Monday, December 30, 2019

Performance Review

Hello, all. Hope the holidays have been good to you so far. I got to play a pleasant Christmas morning game with most of the presents called “Did the Tree Leak Or Is This Cat Pee?” Fortunately nothing was damaged. And we’re pretty sure it was just water. Like... 83% sure.

Anyway...

I had something else planned for the ranty blog but it struck me this is the last week of the year, so I wanted to stick with tradition and talk about what I got done over these past 367 days. It’s not meant as a brag or guideline or anything like that—my pace is my pace, your pace is your pace. Plus, talking with another pro friend at a Christmas party reminded me how slow my pace is compared to some folks. And I know I’m much faster than some.

Really, this is one of those posts that’s more for me than you. It’s me going over the year and seeing how much did I really get done? How much did I write this year? And this involves going through lots of files, checking the blog, searching under the couch cushions for excess words, all of that.

Anyway, here’s some of my noteworthy accomplishments of the year, if such things interest you.

I write the back half of Terminus, the new Audible exclusive that you’re probably going to be seeing (well, hearing) in about four weeks, if all sticks to plan. I was about 45,000 words into it when last year ended and then did another 60K or so. Then there was lots and lots and lots of editing. And copyediting. I think we ended up with a manuscript of about 101,000 words, when the smoke cleared and all the blood was hosed away.

I went back to work on the outlines for another book and ultimately decided... it wasn’t going to happen. I had beginnings I liked. I had endings I liked. But I just couldn’t seem to make them meet in the middle, no matter how I tried it. And after sort of banging pieces together for a week or three (after already working on it for a few weeks before Terminus)... I gave up on it.

I mean, I didn’t burn all my notes or anything. It’s still there wating for me to go back to it. But I’m a big believer that there’s a point where outlining and other forms of prep just become... well, wasted time. At that point I’d spent over two months trying to make the outline work and I’d lost a lot of enthusiasm for the project in the process. So I set it aside and moved on.

Fortunately, another idea had kinda splashed down in my head like an old Apollo capsule, and it seemed really solid. I had a three page outline that made me happy in about as many days and I just... dove in. That was mid-October or so. As I’m writing this, it’s just shy of 50,000 words in. Which I think isn’t bad considering the holidays and we had my parents stay with us for Thanksgiving.

There were also lots of blog posts. Counting this one, there were sixty-seven posts here on the ranty blog this year. In all fairness, I think nine or ten of those were cartoons by Tom Gauld or something similar, but I feel pretty safe saying there was, on average, a new post every single week, most of them around 2000 words or so. That adds up pretty quick.

There were eleven Writers Coffeehouses up in Burbank at Dark Delicacies and maybe another four or five where I filled in down at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego.

I read a lot, too. Thirty-seven books, if my math is right. Twelve of those were for the dystopian book club at The Last Bookstore. Also a good-sized pile of comics and trade collections. A dozen or so different articles from the Washington Post each week.

And if we want to get silly, there were probably forty or more Saturday geekery rants analyzing bad movies and some of the basic flaws they were tripping over. Sure, that’s Twitter, and it’s kind of my downtime, but it’s still me actively analyzing and critiquing stories

How about you? What did you get done this year? What things could you add to your list of writing accomplishments? Nothing needs to be official or accepted. You didn’t need to earn a minimum amount off it. It’s just stuff you do that you honestly feel contributes to your writing process. How much progress did you make toward your end goal?

What did you get done this year?

And with that, I bid you farewell until next year, when we’ll talk about... well, I’m sure all kinds of things. Is there some particular aspect of writing you’d like to hear me blab on about, or a problem I could possibly help with? Just let me know down in the comments.

Happy New Year. See you again in the far-flung future of 2020.

Until then, go write.

1 comment:

  1. Will Terminus be part of the Threshold series? I'd love to see more.

    ReplyDelete