Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life's like a jump rope

Currently Reading:
The Danse Macabre, by Stephen King.

The title of this blog refers to a song by Blue October, which happens to be particularly fitting for my life right now as I try to navigate the big scary world of online networking. So far, I'm keeping it pretty small. Not quite getting my feet wet yet, more like putting one toe in. Reading all the writing/agenting blogs and such has made me depressed more than once.
On the bright side, I'm seriously considering putting a book online, so we'll see where that goes. My goals are pretty modest right now.
I'm still slowly working through my agent list for queries, so...well, we'll see where that goes, too. So far, it's a learning process, and for someone as impatient as me, that's difficult. But I hope it will pay off in the long run. I had my first nibble from an agent, so that was some badly needed encouragement.
And since then, I've been forcing myself to write again. I had a few bad weeks or maybe a month of stasis, possibly brought on by reading too much gloom-and-doom stuff online about the end of the publishing industry. I'm trying to limit my consumption of these blogs from now on. Also, I may change the content of my blog here soon as well, in hopes of obsessing less and controlling my writerly neuroses (yes, that is plural, I have lots of them).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

By the Numbers

Lots of writer's set writing goals for themselves, something that I try to do, but I'm not very strict about sticking to it. Mostly because one day might be busier than the next, and I might not have time to write, or I might be lazy, or need to get an overdue DVD back, or have plans that night, get the picture.

The point was, I got to thinking about writing goals. Some people have a word count goal, but I prefer to stick to pages. Otherwise I get to obsessing about watching that little counter at the bottom lefthand corner of the page crawling upwards, or I stop to check way too often.

Well, here's what I figured out. If I take 5 days off, and still meet my 5pages per day writing goal the other 360 days of the year, that makes....1800 pages per year. That's 6 adult books or 9 young adult books, approximately. Of course that assumes all 1800 pages are good, which would never happen, at least not for most of us. Even assuming half the pages are crap (hey, I'm an optimist), that's not too shabby. Now if I could only stick to my goal, and stop getting in slumps, and stop procrastinating, and stop watching TV at night and...ah, well. It was a nice thought.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I haven't been posting a lot lately, as I'd meant to do. But the reality is, I've been busy writing. And though I like blogging, the book comes first. So, now that I've finished the first draft, I have time to write a blog. Phew. It's a whirlwind, mentally-exhausting process. I didnt get major brain-drain this time except maybe one day. It's like when I write, I go to this other creative place where my conscious brain is only halfway engaged. If I have off work and it's a writing day, sometimes I get so into a book that I spend 8 or 10 or maybe even 12 hours in one day writing. I might stop to eat. But I've been known to forget lunch until 4pm during a bout of intense writing. But after I write all day, my brain feels...well, limp. Wrung out. Creatively exhausted. When that happens, it takes a few days to recharge so I can write again. In my spare time? Well, I write other, more intellectually engaged things, like blogs (fun), query letters (scary), my finances spreadsheets (scarier).
So now I'm in that after-book limbo. Recovered from brain drain, waiting for inspiration to strike and tell me what to write next, if I should start something new or go finish one of the other 5 books I started and abandoned. Or if I should write one more and make a trilogy, or stick with the books and sequel I've already written. Hmmm...only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To outline or not to outline, that is the question.

My goals for March? Keep up with blogging, for one.

I meant to write one again last week, but alas, I was consumed with thoughts of my book and procrastinating. And Glee.

I'm on the sequel of my outlined book. This time around I thought I'd make an outline before I even started. Last time, I started the outline fifty pages in. The great and not so great thing about outlines is that I get caught up in outlining and maybe spend oh, hours, staring at and tweaking my outline to make it all pretty and neat. Yes, I'll do just about anything to keep from sitting my butt down and doing the work (writing, that is). In fact, I spend so much time avoiding that I get lots of other stuff done--laundry, outlines, query letters, to name a few.

Well, this time I started with an outline, and I'm not sure if that's keeping me from wanting to write. I like the spontaneous approach. However, it is a useful tool in keeping me on track. I usually know major plot points, the ending (or how I envision the ending, though it often changes as I go). But having an outline has helped with pacing so far. I don't go off on random tangents as much, although some of my plotlines may seem that way. The downside is that sometimes I think the story seems too forced with an outline. Like I have to stick to it, so when I do go off on a tangent then the next chapter starts back on the outline and I wonder if it doesnt leave something to be desired continuity-wise. But, I'm sticking it out for this one at least.

Not sure if I'll stick with outlining for the future, but I can see how it helps keep things on track. Maybe I'll use it more for editing next time--make an outline after the book, check to make sure everything follows through, the plot points are in the right spots, etc.

Jury's still out on this one. I may always be a pantser.