It’s a blog post! A blog post not entirely about story subscription promotion! You may want to sit down. Maybe tuck your head between your knees? It’ll be okay. We’ve been here before, it’s just been a while. Really, it’s going to be okay.
So, what’s been going on here in my little corner of the Pacific Northwest? Summer came, and it’s finally on its way out. I’ll be honest with you – I don’t get on with summer. Natives to this region talk about how we have two seasons (dry and wet) and while I don’t see that as being true (we have gentle seasonal changes, marked largely by a prolonged spring and a prolonged autumn – or as Beth and I call it, second spring) I can’t deny that the ‘halves’ of the year are, in my mind, split between wet and dry. These are our extremes, you understand. We don’t really experience the types of prolonged cold and hot periods other parts of the country experience. ‘Halves’ is a bit of a misnomer, because our dry season is, at its worst, three months long, and usually it’s not quite that long. This year it’s been hot (running the gamut of the 90s range) longer than it’s been since we’ve moved out here, though it hasn’t peaked into the 100s like it generally does.
We acquired an air conditioner. On general principle, I don’t like them – they make the hot air seem even worse once I leave the sweet bastion of cool sanctuary, and I’d rather get used to being miserable. However: last year our aging dog suffered some pretty bad heatstroke, complete with seizures, and there was no way in hell we were going there again. We entered into summer armed with experience and knowledge and a slew of freezer pops (Pedialyte, vet-approved!), ice packs, alcohol (to rub upon the paws during the warmer days, to help cool his body down), ready to go. During the third or forth week of 90 degrees and up, we decided the AC unit was going to happen, come hell or high water. I make it sound terrible – it cools down every night, and there was maybe one week, two tops, when it did not cool down below 80, but that was true even last year and he still stroked out on us. So: AC unit.
I forgot how much I love having them.
It’s been one hell of a summer, just the same. To recap: I’ve had my very first dental surgery; there was over a month of mandatory OT at my day job; Corbie’s progressed to a stronger maintenance medication regimen for his heart failure, there was a mishap with said medication that required a $400 trip to the vet ER; Beth’s had to scramble to find a new doctor and then, somewhere in there, I threw my back out – again. Not as bad as before, but enough to keep me from writing for a good solid month, because sitting wasn’t something I could really do long enough to type anything.
Any wonder that I’m so thrilled to see signs of summer’s end?
It hasn’t all been bad, of course. The surprise dental surgery has lead to my most successful writing venture to date (which has, in turn, led me to be able to say things like, I have a part-time writing job. How great is that?) (we’ll ignore the fact that simply because I want to be writing is enough of a reason for me to put my writing time as a priority in my life, and that I shouldn’t need any more of a “legitimate” reason than that – do as I say, not as I do!); we’re able to afford (just) Corbie’s new medication (yay for generic drugs!!); we were able to afford his trip to the ER, and he’s fine; bodies are awesome, and my back is feeling better.
Most relevant to my writing practice, I realized as August came to an end that I have been writing consistently since last August, when McCredie moved in and took over my brain. I’ve wanted, since I started this blog, to improve my amount of output, to challenge my habit of writing a bunch for a month or two or three, and then going four or five or eight months without writing any fiction at all. We all have our pace, and we all get to decide what amount of attention our writing gets – we don’t all have to be prolific (though if we’re trying to support ourselves by our writing, prolific helps). Wanting to push myself out of that comfort zone was as much about getting as many stories written as I could (I’m not getting younger, and there are so many stories that are waiting to see the light of day) as it was wanting to work less at the day job, but in the end the ‘why’ mattered less. I wanted to write more. More often, more efficiently, more consistently.
I’ve failed this year at keeping daily or weekly word counts. I know the ballpark, between the various writing I’ve done since last August. There’s 45k on Born of Flame, 45k on Inundated, there’s something like 15 or 20k of short stories, and 29k on Igraine’s Flight. So, since last August that’s, low end, 134k worth of words. In a year. If that had all been on one specific project, that would be a long full-length novel. In a year. That’s not counting the 30k on Brit and Thistle’s second story that I wrote in the beginning of 2013. It may not seem like a big deal, but for me, this is a huge, huge accomplishment. I have proven to myself that, despite working full time, despite having a full and fulfilling spiritual practice, despite various health problems, injuries, and family crises, I can keep writing and accomplish goals and get material out there. This is a milestone for me, and I’m extremely proud of it.
I’ve realized, also, with the introduction of my story subscription (and thus, permission to not write novels) that I love writing. I’m excited about the stories coming up in ways that I cannot sustain excitement over the novels I attempt to write. This has me seriously considering the direction Born of Flame as taking. I love McCredie, I want to tell her whole story very badly, but oh are there bits of that need rewriting and streamlining. This amount of writing has lead me to understand that my biggest problem is not a lack of time or a lack of material but of too much complications. Plot lines that are too complicated, relationships that are too complicated, world building that is too complicated. I love, love, love reading epic stories. I do not like writing them. This is okay, and I’m glad I’ve realized this problem area of mine, because I can already see that naming it has allowed me to move away from it. For example, the current story I’m working on has an incredibly complex back story and world building. Therefore, the plot lines of the stories (especially since I want them to fall in the 10k word range and be complete stories) need to be somewhat less complex. (I’m already doubting that I can keep them all under 10k, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Other projects I’ve got going on: cleaning up The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales and getting it out on other platforms (can we say table of context?); cleaning up and rereleasing The Fosterling (it’s just sitting here after all, and it’s a solid story, damn it), as well as getting Treasure’s from the Deep out on multiple platfors as well. It’s slow going, as most of them need to be reformatted entirely and time is something I’m lacking right now. I also very much wat to figure out how to get more writing out of me – right now I’m trying to squeeze the bulk of my writing into four days in the month, which works but leaves no time to work on anything beyond various blog posts and getting the material for the subscription written. I want to have material to shop around still. Goals to work towards, but for now? Look at me go! Look at goals being hit without realizing it, without necessarily feeling it. Hooray for me!