Suddenly it’s been six months since I wrote a blog post. I have a good reason, at least: all my writing time has been devoted to finishing the first draft of the next novel. My goal was the end of 2018, and while I will not make that, I will be very close. My new and improved self-imposed deadline is 16 January, which is when I return to my part-time life as Professor McDade. The draft has reached that exciting stage where I feel relief, certain I am headed somewhere, but also some nervous excitement, because I am not sure exactly where I am headed.

And yes, I have a working title. But no, I am not ready to share it.

Have you ever cooked bacon in the oven? You lay the bacon on a baking sheet, slide that baking sheet into a cold oven, and then crank the temperature to 400. At first not a whole lot happens, and if you insist on checking too early it looks limp and quite sad. After fifteen or twenty minutes, though, you hear that sizzle and smell that smell. (Apologies to any vegetarian readers, though even some vegetarians must like the smell of bacon?) The pace picks up quite dramatically, and that’s when you flip. Soon one side is perfect, and then you need to keep checking; during the final stages of cooking time seems to speed up.

That’s where the draft is for me now. I can smell the bacon in the oven. A final flip, and the draft will be done. The bad news? My first drafts are awful. The good news? I know it’s gonna be awful, and look forward to trying to make it better. Hopefully by this time next year, I can announce that I have a complete draft that is good. Or at least less awful.

I didn’t plan for this draft to be getting finished at the end of a calendar year, but I do like the way the timing has worked out. I admit it: every year I grow more fond of New Year’s Day. Maybe it’s just getting older, relieved to have another year to recap and another year to look forward to. Every year I try and make a set of resolutions, and aim for a mix of realistic (read two books a month!) to ambitious (finish that draft!). It’s also a good time for me to adjust any settings that need tweaking.

What adjustments am I thinking about, as 2019 approaches? I continue to think about the role  of technology and social media in my life, of course; anyone who is human should have that thought on their brain, and humans with kids need to be especially aware of it, I think. I almost decided to go big and leave Facebook—the site’s numerous problems, my desire to spend as much time as possible in the moment, and my attempt to keep setting positive examples for my kids, are all good reasons to make such a move. I would miss hearing from too many people I would not be in touch with otherwise, though, not to mention all the chances to shamelessly plug music and book events of my own.

So, I am sticking around. I am going to make my own corner of FB politics-free, though there may be an exemption for positive political posts, like, ways people so inclined could volunteer. But I will resist the urge to post clips of ridiculous politicians saying ridiculous things.

There’s enough of that on Twitter.

I’ll stay online to keep up with old friends, update everyone about some great records I got to play on, offer insightful comments about the joys and challenges of parenting, post occasional food porn, and prepare to launch a new novel in 2020 (2021?). I may be around less, but just imagine me setting a positive example for my kids, by frolicking in the sun, perhaps with something to read in my hands. Or making bacon.

[Thanks to Michael Wescott for this Uncle Green song.]

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