Let’s Play Catch-Up

In News & Updates by Daniel M. Clark0 Comments

Last June, I wrote here about writing and a decision to focus on writing. It was all very lofty and well-intentioned. I was full of vim and vigor and rarin’ to go. Let’s do this!

Last July, I published a story called Dragonwatch. It’s a little flash fiction or vignette that I thought was fun to write. Mostly, I wanted to see if I could set up a couple of characters, get readers to click with them, and then pull the rug out and reveal that they weren’t who the readers thought they were. Based on the feedback[1], it was successful. Go me.

After that, I went back to focusing on podcasting for about two months. I diddled around a bit with some story ideas, and told anyone who asked that I was working on a few things, but I wasn’t making any progress with fiction. Out of the blue, a great opportunity fell on my lap. I was contacted by New Media Expo (the Artist Formerly Known as Blogworld). NMX wanted to know if I’d be interested in writing a guide to podcasting. I’d been writing articles for their site for a while, and they considered me a good fit. The ebook was to be an in-depth look at podcasting, and they’d pay me.

This was me.

This writing took about two months in late 2012 and The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Podcaster was released on November 30th. It was very well received. And they paid me! Real money! Someone, a real company, paid me to write a book.

I am officially a published author.

And I put a page up about it at QAQN, but didn’t write about it here. There’s no good reason why I didn’t, but I think that, at the time, I felt that this site was supposed to focus on my original fiction.

Fast forward to early 2013. Something happened that I wasn’t expecting. I was getting burned out on podcasting. I stopped writing for NMX. In addition to some larger personal issues, I started to feel that the weekly task of producing a podcast was becoming a chore. After the book I hadn’t written a word, and that was frustrating as well. I decided to put the podcast on hiatus. April 10th was the last episode for the foreseeable future. I turned back to writing.

I started getting organized. I organized my computer’s hard drive. I organized my notes. I organized my Scrivener projects. An idea for a story called “The Dwarves of Kun Xilas” started taking shape. Another idea for a trilogy of novels crept in.

In May, I attended Comicpalooza 2013. The educational sessions for writers were fantastic, and I came away with many new ideas and inspirations. I decided that I would write a story spanning three eras involving time travel, which is always risky, but I think I can handle it. I also decided that by Comicpalooza 2014, next May, I would have finished work under my belt. Not necessarily published, but finished. I mapped out a very aggressive plan.

In the space of one year, I intended to write three novels and nine tie-in short stories. I know, right? Talk about zero to sixty in 0.5 seconds. Naturally, that would prove to be impossible, but I’m getting to that.

I had everything mapped out on a calendar. I’d work on the first novel until November, then I’d write the second one during NaNoWriMo, then write the third until May 2014. Each short story would get about a month, not including November. It was a great plan.

Turns out, I’m not a great planner.

The first month, June, was fine; I did write and finish (but for the polish) my first short story. I did work on the first novel. July, I crumbled. I was overwhelmed, I felt like the first story (“The Secret Tunnel” is the working title) wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t progressing the first novel (The Last King of Avven is the working title) as well as I needed to if I was going to stick to the plan. The only sort-of-upside was that I had a solid idea about the second short story, “Ghost Stories”, and work on it was moving along fairly well, but not well enough for the plan.

So I ditched the plan. I’ve spent the past month making a new plan. The goal date is still Comicpalooza 2014 next May, but I’d finish one novel and however many short stories I can reasonably come up with. I may or may not participate in NaNoWriMo. I gave myself breathing room.

The Last King of Avven is still the first novel, but after attending last month’s Houston Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers Meetup, I settled into a really great idea about that trilogy I wanted to write. I was able to nail down the characters and the story. The world building that I’d completed, coupled with the notes and backstory I’ve written since the meetup, totals about 30,000 words and a number of maps. My universe has been set in motion.

I’ve written 7,105 words for Avven so far. Only about 93,000 to go.

No problem.

After all, I’m a published author.


  1. Granted, the feedback was from friends, family and acquaintances, so it was hardly unbiased, but still. I’ll take it.  ↩

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