The Motley Life of Edison Swift
Believe it or not, I’m working too hard. Anyone who knows me would find this laughable as I have made an art form of finding an ingenious solution to a problem at the last minute, which makes everyone think I’m much cleverer than I am.
Recently I seem to have taken on more responsibilities, and now find myself slaving away at all hours trying to find answers to problems that are very much not novel related or, in fact, writerly in any way. The cold, hard logic problems of software engineering.
And I think it’s affecting me. I’ve always bemoaned my lack of ability to focus on one project or topic – often blaming it for my failures. It’s extremely easy to say that the reason I haven’t had a novel published is because I’m too much of a polymath, my mind is too vast to be constrained by a single goal and therefore I need to unfetter it and let it wander its own path.
It’s much harder to admit that I just lack discipline and am genuinely an Olympic level procrastinator.
However, my recent attention to one subject (my actual job) has proven to me that I can concentrate. I can bring my (probably not as great as I think it is) intellect to bear entirely onto one subject. I do know what it takes to get things done. And I am perfectly capable of sitting down and doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing.
I just need to do it.
So, obviously, I have now decided, once more, that my dearest desire, my one true calling, the gold at the end of the rainbow is writing. If I want to remain fed, clothed and housed, I cannot stop doing my job, but outside of working hours I am going to concentrate entirely on one thing.
I realise that a healthy mind requires a healthy body which means I should still do a bit of cycling and squash. Maybe a couple of workouts to keep my body and mind supple and capable. And I do want to utilise my games programming muscles.
So, I am now going to focus entirely on this list:
- Finishing “The Motley Life of Edison Swift” before end of June 2022
- Writing two blog posts every week
- Getting The Literarium up and running
- Write a fantastic author helping tool
- Distribute my multidimensional thesaurus to the world
- Create a fabulous Patreon presence
- Ride my bike more
- Get 2,500 SquashLevel points
- Write a working version of Chesster
I think I’ll be much happier now that I’ve only got one thing to do.
I feel like an addict.
I’ll just have a quick look to see how many pre-orders there are for “Entering the Weave”. And I’ll refresh the page a couple of seconds after I’ve arrived just in case someone has ordered one in the few seconds it took me to read the number.
At home, on my way to the bedroom or the bathroom or sometimes for no reason at all, I’ll detour into the study and have a quick look. At work, sitting in front of the computer all day, it’s hard to keep the checking down to once every ten minutes.
I have determined that this must stop. But it’s hard. And it’s made harder by the fact that I should be actively trying to promote it. With one half of my brain I’m dreaming up schemes to fool people into buying it. With the other I’m now trying to not think about it.
So, I need something to divert my attention. Some thing or things that will use my entire brain and be just as exciting as checking my progress of pre-orders…
Here is my plan. This month, October, I’m going to finish “Charlie’s Worries”. Then in November I’m going to try and break my record in NaNoWriMo. (I wrote 661 words out of the required 50,000 so it shouldn’t be hard) I’ll write “The Book of Lies”. Then in December and January I’ll get as much of “The Motley Life of Edison Swift” onto paper as possible.
During this time I shall only allow myself one hour of social media promotion and pre-order checking of “Entering the Weave” at 7pm every day.
The diet starts tomorrow… wish me luck.
There were a number of reasons that I started to keep this blog:
- To practice this writing thing as often as possible; to give me an outlet where I didn’t need to concentrate on characterisation or plots.
- To record and document my progress towards getting published, as a history for me and any other aspiring author.
- To motivate myself by transforming each rejection from a personal slight into a mere statistic.
Recently, I’ve been busy.
“That’s no excuse. Writers write. You can’t publish a blank sheet of paper.”
I know. I know. I know.
But I have been busy. And I’ve still been fairly productive in the writing department, so shut your face.
I’ve now had a soul destroying 29 rejections for “The Clockwork Butterfly” and 3 submissions have timed out following an email asking me to assume the worst after a period of time. The last rejection I got was 10 days ago and so I’m beginning to assume the worst for the rest of them as well seeing as though the longest one has been out there for 91 days now…
Still. Nevermind. I’ve almost got Charlie’s Worries to a point where I can start submitting it, so I’ll be able to go through the whole heart rending process again. (It really helps that it’s only about 30,000 words long, rather than 150,000)
I entered Hot Key Unlocked and managed to write about 2,000 relevant words, following the brief laid out by the rules of the competition. Although I’d been thinking a lot about the plot I only put fingers to keyboard on the Sunday it had to be submitted. Of course, I knew I wouldn’t win. I’ve never written anything sexy or spicy before and found it hard to find the balance I wanted. In the end, though, I was pleased with what I produced and as the days went by I’d fooled myself into thinking that I might win.
And I was disproportionately disappointed by this. After a day or so, after realising that I’d actually entered it to test my focus, rather than become the new Barbara Cartland (or more probably Dame Sally Markham) , I got things back into perspective and saw it for what it was: a good exercise and excellent writing practice.
Next up is NaNoWriMo and I’ve got a nicely absurd idea for this. I need to remember that this is another exercise to work my writing muscle and not necessarily an attempt to create a novel fit for publication. I want to try and have fun with it.
So, by the end of November I should be ready to start my next project “The Motley Life of Edison Swift”