First things first: the pandemic has been pretty good to me. I started a new side gig doing translations, and I'm apparently back in the saddle in terms of writing. Just not having that commute has been a super positive change in my life and overall stress levels. And last week, I got my first AstraZeneca shot - the second shot is 10 weeks away - so I should be able to travel again in about 13 weeks.
Between October and now, I've also written about 70,000 words of a new book. I've actually written more than that, but those are fragments - this book looks like it's actually going to happen, and fairly soon. I'm in the last 10-15k or so, the stage I like to call "bringing the herd home" - getting everything to a satisfying end, wrapping up sub-plots, etc. The goal is to have a reasonably clean first draft at my birthday, and then hand it off for editing, so currently casting about for editing talent.
I'm just keenly aware that this is going to be the first all-new solo book since Witches of London - Lars, which was published in 2016, and really the main reason why very little has happened is that the day job plus commute just drained me. Plus, of course, a couple crises of confidence and a complete re-organisation of my creative life - where to publish, how to publish, and more importantly, why and what.
I've looked at classes and so. much. advice about writing faster and "making it" in the new e-book environment, but none of it works for me. Thanks to Becca Syme and her Write Better Faster platform, I also know why - I'm just wired in a way that makes this "rapid release" stuff impossible and actively destructive to me.
(And there will be esteemed colleague who read this and go "balderdash! Everybody can write a book in a month if they want it enough, if they need to pay bills, if they're properly disciplined, etc ..." but I'm going with "Know Thyself", and I've spent a lot of time to try and tweak my process - ending up in a place that's no longer creative, immersive or even fun.)
As an example - the current WIP. I started this in October as a "fun side project", while I was working on my mainstream genre novel. It was going to be my take on "mafia romance", darker than Dark Soul, proper "dark romance".
Yeah. One of my beta readers has described it as "a surprisingly uplifting, warm novel about family". I'd add it's an exploration of self-worth and authenticity, but the main thrust stands. It's not the thing I thought it would be. The characters gathered too much depth, too much soul, too much baggage for a simple dark thrill. And the dark stuff - didn't really happen. The characters just didn't go that far. Too much empathy at play. It's still very much "enemies to lovers", but instead of a simple book I had a complex book - that has so far taken six months to write and should soon be finished.
While I still can't quite walk away from the day job (but I'm getting much closer), that's going to be the modus operandi in Casa Voinov - I'll focus on one book at a time and just write it the way it wants to be, regardless of tropes or marketing or genres. I was originally going to throw this up on Kindle Unlimited, but I don't think this is the kind of book that does well there, and I continue to loathe and despise KU anything. Mostly I'll have to find a way to finance editing and cover. That'll become a much larger consideration once I do walk away from the day job, so I'll need a solution I can use again and again afterwards.
But for the moment, I'm happy to be writing again, and I'm hoping to be blogging about the process again - likely just short updates, mostly so I can look back how far I've come and also so you know what I've been up to.