When I was in Navy Boot Camp in 2005, our Recruit Commanders referred to the parking lots outside the barracks as the "Grinders." For the first couple weeks, I always wondered why that was. Perhaps it was because they were in poor repair, and the gravel ground up tires? I soon learned they were so named because they actually ground down recruits' morale. The Grinders were where the divisions of recruits practiced their marching skills. Over and over and over again. It didn't matter how hard we practiced or how well we did, it was never quite good enough.
Working a full time job that keeps me away from home five days out of the week (sometimes more if days off are cancelled) is kind of like the Grinder. It doesn't matter how hard I try or how determined I am to get some writing time in, it's just not going to happen as often as I'd like. And even if I do get a chance to sit down and start up the laptop, I'm constantly interrupted and distracted, and the writing I do get done is usually sub par.
But the secret to success on the Grinder in Great Lakes was to not let the less-than-perfect performance get you down. You just had to keep marching, work on making that about-face smoother, practice the left and right faces until they were sharp enough to make civilians think you knew what you were doing. And then, at the end of the day, you got the satisfaction of knowing you were going to beat the socks off the divisions who didn't practice on the Grinder every day.
Writing is kind of like that. Sometimes, I'm not going to write as well as I want to. Sometimes I'm not going to be able to write as long as I want to. Sometimes I won't be able to write at all. But that's not the point. The point is to keep doing my best to make the time, and when I write, to write as well as I can. At the end of the day, I'll have the satisfaction of knowing I made some progress and that my writing will benefit because of it. And that's about the best a writer can hope for anyway.
Over the past week, I made some more progress on Kricket's Song. Chapter 12 is done, and Chapter 13 will see our characters leaving Gryphon's Reach and heading for Amberford - the Headquarters of the Guv Navy. Yes - it's about to get crazy.
I also did an hour-long brainstorming session for The Serenity Solution. That proved to be a bit more complicated than I'd originally planned. Mostly I was focused on the motivations of the shadowy group of bad guys who wanted to take over Serenity. The original draft of the manuscript gave the indication that they wanted power over Serenity for the sake of power. That's all well and good, and indeed, real life often happens that way. But it honestly doesn't make for a very interesting story. So I was working on the motivations for such a hostile takeover, and with every idea I came up with for that, I was forced to consider and modify major plot elements and motivations for the individual characters. Definitely tricky business. But, I think I've come up with some fresh ideas that will prove interesting and possibly very far-reaching for any books that come after the first one. Time will tell.
That's about all for now. Thanks for reading!