It was a rocky re-entry into writing Shadow of the Black Tower this weekend. I was still quite worn-out from the events of the last the last two weeks, and things weren’t helped by what was seemingly a diabetic high blood sugar event on Saturday night that made me feel like crap after I had my first bowl of popcorn in years.
(I’ll say further that this treat should have been well within my daily limits on carbs as a diabetic, but it may be that my body doesn’t process the carbohydrates in corn very well, as is my lot with bread and anything with refined sugars added to it. On the flip side, natural sugars in fruit, and starchy potatoes, don’t impact me as much as they should.)
Regardless, I’d recover enough by Sunday to get five hundred words done on Shadow and finished its twelfth chapter hitting 30,000 words on the draft. As I wanted to think about my approach to opening the thirteenth chapter rather than form it on the fly (which would have likely involved a lot of staring at the screen and not writing)… plus the fact that I was still feeling wiped and low-energy (even for me)… I called it a day on the draft.
However, my recent stress over the demands of my schedule had me working on new approaches to how I budget my time Sunday night. I really want to have more time to write on my big projects over the weekends, and currently I only have Sundays. To that end, I came up with a new plan I’m going to try.
To be succinct as I can, I’m going to fold the production of my picture-text microfictions — which often involves editing, rewrites and/or expansion of the original versions I write daily on Twitter in addition to the pure production work required — into my big monthly social media setup.
Currently, I’m creating an average of twelve of these a week. Eight of them get posted to my blog weekly. Thereafter, I post them to my Instagram one week after their debut on my blog (where they join installments to my Night Wings superhero serial). And a full month later they arrive on my Facebook page.
As you can imagine, this takes a lot of time. It also creates multiple weekly deadlines I have to keep up with, and meeting those often requires pushing my work on big projects back. My goal with this new plan is to consolidate all of these weekly deadlines into the big one of the monthly social media setup, starting in November.
This will involve expanding the “release buffer” between my microfiction’s written geneses on Twitter to their premieres on my blog from one week to four. Their journey to Instagram will become six weeks post-Twitter, and their arrival on Facebook will increase to eight weeks.
I’ll still have to keep up with making the vignettes weekly, but the key difference will be that I will no longer need to work on them over my weekends because I won’t have deadlines to meet before the end of every Tuesday and Thursday. This will free up my ability to work on important large-scale projects like my novels more extensively. It should also reduce a significant number of my weekly stressors :-)
With that plan in place, and having gotten some rest, I was feeling pretty upbeat and hopeful about the future even after a Monday at the day-job that was rather rough.
Then on Tuesday, a big chunk of tree fell on the roof of my house just above my bedroom during a 3 am windstorm.
A crash like a giant’s club isn’t a pleasant noise to be awakened to, and on a follow-up thud I think my cat jumped about three feet above the bed. It was a very old and large branch that was half the length of my house. The good news was that once we had daylight, we found that the impact had done only superficial damage. The bad news was we basically had the equivalent of a modest-sized tree wedged onto our house.
My wife and I tried to take care of it ourselves as money is tight. But have I ever mentioned that I am prone to a slight fear of heights, and possess little coordination, bad eyesight, and zero experience or proper equipment for working on a roof? Um… yeah. So, after climbing out of my study window onto the roof with a handsaw and rope, things really weren’t going well. I’ll admit that I’m much better at cutting words than tree limbs, and I suppose it was more probable that I was going to end-up falling to my doom than getting that branch off the house.
But while my wife looked on nervously groundside (a knee injury makes her climbing a roof an even worse idea than having me do it), a Good Samaritan and total stranger who also just so happened to an arborist walked by after his work-day was cut short. He saw my plight, and his first words to me were, “Dude, need a hand? I’m concerned you might die.”
I like Joe.
He climbed right up and showed me how it was done. Took command of that saw and rope and did more in ten minutes than I’d done in an hour. He got that limb down without any further damage from a very tricky spot, and I bowed to his awesomeness.
My wife and I made sure he was compensated with more than a handshake for his efforts, and whenever something like this happens to me I’m always reminded of a certainly line I hold faith in:
Thank you for keeping the darkness at bay, Joe. The world needs more like you.
Have a great week everyone, and keep writing!
~Jason H. Abbott