Reaching Toward The Light

Reaching Toward The Light

I’ve only managed to get in about three, maybe four hours of useful work today, and to be honest, I’m feeling kind of lousy about that. But I just don’t really have the energy to continue, and it’s getting kind of late in the evening as I write this, so I’m writing this blog post so it will feel like I did at least did one more productive thing today.

My year of writing full-time is off to kind of a slow start. I’ve been both depressed and sick, and it’s been kind of a struggle to keep my head above all that.

So what have I been working on? I’ve got another book giveaway coming up on Amazon — Permanent Damage will be a free download on January 29th, 30th, and 31st. In the past, when I’ve run giveaways, I’ve announced them here, on Facebook, and on Twitter, and I’ve managed to get a few hundred downloads here and there. That may sound like a lot, but it’s really not enough to effect the Amazon rank of a book very much. So this time, I submitted the book to a couple of dozen websites where you can announce giveaways like this, and we’ll see what kind of difference that makes to my download numbers.

Oh, and I spent this past weekend doing panels at Rustycon. I did a panel on British television on Friday, ended up not making it to a panel on Saturday about maps in science fiction and fantasy (I just felt too sick to make it back down to the con, and didn’t really feel qualified to speak on the subject anyway), and then wrapped things up on Sunday with a panel about formatting e-books. My fellow panelists and I did our best to make the process sound as simple and non-intimidating as possible, but I don’t think we really managed to.

The main thing I’ve been working on is revising my novel, Still Life. I’ve handed the book to a couple of beta readers and I’ve been getting their feedback on it. I’m trying to see if I can actually have a finished, polished draft in time for the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. The deadline is January 27th, and trying to get the book done by then is actually kind of a ridiculously aggressive target, and I’ll be honest — I haven’t even decided for sure if I want to submit the book to that contest, or if I want to try submitting it to a different publisher, or whether I even want to just go ahead and self-publish it. But if I don’t have the book done by then, I can’t submit that contest, so I’m just going to go ahead and see if I can hit that deadline and then I’ll decide at the last minute what I actually want to do.

If I decide not to, or if I just simply don’t have it done in time, then oh, well — I’ll still have put in a lot of work on a major project right at the beginning of the year. The deadline is helping to keep a fire lit under me, if nothing else.

It’s coming along pretty well, I think. I just finished my first pass over the manuscript, and I’ve taken copious notes and figured out where all the problems are with it. I polished up some of the rough spots as I go along, and I’ve identified whole big chunks of chapters that need to be just torn out and rewritten. There are a few plot devices that I simply think don’t work, and I have some simpler ideas for tying things together that I think will work out quite nicely.

There’s still a lot left to do, and that — and my depression — are what’s making me think I’m not working hard enough. But honestly, I have to acknowledge that I’ve done quite a lot.