[writing|cancer] 2012 and further goals, more thereupon

As I said on New Year’s Eve [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] regarding my 2012 writing goals:

For 2012, if I can stay out of the oncology unit, I plan to write the other 400,000 words of Sunspin, revise the first two volumes for submittal and publication, and write several requested novellas and short stories. […] Even if I do go back into cancer treatment, experience shows I can still be reasonably productive. If I metastasize yet again, I still plan to write another 100,000 words of Sunspin, as well as revise the first two volumes and write the requested short fiction.

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. If my health permits, I’ll finish the first draft of the entire Sunspin cycle. By way of official news regarding that project, my agent and I have redivided it from three books to four for reasons of length. The titles now are:

Calamity of So Long a Life
Their Currents Turn Awry
The Whips and Scorns of Time
Be All Our Sins Remembered

Their Currents Turn Awry is the new title, and is now book two between the previously announced titles Calamity of So Long a Life and The Whips and Scorns of Time.

Also in Sunspin news, Subterranean Online will this year be publishing my novella “The Weight of History, the Lightness of the Future”, which is essentially chapter zero of Calamity of So Long a Life. So if you’re interested in this project, watch for that.

My more detailed 2012 plan for writing is as follows:

January and February, 2012 — Revise Calamity of So Long a Life for submission and publication, with a March 1 delivery date to my agent, and going to market shortly thereafter.
March, 2012 — Take a break from Sunspin, pursue short fiction commitments.
April and May, 2012 — Write another 100,000 words of Sunspin, edit into first draft manuscript of Their Currents Turn Awry.
June, 2012 — Initial revisions to Their Currents Turn Awry, release to my first readers.
July, 2012 — Take a break from Sunspin, pursue short fiction commitments.
August, September and October, 2012 — Write another 300,000 words of Sunspin, edit into first draft manuscripts of The Whips and Scorns of Time and Be All Our Sins Remembered.
November, 2012 — Take a break from Sunspin, pursue short fiction commitments.
December, 2012 — Revise Their Currents Turn Awry for submission and publication, with a December 31 delivery date to my agent.

That will put revisions and submittal for The Whips and Scorns of Time and Be All Our Sins Remembered in early 2013, and then I’ll be done with the cycle and free to move on to other projects.

The huge open question is whether I go back into treatment this year. The gap between conclusion of my last chemotherapy sequence and the detection of the next metastasis was nine months. If I can squeeze out a year, all of the above will happen. Even if the worst happens and we find a new metastasis in February, at my next scan, I’ll still get the work through March done for certain, and probably manage the work planned through June, though it may take me several months longer to reach those goals, if I have to take time off for surgery or whatever. So at a minimum, I’ll get Calamity of So Long a Life out and Their Currents Turn Awry written and revised, even if illness forces me to push drafting The Whips and Scorns of Time and Be All Our Sins Remembered into 2013.

In a larger sense, I figure these days I’m about one to two years from dying at any given point depending on my next diagnosis. More swiftly, of course, of the cancer comes back in an inoperable location or otherwise excessively troublesome. So when I look down the road, at other projects such as Original Destiny, Manifest Sin, it’s with a less confident eye than I used to have. I figure my long-term goals beyond Sunspin aren’t so much goals as hopes. Here are the benchmarks, things I’m looking forward to living to see if I can manage it.

December, 2012 — The Hobbit part one released
December, 2013 — The Hobbit part two released
June, 2016 — [info]the_child graduates from high school

If I make it alive and in some form of health to June, 2016, I will have won. That much time grants me my daughter’s entrance into adulthood, and lets me see her start her own life. That much time grants me as many as five or six more books, at a minimum four more even if I spend much of the intervening years in treatment. And it lets me go back to Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth twice more.

And, well, if I don’t make it that far, I’ll spend as much time as I can with [info]the_child and write as many books as I can.

Thinking about it in those terms both focuses and trivializes my 2012 goals. Perhaps you can see how my thinking is bent as time passes. But this is the life I’m leading, and I’ll do the best I can.

3 thoughts on “[writing|cancer] 2012 and further goals, more thereupon

  1. pelican says:

    As always Jay, thanks for sharing your experience so openly and honestly.

    I don’t know if you saw, but Sir. Christopher Lee talks a bit in his holiday message about his own thoughts he might not live to see these films, as he’s turning 90. It’s on the One Ring blog.

    I wish there was a Make-A-Wish foundation for adults that could send you to NZ for a set tour and a cameo … I think you’d make a great dwarf.

    If you don’t mind a follow-up question to your post- it seems like you’ve identified a new definition of “win” in regards to your cancer? Can you talk a bit more about how you came to that new definition (if so) and how, if at all, that changes your emotional experience?

    Again, thanks for your writing.

    1. Jay says:

      If you don’t mind a follow-up question to your post- it seems like you’ve identified a new definition of “win” in regards to your cancer? Can you talk a bit more about how you came to that new definition (if so) and how, if at all, that changes your emotional experience?

      Good questions. I think I’ll kick them up to a blog post tomorrow or Thursday, if you don’t mind.

  2. Harald Striepe says:

    Reading your admirable goal list (especially in view of your “day jobbery” concurrency), one thought struck me as I try to define my goals: “Quality of Life.”

    It is not just the number of hours, but how do we become more mindful and conscious of tasting the sweet honey of existence all the time. I still forget at times, which is easy to do with two teenage children (one is going on 21 but still insists on reverting, when she comes home).

    I have been playing with various tracking devices to quantify myself. I want to increase my awareness of activity levels, sleep, etc. to achieve greater health and fitness to feel better as I cross another threshold this month: turning 60. The Up! bracelet has a feature to remind you to be active by vibrating, if still for 15 min.

    I am now using it as a reminder to just “think and feel!”

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