Sunday, June 25, 2017

Getting that Word Count While Traveling - How Do You Do It?

I'm delighted to announce that THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE is up for preorder!! A few others will be coming soon, but - as with many things - Amazon is fast and efficient, making us both love and loathe them. Smashwords wants me to promise to upload the final doc ten days before release and I ... just can't. Ten days is forever in my world, regrettable as that may be. But, hey! The book is coming along really well, and I'm tentatively thrilled with it.

~knocks on wood~

~tosses salt over shoulder~

~pets black cat and gives it extra treats~

Want to see a little snippet? Okay! (It's a teensy bit spoilery of THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, if you haven't read that yet. Fair Warning. Just skip down to the next *** to avoid.)


We reached the ship, a rope ladder thrown down for us. Marskal treaded water with apparent ease, helping me grab ahold and steadying it as I climbed. Hands reached down from above, helping me over the rail. Then Jepp had me in a fierce hug, her compact, vital body hard against me. She was laughing and cursing, rocking me from side to side, then pulled back and kissed me hard on the mouth.
A man’s big hand tugged her back. “None of that now.” Kral, fully outfitted in his shining black Dasnarian armor, though with the faceplate up, winked at me. “I have to watch her every second.”
Jepp made a face at him. “You liked the idea well enough when we invited—”
“Shut up, Jepp,” Kral cut her off pleasantly and she grinned at him, then snapped to attention, giving Marskal the Hawks’ salute.
A dripping Marskal shook his head at her with a wry smile. “You don’t report to me any longer, remember?”
Jepp dropped her fist with an abashed grin. “Old habits, don’t you know.” She looked between us. “So that’s how you knew the signal. I recognized your sparkly blue magic globe thingy, but couldn’t figure out the rest.” She eyed Marskal. “You’re going to have to kill her now, you know.”
He returned her sally with a very serious nod. “So I’ve already informed her.”
“Just make me a Hawk already then,” I told them.
Jepp got a speculative expression and Marskal looked me up and down as if guessing my weight. “We don’t have any Tala. A shapeshifter and sorceress could come in handy.”
“She’s a terrible soldier, though,” Jepp pointed out. “Never follows orders. Might as well conscript a cat.”
“True.” Marskal rubbed his chin. “Plus she’d never make it through the initiation.”
“Guess it’s death then,” Jepp agreed cheerfully, making to draw her big bladed knife. She’d tied a scarf to the end of it, crimson ends fluttering in the breeze that matched the rest of her silk and leather outfit. With her short hair, dark skin and the exotic clothing, she looked even more a pirate now than when we found her fleeing the Dasnarians on the stolen Hákyrling.
“Not on the deck,” Kral cautioned. “You’ll stain the wood.”


Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is Writing On The Road: How to stay on task while traveling.

And, boy howdy, is this a hard one.

I have to tell you all: when I was traveling for the day job all the time (by "all the time," I mean 1-2 weeks out of every month), it was super hard for me to maintain any kind of writing schedule or productivity. I would have solid goals and determination, planning to get up early and write before we left the hotel, to write in the evenings when we were done for the day, to write on the airplane. Most of those things never happened. Jet lag and time zone differences would nix the getting up early. Having that much-desired cocktail with clients would sabotage the evening writing plans. Plain old being tired and having my brain eaten by the day job took care of the rest.

After a while, I pretty much didn't even try. I figured day job travel meant no word count and I took it out of the equation, figuring I'd write when I was actually at home. Which pretty much worked.

But, my productivity and quality of work absolutely increased tenfold when I stopped having to travel for that project.

Those of you who travel regularly for the day job and still manage to write? I have mad respect for you.

These days, my main challenge is being at conferences. Most of the time, I figure on writing on the plane on the way to the conference. I'm in the groove still, and - if the flights - are long enough, I can often get a regular day's worth of writing in.

(Yes, your seat mate will totally read over your shoulder. I figure they get what they get.)

Once at the conference, on the first day, maybe the second, I can get in *some* words. I get up, exercise, find a latte and something to eat, then bring it back to my room. At that point, any words are good words, just to keep my fingers on the reins.

After that - and, depending on the con, sometimes for the whole time - I get nothing written and I try to be okay with that. I look on it as well refilling. Same with vacations.

We talked about that last week, taking some breaks and time between works. If I can manage it - and I'm getting better at this - I try to figure in conferences and vacations as breaks between projects. Rather than feeling frustrated or anxious about not getting my word count in, I figure those days into my schedule as non-work days. Anything I do get is gravy.

But, I realize this is a luxury on my part, something I can do because I no longer have the day job. Before I wrote full time, I absolutely could not have afforded that time.

So those of you who do write on the road - how do you do it???