Monday, February 28, 2011

Did you write? February 28th, 2011

Did you write? February 28th, 2011

For those of us who are slackers, or generally slackers, the idea is to post here each week as to what you did in your life, and also to report how you did in writing. The hope is that you will realize you are not going to be reporting any writing, so you rush a project open and write something, anything, so you can brag that you actually wrote this week.
For those of us who are writing regularly, this becomes a place to brag, and to get the rest of us to long to be that productive and make changes in our lives to make it happen.

New story writing is always writing. Editing is also writing, even if it is the work of someone else. Critiquing is a form of editing, and is also writing. So is blogging, technical writing, writing assignments, poetry, character and world development, and even E-mails can be writing if they pertain to writing or stories. If you have to ask if it is writing, the answer is yes.

On my work in progress, I have edited another 163 out of it. This is all fixing sentences and finding a way to combine something or eliminate something. This is likely my best edited work, but it is still way to long. Each scene I have appears to be important to the story. I really cannot see how to remove something without major editing elsewhere to correct for the missing information, or to remove reference for the missing information.

On my contraband character history, I am not supposed to be working on it, I have added 1315 words. It is now on page five. As I write on it, other things come to mind. Too bad there is no story there.

I did well on my story ideas. I wrote 28 story ideas, and they took up 34 pages, amounting to 20444 words of pure drivel.
I do feel sad that a few of them should have been developed more and a couple missed the point because I wrote them short.
I had one story idea based on a song I heard. I wrote a few words down with the intent to fill out more of the idea. I never got to adding more information. I am looking at what I wrote and it makes no sense to me at all. A couple words were badly scribbled. If I were to hear the song again, I would remember the idea, but have not heard the song. The way the station is handling music, it is not all that likely to repeat it for a while. I hate losing an idea.

I have an art show coming up next month. I am working on just about everything except for what I really need to work on. I have "played" with all sorts of new equipment I acquired over the past few weeks. The most time consuming projects have gotten the least amount of attention. If these projects are not in the art show, it would not be so horrible, but I do want to show them off. They are going to be really good for people to see.

A dear friend of mine died Monday. It was his birthday. I knew he was not going to be in this world long, but he went faster than expected.
I had been checking in on another friend in the nursing home for years and when she died, I shifted my visits over to this friend. I will miss him.
He had sold me a special metal working lathe and he gave me a bunch of tools. I will remember him through the tools.

As to the question of the week, '
I can honestly say



Yes I wrote. I am now this rare creature that is called an 'author'. That is a fancy way of saying that instead of just writing for fun and amusement, I've had stories published, three of them so far, in real magazines that people can (and do) buy. I even got one story nominated for an award (the competition is fierce, so don't hold your breath), so I guess someone actually enjoys what I do. In my mind, that makes me a professional now, which is why I take a professional attitude toward what I write. I make sure my butt contacts with the chair and fingers hit the keyboard just about daily in pursuit of new material, and that what I turn in when I'm done is as good as I can make it.

While simply writing for pleasure is fine and I've done that for years, writing well enough for publication requires a totally different attitude. Any good writing—published or not—involves skills that can be learned and honed by regular practice. The difference between a hobbyist and pro is in the discipline and dedication to make writing the first thing you do once all your most pressing regular life obligations are met and to write what your publication needs and your fans enjoy. If you want to be a published writer, you have to write regularly and often, with a workmanlike attitude and a love of the material that makes you continue to sit there and wrestle the right words out of your head onto the page. That means you set aside the excuses and distractions, and make writing a top priority in your life, not letting things like email, games, phone messaging, TV, and other distractions get in the way. Setting aside a dedicated section of the day when you are least likely to be disturbed is important, and using it wisely is vital. It's very easy to fritter away that time doing other stuff, and that's OK if you just write for amusement or as a hobby. It will kill your career possibilities fast if you don't get yourself into a routine, because the competition out there for publishing space is fierce.

I try and write just about every day of the week now, at least a couple hours a day and sometimes many hours at a time with short breaks. I love every moment of it and can't wait to get to work each day. To be able to write like this is a privilege that I longed for back in the days when I was a stay-at-home mom raising my kids and devoting most of my time and energy to the family. Now I am not needed as much, and I get to pursue my own dreams at last. I have good days and so-so days as far as how much actual writing gets done because I also do a lot of research. Working from home with a large family and many pets around has its pitfalls and perils, and I've had to sacrifice some things I used to do to free up this time. I can say from experience that not everyone around you will always understand that this is a career and not just fun & games, and that you are actually at work at that keyboard. Now and then I take a day off for fun, and I can afford to do that, since I put in so much regular time trying to get something publication-worthy on the page. Every good writer I know—and I know quite a few now—works this hard. None of us would trade this life for anything else either. :)

Except for one big project I've been picking away at, I've averaged about 1-2 short stories, from 8000-30000 words each, every single month for the last 10 months. Each one of the 20 short stories I've turned in over the last ten months has been accepted for publication. I juggle seven regular series of stories and still do some standalone work. I have two more in the final stages as I write this. I also edit for one of the company's magazines and for friends and people who ask me nicely or bribe me with dark chocolate and decaf coffee from Dunkin Donuts (ALWAYS light, no sugar—no sweet tea ever consumed here, BLEAH!!!!). I consult with other hardworking writers when they have problems, questions or issues, and post on this blog whenever I get a chance. Other than that, most of my time online is writing research. 

I spend most of my days writing and catching up with housework and whatnot around here, so I can spend my evenings with family, watching TV and hanging out. The only crafts I have time for now are pickup crochet, and a little bit of beading—making good luck charms and so on to hang in my window and sparkle or ward off evil spirits and bounce back bad thoughts sent my way. So far they seem to be working just fine. LOL On my days off, I try to get out and do some thrifting, because that's something I very much enjoy. Now and then, I even cook something. 

I'll have some more pictures and regular entries of my own again in the not-too-distant future.


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