Monday, September 21, 2015

Surviving summer (progress report)

I did it! I survived the summer.

I know. It really doesn't sound like such a big deal. Everybody loves summer, right? Camping, hiking, swimming, sunshine. What could be bad about that? I'll tell you: I didn't get to do any of it. Admittedly, it's my own fault.

I should start at the beginning:

In my area of NorCal, summers are short. No, I don't mean we bend the laws of the universe and throw out the principles of physics that govern our seasons, or that we have our own California Calendar that ignores the rest of the world's seasons (though I'm not sure why not, since we seem to do anything else we want here, regardless of how bat---- crazy it is)... What I mean is that school summers are short. The kids get out in June and go back in early August. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure my kids are getting stiffed out of at least three extra weeks of summer that I had back in the 70s and 80s. On the other hand, they do get a federal holiday every couple weeks, plus two weeks off for thanksgiving, and almost three weeks for Christmas, and they only go to school half a day every Wednesday.

Yes, every freakin' Wednesday is a minimum day, all year long. Why? I don't know. Nobody does. It's a mystery of the universe. Sure, I could go all conspiracy-theory about it and say the schools like making things difficult for working parents; that they like young kids going home alone. Or, I could say this has the fingerprints of the teachers' unions all over it, because it draws out the school year, shortens summer, and means more paychecks for the teachers. But I won't say any of that, because that would just be paranoid.

Anyway, back to the point: The kids (I have three, but only two still in school) are home for the summer, and that usually means I don't get much writing done. I pretty much gave up on trying a few years ago. I've been using that time instead to get caught up on other projects. Home maintenance, vehicle maintenance, maybe even building a canoe or doing something else creative. This year, I had the brilliant idea of building a loft in my house.

It looked pretty simple on paper. I had to tear down one small wall along the living room staircase, build a bigger wall, and then build a floor on top of that. This description is overly-simplified, but it seemed totally doable in six weeks or so, which is what I had by the time my permit was approved. I got some help from one of my sons in the beginning, but after the first week he lost interest. I kept chugging along, building the floor, installing wiring, sheetrock, texture and paint. I almost made it. I actually did the final painting the week that school started, and the carpet came about ten days later.

The loft is going to be my office, which is going to be great for my writing, but one thing I hadn't really considered ahead was the furniture. I've had to shuffle things around from room to room, and order a new desk. I'm still working on some other details. The good news is that I am back to writing. I've been working on revisions of books I wrote earlier this year (Iron Horse part 4, He Said/She said Part 2, etc.) and I hope to publish something by the end of next month. No promises, but I am getting close. And the fact that I've already written three books this year puts me way ahead of the game. (I like to aim for four books a year. I don't always hit the mark, and sometimes I don't publish one or two until the following year, but it's a solid goal).

So, despite being exhausted and physically and emotionally drained, I survived the summer. In fact, I made huge progress towards my goals for the year, and my future writing is going to be a lot more enjoyable. On the downside, I haven't done any sort of promotion in months. I haven't given any books away, run any ads, or even visited the writers' blogs and forums that I used to frequent. So now I have to start getting back to business. After all, that's kind of the point in having a writing loft.

So, I'll probably plan a few giveaways to coincide with upcoming books, and put out a newsletter or two reminding everyone that I'm still alive. I'll see what else comes up. But as soon as I have it figured out, I'll let you know. You do follow this blog, and my newsletter, right?