The other night I was reflecting on how busy I've been this year, and lamenting the fact that I have not yet gotten a serious start to my next novel - nothing beyond a few exploratory beginnings.
Then I remembered that so far this year I've written two novellas. And most of a third. And a couple short stories. If I really want to stretch, I've also done major revisions on Twixt which - while cutting 35k words, probably resulted in roughly 3k new words.
All told, I'd estimate conservatively that I've written 70k words so far this year. That ain't half bad. True, not all of those projects are finished, but that is better than I thought I'd been doing. I focus too much on novels as the real indicator of progress, I think. All this writing, and what I've really been thinking is "I've only got one novel."
However, I've got almost a novel-length's worth of new material. That is a pleasant surprise considering I wrote in what (scant) free time I had. Perhaps I've been reading too many blog posts and articles lately on the value of being prolific. Of course, they're talking about full-time authors writing two-to-four novels a year. A part-timer like me needs to keep things in perspective.
I just need to remind myself that I'm playing the long game, here. A novel (maybe 1.5 novels) a year, and a couple short stories and novellas, is plenty to add to my mass of work. Let it build, let it build... and eventually develop - as Dave Robison put it - a "literary gravity"...
... and eventually, maybe I'll catch fire.