25 Feb

Progress report: taking deep lungfuls of air

I cut back on the blogging while I buried myself into working on the outline for PS-1 (my last update was on 2/6, wow).

The back pain is mostly gone from my spill on 1/22, though some activity still occasionally inflames it. One month, wow. I can sit, stand, work at the computer, and do my daily walk into town to run errands again. I’m still… gun-shy about any ice and take extra wide detours to avoid and get really nervous around it. It’s an oddly purely physiological response. The fall and three weeks of back pain are so seared into my body that the first walk into town I kept flinching whenever I saw ice. I’m not mentally freaked, but there’s just an autonomous, muscle memory there that my body has that’s similar to seeing a glowing red pot (don’t touch!). More walks are fixing that, but it was interesting to see that my lower, lizard brain has picked up that aversion on such a fundamental level.

So I’m about two weeks behind, but now that I’m back to normal, am enjoying catching up on work. Blogging took a hit, as it doesn’t put food directly on the table!

The outline for PS-1 is 17,000 words. For what will likely be a 55,000 word novel. The interested parties are reading the outline, and notes are being exchanged. I expect to start writing the first chapter Monday, March 3rd.

On twitter I talked a great deal about the craziness of a 17,000 word outline for a 55,000 word book. But, over time, I’ve come to outline more and more obsessively before writing. It has really helped me, and has made the writing process more and more enjoyable on a daily basis. I might have to storify that whole exchange and post it up here.

With my editor reading over PS-1, I now have the time to finish my last pre-PS-1 project. I owe one last short story to an anthology. I need to finish it by this weekend.

After that, I will be passing on any new short fiction projects until after all the work on PS-1, the books I owe Tor, and all other extant projects are turned in. I can’t handle the pressure of any new obligations when my plate is so full, sadly. It means things are good for me.

It sucks to say no. I had to turn down another project that looked really cool recently, so it’s on my mind. I spent most of my life working so hard to get to this point. And suddenly, people approach me and ask for stories. I’ve sold 55 of them, to date. And now I have to say no. And that’s an odd complication I didn’t expect about success (what bit of I have managed to carve out for myself).

Steve Jobs said success is as much about what you say ‘no’ to. And I found out that, although I’m extraordinarily proud of the 55 short story sales, I need to take care of the novels and extreme debt-paying project I’ve embarked on this last couple years. That will put me in much better stead to play with short fiction down the road.