Suffering from project overload

Sometimes I get in over my head. My need to fill every square inch of spare time with creative projects too often leads to more stuff than I can do at once. It’s maddening and frustrating and at times a bit overwhelming, yet if I drop one I resent the project I keep for holding me back on the other one. Madness. What am I juggling right now? Take a look:

Dystopian Science Fiction novel

My current fiction work in progress (WIP), this involves an America healing from a second Civil War, an oppressive caste system that has driven most of the nation to poverty, and a plot to kill millions. I’m about five chapters into the revision process. Eight or nine chapters are written out of a projected 40 or so. I had hoped to be further along on this by now. Made good progress over Memorial Day Weekend, though. I’d love to have a first draft finished by the end of the summer, but am not yet ready to set that as a firm goal.

Hitchcock revisited

I mentioned this in a previous post. Jim and I have started work on our follow-up to A Year of Hitchcock. We are still early in the process, doing research, watching films, taking notes, and doing preliminary writing. We have a book proposal prepared and hope to begin pitching it this summer, but we’ll see how it goes. We both love the idea, it’s just a matter of getting the gears turning on a regular basis. I don’t think either of us have made the strides we’d like to have made by now. I certainly haven’t, despite devoting whatever time I can spare to it.

Nine Stories: A Comic Anthology

This is another one I’ve discussed at length. This project is in the final stretch, which means it has suddenly gotten VERY busy for me again. The progress keeps me going. So far things look great. The artists I’ve worked with have been laying down some excellent work. The preview art I’ve posted doesn’t even scratch the surface. I’m proud of the eclectic batch of stories I wrote — 13 in all, from western to coming of age to superhero to science fiction and more — and can’t wait to see it go to print … but man are the next four to six weeks going to be a nightmare. I still have to script four of the stories (sorry for the holdup, guys!), plus I have to LETTER several of them, too. For those who don’t know, lettering is the act of placing the word balloons and text on the page. It’s more involved than it sounds. You have to be mindful of the placement so as to not obscure the art while also ensuring maximum readability. The reader’s eyes should flow across the page, etc. etc. Not to mention bringing the whole thing together as a single package and in the right format, creating the table of contents and credits and other non-comic pages, working with the printer, etc. Ugh. Anyway, the bottom line is that there is loads of work left to do. The finish line is so close, yet so much work left on this…

Young adult fantasy novel

This one is done, written, finished. But that means the work has only just begun. Some early readers have given me feedback, I’ve made adjustments, and I’m now at the point where I should be querying literary agents in an attempt to get the thing sold. In fact, my query letter and synopsis are written, I just haven’t gotten around to researching agents and sending the stuff out. Shame on me for being so lazy on this front. I really need to start getting this out the door so I can fully focus on other projects.

Local history book – Also written, this one is in front of publishers. Wrote an extensive proposal, etc. and have it in front of a small handful of local history publishers, but alas, no bites yet. Because this book is so niche in nature, I may consider self-publishing this one. Either way, I need to devote some time towards preparing more proposals and pitching a few more publishers.

A Year of Hitchcock: The Official Podcast

I edit the official podcast for the book, which means that each week I have to devote at least a night, sometimes two, to editing the content, cleaning up the audio, and putting the show together. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, it just takes time. And as you can see, time is at a premium right now.

Short stories

Either writing or submitting six or seven short stories at once — or I was up until about two months ago, at least. Making this the lowest priority pains me, but what else can I do right now? When Boston Literary Magazine accepted one of my stories not too long ago, a brief tale set during World War I, it was a big boost. At the time I had about a half-dozen stories out to various markets and planned to keep up the pace. Didn’t happen. I just haven’t had the time to keep writing, keep submitting, keep mailing. Not with all this other stuff happening. For many reasons, that sucks. At the very least I should be mailing out the finished, ready-to-pitch stories, but I just haven’t been able to make it a priority.

Plus, you know, this blog, and the occasional freelance assignment that comes my way, and a job to pay the bills, and a family, and leisure time. Especially the last couple. Because it’s nice to actually RELAX and see your FAMILY every now and then, you know? Problem is, I actually feel guilty when I just veg out and relax instead of working on one of the above. How stupid! Everyone needs down time! But it’s how I feel.

And it burns me out. Badly.


  1. Jim McDevitt

    You need to stop being so motivated and stuff. You make me feel bad on a consistent basis for not being so driven. If you need some time, feel free to slow down on the Hitchcock section you’re working on now. I have a very busy weekend and don’t expect to meet the goal of what we said we’d try to have done by Sunday. Cool if we extend that another wee or more?

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