Taking Stock

Today, 5 July 2013, is the 75th work day of this new life I’m living. Yes, yesterday was a federal holiday, but I put in some writing time*, same as I did back on Memorial Day. That makes them both work days, so I get to count them. 75 may not be a nice round number like 100, but as a multiple of five, it has resonance, and it’s large enough to make it a reasonable number at which to pause, take a look back and see what I’ve accomplished so far.

* OK, so it was only five minutes or so, and I only wrote one sentence, but it’s an important sentence, with ramifications for the entire rest of the work.

On the non-fiction side, I’ve got 96 blog posts written (counting this one, the cat posts, and a couple of meta-posts about the blog, but not counting the emergency posts in my backlog). Some of them are on the short side, but I’ve also written 67 comments, so I think it averages out. I’ve proven to myself that I can write coherently on a variety of subjects and that I can write to specific word count targets. The 49 followers and readers from 14 different countries suggest that I’m even managing to do it in a reasonably entertaining style.

On the downside, the evidence strongly suggests that I’m not going to be supporting myself with this blog (no, that’s not news, nor was it part of the plan). I’m not even earning enough to keep the cats in Kitty Krunchies. The Amazon Affiliate links have earned me a grand total of nothing. Worse yet, nobody has thrown their corporate selves at my feet, offering me zillions of dollars to pontificate on their site instead of (or better yet) in addition to this one.

Ahem. Moving on.

As far as fiction goes, I’ve written two short stories. Both can be at least loosely described as “fantasy”, and both are making the rounds of possible publishers. For the curious, I’ve added a “Scorecard” page (last link on the right near the top of the page, directly under the picture of the fish) to the blog. It’s a snapshot of the current status of my fiction, tracking the stories’ submissions and responses. There’s a third short story, this one firmly in the realm of “science fiction” on my mental back burner. It’s got a device and a motivator, but I don’t see a lot of point in proceeding until I figure out the resolution. (For anyone reading this blog in reverse chronological order, that sentence will make more sense after you read the 4 July post.)

One novel is chugging along. This is not the epic one I’ve told several of you about; that one is still in the “research and world building” stage, and is likely to remain there for some time to come: I’m not kidding about “epic”. There are a couple of ideas in my files that could turn into novels as well, if everything comes together just right. The one that’s chugging is loosely outlined (I know what’s going to happen, but I’m not entirely sure in what order) and at a guess I’ve got about a third of the first draft. I got stuck for a couple of weeks, and put it aside to rest, which is why there are two short stories making the rounds. I seem to have gotten past the blockage and the book is making progress once more.

Even assuming it doesn’t get stuck again, I have to figure this novel is at least a couple of months away from completion. Given typical lead times, that means that even if it sold instantly (highly unlikely), it’s a year or more away from publication. In turn, that means I’m a long way away from cracking the New York Times bestseller list, selling the movie rights, and achieving fame and fortune.

Am I disappointed? Of course. I’d love to be rich and respected after only a couple of months of effort. Wouldn’t you?

Am I surprised? Nope. I kind of figured this is about where I would be at this point. I had hoped to be further along with the first novel (whichever one I tackled first) by this point, but I’m not surprised.

So, I keep plugging away. I’ll continue with the blog. I’ve added a front page note that I’m available for freelance work (over there on the right–at least it should be; it didn’t show up for me at first; please let me know if you’re not seeing it). I’m looking for paying work juggling words. That’s got multiple purposes beyond the obvious impact on the Kitty Krunchie situation: it should give me more practice in writing things I wouldn’t have thought to do on my own, and it should get my name out there where that elusive corporate entity who will pay me zillions to pontificate can see it. And I’ll continue working on the stories and novels.

And in the short term, I’m declaring Monday to be a holiday. It’s my birthday, which seems like a good excuse for goofing off–I’ve taken a vacation day on my birthday most of the last decade or more; why tamper with tradition? There will still be a blog post; it’s already written and uploaded to WordPress and will go live before I get out of bed. But I intend to stay away from the keyboard; unless the Bay Bridge Bolts give up the ghost, causing the bridge to crumble into San Francisco Bay, I’m not going to write a word.

See you all Tuesday.

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