I should not be awake yet.
After writing up to 11:59pm last night and taking some time to tidy up my Writing Log and add to the post I wrote before starting my writing yesterday, I resumed writing. According to my Writing Log, I wrote for one hour and three minutes, and I’m already 2,161 words into my day. I am already 661 words over my daily word count target, but you know what?
I don’t care.
I want to write more today. So I will.
The word count portion of my 2024 goal was never the focus. Don’t get me wrong; having a specific word count in your yearly goal is just fine and probably a good thing. But the best goals are a challenge. They push you to go just that little bit farther than you have before.
What’s the challenge portion of my goal? The words “every day.” Just to save people from having to go back to previous posts to find it (unless they want to), the goal is question is:
Write 1,500 words every day in 2024.
Now, I have obviously missed two days so far. I didn’t write at all on the 2nd or the 3rd. And I’m fine with that.
None of us are perfect. None of us can be perfect. The important part is to do (or be) a little bit better each day than we were the day before.
I’m not going to try to top yesterday’s word count today. That would be folly, and setting high word count goals while I’ve been trying to establish a consistent, daily writing habit has probably been my point of failure all along.
Yesterday was an almost-feverish push to get the scenes in my head onto the page. I had been holding back on writing the climax of Hyperion for so long that, when I hit that point and it was time to write it, the dam burst… the avalanche fell… pick your metaphor.
I finally fell asleep around 5am, and I had reached the point of being dumb-sleepy. Yeah… you know what I mean. I know you do. We’ve all been there. But I woke up a little over an hour ago, chomping at the bit to get going. I tried to go back to sleep, but my mind apparently was having none of it.
So, I’m going to write.
I have a Zoom call at 6pm tonight. It’ll be interesting to see if I write until then. I’ll be back when I finish my writing day to update this post with stats and such.
The rest of this post is going to be a little out of order.
When I hopped back in here to update the post with today’s writing (and yes… I’ve already finished today’s writing), WordPress wouldn’t save the screenshot of my Writing Log that I like to put at the bottom of these posts. So… that was weird. Then, I found out that it wouldn’t save the text sections I’d added to the post, either.
Houston, we have a problem!
I copied the text I’d written before the stats block and discarded the post to set about troubleshooting. It took me a while to find it, but find it I did.
Any Linux admins reading this will laugh themselves out of their chairs when I admit my failure and hope any fresh server geeks just learning the ropes take my experience as a cautionary tale.
So, cron is the program that Linux uses to run scheduled tasks. Back in the day, the Windows equivalent was called Task Scheduler, oddly enough. To create scheduled jobs, you type the command:
This will create a new crontab (or modify an existing one, if such exists) for the currently logged-in user. If you want to create cron jobs with elevated privileges, simply add ‘sudo’ to the front of the command. You’ll find out really quick whether you have admin privileges… if you didn’t already know.
Now… inside of the new (or existing) crontab, each scheduled task is one line, and there’s a syntax for how you set it up. Be very, very careful with these individual lines. I refreshed my understanding today… and not in a manner any server admin would want.
This is what a line in crontab looks like:
* * * * * [Insert command to run on schedule here]
That looks wonderful and easily understood, doesn’t it?
Now, in fairness, the crontab screen does include comments to give you a rough idea of what goes where on each line.
Swapping out the ‘*’ for what they mean gives us this:
[minute] [hour] [day of the month] [month] [day of the week] [the command to be run]
So, if I wanted a task to run at 4am every morning, I’d type this:
0 4 * * * [command to be run]
I have seven (7) websites I want to back up nightly on this server that hosts robertmkerns.com. They are all varying in size and complexity; one of them is the site (and online store) for Knightsfall Press, my publishing company.
So, thinking I had the syntax all figured out, I entered seven lines in the crontab… one for each website.
There was just one not-so-minor problem. I typed this:
* 4 * * * [appropriate backup script]
Instead of this:
0 4 * * * [appropriate backup script]
Now, I will say that I at least staggered the start-times, meaning I didn’t have seven backup scripts kicking off at 4am, but I only showed one for the sake of readability.
In the second example, the leading ‘0’ means that the command will run at 4am on the dot every day of every year. The asterisk (*), however, means it will run every minute during the 4 o’clock hour… every day of every year. Times Seven.
So, yeah… I came damn-close to filling up the drive on my web server and probably closer than I’d like to think to crashing it.
Needless to say, I have replaced the leading asterisk (*) on my backup schedules with a leading zero (0). I don’t like leaving it until tomorrow to check, but I’m cautiously optimistic all will be well. I’ll let you know tomorrow.
And now, I return you to my regularly scheduled writing update…
Well… I need a fork. Because Hyperion is done.
I finished it at 12:46pm today. It is my 20th completed title, coming in at 98,300 words across 38 chapters. That will change a little bit as it goes through the editing process, but there won’t be too many changes. The story is fairly set and solid. I’m mainly worried about typos and missing words.
It feels good to finish a story. And like almost always with my novels, there’s now an element of Whew… done at last to it. I wrote earlier that I wasn’t feeling the rush and pressure to finish the story that I have in the past, and I didn’t, not even as I wrote the final words.
I still feel like a weight has been lifted from me, though. So far, I always have.
And I think I’m finished writing for the day. The stats are respectable. Nowhere close to yesterday’s achievement, but I wasn’t trying to match it.
For the sixth day of January, I should be at around 9,000 words so far. Yeah… I passed that somewhere yesterday.
Thanks for following along as I travel one of the best paths a person can have (at least I think so, anyway). I hope today treats you and yours well.
Stats are below.
Daily Word Count: 4,312 January Word Count: 14,632 2024 Word Count: 14,632 Total Writing Days: 4 January Writing Days: 6