Finding Distractions

This last week has gone by rather quickly, which isn’t always a bad thing. I managed to get a few words down here and there, so I can claim some victories from it. Unfortunately, my main effort was redirected into writing an urgent project management plan for a project that was already three years into running, but which had had no formal project paperwork done up until now. Why things suddenly became urgent after three years and it all had to be done last week, I’ll never know.

All I do know is that my writing focus got turned to something which has very, very little to make the soul and body warm. It would be rather fun if I’d had the opportunity to really let loose on the plan. It may not meet the standards for the workplace, but it would be a damn sight more fun to read, and even more fun to write. Numbers can’t really be made all that sexy, but there could have been plenty of opportunity for a narrative to be created for everything else.

The downside to having to write that is that I missed the chance to really get some quality writing done, but at least the ideas continue to tick over in the background, and little scenes continue to form and re-form in the mind. It did make me think about the length of my next release. While I’m keen to have it be one of my longer stories, there is still something to be had from the quality, dirty, messy quickie. Perhaps one of those stories might find their way to the fore in the next few weeks, but I’m not making any plans for anything at the moment. Any time I make plans for something, something else always seems to come along and disrupt it all.

Getting Things Done

I was glad this past week to actually get down and get some writing done. Eventually!

It wasn’t as much as I wanted, but every little bit helps, and it keeps the wheels turning, so that when time and availability line up again, things will not be too far back from where I want them.

One of the other things I’ve picked up on over the last week is to take part in the GoodReads “Ask the Author” program, where readers and other interested parties can ask their favourite authors any question they like. There’s no obligation by the author to answer them, but it does give authors another means by which to communicate with our readers and fans, and the opportunity for burning questions to be answered, rather than hoping that the author will somehow know to write about it in a blog, or say something about it in an interview.

Anyway, I’m going to keep plugging away at the writing, and try to steer my next story into some sort of releasable form in the coming weeks. I’m not pressuring myself -- at least not that much, but I do want it to be a decent length and great quality before I release it to the wild.

Time Goes By

I can’t believe that another week has gone by so quickly, especially one where I didn’t get the opportunity to put down more than just a few words here and there. It only felt like yesterday that last weekend had ended and, yet, here we are at the end of another weekend.

I’ve been extremely busy, but it hasn’t been the sort of busy that allows me to turn things into the written word for my fans.

The worst part about the last several days is that I kind of knew that the time wouldn’t be there, but still tried to make it anyway. At least the coming couple of weeks looks somewhat improved, and I am still getting words down -- just not as many as I want to. It’s one of the writer’s personal complaints. There’s never enough time to sit down and write when you feel like writing. But get writer’s block, and there’s never too much time to be sitting around staring at the wall, waiting for the inspiration to strike.

A Matter of Balance

Any author will tell you that real life always finds a way to get in the way of writing. Just as I think that I’ve got my new balance sorted out and can settle back into writing, when life decides to throw in yet another interesting twist.

The major work that I had been writing for a closed group over the last year and a half had all been done and completed at the start of May. I thought that with it being signed off, accepted, and distributed, that I had seen the last of it and could devote the effort that led to 200,000+ words of specialist writing to something that would have a wider readership. And something I would find more interesting to write about, as well.

At least, that’s what I thought.

Because the tome (at 1,000+ A4 pages across two volumes, it’s not much else) has been so successful amongst its desired audience, I have been told that they want to turn it into a very limited run coffee table book for distribution as official gifts to VIPs and as an award for employees. Originally, the volumes were meant to be printed to standard 80gsm A4 paper, spiral bound, with a full colour card cover and clear plastic sheet protector over the front. As such, there was minimal use of colour in the text, and the colour that was used had been designed to work when printed in black and white. Not only that, but the cover had been designed to provide all necessary context in the absence of a spine or back cover.

Having sat down with the publishing managers, it looks like the tome is heading for a case bound special print run. I originally thought that it was going to be cloth covered or leather / simulated leather covered, which was going to remove the need for redesigned cover graphics, but again I was caught out.

It seems that the volumes will be full colour paper covered, with matte imagery and spot UV highlighting (probably on the text). That means having to redo the cover imagery, coming up with suitable spine layout for a spine that may be up to 2 inches thick, and coming up with a suitable rear cover.

For each volume.

The graphic design work isn’t too much of a hassle. It’s coming up with suitable synopsis text for the rear cover which might cause some problems.

Because of the size of each volume, I suspect the sheets are going to be oversewn, which means having to manipulate margins in the content but, when combined with the extra tape binding (in appropriate colour), and two ribbon bookmarks per volume, it’s going to have some impact and will last for as long as a book of that size can.

I am going to have to think about the content and imagery again as, with metallic coloured end pages and a full-colour print on 120-135 gsm satin paper (which one is selected will depend on the final book thickness), something written to be printed on plain A4 copy paper in black and white isn’t going to cut it. I might have to revisit my font choices as well, but think that I will be able to get away with what is already in place.

I have a pretty good idea as to how I’m going to make the content worthy of such a high quality full-colour run and will be revisiting all my existing in-text graphics to make sure they’re going to look good when printed to full colour (and in black and white for those who are committed to printing from the electronic files).

The downside to this rather awesome and humbling opportunity is that it means another couple of weeks worth of work to get things up to the required standard.

A couple of weeks worth of writing that I had been planning to allocate to something a little more fun.

That’s not to say that I’m not managing to get the occasional thousand words or so down from time to time, but it is more of a struggle. At least I know that I will have that time to write in the future, with things back in balance again.