A Writer Status Post

Richard Skinner

A friend once told me, “If all else fails, you can always blame it on the weather.” I don’t recall at this late date just what failure he was advising me to use that excuse for, but I’ve always hated the notion.

Well, I’m having some failures these days. And the weather is pretty much the sole reason for them. Sigh… I guess I have to pull that card out.

You see, I live in the desert regions of Arizona. Which actually has pretty darn nice weather for a biggish chunk of the year. (No, I’m not trying to start any “my climate is best” debate here. Just about every place has pretty darn nice weather, just the extent and timing of it differ.)

Except for right now – actually, beginning about with July and through most of August. Right now, it is absolutely miserable, especially for my family and myself. You see, we do not have air conditioning in our house, and this is the time of year when the temperature and the humidity are both sky-high. Sans air conditioning, it is miserably hot during the day; and this does not change all that much once the sun goes down. Right this moment, as I write this sentence at 10 PM, the outside temperature here is 93 degrees and the inside temperature is 94 degrees. Evaporative cooling does nothing to alleviate the heat when we are this humid.

Long explanation / excuse for a short problem. I’m just plain not working at any kind of fast pace – and when I do work (night and early morning), quality takes a nose-dive. Just the way it is right now, and I can only hope to correct this annual problem next year, maybe. In the meantime, looking back at my logs, I am still producing a heck of a lot more, writing-wise, this summer than I did a year ago.

The long range view is that I’m very unlikely to meet any of my self-imposed schedules until September is here. At short range, I’m definitely not going to accomplish everything that I want to do.

So, what I think will happen, after looking at things through the cleaned off reality lens:

1) I’ll continue to get my reviews of other people’s books up on Amazon on a weekly basis. This is something that I have committed myself to, and is very important for supporting those people who have inspired me, and continue to give me encouragement. However, the blog posts that go with them are going to appear at some time, maybe a long time, after the Amazon review is done – I started the one for Dan Hoyt’s 9th Euclid’s Prince on Saturday last, and it might as well be gibberish. I know what I want to say, but the brain’s language center, it is not cooperating.

2) The Learning Curve series will continue, although not on a guaranteed Wednesday schedule. I have started the post for this Wednesday, which is probably going to actually go up on Friday at best. But I have named it “Part One (and a Half)” – I was taking notes for it while going through the readings in Part One, and found myself diverted into expanding on the prompts those posts gave me. The nitty-gritty of actually creating covers will continue at some time, I just don’t know when. These are posts that I need to make sure that I don’t make some stupid mistake(s) on, leading the reader astray.

3) The August Tales By The Road short, Fugitive, will get done in August, and probably mid-month like The Simple Man and The Lass. A fair amount is drafted, and the rest of the plot is synopsized; I should be able to finish it with an hour here and an hour there of lucidity. The base cover image is already selected, too, so that is also something that won’t need a long stretch of mental acuity to finish up. (If it were my first cover attempt, though, I’d be in serious trouble.)

4) There are some “bloggish things” on my list to take care of. Those will also get done sometime soon, although they are a lower priority.

5) In any good hours that are left, I am still working on the first novel (working title, Talons of Vengeance). Absolutely no schedule that I can make on that project – I went back to it after the six weeks of getting the Tales out there and starting up this blog, and was shocked at what I thought was done – and turned out to not be.

Of course, anyone living down here in the “monsoon belt” knows that the weather could break at any time; I could start getting the nice massive evening thunderstorms again that cool things off for the night hours. In which case my productivity will rebound. But I’m not betting on it…