Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Resolving to be Resolute
So. Here we are. The year ends, and since we use this arbitrary system of dates to mark beginnings and endings, let me just say, “Adios, 2010, you rat bastard.”
There was a lot of good this year, to be sure. But the year was also filled with many frustrating roadblocks, from a health problem that had a serious impact on my productivity, to family drama to those charming little surprises the universe tosses your way from time to time. I accomplished perhaps one-tenth of what I had planned this year.
And it’s all my fault.
My time management skills went out the window in January. Or I got Time Management Amnesia. In any case, my schedule became a game of Jenga, with work and writing commitments and personal responsibilities piling on one another until the tower of babbling buffoonery toppled.
I missed deadlines. I had to drop out of projects. Everything I managed to complete was very late. Some publishers were understanding and other not so much. I’m thankful for the former and I do not blame the latter. The second worst offense a writer can make is agreeing to a deadline and blowing it (the first is turning in a manuscript that reads as if it were shat out by a diarrhetic monkey).
Looking ahead, I’m working hard to get back on track. A big part of this is figuring out how to balance my writing with my day job. The job takes a lot of hours and I need to make a realistic writing schedule that reflects that.
This week I’m finishing up another long-overdue project. Next, Then Dave Wilbanks and I start writing the next Dead Earth novel on January 1. At the same time, I will do rewrites on the first Dead Sheriff prose book, then starting on a new horror novel, thanks to our collaboration schedule which allows me three days of “alone” writing time after turning in my latest segment of the DE novel. Following that, I will write the second Dead Sheriff book.
I will also continue my serialized pulp-adventure novel Donovan Pike and the City of the Gods.
There are other stories and novellas I would like to write next year. However, the projects mentioned above take precedent. Anything else will have to wait for the rare window in my schedule.
I also have to get better at saying no. Even though I’m near the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to writers, each year I do receive a smattering of invitations to write something for an anthology or other project. In 2011, the project will have to be either incredibly compelling or very lucrative to get me to sign on. That goes for audio book narrating, too.
Where does this hard-line scheduling leave Pod of Horror?
Good question. I love PoH. I love talking with other writers. I love working with my friend, the very patient Nanci Kalanta (but please don’t tell her I said that).
It takes me roughly 12-15 hours to put together a typical episode. That includes scheduling segments, prepping interviews, conducting interviews, editing, and the other boring details that are a part of every episode. Because of the previously mentioned day job–which gets even busier near the end of the year–I didn’t have 12 hours to spare in December, so there wasn’t a Pod of Horror.
Despite my best efforts to keep the show monthly, I end up producing far less. In 2010 there were only four episodes. Part of that is due to the issues that affected my productivity all year long. Still, I have to be honest with myself and admit that I won’t be doing 12 new episodes per year. I think a more realistic goal is 6 shows in 12 months. If I manage to squeeze in an extra show that will be gravy on the mashed potatoes, as we say back home.
I’ll check in regularly and let you know how the plan is working.