“Work” on “things”

The lack of updates and general social-media silence is a good sign. When you have an unfortunate tendency to get frustrated about things, it’s important to recognize when you need to stop thinking about them. For me, right now, it’s What to Do After the Next Story is Done. This is silly, because the next story isn’t done yet. Cart before the horse. It is important to think about things like release timing and editing, but now is not the time.

It’s the time to work on things. The 100-days-of-writing challenge is going well. After transcribing a few more days’ worth of handwriting, it seems my estimates were too high on most days and far too low on others. However, my streak is unbroken so far. In 20 days I’ve written maybe 13,000 words of new stories. (About 11k have been transcribed so far, so it’s a mushy figure.) It’s been about 20% for The Builders’ Bridge and 80% for what will not actually be called The Healers’ Road 2: Heal Harder. It may be a bad idea to write a sequel; I don’t know. We’ll see when we get there. But if nothing else, I want to know what happens next. That’s the first step.

Some Sub-Prawn Numbers

It’s been three months (less a day or two) since THR was released! Woo! That’s also the far reaches of the life expectancy of a self-published book, unless its sequel is released right about now – and its sequel is still in the works. But despite that, it seems like a good time to take stock of how this experience has gone.

Why?!: I like the idea of transparency. I am not complaining about money, or whining to anyone who has or hasn’t read the book, or anything like that. Before I started this endeavor, I had no idea what to expect, because I only saw very large, seemingly outlier-ish numbers bandied about. I’m throwing this out there for the sake of curiosity, in case anyone might wonder the way I wondered. The self-publishing/indie-publishing world is large and varied, and I want to pipe in from one of its corners.

Continue reading Some Sub-Prawn Numbers

Five hundred is greater than zero

a) My tone here has been too formal; let’s bring it down a notch. I mean, look: I crocheted little amigurumi dolls of my main characters to celebrate the release of my first book, then parked them on my desk. They’re staring at me right now. So no, I am not a dignified adult.

b) The 100-days-of-writing challenge is going swimmingly. Up till now, my habit has been to write in bursts, usually late at night on the weekends, separated by months of ignoring the project(s) entirely.  I’d like to be more consistent than that. My hope with this challenge was to establish a good habit of working on this stuff, whether it’s putting down actual prose or outlining, on a regular basis.

Because, contrary to all advice on writing ever, I am not a full-time writer. I have a day job, and I am OK with that. So I need to work writing into my life in a constructive and consistent way without burning out.

It’s only been a week, but the answer so far has been early morning.  However, I am not one of those intrepid and energetic people who get up at 3 a.m., run a marathon, write for 4 hours and then pack their kids off to school. I am a person who has a free half-hour every weekday morning, generally 7:30 – 8 a.m., just before the day job starts. It is normally filled with reading other people’s books and playing tablet games. (Kairosoft games alone have probably set me back a hundred thousand words.) This has been my unlikely little pocket of writing time.

But I’m going to be burned out! Surprisingly, no. A little time in my dream world and I’m pretty energized. Plus, well, the coffee is kicking in right about then.

But it’s going to suck! Maybe, but that’s what edits are for.

That’s not very much time! True. I’ve averaged 500 words a day in that half-hour or so. About two composition book pages, longhand. But my mantra for this week has been: 500 words is more than zero. Five hundred words every weekday, let’s say two thousand every weekend day to be ambitious = 6,500 words a week. That’s a book as long as The Healers’ Road in about twenty weeks. Five months.

THR took about three years to finish, in that “write a scene, then ignore for months” pattern. Not counting edits. So yeah, 500 words a day is an improvement. Five hundred words a day, maybe a few hundred more on lunch break, a few more hours on Friday and weekend nights, and a vacation day every now and then… who knows.

A road map through befuddlement

Second: Despite the chiding word count bar here, I have been stalled for the last few weeks. Specifically, the back of my brain insists that I should Do Something with the novella that I wrote last summer before moving on to something else. (This is not reasonable. One can have more than one iron in the fire.)

The problem is that the novella doesn’t fit in with my new-found milieu, genre-confused as it may be. So a new pen name is probably in order. And if it’s under a new pen name, it can’t/shouldn’t be in the same universe; that’s just confusing. So, in short, the task before me is to file off the serial numbers of something written in my own storyverse.

However, I have thought of some fun directions in which to take it, so this may not be as onerous as it seemed at first.

Third, and possibly related: I have joined a self-motivating, NaNo-ish exercise to write every day for 100 days, starting on January 4. My goal is to establish some more consistent habits.  If you’d like to join us, check out this thread at the Writers’ Cafe forums.