Author Big Year: Days 74 to 105

author Big Year

I haven’t reported for a while for the simple reason that it’s been a tough period, which by now has amounted to 32 days. Remember the goal is 6½ hours of writing work a day, making due allowance for downtime. Well, I had 9 days off during this period, and the overall average achieved was 5½ daily hours. But the disappointing aspect was that I only spent 2 hours/day on the only thing that really counts: drafting words. I’ve been swamped by book production and marketing strategy and setup.

I can’t do much about the future. I’ll do better and report more often.

Author Big Year: Pronunciation pleasures

Author Big Year

What startles me is how much genuine joy I get out of minuscule word/phrase education. In a podcast, I heard a wonderful writer pronounce “segue” as “seeg.” Surely that’s wrong, I thought, so I looked it up, betting on the pronunciation I’ve been using ever since when, namely “segway,” like the powered two-wheeled “personal transporter.” Yes, “segway” is the go, but you can also use “saygway.” Who would have thought?

Author Big Year: Day 73

Author Big Year

I’m in a shambles. Working desperately hard does not, repeat, does not mean I’m getting in the hours, each and every day, to which I’m committed. Nor are the hours always the work I need to do. I can’t decide whether to draft or produce the next mystery (launching in April) or improve marketing or try new projects. Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

I’ve worked just over 6 hours a day over the 73 days. That’s close to the year end target, but I should be up at 8 hours/day to allow for upcoming holidays, breaks, whatevers. And real writing, that is, writing on the nuclear history book, is only about 3 hours/day, well short of what this Big Year wants.

I’ll try and collect my thoughts over the next day or so, and then reorient.


Day 59

Author Big Year

I’d love to be immersed in 1957, writing up German post-war reactor efforts, but today is urgent editing of Gentle & Tusk #2. I’m always surprised by how long it takes to process editing input – in this case from a hired copyeditor and six “beta readers” – and how unenjoyable the task is. But it must be done. And soonest!

Days 45 to 58: An unequal struggle but keep going

Author Big Year

Another 14 days and much the same story, tracking at 6 hours a day, not the minimum of 6½, definitely not the preferred 8 hours a day to compensate for non-working days. I have to say it’s a tough issue, squeezing out the hours. Grandparenting duties have begun and they’re so joyous it makes no sense to resist them. Friends needed help. The sun shone and I’m trying to get back my running mojo. Red wine… well, what can I say?

I’m still on the case, however, and the next week should see me alight with purpose. I’m aiming to report back on progress more often, in more detail, to really hammer out what it takes to meet this onerous Big Year’s strictures.

Author Big Year: Monitoring

Author Big Year

The dynamics of this 13-month Big Year, in which I aim for 6.5 hours of quality writing work every day, require me to monitor more closely than I’m accustomed to of late. You’d think that after three decades in the corporate world, I’d be scrupulous at measurement and feedback, but in fact I tend to get lost in the days and the work.

So let me take a quick look. I’ve had a month and a half. I’m aiming for 6.5 hours/day but need more hours now, before interruptions like travel cut the hours, so a “clean” day should deliver 8 hours. What have I achieved? The bare minimum of 6 hours. I should be happy enough but need to work harder. This issue is important because a poor start will ruin me. I’ll try to check in more often. Wish me luck!