Usually, I get things done, but it almost always takes me a long time to get there. And so it is with writing.
The most substantial reason is my habit of entertaining at any time an unhealthy amount of mostly unrelated activities. Back when I set out to work on my doctoral thesis, I simultaneously co-founded a freelancer network together with friends; worked freelance as a writer and as part-time creative director at advertising agencies; enrolled at my university for extra studies in Modern Japan and Philosophy; and did a lot of sports from running daily to free climbing weekly to going to the gym three times a week. Thus, while the applied time to finish my thesis (146K) was about three years reading & research and six months writing, which is fairly typical for a humanities dissertation, it was spread out over eight+ years.
This pattern repeated itself with my Voidpunk project. As mentioned in Beginnings, I began to develop the Voidpunk Universe in Spring 2015; sat down in September 2016 to write my first Voidpunk novel (91K); and sent out the first query letter in late 2021. Thus, the pattern had repeated itself. Theoretically, with my 50% professor position at the university, I have enough time to write. Practically, however, my unhealthy amount of activities again ate up my time, with precious little of it left for writing. That was not a good thing, or sustainable. Getting out not more than one novel in five years just doesn’t cut it for genre writing, even if accompanied by related stuff like the Voidpunk pen-&-paper RPG I’m also working on.
Thus, in late 2019 and early 2020, after an intense period of mental deliberation, I changed a few things. I cut off my freelance work; drastically reduced my guest lecture appointments to one highly valued exception; canceled my gym membership; and cut down my sports activities to running-plus-home-gym three times a week. Besides my lectures and research, that finally freed up a lot of time to focus on my writing.
Still—life’s short. There are so many interesting activities, and I’m thankful for all the experiences I had, most of which would’ve never materialized without that systematic lack of focus in my life.