Thursday, February 16, 2017
In two weeks (give or tale a few days) I will have wrapped the current novel I'm working on, a thriller for Macmillan. I'm working with the same great editor for whom I wrote STAY. It's been awesome.
I'm looking forward to wrapping it up so I can pivot to the next project. I'm contracted for a comic book thingy, so I'll be working on that obviously, but I need at least one more project and can't decide between a few choices ... all of which I'm excited about. Part of me wants to juggle all of them, but I took my lumps learning a guy can get burned out trying to do too much too fast. And old man Gischler needs his sleep.
Some of these things are "wait and see" projects ... meaning that I'm excited about them creatively, but I'd need to wait and see if they actually turned into anything. For example, I had a nice call with a producer about a week ago, and she suggested I write a TV pilot to show as a sample. I'm keen to try this, but it's not the sort of thing that'll put food on the table ... I mean, maybe down the road, but not immediately. Another filmmaker and I have hatched a plan to come up with an idea that can be shot on an ultra low budget but still look like a "real movie" ... as opposed to something middle school kids shot in the backyard with smartphone cameras. I'm writing a page here and there. I'd love to get on a roll and finish the thing. But again ... a "wait and see" project.
So ... yeah. I want to work those things into my schedule. I'm excited about them. But I also need to pay the mortgage.
Obviously, I need to be working on a novel, and at the moment, the main chunk of my enthusiasm is still for the fantasy genre. Part of me wants the clean slate of a whole new world and cast of characters, and I already have an awesome idea and three chapters. But the Ink Mage books have reached a lot of readers, and I'm equally excited to return to the World of Helva for more adventures. I invested a good bit of creativity thinking up the system for the tattoo magic, and I feel there's more there to be mined.
So. That's what I've been stewing on. I guess I'll know in about 2 weeks what I've decided.
Or think up nine new ideas and try to write them all and explode.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
So I'm pulling together some thoughts from a previous blog post and some stuff I was talking about on Facebook ...
I mentioned before that I'd created a lot of stress for myself by not saying NO to offers of work. I mean, when you pay the bills as a freelance writer, you never know where that next paycheck is coming from, so you take all the work you can get. The result is that there was a time I was juggling a lot of comic book and novel projects and just simply burning myself out. I felt pretty frazzled. I'm at the point now where I'm doing less, balancing things better, and this situation has led me to be more disciplined about sitting down every day and routinely hitting my word-count goals with seeming ease.
The appropriate reaction to the above revelation is "No shit, Sherlock."
I guess hindsight really is 20-20 because I find myself wondering why I haven't been doing this all along. It's early in 2017 and I have a thriller due in March. There was a time I might have been worried about that. No longer. At a thousand words a day (the minimum goal I've set for myself ... I write more if the flow is good) it's not a problem, and I know it's not a problem because the math is so simple even I can do it. I've built in a certain number of "life gets in the way" days, but other than that the strategy is ridiculously simple, sit down and write and do not stop until you get those thousand words. Period. Well, yes, I can get up to go to the bathroom or make another pot of coffee, but you know what I mean. In the swirling chaotic vortex my life had become juggling so many deadlines on multiple projects I'd forgotten this simple process: Sit down at computer. Write. Wake up the next day and repeat.
The most embarrassing thing, I suppose, is that I'd forgotten the advice I'd given to so many others. A pal of mine made a spreadsheet to keep track of our words during an informal NaNoWriMo contest. The simple act of looking at the small word count each day but then seeing how it all added up at the end of the month made me rediscover the cliche but true bumper sticker advice that slow and steady wins the race.
So when I turn in my novel in March, I'll probably give myself a week of beer swilling and TV binge watching and generally not writing. But then I'll be right back to work, a thousand words a day. If I can't knock out two more novels in 2017, then I'm not doing it right.