The Difference one Year Makes

It wasn’t until I watched the first couple seasons of “24″ that I realized how much could be accomplished in a single day.  With events occurring in real time it became very easy to see just how much could happen in the span of 24 seemingly short hours.  Of course, if you don’t need to eat, sleep, bathe, or take a bio break, you pick up a LOT of time.

But when you expand that to the time span of a full year… holy crap.

One year ago, today, (as this post publishes), I began the process of studying for and taking the CPA exam and as I look back on the past year, I want to share some numbers with you all -

Parts to the exam: 4
Hours spent in formalized instruction:  105
Number of practice test questions taken:  Thousands.
Hours spent studying and reviewing: Incalculable.
Exam Sections Taken: 4
Exam Sections Passed: 4

That’s right boys and girls.  After nearly a year of blood sweat and tears over this exam process, I have passed all four parts of the exam.

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Saying hello to an old friend.

It’s been almost a year since I completed a full length novel manuscript.

For a writer, especially one in my position who is trying to build up the catalogue of titles, that’s a scary thought.  It’s been almost a year since I finished something new.  Had I not been buried with other priorities during that past year, I might even be embarrassed to admit this.

I always make a policy to drawer a first draft for a measurable period of time.  It’s a good way to put some distance between the construction process that is writing the first draft and the constructive de-construction that is the first round of edits and this project was no exception, other than I put a little more distance between us than I’d intended.

Oh Ciris… How I have missed you.

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2014- The first 45 Days

As we roll into the mid point of February, I look back on the last month and a half and realize both how much, and how little has truly gotten done.  Yes, January was spent studying for the last part of the CPA exam and Yes I did take that exam back on the 29th.  Scores aren’t available yet by the way so I don’t know how the results came out and I’m not about to try and armchair quarterback it.  Yes, the day job exploded on the 30th with unexpected, and abrupt, staff changes, month end, and the auditors all descending on our department within the same 3 day window, and 11 work days in the past 12 calendar days.  Not unusual for many… but definitely out of the ordinary for me.

And because of all that, it’s hard to quantify what it is I’ve actually been able to achieve on the creative side.  I haven’t touched Slipspace production since New Years Day.  I haven’t written new fiction and what scant word count I have managed have been oriented towards something I’m working on with my local RPG group, and fleshing out the Code Name Ciris world bible.  Putting it another way, we are 45 days into 2014 and my word count on the year, before adding in this blog posting, is a whopping 3,300 words.

It’s mental and/or emotional exhaustion, of that I have no doubt.

I also have no doubt that in the days and weeks to come, my creative batteries will re-charge and I’ll be back in the saddle in no time.  The world building and notes consolidating I’m doing is already having an affect and the more I write the background on the universes, the more I want to play.  I’m planning a four day weekend once things settle down a little more at the office and at least half of those days will be dedicated entirely to creating.  Not sure if it will be audio or writing, probably a little bit of both.

In a sense, its as though I’m starting over.  There’s been a lot of distance put between me and my characters since I stopped writing in November to focus on exam preparation and as I return to it, I feel as though I need to build that momentum back up again, much like a freight train as it slowly accelerates.

But rest assured, the freight train is rolling.  Slowly right now, yes.  But a new chain on the magic spreadsheet is being assembled.  Quantifying daily progress in anything beyond just a word count is difficult on the magic spreadsheet, but I have a spare calendar laying around.  I think I’ll be borrowing a page from Nathan Lowell’s book and use that calendar to mark out what specifically is accomplished each day.

So for now, it’s back to the day job and then on to the weekend.  Catch you later!