I have a goal.
Wanna know what it is?
Before December 31, 2020, I want to write Primary Target (the sequel to my popular murder mystery Double Blind) and The Keepers (the 4th book in popular The Gamma Sequence series).
I need to have The Keepers out by mid-December. Primary Target doesn’t have a release date, but… it needs to be this year.
Last year I essentially wrote 3 full length novels. I mean, I wrote 2 and wrote a bunch of short stories, and published a horror anthology… and edited a how-to series…
as well as editing a friend’s book, editing and publishing 45 or so Young Authors Club books – I do all that myself, there’s no staff.
THIS year I’ve…
Well, in 2020 I will publish 4 short story horror anthologies AND 4 short “how to write” books. I mean, that’s something. The coronavirus kinda knocked out a lot of the Young Authors Club books, but not all of them. And of course, I’ve been overseeing the “distance learning” of my 4th grade daughter since mid-March.
Florida schools went out on Spring Break on March 16 and never returned to school. After Spring Break got extended a week while the powers that be tried to figure out what to do, we started distance learning from home – a ten-year-old in front of a computer doing her classwork. So I stepped up and created Mr. Dan’s School For Wayward Children, and from 8am-3pm every day we did math, science, social studies, language arts, PE, nature, art, gardening – the whole deal.
We had a snack at 9:30 and lunch at noon, recess at 11:00, and a lot of Zoom calls with teachers.
We painted, played games on her iPad, swam, jumped on the trampoline, played with the bunnies she got for her birthday
…(which was celebrated mostly via text and Facetime). Oh, and prior to that, there was an Easter egg hunt where she was the only kid looking for eggs – a fun idea at first that quickly got a bit sad because without sharing all that with family, it was almost like just another day.
So from about April 1 until Mr. Dan’s school closes on May 29, my daughter and I enjoyed working hard at school.
I’m glad I was there to help her figure out how to subtract and multiply fractions, as well as learn all about Sally Ride for the virtual wax museum presentation we have coming up on Wednesday. She did well. By my estimations, it will be mostly A’s and maybe 1-2 B’s. Considering this distance learning stuff could have really tanked her school year, I’m pretty satisfied with that.
But I did a lot of that each day and not a lot of writing.
I’m not complaining. I hope I showed my daughter how to respond to a challenge. And I don’t forget that others who came before me had to live through the Great Depression or storm the beaches at Normandy. I had to sit home with my kid and explain fractions. Yeah, a lot of income went away that wasn’t replaced, but ten years from now that’s not what I’ll remember.
One of the teachers asked the kids what they’ll remember from this school year, and said not to say coronavirus. The kids did as asked. My daughter got bunnies, after all.
But they’ll remember this.
How could they not? If my school got out at spring break and I never went back for the rest of the school year, I’d never forget it. They’ll see their friends soon enough and forget the loneliness. They don’t mind not being in a classroom. But they won’t forget what happened. I don’t think most of them were scared – I know a lot of kids were bored – but my daughter and I had fun.
We worked hard, we learned, and we had fun.
Some will say we’ll all have a better appreciation of teachers. Yes and no. I didn’t want to be a teacher. I didn’t apply for that job because I wanted to do a different job, but I got drafted into doing it – with no pay – for many, many hours a week. In a few days, the school year will be over and I get to go back to not being a teacher again, but now I know that if I had to, I could home school my kid.
So I’ll pretty much say distance learning knocked my writing off schedule.
Those firsts week were madness
as none of the websites worked, or they crashed, or we couldn’t get into them in the first place, but that gradually was replaced by us adapting and things not crashing. We went from doing schoolwork until 5pm every day to being finished early most days. From being exhausted to being satisfied. From being overwhelmed and desperate to being confidant and assured. That’s a big deal.
I went from having no time at all, to now seeing, hey, it’s a 3-day weekend and I could probably get a lot of writing done.
Which brings me back to my goal:
Can I write 2 books between now and the end of the year?
Which really means: can I write 2 books before mid-September, because once Young Authors Club starts up again, my available writing time goes down drastically. Besides, to release a book in mid-December, it has to be ready a month or two beforehand. Beta readers need a look, as do critique partners and others in the process.
Oh, and there will be a dawn of a new series.
The Gamma Sequence and Double Blind will keep going, but there’ll be a 3rd cop or detective series, a murder mystery with a new hero. But maybe that will start next year.
Right now: attempting to write 2 books in… well, from about June 1, until more or less the middle of September. Let’s see, that’s… there are 30 days in June, 31 in July, 31 in August, and about 15 (30 days tops) in September. So, that’s over a hundred days. *Grabs calculator * actually 122 days.
So… 122 days? To write two full-length novels – that each have to be the best book in their respective series.
Is that enough time???
By the way, a few chapters of Primary Target have already been written, and I have about 75% of the outline for The Keepers done. So I’m not starting from scratch.
I wrote most of my best books in 6 weeks once I had a solid idea for the story. (I needed a lot of rest afterward, but I did it.)
The Gamma Sequence was started the morning of February 26, 2019, and I finished writing the book on April 3; that’s 36 days. Rogue Elements (The Gamma Sequence, book 2) was started on approximately August 18, 2019 and finished about 46 days later. Terminal Sequence, the 3rd book in the series, was started November 22, 2019 and finished January 18, 2020, about 57 days.
My recollection is, The Navigators took about 42 days, as did Double Blind.
So mathematically, it’s possible.
And, well, heck – after spending the last few weeks learning math with my daughter, I guess… rising to a challenge and all that…
Yeah, I’m going for it.
I’ll see you in September.
Except for when I come in here to update you on how the writing is going.
Wish me luck!