It used to be when my birthday came ticking around, I'd ask for some DVDs and a good meal. Now, with my efforts to reduce my weight, a good meal isn't nearly as appealing as it used to be. And I already have too many DVDs (not to mention, it has become "too common" for most people who buy me gifts).
Now, I ask for time alone. Yeah, it isn't the "fatherly" thing to do, but I like being able to sit down and just obsess about something for a few days. It gets it out of my system and I don't spend my normal whining about my priority list (family, work, writing, programming) while I'm honoring said priority list.
This last weekend, SMWM gave me two (it ended up being three) nights to do whatever I wanted.
Since I was working on Author Intrusion, I figured I'd program the entire time away, but as I was driving to meet Shannon Ryan for lunch, I realized it was a perfect time to write Sand and Bone. It would fulfill my drive to write and help ease this feeling of… discomfort I get when I'm working on Author Intrusion (also known as fear, uncertainty, and doubt) and not writing.
I don't know how it happens, but when SMWM gives me a weekend alone, people start asking for things. And it has to be the weekend I just go. I don't even tell them about it, it's like I give out a psychic wave of "ask Dylan for something!"
In this case, two of the folks in my writing group asked for help with WordPress, Google Groups (apparently it can do shared inboxes really well), and a whole slew of other things. That ended up taking about six hours of my Saturday plus I may have corrupted one of them with Order of the Stick and Nodwick.
Meeting other authors
The other thing that came up was meeting Aaron Bunce, a semi-local writer (he's about twenty minutes away). He and I got talking on Twitter, but I'm not entirely sure how he found me.
But, he also has a book out recently so we decided to read each other's effort. It will be fun, but I can't really get started until next week.
Despite all of that, I managed to get a good eighteen hours of writing and got twenty-four thousand words written. This put me past the midpoint of the novel which I've been sitting on since April. Another week or so (though without the lovely obsession hours) and I'm at a reasonable shot for finishing the first draft by the end of September.
This is a hard novel to write in a lot of ways.
The biggest is that I've had this planned for better part of two years. I know all of these scenes and some of them are emotional for me. I don't know if the words will say that, but I'm hoping that some of the emotions will get down on the page.
I've also been thinking about this novel for years. And I found that playing out novels is helpful up to a point, it can hurt my ability to write if I overdo it.
The other reason this is hard is because it is part three of a series. I'm afraid of changing the tone, writing style, or the general feel of what attracted people to the first book (since the second isn't out yet).
Overall, I'm just getting words down. Not editing, spell-checking, or doing anything other than getting it out. I can clean up a page filled with errors, I can't do anything with a blank page.