A Question of Balance

If I didn’t have to earn a living, I‘d probably have published my book by now. Not that I’m complaining. I got a real break last week when a client of mine arranged for me to do regular work for them every week – just enough to keep things ticking over while I concentrate on getting this book finished.

I suck at balance and organising my time. I’m amazing at coming up with different ways to attempt to organise my time – new and inventive systems for ‘fitting it all in’ – but it never seems to work for more than a day or two before things fall apart. So, it should be no surprise that the first 2 or 3 days this week involved me trying and failing to amalgamate paid work and my own fiction efforts seamlessly into ‘a day’s work’. I might just about have managed it if my life existed in a hermetically sealed bubble, but my attempts at organisation are like those towers of pebbles that people make on the beach. Just one tiny little poke and…

Yet, it’s all okay. Because, although I had a poor week, and although I’m still on that script outline draft – which is now going on longer than I would ideally have liked, with each extra day becoming a little less justifiable – I didn’t have a terrible week. On Thursday and Friday, in particular, I got quite a bit done. I can see a ‘next week’, and a ‘week after that’, where the paid work takes up my morning and the fiction takes up my afternoon. And that’s not so bad, is it?

It’s almost like organisation.

On other news, I’m getting to that part in the draft where I’m discovering things. I’d forgotten about that, how joyous it can be, how it makes writing a story like creating a living thing. I’ve just realised that one of the crew members of my ‘privateer’-type space ship has crush on the Captain. Had no idea that was going to happen, although, looking back, it was kind of obvious. Also, I had the two main ships heading towards the planet where all the big end of book stuff happens, then realised that I only needed one ship, and that all the important characters could just be on that one ship. Have also scratched out a lot of unnecessary scenes and characters from the last part of the book before I even wrote it. Which might prove a time-saving bonus.

So perhaps this script outline stage that I’ve added into my writing process might yet prove a good idea. This draft is certainly bringing home the lack of world-building that I did before I started writing. There’ll be a lot to get down before I start the first draft proper. Many of the ideas are there though, in my head, or vaguely referred to in quickly-typed notes. Again, credit to the script outline draft – an extra stage in which to get this stuff right.

The one thing I did do before I started was a timeline. Something outlining how we got from (a little after) now to the stage we are at in my first Maelstrom book, spread across an area of space almost a hundred light years across, with upwards of fifty paraterraformed and terraformed planets under our control, plus almost countless other stations, mining operations and so on. Actually, this is making me think that I should explain something more about the book and what it’s going to be, but that’ll probably be another post, as this one has rambled on long enough.

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