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Progress Report 2024 Week 10

I lost one day to a Real Life Family Event (RLFE) — how badly did it impact my word count for the week? Also, I had another attack of what I used to refer to as my inner demons. I would rhetorically ask if I survived, but, well, I’m writing this, so it’s a dead giveaway, isn’t it? Still, there’s a story to be told. We’ll get into that, and the other things, after the infographic!

Progress Report 2024 Week 10 By the Numbers

I lost a day to a RLFE, but I gained a day due to my new work schedule. So, it worked itself out!

Fortunately, I have a family that can generate RLFEs. One of those RLFEs cost me a day’s worth of writing on Saturday. Also fortunately, my new work schedule means I have some Fridays free, so I was able to write on Friday instead. So, it evened out!

At this pace, if all goes well (God willing, the creek don’t rise, and all that stuff), I should finish the first draft of The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone in a couple weeks. That means I’ll start plotting the third book. Which means I need to figure a way for our protagonists to get out of the situation I’ll leave them in at the end of Collapse Zone. That’s going to take some effort without making the resolution feel cheap or cheesy.

Revenge of the Inner Demons -or- Why Does My Subconscious Have to be so Inarticulate?

I’m sure if you’re a writer (unless you’re blessed/lucky, in which case I’m not jealous at all), you’ve experienced times when your confidence takes an unannounced trip. It probably takes all cheer with it. They seem to be traveling buddies, at least in my world.

I experienced “sudden onset confidence collapse” this week. Years ago, I attributed such events to my inner demons, and such an attack could easily kill anything I was writing. I have several novels somewhere in the house (on paper — that’s how long ago this was) that will never see the light of day because of those attacks.

Back in 2023’s week 11, I mentioned I experienced an attack while I wrote Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis. Back then, I realized I could use those moments to reassure myself about the plot, characters, or other aspects of the story that were bothering me. I told myself I was repurposing the event. Now, I think I understand the situation a little better.

Those inner demons aren’t demons at all. They’re caution-and-warning indicators. They’re my subconscious letting me know it detected a flaw in how I’ve written a character or how I’ve crafted a plot point. Far from a bad thing, those events try to make the story better.

I have no idea why my subconscious couldn’t just say, “Dude, you need a helper plot chapter addition at beat 21.” That would prevent so much hassle!

This week, I experienced a bout. Instead of folding or trying to muddle through, I looked clearly at the portion of the story that triggered the feelings. Sure enough, there was a character issue and a plot issue. I’ve since fixed both, and those danged demons went right back to sleep.

Seriously — why can’t my subconscious be more articulate? Why all the mythological or cloak-and-dagger nonsense? Oh, well. I guess I should just be happy I caught those particular errors before a reader had a chance to.

Mid-Term Plans

First, if you’re one of those awesome people who look forward to my publishing schedule, thank you! Second, if you’re one of those folks, this section might be interesting to you. Here’re my mid-term plans for the next several months:

  • March: Complete proofreading work on Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis
  • Early April: Pre-production work on Unnatural Crypsis
  • Early April: Finish first draft of The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone
  • Late April: Publish Unnatural Crypsis (wide, on all ebook distribution platforms)
  • Early May: Complete proofreading for The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Red Flag Warning
  • Late May: Pre-production work for Red Flag Warning
  • Early June: Publish Red Flag Warning (Amazon-exclusive; I’m going to test KDU)

Of course, I’ll start writing The Sword of Sirius Book 3: Firebreak as soon as I finish writing the first draft of Collapse Zone.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here’s how I did against last week’s goals:

  1. Write Luisa Brunner’s Pinch 2: Done!
  2. Write Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2 (it might need split into two chapters): Done! And nope, it turned out to be only one chapter.
  3. Write Owen Payne’s Pinch 2 (it might need split into two chapters): Done! And yes, it ended up being two chapters.
  4. Write Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 2: Missed! I ended up having to write a helper plot chapter based on Matsushita Hotaru. It sets up some tension for the climax of Collapse Zone while offering some potential for book 3.
  5. Continue plotting the short story/lead magnet staring Jackson Scott: Missed! I had to cast several positions for Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 2, and that took additional time. I’m still thinking about this short story, though! I hope to have the it out before I publish Red Flag Warning. Not only will the short story be a lead magnet for new newsletter subscribers, but I’ll offer it free to all existing newsletter subscribers.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2024 Week 10

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 2 (might stretch into two chapters)
  2. Finish the second chapter making up Owen Payne’s Plot Turn 2; it might stretch out another chapter
  3. Write Luisa Brunner’s Plot Turn 2
  4. Write Luisa Brunner’s Resolution
  5. (Stretch Objective): Continue plotting the short story/lead magnet staring Jackson Scott

What Do You Think?

What language or tricks does your subconscious use to get your attention? How did you learn to interpret it? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Progress Report 2024 Week 10

  1. One thing I heard recently that might help, even though it sounds utterly crazy, is to give your subconscious a persona. Give it a name and a voice. That way when it tries to derail you for whatever reason you can tell it shut up if it’s not going to be helpful. I know it sounds crazy, but crazier things have happened!

    I heard about this idea on the Wish I’d Known Then… podcast, episode 204 – Get the First Draft Written and Mental Health for Writers with Erin P.T. Canning. Give it a listen if you have a chance. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on it.

    1. Maybe I’ll name my subconscious Grond. Morgoth’s version, not the wimpy imitation that Sauron built.
      Maybe not.
      Thanks for sharing that podcast. I listened to several portions twice. Here’re some random notes:
      “hated everything that I wrote.” — wow, that sounded familar.
      “writing was a past version of myself.” — interesting perspective. My inner voice is more timeless; it’s like it never aged, never had a past, and only exists in a strange multi-frame present.
      “writing became necessary” — can sympathize!
      They recognized that speed of writing is not relevant. That was very cool. In ancient days, I remember my dad telling me that a drawing I’d done could not be art, because the great masters took a long time to paint or draw or carve. I remember thinking, “But, like, what if they were fast?”
      Discussion of writing to market but not calling it writing to market.
      Interesting discussion of using a trope (e.g., age-gap story) as a springboard.
      Writing as therapy. Yep! Definitely can relate.
      The power of habit; the lack of magic/muses. Also rang very true. Once I dedicated two hours five days a week, my writing took off. To be fair, several other factors came together; I think that, as you’ve pointed out, everyone’s journey is different. The key combination varies.
      Key phrase to seed scenes. I like how she would come up with a phrase, or a mental image, then rush home to use it as the springboard to start writing a scene.
      Bullet list to pull out point for the first chapter. I like that. Treat the first chapter as a place holder, then go back through the book looking for bits you need to foreshadow or plant.

      It’s nice to listen to other writers working through the same kind of issues. There’s a benefit to not being alone, even in a profession that tends to be solitary, like writing. Which might be a false dilemma.
      Thanks again for pointing out the podcast!

      1. No worries. I’ve listening to writing podcasts pretty steadily for about eight years so it’s always nice when you hear something a little different. Surprisingly, the issues don’t seem to change. For example, the wide or Amazon exclusive debate is like the subbed or dubbed debate. You can just go round and round in circles and still not know which is the better option.

        I’ve been listening to the guest’s podcast – Parents Who Write which has definitely been interesting.

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