Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Madness and Laying It on the Line

March Madness is here and to celebrate, I'm dumping. No skatoles, or basketballs, I promise. Just important information that's rattling around my head.

1)      Edits are moving forward on Blessed Are The Peace Makers – Coming Home (that's what I'm calling Book One for now). As of last night it's about one-third complete.

2)      Book Two (yet untitled) still percolates. Sitting at 52Kish it’s about half written.

3)      Recently, while soul-searching yet again, this time questioning my literary dedication, not just to writing, but to seeing my works complete and out there for others to read, I came to a realization. All I need are three things - commitment, a plan, and time to do it.

4)      So I committed. I will spend at least 24 hours a week editing, writing, doing research, whatever it takes to bring these books** to publication and distribution.

5)      In 1994, I gave up a good-paying career to be a full-time chiropractic student. At 31 hours a week butt-in-class, plus countless more spent memorizing every bone, muscle, tendon, ligament, organ, system, medical term/history/failure, microbiology, macrobiology, histology, x-ray techniques and interpretation, adjusting techniques, anatomy, physiology, the-list-goes-on-and-onomy, I knew chunks of my time would have to be reallocated. Though the decision was difficult, I gave up television and the daily newspaper, graduated summa-cum-laude four years later, and never looked back. (Well maybe there was an occasional Seinfeld or Friends episode.)

6)      During this current existential exploration, it occurs to me that my situation today is not dissimilar to 1994, and in order to pay my bills AND bring these works to distribution, it would be logical (thank you, Spock) to repeat those success behaviors. SO...

Goodbye dear Spock, RIP Leonard Nimoy

7)      I must choose again - with heavy heart. After work (because I ditched cable years ago), rather than melting in front of mindless Netflix reruns and HuluPlus commercials, I will turn to my manuscript. Or blog. Or read your blogs. Or research. The pursuits that feed my writer-soul and move my works to fruition.

8)      Yes! You heard it here. I said it out loud. This evening recliner-slug is selling her recliners and giving up HuluPlus (goodbye insufferable commercials) and Netflix in favor of her literary aspirations. No, I haven’t cancelled them yet (the decision is fresh), but I will. This week. Before my paid-month runs out.

9)      You may also see less of me on Facebook. Or more. Depending on how a side-project* shapes up.

10)    And finally, a big shout-out to Andrew T. Post (one of my earliest Blogger buddy/writer friends). for mentioning on Facebook his new practice of tracking his daily writing productivity. That fell on fertile ground and inspired me to do the same.

11)  Last week I began tracking my own productivity, at first by hand, which was satisfying, but I kept having to dig for the infernal notebook, and once beside my laptop it became a coaster, collecting spilled crumbs and tea stains.

11)   This week I started an Excel spreadsheet. It’s even more satisfying, and ever-handy. You'll likely be hearing more about it.

12)  All this fueled both forward-motion and a sharper focus on the prize, plus it's given me concrete and useful data on my progress. For instance, this week I’ve invested 19 1/2  hours completing edits on five chapters (totaling thirty-three pages) and cutting 788 unnecessary words.

Is it working? Feels like it. Time will tell.

That’s good enough for me.

 ~ Olivia J. Herrell

*I’m toying with revamping or rebranding (or both) That Rebel, focusing more on issues we face on a day-to-day basis, similar to many past posts: social and cultural anthropological issues as relates to life through my particular lens/voice).

**Not just the Peace Makers trilogy, but also the abandoned women’s-fic novella Churches, Chickens and Chi-Chi’s and children’s book series Frank & Ernie Find Home.

3 comments:

DL Hammons said...

I admire your renewed dedication and your plan. That kind of commitment is bound to be rewarded in the end! Good luck! I'll be watching. :)

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Hi DL, thank you. I hadn't thought of it in quite that way but you're right, I am renewing my dedication and taking concrete steps to see these projects to completion. It seems I've floundered in Middledom so long that it'd gotten comfortable. Time to forge on. Thank you for the vote of confidence and for being here.

~ Olivia

Arlee Bird said...

Progress underway and a plan mapped out before you. Sounds pretty good to me. Good luck with staying on course and meeting your goals.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

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