First Form Rejection!

Well, the title says it all.  I’m not in the least bit bummed about it – they are part of the game.  When you’ve been as plugged into writerly culture (if such a phrase is even the correct term for it) as I have been you understand that rejections are part and parcel of the whole deal.  If you’re not getting rejections you’re not sending out work. Gotta go through a lot of ‘No’s to get your ‘Yes’.  And so on, etc.

So the first thing I did was send out some more queries. To be honest I’ve no great expectations for this first novel. I don’t really think it’ll ever see the light of day (from a publisher anyway) but I wrote the thing so I’ll be damned if I’m not going to submit it to hell and back before trunking it.  I did the work, the least I can do is send it out into the world and see if anyone will give me money for it.

In other news (which is to say not really news at all) I’ve been slowly poking at my new WIP, seeing what pokes back and what fades away into the nether reaches of my brain.  Hopefully I will have an outline to work from ready in a month or two, and in the meantime I’m still waiting for feedback from some beta readers on Thief of Souls.

As an aside, if you’re a writer and not getting everything you can from the internet there are a few things I suggest.

-Listen to podcasts about writing. Two of my favorites are Writing Excuses and I Should be Writing.  You probably have a commute of some kind, or at the very least 20-30 minutes a week somewhere. It will do you good. Trust me.

-Check out Absolute Write.  The forums are a veritable treasure trove of information on everything from plotting to prose to agents and submitting. I’ve had nothing but good experiences there and the people have always been willing to help newbies.  That being said, as with any forum read the FAQ first.  Many things are covered and have handy links. It’s worth the time to peruse.

I can’t think of anything else pertinent to say so with that I will sign off!

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Getting Out of the Way

I finally eclipsed 40,000 words this week.  It took a little longer than I anticipated (what doesn’t?) but I did it.  Forty percent of the way to completion, by standard measure, of a manuscript.  That’s not quite halfway, but it is a significant chunk of text.  At this point in the game I find myself thinking that at a hypothetical pace of one thousand words per day I would be done in two months.   I could be finished with a first draft in sixty days if I could maintain that pace.  IF.

Today I’ve written not quite six hundred words.  It took a little over an hour.  A thousand words a day is a doable thing, but looking up at it like a mountain is daunting.  Even as I write this I see the words ‘sixty days’ and wonder what the hell I’m thinking.  For me the secret of finishing a task of herculean proportions is to attack it in small chunks, until I have devoured it en masse.

That having been said, six hundred words is not one thousand, so after a little sustenance break I suppose I’ll get back to it.  After all, in sixty days I’ll have either done it or not, but sixty days will still have passed.  It’s pretty exciting to think that the only thing keeping me from a finished draft in the next two months in myself.  Hope I can learn to get the fuck out of my own way.

Dragging my damn feet

I’ve been effectively dragging my feet for the last week or so with my writing, getting my minimum daily words down most days but little more.  I’m not sure what the funk I’m in is all about, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to fix it.  Or if I’m even supposed to fix it for that matter.

I know the advice I would get if I asked for it:  Barrel through.  Get your minimum down and keep going every day.  So that’s exactly what I’m doing.  Doesn’t make it much easier, but it gives me the perspective I need.

I’m closing in on 39,000 words right now, and should hit it in the next day or two.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm at the moment, it’s still a wondrous thing for me to watch the ticker and realize I’m only about 10,000 words from what would typically be the halfway point (100k words being the target).

10,000 words is a thing I can do.  I’ve done it three times already, nearly four now. Thinking of my goal in terms of repeating things I’ve already accomplished reminds me that it is indeed something I can make happen.  I’ve already done it, after all.  I just have to do it a few more times, and I’ll have written a book.  A BOOK.  WRITTEN A BOOK MYSELF WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS.  And it’s a thing I can do.

Well pffft.

So, I’m typing this out on a lunch break at work (on a tablet no less), you’ll just have to forgive me any typos I may make.  Its been a solid two months since my last blog update and I’m happy to say I’ve actually been quite productive in the meantime.  My novel is now clocking in at just over 37,000 words (that’s about 37% completion for those of you keeping track at home) and some of those words are even good.  I wish I knew which ones they were…
Regardless, I plan to schedule these little updates once a week now so you can keep tabs on my progress or lack thereof.  Shouldn’t be much in the way of posts with no progress anymore though, thanks to the magic spreadsheet.  If you know about it, then you know what I mean.  If you don’t then you’ll have to wait for me to be on a device with which I can easily provide you a handy link.  Til then, have a good one! 

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Some days it’s cake, other days it’s like pulling teeth.  But doing it every day is the key.  I’ve been using a spreadsheet to track my progress and over the last twelve days I’ve added approximately 390 words each day on average.  Some more, some less, but all around there.  It’s not a ton, not quite even two full pages double-spaced, but it is forward momentum and that equals progress.  For me, it’s far more  effective to be on it every single day than it is to try and do it in dribs and drabs.

Ironically, along with progress comes feeling better about what’s actually going on the page (most of the time).  I know some of it is crap, but that’s for sifting later.  Right now, in the “oh my God too many of these pages are blank” stage, I just have to keep plowing forward, dropping words every day like clockwork.  Or a person with a high fiber intake.  Anyway, those are my tidbits for the day, back to it!

Outline is wrapped!

This project has been kicking my ass for years now.  Or rather, I’ve been letting it do so.  In one reincarnation or another I have been working on this particular story for at least five years.  Eventually you get to a place where you’re done playing at being a writer, and just decide that yes, you are a writer.  Writing is what you do, so you do it.  Quality of said writing is always another issue, but it’s something you can worry about after you’ve got the words on the page.

I can now happily say that after lots of messing around, stops and starts, revisions and reimaginings, I have finished an outline that I like, and am committed to writing.  One way or another, this is the outline that will become my full length manuscript, for better or for worse.  That having been said, I rather like the few thousand words or so that I’ve slammed down so far.

I still struggle with making the time to do this, and don’t hit the keyboard every day like I know I ought to.  But I know that quitting isn’t an option, and each day I let slip without putting new words down is another day added before reaching The End.

So, I will leave you with this today.  If writing is something you want to do, just do it.  Don’t fall into the trap of making excuses for yourself to keep you from the keyboard.  You never finish if you don’t start.

-Paul Andrew