Hello, and welcome to the new year, everyone!
If you’re reading this, congratulations on making it to 2022.
I probably should wait to type this up until my newsletter goes out on January 3rd, but I think I’ll be a little bit of a Bad Rob, this time.
So, let’s talk projects.
My current project is The Fall of Skullkeep. I came out of November with good progress on it, especially after I found some notes for it back in October that I had forgotten. Incorporating those notes required a little re-shuffling of the story, but I’m going to be able to re-use most of what I had already written up to the point I canceled the pre-order in favor of Consular Times.
December pretty much derailed me in terms of writing. I know. You’re eager and waiting and wondering why I just can’t write 24 x 7 x 365. Trust me, if I could and still do the other things I want to do, I totally would write that much. Unfortunately, certain other things are kinda important, too… like eating and sleep and family.
So, coming into January, “Skullkeep” is still my current project.
When will it be finished? Well… when it’s finished. I don’t mean to be facetious or a twerp about it, but I’m not quoting any dates anymore. I’m just not. It seems like Murphy loves to mess with me every time I do that, so I’m just not going to do it.
I do want to finish it this month and hand it off to editors, but we’ll see.
I can tell you that it’s been my current project for too long, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me. On this side of the keyboard, it’s keeping me from writing other stuff, so I’m darned well going to get it written and out the door. But! It will be something I’m proud to claim in public, so no need to worry about opening the book and seeing a series of bullet points that summarize events.
Oh, no. That’s not good storytelling at all.
Once I finish “Skullkeep,” though, Drakmoor is going on hiatus for a little bit. There are five more books in the series that will round out the story I want to tell, and I’ve already kinda told you what they are in earlier books. But I need a little bit of a break from Gavin and his friends. I’ve lived this story in one form or another for over twenty years now (it was my study piece that I played with while learning storytelling), and I have other ideas I need to get out of my head.
The next project after The Fall of Skullkeep will be Ursus, #4 of the Primogenitor Saga. Now, some of you may have a version of Consular Times that says the next book in the series will be Crusade. Back in October and November, I danced around the issue of what part of the story to tell next, and at that time, I thought I’d focus on Miles and his journey a little bit. Consider this the official notification that such will not be the case. Ursus–and all that the title implies–will be the next piece of the story.
I haven’t decided where / how/ when to include the story I see happening in Crusade. My initial thought was to make it one volume of a companion series, maybe calling that series Primogenitor Tales or some such to distinguish it from the main Primogenitor Saga storyline.
I’m also leaning toward Primogenitor #5 having the title, Tempus, and ending the first story arc of the series with a BANG, but we’ll see. Have you noticed I like doing things in 5’s and 10’s for the most part? 😁
Right, then… I think that’s enough a project update.
Let’s get into a more personal, yet still writing-related update. Specifically, my new public Writing Log.
Once upon a time, I wrote my stories on a Windows computer (which also doubled as my gaming box). During the last several months of that time period, I also dabbled in coding, and I wrote a program to help me track my stories and my writing time, which uploaded the Writing Log to a public Google Calendar.
Well… time passed–as it is wont to do–and aside from the gaming box, I am a 99.9998% Mac shop, and I love it. I have no interest in going back to Windows being my primary platform or Android being my mobile device(s). I also have little to no interest in coding anymore.
To paraphrase a poster or sign I saw somewhere: I only have a finite amount of give-a-damn, and I need to proritize.
But… I still like the idea of sharing my writing progress with the world.
So, I’ve added an Event Calendar feature to my site, wherein each ‘event’ will be a writing session. This solution adds a little extra overhead, since I have to add each day’s entries myself, but that’s a small price to pay to achieve one of the things I care about.
You can find it here: https://robertmkerns.com/writing-log.
As of this writing (at 6:20am on January 2nd), the log has no entries. I’m starting a new challenge (or technically re-starting one), which I’ll discuss next, but we had a lovely rainy day yesterday. I guess I had been running on short sleep for long enough that the rainy day made it impossible to do anything other than sleep. I had my window open, and the sound of a natural, steady rain is a perfect lullaby for me.
So, let’s talk challenge!
One of my personal shortcomings that I really do not like is that I am what one of my professional role models calls a burst writer. That is, sudden periods of extreme productivity with large swaths of time in between where I don’t write at all. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.
I hate that about myself. I feel like I’m losing so much time when I could be putting words on a page… well… screen.
So, starting this year, I am going to fix that. It will not be easy, but between self-discipline and the public writing log, I am cautiously hopeful that I will finally conquer it.
My challenge for 2022 is to write a minimum of four hours per day six days of the week and a minimum of two hours per day on Sunday. Sundays are my worst days each week, for various reasons I’m not going to discuss here, but suffice it to say that I’d love nothing more than to spend every Sunday asleep at my desk and wake up to QWERTY stamped into my forehead.
Since I slept most of yesterday (Saturday, January 1st), I’m going to write six hours today… just so I’m on track time-wise.
At the end of each day, I’ll add that day’s writing data to the log here. Now, fair warning: the information in the writing log will not be actual fiction content. It will be the start-time and end-time of each session, how many words I wrote for that session, my daily word count as of that session, my words per hour, my monthly word count, and annual word count once we’re past January.
In the past, I have easily written 1,200 words per hour, which would put me just over the line of Pulp Speed 4 (as written by Dean Wesley Smith) during the week and a hair under Pulp Speed 1 on Sundays. I may adjust the challenge for Sundays to be a minimum word count instead of time, just so I keep a minimum of Pulp Speed 1 (2,750 words per day).
Yes, Dean Wesley Smith is one of my professional role models, but I’ve warned you about that before. 😉
I’m looking forward to this. It will be all kinds of fun for me and (hopefully) my readers, too, once I publish everything. Once I’m a couple months in, I may re-start my Patreon, where I share my raw unedited stories as soon as I finish them. That would allow people to read them well in advance of when I publish them, but once again, we’ll see.
Alrighty, people. I think that’s enough of an update for now. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking with me, and I’ll work on being better about keeping in touch.
I hope the days treat you and yours well, and I offer my best wishes for the future.