Stations of the Cross

Today it will be five radiation treatments down, thirty-four to go. That’s not what this post is about, but I thought I’d get the health stuff out of the way so you know I’m alive and plan to keep living –  because if I’m dying, there’s really no point in following the blog because it’s just going to stop one day right in the middle of a wor

Treatments aren’t bad –  I spend as much time getting there (about 10 minutes) as I do on the table, with the machine rotating around me as I lay on the table.

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That thing at the top is the part that actually shoots the radiation into my lower abdomen, and it rotates around me, stopping in eight locations and giving me two 20–second shots of radiation from each. Meanwhile lame soft rock spills from a speaker in the ceiling. If it went on for more than 10 minutes, I’d probably go mad. Especially since I can’t even think about Night and Day while “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” plays….

And I have been thinking about it.

Still haven’t come up with a title for the eight-chapter short detailing the last four days before Welles went into Camp Delta 5 and the last four days before he was released. I’ll eventually need a title, but I’m sure one will come to me in the fullness of time…

One of the things I’m going to have to do is go back through the first three books and make notes on certain characters and happenings from the past that I’ve already mentioned. I’ve talked about “making it up as I go along” in the past (there being no big Night and Day world bible to refer to) and occasionally that’s created mild continuity errors (Uptown Station having formerly been the Liberty Ave. station in Night and Day and becoming the Tremont Ave. station in Bandit’s Moon, for example). I hope to avoid such problems with the unnamed short. We’ll meet characters from earlier books (Ray Holstein, Becca James) as well as characters mentioned in those books. And we’ll see things play out as mentioned and alluded to in the first three books. So continuity is important.

The other thing that’s important is that I don’t burn myself out again. If you go back eleven years to when I was writing the first draft of Night and Day (like here, for instance), you see that I would write 1500–2000 words or so in the evening (since I had only evenings to work on the book) and then move on to something else. It wasn’t, as I recall, that I didn’t have the discipline to “write on”, but that I was finding a balance between writing and the rest of my life.

When I picked up Night and Day again in 2013, I no longer had a day job, so I could write all day. And did. And after Night and Day was released, I continued the pace to get Bleeding Sky out. Chapter a day. Didn’t stop till it was done. Then Bleeding Sky was released, and I moved on to Bandit’s Moon. Same thing. Chapter a day. Sometimes I couldn’t sit for more than 10–15 minutes at a time, because of the whole prostate thing, but I kept on chugging along. Then it was released and I started working on Blood for Blood. And finally hit a wall as I burned out.

So I took a break that turned into the rest of the year off. I still thought about the series, about Blood for Blood and future books, but I didn’t have any desire to sit down and start pounding them out (the whole cancer thing probably had something to do with that as well…).

Now I’m back, and ready to start working again once I’m no longer being bombarded with radiation Monday-Friday, but I want to make sure I don’t write myself into ash once again. Over the past eight months, I’ve filled the hours with other things I like to do –  watch movies, read, listen to music –  and I’ve enjoyed it. I don’t want to put that enjoyment on the back burner again while I pound the keyboard for 8–10 hours a day.

So I’ve decided to take it easy –  not a paragraph a day easy, but I’m removing the chapter a day mentality. If things are going well, and I’m really into what’s happening in the story, and I really want to know what happens next, I might do a chapter a day. If not, then I’ll do 1000 words. Or 1500. Or 2000. Or whatever. And then stop and do something else that I enjoy doing.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the writing –  I love it the mostest. But I would like to avoid being consumed by it again.

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