End of May/June/Q2/First-half Update

CalendarObliqueGolly, I’ve been quiet here lately. Mostly I’ve been heads-down, focusing on this new job. It’s not that it took all my time, but it definitely left me scrambling about, trying to find new ways to manufacture writing time. (FWIW, the answer is at least partly “additional child care”.) Anyway, something had to go, and when it came down to blogging vs. working on new novels, blogging got put down like a rabid dog.

Hmm, my brain apparently thinks it still has fictional people to kill.

Anyway, I have been making progress on fiction. Today I finally finished the draft to Oaths of My Fathers, which is book 3 of the Father Chessman saga. I always like to write the sequel to a book before I do my final edits, so that means I can now go back to work on Debts of My Fathers, which a number of fans have been… well, pleasantly insistent that I finish off and get into their hands. So, that’s coming. I’ve missed three announced release estimates in the past, so I’m holding off on dates for the moment.

Anyway, let’s look at the numbers. In May and June, my writing rate was down significantly. In May, I wrote only 20,918 words, and in June, only 33,443 words. This is down from around 50,000 words a month towards the earlier parts of the year. For the year, I’m at 239,682 words, which now has me on a track to come in under 500,000 words. Again, blame the job. On the other hand, my autistic kids now have good health insurance, so yay!

The words were split similarly to earlier in the year, except that I’m doing more private journaling. It’s not that I’m having lots of deep thoughts. Rather, I’ve found it’s a good way to warm-up my brain for writing narrative. I can do free-form writing for five to ten minutes, and then I’m up to speed on turning thoughts into written words. If I go straight into the narrative, that can sometimes take twenty to thirty minutes, and lately, twenty to thirty minutes is all I can grab in one slice.

So, I’ve thought about trying some blogging here as part of that warm-up rather than strictly doing private journaling, but I cannot do the kind of blogging I used to do in that format. Specifically, I had been doing defined slots. Monday was an article about something in the SF/F genre. Wednesday was usually writing-related, even if it was just to say that I was neck-deep in bloody edits. Friday was reviews. As you can see, I haven’t been managing that very well this year.

So I’m giving serious thought to going free-form. There are a number of things I could talk about, but I frequently don’t. Either they didn’t fit into a slot, or they touched on the unholy trinity of blogging flame: politics, religion, or … Hmmm, I can seem to remember the third. It seems like there should be three. Anyway, rather than dash something off, I’d spent almost as much time convincing myself not to write it, or at least not write it for the blog.

That may be changing soon.

I’ve long been a fan of John Scalzi’s blog, “Whatever”. First, he does have good content, but mostly I admire his willingness to blog about, well, whatever. So, when I say I might be looking to his blog for inspiration, it’s not that I want to copy his style or his topics. It’s that I want to feel more free to blog about whatever strikes my fancy and not censor myself so much.

I do this knowing that I’m more likely to attract some annoying flame-puppies or haters, but I’m all right with this. I’ve long been a believer that blogs are different from shared public forums. They are not the town square. Blogs are the author’s living room, and I have always believed that in my house, it’s my rules. So I won’t have Scalzi’s Mallet of Loving Correction, I have no qualms about using the tools at my disposal. Hopefully, such incidents will be mercifully rare.

So that’s it for now. There will still be articles on things in the SF/F genres and writing/publishing news, and I will continue to post reviews. But they’ll be mixed in with a bit more what’s happening in the world around me.