Losing track of time in the name of progress

Or “I could have slept last night, but I failed to realize I would end up staying awake until 5:30 in the morning to finish a short story”. That certainly makes the chosen title for this post look a lot more concise, doesn’t it?

Last night, having recovered from feeling moderately sick for most of the earlier portions of the day, I decided I needed to accomplish something in terms of my writing goals. Having decided to take a short break from working on A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (a break I am failing at, as I’m still sort of working on it though I said I would step back for a bit), I focused on giving attention to one of the short story ideas I had recently. I had already started working on Cordelia’s, which was based around the idea of a restaurant that had no menus and served exactly what its guests needed without having to question them, and so that seemed like the right route to follow.

I haven’t pulled an all-nighter in quite some time. I dare say such events haven’t happened since college, but I’m almost too certain I’m wrong in that statement. It’s a mystery. What I do know is that I started by deleting everything I wrote, which is the opposite of making actual progress, and I began anew. Two false starts and a lot of deleted words later, I was well into page four. There was a brief diversion involving last night’s blog post and some live-tweeting of The Bachelor (I detest that show, but it has so much value as a terrible comedy of sorts), and suddenly it was nearly midnight. Conveniently, I had today off and so I figured I would continue to plug away until I got tired.

And then I didn’t get tired until shortly after I finished writing, which was around 5:30 this morning. My internal clock doesn’t typically allow me to sleep later than 9:30 on my best days of sleeping in, so…I can’t exactly say I got my whole eight hours of rest.

Despite having a meeting I need to be at in about an hour, I’m still convinced this is the polar opposite of a bad thing. As it is now, I feel like Cordelia’s turned out to be a tremendous success, far better than I had hoped. I’ll have to wait to see what my wonderful, kind, typically-benevolent proofreading friends will have to say on the subject. Most importantly, it was some of the most fun I’ve had writing since the completion of Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King. It’s also one of the first short stories I’ve completed since summer of last year, which is a bit more embarrassing than it is a positive thing. Oh well.

My questions to other writers and creative types out there: when was your last all-nighter? Was it worth it, or did you end up feeling like you’d have better served yourself by getting more shut-eye? What inspiration struck to lead to such a creative spree?

Self-induced madness

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to celebrate and damn the progress I’ve made! This week feels like it has been an eternity, which is unfortunate. Has that prevented me from getting writing done? Nope. Am I particularly excited about how much I did get done? Also nope.

In Progress

A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (working title) – It’s also waiting to be approved for posting on Authonomy. I’m also still actively adding to the page count, enjoying suggestions and edits as beta-readers provide them.

Cordelia’s (short story) – Still screwing around with plot details so this doesn’t turn into pointless rambling

Woman Seeks Vampire for Dinner and a Movie (short story) – The title exists, and the basic plot is sort of there

One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0 – because that should be mentioned since it is taking up fair bits of time

Authonomy stuff – Presently this only consists of A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (working title), but has the potential to turn into a means of getting more attention for other works as well, such as things that will be mentioned in the next section. This is what happened to my HarperCollins goal, by the way, as it’s the most likely way I’ll ever get published by them (even if the odds aren’t exactly in my favor)

Backburner Projects

A picture is worth a thousand of my terrible jokes.

A picture is worth a thousand of my terrible jokes.

Warpt Factor (the novel) – At some point, this means I will have to remove the existing material and use it for source bits. Sorry! However, a certain aunt has requested/demanded this happen, and since I’ve lost the original notebook full of information from Warpt Factor (the series) and I wasn’t about to just let this die, I figured “Why the Hell not?”. Keeping in mind, of course, that this isn’t going to be happening too soon. Probably. We’ll see how thin I can stretch myself before I go completely crazy.

The Lodgers (novel) – Yes, this still exists. Yes, it’s going to happen eventually. No, I’m not going to scrap it. However, even if I were to choose to work on two novels at a time (something I’m on the fence about)…this wouldn’t be one of them. It’s not really in the forefront of my thoughts, even if it is a fun bit of fiction to write. It’s also far more of a shift towards purely adult reading, what with the characters and their tendencies toward expletive-heavy speech.

The Devil Sort of Made Me Do It (or whatever the Hell I titled this) – I haven’t forgotten this one either. A good friend of mine has made forgetting it impossible, in fact. Hah.

Submitting more short stories for publication – Most certainly needs to happen. Strongly considering Cordelia’s as a possible submission for The Literary Hatchet.

These posts are actually very therapeutic, as they help put things into perspective for me. Especially on days like today, when I feel like I’m accomplishing so little. One book published, and onward towards getting a book published by HarperCollins. To that last end, if any of you have an Authonomy account and would be so kind as to read, critique, and support my novel (if you like it, of course) once it’s available, I would be immensely grateful and most assuredly return the favor.

Ninety days remaining.

Weekly Progress Recap

I was going to name this day’s entries Wednesday’s Weekly Work Updates, but I would hate myself too much. And so, for now, dies the alliterative titles.

Wednesday’s posts are simple ones, acting more as a kick to my ass to help me get moving a little faster for the remainder of the week (instead of potentially slowing down, of course) instead of a means of being entertaining. Just like all of my other blog posts are something other than a means of entertainment. Zing! I really burned myself there.

My heart’s not in this tonight, as I took a nap that left me feeling like someone pushed me down a cartoonishly tall cliff, complete with many rocks for me to bounce off of.

The Progress So Far

Unnamed Novel-Project – 53/??? pages; 1 new chapter in progress, plenty of editing completed

One Hundred Days of Blogging version 2.0 – What the **** was I thinking?

Things I Need to Focus On

“Cordelia’s” (short story) – Status: Mapped out in a notebook

“Woman Seeks Vampire for Dinner and a Movie” (short story; tentative title) – Status: Locked in my brain-meat

Projects On Hold

The Lodgers (novel) – Started, but trapped in creative Limbo

The Devil Sort of Made Me Do It (novel; tentative title) – Started, but trapped in creative Limbo

[Redacted] – Nope. Nope nope nope. Not telling. Sorry.

Miscellany

Super Deluxe Commented Copy of Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King for Lindsey (the best beta-reader the aforementioned book had) – Uh…In progress-ish.

I feel like there’s more going on, but I can’t honestly think of it at the moment. Obviously this is ignoring my 45+ hours of work and tendency to take naps on a regular basis.

Ninety-six days remaining.

The conundrum of writing as a gift

Update: Special thanks to my mouse for bouncing around and giving me some interesting typos in the title/URL. Wheatley needs to stop being so damned uncooperative.

Better known as “the post that almost didn’t happen tonight because I’m feeling lazy, but I’m now trapped on the couch by two snoozing kittens and felt some weird sense of obligation”. Much too long of a title, really, so I went with my alternate choice.

I mentioned in last night’s post I’m making something I’m pretty sure is really awesome for two really great people who are now engaged. It was an idea I had actually plotted specifically for them, though it’s one that can be modified relatively easily and so on. The real conundrum, however, and probably something relating directly to my tendency to second-guess myself is as follows: is giving the gift of a written work, refined and dolled up especially well for the occasion, a really thoughtful gift or just a selfish flaunting of the author’s writing? I’m having trouble with words already, so this can only go downhill from here.

On one hand, when I write for people it’s like I’m giving the recipient a piece of my soul (joke’s on those people, as I obviously don’t have a soul). I use tremendous amounts of care in every aspect of the creative process, tailoring my work specifically for the person who will be getting it as a gift. I’d say it’s a very intimate, personal experience, but I honestly can’t think of a way to make writing a story for someone sound creepier than calling it anything involving the word intimate. I promise that’s the last time I’ll use that word in this post. Probably.

However, I can’t help but wonder if people who receive such gifts consider them as some sort of crappy writing exercise? A thoughtless, lazy throw-away instead of a purchased bauble. Something of that nature. I realize that, in most cases at least, people probably don’t think that way and it’s all in my head.

Fellow writers, how do you all feel about giving writing (short stories, essays, etc.) as a gift? Do you folks worry about what the people you’re gifting your writing to think of it?

Warpt Factor – Installment Seven

First and foremost, this was a promised birthday present to my Aunt Leanne, who also happens to be my godmother, and that means if I failed to deliver I’d essentially be letting down two important people in my life for the price of one. Also worthy of pointing out: she offered me a rest-stop at her house on my journey back from Chicago, and that’s an offer that could easily be taken away in the event I forgot to, say, appropriately celebrate her birthday. I’m pretty sure she turned 29 today (or whatever year people pick after they no longer want to count birthdays, I guess). Yeah. We’ll stick with that.

Here’s today’s installment, before I dig myself into a deeper hole. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Twenty-One

We’re twenty-one days into my One Hundred Days of Fiction. This post, by blog-years, can legally buy alcohol. Or maybe it’s the post I should write while completely intoxicated. I won’t do that because I have work tomorrow, but imagine how awful this would be to read had I written it drunk.

It’d probably be as bad as it is now, except with more typos and expletives.

This post is brought to you in part by an entirely carnivorous dinner of leftover ribs and chicken. I’m catching up on Project Runway (don’t judge, it’s a guilty pleasure). Life is pretty good.

That all being said, I feel super-guilty for not doing more creative writing. Yes, I’m doing these Hundred Days of Blogging posts as I said, but I’ve noticed a sharp decline in writing other than this. And proofreading (though I’ve not had much sent my way lately, so that’s unfortunate as well).

Instead of focusing on a topic, I’m focusing on a challenge to myself. Another challenge, yes. Contain your feigned surprise, folks. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Twenty

Today marks my conscious uncoupling with Monday, because Monday is a big bag of shit. Seriously. These past few Mondays have been riddled with all sorts of bad nonsense, and I’ll have no more of it.

However, this evening brought plenty of positive, too. Brianne and I are discussing a possible third cat, at which point we would be outnumbered by our soon-to-be feline overlords. Leftover smoked ribs from yesterday with this snazzy, semi-spicy barbeque sauce? Hell yes. Brianne and I finished building the desk I’ll be using as my work-station, too, and it’s good she helped me because I really managed to shit that up like a pro.

I’m polluting my brain with The Bachelorette right now, so I’m going to keep this as brief as I can so I can focus on writing a short story instead of this (this being the brain-garbage on my TV). Continue reading