May was a month for some big changes. I not only started a new job on May 1, but it was also the day I started working on the new book.
The new book is the second book in a three-book series about a girl born in a circus in 1923 — and her rise to fame as a magician in the 40s and 50s.
It was important for me to start the second book (marked on the calendar above as AIF), on the day I started a new job.
The Last Job
I had my last job for almost seven years — the longest job I’ve had. Usually, I don’t jump job to job…I’m usually around places long enough that I end up in departments that get cut in layoffs or mergers.
There are things I miss about my last job, but when I’d see social media reminders that I often worked overtime to get software releases out…well, working on A Magic Life suffered at the last gig.
Six of the almost seven years at the old job were spent working on the last book. The book shouldn’t have taken that long.
I didn’t want to make the same mistake with the new gig.
The New Job
The new job is a contract job. I’d be lying if I said it was [and still is] a bit scary leaving a place where I was settled to moving on to something with no guarantees. But if we’re honest about many corporate jobs, layoffs can come along at any time, so who knows if I’d have made it through the summer at the last job?
Contract work often comes with no overtime. This works well for me: I give everything I have to a place that treats me well for 40 hours. And in that time, I usually produce more in the time than people working overtime. (Based on past jobs, that is.)
May 1, 2019
I don’t know how long I’ll be at the new job. It already looks like there will be more work when I finish this project, and it sounds like permanent spots will come available around the time my time could be done there.
This much I know: I could not treat writing and work the way I treated things at the last job. So, despite learning new systems and routines, I also added starting a new novel on my first day at the new job.
I planned to start the novel in June…June 2, to be exact. (It’s the protagonist’s birthday.) But going into a new job with good habits was important, because I don’t intend to take nearly as long with the second and third books in this series as I did with the first.
And on top of all that, because I thought about it when I started everything on the First of May, I decided, “Ya know, it would be cool to track time on this. To see how much time actually goes into a novel. Not just writing, but researching, correspondence, and other things.
I put 38.25 hours into AIF in May. Here’s how that breaks down:
- Administrative Tasks = 2.75 hours
- Blogging = 8.0 hours
- Correspondence = 0.25 hours
- Plotting* = 2.5 hours
- Research = 17.25 hours
- Writing = 3 hours
* Some plotting time popped up during research, so this is not entirely accurate, but I’m not willing to get that detailed with tracking.
Only Three Hours?
You’ll notice I only spent three hours actually writing in May. I suspect that number will increase each month over the summer.
Because I decided to start on May 1 no matter what, much of May was devoted to research.
I read a book about the history of magicians in Chicago (Chicago Magic – A History of Stagecraft and Spectacle by David Witter). I read History of the United States Naval Special Hospital, about a World War Two naval hospital in Yosemite National Park.
And there were plenty of Wikipedia articles about hotels in Santa Monica, California — all of which seemed to house naval seamen preparing for war in the Pacific.
And oh yeah…research meant a character I hoped to place in Europe ended up in the Pacific instead, so I read a lot about the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier…and I now know more about the Douglas plant and what went into assembling Douglas A-20 light bombers than I knew at the beginning of this week.
Looking Forward to June
If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of Texas summers. (A big reason we get the annual writing retreat done in spring.)
I tend to do my best writing during fall and winter, but that seems to be changing. I prefer those seasons, but now that things are on a roll with AIF, I can’t wait to see what happens in June. (Hell, I might even attend DFW Con: The Dallas-Fort Worth Writing Conference.)