Singing The February 2015 Blues

Snow is falling outside. The end of February usually brings
an urge to break out of winter’s prison and find some warmer weather. It’s been
a particularly long winter for many in our country.
I haven’t blogged much this year, not because I haven’t been
writing but rather because I’m trying to be more strategic with things like
that. Trying being the key word. I
want posts to be more meaningful and helpful rather than simply being random
poetic ramblings. I’ll save those for some of my stories. But I wanted to share
some happenings in my writing world.
Here’s what my To-Do List looks like. 
First important item
is finishing going through the first three books of The Books of Marvella
series in order to make sure I’ve answered every question (at least in my mind)
by the end of book four. I’m also going back through book four before giving it
to my editor next week.
This series has been quite an interesting experience. After
lackluster sales of Marvelous and Wonder, the publisher cancelled books
three and four. There was no way I couldn’t
finish the series since it’s one big story. Book three, Awe, had already been written and
edited. So I was left trying to fill the hole of two incoming checks that
suddenly vanished, not to mention trying to find the willpower to write a
fourth and final book that maybe five people out there would want.
Finding the willpower to write has never been a problem for
me. Paying bills . . . well, that’s another story.
As I finished Glory, the
fourth and final book of The Books of Marvella, I realized how much I loved
this story and how important it happens to be. Several times I wept openly as I
neared the end to the tale. It doesn’t matter how many people will be moved by
the conclusion. But a few will be, I know that.
Now I have to figure out how to fund the publication of Awe and Glory. The thought of doing another Kickstarter comes to mind, but
I tried that last year and got a big, fat yawn from the world. That particular idea was
different, and I knew that going in. This is a lot more straightforward. But I
don’t know. I just know that the books need to be done right. My plan is to have them designed by the same designer,
edited by the same editor, and printed by the same printer.
And all of these thoughts and work and time come with
whispers. You’re not getting a single
penny for all this.
If it was just me living in a van down by the river,
I’d be fine. But there are four ladies at home depending on me. So sometimes
the demons of doubt go Why are you
wasting so much time on this? Why, oh why, Travvy-Boy?
Thankfully I have other projects in the works.
I’m revising/rewriting a business memoir by a successful
entrepreneur who came my way through a contact in the publishing industry. The
longer time goes by, the more doors open for collaborations. People realize
that I’m a good writer, I’m a fast writer, and I’m easy to work with. So in
this case, I’m taking a book that’s already been written a couple of times and
making it better. It’s such an interesting process, cutting and replacing and
reshuffling and adding and rewording. It uses different parts of the brain that
aren’t used in writing fiction. Working with a business leader who has had lots
of good fortune in that world is inspiring.
I feel like every single person I work with is someone I can
learn from.
I have two editing jobs I’m working on as well. One is for a manual
of sorts for the recovery world, a project where I’m simply helping streamline
the book and make it more reader-friendly. The other is a very dense textbook that
I’m working on with my father (who is the biblical scholar and nonfiction guy).
My father tells me I take for granted all my talents and
knowledge. Twenty-years of being in publishing have helped me learn how books
are done, how they should flow and read. I’m not a true editor at the core, but
I do have the ability to work on something and make it more consistent and easy to
follow and hopefully improve the writing itself. 
A couple of potential writing projects are floating out
there, and as always I’m trying to be patient waiting on them. My impatience
always comes from how slow the process takes to get a green light, then how
fast publishers usually want the product. Everything in my life is about
pacing. About the daily word count and pages.
So I haven’t even mentioned The Hinterlands project. I’ve
already blogged about that, but in a nutshell, I decided to go ahead and get
this story that’s been in my heart and soul out
there for any to read. It’s more of an experiment in writing fiction
because I’m posting it as I go. I’m already learning a lot about that. Most of
the time when you write a novel, you change and delete and rearrange and all
that as you go. But in this case, the unedited content goes up. Like demos that
a songwriter is creating.
The chapter bits are being blogged as well as done in audio
form. My goal is to finish The Howling
this year. This is a labor of love and something fun I’m doing. We’ll
see where it goes. Check it out here: The Hinterlands
I have more projects on my To Do list. But this is how I
operate and honestly how I survive. Working hard on the paying projects I’m
fortunate to have and continuing to believe in the passion projects I’m forging
ahead with.
My head and my heart are still overflowing with stories to
tell. I wish I could be a better writer, but then again that’s number five on
the things I want to become better at. Well, I should make it number five, but writing slips to number one quite often.
A thousand-word writing update. Geez. I type fast.
I never know the tone of how these sound. Sometimes I write
these things and people send comments like “I’m praying for you!” or “I’m sorry
it’ll get better” and I think Did I
really sound so down and out?
I never claim the writing life is an easy way
to make a living. But I try to keep things in perspective. My cousin’s husband
who is younger than me is struggling with ALS. My wife’s cousin’s four-year-old
son is battling leukemia. So should I be thankful? Yes. Every second of every
That doesn’t mean the battle isn’t tough, however. So I keep
fighting with words and emotions and stories. It still beats building a brick
driveway. Believe me . . . I know.
Let’s all pray that spring comes fast. I can’t wait to welcome the warmer days to come.