Too Many Irons, Not Enough Fire

It seems that whenever I’m working on a novel, my ability to manage anything else in my life just goes kablooey. It’s a pity I don’t get paid for that kablooey thing because I’m really good at it. It also explains the spottiness of posts to this blog and other…uh…posty places. And thus this mish-mash by way of explanation.

The Novel

AM Coming Soon 360wIt’s not hard to infer that I’m currently in the midst of writing a novel (especially considering I just implied it). The second draft got good reviews from my readers and now I’m wheel to the grindstone (nose to the shoulder?) trying to get it up to the level of good review from me.

To be honest, like many writers without a taskmaster, I grab at reasons to procrastinate — as long as the procrastination is less onerous than writing…which, surprisingly, is less often than one would typically assume. I’m not sure I’m going to make my self-scheduled May deadline for release for layout, but it’s still a realistic possibility.

I’m mostly dreading all the post-writing tasks; i.e., all the stuff I’m really bad at. Finding reviewers (ideally reviewers who will favorably and generously lie), getting the word out, not losing momentum because I get…ooh, dandelion puffs. Pretty.

Being a one-person show with all of this is definitely a liability, but it is what it is.

(As long as we’re being honest. I know that as a novelist I’m an above average screenwriter. But the overwhelming majority of people read novels not scripts, so….)

Art

scratchdoodle 800wmI really need to make new art. Because of last year’s medical stuff (more on that later), I was unable to do anything much more than a random doodle or sketch. Now, while the studio is still livable (it gets really hot in summer and really cold in winter), I’d like to get an airbrushed piece or two done. Unfortunately, a part broke on my air compressor so there’s a delay until it comes in and I can do the swap-out.

My plan is to put more focus on scratchboard and variants (I have some notions). I need more quality pieces to sell and/or make prints of. More importantly, I can do that in my office studio regardless of weather.

Unfortunately, as I said, I have a novel to finish. So while I can dabble and doodle during breaks, I can’t give art my full attention just yet.

(Let this be a lesson to you, kiddies: pick writing OR art, not both. Down that road is insanity.)

Health

Ever since I got sick in the summer of 2013, I’ve been on a fun cycle of a few good days where I don’t feel sick at all, a few days when breathing is something that consumes my focus, and several days in between that are somewhere amid the two extremes. Basically, my lungs (and other sundry organs and body parts) have seen better days.

As long as I can be productive, I’m productive. But a lot of the time, even just conversing sparks a protracted coughing fit. Needless to say, except for videos, I’ve been avoiding occasions that require much talking or other such casual lung-exertions. I want to save it for the work.

Social Networking

One of the time-consuming things about being a self-represented creative is that you have to “maintain your brand” — basically just keeping your name out there. Over the years, I’ve found trying to do that consistently while engaged in large projects is difficult.

I’ve either dropped or consolidated my websites so that I now only have two that I consider active: TIB (this place) and my creative/professional site, CJ’s Creative Studio. Because I can post quick updates on projects and other relevant topics, the CJCS site tends to be easier to keep active. As for TIB…

Something I noticed a while back is that during discussions I would often cite an article I’d written on TIB. It seemed that I’d amassed a mostly non-repetitive anthology of articles on the blog that covered much of the stuff that’s on my mind. As with any long-term relationship (so I understand) after a while you’ve told most of your stories. This means, barring some new material, you’ll be doomed to repeat what you have said before. Over and over again. True, sometimes it’s necessary to re-introduce new readers to stuff that’s now buried in the dusty archives, but the writer in me likes to keep the material fresh when possible.

I’m not saying that I don’t have more to say. I do. (Boy, do I.) However, I censor myself — particularly in regards to hot-button/inflammatory subjects. While many say that it’s stupid to do so, that the ratio of people who like you to those who don’t won’t change, the fact is that I was raised in a time and culture where privacy and civility was valued. Given other factors I won’t go into, it was impressed upon me to be very circumspect. You’ll notice that I’ve rarely ranted, though I’ve tried as that’s in the grand tradition of blogging. For a while I would inject passionate opinion into some articles. But I can’t maintain that — mostly due to those other factors.

As a result of this, TIB is in a little bit of flux. I’m not exactly sure what it wants to be. Do I post lots of snippets, links, quotes, and the occasional article, making it sort of a private Facebook? Should I go more controversial? I’m definitely not above taking suggestions on what y’all would like to see (keeping in mind the time-suck that are writing and art).

Oh…and then there are the videos. I’ve been trying to make videos. They’ve mostly been for the CJCS site, but I can see doing some more for here. In some ways it’s easier to do a 1-2 minute update on camera than it is taking the time to type out several hundred/thousand words. Well…it’s easier on good days, when I’m not coughing like a son-of-a-gun. Then there’s that whole being on-camera thing…but maybe I can recruit manikin CJ or something to act as a stand-in. (I just quipped that, but I actually kinda like the idea. Hmmmm.) While I like doing the instruction videos, sometimes the editing can be a black hole to free time. So, we’ll see how that all evolves.

As for things like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other sundries… I probably spend more time on Facebook simply because most of my friends are there and I only have one site to deal with. Everywhere else I seem to have two or more presences (personal and professional). Sometimes it’s fine, other times it’s just too damn many things to deal with. At some point, something has to give.

Life

And, of course, life stuff. I swear, in-ground sprinklers are going to be the death of me. Or maybe just home maintenance in general. I’ve never been a putterer. I take no joy with doing the house upkeep, but it must be done. I’m used to doing a fair amount myself, but it’s looking like I’ll have to hire people to do the stuff I can’t anymore. sigh

Then there are people. Fortunately, over the decades I’ve only on rare occasions had anything resembling a social life. As a result, the lack of one is no big deal. It’s quieter and simpler. It suits me.

And that’s basically it. I apologize for not getting more works out more quickly. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a stream of stuff — well, a creek of stuff…maybe — in the coming months and onwards. The first will be Android Me, and then art should ensue. Unless, of course, I get caught again in writing’s net. I have other novels planned. But I have art planned, too. Gah. At least there’s comfort in knowing that if not for all the irons in the fire, I’d be nothing more than a hamster running in a squeaky wheel.

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