Have you ever had a time where you thought you would be able to get something done on a specific schedule but then when you actually started on it, things turned out completely different from how you envisioned it? Yeah, that's me now. It's not all bad, just unexpected.
I'm still plugging merrily along on Hidden Heart, the haunted house tale I started right before Thanksgiving. I just no longer think it's going to be done by Christmas like I first thought. Part of that is just the sheer scope of the story I'm telling that I never would have even guessed at when the idea came to me. This thing is constantly growing. Incredibly so. To the point that I've already reconsidered the original length estimate once, and am probably going to have to revise it again. Based on the progress meter, I'm at just over 77% complete; based on the story that's left in my head, that's higher than is truly accurate. This may well be the first horror novel I've done that tops the 100,000 word mark, at least on the first draft. That number was always something attributed to epic fantasy in my mind. I'll know in a couple of days whether I have to rethink that distinction or not.
Something else I didn't take into consideration was how the holidays were going to affect my writing schedule. As much as it pains me to admit it, I've taken more days off while doing this one than in all the others combined. That's not from lack of desire to tell the tale, though. It's just how things have panned out. The day job, work Christmas parties, shopping for the kids and the wife, visits to family for holiday dinners, all of it is enough to wear anybody out. Figure doing two full-time jobs on top of all that, and exhaustion doesn't begin to cover it.
I'm a little disappointed in myself for this, even though maybe I shouldn't be. I mean, since July I've finished first drafts on five novels (and am at least 2/3 done with a sixth, I think), second drafts on three of those, about halfway through the second draft on a fourth, and done a third and fourth draft on one of them. Two have been submitted to potential publishers, and I have laid the groundwork for self-publishing whichever ones don't get picked up by a traditional publisher. I also started revising another novel I finished years ago, and am about a quarter of the way done with that. That's a heck of a lot of work to get done in just under six months. And I'm proud of that. Maybe it's only right that I take a few extra days off; it just makes me feel guilty to do it. Not like I'm letting any of you all down--hard to do that when I haven't released anything for you to pick up and read yet, right? More like I'm letting myself down. Foolish maybe, but there it is.
On top of all that, in case you've been living in a cave for the last year or so, the new Star Wars movie came out. If you never picked up on it before, I'm a geek. That means I've been waiting on this for a while. Saw it today; that's why I didn't get any editing done on the second draft of One Last Dance. Totally worth it, though. Thank you, J.J. Abrams, THAT was the Star Wars I remembered from being a kid.
I'm hoping that once the new year rolls around and all the major holidays are over I can get back on my normal schedule where I do my first draft work every night and edit throughout the week so I can put the changes in the computer every Monday. Maybe it won't, but that's my hopes at least.
In the meantime, I'm now hoping to be done with Hidden Heart just after the first of the year, at which point I'll be starting on the fourth (and possibly last; we'll see) Cochran book. After that I have another idea for a standalone in mind, and after that, well, I guess we'll know when we get there, won't we?
And since I probably won't post before then, all of you have a very Merry Christmas, and a glorious New Year!