Business Musings: The Third 2017 Process Blog

One of the last pictures of Gavin and Galahad together

A note from Kris: Yeah, we should have the next installment of Target Audience stuff here. I got sidetracked on my blog-writing day, and decided to come at the installment later with a fresher mind than I have right now. Also, I did this process blog a few nights ago, and worried that it wouldn’t go up on the website for weeks and weeks. I think it’s better to illustrate my revamp as it happened. Or that’s the theory anyway.

Enjoy this post, and we’ll be back to our regularly schedule topic next week.

My cat died in June. He wasn’t just any cat. He was what Dean and I call “a heart cat.” We have cats whom we love and cherish, and then we have special cats—the ones who simply take over our hearts and hold them hostage. Galahad was the best of the best, and we had him for fifteen years.

I’m telling you this not to get sympathy, but because Gally’s death factored into my process this summer. I knew he was going to go at some point, but he went fast. Fine one week, gone the next. Not as fast as our Ella, who literally died in an instant (vet thinks heart attack or stroke) in February, but still, faster than expected.

That, on top of the deaths of several friends since the first of the year, some close and some not as close as they once were, left me reeling. I hadn’t realized how down I was until I figured out that my writing had nearly ground to a halt.

In fact, the one thing that kept me going was the schedule I had drawn up earlier in the year, the one I wrote about in the second process blog in March. I hit my targets—except the week Gally died, and even then, I was close.

But my targets didn’t stretch me. That’s what sunk in after I lost my beautiful kitty. I realized I hadn’t been working as hard as I wanted to. I’d been dealing with outside issues. I decided to turn inward, deal with my grief and upset while getting back to work. (I process things better when I’m writing than when I’m not.)

My word count returned to its pre-2016 levels. I became happier, except when I realized the orange kitty in my office was Young Gavin, not Galahad. And even then, Young Gavin made me smile. He’s seven months old and promises to be the next heart cat, because he is such a character. He already runs the other two cats ragged.

With the increased production, I finished the Diving novel I’d been working on, and finished five days early. I was going to get to another project on the schedule, and a few short stories, but my brain wouldn’t allow me to. I figured I was simply tired from writing, but I didn’t feel tired.

So I decided to revamp the schedule—and ran into my two-year-old subconscious. (I figure all writers’ subconscious are two years old. They want to play, not work, and they want to do it their way.)

I had planned two more Diving books by year’s end. They’re more or less plotted out. I know where I’m going and why…

And my two-year-old writer self screamed No! I’m done with science fiction! Done with space opera! Done with Diving! Wanna do something else! Wanna do this and this and this and this—and oh, yeah, this brand new thing. Because it sounds cool.

I tried to revamp the schedule keeping Diving on board, decreasing word count on the novel(s) and going to the brand new thing in my spare time, but nooooo. Subconscious wasn’t having it.

Besides, I had promised a bunch of short stories, and I wanted to write several more, and doing only one per month (as I had at the front of the year) wasn’t going to work on the back side. I got in trouble in late May when I tried to shove an extra story into the schedule. I managed, but it was a close call, and I realized that wouldn’t work again.

So, I just spent tonight reworking the entire next six months schedule. I started with an I Wanna list, especially for my inner two-year old. She got to write down everything she wanted to do.

Then my adult self added everything that I had promised to do.

Surprisingly, I hadn’t added a lot. Seems that I wanted to do what I had promised to do, at least most of the time.

The biggest problem was what my biggest problem always is. I want to write a dozen books all at the same time. I can’t, and dang if I find that nothing but annoying.

Anyway…

I then made a second list—short stories by deadline. Turns out I had promised 13 of them before the end of the year. Writing down the deadlines meant that I had to finish three in some months, two in others. The deadlines weren’t just vague ideas in my head.

They became real.

Then I went through the same process I used the first time. I figured out how many writing days I had in the month, minus four days per month for the blog, and inserted the short stories. The leftover days were for novels.

It took a while (including about ten minutes to deal with Gavin, who insisted on squirming his way across my lap and keyboard and desk and pens and paper, purring the whole time. It’s hard to be sad when a kitten purrs while creating chaos…and eventually falling off the desk). I checked and double-checked my days, my teaching schedule, my time off, and my other obligations.

But, if I hit my targets—and I seem to be good at that with this new process—I will complete three more novels, all 13 short stories, and a few special projects I’ve wanted to do.

And, my two-year-old kindly added January to the mix. She pointed out that it would be Just Fine to finish that Diving novel then. It sounded like fun to write more Diving in January—to her, anyway. I guess she figures she won’t be bored with sf any more.

I knew I would have to revamp the schedule halfway through the year. I got derailed a bit by life (or rather, death). I decided to put off the reschedule until I finished the novel in July…which I did just a few days ago. And then I revamped. Twice. Three times.

Now, I’ve finally come up with something I like.

An ambitious schedule. I’m ready for it, and excited about it.

And gosh! When I finished, I decided to blog about it.

I’m not even counting this blog toward my totals, although I appear to be banking some blogs ahead, probably for a few tough weeks in the fall.

New schedule starts tomorrow.

I’m ready.

And so is Gavin.

***

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“Business Musings: The Third 2017 Process Blog,” copyright © 2017 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © 2017 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

 

15 responses to “Business Musings: The Third 2017 Process Blog”

  1. Bea says:

    My condolences on the passing of your cat. I shall never forget the kindness of your response to me when I thanked you for a particular short story that featured a cat, on a day when I had to put one of my beloved cats down. We really never do forget them, do we?

  2. Kate Pavelle says:

    The demise of a pet can throw us for a loop, definitely. When you pass on, you’ll have so many friends on the other side! As for your process, thank you for reminding me to revisit my plan and tweak it to conform to my current reality. I feel this huge pressure to finish a project or two, which of course threw sand in the gears. Doing the short story challenge was great (it opened me up to other genres, and to a new form, and to exploring new markets,) but it also sidetracked me horribly on my current projects. Now I want to write whole novels, and maybe whole new series, in those genres! And I want to do it NOW. Kind of fortunately, I’ve been sick for almost 2 weeks (finally feeling better,) which gave me time to reflect on all the things I’d like to do, and I finally resumed building my new and better website.
    So it’s time to plan again. The Time of Great Forgetting did catch up with me somewhat, but the summer is still salvageable! Thank you for sharing. I’m glad I’m not alone in kicking and screaming against my “shoulds” every so often.

  3. thehouseai says:

    I’m sorry about the loss of Galahad. Your posts about him over the years showed how special he was. My cat, Willow, is 13-14. He was a rescue kitten, and has a distinct personality that not everyone is fond of. But I love him, most times. I understand your grief. My Dad, who is 90 in Nov. has congestive heart failure. I’m a daddy’s girl, and I fear for him every day. And Willow this summer, after a long bout of IBD suddenly fixed that, but wouldn’t eat. Skinny as a rail, I felt only a day away and he would be gone. But persnickety as he is, about a week ago he started eating his gluten free food, chowing, scarfing. Weight is coming back, and so is his energy. He’s like your two year old Gavin. I like to think he was reborn one night. His second life.

    • I’m glad Willow is better. We had a couple years like that with Galahad (who also had stomach issues in his last five years). It was wonderful, the way he jumped back. And I do understand about your father. Such stress. Be kind to yourself through it all.

  4. Widdershins says:

    Bon Voyage, Galahad.

  5. So that’s been my problem! About a year ago I was struggling with one novel and not far into it, I cried “this just isn’t any fun anymore”. That was my two-year-old self talking. As a great-grannie who is run ragged by a two-year-old, I’m learning how to deal with it, and sometimes you just have to give up, sit on the floor and play dump-trucks. But when he’s finally satisfied and down for his nap (or gone home with Mama), it’s back to the grownup stuff, and working on a novel that engages THAT self. As LINDAJORDAN says, you help me feel normal!

  6. My sympathies. Losing pets is always hard – they depend so utterly on us we forget we depend on them, too. Just remember – they were lucky and you had them to love.

    My schedule remains the same: finish the second book of the trilogy as soon as my brain will let me. I estimate some time in 2018. Yours sounds like much more fun, but I have no choice. It’s all-consuming.

  7. lindajordan says:

    I’m always so happy when you blog about your process. Makes me feel like I’m almost normal. I’ve been writing a novel – since December. Unusual for me to take so long at it these days. Part of me doesn’t want to write it, because deep down it’s about politics. And I’m sick of politics. But the rest of me won’t let it be. I’ve stopped writing it several times, but I keep picking it up again. Trying to give my characters a resolution. I’ve never had such a love/hate relationship with a novel before. But this one . . . sheesh.

  8. C. Row says:

    Just curious if your two-year-old subconscious wanted to write some Fantasy? Glad that you were able to work out a reschedule that appealed to you both… 🙂

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