Holidays Are Over… So How’d I Do?

Let’s look back at my accountability checklist and see how successful I was:

So, here’s the list, if it’s crossed off, I got it done:

  • Choose the passage I’ll be reading for my Thunder Road launch.
  • Attend my own book launch.
  • Don’t screw up my own book launch.
  • Choose the passage I’ll be reading for my THIN AIR appearance.
  • Finish the current (3rd) draft of Tombstone Blues (four chapters and a short epilogue left to look at).
  • Walk the Winnipeg locations of Tombstone Blues for veracity & feeling (this will be repeated in the fall, as the novel is set in November).
  • Arrange research trip to the virus lab.
  • Actually go to the virus lab.
  • Start 4th draft of Tombstone Blues.
  • Finish 4th draft of Tombstone Blues.
  • Finish my story for submission to Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Dead North anthology.
  • Go back to the drawing board (notebook?) and completely redraft my Urban Green Man short story so that I’m not embarrassed to have Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine read it.
  • Revise two short stories that On Spec offered to take a second look at in their next submissions period.
  • Write a guest blog for As You Were.
  • Write a new blog post every day.
  • Update a few things on my website.
  • Answer interview questions for my first confirmed interview.
  • Brainstorm ideas for a horror story for when John Joseph Adams’ Nightmare Magazine reopens to submissions.
  • Brainstorm ideas for the forthcoming Innsmouth Free Press anthology Swords and Mythos.
  • Dust off an old, too-long short story to see if I can resurrect it as a novelette or novella for Innsmouth’s new Jazz Age Cthulhu venture.
  • Dust off my 2nd draft of a Sword and Sorcery manuscript and give it a reread, as I’ve been itching to get back to it lately.
  • Look at the outline for the as-yet-untitled third book in the Thunder Road trilogy.
  • Most importantly, write new damn words, every damn day.

Blogging everyday. I did it, but this is something that is so not going to happen again for the foreseeable future. Maybe when Tombstone Blues is coming out and I’m doing the promotional stuff for it. It was cool to see all of the increased (and certainly more regular) traffic to the blog, though. September has already seen more website hits than my previous best month (which was August, when I started my crazy blogging pledge, and August was twice as busy as any other month). However, blogging time is also time I’d could be using drafting new stories and novels. So I’m going keep to my original pledge of one blog a week, and try to find a schedule for blogging that’ll be the best of both worlds.

As for updates to the website: I added a Facebook “like” button for the Thunder Road Trilogy page on the sidebar, as well as added links to click on archives. I love the user-friendly nature of WordPress and its widgets! My THIN AIR reading was added to the Appearances page. I also put up a Bibliography page (incomplete at the moment–haven’t tracked down links for all of my book reviews yet–but it hits most of the highlights) and added contact info to my About page.

As for what didn’t get done…

Short stories took the biggest hit. I didn’t revise those stories for On Spec (too many revisions going on with Tombstone Blues, I guess). I didn’t finish my Dead North story (I do have a new draft, but it’s nowhere near submission ready). I read over the story I thought would work for Jazz Age Cthulhu, forgot it was set post World War II, so that will have to change, but I also have some notes for a 1920s era story that I didn’t end up writing that can be sewn on Frankenstein-like to maybe make the other too long short story into a proper length novella.  It’s not crossed off the list, because I didn’t put any real consideration into how I was going to do that sewing.

I didn’t get to the Sword and Sorcery manuscript, but I did brainstorm ideas for my eventual submission to Innsmouth Free Press’s Sword and Mythos anthology. I think the story will be in the same world as the novel (and, incidentally, the same world as my story in Fungi), so I did a bit of extra noodling about with characters and worldbuilding of nations and culture, but not nearly enough to count it a win.

I did start that 4th draft of Tombstone Blues, but only barely, and hit none of my location research goals. Not the end of the world, and as I was planning on revisiting most of them again in the fall anyway…probably not surprising they got shunted aside. They were time away from the keyboard after all.

I also realize I should’ve added “clean my office” to that list, as it needed to be done, and it’s one of the go-to procrastination items on every writer’s list. At least I would’ve been able to say “at least it’s on the accountability checklist” this time around. Because it wasn’t on the list, I think I only succeeded in moving some piles around while I was hiding from work.

A few other things came up: I booked an interview on CJOB’s The Book Club and another with blogger and fellow author Susan Rocan over on mywithershins.

All in all, I got quite a bit of work done, although I was surprised by how much time preparations for the launch required. Probably due to it being a new experience. Hopefully future launches won’t require the same amount of nail biting or detail-oriented worrying. In case they do, however, I don’t think I’ll plan a writing “holiday” around the same time as an event. While it was nice to have the time free to blog, to prepare, the immediacy of promotion definitely ate into the drafting of new words. I’m glad I put the list up for public consumption though. I know I accomplished more because of it. Maybe I should should post a monthly accountability checklist…

So, how do you think I did?

7 thoughts on “Holidays Are Over… So How’d I Do?

  1. Putting the list up monthly is kind of a good idea, I like it. Might do something like that myself. Elizabeth Bear does something like that on a semi-regular basis.

      • Was that the 10k club? I tried to keep up with that, but I prefer to do my first drafts during nano, get them over with, and then revise the rest of the year. Switching gears from new writing to revision throws me off, and then at the beginning of a revision, there’s a ton of analysis and planning to be done that doesn’t involve adding new words. I figured I’d stop setting myself up to fail, and give myself credit for the work I’m actually getting done. And it’s not as if I haven’t got tons done.

      • Yeah that was the 10K club. It was fun while it lasted. I don’t mind doing revision and new writing, as I tend to use different parts of my day for each. Oddly enough I’m far more critical after a day of working with the public. If NaNo works for you, that’s great. The one MS I did that way required soooo much revision that I’ve hardly touched it since 2009.

      • Ha – my first drafts are always wrecks. Sometimes they’re not much more than glorified outlines, but I’ve kind of learned that’s just the way some stories come out, and if it’s going to be a mess, I might as well get that part over with all at once. The peer support gives me the drive to finish fast, and then I have a finished draft to work with. Then, since it’s something I whipped up in a month, I’m not sick of the story by the time I get to revising.

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