July was much like June for writing, which means I didn’t do very much of it. The good news is that physical therapy is working wonders for my back, and I can finally sit for long periods of time without pain. I reduced my two-monitor setup to one monitor to prevent bad posture habits (leaning over to look at my right-hand monitor all the time put unnecessary strain on my back) and to help me stay focused on work instead of the internet. I bought a new office chair with better back support and set up a standing desk in my office to help mitigate back pain as much as possible. I was worried it would be a difficult adjustment to switch to standing while working, but I actually prefer it to sitting at my desk. I’m not sure how my enthusiasm will hold up once I start writing full-time again and work for several hour stretches, but I like it so far.

the rare portrait of a clean office

I’ve been a bit antsy this past month, wanting to work on something but not having the time or energy or focus to do it. I’m annoyed with THE MERMAID & THE BEAST for being so difficult to get right. I keep trying to tell myself that I can’t fix a draft that isn’t there, but I also don’t want to write 200,000 words of the wrong book either; I did that with THE GUILD CONSPIRACY and that is a process I do not want to repeat. So I’m doing a lot of not-writing work by mentally working out the kinks that had me stall out before, and I finally feel like I’m starting to get a handle on the story as I want to tell it, but I’m not quite there yet. I’ve spent a lot of this month trying to convince myself that the story is even worth telling. I keep having doubts about my ability to tell it, and I worry that either it will end up being garbage, or no one will want to read it, or it won’t sell, or someone else will beat me to the concept because I’m so damn slow, or or or… I feel like more than anything, I want to prove that I can write it, this crazy story idea that popped into my head after idly watching Beauty and the Beast and Ponyo each a dozen times in a week (thanks, kiddo), but I’m afraid that I can’t. Yay, writer insecurities.

I’ve gotten a few ideas for other stories to write, and part of me wants to just sit down and bang out a horrible first draft of anything just to prove to myself that I can still write a book. I still haven’t quite recovered from losing my publishing contract last year, and that’s put a damper on my confidence and self-motivation. It doesn’t help that the book I decided to work on is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever tried to write.

Mostly, I’ve occupied my time by running a game of Dungeons & Dragons with friends every week and spending every other spare hour playing World of Warcraft. I wish I was reading more, but I haven’t even had the focus to do that. About all I can muster the attention for right now are comics and graphic novels.

It’s really hard to do anything that requires any modicum of concentration when I’m interrupted every thirty seconds for this or that or whathaveyou (at this point in the blog post, I’ve had to step away from my computer twice and have otherwise been interrupted at least five or six times), and it’s just generally loud with kiddo in the house all day.

What writing I did do this month was minimal, and most of it was brainstorming how to fix THE MERMAID & THE BEAST when I eventually get back to it.

JULY WORD COUNTS:

Blog posts: 208
TM&TB brainstorming: 1,412
Other: 1,260

Total Words for July: 2,880
Total Words for 2018: 56,099

PLANS FOR AUGUST:

The end of summer is on the approach, which means kiddo is going back to school soon, and I’ll be able to start working properly again. I’ll be on “vacation” for a week when the new World of Warcraft expansion drops (For the Horde!), so I’ll be playing the crap out of that while kiddo is at school. But after that first week, I plan to dive back into writing.

I guess my first priority is editing REBEL ENGINEER, which will be more of a kind of rewrite, I think. The plot and conflict aren’t really strong enough as-is, so I need to reshape the narrative a bit and fill in all the gaps that will take it from a subplot companion to THE GUILD CONSPIRACY to a book in its own right. The good news is that it will probably end up full novel-length as a result, instead of a long novella, but the process is going to be a pain. So, this month will probably involve a reread of the draft and writing an outline/plan for revisions. I have good feedback from two beta-readers to work with, so that will help a lot. I expect the full revision will take me a couple of months (yay, eight hours of uninterrupted writing time each day!), and then I’ll probably get some more eyes on it. I’d love to publish it by the end of the year, and that’s my goal, but that all depends on how revisions go.

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