4: On Keeping Busy

Four more entries to go in 2018, so I thought I’d do a bit of an overview of things I’ve been doing or thinking about over the course of the year, building up to my new writing plans for 2019. 

It’s been a hell of a busy year. I did that by design, to be honest, and I’m glad I went through with it. It proved a lot of different things:

–I can multitask. I wrote two novels in tandem this year, using two different sign-ons at 750Words. One during work breaks and one in the evening. Both are roughly 75k words, which is actually quite economic for me, and I think a better word count goal. Out of this I learned to be more concise with my writing.

–I self-published a completely new novel that had nothing to do with any years-long project, proving that I can reach a quick deadline and turnaround.

–Writing four blog entries a week, with only the occasional fly-by or short hiatus. Some days it was hard to come up with a subject to write about, but I think I pulled it off for the most part.

–Writing some new(ish) melodies on my guitar and recording demos for them for future Drunken Owl projects. Continuing to expand my guitar playing by learning new styles and reaching for different moods.

–Taking better care of myself healthwise. I’ve lost a bit of weight, especially over the last few months since I’ve started doing morning exercises, and being or proactive about heading to the gym a few days a week, or going for walks in the neighborhood. Eating healthier, cutting down on the snacking and the junk food.

…and all of this while still holding down a Day Job. There’s been a bit of temporary shake-up there as well as a ridiculously long stretch of time dealing with unnaturally heavy volume of work, which only recently has started to decrease.

I don’t feel exhausted, far from it. I’ll have my days where I just want to say hell with it, log off and take a nap, sure, but for the most part, I’m impressed that I got through it all with only one or two sick days the entire time. I actually like to keep busy with multiple things going on, as it keeps me occupied, preoccupied, and creative. (It’s only when it’s too busy that I start getting cranky and sloppy.)

Which is partly why I’ve decided to take 2019 a little bit easier, at least for the first six months. Cut back on the multiple projects, finish off the ones I’m working on, and give myself some time to enjoy nonwriting endeavors like art and music. I’ll go into a bit more on those future plans for the last post of the year, but for now I’m just glad to say I’m proud of all the work I did this year, and I’m definitely looking forward to giving myself a break from it!

Distractions, Delays and Determination

polar bear cafe sloth
Yeah, a nap would be good right now…

Day Job Stuff is keeping me on my toes, that’s for sure.  A few things have come up that I’m having to deal with in different ways.  (Yes, I’m being vague for the moment.)  A few personal things have been serving as distractions as well.  Nothing horrible, of course.  Just some irritations, decisions, and changes.

On top of that, I’m going to need to delay the release of In My Blue World.  I don’t want to, but I’d rather delay it than rush the job and put out a half-assed and ultimately unfinished novel.  I won’t do that to y’all, it wouldn’t be fair.  So for all of you who might have picked up my freebie card at Worldcon with the lovely ‘Coming Autumn 2018’ sticker slapped on the back, I’m afraid it’s probably looking more like ‘Coming Early 2019’ instead.  Sorry about that.  But I promise you won’t be let down by the improved and revised version!

Which brings me to determination:  I’ve got a LOT on my plate right now, and strangely enough, I work really well when that happens, as long as I’m completely in charge of it all.  [If I’m constantly distracted by unexpected changes, that’s another thing entirely.]  So a lot of things juggling in the air, but I’m bound and determined to make it all work.  Such is the life of a writer: stubborn will and determination to keep going despite the odds.

Hopefully in a few weeks things will be back to normal and I’ll be able to breathe and take a break again…!

 

Keeping myself out of trouble

cb-spike-scratch-head
Yeah, I don’t know what I should do with myself either, Spike.

As of tonight, A. will be out of town for nearly the entire month on a business trip.  She’s gone on these trips before, usually going for a week or two at most, but this is the first time in quite a long time that she’s gone for over three weeks.  This includes Thanksgiving!  [Not to worry, folks…I can certainly make do with one of the many local restaurants or cook myself up a turkey breast with a few sides.  I’m not that helpless!]

So what am I to do when I’m the only one in the house for a few weeks?  Well, I’m too old to slide around the floor in my socks and underwear like Tom Cruise (and we don’t have the floors for it anyway).  I’m not about to play hooky around town like Ferris, either.  On the contrary, the worst thing I can do is be a Complete Lazy Ass and not do a damn thing at all, and order out every night.

Seriously, though…I do have plans.  I want to go out and get some exercise, whether it’s walking around the neighborhood or going to the YMCA a few times a week.  And after all that doughnut eating during our vacation, I definitely need to go on a diet, or at least a hell of a lot healthier.  There’s always laundry and housecleaning.  And writingwise, I’m very close to finishing the line edits for The Balance of Light (about 1/8 to go, I think), so that should keep me busy in the evenings.  Plus I’ve got my blogs to keep up.

It does feel a bit weird to be left to my own devices for nearly a full month, but I think I can keep myself from causing any mayhem. 🙂

All Kinds of Time


[One of the best songs about football, hands down.]

The problem with Football Season is that it gives me one more reason to be distracted from my writerly duties. Not that I need more distractions…I already have the music, the social media, the Day Job, and everything else! Still, it’s a pleasurable distraction; as with music, I have it on in the background while I’m working on something else, glancing up at the screen every now and again when someone scores or executes a brilliant play.

Time can be tricky, especially when you’re attempting to balance the finite amount we’re allotted with the infinite number of things you want to use it for.  I dedicate eight hours a day to my Day Job (I try to avoid overtime, and for the most part it’s never needed anyway), but during my breaks, I will sneak a few writing things in.  During my 9:30am break, I’ll sit on the loveseat across the room and write an entry in my daily personal journal.  During lunch I’ll read my writing magazines.  During the afternoon break I’ll catch up on emails and whatnot.  And on the rare occasion that I have a slow day, I may even work on a blog post.  After we both log off, we head to the YMCA and work out on the treadmills for a bit, and have dinner soon after.  This gives me a few hours at the end of each day, purely dedicated to my writing.

As said, the tricky part is what I should be working on, and when.

The thing about being a writer is that you most likely have about three or four different projects going on at the same time, each at various levels of completion.  My current status involves the following:  A Division of Souls is out in the world (yes, even at Amazon now — the physical copies are coming soon!), I’m currently working on the final edit of The Persistence of Memories, I’m writing the new Mendaihu Universe novel longhand, I’m carving out weekend time to pick Walk in Silence up again, and I have a few other fiction and non-fiction projects simmering on low heat in the back of my brain.  And that doesn’t include my daily personal journal, weekly blog posting, popping up on social media now and again, and other non-writing things such as guitar noodling and songwriting.  And there are things that keep getting put on hold, such as doing the daily 750 Words, my artwork and the Drunken Owl music recording project.  So much to do, so little time.

See, this is why I have the whiteboard schedule.  I haven’t been following it as of late due to the massive editing sessions for the Bridgetown Trilogy, and I think that’s a fair enough reason for putting everything on hold as of late.  I don’t mind, because releasing the trilogy myself demands a lot of time and dedication, and I’m not about to do any of it half-assed.  But now that the Big Release date has come and gone and that I’m letting it slow-simmer a bit while I figure out different ways to have fun with its promotion, I find myself with a bit more time on my hands.  Which means my week or so of relaxation and mucking about online must come to a close.  It’s time to refocus and dedicate the time that I have to what I want to get done.

Still, that’s not to say I’m not about to miss out on watching some football this season!  I may be busy, but I’m not about to let that get in the way of having fun as well!