One Sandy Year

I apologize another frequent absence.  I depart my desert paradise here in a few days and head back to North America.  The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity and the next few weeks will be more of the same.

I look back on the year and think about the amount of writing I could have done and on the one hand I think I got some things done.  I kept a journal of my entire stay, which with a little sprucing up, might make a good book.  I all but finished off Pilgrimage.  I wrote a handful short stories.  And I was able to get a few journal entries.  On the other hand, it's been a long year and I haven't written as much as I wanted to.  Even putting in 70-75 hour work weeks, I still could have gotten more done than I did.  A year went by, that I can't get back, and I was less than productive.

Is that how I should measure it, though?   When I was truly hung up and frustrated, being able to get some writing in was what kept me sane.  Just escaping into that focused mode prevented me from losing my damn mind.

Other than my fleeting moments of speaking to Mrs. Axe and emailing friends, writing probably saved me.  Rad Bradbury once said, "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."

I stayed just drunk enough.

Short Term Goals – Oct 12

Okay, here I find myself yet again, with another inexcusable long absence.  Yes, the shame burns deep within my loins.

(Muse:  Are you sure that's shame?)

And yet I never need fear.  My Muse is always there to keep me in gear.  She is no shadowy presence in my mind, that whispers ideas and inspiration in my ear.  Rather, she is the salty part of my conscience, kicking and cajoling me through guilt, intimidation, and bullying me to get back to my writing.  As long as she is around, I never need fear giving up, because she will bring me back to it as long as she's around.

(Muse:  Never happen, Babe.  I'll be right here on your ass, like a dog on a bone.)

She's so much like my wife it's scary.

As I get caught up, I see I missed quite a bit.  I missed some contests and some writing challenges.  I missed opportunities to submit (too many of those).  I missed Steampunk Week over at Tor.com (curses!)  So what next?

I am still reading a ton, though not writing as much.  I have kept up with my 365-day journaling project and once I go back through and smooth out the raw data, I think it will a quirky, entertaining look at a day in the life of a military member so far from home, in book form.  I have written a short story or two and sketched out a whole bunch of ideas in my little red notebook … but sadly, I have failed to get anything else done – either in my novel, with submitting, or anything else.

I said it before:  I have to get back in the saddle.  I am on Day 217 of my trip over here and I do not want to wait another 148 days to start writing anything else.  Besides, Mrs. Axe would likely kill me.  I have to do something, so this is it.  Here are my short-term goals, to be revisited at the end of the month:

– Finish writing the story about the imp being thrown out of Hell (don't ask)
– Log 3K words in my novel
– Get four submissions done
– One journal post a week

Nothing impossible.  And I can hear the breathless whispers of the commentator:  does he have the fortitude to stick to the plan this time folks?  Good plan but I expect poor execution; he may have to settle for the bronze.

Ye – and we – shall see.

Daily Update #25

Wow, been six months since I did one of these.

– I finished writing a short story about a druidic woman fighting with demons who live in asteroids.  If it sounds odd, it was – er, is.  Over at Fantasy Writers (see links to the left), they have a writing contest and while I haven't entered in a long time, I still watch the prompts to see if anything speaks to me.  I read a prompt a few months back and this idea germinated.  Well, just like New Coke, it sounded better on paper than it worked out in reality.  Much better.

– I did manage to log about 1K words on Pilgrimage today.  That is the first substantial work I've done it in months.  But it felt good to get back in the swing of things.

– The good news is that my non-fiction novel project – my 365-day journal of my time here – is proceeding nicely.  I have yet to miss a day, which is good; I figured I would have bagged the whole project by now.  But 126 days and counting.

– I got a rejection the other day and I realize that with that rejection, for the first time in literally five years, I have none of my writing submitted.  Nothing, not a single story.  Another casualty of being away from home, I guess.

– Saw Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter at the little local theater the other day.  After reading the book and seeing the hype, I guess I was a little disappointed.  I figured for more but what can you do?  We were supposed to watch The Hunger Games but we couldn't get the film to work.  I did get to see Avengers, though, and that totally rocked, so the summer is hardly a loss, movie-wise.

That's about it, dear readers.  Hopefully, I will be back with more tales of intrepidity and dastardly writing very soon.

Slacker, they name is axe

Ouch.

No posts for a month.  I think I just bottomed out in terms of commitment and self-respect as a blogger..

When I took this job in the sandy Middle East, I figured I would be able to finish two books while I was here.  I now do not think that will happen; my work hours are much longer and difficult than expected; fourteen hour days, seven days a week are not unusual, leaving me little time or energy for other pursuits.

Okay, so I do have a little positive to report.  Steady work on my non-fiction novel effort has proceeded and I managed to peel off a short story last month.  Beyond that, it has been a fair desert for authorship, so I need to get back in the groove.  Think I have an idea that will help and am going to work on it.  (And if anyone cared, I am still well and unharmed.)

Of course, the real payoff comes from action, not talk.  As the line goes, "Believe what I do, not what I say."

So I better do.