Irons in the Fire

What’s next, Jez, what’s next?

That’s the question I keep asking. It’s a very good question that must be asked. There’s the old joke about the guy who starts to clean his room, only to stop and start making lunch, only to stop and start taking a phone call, only to stop and wash himself, only to stop and fix a leaking tap, etc, etc and by the end of the day he has worked himself out and accomplished nothing.

That’s a very real trap.

I have many, many things I want to be doing. If I have a couple of lifetimes, I might be able to get through some of them, but I don’t and I can’t so that is a pickle. What can I do? There’s only one me and I’ve got limited resources and time and all of that.

I can prioritise, that’s what. I can put those projects forward that are doable and urgent and worthwhile. Aren’t they all? Yeah, but some more than others. I can’t go into exactly what my criteria is. What I can say is that there are pressing issues outside of writing and art that need to be done, so they rank right up the top (mostly because I’m responsible for making them happen). Next to those, I have my own personal endeavours and investigations that I want to do just because. OK, so they aren’t so critical, but all work and no play makes Jez a dull boy.

Lastly, I have books that want to come out. Tedrick Gritswell needs his third book. Paranormology just got Milena. Darkness from Below wants a re-write. In fact, it wants a complete overhaul.

That’s where I’ve landed:

  • I’ve finished the audio book of Atlas, Broken.
  • I’ve written three quarters of the next Tedrick Gritswell but put it down to let it simmer.
  • I’ve written the next book in Paranormology but put that down, too, because I’m not happy with it.
  • I’m overhauling Darkness from Below. It’s now going to be very different indeed from its original form.
  • I’m making plans to construct some cool experiments in the garage.

Hang on, hang on. Didn’t I just say that starting too many things and not finishing them was a bad thing? Yes, I did. That’s exactly what I said. So why did I stop with Tedrick and Paranormology? Because I’ve gone as far with them as I’m comfortable with. For now. There is such a thing as over-working, and for each book I’m at the stage where I need to step back and let it sit.

Muscling through to get something finished when there’s a clear-cut path to success is fine and recommended. When the end is obscure, though, or if there’s too much going on, backing off is a perfectly viable strategy. Tedrick, you see, is done. Done to the point where I can come back with a fresh, critical eye and start it up again when I’ve decided how to proceed. Paranormology is done. Done to the point where I could publish it right now, but it wouldn’t be what I’d want. I’m too close to it, too invested.

So those two are parked and Darkness from Below is my current project. This is going to take some brain-work. It’s going to be furious typing and several thousands of words every day. It’s going to be planning and deleting slabs of text and revisiting stale paragraphs that haven’t been seen since 2012. And that’s going to take time, which is fine. In the meantime, when I get bored, I’m going to do my experiments to keep my brain fresh.

In short, I’ve had a lot of irons in the fire, only not all at the same time.

The Horizon

After each release, I get deflated. Steam whistles out of my joints, my brain shimmies to a halt, my fingers become indecisive. Floff! That’s me for stint. Don’t worry, I’m not slacking off or anything. There’s always more to do. It becomes a matter of prioritising based on necessity.

Then, after a week or two of recuperation, my eyes lift up from where I am and start looking at where I’m going. I have to make a decision for the future. I have to look to the horizon and plan where I’m going.

I have to answer that burning question, “What’s next, Jez?

Do I continue with the Paranormology series? Do I resurrect some of my older works and bring them up to speed? Well, both of those prospects are tempting, but I’ve decided to give that funky cephalopod a bit of love.

That’s right! Tedrick Gritswell is getting another book. And why not? He’s a hero. He has an assist-kick to help him. He has escaped the clutches of the Abyss. He’s only just getting started!

This time around I won’t be using KDP. I found it too restrictive, too cumbersome. I didn’t really enjoy the advantages touted and, frankly, I prefer Smashwords.

Of course, I’ll want to get a jump on the front cover as early as possible, but I’m not sure how that’s going to look yet. I’ve only got the skeleton of the story sketched out, and I’m still changing that around to suit.

In a nutshell, it’s more octopus fun for me.