Summer was short, hot, dry, and busy. I'd like to say that I achieved a lot as a writer, but that would be an exaggeration with the myriad of distractions that came with the season. I did finally finish my edit of the next Scarlet Bastards book, The Bone Witch, though. It now rests with my editor who is even now, sharpening her pencil/axe for the job.
I also worked a bit on marketing, but not nearly enough. As I look at new covers and expand my social media presence, I hope to firmly establish my brand while spreading the news of my tales, both sci-fi and fantasy, to the greater reading community. As I've noted many times before, the marketing is the real challenge for me; that steady and dedicated push to explain myself and my product. I'm no more close to a comfortable strategy than at any time before, but a slow and steady pace and a firmer resolve will, I hope, equal some sales success.
Anyway, I did also enjoy my summer, so I'll end with a few pictures.
Part of the reason for my laziness in writing this summer is a combination of finally getting some summer weather, and a writing space that's more storeroom than a space for productive musing.
I'm happy for our sudden warm weather after a colder than normal winter and a spring that never seemed to come. Right after the summer solstice it was if a switch was flicked and we jumped into summer high gear. That meant packing up the trailer for some camping with a bit of kayaking after.
Now, I did do a bit of editing, but frankly it just couldn't compete with a lot of hiking, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. I've been waiting a while for that, and if nothing else, some simple time outdoors will help the muse on my projects.
As for my office, it's been a great day of cleaning out. I have breathing space and am feeling a bit more inspired to come in here and write. This week, I think I'll begin progressing my two writing projects; The Child at Play in the Trees and Mars Rising.
It's supposed to be spring, but here I am huddled in my basement with a hoodie after a cool cup of coffee in the back yard. I suppose on a certain level I should be grateful; I mean, I'm not drawn to go outside and putter amongst the vegetables if I'm forever blowing on my fingertips. I should therefore be feeling the compulsion to sit before the keyboard and type,blog, edit, market...well you get my drift. To be honest, I'm not quite there. This bought of writer's block is partly self-imposed as spring/summer tends to be my slow period of productivity since my time is spent in other pursuits on evenings and weekends - namely outside ones. But with our 'Juneuary' in full swing, I should be inside being productive, but I'm not. Perhaps there is a stubbornness to be outside irrespective of weather (last weekend was a beautiful 27 degrees and great for a 15 km hike) and to day I will certainly go out and stretch my legs. However, I'm starting to think that I'm tiring of this manufactured writer's block and that perhaps I just need to set that time aside and get on with it. Be it editing The Scarlet Bastards - The Bone Witch or finishing my next military scifi, I should simply run out of excuses and get back to work.
It seems to be one of those springs where I just can't get motivated. It's been a long, cold winter (for the west coast at least) and the vegetables are slow to start. Hiking and kayaking has been spotty because the weather continues to be miserable and therefore, my muse to motivate me to write seems to be adrift. We packed up and spent a few soggy days on the beach up Island, soaking up the rain and wind while sipping whisky and wondering how to get myself back into writing. A day of sun was quite welcome and today a day in the gardens was a rather cleansing period for me. It at least has me sitting in from of my computer typing out a short blog post as well as sending ebook cover inquiries out so I'll take what I can get. Here's hoping I even write a few words this week.
If one were to peer into my social media consciousness, one would see no end of memes saying, 'Write!" or some iteration of that most basic message. As a writer, it is considered one of the cardinal rules that you should write something every day. It's a rule I've rarely followed as life tends to get in the way, especially when it's cycling, kayaking, and hiking weather. In the winter is when I try to push myself to pump out the words since my outdoor activities listed above, are curtailed a little bit by wind and rain. Sadly, not so much this winter.
I suspect it began with an incomplete NaNoWriMo. I hit about 36,000 words on a novel that's been sitting about for a while and then a new puppy ended that as well as an ongoing kitchen reno. I was ultimately satisfied with the effort - adding 36,000 words is no failure, but it still tasted a bit sour. A busy winter with volunteering in different organizations has augmented that lack of time until I find myself having gone weeks without writing. Yes, a bit of editing has been done and I continue to struggle to find a cover artist, but nothing substantively new. Which, of course, makes my social media stream seem a bit hypocritical.
I had planned to work on a new contemporary fantasy as well as plug away at book three of my military scifi series, but both of these feel stalled. In the end, if nothing else, working on my blogging schedule is a form of writing, so I will endeavor to continue this.
I've read, in many sources, that blogging is a must for we independently published authors. Social media in general is a must, actually, and I find I excel at some more than others. I'm particularly fond of Instagram, which allows me to explore my work and my life as an author through imagery. The fact that it links up to my other social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter is a bonus (I don't tweet enough either) . Snapchat is a new one for me, and a bit baffling as I try and figure out how it should work for my brand and Wattpad is quite good if only I'd use it regularly. In fact, I could say that about all social media, but it is the blog that continues to vex me. I just can't seem to get into it.
Perhaps I need to force a habit - the weekly blog. My fear is that I'll just chatter inanely, rather like I do in real life, with no substance. Perhaps not though. Of course it doesn't have much reach at this point without followers, but of course, that may change if I actually did it. So, Google Calender and Microsoft Notebook is set to have me blather here on a weekly basis. Perhaps it'll be about writing or perhaps not. Hopefully, you'll stop by and see.
I am in no way, a prolific writer. Though I have five books published, one in edit, three unfinished, and a couple that will never see the light of a publishing day, it is not indicative that I accomplish much each day. Often it is fits and spurts - an aimless exercise that in the end, produces through as much fluke as skill, a manuscript. It's all often done in between a number of other loves (not work though, that's a need that must be endured) which includes puttering on my my small, vanity urban farm in the spring and summer, camping and backpacking, hiking and kayaking, and cycling. As you can see, it doesn't leave me much time to just write.
Oh yes, it's that time of year - the adoption of some hopefully not so hollow promises on change for the coming year. As a writer, I'm fairly content with my process of production, but marketing, my bane and challenge, is quite another thing. This year my resolution is to focus on marketing, everything from blogging and social media to more book events and reading. In between, it will be focusing on putting out a new book for The Scarlet Bastards series as well as progressing on Titan Rising and my second contemporary fantasy book that I've begun over the holidays.
Inevitably, spring and summer take a bite out of my writing productivity. The back woods of southern Vancouver Island beckon, the beaches and trails for backpacking call, and my tiny little urban farm demands a substantial level of effort that belies its small size. All of these pursuits make a massive dent in my writing and here I sit, fighting to get a blog post out let alone write or edit. That being said, I've been cooped up all winter and I'm hard put to pound away on a key board with the sun out and some remote beach calling my name. So, I'll think about upcoming projects, ready myself for another round of editing on The Bone Witch, and enjoy some more time outside.
I've been stuck before - musing over some scene, trying to capture some narrative nuance or perfect a bit of dialogue while all around me time slows down. It certainly slows down when it come to productivity as I stare at the screen, check Facebook, glance at a sales report, and then come back to the half written paragraph.
You see I'm a bit spoiled - I've been writing two first person memoirs this year as part of my Scarlet Bastards series, so I've been in a certain mode when it comes to pumping out prose. With my latest, The Scarlet Bastards - The Bone Witch, waiting for its next step in the editing process and the next one still cooling on the back burner, I've moved back to the third of my military scifi books, Titan Rising. Third person narrative much heavier on tech, math, and science than the other series, and here the narrative has ground to a halt.
I'm fortunate that the weather is good, the gardens needs tending, and the chickens need looking after. It gives me something to do while I figure out what word comes next in that unfinished paragraph.