So, as you guys know I’ve been doing some detective work to figure out why and wherefore this year was as sucky as it was so we can avoid it next year.
We’ll forego the “have to fix cars” at the worst possible moment, and the HVAC follies. Those didn’t help, but neither are they something I can control unless I get mechanical and HVAC training. (Hey, look, at the rate things are going there will be a market for people who can keep cars going on improvised parts. I’d just rather write stories.)
Instead, I’m looking at what I do and my process. To be perfectly blunt, 13 was a disaster in terms of fiction words written and of being able to start a project and finish in time. This is a problem, because I want to continue working. (As I said, I’d rather write stories.)
The problem is this – and it makes me laugh that I dare write about other people’s lives, considering – that I have no clue what the texture of my own life is or how it came about.
What I mean is I start doing things, and other things accrete, and then a year later I look back and go “uh, I haven’t broken out the pastels in a year, but I’ve been doing sewing and egg carving?” This is the hobby side, natch (and the reason pastels got put away was open eczema wounds on my hands) but the writing side can get as puzzling.
Here is the evidence, and if I were from the outside, I’d be puzzled: in 2013 I finished a book and did about seven short stories. BUT somehow I managed to always feel overworked and suffer the symptoms of exhaustion, like during the year I wrote six books and homeschooled Marshall and took Greek and Latin courses. In fact, it was exactly like that. I was okay a week, then got sick again, rinse, lather, repeat.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I thought to add up all the words. Forget the other stuff I’m doing that’s not writing: learning to do covers, editing, interior work, etc. Just the words, ma’am. Nothing but the words.
I calculated what I’m on the hook for every week, just in blog posts, my work at PJM, etc…
And I came up with a minimum of 10k words a day. That’s 70k a week, which adds up to something like a pulp novel.
Suddenly my eyes were opened. The problem is that I do another 10k a day on fiction (and I do that much because I’m afraid of falling further behind) and next thing you know, I’m doing five or six 20k words days and I collapse. Which, let me tell you, is perfectly normal. When I did the novel in three days, I couldn’t even think afterwards.
Worse – after about a year of this, the fatigue became cumulative. I never quite recover, and each time I feel LESS creative.
So, is this the announcement I’m closing the blog?
No. The blog … I am one of those people who needs a social life, even if online. Yes, I have a social life here too – sometimes I think the occasional drinks night with Mr. and Mrs. Vodkapundit (yes, I am totally name dropping. Deal) saved my life this year – but I like this community and I’m not killing it, nor shuttering it.
I have been part of communities that became too much of a strain for the bloggers, and I still mourn them and I’m not doing that.
However, I’d like to cut my non fic writing, here and PJM to about 10 to 15k a week. For PJM that’s easy. They want short blogs, with links, and quotes. I can totally do that. Other than my weakly patter for the Friday book plug and my blogs on publishing, and those can be kept manageable. So, that I can do.
And here – there’s gonna be some changes around these parts. Not as terrifying as you think. I’ll be doing the style blog post you guys are used to 3 times a week or so. For the rest, I’ll have a rotating guest blogger once a week, and I think I’ll do an aggregaty thing on the weekends. (You know strange follies from the world of politics or art or something, with linking pithy commentary.) I’ll also take occasional blog posts, if it’s something that interests me and you guys send me. If you take in account that one of my blog days is a free chapter, (though that will probably move to Saturdays, frankly, leaving the aggregaty thing on Sundays) that should cut things down to “manageable.”
So I can keep this blog and make a living. What do you guys think?
However – and before you guys get disgusted, I still have to catch up. So, for the next two weeks, I’ll be running A LOT of guest posts. I’ll still do my normal ones, but not every day. This is by the way of letting me get back into writing and turn in novels before Christmas and also hopefully get my subscribers their freebies.
I will pick interesting guest posts, I promise, and if any of you want to send me stuff, you know my email.
I don’t want you to look at those two weeks and think I’ve abandoned the blog. I haven’t. Again, every other post will still be mine. I just need to concentrate on writing for now, so be patient with me.
And now, I’ll go do fiction words. If you guys have suggestions on formats for the blog, where I can cut down on how many words I’m producing, that’s fine.
I just had no clue I was writing that much till I counted. I think THAT more than anything else is at the root of the illnesses this year. And that can’t go on.
BUT the blog is important to me and I want to keep it going.