On The Counting of Things

May wasn’t the best of months for writing, if by writing you mean advancing plots. I didn’t get a lot of work in on personal projects, if you don’t count promoting the release of my book.

But May was a whirlwind of typing for me, so I thought I’d break down what I was up to and where things are going next.

First and foremost, I wrapped up a contract gig writing video games. About 95 thousand words of writing in a month takes a lot out of you, but on top of that I edited perhaps twice as many words for the same project. I had a fantastic time doing it (the paychecks were nice too), and were the company willing to take on remote contractors I’d gladly work for them again (they’ve for the most part moved to California, and in a different direction for now)/

I also did a fair bit of blogging. 12 thousand more words spread out over three websites and some 24 posts. Now I’m pretty good with words, but my posts aren’t exactly short, and often include links and pictures. Each takes a while to craft “just so”, and there’s editing involved there as well. I read 20 books. listened to about half that many, and penned a few thousand words of reviews.

Plus, I totally released a book. I may have mentioned that a few times.

Add into that a bit of consulting, and a healthy dose of yard work, and I think we can all agree it was a pretty busy month.

In contrast, here in June I’ve worked in the yard, watched movies, listened to podcasts and played video games.

And I think we can all agree that that’s a full week, even when not looking for my next employer.

But against all reason, a project that had been back-burnered in favor of the job and book above has found new life, and several chapters have already joined their elder science-fictiony siblings. New projects are looming, Margaritas taste just as good if not better when you’ve got no real plans the next day.

And yet, I’m still spending my days looking at the clock.

I can’t reasonably use power tools any earlier than 10:AM, and writing in the morning that’s not on blogs hasn’t always been as productive as work later in the day. I lost yesterday’s creative time to the local cable company, first on the phone with a helpful person and later with a technician here at the house.

As soon as I finish these words, the plan is to do some more writing. I keep thinking about Stephen King’s daily goal of 5 pages, 1500 words no matter what. I can do a lot more than that, but often don’t. The 27 thousand word first draft of Hearts of Iron was written in 19 days, but a few years ago I penned 100K on a novel series in that same length of time, and that to me tells me what my true boundaries are. Especially since one of those days counted over 22K words most of which have stuck around.

There’s a problem here, and I think I can sum it up in 3 more words.

Too. Many. Numbers.

What happened to writing? Sitting down and pouring out your soul until you’re done for the day? There are no deadlines or contracts to fulfill at the moment. There’s no need to count things, and I find it very reassuring that this morning I woke up and didn’t know what day it was. I usually have to look up the date on the best of days, but “Friday” was hard to parse, when it was essentially the same as Wednesday.

So writing is the goal right now. Chapter “takes place on the planet while the soldiers have an alien encounter” needs finishing, so I can start on Chapter “Takes place on the ship, as all the participants arrive in the same place, but for completely different reasons.”

Let’s wrap up this story, so I can move on to the next one. And the one after that.

Not that I’ve prioritized them, of course. Because that would be…

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