Coinkidink?

I’m finding it a very strange, nice and fascinating coincidence that after a heart-felt conversation with Boyfriend earlier I decide to check Magical Words and there’s a blog on a topic that we just discussed.

While I know that any such problem is only theoretical as I don’t even have a manuscript ready for pitching, and even if I do become successful something like this is far into the future, I do occasionally think about it. “It” being book tours, signings and that kind of thing, things you really should do to promote your book. What does a poor introvert do with oneself in that situation?

Mindy Klasky writes about it in a short blog, but it soothes me nonetheless to learn that there are people who struggle with similar issues and they cope. If they can, so can I. With a bit of practice, of course.

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Inspirational Words

Sometimes you need the perspective of others to feel inspired. That’s why I sometimes spend time looking at quotes from various sources. If they seem to speak to me, I take a moment to reflect on the words, their meaning and their flow.

“It’s not who you are that holds you back,

it’s who you think you’re not.” – Unknown

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – R.W Emerson

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – T. Roosevelt

“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet.”– Anonymous

 

 

What inspires you?

Writing Festival

So, during a session of procrastination, I was browsing some UK publishers and looking at which ones I might be able to approach in the future. Orion Books had a page full of links for writers that seemed interesting and after clicking around I found the Writer’s Workshop. It’s a very exciting website for aspiring authors and is full of things that can help you on your way. I recommend that aspiring authors check it out, and also sign up for the community forums.

While browsing I found out that there is such a thing as the Writers’ Workshop Festival of Writing and that it is hosted annually in York. I live in York!
It looks like a fantastic weekend with workshops and panels where you can ask questions to industry professionals. Agents, publishing executives and authors come together to mingle. It seems like an opportunity of a lifetime to me. The one thing that looks exceptionally exciting is the one-on-one session you can book with a “book doctor” or an agent or a combination thereof. Basically, you send in your novel before August 17th to give them a chance to read it, and at the event you get the opportunity to sit down with them and get live feedback. I don’t know anywhere else where you can get something like that.

Unfortunately it’s very expensive. I did contact them, however, to ask if there was an arrangement for those of us who actually live in York that may want to attend as well. All the prices on the website are inclusive of accomodation and meals, and it seemed rather silly to me to have to pay for on-site accomodation when I live about fifteen minutes from the event.

I got a reply today that such an arrangement can be made and the price for the full weekend can be reduced to as much as £325. Which is still a lot of money. Currently unemployed, it seems like an unattainable goal to reach before August.

With this added motivation I will just have to try even harder to get a job, and fast. I also need to get writing on the next 30-40k of my book so I can at least dream of having it ready by August.

Does anyone have any advice on saving money or, do I have some filthy rich readers who are just aching to give away some donations?

Some gushing

While I believe that you should practice your passion ultimately for your own happiness and peace of mind, the acceptance and support of your peers certainly is motivating.

I suspect it’s only human to crave the acceptance of others but I think it is especially true for those of us who practice something creative. It’s such a fragile process and I think we need to know that what we’re doing is more of a hit than a miss. If your passion is mathematics there’s little margin for error. Either you’re good with numbers or you’re not. With creating anything, whether it be a piece of literature, a painting, a piece of clothing, the boundries aren’t so clear. There are guidelines, but what seems correct to you might not to others.

That’s why it’s so important to have people around you who can broaden your view beyond your own vision. Having always considered myself a loner and definitely not a people person, even I am starting to realize that writing – seeming like such a solitary profession – is anything but. I’m already, far from being published, involving a number of people in my work and writing process. Not only through this blog, but privately. It’s clear to me that I need the input of those people who are different and stand outside my inner vision to be able to know what I’m doing.

Last night one of my beta readers wrote that she was reading “a gripping tale of deceit and intrigue”. It was difficult for me to realize that she was referring to my work and when it did there was an explosion of excited butterflies fluttering around inside me. Not only because of the rush of a compliment but because, despite my misgivings, someone is actually enjoying something I’ve created. And in the end, that’s the main reason – beyond the feeling of ‘I have to write to be complete – that I’m doing this.

It’s amazing to me that several of my friends and family are so invested in this. It’s a wonderful feeling.

I would say to anyone out there who does anything creative, whether it is a hobby or your career goal, to involve someone in the process. It’s very scary to show your work to others and it’s even scarier waiting for their feedback. But trust me, it’s worth it.

Adventures in editing

I’m not really sure what type of editing I’m currently undertaking. Copy editing seems somewhat accurate, i.e fixing the formatting and style rather than mucking with the contents. I’m making notes where a paragraph seems out of place, sentences read awkwardly and crossing out superfluous adjectives (there’s a few).

However, since this is the first time I’m reading through it I’m finding a lot of things that need work. Not necessarily big things, just additions and clarifications that I didn’t bother with during the speed-writing that is NaNoWriMo. But there are some big things, too. I find that it makes editing a bit awkward. Yesterday I decided that I needed to insert an extra scene in the middle of a chapter to add more depth and urgency to the story, which made it difficult to continue editing the rest of that chapter since I don’t actually know which bits I’ll be keeping.

Awkward.

It’s entirely possible I’m doing this the wrong way. That I should stop and rewrite the bits immediately rather than insist on editing through the entire thing before getting to work. Honestly – I have no idea what I’m doing.

But it’s fun. I don’t think a lot of professional writers will say that editing is fun, so I best hold on to that while it lasts!

Fear

I have a lot of fears. Mostly I try to not let them affect me or, worse, break me, but I don’t always win. Sometimes I admit defeat for a day or two and then have enough strength to regroup and kick Fear’s ass again.

Currently I’m in a constant battle with the Big Cheese of fears: the Fear of Failure. Skirmishes happen almost on a daily basis and sometimes I imagine that our battlefield is littered with little pieces and shreds of us. Unfortunately, at the moment, those pieces mostly belong (or belonged) to me. It’s the main reason that I’m still not finished editing the first half of my book: I am afraid that the more I read the more I will come to realize that this has been, and always was, an absolute waste of time because I suck at it.

While sitting here trying to think of clever ways to procrastinate distract myself, I read through a post on Magical Words that I had missed dealing with the question of when you should throw in the towel. David B Coe writes a post that I find both very uplifting and very disheartening at the same time. The point is, he says, that while the publishing industry is hard and you WILL have to face pain and disappointment (probably more often than facing triumph), as long as you feel that pain you should keep trucking. The pain means that you still have passion for the subject of writing. It’s when you grow ambivalent that you should consider giving up and trying something that isn’t writing.

This makes absolute sense to me, and it’s comforting in a sense to know that other writers – successful and professional ones at that – still feel that way when a project gets rejected. However, it frightens me as well. Am I equipped to enter into this business? Does pure passion and desire to be an author cut it? Because, to be honest, I can’t say for sure whether I would be able to endure 25 rejections for every one acceptance. Does that mean I have to give up on the dream? Does that mean I have to give Fear an ultimate victory here?

I wish I could answer those questions. Maybe one of you will be able to. If so, please do tell me! In the meantime I suppose I should get back to work.

Getting back on the horse

I do actually know that this whole writing business requires that you actually, y’know, write. I wish I knew exactly what it is that makes it so hard to do. Butt In Chair seems like a simple enough requirement, right? Currently I’m indulging the illusion that once we move to a bigger place and I have a room for myself it will be easier to focus. Way too many distractions around.

Today I did however finally print the NaNo draft. It took an eternity. Our printer is some sort of fossil and it’s not entirely capable of containing its ink spillage nor hold much paper.

There was a distinct moment of panic where I thought I had lost three or four chapters.

Turned out I hadn’t. But wow. The sheer panic at the thought of all that work lost…

 

My first beta reader received the unfinished and unedited manuscript today. It’s an anxious thing, giving it up for someone else to judge it. However, I think I can safely say I am my own harshest critic. And at least I am taking some steps forward, among them reading the manuscript myself and making notes. Which will start right about…

now.