30 Day Challenge: Workout Every Day—Conclusion

Don’t look at me with those judgmental eyes.

I didn’t do it.

I did awesome for two weeks and then did not as awesome for the next two weeks. I don’t really have a good excuse…but here comes a few.

I still strongly dislike working out. Even more, I also strongly dislike writing about working out. It combines one of the things I love the most with one of the things I never enjoy doing.

Why does it take so long to get something out of working out? What’s the return on investment? If I exercise for a half hour every day how long does it extend my life? If it’s only a half hour then I would rather simply use my time more wisely and get more out of life now.

Now to look on the bright side.

I did work out more in February than most of the last year—combined. At least I accomplished something.

I still pushed myself to do something that other people tell me is healthy.

I found something that I want to get into shape for. A friend of mine is going backpacking this summer and I want to go with him since I haven’t gone backpacking in years. I already booked the vacation time at work so I should make the most of it.

I’ll keep trying to make this a habit.

In the meantime you can check out my next 30 day challenge over on my Instagram. @tylerruddhall

Catch up on the rest of the 30 day Challenges

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in 30 Day Challenge | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Unsolicited Writing Tip: Delete Your First Chapter

It’s all in the title. Just go do it.

Find someone you trust who hasn’t read your book yet and give them a copy that does not include the first chapter and see what they say. There’s a strong possibility that they won’t even notice it’s gone.

This is advice I’ve heard before. I listened for Beacon. The first chapter was a long one. For those who read the book I’ll give you a taste. It’s all about Lynn running away from Raymond while they are both trapped on Ronos. It’s a lot of fighting and arguing and rock slides and almost dying and then getting healed and it goes on and on. I liked it. It was fun to write but it was so long. The first draft of Beacon was over 100,000 words and a lot of that was because of chapter one.

For those of you who have read Beacon, did you miss the real chapter one? Did you feel like there was something missing from Lynn’s part of the story? Probably not. If I would have kept it in there it only would have dragged it out more thus making it a weaker story. What used to be chapter one—what used to be thousands of words—is now one page of recap in Lynn’s first chapter, a couple of paragraphs.

Eviscerate wouldn’t work if I deleted the first chapter because it’s chapter 1 is more like Beacon‘s chapter 21. It just keeps going. No slowing down for a change in story or adding new characters. No change in location. It’s simply what happened next and everyone reacting to it. I used the advice of reading it without the first chapter to see if it would work and it didn’t so I put it back in.

Catalyst is something else. I never should have included the first chapter. There are several reviews for Catalyst that state, “Once it gets going it’s hard to put down.” That once-it-gets-going business means nothing really happens in chapter one. There is no conflict. It’s a family sitting around chatting after having been apart for a while.

What’s more exciting. A family gathering full of exposition and no real conflict or a massive (possibly) alien ship coming to  Earth and destroying an entire city.

I can’t believe I ever let the first chapter get published.

I’m working on putting out a second edition of both Catalyst and Beacon at the same time Eviscerate comes out and you better believe that the new edition of Catalyst has 19 chapters instead of 20. It is so much better now. It gets right to the point. The action and story start on the first page and don’t stop until the end of Eviscerate three books later.

Getting rid of the first chapter is something I wish I would have done years ago. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Try it out now. If nothing is missed then hit the delete key and never look back.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

30 Day Challenge: Workout Every Day—Week 3

This was not a good week for the challenge. I missed two days of not working out. On the plus side it wasn’t two consecutive days but still. I failed this week.

So what happened.

The first day I didn’t workout it was because we left it until the end of the day but then had a massive meal late in the day and couldn’t hardly move after let alone bound about and work up a sweat.

The second day was a fail simply because we didn’t make time for it. Time management is huge for these challenges, especially with everything we got going on in our life. Did I mention I’m about to publish a book? Been working on that a lot. Spent most of Saturday getting it ready but I still found time to workout.

In the grand scheme of things, missing two days out of thirty isn’t really that bad I guess. And this week shouldn’t be as busy as last so I won’t miss anymore. Looks like smooth sailing.

I haven’t settled on what I’m going to do next month. I have a couple ideas but I’m still open to more suggestions. Let me know what you want to see me do.

Catch up on the rest of the 30 day Challenges

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in 30 Day Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

How To Self Publish: Read Your Book Out Loud

I wish I would have done this sooner.

No doubt this is advice you have heard before. I have heard it before but until very recently I never did anything about it. I scoffed at the thought. There is no difference to reading in your head and reading out loud so why look like a weirdo to your family or roommates and mumbled to yourself about your book. You should do it for one solid reason.

It works.

I have found that reading out loud makes it harder to skip over the mistakes. It’s easier to notice tense errors or repeated phrases when you are saying the words out loud. The formatting errors make it harder to say out loud and force you to stop and think about what went wrong. As I read through Catalyst I believe I found more to fix because I was reading it out loud.

Also, it felt really good to read my book out loud to my little boy. Even though he didn’t know what was going on and spent a fair amount of time trying to eat the book I still loved it.

Reading out loud is also good practise for if you end up having to make your own audio book. Which may be something I have to do. I’ve looked up a few companies that help out self published authors with this but so far the services are not available in Canada. I have had multiple people ask me when the book is coming out in audio format but now it seems the only way I can get it out there is to read it myself. Which means I have to practise reading out loud. Let me know if you know of a another company that works in Canada to help self published authors.

Now stop reading this and go read that book of your out loud.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 Day Challenge: Workout Every Day—Week Two

Three things for this update.

One: it’s easier to workout everyday when you know there is an end in sight. This is the most consistent I’ve worked out in years but I always failed because I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. I got things to do. I work full-time, volunteer for my church, and I publish novels. I got a lot of things going on. It’s hard to make time for things I do like let alone things I strongly dislike. So I never made time for working out as permanent part of my life.

My wife keeps asking me if we are going to keep going when the month is over. I tell her that I can’t think like that or it will never happen. If a habit gets formed at the end of the month that’s something else, but I can’t plan to keep working out in March or I’ll flame out.

All I know is I worked out all of this week and I plan on working out next week as well.

Two: working out is still boring. I was talking to a friend on Facebook about it and he agreed with me and said the best way to keep healthy is to find a sport or exercise you enjoy and keep doing that.

I also, strongly dislike playing sports. But if I can find one I can stand then I could see keeping up the habit to do well at whatever sport that is. Any suggestions on a sport where I don’t have to interact with a lot of people would be helpful.

Three: I’ve been using a reward system. Each week I workout successfully I get myself a Lego set. I may or may not have a Lego problem (if there is even such a thing). I’m collecting the Star Wars Microfighters and am up to series 3.

I guess the best case scenario is if I could combine working out with playing with Lego.

I think I know what I want to do for the challenge next month but I’m still welcoming suggestions. Leave them int he comments.

Catch up on the rest of the 30 day Challenges

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in 30 Day Challenge | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Hard Truths About Self Publishing: You Didn’t Edit Enough

There’s a switch that turns on when people are reviewing self published books. If they see even one grammatical or formatting mistake they will make sure they mention it in the review. “Good book. Could have used a good thorough edit.” It is assumed by almost everyone that self published books aren’t well edited. I have a theory about this.

Books are really difficult to edit.

It’s an entirely different monster compared to writing a book. There are so many stages to it. Substantive edits, copy editing, proofreading, formatting. You end up reading your book so many times that you don’t know what you’re even reading anymore. The level of complications only increases when you thrown in other books that reference each and are part of a series. There’s continuity between multiple books that needs to be looked after.

I self published Catalyst a few years ago. Before publishing it I  paid a professional editor to proof read and copy edit it. She did a good job. Catalyst is so much better than it would have been without her. I have no regrets using her as an editor but—and remember I love her work and would recommend her to anyone—I still get those silly “could use another edit” comments.

I’m doing a second edition of Catalyst and Beacon and I had a different editor go over both books to clean up all those little mistakes we missed the first time. This new editor also did a good job and made the book even better. I would also recommend her to any of my writing friends. I printed off the second edition of Catalyst and then read through it one more time to catch all the small stuff we missed.

Every time I found a mistake I wanted to fix I put a little post-it note. Here’s a picture.

Photo on 2016-02-06 at 8.46 AM

There are 25 little things I want to change about Catalyst and it’s been professionally edited by two more than qualified editors.

Some of it are grammar mistakes missed by all of us. Some of them are formatting errors on my part. Some of them are simply things I want to change after having not read it through all the way for several years. But for sure they are all things that would have garnered a “this book needs more editing” review  on Amazon.

Remember, this is not a slam against my editors or any other editors out there. This a wake up call to writers. Especially self published writers. Don’t you dare try to put your book out there without hiring an editor. Have some respect for your audience. Your crappy non edited self published books make the rest of us look bad.

Wow, that was kind of negative. Just go hire an editor. That’s all I’m trying to say. If you need help finding one I know of two good ones. I can give you their contact information.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

30 Day Challenge: Workout Every Day—Week One

As stated before, I strongly dislike working out.

But I still did it.

Me and my wife worked out every day this week except Sunday which is our rest day. Here is what I learned in the first week of exercising daily. All day long I think about how I don’t want to do it. While I’m doing it I think about other things I could be doing with my time, like reading, writing, eating, working, seeing how many chocolate orange slices I can fit into my mouth at one time, really anything other than working out. Even after I’m done working out I don’t feel awesome or proud. I feel tired and sore.

The good feeling that comes from working out doesn’t happen for me until the next day when I wake up. I feel different when I wake up the day after working out. That’s when I feel like I’ve accomplished something. My previous day was a success! I did that thing I didn’t want to do but knew I should! My sore body serves as a reminder of what I accomplished yesterday.

And then I spend the rest of the day trying to talk myself out of doing it again. Well I worked out yesterday so I don’t need to workout today. I’m too busy to workout again. I’m too tired to workout again. Blah blah blah.

Anyway, I did it.

Before the week started we defined what a workout would mean for us. We are doing two different programs. We started doing P90X 3 and then we also have some apps we follow to try to help us do more push-ups and sit-ups.

On Monday we did P90X 3 and the apps. On Tuesday we did only P90x 3. Wednesday we were wiped so we only did the apps but it was still a workout for us. Thursday and Friday we did P90X 3 and on Saturday we did both. That’s the most I’ve worked out since my first year of university.

This 30 Day Challenge is much more difficult than last months.

One week down. Three more to go.

I need some ideas for the next challenge. Leave a comment and let me know what I should do next. If I can workout every day then I’m pretty sure I can do anything.

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Catch up on the rest of the 30 day Challenges

——————————-

20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in 30 Day Challenge | Tagged , | 5 Comments