I read somewhere that blogging is dead.
People post on Instagram. They post to Tumblr. They don't post at all -- what do you need more than Twitter's 140 characters to get your point across, really?
Me? I took fifteen months off from blogging because, well, because I did.
It took me three months to write the first draft of The Seven Markets. This was fantastic, at the time, but it was crap for managing internal expectations (let's please ignore the three-to-six months of editing which followed and the probably-ten-years of tossing the story around prior to actually typing it up).
Prior to that I participated in National Novel Writing Months and, three years in a row, knocked out more than 50,000 words in thirty days.
Seems laughable, in retrospect.
All of this is by way of sharing that, for the past, oh, two years, I've been working on the same book.
That book is still not done.
Wait! It's . . . doneish. The fourth draft is done, and (hopefully) with it the bulk of the actual writing. I've still got to take one, last, "big" pass at the book, but from a practical standpoint, the grunt work is done.
This book is called The King's Glamour. It's my follow-up to Markets and it continues Ellie's story beyond that book's pages.
FIRST THING I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU
Writing a sequel is hard. Lord, is it hard. Firstly because, hey, if you did your job the first time, your character's already had an arc, right? They've undergone some character development and hopefully come out the other end in something resembling a different place.
Now you have to pick them up and give them a new arc. A satisfying arc. One that builds on the first one but without invalidating it. One that shows their continued growth as a person without, you know, just turning it all into mush.
So, that's fun.
Plus, there's the "most interesting story" rule. That's the one where the story you're telling should be the most interesting story that occurs in a character's life. If it isn't, what's the damned point in telling the story?
I think I found a good story to tell for Ellie. I think it continues her arc in a natural fashion (natural for Ellie, at least), and I think it informs nicely on the character and her world. Ellie's had an interesting life, to date, and the events of this book certainly pile it on.
SECOND THING I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU
Raising a kid is not easy. Running a company is not easy. Both are terribly time-consuming -- and even when you're not actively parenting or actively working, your brain is spending processor cycles fussing over whether your kid will sleep through the night, whether anyone's going to tell you what the hell's going on this week, etc., etc.
In other words: I've been busy the past two years. Yeah.
But listen: no one cares about your stress, right? No one wants to hear that you had a rough time. Everyone's stressed. Everyone's busy. So please take it as writ that I'm not asking for sympathy.
This is just me providing context. For example . . .
My normal goal when working is to knock out 1,000 words in a night. That's not a hard-and-fast rule, but it's a goal. It's a reasonable goal, and as I can sort of count on an at least an hour a night, once upon a time it was an achievable goal.
Writing this book, I've been lucky to get a hundred words a night. No guff.
THIRD THING I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU
It's better now.
Work is still crazy, but after two years of constant white-noise, the white-noise has sort of become the norm. Work is crazy, but it's a more manageable crazy. Or maybe I'm just used to it -- there are bad days, bad nights, bad weeks, but overall, things . . . are.
Being a dad is still the hardest, easiest, most rewarding, most chaotic thing I've ever done. Right now, for instance, I'm typing this with a video baby monitor next to my MacBook; I'm watching Layla 2.3 thrash a bit in bed, hoping she won't wake up (poor kid had a busy week and she needs the sleep).
The point being, life happened, life continues to happen, but the chaos has become the norm, which means things are . . . normal.
GREAT -- TELL ME WHY I SHOULD CARE
A little more than a year ago, without really mentioning it or making a big fuss, I stopped blogging. I stopped a bunch of things; I needed the time and the headspace for writing. But I promised myself that when I finished this draft of Glamour I would get back to it. Didn't think it would take this long, but what can you do?
A promise is a promise.
There's been stuff I wanted to blog about. I told myself if I went back to posting nightly word-counts, that might get my numbers up. I saw at least a dozen movies I would have enjoyed writing about. I read at least two dozen books I would have loved writing about.
But a promise is a promise. But now the draft is done. And I'm going to be blogging again.
For whatever that's worth.
Nominally, I'll be blogging about this book and the next one. Probably some other stuff, too. I'll be cross-posting the pertinent, writerish stuff to Write Every Day, a Tumblr page I created for the express purpose of encouraging writers to build the good habit of writing (wait for it) every day.
Because that's what it's all about, at the end of the day. Because even when the edges of my vision were filled with static this past year and I could barely put two words together, I still sat down every night I could and gave it a shot. That's the magic there; it might take forever, but so long as you don't quit, eventually you come to the finish line.