Elliott Smith at these temperatures.
So I told you about my shifting views on Self-Publishing. Now that I’ve said my peace, I’m ready to start a new venture. I have quite a few books in the works. I like to keep my projects open, I guess, I sort of work like a revolving gun.
If I get tired of bullet (A) in the chamber, I spin to bullet (B). I work on projects this way, so I never use phrases like “writers block” or “out of steam”. We have human brains people, we don’t run out of steam. We do however build neuropathways that can become over-travelled with such little pay off that we get bored and thus, very much, feel out of steam. The revolver method has worked out well for me. Always work on something.
However, the problem arises when you never pull the trigger on any of them. I could blame a perfectionist nature or compulsive fear of misrepresentation. But it usually only boils down to these two things: laziness or cowardice.
Neither are attributes most aspire to. So pick something that’s decently far along and finish it.
One project I’ve been working on is a YA novel (trilogy). It is nothing like anything I’ve ever been interested in writing and it uses, mostly, elements of the craft I have either shunned completely or been too distanced from by my longer standing interests, that I do not feel comfortable in them.
So it’s perfect for a quick challenge.
#1: My psyche will allow me to make mistakes since it isn’t steeped in the false pretense that I have even come close to mastering the species of YA novels. i.e. If I fail terribly I can say: “Well, obviously.”
#2: It takes me out of my comfort zone and forces me into an on-foot scramble. Great for creativity.
#3: I notice I’m not so slow at working through it, since I don’t feel I have to be as careful with something a little further from my heart. (But don’t these things grow on us.)
Needless to say, I’ve got a meager third of it completed now. And to give myself a little further push, I’ve thoroughly looked into Amazon publishing which I’m sure I’ll talk about at length in another post.
All that to say: I challenge you to pick a project and spend 30 minutes figuring out the pistons and heat, then go.
Write even 5,000 words a day and you’ve got yourself a novel ready for edits in a little over 2 weeks. 5,000 words a day should be nothing. It’s not sometimes. But it should be. Especially for someone quick on the keys.
More than anything, it’s the fear of the value of the product not reflecting the value we have of ourselves as a writer.
I dare you to appraise yourself through sweat, rather than stagnancy. Sure you were a prodigy in your public High School English class. Me too. Let’s stir the waters now and see what’s changed. What has remained— or more importantly, been growing near the bottom.
I’ve always pitted one eye against the other.
Well, I’m not going to sit here and pretend I haven’t turned a pretentious eye to on demand publishing or self-publishing in general. I think I had that grumbling fear deep down that it could mean the end of me considering myself a writer.
This was true under my faulty logic (described as follows):
If so many people claim to be writers, when in fact they can talk but cannot form a quality story and are unable to publish— then to publish may often times mean you can form a half-decent story and talk, and therefore perhaps be a real writer.
But now anyone can publish and judging by much of the material available to read, not many can write very well. So my “if published then a writer” logic, now fails. As if it did not before.
All this to say, there are many very successful writers who put forth quality material. One example might be Hugh Howey author of much besides the Wool series (introduced by a couple friends of mine, thanks). He self-published a short story or two and has now accumulated a vast and interesting science fiction work that is praised and adored by many very dedicated readers.
So what happens next? We have to judge writers based on two things.
#1 Do they actually write?
I mean do they actually sit down in front of a computer, piece of paper or napkin and allocate a large (and consistent) portion of their everyday lives to inventing, transcribing, recalling and tailoring new lives with keys and pens? Many people write every once in a while. Many people even write very well every once in a while. But how many people write quality (obviously relative but only to a certain degree, unless you want to argue art and that will leave us both winded) material consistently each day and continue to do so after they’ve made a little money? Because of compulsion. Be it, to create or to eat. Both are powerful driving forces for the literary mind.
And #2 How “quality” is it?
Here is the new problem for publishing in the modern age. Quality control. So little editing, so many errors. Sometimes from a lack of education. Sometimes from laziness. Who knows? Obviously there are several errors in this blog post. I can, however, argue them intelligently with knowledge of grammatical and syntactical “law”. That’s half the fun of being a creative writer. But how many errors are careless? You aren’t buying this so it doesn’t matter as much. It matters a great deal more when people are paying to be entertained by you, and not the old man on the street corner who probably has better stories and more time to offer them.
I am interested to see if the field of editors and proofreaders explodes on ebook publishing or if it doesn’t. Either way, we’ll see language and the way it is delivered changed over the course of the next few years, as everyone always has over all years.
So write. And care enough about it to look at it carefully. Ask yourself the important questions.
What is this about?
What’s at stake?
What are the sentences and paragraphs my story can shake off, like water on a dog’s back, and remain the dog that it is?
Thanks for reading. Good luck to both of us. (I start writing a novel today. I hope to begin edits next week. Right.)
Here is an introduction from me. My name is Dalton Kane. I have a degree in Creative Writing and have been working on some writing materials. Both with music and with stories. If there is a difference. Okay, Miley Cyrus. There’s a difference. Maybe.
This is where I will document my travels through these two electromagnetic fields of human expression.
I hope you will join me on the expedition.