Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Finding Your Best Time to Work

Okay, so I kicked my own ass yesterday and got the final three pages of notes taken care of.  Then I emailed the book to my Kindle again.  This morning I opened it up and read a little bit.  


And I have officially entered the 'this is dreck and I hate it' phase of book editing.  I may end up doing a total rewrite of the beginning.  Again.  Or I might see how it looks later after I've had more coffee and a few more cigarettes... Maybe lunch... and a nap.  First thing in the morning is never a good time for me to judge my own work.

That's an important thing to realize about yourself and your own writing, you know.  When is the best time to be objective about your work?  

Personally, in order to be as objective as possible, I don't go through a first draft until I've had enough time to sort of forget what I wrote.  (Not hard for me, with my memory.)  Time brings distance.  Two weeks is usually a good amount of time for me.  With this book, I didn't wait the two weeks because it had been so long since I wrote the beginning, I had distance from it.  This is something I've learned about myself and my writing.

Like I said, I don't function well in the morning.  At least not the creative part of my brain.  Editing or writing first thing is out - even if I'm under deadline.  Why put myself through that and potentially make things worse?  

Being aware of when you work best is key.  If you've been around here long enough, you've seen me talk about the fact that I write at night.  I started doing it when I was homeschooling and the only time I had to write was after dinner when the school day was done and the house was quiet again.  And it stuck, so even years after Owl was grown and moved away, I write at night.  I do other things during the day - edits are okay, marketing is fine, business stuff during the day is best.  New words?  After dinner only.  In a pinch, I can write new words in the afternoon.  It's my process and it works for me.  

The point is doing what works for you.  Regardless of what anyone else says about their process.  This is my process.  Find your process and work it.

When is your best time to write?  Do you give yourself time between writing the book and editing it?  If you're not a writer, what time of day do you do your best work?

Monday, September 28, 2020

Edit Brain

You know you've been working on edits to the exclusion of everything else when you find yourself editing everything.

- books you're trying to read for pleasure
- the ticker on the bottom of the news channels
- the newspaper
- your thoughts
- the things your friends and family are saying
- other people's Facebook posts, blogs, tweets, etc.
- websites you're visiting

I've entered and deleted numerous sentences and paragraphs just* trying to write this blog post.  And I don't usually worry too much about editing blog posts.  Is this right?  Is that right?  Could it be clearer?  What if I worded it that way?  No, that way was wrong, go back to the other way.  Blerg.

This, of course, is known as edit brain.  For those of you who might not be writers, it's a malady we get when we're editing.  Bear with us.  And yes, I will be mentally editing your comments.  I can't help it.  Don't worry, though, I won't say anything out loud about it.  I'm trapped in edit brain, but I'm not rude.  Geez.

Although, to be honest, sometimes when I'm cursed with edit brain, I do say things without thinking about them.  Which is only a problem for people I may be conversing with.  Lucky you, you're only reading my thoughts, not hearing them in person.  (Lucky me, Hubs is used to it.)

On a positive note, I should be done with this edit pass today.  On the other hand, I'll start the next edit pass tomorrow.  Once this goes out to the proofers, I'll chill out.  Maybe.  You never know with edit brain.  Sometimes it lingers.

*When editing, words like JUST stand out like a big, ol', red splotch on the tip of my nose. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Slogging Through

 I wish I had something brilliant and witty to say this morning.  But in a nod to Keanu Reeves in The Replacements, brilliant and witty just isn't my style today.

I think about 90% of the writing process is slogging through.  You get about 10% of glorious, flowing writing and sparkling clarity during edits.  The rest is putting one foot in front of the other getting the words down and fixing what ain't quite right.  And that's not counting the time you put into marketing and publishing.

This ain't for the weak or the fainthearted.  And I am both.  Some days.  That's not slamming myself.  It's just being real.  If I wasn't occasionally weak and fainthearted, this book would be done and in the hands of readers by now.

The point is, I'm not like that all the time.  I have to remind myself that this is the fifteenth book I'm working on getting published.  Fifteen.  I wrote all those books and more.  I might fall down occasionally, but I keep getting up and moving forward.  The movement might be slow sometimes, but it's movement.  

So, I'm slogging through.  The edits are going slow.  Right now, I can only manage to get through one page of notes before I want to run screaming through the forest.  These next three days, I will make myself do a page and then take a break, and then do a page and take a break, until the remaining pages are finished and I can start the process over again.  The next pass will go quicker.  It always does.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Update and Stuffs

Yesterday, I finished this phase of edits for Cinder Ugly.  It was the phase where I read the book on my Kindle, making notes along the way.  I ended up with 9 pages worth.

Today, I will begin inputting those notes.  Once that's done, I'll send the book to my Kindle again... lather, rinse, repeat.  

I hope to have the book ready to send to readers for proofing by the first week of October.  Should be doable.  Depending on schedules and my own gumption, the hope is to have this book in readers' hands before Halloween.  :fingers crossed:

In case I didn't post this before or you forgot, here's the cover:

I love how kickass Jeni looks here.

At some point, I need to sit down and write the blurb for this.  Maybe after I get this round of notes input.

Anyway, progress is being made.  Things are happening.  Certainly not on the timeframe I envisioned at the start of the year, but we can't sit around pining for what was lost during this chaos.  Moving forward is the only answer I have right now.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Write and Be Happy

This morning, someone posted a meme to a FB book group that said, 'I'd rather be happy than write a bestseller'.  And of course, she got people arguing with her.  (Which is the norm for FB.  You could post a picture of a rock and people would argue that it's a stone.)   One of the arguers actually said something along the lines of 'I'd give away my happiness if I could be a bestseller*'.

Anyway, the original post got me to thinking. 

And it made me sad, because I started thinking that maybe this poor writerly soul has convinced herself that the only way to be happy is to act as if sales no longer matter.  Like the old Aesop tale of the fox and the grapes.  After trying unsuccessfully to get the grapes, the fox convinces himself that the grapes are sour and he wouldn't have wanted them anyway.

Of course, it's always possible the author in question wasn't thinking about it and worded it the wrong way.  Maybe she was thinking 'I'd rather be happy and write what I want than to force myself to write what the bestsellers write'.  I'd applaud that. 

If you're like 99% of the writers out there, you're writing and publishing and dreaming of loads of sales.  (The other 1% already have the loads of sales and they're worrying about dropping into the 99%.)  Who doesn't want to be a bestseller?  Would any of us turn it down if it happened?  I know I wouldn't.  However, I don't think we're holding our breaths either.  I like breathing.

Write what you write.  The sales will come.  Or they won't.  Keep writing anyway.  It's the only path to happiness when it comes to writing - actually writing.

Sometimes, when the sales are non-existent and I ask myself why I keep doing this, I need to remind myself happiness comes from writing.  Selling would make me ecstatic, of course, but if I don't write, I can't sell. 

And if I ever someday become a bestselling author, I'm pretty sure that'll make me happy, too.  Aside from the monetary side, loads more people will be reading what I've written.  How can you not be happy about that?

*Umm, yeah, that was the saddest part of all.  =o(

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

SeeMeWriMo And Making Time to Write

Okay, so I think we've decided on See Me Write Month as the name for September's write-a-thon.  I'll admit it didn't start out all wild horses here, but there are 29 more days to this month.

The plan for me... if I can manage to get off my dead ass... is to work on edits for Cinder Ugly in the daytime and then write new words at night.  I can do this. 

It's not like I have much else to do.  I work maybe 4-5 hours a week on the pay-job, chores don't take much of my time, and activity/exercise might be a 30-60 minutes a day.  That leaves scads of time.  Edit for an hour, write for an hour - every day.  Easy peasy.

I just need to crack the whip on my ol' gumption.  Get 'er done.  Yeehaw.  Really the only thing holding me back... the only thing to ever hold me back... is me.

168 hours in a week.
56 hours for sleeping (even if I don't actually sleep all those hours)
5 hours for the pay job
7 hours for the exercising

That still leaves like 100 hours unaccounted for.  What the hell am I doing with all those hours???   Surfing the net?  Reading the news I really don't want to read anyway?  When you think about it like that, there should be at least 14 hours a week I can set aside for writing and editing, eh?  In fact, that seems like a piddlin' small amount to devote to my chosen profession. 

Oh, sure, I know there aren't 100 free hours in my week.  There's mealtimes, and showers, and bathroom breaks, and cat stuff... and sundry other things that take up minutes in every day.  I read, I play poker, I watch TV.  Everything can fit, if I want it to.

And that's what these write-a-thon things are doing.  Training myself to look for the time and use it to do what I need to do - write and edit.  That's all that the original NaNoWriMo was ever good for, in my opinion. 

So, what are you doing with your 168 hours?  Are you finding time to do what you need to do?