Thursday, March 04, 2010

Splintered Books Project Update #1

SplinteredMind03a.png (cc) Douglas CooteyI’ll go ahead and refer to this as the first very most official update for my Splintered Books Project. I have been a busy boy this year. So busy that I don’t even recognize myself. If you have been following me from the beginning of this blog, have you ever known me to write so much? I am determined to succeed despite myself, however, so onward I press and to Outer Darkness with the hang-ups I’ve been held back by. Let’s take each item one by one:

After a somewhat rough beginning, and a video blog that was two weeks late, I seem to have discovered a rhythm. I produce the following week’s articles each Friday. I write them up, edit them, photograph or add a graphic, add the tags & SEO goodness, then schedule them to publish at their appointed hour and day. I’ve done this two weeks in a row now, and I am looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.

As I feared, the ADDaboy! blog began to take over my writing time, but this new schedule is allowing me to spend six days worry free. Next step is to spend every day next week working on my current novel.

One side-effect to being so productive since the start of the year was that I sacrificed sleep to pull it all off. I’ve been sick with a handful of viruses, in my not so anecdotal opinion, as a result. Clearly I could not continue this way. You may recall my “Enough Is Enough” post from a few weeks ago. I have spent most of the past four weeks changing my sleep schedule.

The first step was to change how I felt about sleep. I intellectually understood that sleep was necessary, but the panic over deadlines and work left unfinished, or even the thrill of a new distraction, always seemed to justify pushing sleep off day after day. In order to convince myself that sleep was crucial, I began by first telling myself every night that it was alright to sleep. Then I began letting myself sleep a full “night” instead of shaving off the time each “morning”. After two weeks of that I began to force myself to bed at 5am.

Then I became sick again.

This was the absolute best thing that could have happened. With my new mindset that sleep was necessary, I let myself sleep when my body told me to despite what I still had left unfinished. One night last weekend I fell asleep at 9pm. Since then I’ve been waking at 6:30am every morning. Even with a slight setback last night, I still awoke at 7:30am.

I’ve held off blogging about it until I was sure. I’ve come close before only to lose it all after a few days. Tomorrow will be a week. I’m diurnal now. I couldn’t be more thrilled. It is a milestone to be remembered. From here on everything will change.

The end result of all this is that I’m sitting in an IHOP at 12:44pm after a full morning of running errands and I’m writing. With two serious obstacles overcome by the end of February, maybe my Splintered Books Project isn’t a mere vain hope.

In January I finished an easy reader called “Take a Hike!” (#tkahk) and prepared it for the gauntlet of rejection. Agents submitted to? Four. Rejections? One. I will submit the manuscript to three more agents today. Then tomorrow I begin researching publishers. It’s not a story I intensely care about and only represents two months of my life. I am using it as a means to practice contacting agents and editors, as well as to numb myself to rejection for the manuscripts I do intensely care about.

(cc) Douglas CooteyI also wrote and sold an article to ADDitude Magazine for their Summer issue. I have also submitted a headshot for them. I will answer a question each issue for their Contributor Chat. I am both honored and puzzled, but I’m not so puzzled that I can’t see an opportunity when it provides itself even if I am not remunerated for it.

My next project used to be called “Sneaker’s Secret” and “The Secret Life of My Cat, Sneakers”, but the work has undergone so much transformation I have no idea what to call it other than the hashtag of #snkrz. My first chapter was trapped in the eternal limbo of revisions until last week. I suppose I just became bored with getting nowhere with the story. Thank you, ADHD. I pushed beyond the troubled scene and look forward to finishing the first chapter today. In fact, perhaps I should wrap this up and get on. It’s a half day and I will need to don my Daddy hat very soon.

Lastly, the most important achievement for me was reached two days ago: I taught myself to poach an egg. Julie Powell has nothing on me. Beware New York. I am coming.