The first snows of winter have blanketed the yard with an inch of snow.  The kids are out sledding, wrapped up in warm layers and padding, since we have a steep sledding hill that ends in a dry creek.  The landing can be quite bumpy.

I had another good week of writing, and am about 75% complete with my YA science-fiction novel.  While I’m enjoying how the story is unfolding, I’m itching to get done, since I have a backlog of short story ideas in my head, clambering to make it to the page.

My writer friend Annie recently pointed me to a great poem for writers called “The Penmonkey’s Paean.”  If you’re looking for a little humor or inspiration, give it a read.  You might find such prose as:

But I will do no such thing.

I will soldier on.

I will grab one of my severed arms in my teeth.

I will flail my neck around until I slug the Yeti in his Yeti balls with one of my own dismembered limbs, and I will watch as he cries, “MROOOOOooooo!” and pirouettes into the chasm of shadow, clutching his junk.

It’s really worth a read.  No really, go right now and read it.

Though personally, I’ve never had a problem finishing my writing, and I think some of that comes from good habits I’ve developed as an engineer and working for Toyota.  Finishing is quite enjoyable, I’ve found, because it’s the reason to feel “I’m done” and move on to the next project.  I don’t allow myself to skip from one story to the next, never finishing anything.  In fact, getting to write those pent up stories that I was talking about above often acts as a drive to finish.  Plus, the end of the novel, when the characters are fully fleshed out and performing on their own, and the plot has momentum and is driving to the finish, that’s the easy part.

I track my progress in excel which helps me keep on task and feel good about getting my goals met for the week.  Here’s a little snapshot of my tracking program:

As you can see, I write mostly on the weekends, though I fit in writing where ever I can.  I also have excel show me other statistics that I can geek out over.  I’m a trained engineer, remember?

The hard part?  That’s actually getting up out of bed on a Saturday and Sunday morning, when the air is cold and the covers are toasty warm to get my butt into the chair to write.  I love sleep, I wish I could have more of it, but if I want to keep working on my craft, I have to get up and do it.  Even on a cold wintry morning.

In other related news, I got a nice surprise from the Q3 Writers of the Future results a couple of weeks ago.  I’d thought I’d only recieved an honorable mention for the quarter, which would put me somewhere in the top100, or maybe top 5% of the contest entries.  I’d even been listed on the website as getting a regular HM.  But I guess KD Wentworth wasn’t done sorting and I’d actually recieved a silver HM, which puts me in the top20, or top 1%.   They even sent me a new certificate which gives me two HMs for the same story.


Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

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