as a flat tire or an unexpected, urgent email. If I didn’t meet my goals, I try to look back at the day objectively. Did I set too many mini-goals? Did something unavoidable happen? If it’s the latter, I may start my list over again the next day.

If you have any additional tips for organizing your time, feel free to share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

If you want to check out my Patreon site, it’s at: http://www.patreon.com/davidleesummers. As I say, if you pledge a dollar each month, you’ll get to read each new chapter of The Pirates of Sufiro as its revised. What’s more, another goal I’ve set is to remove the ads from this blog. Your support at my Patreon site can help to make that happen.