Monday, June 27, 2011

A Dry Time

That's what it's been in my writing life lately, a dry time. I've been on my own at home lately, with Lynda in Oklahoma City, helping our daughter while her husband was away. He came back late Saturday night, and Lynda will return home today or tomorrow. While she's been gone, I've not done a lot of writing.

One excuse I had was the computer I normally work at was in the shop, to determine what the blue screen error followed by the black screen re-boot error was all about, and hoping it was salvageable. It has all my writing works on there. I have most of them backed up, but the latest things added to In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People and my Harmony of the Gospels I had not backed up. Also, my financial spreadsheets were on that computer. It wouldn't be the worst thing to lose those, but I'd rather not lose them.

I wanted most to work on In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People, as of all the things I pitched at the Write-To-Publish Conference, that seemed to me to have the most potential. I could work on a scene or two somewhere late in the book, but I mostly wanted to add one more chapter consecutive to what I've done so far before sending it to agents and editors. Alas, I'm missing a chapter and a half in what I have backed up. I was supposed to get the computer back last Friday, then last Saturday, now today. The delays are not making me hopeful about recovery of my files.

Meanwhile, I have Lynda's computer available, the one she never uses (instead using the laptop upstairs and avoiding The Dungeon entirely). I've used that to check e-mails and Facebook and blogs. On that I sent all my thank yous to the faculty and staff of the WTP conference. On it I did a lot of fine tuning to my writer's web site. On it I made a number of posts to my Facebook author fan page. So the lack of a computer was not a true hindrance to writing.

So what did I accomplish these last twelve days while I was alone at the house, besides the things mentioned above? Here's a list.
  • Organized my thoughts about how to restructure the John Wesley book into a series of study guides, as suggested by the editor for Wesleyan Publishing House. This included an outline of the series, as well as some work on which of John Wesley's writings would be in some of the small group study books.
  • Researched, and downloaded and printed a study to use as a guide for how I might organize mine. I completed review of that one study last night; time to download another one.
  • Read a fair amount in John Wesley's Letters, volume 4. From this I identified some things that are suitable for the Wesley books.
  • Completed a private critique of a short story for someone in BNC Writers, and began a second similar critique (almost complete).
  • Read a book self-published by a member of BNC Writers.
  • Did some research for The Candy Store Generation. Not a lot of research, but I developed a system for the subject I'm researching. It should go somewhat fast from this point on. At least I hope so.
  • Did a small amount of research for a future volume of Documenting America.
  • Completed a haiku that has been on my mind since February, and submitted it for inclusion in an anthology.
  • Registered for SmashWords, which publishes e-books to just about every e-reader platform, and markets to each of them. Downloaded and printed their style guide and have reviewed a little over half of its 87 pages. That sounds like a lot, but I should have been able to finish all of it in this time.
When I list it that way, it doesn't sound so bad. But I know what I could have accomplished in a quiet house with no one to interact with except myself. I could have completed two or three chapters of FTSP. I could have typed actual outlines of the Wesley project. I could have written a couple of chapters of the next volume of Documenting America.

Well, I have no way of reclaiming the last twelve days, and find no reason to bemoan the progress I didn't make. Better to be thankful for the progress I did make, and do better the next twelve days. Writers group is tomorrow evening, so at least I have a focus for the next couple of days. And maybe I'll get the computer back this evening, with its new hard drive cloned from the failing one.

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