I am sorry to disappoint the two people who keep up with my serialized neo-noir micro fiction story, “Defiant Hemlock,” but I have decided to put it on hold until at least December. I didn’t realize how much creative energy writing a novel would occupy in my brain, so I’d like to devote the next few months to that, instead.
I actually don’t really know what to do about the direction of this blog from now on, especially now that I won’t be writing about personal matters. I think I’ll be posting poetry, book reviews and I will announce my submissions and acceptances still, but those will probably slow down as I focus on the novel. I will also provide updates on the novel progress, since I too would like to know how to commit to writing a novel while working full time. Priorities, they tell me.
I am doing National Novel Writing Month in November and my goal is to finish something longer than a short story. The longest story I’ve written in years is 8,000 words, and I hope this will be the kick in the pants I need to finish a novel. I hope to treat it a bit more seriously than a throwaway project, too, possibly prepare it for submitting it for small press publication.
I decided I did not want to tackle that cozy mystery after all. When I started outlining it, I realized that I couldn’t sustain the interest in something light, fluffy and escapist. Something darker and edgier is better suited to my mood these days. So instead, I am writing military space opera, with a lot of basis in science. I find science fiction that is more scientifically accurate instead of magic-based more interesting as a reader, so I anticipate a lot of research as well. Theoretical physics, weaponry, military tactics, reading historians’ interviews with war veterans, and marine biology (since my planet will be a water planet), all subjects I find intriguing.
I was stuck on my idea for awhile so I set up my outlines in a series of spreadsheets, and started working on a Christmas horror short story instead, which I still intend to finish. Finally came up with an idea when I decided to set the story on a planet with a war over resources instead of around space battles and territory. And since I have Scrivener, I will look at their outlining and organization tools instead of Excel. They have good resources for taking notes on your research; since this will be more research-heavy than my other writing, that will come in handy. So I might have wasted a couple of hours designing some spreadsheets, but it’s all part of preparation, right?
I’ve also been planning some still life photo shoots with a dark fantasy theme and various occult items, so I may post some of those as well along with Redbubble links. Can’t have too many distractions though, and as long as I am focused on this one creative thing, I don’t really need any other creative outlets. So it’s okay if I slip up on photography and practicing the guitar and flute, if I’m writing.
I’ve been fitting in my writing and prep time by waking up at 5:30 AM to write. I have realized that is just my writing time now, and I actually like this schedule, after I got used to it. I can write 1,000 words in an hour, if I’m feeling really motivated. I need to write 1,667 words a day to meet the 50,000-word goal. I have a feeling my concept will be a bit more epic than 50,000 words in the end, but I will follow where the story leads and not write to a particular word count. I do plan on keeping this going past November; even if it is shorter, there will still be plenty of subsequent drafts.
So I just need to find at least an hour and a half that I can commit to every day, and I’ll be set. Without a commute and working from home, that is much easier, even while working full time. Hence, I am up at 5:30 AM or earlier. And my self care plan is helping with stress relief. You can’t commit to writing if you are too stressed out. That way leads to burn out.
Another way I have been freeing up more time is by reducing my social media use. I have been taking a break from Twitter this week, a real break this time. I was going to make it until the election, but I think I’ll pop back in over the weekend, and just check in a few times a week. I plan to be much less active over there. I want more privacy, and my need for social media validation is not healthy. Quite frankly Twitter just takes way too much time with its level of interactivity. You think it’s just five minutes to compose a tweet, and then you’re tweeting throughout the day. Five minutes here, five minutes there adds up. No one needs that much access to you. I have to get busy with the novel, instead. Less tweeting, more writing.
Anyway, blog posts will likely be somewhat sporadic from here on out, but I’ll try to check in as much as I can. Thanks for hanging with me.