Sickness-Imposed Hiatus

So, I ended up with my son’s daycare throat infection. Combined with residual fatigue… I’ve been knocked flat on my back.

So nothing to report this week, and I’m just reporting my goals to next week.

(Also, WordPress apparently didn’t post my scheduled blog. Bad WordPress! Bad!)

A Dad and a Writer: Month 10

I went back to work this month. Paternity leave was great, but it’s unfortunately not infinite. But I’m thankful for the rest, especially considering that the month turned out to be very, very busy with uninteresting stuff.

That said, I’ve tried to keep to a stricter schedule this month, and it helped with writing. In a way, being at work helps, because it gives structure to my day. Admittedly, the structure is “wake up, help with baby, go to work, return home, help with baby, work on writing/projects for an hour, collapse in bed”, but it’s actually more productive than “wake, do random stuff, go to bed.”

Honestly, by this point, if all I did was write a novel, I’d be able to progress at a slow, but satisfying rate. Having a 9-going-on-10 months old baby is not actually that much of an impediment to writing. Taking care of a three-months-old baby is mentally draining in a way an older kid isn’t: you’re constantly stressing out over everything, and you can’t see an end to it. By contrast, by now my son can communicate if something’s not well, he makes constant progress, and he can play by himself (with supervision, but still.)

And… he’s starting daycare. Which means my girlfriend will finally have some time off, which means she’ll eventually be able to help with household chores, which means *I’ll* be less tired… (plus, I usually have a day off during the week, so I’ll actually have one glorious day a week to write uninterrupted.

But even if I didn’t…. for the first time in nearly a year, I’m convinced I’ll be able to write regularly for the foreseeable future. Not as much as I’d want, and I suspect I’ll get frustrated by all the weekly days off I can’t manage to turn into full days of writing, but having a second manuscript finished no longer seems impossible.

 

 

A Dad and a Writer: Month Nine

This month has obviously been easier for me, what with the whole “paternity leave” thingy. Then again, I was exhausted, so maybe it’s a wash.

On the baby front, it’s been a fun few weeks. Lots of small steps forward (that translate to a few more seconds of free time every day.) We’ve made the switch from formula to cow milk, my son can now sit up without support which makes bathtime less time-consuming, and so on.

I’ve been able to put in more time on the “becoming a writer” front as a result. Not as much as I’d like, because I wanted to give this blog more attention and because I’ve taken on some paying writing work, which means that Book the Second is still progressing at a snail’s pace.

But the real lesson of this month is the importance of setting up a writing schedule and sticking to it. It’s a good approach to writing in general, but it’s never so apparent that it’s really a necessity as when external pressures play havoc with your time.

Since I’m on vacation, I’ve allowed myself some time off. But my girlfriend also (rightfully) wants me to spend time with her. I’m also spending more time with my son… which means that my schedule has changed. And so, I end up wasting my free time on the Internet because it’s not my usual writing hour.

Still, progress is happening (and for what it’s worth, catching up on my sleep and taking some actual brain-resting time off does help with my productivity.) And each day brings me closer to the glorious first day of daycare!

The Gameplan

Well, I’m on paternity leave. But I should have known that wouldn’t mean much more free time.

Objectively, I have about forty more hours per week. But I obviously wanted to spend some of that time with my son. We also had a fairly impressive backlog of household tasks that I had to get through. Plus, I’m apparently exhausted (surprising, I know) – I didn’t realize it in the high-speed grind of the work-fatherhood-writing lifestyle, but now that I have time to take it a bit easier, I’m barely making it through my days.

But if I want to accomplish anything in my remaining three weeks and change of “vacation”, I need to plan my workload out. So here we go:

1-Blogging:

My goal here is simple: two posts a week for the five weeks of my vacation. That should suffice to catch-up the few weeks I’ve missed this year, and to build a small buffer for emergencies.

There’ll be one Bonus Creativity post, one A Dad and a Writer, the Yeruldegger Just my Opinion, and at least one update on my queries. Beyond that… we’ll see.

2-Writing:

I sorely wanted to challenge myself to 300 words per day for the duration, but I’m just too exhausted. Instead, the goal is now “reach 8000 words in Book the Second.” I’m at slightly over 2000 now, so I feel that’s an achievable goal.

I also need to take an evening to work on the setting bible for Book the Second. I need to draw a quick world map, formalize how magic works in that universe, that sort of stuff.

As a tertiary goal, I really should write out a first version of the synopsis. It’s the kind of writing I could easily improve upon during my breaks at work. Plus, it’s a good way to spot any plot issues prior to writing out several thousand words.

3-Querying:

Well, I found one other agent which may be interested in Book the First, so I’ll query her in the next couple of days. Then I’ll spend a few hours reviewing the status of my last batch of queries. Except a query report at some point.

4-E-publishing:

As mentionned, I want to start looking at e-publishing Book the First. I need to do some research on that, so that’s likely to be the subject of a blog post at some point. Depending on the amount of work required to turn my manuscript into an e-book, I might want to get started on that during my vacation too.

5-Extra content:

I’ve got some ideas for additionnal material for this blog. We’ll see how that goes.

So that’s what I’m trying for in the next month or so. We’ll see how it goes.

Marathon Month

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve managed to write a blog post.

It’s been a rough month – nothing specific, just the last few weeks of work prior to heading out on well-earned paternity leave. I’m the kind of guy who’ll handle several years of work without a single vacation without issue, then barely manage to drag myself over the finish line once I finally schedule some time off.

I’ll do a several posts on the advancement of my various projects soon, but here’s the quick version:

1-No movement on the agenting side. I’ll do a quick review of that sometime this week, to figure out how many of my final queries are officially dead and how many are still on life support.

2-My son’s doing well. Not much to add there.

3-I’m progressing on the newest Book the Second. Not much in the last ten days or so, but I have big plans for the next five weks.

4-I have to get some gaming (or pseudo-gaming) time in, so I will post the much-belated Bonus Creativity post soon.

5-Regardless of the progress on the agent front, I will get started on looking at e-publishing requirements and options. Expect a post or two on the subject.

So that’s where I am. First, of course, is the inevitable start-of-vacation migraine I’m bound to run into. There’s a reason I don’t take vacations, people. 🙂

 

A Dad and a Writer: Month 7 or so

A major change this month: we’ve moved my son’s crib back into his own room, which allowed us to also reorganize a lot of baby stuff and furniture. The net result is that we suddenly have a much, much less messy home – which shouldn’t matter, but it helps me focus. Cluttered house, cluttered mind indeed.

It also helps that the baby has settled into something ressembling a routine. I can generally expect three hours or so of uninterrupted time when he goes to bed, which translates to about an hour an a half of creative work (now that I’ve officially sent off my last queries for Book the First.)

Which means that my latest attempt at writing a second book is actually going well. I’ve managed to plan a series, to figure out the plot of the first book of said series, and to put a little over a thousand words on paper in a week and a half. How sustainable that rythm is remains to be seen, but it’s encouraging.

Sick…

Well, that was a waste of a week. I’ve come down with what feels like a mix of gastroenteritis, influenza, and the T-virus. I’ve yet to develop glowing red spots you can hit for MASSIVE DAMAGE, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

More seriously, I’m starting to feel better, and the whole “unable to do anything” shebang means my brain is well-rested, at least. Hopefully, that’ll translate to a lot of creative productivity when I get back on top of all the chores and work I haven’t done yet.

Still, the next week’s post should be up in a couple of days. Not sure what it’ll be (other than that it’s not going to be the Ulysses opinion post.)

A Dad and a Writer: Month 6 and Change

Two small steps forward, one big step back.

That’s how fatherhood feels sometimes. The big step back, in this case, is the return of the broken nights and the associated sleep-deprivation. It’s a common issue as babies enter their sixth month: they begin to feel anxious when they wake up at night and their parents aren’t around.

It’s obviously hell on my ability to achieve my goals: I have some free time now after my son goes to bed… but I’m often very tired, or stressed out, plus I can’t plan on actually having a long stretch of uninterrupted time to write.

Still, so far, I’ve managed to stay on top of my goals for the year (if barely.) My last few queries are going out mostly on schedule, I’m reading regularly, posting content on time (more or less)… I’m not progressing as much as I’d like on my writing projects, but that’s in large part because I’m focusing on the other parts of my yearly plan.

Besides, I have paternity leave time coming up. I can’t imagine that five weeks of free time won’t let me make some major progress…

A Dad and a Writer: Month 5

As winter rolls in, I’m cautiously optimistic. The baby is growing up quickly, and that’s a much-needed motivation boost. His sleep schedule is also becoming more convenient – he was already sleeping full nights, but now we’re slowly putting him to bed earlier, which gives me more uninterrupted time.

I also think that I’ve turned the corner on accumulated fatigue – by which I mean that instead of finishing every week just a bit more tired than the week before, I’m finally recuperating. In retrospect, that accumulated fatigue was probably also impeding my ability to write in months 3 and 4, so I’m glad/hopeful that’s over.

Hence the “cautiously” optimistic. It won’t take a lot for me to slip back into that energy-deficit trap. Another baby cold, a rough month at work, and I’m back in that low-concentration hell. But as of now, I’m running out of excuses not to write regularly.

A Dad and a Writer: Month 4

It gets worse before it gets better.

That “bring a laptop to work” plan? Sure, it helps with the writing (and general sanity), but I have a short lunch break, and it flat out hasn’t been enough to cover for the otherwise increased demands on my time.

Granted, the worst is probably over: my son got a cold and it passed on to my girlfriend and then on to me, and so I ended up losing a week and a half of writing time first by caring for my family, and then by being sick myself. That’s dealt with (until the next inevitable sickness – did you know babies normally catch about ten different colds during their first year of life?) but, well, that’s a third of the month gone.

Beyond that, the fourth month is a hodgepodge of time-eating progress (my son wants to play more, he talks more, and so on – all awesome stuff that’s a nightmare to a regular writing schedule) and tantalizing visions of eventual increased freedom. I see hints of him wanting to play on his own, he’s rapidly outgrowing milk as a sole source of nutrition (the glorious four-bottles-a-day nirvana is fast approaching)…

But at this stage, they’re still just hints. And so it’s yet another day of having maybe an hour and a half of free time spread over the entire day, and of maybe scrounging another minute or so (we no longer have to sterilize the bottles – a dauting three-minutes task off the list until the next baby!)