Saturday, August 08, 2015

Summer's Passing

Don't know how so much of the summer got away from me. Or actually, I guess I do know. Summer started with a lot of issues and I didn't get much writing done, but then around mid-June things calmed down and I started to surge on the writing. For almost five weeks I was able to write pretty much every day and my output surged from 4 to 5 hundred word a day to a high of over 2000 a day. It settled down to at least a thousand a day and I added about 25,000 words to Gods of Talera.

No good streak continues in my world, though. Toward the middle of July, Lana's car completely failed and we had to get another one. Then our plumbing stopped up and we were without flushing toilets and showers for about a week. Around the same time the AC started giving us trouble. Lana had a minor surgery during this time, then had to have a major one at the start of August. Most of three weeks went up in flames as far as writing goes.

And when I started to lift my head again after all that, well, it was time to start worrying about school. Unfortunately, my summer vacation from the IRB committee that I serve as chair of ended early and I'm back in the saddle there. Feeling really down about all this stuff, I've taken the last two days off and just played Skyrim.

For all  of my adult life I've worked an academic job. During the school year I rob my leisure time to write. Whenever I've had breaks, at Christmas, or during the summers these last ten years, I've converted my normal working hours into writing. Can't say I see a whole lot of accomplishment from all that. I've got some books out, some stories. I sell a few here and there but never see any real growth in sales.  Writing has certainly not been able to replace the money I'd make if I taught summer school.

I didn't really start off this post meaning to whine, but I guess I have. I figure for the next couple of years I'll just go back to teaching in the summer. Maybe I'll start taking some long breaks from writing. By now it's become at least partly a habit, though. Since the main reason I started this blog was because of the writing, I may cut back on posting even more as well. I've been banging my head against a wall for a lot of years now. The wall's still there. My head hurts.

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20 comments:

Thomas McNulty said...

I know what that’s like – Most of my time is spent taking care of family members or working, so if I do publish something it’s like Christmas. Reminds me of a letter Ray Bradbury sent me years ago with a copy of his poem “Dogs think that Every Day is Christmas.” Makes me smile to think how we strive for that. Blessings your way…

R.T. said...

Charles, hang in there. I think that not many people have a good understanding of how much of one's life is consumed when one is a teacher; it is a full-commitment life-style rather than a job, and too few people outside of the profession grasp that reality.

What you say about writing intrigues me. I have been thinking a lot about why people write. Some people do it apparently with one motivation: to make as much money as possible (e.g., Stephen King). Some people do it without much concern about making tons of money, but nevertheless they hope for an audience of readers because of the "message" they need to communicate (e.g., Flannery O'Connor). And some people do it apparently for their own private reasons (e.g., Emily Dickinson). With respect to the latter form of writer, I cannot imagine writing only for one's self. Such a writer becomes a bit like the tree falling silently in the forest because no one notices that it has fallen. Well, I've babbled on quite long enough and incoherently enough on that subject.

Again, hang in there!

Oscar said...

I have a sign in my house that says "$5.00 fine for whining," but I'm not getting rich on that, either, Charles. Teachers have a tough job and it carries over to the summer, not leaving much free time in some cases. Maybe next year will be better. I hoe so. All the best to you!

Keith West said...

I'm academia as well, so I feel your frustration. Hang in there and don't give up.

sage said...

Sometimes it is just good to have a place to write our thoughts even if they are a bit whinny. You have had more than your share on your plate this summer! I hope Lana is recovering and you find some more time to write.

By the way, to prove I wasn't a robot, I just had to click on ribs and identify them as "steak"

the walking man said...

Personally I think you have an impressive body of work out there, unfortunately you started to get notice just as the industry was changing from the big publishing houses who would take a chance on an dark horse but now only stick with the million copy sellers. Such is the nature of the business today, not just writing but damn near all businesses.

I have exactly the opposite problem with the same result---way too much free time. I know I could and have done a number of times kicked out 50,000-90,000 readable words in less than a month add a month for editing. Last time I did that I think was around 2010. And the poetry God alone knows how many pieces I have written only for the blog, much less for publication. I one day asked myself how much was enough, have I become repetitive saying the same thing using different words?

My opinion Charles and take it as you may, you have fallen into the rut of not writing for any other reason than it has become a habit, write, edit, send it out, accept the results and write, send it out, and accept the results...

RT up there mentions different types of writers--" I cannot imagine writing only for one's self. Such a writer becomes a bit like the tree falling silently in the forest because no one notices that it has fallen" That is a fairly good description of how I feel about my own writing right now. I enjoy the comments but I don't judge my writing by them, I don't submit shit anymore to anywhere, I have never been in a writing group and never achieved the goal of speaking as a guest to a writing class.

I started writing at 14 and never stopped in that 47 years and probably never will until my vocabulary is reduced to 3 words; fuck it's bullshit.

So stop writing and word counting, stop keeping your anal ledgers and lists let go of all of it that makes up the wall and if you'd rather play Skyrim than write guess what? That's cool to. You already have all the wealth a sane man needs, a partner you're in love with, a home you enjoy, a job that gives you a chance to improve the next generation of them tracking after you, if you want more money you gave it a shot through writing, your pension is vested I imagine so if you work summers do something completely different from anything you have ever done before--pick up a wrench and rebuild motorcycle engines. Learn why your plumbing got fucked up and how to fix it yourself then hire yourself out as a shit pipe cleaner.

In short--follow you desires not your habits heh?

pattinase (abbott) said...

A difficult summer in many respects here too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Thomas, sometimes I go and read a good review or a note from someone that really liked my stuff. That often helps quite a lot. Thanks for visiting.

R. T., I spent quite a bit of time this summer mentoring a student. I don't mind it but it certainly does consume time.

Oscar, I used to think next year would be better but it doesn't seem to work out that way much.

Keith, feast or famine in academia. Too much feast as far as work goes lately.

Sage, ribs as steak. Wow. I didn't even know blogger was doing that kind of thing on this blog.

Mark, good advice. I have focused more these past few years on word counts and such. I should probably quit that. I used to do a lot more stuff around the house. Unfortuantely, health issues are starting to raise their heads for me, primarily revolving around back adn leg issues. The plumbing issue we had involved replacing a feeder pipe. They came in with a crew and a backhoe and did it in a morning. It probably would have taken me week and I'd still have to have rented the backhoe, which I fear I don't have any experience at running.

Patti, it goes around. Visits us all.

Richard R. said...

Maybe it's just that you're trying to write the wrong book. Perhaps there;s a different story you want to tell.

Whatever transpires, what you are doing, teaching, is both valuable and - hopefully - rewarding.

Cloudia said...

Sounds like your ideas about your routine are about to evolve, Charles

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

You won't be able to quit writing, my friend. Take the idea I mentioned a while back with you to school, where a professor with paranormal mental abilities interacts comically with his students. He solves paranormal phenomena mysteries with his students sometimes involved. Include the funny stories you have garnered over the years and the student personalities and quirks. Every day at school will be a writing research project. Make it into a 'Days of Beer' funny excursion into paranormal mystery, with a bit of romance in there of course.

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, R. partly I've hit a hard patch in this book, but I do want to see it through to the end and will...eventually.

Bernard, lol. Sounds good

Angie said...

Well, none of us started this writing thing expecting to get rich, right? For those who do, it's a great bonus, but that's not why we're here.

And those of us who write in multiple genres have a taller hill to climb. Some data crunching among a group of pretty successful writers I know shows that you usually/probably need to get 25-50 titles out there before people start knowing your name and word-of mouth kicks in to drive sales. Some people win the lottery earlier, and some people have to slog along longer, but that's what the numbers look like for the bulk of the bell curve. And that's per genre. If you write in multiple genres, you need 25-50 in each before the word-of-mouth machine starts really working for you. Some people read across genres, but not enough for it to make a noticeable difference to multi-genre writers.

I'm published in romance, SF and fantasy, and I have a crime story coming out later this year, so I'm definitely doing it the hard way. You are too -- you've got a bunch of genres out there. But we write different kinds of stories because that's what we want to do, those are the stories bouncing around in our heads that want to be told. So we deal. Sometimes it's frustrating and seems like the slog is going to go on forever. Hang in there. {{}}

Angie

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I'm sorry about your troubles and I hope things works out well for you and Lana. I wish you both the best of everything. Your work, both as a teacher and writer, has been inspirational. While you continue to pursue teaching and writing, I hope you won't give up on blogging that I have come to enjoy reading over the past few years.

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, thanks for the info and support. Just feeling a bit down but I know I'll pull out of it again.

Prashant, and thanks for all your support, both on my blog and for my writing. Much appreciated!

Riot Kitty said...

Vent away! Well SHIT, that would make me annoyed too. Sending you good thoughts, my friend. And a care package by this weekend.

Blogoratti said...

Wonderful thoughts and perspective. I hope everything works out well in the end. Greetings and best wishes.

Blogoratti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles Gramlich said...

Riot kitty, thank you

Blogratti, thanks for visiting

cs harris said...

I've always been amazed at your productivity. I personally need a certain ratio of down time to pages. I've noticed that f I crank up my output for, say, a week, I need some downtime after that. Life certainly does get in the way of writing.