I’ve made it an entire year with my weekly streak.
Have I accomplished anything besides fifty-two posts and about 45,000 words? Have I learned anything?
Google Analytics tells me I’m seeing more visitors and you’re staying a little longer as compared to April of last year. You’re reading a little more than you did a year ago, too. That’s all good to know, and I appreciate the visits.
I never formally announced my plans for weekly posting, because I’ve got a habit of doing that and then not following through very well. Instead, I just decided I’d try to do it, and talk about it as it happened, if it did. I originally got the idea via Dean Wesley Smith. His daily blogging streak is now over twelve years long. That’s north of 4,380 consecutive days of posting, and probably well over two million words for him.
And that’s just on his blog.
I knew I’d never be able to meet the daily challenge. But this weekly posting format seems to work pretty well for me. It’s forcing me to write regularly, and it shows me I can meet a writing deadline. What I need to do is figure out a reachable deadline for the fiction and start pushing myself to meet that.
I’ve got a wordcount goal set for the year of 225,000 words between the blog and my fiction. That’s an achievable goal if I focus. But that’s just a goal. I feel like I need a real deadline of some sort, something with consequences for missing it. I could set a pre-release date on Amazon, up to a year out. The penalty for missing that date is losing the ability to set a pre-release date for a year, I think. I’m not thrilled with that idea because there are factors outside my control when it comes to releasing a book, like editing time, and book cover development.
I’ll figure something out eventually.
I feel pretty accomplished at the moment though.
I got another one of those RootsTech messages this week. This one claimed lineage to the Wright brothers, which I find slightly cooler than the other one. But this connection is via my first marriage. My first wife is a 6th cousin four times removed to the Wrights. I let Oldest Son know about it, and I really wish I could have told his grandmother. I know she’d have found it interesting.
Just like with the Shirley Temple connection, I’m not putting a ton of faith in this announcement, because I’ve only researched about four generations back, to Oldest Son’s 3x great-grandparents. His grandparents are both gone, and his mom doesn’t speak to me any longer, so it’s been challenging to trace much on her side of his family. But that’s the advantage of something like this; it gives me a clear path for more research.
Gordon Lightfoot died this week. I started listening to him around the same time a lot of people did, in 1976 when he released “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” I’d heard several other songs of his, like “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” and “If You Could Read My Mind,” but “Edmund Fitzgerald” is the one that really got to me.
Then at some point I heard a track from 1972’s Don Quixote called “The Patriot’s Dream.” It was one of those songs that made me sit back and just listen to it. It’s about war and fighting and love and loss, and it never fails to move me.
And what a lovely tribute from the Mariner’s Church.
But a guy I follow on Mastodon, who lives on the eastern edge of Lake Superior, had some interesting thoughts. If you’re on Mastodon, give Bryan Hansel a follow because he’s a professional landscape photographer who regularly posts beautiful photos. At any rate, the day after Lightfoot died, Bryan posted,
Now that Gordon Lightfoot has passed away, I wonder if the remembrance of the Edmund Fitzgerald will fade away with him.
We should be commemorating all the lives lost at sea on Lake Superior. Two of many: On November 19, 1914 the C.F. Curtis went down; it took two other ships with it. 28 lives were lost. Two kayakers lost their lives just 150 yards offshore of Artist Point in Grand Marais, MN on Sept. 21, 2002. Yet, we don’t light a lighthouse up for them.
It’s time to move on from the song.
That sent me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole to learn more about shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. The area where the Fitz went down is known as the Graveyard of the Great Lakes. Almost half of the 550 known shipwrecks on Superior happened around Whitefish Point.
I think Bryan makes a good point about honoring all the people who have died on the Great Lakes. Fitz gets a lot of attention because of the song, and because she was the largest ship lost on Superior. But does that make her crew more noteworthy than any of the other crews who lost their lives? Maybe Lightfoot’s death can be the catalyst for a consolidated memorial to all of the Great Lakes mariners who have died over the years.
Food for thought, at any rate.
I bumped into one of my local fans the other day when I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 Thursday night. She asked me where things stood with In Plain Sight, and it occurred to me as I was talking to her that I really needed another set of eyes on it. Dave Freas got a good look at it when I finished it, and my editor did a great job, but I’ve changed things since either one of them looked at it.
I ended up asking her if she wanted to be a beta reader, and she kind of freaked out. She loved the first two books, and I can’t think of a better kind of person to beta-read for me. If you’re at all interested in something like that, you can send me a note via the Contact page and let me know. You don’t need to be professionally trained to be a beta. You just need to know what you like in a book and be able to express your thoughts about what you read.
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