Monday, November 22, 2010

Writing: What's The Haps, Mands?

Gosh, I do get a bit carried away blogging about life, the universe and everything that I forget to talk about what I really started this blog about: writing.

Since my last majorly writer update (Sale! SQUEE!), I've been plugging away at my short stories, editing and submitting in a steady fashion. That's all I could ask for about now, but I do feel the personal pressure from myself to do more, more, ever more.

I'm very conscious of time slipping away if I'm not writing, but I do know that if I focus all my energy and time into writing I will learn to hate it and it will become a job, not something that I really love and have been dreaming of doing for so long. I've learned this hard  lesson from other life experiences I thought I must suck all the marrow of goodness out of these things, and when I was done with them (bored, excelled or unable to move any further) I felt an obligation to keep doing them until my soul was crushed under the weight of that obligation.

I don't want to do that with my writing. I want to learn, to become better, to always change, but in no way do I want my writing to become a Have To. I've wanted this too long to squander it on my magpie mentality.

I'm happy that I seem to have plateaued at two states of writing being: I can do a really full on Monday sometimes and totally fall in love with a piece so much that I'll expend my week's writerly energy and explode 6000 words all over the page in one sitting; or I can steadily plug away at 250-500 words a day over a week, using a Monday as a major edit day.

I also have a rule: no writing on the weekends. If I want to I might submit or edit a bit on the weekend, but no new words. I find it leaves me really fresh and revving to go for Monday.

Of course every new piece that I write is my newest favourite! I've just finished polishing a piece where I had to invent how the protag spoke (basically inventing a language), and that was exhausting yet invigorating. So currently that's my fave. But as time goes by and I get rejections and feedback, I'm sure it will fade away and be replaced by something omg noo 'n shiny. It's what happened to the first piece I wrote this year - I'm still shopping it out, and giving it the occasional edit (you wouldn't believe how much it's changed since the first draft! I can't!), and I still believe in it, but the shine's off. I'm sure I'll love it again if/when I ever sell it.

I keep hearing the same phrase a lot: I have great ideas, but I need better follow through on execution. Not enough tension or conflict. Ok, I'm hearing you, I'm working on making myself better, but here's one thing I'm keeping straight - I'm staying true to my style. And if that style is a little rambling, a little laid back, so be it. I'm not going to become some carbon copy of this or that writer or style. I'm staying true to the original idea. If I believe in myself enough, someone (some editor) will eventually believe in it too.

Am I getting better? I'd say my sale to Semaphore is evidence of that. The first ever piece I wrote this year, as I was talking about above? Currently on it's ninth submission. The piece I sold to Semaphore? Was it's first submission (though I'd submitted there before with two different pieces).

I'm so excited to see the December edition of Semaphore. Because it's my start. You don't have to like my writing, I'm not asking you to pimp for me. Social media is an amazing promotional tool for a freelancer, and I'm sure I'll make use of my great networks in the years to come. But right now, it's enough that I believe in myself.


Cat-like typing detected

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