Where to start… where to start? I can’t cover everything in one entry, so I’ll make a series of short entries for each topic that comes to mind. No one wants to read forty pages all at once, anyway.
I’m writing this on the train, a time I usually reserve for writing stories or reading. But I recently finished another draft of my third novel ‘Nowhere Home’, and am taking a little break before starting in on the next one. I’m going to do a little more planning for this one to see if there is enough there to make the three book series a four book series before I begin.
I am still actively looking for an agent, or I should say that I have recently resumed actively looking for an agent. I spent Sept-Dec splitting the original ‘Nowhere Home’ into two books: ‘The Forgotten Road’ and ‘Nowhere Home’. I rewrote a new 30000 word ending to ‘The Forgotten Road’, and carried through the changes to ‘Nowhere Home’. TFR is now about 85000 words, while the latest draft of NH is about 67000. Until I get an agent, TFR is probably at the ‘done’ stage. I’m not planning any significant edits for it. Sooner or later, a book just has to be done, and you move on. NH still has a couple of edits left on it. Lisa just finished reading it last night, and I’m sure she has a few typos and grammar errors for me to fix. I also feel the need to add another 10000 words to it, but I want them to be good words, not just filler.
2009 was the year I learned a lot about writing. I had to go and read some books about the craft. I spent far too much time editing, but in the end, I think that definitely taught me how to be a better writer, and I hope it shows in my future work, which should take less time to get to the completed state. I want 2010 to be about new writing. I’m aiming for a completed book per year while I am writing part time. In the future, if I start writing full time, maybe I can do two.
Since I’m on my way to work right now, I’ll cover work next. It’s been a very busy last few months. I made a trip to Los Angeles in November for the Microsoft Professional Developers conference, which was fun and very educational, but exhausting as well. It was the first time I was away from the kids since they were born. I thought that would just kill me, but… gulp… it was a bit of a refreshing break. It wasn’t a matter of getting more sleep (I didn’t), or staying up late and partying (I didn’t) or even having good food where you’re not rushed and trying to get your food down before milk spills or someone gets a timeout (though that was nice). It was just different, and enjoyable. And I couldn’t do it more than a couple of days a year.
We’ve been working on a couple of very large projects for one of my customers, and I spent a lot of evenings and weekends through October, November and December trying to get stuff to work. We’re wrapping those projects up now, and we were all able to take a little break at Christmas and New Years and get a little recuperation time. I spent four glorious days at New Years not responding to a single work email, and that really helped.
This year, the company has big growth plans, and I’ll be right in the middle of it all, so I expect it to be another busy year. There are lots of things I plan on learning about, so I won’t be getting bored. I do really notice how being connected 24x7 to email through my IPhone and working in the evenings affects my life and my health, so I’m hoping that growth means that we can mature as a company as well, and do a better job estimating work, and a better job getting the work done during business hours. Working at home more than one or two nights a week really wears your down after a while. Doing it 6-7 days a week for three or four months at a time is just plain grueling.
Okay, train is almost to Seattle. I’ll cover the family stuff in the next entry.