The Writing Journal #39

As the dulcet tones of Alice Cooper once sang, school’s out for summer! Big congratulations to all those youngsters and their pupils who now have a lovely six-week break to look forward to, and commiserations to the parents who have to find something to do with them (as well as their own kids). I’ve always thought summer feels like a silly time for working; a feeling that probably makes me ideally suited for a career in teaching (a realisation I know many in my family wish I would come to sooner rather than later…), but this year I’ve taken the rather unprecedented step of ramping up my workload for the summer months rather than winding it down. Will this ground-breaking change of tack lead to new breakthroughs?

Let’s find out…

Target Number 1: Spend a minimum of 20 hours editing my novel.

A certain sense of déjà vu is starting to creep in, as I’m sure I was at a similarly bleak stage with this target this time last month as well. A couple of hours added this week takes the running total to 9hrs 24mins, less than half the target with ten days to deadline. The Bookcast swallowed a large chunk of time last week, as it was probably going to with so much left to do before launch, but it has perhaps taken more time away from the novel than I would have liked. After gaining so much momentum towards the end of last month, some sessions this week felt a little stalled, but, hopefully like last time, if I can find some hours to put into it over the coming days, that momentum can pick up again and I can get past the 20hr mark again for July.

Target Number 2: Launch my audiobook/podcast.

In the last Writing Journal, I said I wanted to record the last three stories for the Bookcast so that all of the raw audio was in place before the start of the holidays. I thought it might be a challenge, more for the story that hadn’t been written at all at that stage, but as it turned out it was a much more ambitious target than I had first imagined. The first drafts that I did have were nowhere near as ready as I had thought them to be, and whilst the first three stories felt settled and in a good place when I sat down to record them, these ones didn’t have that same feeling. What was initially supposed to be a quick edit for them turned into major overhauls, which of course took longer than anticipated and therefore delayed their recording. This may cause a few more logistical problems than I would have liked, especially given that the elusive sixth story still isn’t written, but as many kids, parents, and teachers will quickly tell you, there’s still plenty of time left in the summer holidays yet, and I would rather put the time in now to get them right, than rush them out for the sake of it.

With the short story edits taking longer than anticipated, and only a couple of hours spent with the novel, this past week has felt quite sluggish in terms of its productivity. Whilst this is quite normal for my past summer output, it’s not a promising sign for the summer to come! However, the good news to come from it all is that the first episode of the Bookcast is now edited, mixed, and ready to be launched this week. I’m reasonably confident I’ve done my infrastructure research, but since it is a first foray into this world, I’m hesitant to pinpoint an exact launch date right now. My hope is for Wednesday/Thursday at the latest, but what I can say for definite is that The Writing Journal will be one of the first places to know about it when it does finally drop, so please keep your eyes peeled on the website later this week, and keep your ears open for a new set of stories to while away those summer niiiiiiights (this may be a niche, ill-conceived Grease reference to end on, but I regret nothing…).

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