Busy Busy Busy

A very busy week this week, and a much better one than last week. It turns out that having my hours slashed means some financial constraints, but it generally leads to a happier, more relaxed life. I got some baking done, for heaven’s sake. I made doughnuts. You think I’d do that working 48+ hours a week? I think there’s some sort of saying or aphorism about this, but I can’t quite remember what it is.

Last weekend was the third meeting of the Northwest Independent Writers Association. It seems bizarre that it’s only the third meeting; we’ve come so far as a group that it seems like I’ve known these people for years. As someone who suffered through numerous group projects in college, let me say that there’s a galaxy of difference between group work for school, and group work in real life. In real life, people actually care.

By way of example, I know I mentioned before that we’re doing a short story anthology. Well, we are now officially accepting open submissions of speculative fiction and poetry–no prior experience or references necessary. Check out the submission information, and if you’re interested, submit away!

I’ve already submitted my first story, which turned out to be quite the endeavor. I meant to start on it two weekends ago, and I did kind of fiddle with the first 700 words or so, but it didn’t really gel. Next morning, I found out that my hours were getting cut. Next morning, I found out that my wife might get furloughed. And then things went downhill. It wasn’t until Friday that I’d rallied myself, and it wasn’t until Saturday that I actually started writing.

So, a complete, 5,000 word story in twenty-four hours would be a reasonably tall stretch for me anyway. But I got it done, gosh darn it, even though I had to write 7,000 words instead.

Let me explain: I was about 2,000 words into my story when my word processor crashed. I use a program called Scrivener to organize my notes and scenes and so forth, and it includes a little fullscreen text editor that I end up using just out of convenience. The program is still in beta, but I’ve never had any problems with it…until then. It crashed. It recovered, reopened…and my 2,000 words were gone. Just wiped out. Despite the little autosave ticking away, they had never been saved at all. This wasn’t just a case of me forgetting to hit ctrl-s, no. This was the program messing up in the worst possible fashion.

I’ve never lost writing to computer problems before. I back everything up twice, and I’ve rigged my various accounts and programs to do it largely automatically. Great for me, but all that meant was that the shock of losing all of my words hit me like a sack of hammers. I was on a deadline, but I was doing well, but I was…not doing at all. Great.

Not to worry; as I said, I got the thing submitted, and I actually think it’s one of the better stories I’ve written. But seriously, that was the worst pain ever.

Quick Fugitives from Earth update: I’ve gotten about 2,000 words per day done this week, and I’m closing in on the finish line. Hopefully I can finish the broad changes within just a week or two, and then I’ll do one last read-over before it goes off to the beta readers. After six weeks of stagnation, it feels good to have the end in sight again.

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