Or why is this (fill in the blank) project so late?
Starting about the time I was in Junior High School, I became fascinated by Einstein's theories of Relativity. Mind you, my books on the subject were very basic and I had trouble telling the Specific Theory from the General Theory but I had a reasonable grasp of the basics from the beginning and have been pondering them ever since.
One of the things that fascinated me was time dilation at relativistic speeds. If you have recently seen the movie 'Interstellar' then you know just what kind of strange things those relative speeds can do to clocks in different frameworks. The basic concept to grasp is that the faster you go, the closer you approach the speed of light, the more time slows down for the person moving and, from their perspective, time outside of their speed speeds up tremendously. Travel fast enough, and years can go by on your home planet while only hours pass in your speeding spacecraft.
The Speed of Light and the Speed of Life
Too often creative people have a warped view of time. Creation itself, the spark within us that constructs something in our minds, is not constrained by the laws of physics. We create things in our mind in an instant, fully formed and realized. Perhaps this is why, for me at least, I often so badly overestimate how long a project will take to complete. In my mind, the thing already exists in an instant (a space of time smaller than Planck Time) and 'all' that remains, then to make it. Note the parenthetical 'all' in the former sentence.
My experience is that approaching the speed of light has a lot in common with the speed of one's life.
Which brings us to the central question of my musings: why are so many of my projects currently so very late?
The answer may be in my perception of time as the speed of my life approaches relativistic speeds. With the changes in the world of publishing over the last ten years, the collapse of everything I had built my income upon and the need to completely rebuild my business from the ground up, the speed of my life has, indeed, gone past what I though possible. Here at the center of the speed of my life, I am working harder and longer hours than at any other period of my life and yet, time itself seems to have sped up in the universe beyond my headlong rush ... and everything now takes longer in the real world than here in my meteoric frenzy of creation.
Here, then, is a report from inside my time-shifted ship of creation:
- EYE OF THE DRAGON: This adventure module being created exclusively for a group of patrons must take priority right now as it is the closest to finishing and will provide for immediate support. Laura and I should have this cleaned up and finished early this week.
- BLADE OF THE AVATAR NOVELS: This is the second on our list of glaring red priorities as the publisher contracting this book needs the completed first novel of this series in hand immediately. Having promised four to five new chapters for this first book (which was already completed once) this additional rewrite must be completed by the following week. The remaining two novels are to be completed in 2015.
- SOJOURNER TALES INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENTS: Due to shipping cost overruns (not unusual in first-time kickstarter projects) we are having to raise additional funds to cover these final shipping costs. Part of this we hope to raise through Sojourner Tales sales this holiday season and through completion of the first two projects above. However, shipments do NOT take place instantaneously and they take several days out of our production schedule to complete.
- NIGHTBIRDS UNHONORED MANUSCRIPT: This second book in the Nightbirds series was due this week but now is delayed again by the first three projects above it. Yet this project, like the others above it, we consider critical and, in terms of importance getting finished, almost identical with the three before it.
- COMMUNITXT: In the midst of all of this, I was presented with an opportunity to become a creative force in a new business which could help authors, artist and creatives everywhere get better in touch with their audience. It is a tremendous opportunity to build something outside of publishing that could permit Laura and I an income outside of publishing which would permit us more freedom in what, when and for whom we write. However, starting up a business, no matter how promising, take a great deal of time and effort ... time which takes away from other creative endeavors.
- MORDALE: The third book in the Dragon's Bard series and this one really makes my heart ache. Laura and I love writing this novel (as we have the entire series) but this series keeps getting pushed down the priority list by flaming urgent projects like those listed above. By completing the Eye of the Dragon project AND the chapters for the Blade of the Avatar first novel, I urgently hope to be able to return to a proper schedule on Mordale, get chapters to you and complete this book project as we have always intended to do. I am as shocked as you at the time-dilation that took place on this project ... and if all goes according to plan, should have new chapters for you before Christmas.
- SHROUD OF THE AVATAR STORY DESIGNER: This, too, is a tremendous opportunity for me to work with one of the people I admire the most in the electronic games industry, my good friend Richard Garriott. Fortunately at this point in time, my duties there are relatively light but as the project develops this project can, at any moment, rush to the top of the priorities list.
- DRAGONS OF THE CONFEDERACY: This is my steam punk / Civil War novel series I'm doing with Dan Willis. It's a ripping good tale which keeps getting bumped down the list by crisis above it.
- XPC: XTREME PLAYER CODEX: This is the sequel to our XDM: Xtreme Dungeon Mastery and one which should be a lot of fun to write if I can ever crowbar the time for it. This one has my good friends Howard and Sandra Tayler concerned because they are the publishers and would REALLY like me to meet this commitment.
- KNIGHTS OF THE RED BAND: This is a fantasy novel series I have been trying to write for two years for someone who is my favorite editor in the business. The book series, however, featured a complex, unique world and my initial approach to the story was wrong. I have had to go back and restructure the first novel. Since my editor tells me they won't schedule the book for production until they have both the first AND second books in hand, this means I have to find time to write two books before a publication date can even be set. While I dearly love this series as well, it, too, keeps getting pushed down the list as I continue to fight the fires springing up much closer before me.
- SOJOURNER PLEDGED MATERIALS: As part of the Kickstarter Campaign for Sojourner Tales, there are a number of stretch goal items which have to be produced. These include, but are not limited to, three Shroud of the Avatar themed SSMs, two additional professional SSMs that need to be produced, rules modifications and a host of downloadable supplemental items for the game. Additionally, I need to create a template for designers to create their own SSMs AND I want to use what I have learned about writing SSMs to do a science-fiction/horror game for Sojourner. As I have said before, none of these can be performed in Planck Time and, therefore, have to take up creative temporal real estate take from all of the above.
Now, please understand that my perspective from here at the center approaching the speed of life, is one of gratitude. I am thankful for the work that we have, for your interest in our creations and for the creative life we have. We have adjusted our internal chronometers and hope from this point forward to compensate for the relativistic shifts in perspective that these speeds cause.
We have promised to deliver all of the above but we hope you'll be patient with us. All good things will come ... in time.