It’s been a rough three weeks that have taken a toll on my stress levels and time to write… but I’m still standing and moving forward. :-)
Things began to get bumpy on the next-to last weekend of September with a dishwasher on the fritz and a gathering of friends that was delightful but also put me behind schedule. However, despite disruptions, things worked out alright. I met my writing goal for Sunday of adding 1,000 words and editing my prior weekend’s work on Shadow of the Black Tower.
I left it at a moment of high claustrophobia, with my skinny protagonist crawling his way through a very tight tunnel inch by inch. Then something quite nasty shows up.
It has become an interesting scene to write: a slow-motion pursuit with lots of tension and dread. The feeling is kind of like a nightmare where you’re being stalked by something slow and awful, but it is always right behind you and keeps getting closer.
The work-week after that started the stress-ramp. Already a little behind, this was the week that my day-job requires me to compose a long, boring and tedious to assemble quarterly report that’s stacked on top of my normal work. I detest doing this report, and it stresses me right out.
This led me to the weekend before last, which was also my monthly social media setup where I set up a lot of author platform stuff 28 days in advance. These activities include:
- Finding the content for, composing and scheduling the 12 posts of non-original content I do on my blog for the month. (I do about 48 total blog posts in a standard 28 day period, around 36 of which are my original content, and I create 8 or 9 of those each week.)
- Finding the content for, composing and scheduling 84 Facebook page posts of art, humor, links, my microfiction and more. (3 a day for 28 days, with over a third of it being my original content.)
After the setup, my Facebook Page is 90% on autopilot and the blog here is about 70% or so (the other 30% of the blog requires a couple of nights time each week, usually). Doing things this way allows me to put out daily content in a manner that’s far more efficient than setting it up week-to-week. It also grants me more time to write fiction, and enables me to hold onto a shred of sanity.
It is a significant amount of work, usually taking 12 to 16 hours of effort to complete, or in other words, most of a weekend. However, the monthly time investment is also beginning to pay off and help me with exposure as an author. It’s definitely worth the once-a-month pause on my work in progress.
The difference on that weekend was that I entered the setup already worn out and stressed from the report. Nevertheless, I pulled on my reserves and got it done.
Then last week, my day job got even MORE fun with two twelve-hour days of intensive software training for a new program replacing a critical application for the workplace that’s twenty years old… and should have been replaced a decade ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see the new system and I like it, but it’s a radical and huge shift for the company. And it didn’t help that the only way to train us on it was to take the entire team off the support hotline for two straight days and let the tickets, voicemails and end-user anger build to create a Friday from hell when we returned to play catch-up.
Because of all that, I basically had just enough time and energy to keep my critical authorly projects afloat on the weeknights and not much else. It also meant that going into the weekend I had to regain a lot of lost ground if I was to get back on course. Fortunately — with a load of hustle, caffeine and fifteen hours of hard work — I was able to do just that by midnight on Saturday.
That gave me Sunday to write on Shadow of the Black Tower again. I used it to add another thousand words, plus editing on the draft, before exhaustion took me down. The manuscript now stands at 29,500 words, and I’m probably only a page or so from ending its twelfth chapter.
Next weekend, I should be able to start the thirteenth chapter. I can’t envision a scenario where by the end of chapter thirteen the protagonist isn’t beginning the climax in chapter fourteen… and from there I’m probably only a couple chapters away from finishing the story. :-) My estimate of a final length between 40 and 50,000 words I made at the end of August is looking more likely all the time.
Have a great week everyone, and keep writing!
~Jason H. Abbott.