Dax Murray

Queer Fantasy Author Writing About Lady Knights and Magical Rites

Now that NaNoWriMo is behind us, and I'm in the home stretch of finishing SMOKE AND STEEL (just completed chapter 23 out of 25!), I've found the time to work more on the Campfire project of STARS AND SOIL, as I mentioned in my last update.

Well, between yesterday and today, I've added four more character profiles to the project!


NaNoWriMo is over! How did I do? I would say I did “alright.” Did I hit 50k? Yes. Did I hit my goal? Not so much. But I am trying to have compassion and kindness for myself.

[note: the last section of this post deals with triggering topics, it is marked. as such.]

Personal recap

This year I participated in a group challenge with the people at the Campfire Discord. We were assigned teams, we had weekly “stumped” chats where we could talk through some of the story issues we were encountering, weekly check ins, regular writing sprints and rallies, and it was amazing. I don't think I would have gotten as much done without it.

Honestly, I probably would have skipped NaNo this year if it weren't for the people of the Campfire discord. I had just finished a massive revision/edit on a tight deadline and was feeling creatively drained after releasing Stars and Soil. But the Campfire discord was hosting a bunch of “Preptober” events, and I decided that even if I wasn't going to do NaNo, why not at least use that to get a head start on Smoke and Steel? And then I started to have so much fun that I said “Yes, NaNoWriMo is happening.”


I enjoy making tools for other people who like to organize and keep track of their progress on projects. I previously shared my spreadsheet progress tracker for revision. Now I have a pdf file full of planner templates that you can use to track the finer details of novel revision. These are meant to be printed out and inserted into a 3-ring binder, a disc-bound planner, or even stapled together if that's what you like. But there is nothing stopping you from using it in a digital notebook on a tablet!


Today, I officially published STARS AND SOIL on Campfire and plan to release the rest of the SCIONS AND SHADOWS books on Campfire. Right now, STARS AND SOIL is exclusive to Campfire.

You might be asking, “Why? Why isn't it available on Amazon or elsewhere?”

Well, there are many reasons I could go into that are “why I'm not publishing on Amazon....” That's a really long list and a depressing one. What I want to talk about instead is why, specifically, Campfire. This is not an argument against others but an argument for Campfire.


Recently, I was selected as one of the first authors monetized on Campfire Explore! And as of today, you can now read STARS AND SOIL exclusively on Campfire!! If you do not know about Campfire, it is the writing and world-building software that I have primarily used for several years now. I love it for how easy it is to organize and keep track of all of the moving parts when it comes to world-building. When I first signed up, it was known as “Campfire Blaze,” and in the short time since then, it has added so many amazing features and made so many improvements. I firmly stand behind them as a company that creates author-and-reader-focused software.

When they announced last year that they were adding in a monetization feature that would allow authors to not only share their books but to share the elements and pages that authors had worked on with readers, too, I was way too excited.


I have spent several months trying to find the perfect method of keeping track of where I am in editing my novel. I mostly now use TickTick's Kanban feature to move stuff back and forth in the swim lanes, and TickTick's Gannt timeline to plan what days I will do what. But that still leaves me with a “are we there yet?” for “when will I be done? How much more must I do?”

So I started looking for integrations for TickTick with various data viz solutions. And apparently, the TickTick API is... lacking. And the integrations in Zapier and IFTTT were not that stunning, and I couldn't find a way to make it a data source for excel.

So, instead of, you know, editing, I set about to make the perfect novel editing tracker complete with :jazz hands: progress bars :jazz hands:.


I have difficulty with focus, concentration, staying on task, and both long- and short-term memory. I have no idea, honestly, how I get anything done. But the last few days, I have been using “WorkingHours” time tracking app to give me some sort of insight into what I get done and how long I spend on it.


Revisions are probably the hardest part of this whole process for me, and even more so as I changed up my workflow last year. I used to write very “clean” first drafts; I would take three hours to write 250 words because I kept writing those words over and over. I wouldn't move on to the next sentence until I felt that the one I had just written was perfect.

But disabilities are funny, terrible things. I have days where I cannot get out of bed, and despite words clamoring in my head for escape, I cannot sit up long enough to even open my laptop. On days when I have so few spoons, they must be spent on cleaning and chore, and not sitting as a desk. And staring at a computer screen for long periods of time can give me migraines that last for days. A writer that can't look at a computer screen? Yeah...


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