R. still has the Lovecraftian shits. Hence radio silence—I’ve gotten basically no writing done this week. I’ve posted the last seven weekdays’ effort as one update to THE CLAIM.
At the moment, I’m sort of psychologically banking on something that ought to happen but isn’t guaranteed, namely the normalization of R.’s digestion once he’s out of the grip of the meds. If I can write 15,000 words or so next week, I can at least finish THE CLAIM. It’ll be a better product than any NaNo novel I’ve created so far, and I’ll still have the next two books planned out… so, after a few weeks or months, I’ll be prepared not to look at this as a failure.
The wedding feels like it’s dragging on. This is probably a bit true and probably not as true as it feels—I’ve been stuck on it for days, and I’ve only just gotten to the high-tension bits. The rest has been slow, a lot of figuring out what the ceremony ought to look like, how familiar to make it and how strange.
I’ve bought a few pocket-size notebooks and a not-quite-dirt-cheap pen to try to make ubiquitous writing a reality. One thing I knew intellectually but have only recently realized in my bones is that I got a lot of Pavlovian juice from my commute—I’d trained myself really well to write on the train, abetted by the lack of wifi. I’m not so much hoping that interstitial writing will boost my word count during those interstitial times; it’s more about trying to train the habit of sinking deeply and immediately into the story, rather than having this laborious mental spin-up. I did get a couple of hundred good words into the notebook during one of R.’s naps yesterday; maybe I can actually make this a thing. (Maybe I should transition to notebooks completely, honestly. The question is whether the waste of time entailed by transcription is worse than the waste of time brought on by distraction.)
I’ve just listened to the Nick Stephenson interview on The Creative Penn and I’m now in the middle of the Nick Stephenson interview on the Self-Publishing Podcast. The emphasis of both is email marketing—how do you get a bunch of subscribers? And one of the amazing things he suggested is to promote other authors. The analogy was: Nonfiction marketing is easy because you know your readers have a problem they’re looking to fix; that’s why they came to you. In fiction, the problem is getting entertained. People came to you because they like your work; if you don’t have new work for them, give them value by pointing them to work they might not already know. (He also discusses stuff that’s a bit more standard in the indie author space, namely the use of permanently free books as traffic drivers and sign-up incentives; I need to get on that with my own list.)
These notes are dated “1/23” but as of this sentence I’m writing on 1/25, which is how I know that there’s a king-hell snowstorm scheduled for tomorrow and Tuesday, in which case I may be housebound with the kids. So much for my earlier thought, that there was no way I could fail to finish THE CLAIM in January. This feels like God punishing me, except that last January was exactly the same—between snow and plague, I missed teaching at least three classes, maybe four. So I guess it was just a poor choice of month to try to write.
This was meant to be an eyeroll at fate, but the words are starting to stick in my throat. At some point I described myself to my wife as “grief-stricken” by the loss of so much time I’d set aside for writing. I said it in more or less a deadpan; obviously it’s hyperbole. But the grain of truth is starting to feel more like a pebble. Maybe a full-sized rock.