writing

1% Done

Many things about life get easier with practice, and so I assume that eventually, starting a new book will seem less daunting. I am two days and 1,200 words into the project–so far, so good! As an experiment, I am using Scrivener for this draft. I know any number of people who swear by it.

The new novel itself is, well, very “me” in that it is another of those kitchen-sink mashups I always seem to come up with and then despair of selling. The skeleton of the story was my 2014 NaNoWriMo project (one of the years I didn’t finish for some reason). Since then I’ve noodled a bit on it, but up to now have not gone back to make a proper draft. I think it’s a fun idea, and I’m looking forward to fleshing it out.

Speaking of NaNo, I do have an idea for a whole other project to do for that. Depending on how progress goes this month, I may switch over to that one in November or shelve the idea for next year. My long-term goal as currently written is to finish three more books by 2023, and I have more ideas than that in my backlog right now. There’s no real need to sketch out yet another one unless my working pace increases dramatically.

Not much else going on with us right now. I love my new job. My goal tracking system seems to be working. I’ve been fitting in more reading these past few weeks–revisited American Gods after a damn long time, and also re-read The Game of Kings. Started Queen’s Play but seem to have stalled out during one of the long set pieces in that book, so I may need to change gears for a while.

Also, we’re getting some fish! All set up and waiting for new inhabitants in a few more days.

By then I might be up to 5% done.

writing

Done!

After what has felt like an immense proportion of my life to date spent working on this story, I’m delighted to say that The Hasty Visitor’s Guide to American Fairy Hills is finally done, or at least done to the point where I’m composing query letters and a synopsis and all of that stuff. It’s immeasurably satisfying to bring a project to that stage after so long. I’m actually looking forward to sending out queries.

Finishing the book means that the overwhelming list of projects I had underway back in July has largely been cleared. I have one class still in progress; that ends next week. Once that’s done, my obligation list consists solely of a few volunteering gigs, none of which take up much time in the course of a month. (And work and family stuff, obviously.)

Which means, of course, that it’s time to start planning again. This time, I’m going to be a little more intentional about how I fill up my calendar. I have my list of long-term goals; I have my high-level milestones for the next few years. Time to spend more time with those, see if anything needs adjustment, and map out the next few months in a bit more detail. Now that I’ve started the new job (which is amazing) and the kids have started school, I hope it will be possible to come up with a routine to get us through the fall–without feeling like just making it through the day is the best we can hope for.

Heck, maybe I’ll make a dent in my to-read pile….

garden, life, writing

A Little Better than Yesterday

This morning the husband was fretting over the slowness of the decline in our state’s COVID-19 numbers. “It’s 2020,” I said. “All I ask for today is that it be a little better than yesterday.”

It has been a good week personally, which feels a little weird, given the larger context. My personal projects are all ticking over with more enthusiasm than usual, probably because I took most of the week off work. I may have to deal with the strong implication that I simply cannot be productive in dribs and drabs of interrupted time here and there throughout my day. If I am doing a NaNo-style 0th draft then sure, I can put out words that way, secure in the knowing that it doesn’t matter if they are barely coherent. If I am revising? Doing research? Five minutes here, fifteen there doesn’t work. Having had the time over the past week, I have figured out yet another structural problem in the fairy book, which I have started working out the fix for. I have also started thinking more seriously about the next project after this one. (Which, believe me, is going to be way more thoroughly planned.)

Other things continue. I had a birthday. Have been trying to get outside, even though the heat has been wretched most of the week. The pea plants are flowering, and the other containers are muddling along all right to my amateur eye (that’s chard down in the corner).

I finished reading Upstream and turned down corners on a quarter of the pages. Dyed my hair again; I like the blue and want to keep it for a while. Went to some online events for career-related topics. Watched TV with my teenager. Pleasant, ordinary life stuff.

How to keep this, or enough of this to get by on, next week, when the world demands more, is the question. Can things get a little better, somehow.

writing

Insightful New Decade Reference Here

Five whole days into the new year, and I still don’t have a writing plan. So I’m going to do one now.

Yesterday I finally wrote out a scheme to address the thorny chapter of Fairy Hills on which I have been stuck since NaNoWriMo, so I am out of excuses not to just sit down and write the damned thing. I think it’s going to end up rather longer than the version in the previous draft. I have 43k words to go in order to hit my 90k target. That is do-able in a month where I have little else going on (I’ve said that before), but I’m going to give myself through February to finish this draft, if only because I do have a few other things going on.

Who knows, maybe I’ll have something ready for Pitch Madness this spring. Stranger things have happened.

After that, I think I will be more than ready to change gears and work on something different. This next project will certainly qualify. And I have learned my lesson with Hills: this time I’ll do an outline. Exploratory writing is one thing if it’s something short, but this looks like being a long, complicated story, enough so that I think it’s reasonable to allocate the rest of 2020 (except November) to research, outlining, and first draft. I’ll shoot for a solid outline by June, just to put a date on that; I have very little idea how long this process will actually take. My main writing goal this year is less to accomplish a certain number of projects than it is to make steadier progress than I did in 2019, which was marked by repeated stall-outs that lasted weeks at a time.

I may try to fit a few smaller things into the margins of the year, and I do still want to give self-publishing another try. We shall see if the world cooperates with that.

In other news, I have been working steadily on my current hat, which is now halfway done. It uses some of the alpaca wool I’ve picked up at the Sandwich Fair over the years, which is butter-soft and feels better than anything. I’ve been watching Ever After High with my teenager, who is currently into that, and Power Rangers RPM with my pre-teen (involuntarily, as he has been binge-watching it in view of my workspace). I have been reading Hannah Fry’s Hello World, which is educational and infuriating in roughly equal measure. I’ve been using my new CD player to revisit music I haven’t listened to in years or decades. The apartment has been de-Christmas-ized.

Let us all try to avoid quoting overmuch from “The Second Coming” this week. I don’t really talk about current events on this blog because God knows there are plenty of places to get that sort of thing, but they do weigh on the mind.