Focus Again

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From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

The other challenge I gave myself in 2021 was to work on the Fey. I had blamed traditional publishing for the fact that the next series didn’t exist and while that was true, it’s not the whole story.

I have a lot of baggage on that series. A lot. All the bad things that can happen in traditional publishing happened to me on those books.

. . . .

An editor rewrote me horribly, and did some of the work without my permission to make chapters shorter. So the rereads were traumatizing. I did them by hand, so I had to put in the corrections and restore what I could (because some of the original files were lost). I stalled out.

But I kept writing on the Fey project. Since I write out of order, it took me most of the year to realize I was writing outlines for the next several books. I’d write maybe 100 pages of the book and then outline. I’m good at writing something that seems like fiction, but really isn’t.

That’s what I was doing.

I finally sorted out that mess, but the story just wasn’t flowing. I blamed the pandemic. Then I found the novella at the heart of everything, figuring that would solve the problem. Nope.

. . . .

Until one morning, I woke up and realized I needed to schedule my writing year. I hadn’t over-scheduled my writing year in maybe ten years. First, I was so sick that I didn’t dare. (I underscheduled then.) Then, I stopped trying to schedule at all. (Nearly died, so was focused on just finishing words.) Then we moved (always disruptive). I got better…and the damn pandemic hit and ate my brain.

So figuring out the schedule made Dean happy. (“You’re back!” he said. Yeah, maybe he’s right.)

But it also made my subconscious happy.

What does figuring out the schedule mean? It means I had to figure out what I was writing when. Then I had to figure out a realistic word count for the week/day. Then I had to do math to figure out when I would finish Project #1 and so on and so forth.

I know myself well enough to know that I can’t write the same subgenre for each and every project. So I had to switch off.

I outlined it all…and I not only mentally relaxed, the stories started flowing. I was able to get lost in them. I would wake up and there, in my brain, was the solution to some problem I hadn’t even realized I had in the book(s).

I’m excited about writing again.

I think this is because I believe I have a future. Or we have a future. Or as much of a future as the human race always has, subject to the whims of crazy leaders and stupid viruses and personal emergencies (note the word personal, not a worldwide emergency like we’ve been living in).

It’s not normal. As some grumpy pundit said about the whole returning to normal movement: there was no normal before the pandemic. There was just what we were used to.

My brain has transitioned into a world filled with Covid and other problems. I feel less of a need to be hypervigilant about the world around me, and I’m able to escape into a world I invent.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

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3 thoughts on “Focus Again”

  1. Nice to see Ms Rusch is feeling better and returning to her productive ways.
    These are appropriate times to refocus on both life and writing.

    However, I’d hate to tell her we’re not yet living in a time of crisis. We aren’t. The real crisis is still ahead. Right now we’re still well off enough to play in tbe escalating internal Identity Wars. When tbe *real* crisis hits those trivialities will fade into the background.

    What final form the predicted Crisis of the Twenties takes is still TBD but now would be a good time to turn world building techniques to the real world. Less chance of getting Future Shock.


    • Agreed.

      There’s something to be said for being on the wrong side of middle-age: there’s a limit to how much chaos is likely still to appear in one’s personal life. Not that the short-term can’t kill you just fine, but the longer term societal fractures will take some time to fully manifest, and since I don’t personally have any hostages to fate (descendants), I hope to take a relatively detached view of the next decade or two’s more baroque manifestations. Fatalism is a calming perspective.

      • The last part of the Serenity Prayer comes to mind:

        “…the wisdom to know the difference…”

        Matters of our own lives we can and should control.
        Likewise matters beyond our control that we can prepare for and know how to mitigate (hurricanes, winter storms, political chaos). Those we can and should understand and protect against.

        Wars disrupting a quarter of the world wheat markets, 40 percent of the fertilizer market and (permanently ending) 10% of active oil production are not within anybody’s ability to control nor do normal people have any say on mitigation other than doing without.

        Pursuing knowledge of the world outside is useful protection but demanding control over the thoughts and deeds of others is futility. Even at gunpoint. As a certain autocrat is discovering, killing is easier than controlling. But equally counterproductive.

        Closer to home, you’d think that by now the need to Focus on Maslov’s Hierarchy would be second nature to most but judging by daily news feeds it isn’t. No good things await those folks.

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