Tuesday 4th April 2017
I came to a realisation today that something is going to have to give in the near future.
My original plan was that when the editorial comments came back I would take a couple of weeks off the day job and get them complete. After my challenging 2016, I want to show that I can turn a quality rewrite around fast. I feel I need to prove that I can do it, that I’m up to the task of being a writer at that level. It’s more for myself and my confidence as a writer than anything else, and whilst it might not seem important, it’s what I need to do to put my stresses of 2016 firmly behind me. That’s why I replied to my agent with what she needed before the US business day got started.
But with Storm Chasing in less than 6 weeks, by the time the editorial comments come back, I’m going to be in a situation where I won’t be able to justify the time off. I’m already off for two and a half weeks. Even if other people didn’t have holiday that they scheduled around my trip, I don’t think work will allow it.
Now I’m very good at separating my work from my writing. I set up my work laptop so I couldn’t write even if I wanted to, which means that when it comes to the end of the work day, the business laptop gets fully packed away. So as long as people let me manage myself, I can get everything done.
But that’s going to be severely challenged in a couple of weeks. It’s going to reach a point where I’m not going to be able to balance the two and something is going to have to give.
I’m not talking about quitting work. I mostly like my job, but writing fulltime is the scary aim. I just don’t think it’s realistic to think it possible on the first book.
What I’m talking about instead is my time management.
I figure that the only way I can do it is by literally packing up the laptop and then working until 2-3am for 2 – 3 weeks. In order to do that I think my day job is going to suffer. That’s pretty scary because as much as writing has been a priority for the last 8 or so years, I’ve always tried to ensure that I do a competent day job.
I knew this problem would come one day, and don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to be in a position where I’m having to make serious decisions based on my long term future. Because the decision that comes some time after this is about writing full-time.
But as romantic as it sounds, the simple facts of going to a variable income, working for yourself, selling books or starving, makes that life time dream a frightening reality. I’m still a ways off those sorts of decisions but I’m aware that they are edging closer.
I also decided that what I really need to try and do is get this first draft of book 2 done before the editorial comments come back. I have 12 chapters left to do, which is doable if I pull my finger out.
However, I realised tonight that the chapter I’m now on is a difficult one and needs a bit of work. It’s a chase through the streets of the city. I know that my inspiration for this is Hong Kong cinema meets parkour. I want something fast with a lot of action. But I’m not exactly sure what.
I ended up doing some brain storming this evening. I know I want a fight using a frying pan (if only because my swordfighting experience tells me that a frying pan could be an awesome weapon) and there’s some scaffolding in there (the Hong Kong cinema influence). But beyond that I have no idea of what the narrative flow of the scene is, other than it’s an action scene. I guess our hero has to use his gadgets at some point.
I’m also not sure if I set the last scene in the right location which adds to the complication.
So I spent this evening just focusing on the brainstorming, watching Youtube clips to try and get some inspiration. The main thing that came out of that is that the chapter has the scope for a lot of humour, something I feel this book is currently missing.
Given that my action scenes are already getting a bit of a reputation, I do feel the pressure to deliver. That’s not a bad thing by any means. I think the moment you stop trying to build on what you’ve done before, is when you go stale. But I do wonder how I’m going to come up with original fight scenes come book 20.
So I think I’m going to take a day or two further planning this out, which is frustrating given my new self-imposed deadline.
I can do this. I know I can!
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