Friday, April 8, 2011

Surfing The Blur

Let us begin with a digression: I have to report that my daily writing streak is pretty much in tatters, but for a good cause. Travel is hard on writing, but easy on fun and great for thinking. I’ve spent the last two weeks on impromptu travel ‘round these parts, mostly in Bangkok, meeting lots of old friends and making lots of new ones as I circulated amongst the bars and sights. As for writing? I made a conscious decsion to focus on people and let writing rest for a moment. Quoth I: There’ll be plenty of boring stretches of time that can be filled with glorious writing when I get back. Lo! I was correct, for here I am. Here’s the takeaway: Isolation is Bad for the writer, but trying to write with a lot of people around isn’t very helpful. Telling stories with a lot of people around, though?

Yeah, there’s the benefit right there. Each of those impromptu stories will almost certainly get a showing in writing as well. Because that’s all there is to it, this thing Writing: Tell a lie, then make it True. Blur the edges of reality, define the blur as a better reality--’better’ in this case to be read as ‘more interesting’--and then surf that blur with your audience until they’re having too much fun hanging on to notice when you’ve wandered them into unreality. The blur between unknowable fact and blatant fiction is called Truth, and all I need to do is construct a good enough lie to get people to believe in that Truth. 

That sexy, sexy Truth.


I came back and read Dean Wesley Smith’s article where he discoursed on Production Schedules. I thought to myself: Why haven’t I thought to do that yet? Well, that’s what I’m going to do, in any case, because it’s so blindingly obvious. I’ve been organically developing a writing and publishing process, so this will be a good way to tie it all together. So far I’ve been writing “by series”, that is, I write such that I’ll fill out a 5-story series for ease of publishing. I think some actual calendar planning would help that out, and it’ll keep me professional to actually set a deadline for something besides these articles. And I’ll be able to brag more easily with hard data, so’s I can point at the wall calendar and say: “QUALE, MORTALS! Productivity is Afoot!” Of course, it might be spelled Quail, in which case mortals will have a jolly chuckle at my expense. Rude.

Writing Schedule

So really it comes down to coming up with a reasonable schedule that won’t get screwed up by overreaching. I had to sit down and think up what a normal day of writing should look like, mere desultory tapping away at the keys, no major effort of will involved. What I’m looking at is about 2500 words. Obviously, there’ve been days when I’ve written more, there’ve been days when I’ve written less, but on any given day that I’ve had to myself and haven’t lazed around like a loser, that’s a fair estimate of output. 

What writing do I want to schedule, then? I have two types of product, the short story and the serial. I want to write and publish at least one serial every month, for obvious reasons. That’s 12,500 words, or 5 days. Looking at the writing numbers, I should be able to write a series (five short stories) every 10 days, so we can put that down for two a month, or 20 days.

Publishing Schedule

Ten short stories and one serial every month, 25 solid writing days, which leaves 3-6 days for Publishing. I’m including these articles (about 800 words each) in Publishing, so that’s a couple hours of one day. Formatting 13 (10 stories, 2 series, 1 serial) titles and making 13 covers will eat up a solid day, but I’d schedule two because I usually try something new with each cover for my education and don’t like being rushed. Writing blurbs and putting everything up on Amazon and Smashwords is not actually that time-consuming if you’re in the zone and properly organized, so that’d be a half day. Any extra covers and formatting (such as a completed serial book or a 10 or 20 story pack) would be done sometime in there as well. 

All the Publishing stuff would happen at the end of the month, and the titles published the previous month would be announced during the publishing phase of the next month. They’d be sure to be up on most of the sites by then. I’d probably just make a big ole’ “Monthly Releases” announcement post on this site with all the covers and blurbs, and maybe schedule some individual title Twitter announcements throughout the month.


If this seems a trifle quixotic, it might could be. But it seems like it should work, if I’m not lazy, if I’m, if you will, a Professional . As always, it really depends on my writing output, just sitting in a chair and typing the ideas down instead of sitting around doing nothing. I’m certain that actually having a schedule of some sort will at least motivate me to stick to it, if only to avoid that depressing whir and whistle of deadlines rushing by, like a falcon without a nest, et cetera.
If it works, it’ll work great. And hey? If it’s actually impossible, it’ll still be just the right lie I’ll need to tell myself to surf the blur to possible.

This version of Professional Edition will last until April 6, 2012, updating every Friday. Site design subject to change as I learn by doing. Like what you see? Spot something unprofessional? Feel free to comment!
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