Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Let me qualify, then. I'm jealous of where I seemed to be a year ago. I logged on to This Writing Business to find a photo I'd posted a while back (which isn't the photo I needed -- go figure) and began reading some old posts.
I miss blogging. I miss writing fiction regularly. Don't get me wrong -- I'm still working on my fiction, but I've been far more focused on revising and learning this year than I have on creating new work. I've come a long way in 2011, but I haven't documented the journey very well. And if I'm super honest with myself, it's because I haven't had my priorities quite as straight this year as I seemed to in 2010.
For the past several months, I've been taking part in a fiction workshop at a local university. It's been fantastic, phenomenal, amazing, eye-opening. The facilitator is a longtime writer, professor and author of 11 published (and several unpublished) novels and 50-plus short stories. This workshop has played a crucial role in the progress I've made this year, which comes down more to increased confidence in myself as a writer than it does to word counts or queries. Not that I believe my writing is any better than I might have believed it was last year -- just that I believe that I should be doing this. I am a writer, really. I struggled with that entire concept in 2010.
Now I need to put two and two together. Actually, I need to put 2010 and 2011 together -- I need to take the confidence I've gained about what I want to do with my life and make more time to actually do it, document it and more forward with it. 2010 + 2011 = 2012. And that's my goal for the coming year: Write more, blog more, send queries, work on moving forward.
My professor has this thing he says about how we writers don't need to think of what we're doing as an indulgence -- the indulgences are the things we give up to be able to do it. I'm a writer, and I need to write. It's what I want to do most of all, anyway.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Since I haven't posted at This Writing Business in months, I'll start with a recap of my writing life ... Earlier this year, I left my job in design to write from home full-time. Immediately, a corporate assignment that came my way via referral turned into a 2-day-a-week office job. I barely even knew what hit me. (Ahh, the tsunami metaphor continues.) The assignment was temporary - I replaced a communications manager who was on maternity leave. When she came back, we negotiated a long-term arrangement, and I'm still working for the client in-office and from home. Meanwhile, I picked up a new corporate client and I'm doing ongoing work for newspapers and magazines - including a weekly standing feature I've written for several years.
Whew! So that's what I have been doing. Here's what I haven't been doing:
- Blogging. Obviously.
- Reading Blogs.
- Cleaning my house. Ahem.
For a while, I wasn't focusing much on fiction at all. I was so busy writing non-fiction during the day that I didn't want to sit in front of the computer all night, too. But being away from my manuscripts (yes, manuscriptS - I'm working on a new book) was making me sad, edgy and extremely irritable (just ask my husband), so I have found time to squeeze it in, usually late at night.
Turns out I'm grumpier when I don't get book-writing time than when I don't get sleep. Who knew?
One more update, and then I'll stop rambling about my work habits and (hopefully) get back to the business of rambling about writing. I've been doing a LOT of reading, and that's also taken time away from blog posting, blog reading, Twitter-ing and, yes, writing. But that's been a worthwhile detour. I've learned a lot ... including the fact that the single biggest way to improve as a writer (apart from writing, of course) is to read other writers.
So, anybody who's still with me after this rambly, random post: Hi, thanks for reading, and hopefully I'll resurface in the blogging world ... and keep my head above water.
Photo credit visulogik
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
As far as explanation is concerned, I've been wrapped up in a major freelance writing gig for a corporate client. For the last three and a half months, I've spent Tuesdays and Thursdays in The Land of Gray Walls & White Noise getting reacquainted with corporate life and writing communications materials. That, too, was unexpected - the result of a random phone call from years of inadvertent networking.
The new gig means I've had to cram my usual freelance writing work - newspaper and magazine stories on homes, design and the arts - into the other three days of the workweek along with mommying and revising my WIP. I haven't neglected my manuscript (or my child) in these busy few months, but I haven't had as much time for revisions as I'd like, to say the least. And blogging? Well, you can see how well that's worked out. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now, though. Just two weeks left of my four-month assignment, then my schedule should regain some level of normalcy.
Whatever that means for a freelance writer.
At any rate, I'm determined to stop neglecting my blog, and I have a lot I want to blog about. In the midst of the busy-ness, I've hit some writing milestones - like participating in my first critique session with an actual group of fiction writers (before, the only people who'd read my work were friends and family members). It was wonderful and awful all at the same time ... but both the wonderful and the awful parts were actually wonderful, if that makes sense. It doesn't? OK, put it this way: I learned a LOT from the criticism I received. And I'm hoping to build some relationships from it and gain at least one long-term critique partner.
So basically, hi! This Writing Business is back. I hope you're meeting your writing goals and maybe even learning a little bit from my scheduling missteps. ;-)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
So where was I?
First I was out of town for a three-day family visit that turned into a six-day visit that ended with my grandmother's funeral. Then I was running, running, running to catch back up with work and house and family and errands and friends and life. And in the midst of all that, I was shuffling back and forth between Little Whinging and the Burrow and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ... because yes, I admit, for a few days there I let the Harry Potter series take precedence over most everything else. Really, though, it was about time I read it. And yes, it really is as fantastic as everybody says it is.
On that note, here are a few writing lessons I've learned from the master class that is J.K. Rowling:
- When your main character's life gets really, really awful, make it just a little bit worse. Or better yet, a lot worse.
- Give even your most beloved characters a few nasty flaws. Nobody's perfect. In fact, flaws are part of what make a character lovable (or hate-able).
- Let your imagination soar. This is fiction, people! Fact check, fact check and fact check some more, but when it comes to creating your fictional world, have fun and don't hold back.
- Don't overwrite, but do have fun with words. Every setting, every character, every (and this is a big one) name offers a chance to contribute new and hidden layers of meaning to your work. Details matter.
- Adverbs never killed anybody. Some rules are meant to be broken.
And if you haven't already, by all means, let your life be taken hostage by Harry.
Photo courtesy alitaylor
Monday, April 18, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
- Don't expect the process to be quick or easy.
- Don't set unrealistic expectations, goals, or in my case, deadlines.
- Don't forget that real life comes first, fiction second. In other words:
- Don't try to wait for that "perfect moment" to write, because it never comes.
- Don't get discouraged. Even when you go two weeks without opening your WIP or posting to your blog, all isn't lost. Pick yourself up, figure out what needs to change and plunge ahead.
And that's what I'm doing. I'm back in the manuscript tonight, and it feels great. Like coming home after a long, exhausting business trip. This blog is about the whole of my writing process - the highs, the lows, the triumphs and the setbacks. I've had a good run lately with non-fiction, a disappointing stretch with fiction. So what? That just means I'm due for a good stretch of revisions.
I'm itching for it. Aching for it. Loving that I'm back. And I am back, baby.
Photo credit Abulic Monkey
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I've been really, really busy with freelance (i.e., paid) writing work this week, and when I have this kind of work week, the fiction writing tends to get back-burnered.
You know how us writers get told all the time to "write every day?" Well, I do write every day. I write so much I think I even write in my dreams. But I have a feeling that piece of advice has an implied, missing word: "write (fiction) every day." And I'm not doing that. Does it count if I'm exercising my writing muscles by writing newspaper stories? Magazine articles? Corporate copy? Blog posts? Twitter updates? Probably not, right?
I mean, it's not getting me any closer to becoming a published author.
I have manuscripts-to-be churning around in my head, but I can't get them out on paper until I take the time to sit down and feel them out. And I know me, and I won't do that until I finish the work-in-progress that's still in need of much editing ... I can't do two things at once. But I can do one thing at a time really well, so from here on, I have a new goal: Write (fiction) every day. Even if it's just for a little while.
Even if I'm really tired. Even if I wrote four articles today and interviewed for two more. Even if I wrote a blog post and tweeted twelve times and sent more e-mails than I can count. I'm going to fit it into my workday. Or during lunch. Or, if all else fails, at night when the house is asleep and I'm snuggled under a comfy blanket with my computer in my lap. Like I'm doing now.
So now it's off with the blog post, on with the WIP.
Photo courtesy Jim Sneddon
Friday, February 4, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
Who else reading this is a full-time writer, whether it's copywriting, journalism or fiction? Did you struggle with scheduling issues like this at first? Did you transition from another career? If so, how did you make the break? How did you weather the blizzard???
Wednesday, January 19, 2011