Wait, it’s the 23rd already?

doctor-who-hold-on

This is what happens when I’m trying to balance a superbusy Day Job (woohoo yay Q4…), editing a mammoth book, bingewatching the Great British Bake Off with A., and other life stuff.  The last thing on my mind is usually what day it actually is.

My week has been filled with numerous small Day Job queries that definitely pile up and get really irritating after a short time, as well as a computer refresh, which for the most part only took about an hour, but I spent the rest of the day fending of more small queries while trying to get said new computer’s software correctly set up.  [Noted, a lot of these queries are what you would expect at the end of Q4…lots of “I need this yesterday btw on vacation until 1/4 kthxbye”, lots of “OMGWTFBBQ I need this delivered on Monday but the file isn’t here yet what do I do O NOES” and so on.  Your bad planning is not necessarily my problem, folks.]  The good thing is that the last week of the year is often the slowest for us, so that’ll give me time to finish things up and maybe have some time to breathe and more things sorted out.

ANYWAY.

What about the writing stuff, you ask?  Well, yes, I am still plugging along with the edit of Book 3.  I’m closing in on the halfway point, so despite my feeling that THIS IS TAKING FOREVER, I’m actually making good time.  I’m still on schedule for a January release.  Yay!  Then we’ll have a few other Mendaihu Universe-related surprises coming in the spring of 2017, and then we’ll see where we go from there.

So now what?  What am I going to do on this upcoming last week of the year?   That’s a good question.  I’ve already written my wistful Year End/Year to Come post earlier this week, so I don’t need to do one of those.  We shall see!

Until then, hope everyone has a lovely Christmas weekend!

Year in Review, Year to Come

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Two down, one to go.  What next?

It’s been quite a busy year here in Spare Oom.

Most of the time was spent focusing on releasing the first edition of The Persistence of Memories as well as cleaning up and releasing the next edition of A Division of Souls.  And once those were taken care of, I focused solely on the Big Galley Edit of The Balance of Light.  As of today I am about one third of the way through transcribing my manual edits to the digital document, which will then be formatted to both e-book and trade paperback.

[Side note: I’m worried that TBoL is still going to be quite a long book, so while it’s going to remain a single e-book, I may have to split it up into two trades just to keep the price and size down.  More on that when I get closer to finishing this portion of the project.]

The Persistence of Memories had an official drop date of 15 April of this year, about six months after the first book.  I haven’t nailed down a specific release date for The Balance of Light yet, but again, the closer we get to the end of this edit, quicker I’ll be able to do so.

All that said, I had to make do without a few other projects in the interim.  I put aside any actual work on future Mendaihu Universe books until this one was finished.  I also put aside any non-MU ideas that have been brewing; I haven’t trunked them, they’re just on hiatus.  In addition to that, I’d also put a temporary stop on my Daily 750 Words exercises.  I wanted to clear my desk and get rid of any extraneous assignments and deadlines so I could focus completely on finishing the Bridgetown Trilogy.

The unprecedented decision, however, was to stop writing poetry.  I’d come to the realization that it had stopped being something useful to me some time ago.  I’d used poetry as a personal experiment for a good few decades: a creative release for my personal dreams, irritations, ponderings, or whatever.  But it hadn’t been that for at least two or three years; it has become less of an outlet and more of a chore, and thus less enjoyable.  So I wrote one last long poem, closed that composition notebook, and filed it away.  I haven’t written one since.  Will I ever pick it up again?  Who knows.  Maybe, but I think I’d need to put some real thought and dedication into that form and do it right this time, instead of the way I used to write it.

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So.  What’s up for 2017, then?

Aside from releasing The Balance of Light sometime in the early months, who knows.  It’ll be the first time in decades where the Mendaihu Universe (and in particular, these three books) won’t be weighing down on me.  The slate will be fully clean.  For the first time in a LONG time, I’ll be able to fully focus on a completely new project.

I’ll be able to start in on one or more of those Possible Ideas I have on hiatus.  A few more stories in the Mendaihu Universe, for starters.  I don’t have any concrete plans at the moment, where New Projects are concerned, but once I’m ready, I’ll be planning like a fiend.

I would also like to return to the Daily 750 exercise again.  Over the past couple of years it has been a great Word Playground for me, and at least three possible future novel project ideas have come out of it.  And of course, I’d like to return to a stable blogging schedule.  Those things go out the window for everyone at the end of the year, so I’m not beating myself up too much over them not being timely.  Come next year, however, I’m going to make the best effort to stick to it.

I’d also like to practice more on my book cover artwork.  As I keep saying, doing the covers for my Trilogy was an unexpected joy for me, to the point that I could see myself doing cover art as a possible career step.

I do have some Big Plans regarding the business side of my writing career.  In the next year I’ll be making some very big, very important steps towards raising the bar.  [Yes, I know, that’s a business-speak phrase and I can’t stand that kind of talk, but it fits the situation.]  I don’t want to share them just yet, but I’ve been thinking about them and planning them in my head for at least a few years now.  I’d promised myself that 2017 would be the year they will become a reality.  I’ve started giving myself a soft schedule to work with, and will soon be spending some offline time making this business plan work.

And yes, as soon as I’m ready to release these Big Plans upon the world, I’ll let you know!

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All told, I think 2016 has been a stellar year for me, creatively.  One of the best I’ve ever had.  That’s not to say I wish I’d spent more time and dedication learning how to best sell my creative wares online and make money off it, but I’ve certainly reached goals that have been on my bucket list since I was at least ten years old.  I’ve rarely looked at my sales numbers, but I’m not taking them too seriously for the moment.  I scored a good number of downloads of both books during a month-long sale on Smashwords — a LOT more than I expected to get, to be honest — and while I earned no money, the fact that I did get that many hits meant quite a bit to me.  It meant that I was doing something right.  It meant I was closer to my goals as a professional author than I’d expected.  I now know where I stand, what direction I should head in, and what to expect when I get there.

Which means that 2017 will be the year I step up my game and start making money off of the Dream Job I’ve always wanted since I was a kid.

I’m looking forward to it.

Year-End: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

2015 was definitely a banner year for me.  One of my best writing years in a long time.

I trunked a majority of dead story ideas and created a number of new ones to work on in the future.  That was a big move for me; finally letting go of stories that no longer sang to me, and making the decision not to revive them.  That’s always a tough move for a writer, but it has to be done to clean house, so to speak, to make way for newer and more robust ideas.  By retiring many of these stories, I’ve given myself more room to focus on the new Mendaihu Universe story, as well as others not in that universe.

I was more consistent with my other creative endeavors that aren’t exactly for public consumption (yet):  writing daily journal entries, photography, poetry, artwork, and playing guitar.  Are these ever going to be shared elsewhere?  Who knows…I’m not aiming to be a semipro poet, artist, photographer or musician for the moment, as these are personal and not professional projects.  Things I do purely for selfish enjoyment.  I’m able to push myself and get better at them without having an expected plateau to hit.

I hit one of my highest goals of seeing the trilogy out in the wild by self-releasing A Division of Souls as an e-book (and soon to be available as a trade paperback).   I was also included in Uniquely North Quabbin, a collection of essays about the area of Massachusetts where I grew up.   The trilogy was an extremely long term project for me (spanning over a decade, technically over two), so releasing it has very much given me a sense of closure.  I can finally move on to new projects, both within the MU and elsewhere.

 

So what does 2016 hold for me?

On the professional end of things, I’ve already made the choice to have at least three books to be self-released next year:  the second and third book of the trilogy, The Persistence of Memories and The Balance of Light; and my memoir/music book Walk in Silence.  I’ve been working on all three since October, just after I released A Division of Souls, so I’m still on schedule to see these come to fruition.  TPoM should arrive early next year, WiS sometime late spring or early summer, and TBoL by autumn.

After that, my writing calendar will be disturbingly, frighteningly clear for the first time in ages.

Which means that I should look for another project to focus on.  If I’ve learned anything from the trilogy project, it’s that I now understand the level of dedication and focus I should give to my writing.  Whatever project comes next will be given that same amount of dedication and focus.

Do I have ideas?  Yes I do!  There’s the new Mendaihu Universe novel that’s currently on pause while I get its related novels out.  This one probably won’t see the public eye until 2017.  Then there’s the musical family idea (aka The Lidwells Story) that’s also on the backburner.  That one’s a compact standalone, and a very rough draft has already been written via my daily words earlier this year, so this one could very well be another quick turnaround.

But other than that?  It’s wide open.  I’m as curious as you are about what I’ll write next.

Speaking of daily words, I’m hoping to return to writing them via the 750 Words website in the new year, especially now that I’ll have more time for them.  This is where many of my recent ideas have arrived on the scene, so I think I’d be remiss in passing it up.  The key is to not be stressed out about it.  The point is not to ensure I write 750 or more words on a daily basis, but to exercise my imagination and have fun with it.

I haven’t updated my whiteboard schedule yet, but I usually end up doing that on January 1, so you’ll see that post tomorrow.  Oh!  And speaking of updates…I plan to have a much tighter and more frequent schedule here at Welcome to Bridgetown as well as Walk in Silence.  Maybe one or two posts a week for starters, but I’d like to expand on that later on.  I’d like to expand on the subjects I write about as well.  As much as I love talking about college radio or how I write, I’d like to investigate different avenues related to writing and music.  Different genres, different processes, that sort of thing.

Other than that, I’m going to revel in the fact that the road looks much clearer than it has in years.  I want 2016 to be the Year of New Things.  I’m really looking forward to where it takes me.