At least, I used to not do that.
This year, it seems, my 'regular' habits are getting overturned by my desire to catch up with all the ideas in my ideas and get them down before I lose them. After all, I've already started 11 other books, not to mention several short stories, plays, and scripts. In between teaching, theatre, and the rest of my life, I simply do not have enough time to do everything.
And yet, the first draft of my next book is already 50% complete... has my head exploded yet?
Truthfully, one of the most important aspects to living as a writer is trying to find and maintain BALANCE.
When I was in college, I was always that student who sat down at the beginning of the semester and worked out my calendar so I never had to stay up all night the day before a paper was due. And I wrote a lot of papers. But I never lost much sleep.
To this day, that maxim holds true - I hate cramming! So I plan. I spend a good amount of time planning, actually. but in the end. I really end up with more free time. Because here's the thing. I never want what I do to consume every facet of my life, because that leads to burnout, and burnout leads to dislike or even hate for a thing once loved. And I never want to hate writing. Instead, I plan out my books based on daily word count goals. Writing, editing, and publishing HEART: a visceral fantasy in three months sounds like a lot of work - but I was teaching eight different courses at the same time. How did I do it? In reality, three months divides into 90 days, and if I'm writing, say, 1500 words a day, and I'm consistent, AND I give myself days off, I'll still get a first draft done in about six weeks.
Recently, I decided I can't use upcoming deadlines as an excuse to let my house fall into disarray. So I decided to spend a minimum of thirty minutes a day cleaning up some part of my house. Why? So that I don't end up have to spend hours or even days after every project finding stuff, rearranging, dusting, etc.
There's just too much going on for me to willingly give up my free time, which is how I recharge and maintain my mental health. So if you're struggling to find time to write and juggle everything else, just remember that finding a routine that works for you will allow you to FIND BALANCE. Because no one wants to lose sleep. And no one wants to start resenting his/her passion(s) in life. And most importantly, your stories deserve a chance to find the light of day.
So here it is, the product of my balance: the first excerpt from my new book, Evrίskon, a sci-fi adventure with a little magic thrown in.
"The commanding hybrid looked at the woman who had spoken. Her cropped hair was threaded black and gray. Lines curved around her eyes and formed deep grooves surrounding her mouth. A scar crossed one side of her face, from her ear to her jaw. Though it had healed cleanly, her mouth was slightly twisted on one side. She was lean with the look of one who had long ago learned to fuel her body on willpower and determination rather than normal human sustenance. Yet energy flowed around her, and as Hybrid-John897 scanned her with his optics, he picked up increasing levels of electro-magnetic interference.
Commander, is this the correct human? His first officer, Hybrid-Mike2564 queried via Link. She does not match records.
It is her, Hybrid-John897 replied as he looked into her eyes and studied the electrical field surrounding her. Scan with facial recognition protocols and age subject by eight years of last known contact.
His first officer obeyed immediately.
Confirmed. Voice and facial data match.
The entire exchange took little more than 6.24 seconds, but Dena knew exactly what the hybrids were doing. She stared straight ahead, appearing to focus on the leader. But as the spell flowed out of her and dissipated into her bioelectrical field, she gathered her will and focused on her second spell. He hand, resting in pocket, suddenly clenched on a tiny, jagged, rounded rock.
Go, she commanded.
A sudden flash lit the entire tunnel.
The hybrids staggered back in surprise, their weapons up and primed as they waited for the attack to finish. Hybrid-John897 struggled to focus his optics on making sense of what was in front of him, but all he could see was a haze of electric particles obscuring his scanner.
Switch to sapient vision, auto-enhanced, he commanded calmly as he stopped reading his data stream and waited the few seconds necessary for his real eyes to adjust. A human failing, he thought, given that switching to his cybernetic optics took less than a dozen nanoseconds. As his vision came into focus, he looked out over the scene in front of him.
Into a madhouse.
Thousands of people rushed back and forth, crossing the train terminal, but as he tried to focus, a distant, human emotion flushed through him.
The target, Dena Evrískon, had disappeared. Or at least, had somehow changed herself. His mind struggled with his processors to understand what he was looking at. Where before the electrical flash, there had been still, orderly bodies of all shapes and sizes, there was now only one. Or hundreds of one. Some distant, human part of him recognized the irony in what Dena Evrískon had managed to do. Just all every machine was connected to the Nexus via the Link – many who are one – so, too, had she just created her own Nexus. At least, that was the only way Hybrid-John897 managed to justify it to himself and the programmed signals that enhanced his body’s capabilities.
The madhouse in front of him resolved into the same face, same body, same sex, repeated over and over. Blond, female, tall, unmarked face. There. And there. Hundreds of them. How was a field of bioelectricity capable of doing such a thing?
Commander, orders are required. Do we fire into the crowd? They are useless, unarmed, and running away.
Hybrid-John897 consulted his internal orders before responding.
Negative, Hybrid-Mike2564. Our primary directive is to capture and apprehend target. Drones have been assigning for the cleansing. They arrive in two-hundred forty-five seconds. Fan out and begin search. Have every unit switch to organic-input optics.
A new thought occurred to him.
In the left eye only. Keep the right eye available to read any coming electrical surges of any type.
Hybrid-Mike2564 turned and relayed orders to the rest of the unit. Less than ten seconds after giving orders, Hybrid-John897 was on the move, his eyes trying vainly to make sense of the order around him. Though he was tempted to shoot first, he obeyed his programming. As he stepped into the crowd, he turned to address his first officer.
Who had disappeared.
Hybrid-Mike2564, What is your position?
Hybrid-Mike2564, this is Unit 4903 Commander Hybrid-John897. You are ordered to respond.
Had his first officer cut off his feed to the Link?
Distracted, Hybrid-John897 missed a pattern in the movement around him. As he looked around, he noticed the space around him had cleared.
And then the tunnel lit up – this time blinding him in both his visions.
When the light faded, the humans were gone."