I haven't done a comprehensive daily-life entry since last year, so here's a catch-up on what I've been doing recently.FICTION COMPOSING
I haven't. My Muse, who has been sending me scenes from the first volume of The Thousand Nations
for months now, has grown so frustrated at me that he's now sending me scenes for the second
volume of The Thousand Nations. Which turns out to have as killer an ending as the first volume, but I'd rather be actually finishing the writing down of the first volume.
I knew that I'd be squeezed for time when I switched to part-time fiction writing last year, but since I'd been doing full-time fiction writing for fifteen years (and could have been a full-time fiction writer for the ten years before that, if I'd wanted), I hadn't realized how bad things could get. My options right now are to write stories or to get already-written stories in a state where I can issue them. I can't do both.
Since I have a large cache of finished-but-not-revised stories - accumulated in the days when I could easily bring out new stories every week, no sweat - I'm putting my priority on editing the already-written stories, even though I keep thinking, "I may be at the peak of my creative energies."
I really would like to get to a financial place where I can devote two
hours a day to computer time for my fiction (in addition to the light editing I do during meals), so that I can spend an hour writing and another hour doing heavy editing. But till then, I'm grateful that those of you who are supporting me financially are allowing me to do the occasional extra hour I need to do online editing during the time I would ordinarily devote to my day job.FICTION EDITING/PUBLISHING
At the moment, I'm editing and serializing Breached Boundaries
. If I have extra time after I finish editing part three of "Breached Boundaries" (which I'm optimistic that I will), I'll do further editing of Death Mask
. A lot of that editing I can do during meals, but I got stuck last month on a chapter that required further research. As I told Joe, "I should have worked toward a Ph.D. in astrophysics. That would have been easier than researching fiber history." Who knew that there was a raging controversy over historical spindles? But with the help of Joe (thank goodness I have a fiber artist in the family), I think I can figure out the appropriate spindle for my time period.
Also, people in Late Antiquity didn't knit. This is highly inconvenient to me.
I'm going to try to get "Death Mask" completely finished, so that I won't be issuing it stop-and-start, and then I'll work on the final chapters of Hell's Messenger
. Those three projects will keep me busy for a while, but I do have some side stories I can post along the way.
glares at me. No, no, dear, I haven't forgotten that you're a completed novel.)FINANCES
Still dire. Still deeply grateful to my Patreon patrons and my e-book buyers.DAY JOB
I finally, finally
got my application packet ready (cover letter, CV, and writing sample) and sent it out to children's educational publishers and book packagers. Heard back from one press right away; they want to hire me when an appropriate project comes along. Thank heavens. I'm going to continue sending out applications in hopes that I can build up a list of clients.READING
Amidst my latest anguishes with my Internet addiction, I had a moment of absolute brilliance when I realized that 90% of the reason that I go on the web when I shouldn't is in order to read nonfiction: news, blog entries, social media posts, etc. Therefore, the easiest way to stop myself from going online would be to forbid myself from reading nonfiction, unless the nonfiction was in a non-web format: (e)books, podcasts, RSS feeds, etc. And since I'm trying to cut back on my nonfiction reading (my Muse doesn't like it), I'd confine myself to reading nonfiction around dinnertime, except for checking my email in the morning.
I spent the next three days searching the web for fiction.
So then I set myself another rule that, for the time being, I was not going to seek or download any fiction unless it was already on my To Be Read list. This rule gave me immediate anxiety. Some people panic at the idea of not having enough food in the house; I panic at the idea of not having enough reading matter on my hard drive.
Part of this panic derives from memories of 2001, when I - who lived and breathed books - became suddenly unable to read books. I had no access to any
form of reading matter except a not-very-interesting collection of audio books from the public library. (*Pauses to let my fellow bibliophiles shudder at this scenario.*)
I soon learned that I don't like to listen to audio books. (Having a narrator decide how the characters should sound messes with my own internal sense of how the characters should sound.) Even after I taught myself braille - which I did mighty quickly - and got access to the braille books at the Library of Congress's National Library Service for the Blind (NLS), the situation wasn't much better. Because long-is-worse as far as braille books are concerned (for the record, the braille version of "The Lord of the Rings" is three feet tall), the NLS had practically no long fantasy novels, which is what I mainly read in those days. As for LGBTQ books, I think maybe the NLS had one gay novel back then?
This was 2001. There were few e-books available, many of them couldn't be read by screen readers, and I couldn't afford to buy e-books anyway. Starved, I went seeking alternatives. And that, my friends, is how I discovered fan fiction.
That time period left me with an instictive fear of running short of electronic reading matter. The reality is that, these days, I'm practically drowning in access to e-books. I reminded myself of that when I began to grow anxious that I would run out of electronic reading matter before spring, when I can more easily read print again. (My vision is considerably better these days, but it still runs in seasonal cycles: I can read more print in the warm months of the year, less print in the cold months of the year. Throughout the year, the majority of my reading is in large font, and occasionally I have to switch over to text-to-speech.) I also reminded myself that I'd just bookmarked several dozen Carnegie-Medal-winning e-books to read. There is no way I am going to run out of reading matter before spring.
Instead, the door I'm going to slam up against is my daily need for Something New And Shiny. That is a door I need to train myself to keep shut.HOMEMAKING AND DAILY SCHEDULE
I actually have
a schedule - which is more than I could say for most of my life - and I'm doing a reasonably good job at keeping to the schedule. The problem is that there aren't enough hours in the day to get a substantial amount of work done. For Christmas, I'd like twelve more hours a day, please, with the ability to stay awake during them.Weekday schedule
Heavy editing of fiction.
Meal preparation while listening to the news and to a novel (by text-to-speech).
Breakfast while reading fiction or while lightly editing my fiction.
Bedrise chores: Clean breakfast dishes (mine and Joe's), empty and wipe down my humidifier, make my bed, tidy, wipe down the kitchen surfaces and our meal tables, fiddle with the thermostat and/or windows.
Chores I do while lounging in my papasan: Check email, check the weather, do online shopping as needed, and make phone calls to doctors as needed and when I can possibly bear to use the phone and when are doctors going to get sensible and allow their patients to make appointments online? Grr.
As weather permits, do downtown errands. This involves putting on extra clothes, because did you notice that I didn't change clothes when I got up? I'm into leisurewear. Go to one of more of the following places: recycling bin, bank, mailbox, pharmacy, natural foods store, public library, or any of the three Little Free Libraries downtown, including one that's located at a waterfront park. Did I mention that I love living in downtown Havre de Grace?
Back in the apartment, strip down to leisurewear. For the next few hours, alternate between my day job (which currently means preparing and sending applications for jobs) and daily chores (laundry for me and Joe and handwashing Joe's dishes, because we still have no working dishwasher, thank you very much, landlord).
Pre-dinner reading: RSS feeds (a daily news digest and a select number of literary blogs), Dreamwidth reading page (where I can post if I want), Goodreads (if I have a short review to post), and any nonfiction I want to read.
Meal preparation, optionally with a podcast.
Dinner while reading fiction.
Prepare the next day's schedule.
Bedtime chores: deal with thermostat/windows, fill humidifier, lay out clothes and change, put in eyedrops.
Throughout the day: talk to Joe (usually when I'm making meals), bathroom breaks (preferably with reading matter), and a break for lunch (which looks much like breakfast in terms of tasks).Saturday schedule
Chores and eating and "throughout the day" stuff.
Shop at the farmers market.
Write and post blog entries.
Issue fiction.Sunday schedule
(which I haven't actually managed to achieve yet)
Chores and eating and "throughout the day" stuff.
A long walk.
Time with family and friends (face-to-face or by phone, and did I mention that I hate the phone?).
Longer housework tasks (such as dealing with the bedbugs, who are still here
And that's it for me. What have you folks been up to?