It’s about that time again, isn’t it? All right. I suppose we’ll get this done and over with …
May: An Unmitigated Disaster
So. May happened. That’s about all I have to say about that right now.
I was away from May 7 to 16, traveling to O’ahu, Hawaii. Although I always have the best of intentions when I travel, things never seem to go my way. I don’t usually take vacations proper, so I have a reduced workload while I travel.
Even when I do take a full-on vacation, though, it always seems you get caught up in the fervor of the moment. There’s always something to do or something to see, so creative projects often get set to the side. If you have work, that condenses your time to do either sightseeing or creative work.
Then there are sometimes technological troubles. I had to replace my iPad while I was away. On the flight home, when I intended to get a fair amount of work done, my keyboard wouldn’t connect. Then my phone stopped working. Then even my pen and paper gave out; the pen’s ink stopped flowing.
I landed, had to play catch up on actual work things, and then ended up with a migraine for three days.
Hey, Mr. Taxman
I’ve also been busily sorting out my finances after getting walloped with a, er, rather large bill at the end of April. I’ve had to make some very careful financial decisions over the past month, structuring things so I can pay my bills and meet my obligations to the taxman, in addition to anticipating that I’ll be asked to start paying sooner. So, I have back tax concerns, future tax concerns, and immediate bill concerns.
Mo’ money, mo’ problems, I suppose.
In the wake of this, I was dumb and found myself another job, which means I’ll be even busier in the coming weeks. I suppose you have to do what you have to do, but I am concerned about my ability to juggle all the balls I have in the air right now.
I mean, I was barely getting through before. So now I’m going to add more? Seems bright. The good news (if there is any) is it helps me meet these obligations and get out from under them sooner.
The Stuff You Actually Care About
Yeah, I know, many of my updates read like “woe is me” or, perhaps worse, “here’s a flimsy excuse for why I didn’t get anything done this month!”
Some people would likely say I could probably utilize my time more efficiently. If I’m so crunched for time, why bother with newsletters or blog posts or Twitter? Why don’t I just … y’know … write more?
The truth is sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you want to go look at Twitter for what feels like hours, even if you’re not interacting with someone. There are times you don’t want to do that. Sometimes you run across a post or a news story or an idea for a blog and that’s what’s talking to you.
And while the blog doesn’t get many hits, there are people who visit it, who look around, who maybe find something of interest (or not). And if there’s never any new content, people stop coming back. They forget about you. You fall off the map.
Producing a blog post takes a lot less than writing a novel or even a short story, sometimes. Of course, there are other times when it seems to be something that takes the most time and effort.
Mental Health, Ambition, Energy
Another thing of note is that summer weather has finally arrived here. It’s hot; it was thirty-two degrees yesterday. The hours of sunshine are long, and only getting longer for another twenty days or so.
I make no bones about my struggles with mental health, and I do tend to suffer from seasonal affective disorder. My energy is much lower in the winter than it is in the summertime. So right now, I feel like I can take on the world.
Even though I’m busier than ever, even though I have more balls in the air, my workload actually feels manageable right now. I’m finding the spaces, the time, to do things.
I think the difference is I’m more disciplined in the summer. The season itself, for me at least, is freeing, with its long days and ever-last heat. I can work forever, I think. In the winter, with the cold and the dark creeping round, I tend to curl in on myself a little more. I’m less ambitious, more tired.
My work level does go up and down a bit, but it’s usually very steady. So how can it be that I find those extra spaces in the summertime that I can’t find in the wintertime? Maybe it’s that I can get outside more; maybe it’s that I remember I’m my own boss, so I can deconstruct my days to make sure I get out in the sunshine.
I don’t know. I won’t take it for granted, although I will keep looking for ways to even out my production.
All right, Slapshot! I published one new chapter in April, then said May, and now June.
Yet I’m tempted to delay more new Slapshot! until September when hockey season picks up again. I mean, we’re looking at the end of hockey for a good, solid two months. The Stanley Cup final is underway. At the end of the month, we’ll be looking at draft day. Aside from that, hockey will be trading and rumors for two months until training camps and preseason.
Since I’m so busy, maybe it’s time to take a break here. Maybe putting Slapshot! aside for the moment will allow me to get caught up on other things. I’ve already made people decide between Fairy Tale and the next Something in the Water book. Maybe if I delay Slapshot!, I can get Oceans between Us moving again.
This is something all creatives struggle with, I think, even when writing is our day job, even when we have no clients to deal with and only books to write. We always have too many damn projects on the go.
A Stranger Sort of Fairy Tale
As you know, I got stuck in rewrite hell, which is probably one of the reasons May ended up being a write off for me. I’ve been steadily poking away at the rewrites for Fairy Tale. I have three scenes to write, one big decision to make, and one scene to add.
Then we can move back to the editing process. I’m not sure entirely how quickly I can move through editing now, but we’ll see.
I’ve set a pub date. I’ve got plans. I’m hesitant to start building hype again, because the book has been so badly delayed (not unusual for book publishing, believe you me!). So forgive me for “teasing” for now. But things are finally getting put back in motion.
Oceans between Us
All right, what about Oceans between Us, the next Something in the Water book? Well, it was originally scheduled for September. But that banked on Fairy Tale being in my editor’s hands and out by early May, so I could focus on, um, actually writing the manuscript and such.
You know how you need a manuscript to make a book? Kinda important.
So, with life getting busier and whatnot, I laid down the choice for readers on Facebook: Did they want Fairy Tale or Oceans first?
So, Fairy Tale got bumped to top spot, while Oceans is lower down on the priority list for now. I mean, both will get done. Eventually. But I can’t do everything at once, so being able to prioritize is important. And delivering what readers want is also important.
What about Four Books This Year?
If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll note that, with Oceans and Fairy Tale, that would be three books published in 2018. My New Year’s resolution was four.
With Fairy Tale and Oceans both delayed, I’m not sure. I’ve got a couple of projects in the pipeline, but I’m just not sure what’s feasible.
Rest assured, I will be writing something. The progress may be slow. There may be setbacks. But I am still writing.