What do you do when you have conflicting commitments? Hindsight would say, “Don’t schedule yourself in two places at once,” but sometimes events lead us into unforeseen circumstances. My conflicting commitments stretch across writing, reading, and podcasting. The commitment that has to be dropped right now is NaNoWriMo. I thought I could put things aside to make extra room for nano, but realized that doing so would mean doing other commitments with half the effort. Four priorities forced me to conclude nano wouldn’t be completed this year.
The first obstacle was writer’s block. Some people say this doesn’t exist, and I can see their point. I could write incoherent garbage, but I prefer not to have to edit it later. So, when I hit a snag in my SF novel, I decided I needed to give it some time to percolate. Four days and one glorious swim later and I unraveled the science I needed to move forward. I’m a firm believer that some things can’t be forced, and for the week that I did nano, I was squeezing blood out of my temples to get the words out. Instead of wasting days like that with low word counts, I’d rather work on other projects. My priority is to be productive, and if one project needs time to breathe, I should be able to work on other stuff.
Moving on to my second priority, I have an interview today with Michael J. Sullivan for my AudioTim podcast. I received an advanced reader copy of Theft of Swords, a combination of the first two books of the Riyria Revelations. I try to read the person’s book before interviewing them, but in this case I was taking too long with all the time I was spending “writing.” So, I haven’t written in four days, but I did finish his book, and am glad to say it was an absolute treat. I’d like to say I take my job seriously, and podcasting, while not my main focus, is still significant to my career and the career of those whom I interview. People aren’t going to waste their time coming on my show if I don’t try hard to present the best product. Therefore, I needed to take a break to put my best foot forward for this interview – plus, I’m a big fan of Michael’s, so giving him a good show is the least I can do.
My third priority is the goal of polishing my craft before I spit out 50k of words that will be agonizing to edit. The 11k I’ve written so far this month are an improvement, but I still don’t have a handle on the issues I mentioned in the last post about subject rules, pronouns, and paragraph breaking. I’ve polished the 5k for Lane Diamond of Evolved Publishing to edit and send back his notes, and am waiting to see those before I move forward. That gave me the perfect time to catch up on my reading. I love to read, and the only way I’m going to read the books I want to is to finish the ones I’m working on. These two combined for a good excuse not to write for a few days.
This leads to my final priority: getting published. All roads lead to this end, and I’ve got the best lead to date. A zombie novelette I sent out prior to joining Team PYP in June received a non-rejection from a publisher, and a request for another editing pass. I asked my trusty captain over at Port Yonder Press and she said polishing this story should be a high priority. I agree.
So, once I get my edits back from Lane, I am going to apply that to my current flash fiction piece – a zombie story set in the same mythos as my novelette – and my novelette. I’ve got another flash fiction piece needing final polish and I’d like to get at least the two zombie stories out to publishers this month. This will be my best foot forward towards the goal I stated earlier this year that 2011 be the year I get published.