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I’ve come to the conclusion that part of my problem with making more progress on MAGE STORM is balance.

Mage Storm

See, in addition to getting back into the habit of writing every day, I’ve also set myself a couple of other goals for this summer–which, for this purpose, ends in two weeks when school starts again.

I also wanted to get a fair amount of work done in the yard. It had gotten out of control and I’m gradually trying to bring it back–in a hopefully low-maintenance kind of way. Naturally, I try to accomplish whatever task I’ve set myself done in the morning, before it has a chance to get too hot. Usually, I get hot anyway. Gradually–one moderate goal at a time–I’m making progress with that.

Then, too, I want to get a whole-house cleaning done. And naturally, since I’m already wearing my grubby work clothes, I tend to do that shortly after I come in from working in the yard, allowing a little time to rest in between. That also is coming along, although I don’t expect to be completely done before school starts.

And then, I sit down at the computer. I’ve been sitting here–and then getting up only to wander somewhat aimlessly around the house and come back again since lunch. Trying to work up the concentration to finish this chapter

And all I really want to do is take a nap. Especially today, between mowing, laundry, and starting in on cleaning the dining room, I’m tired. Might be that I just can’t do as much in a day anymore as I could ten or twenty years ago–though I don’t like to admit it.

Balance won’t be any less of an issue once school starts, especially the first couple of weeks. The challenges will just change. Though, at least, I’ll likely only be working on they yard on the weekends. House cleaning never ends, though once the hard cleaning is done it will hopefully be the lighter kind of maintenance cleaning–at least for a while.

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The rewrite of MAGE STORM is flowing better now.

Mage Storm

What I need to work on is regaining the habit of spending enough butt-in-chair time on it. In fairness, I do have several other projects I have to work on this summer, both in the yard and cleaning the house. But I used to have this habit and I’ve lost it during the protracted writer’s block. (Ever notice it’s a lot easier to break good habits than bad ones?) I need to get that back.

Meanwhile, I’m finding more sources of inspiration, which will certainly bear fruit down the line. I mentioned, I think, that during the writer’s block I decided to subscribe to The Great Courses Plus.

I started with a series of lectures about the Celtic World, which was very good–and some of that is a portion of the new inspiration into my secret history.

Then I tried one on King Arthur. That one started out well, but turned into a sort of literary survey of who wrote what about the legend and when certain elements got added. (Hint: Lancelot is a French addition that was never part of the original Romano-Celtic tale. Though Guinevere is part of the original cast.) The stories themselves tended to get lost.

I very briefly stuck my toe into one on the great mythologies of the world, but I’m interested in them as stories, not comparative religion.  So, that didn’t last long.

Of course, it’s all a question of what interests me, in particular. For both Arthur and mythology, I’m all about the stories, because that’s what’s likely to spark something that I can work with. (Like taking off from the Hercules legend with my BECOME series.)

BecomeSeriesBoxSet

But, see, that’s the beauty of this subscription service. If a lecture series isn’t for you, you can just move on. Now I’ve started one on Heroes and Legends, which I’m really enjoying so far. The first lecture was . . . wait for it . . . about Tolkien’s Bilbo and Frodo, with an argument for why they are the unexpected, but needed heroes for the time following the World Wars. Then Odysseus (the ultimate trickster hero, perfect for his time) and Aeneas (Rome’s answer to Odysseus . . . and a bit of a prick, really.) Today I watched the one on Guinevere. I’m not sure I entirely agree with his analysis of her. But the summation of how depictions of her changed over time along with the expectations of the societies who were retelling her tale was very interesting.

This one may definitely inspire some new stories. Or new ways of looking at heroes. Or . . . well, who knows?

 

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A little bit forward, some sideways. Hey, it’s still progress.

I have gotten a little more done on the first draft/rewrite of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Not much yet, but sometimes it’s starting that counts.

Then a bug bit me (not literally) and I wrote seven pages of notes for my potential secret history story–uh, saga. I’m not sure it’ll actually be a secret history. I may ditch the history and write it as a second world fantasy, using the actual history as inspiration. Among other things, that would allow me to compress the time frame, which would be nearly unworkable if I had to stick more closely to history. Either way, it’s nowhere near ready to write yet.

But the thing about inspiration is that it hits you with what it wants to before it gives you what you want, so . . . this may be a sign of more progress on the horizon. Maybe things are really about to break loose.

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Well, the plumbing fiasco–and my feelings about it–have derailed the small amount of momentum I’d started to build.

But I am not going to let that defeat me. No way. So the thing to do is to get back to that rewrite of MAGE STORM–painful as it is at the moment.

Mage Storm

Because that won’t last. Once I get some real momentum–or, at the latest, when I get past these first few chapters into the part that will diverge from the original–it’ll start really flowing. It will. All my other stories have. And just about every one of them has been hard to get really rolling. Why should this one be any different?

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All I can say is this week so far has been abysmal. Horrible. I want this week to be over. The last two days have been mostly interrupted by plumbers.

I’ve gotten the chance to work on maybe three or four sentences of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

This too shall pass–eventually.

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I’m gradually getting momentum on the rewrite of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Very gradually. I’m still working on Chapter 1. But I am making progress. And I really think that this version is much better. Which, in turn, feeds my desire to work on it. And helps build momentum.

For the moment, I’m copying the old chapter into my new document in a different color. In fact, I’m using Word’s Heading 3, which allows me to track every line in the navigation pane. Then I’m rewriting paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, deleting the old version from the document as I go. This works, for now, because the first few chapters will remain mostly the same–in terms of what happens in them. After about chapter 6, things will begin to diverge from the original plot. I may still refer back to the original in much the same way in some places, but not wholesale.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing with the clean-up of the yard. And the house cleaning. Well, at least it keeps me from sitting in my desk chair all day. And I’m making progress with those, too.

 

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I have started the rewrite of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

I like what I’ve got so far much better. However, it seems starting a rewrite is very much like starting a first draft. It just takes a while to build momentum.

I also need to rebuild the habit of writing daily. I didn’t do any yesterday. Well, maybe one sentence. That’s not going to get this done. So I’m going to have to make sure I put in at least some time every day to get back to where I need to be. Just takes discipline–and not allowing procrastination.

Yeah, right.

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