Well, I’m back. For the moment.
It’s been a tough slog lately. There are a whole bunch of reasons why, but I’m not going to get into those, at least not right now. I blogged about some of it all last time I was here, so if you’ve forgotten, you are welcome to refresh your memory.
Very little of that has changed, except for one thing: I’ve been working on making my commercial writing plans for next year, and I’ve come to a few decisions about how to change that side of things. Suffice to say I’m doing far too many things on that side of my work that I don’t like and not enough things that I do like. I need to flip that. I’m actively focusing on resetting the business for next year. It may take a little time for those things to show up as more time for fiction, but that’s the goal–to keep earning money doing fun things that I like and that pay well, but also free up space to do my own projects.
Otherwise, I’m still struggling with… all the other stuff.
(That’s footage of me trying to balance my life since about 2006.)
There’s a lot of stuff.
And I always find it easy to get derailed by stuff.
For example, yesterday.
It started out pretty well, all things considered. I got some Jesus and ate breakfast and had coffee, scheduled a social media post, shepherded the kiddo out the door, and went for a run. I’m in process of recovering some of the fitness I lost during lockdowns and moving and all the other upheaval of the past year, but this morning, I managed to push myself an extra mile. I got home, showered, sat down for work–a little later than I’d hoped, but there was that extra mile, so I was okay with it.
Then the kid came home from school sick.
Then there was a meeting, and it wasn’t enough time, so the team scheduled another meeting later this week, which means less time for actual writing.
Then there were all the moments of distraction from husband, sick kid, dogs, and the rest. I managed a little more client work, though not enough.
Dinner was “on your own,” but sick kid needed more attention… more client work that I couldn’t get to earlier… more standing on the back deck waiting for dogs to finish their business…
And all of a sudden, it’s 7:30, and I haven’t finished a blog post or done any work on fiction today.
And that’s usually about the time that I end up getting frustrated and thinking “screw it, I’m just never going to finish this book.” Or sometimes, “maybe I should just quit doing all the commercial work for a while to finish the damn book.” Or sometimes, “I should just kill the whole fiction-writing thing and do the commercial work.”
But basically, what I’m saying is that the day never, ever goes like it’s supposed to, and it ends up with this discouragement all too often.
The thing is… none of the things that happened today were bad, really. They were just life. People get sick, work takes more time than expected, and dogs seem to always require a lot of time to sniff the yard as part of doing their business.
I think that the only way to make any progress going forward is to just snatch every spare minute of time I can squeeze out of the day when I can manage to be reasonably coherent and do something–anything–even just a little bit–toward my fiction goals. I’m reminding myself that there will always be a bunch of reasons to get derailed. There will always be obstacles, emergencies, time crunches, struggles, motivation issues, unfocused energy, creative constipation, heavy workloads, and all manner of struggles. I’m just going to have to find the minutes in the middle of them and do my best to work in those spaces.
So as for the state of Unquickened, it’s still a mess, but I have a plan…
- I’ve finished re-reading Ravenmarked and Bloodbonded, and I’ve made pages of notes to remember as I work on Unquickened. I am hoping that a reasonably fresh re-read and many notes will help me address the plot problems and continuity challenges I’m running into.
- I’ve downloaded Scrivener again. It’s been years since I used it last, and I recently got a new laptop, so I’m just starting fresh with the latest iteration. It did help me get my books organized before, so here’s hoping it works its magic again.
- I’m going to start at the beginning of Unquickened and slowly work on putting it back into Scrivener one piece at a time. The hope here is that starting at the beginning and taking it one scene at a time will help me fix all the many, many things that are wrong.
- I’m focusing on putting one chapter back into Scrivener each day. Just one. That should be easy at first, since I think the first third of the book is in fairly good shape. But as I get toward the middle and end, it’s going to be rough… There’s a lot of writing and rewriting that will have to happen after about Chapter 14… When I get that far, I may only be able to manage one scene a day or less. I don’t know. I’ll update you when I get there.
I’m also going to try really, really hard to restart my social media. I don’t know how well I’ll do with that, but I’m going to try.
I guess I’m at a point where I just feel like I can’t keep playing around. Lots of authors have day jobs that are a lot more demanding than mine, and they get up early and stay up late to push through to the finish line of their books. I’m going to have to do the same to get this done. And I suppose that if I want people to read it, if I want to eventually quit my “day job” and just write, I’m going to have to push the marketing, too.
So… Maybe resignation is the mood of the day. I can’t have it all at once, but I can take tiny, incremental steps toward what I want. I may not get large chunks of time to work on my favorite things, but I can eke out time in the gaps between other stuff.
I just have to not get discouraged or frustrated with the reality. This is not the same frustrating reality I had when I was leading AHG. This reality sees me in an office of my own with a full-time commercial writing income, and that’s a good place to be.
So from this good place, it’s time to push myself to a great place.
I got this.