Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Schedules and the Day-to-Day

Last night, I was bemoaning the fact that the round of editing I was going through was taking so long. Although I've been known to start wrting at 9 p.m. and keep going until 2 a.m., there are days I edit about three pages and it takes me all day.

Now, those are two somewhat different examples, but in my mind, one reflects a personality I thought I had, that of a writer who can "put butt in chair, work." The other suggests a writer distracted by every single noise and bright light. "Oh, shiny!" I don't want to be the latter. Although, I could excuse it because during the day there's more noise, more things on TV to distract, etc. etc. There are even a couple of guys painting the house and making repairs from 7 in the morning until 4:30 (actually, small applause for them, because we've had maintenance guys who were slow as heck, and we couldn't do anything about it since we're renters and thus, don't hire them, but these are working the whole, sans lunch, and friendly. Yay for them), but they make noise pounding on doors and scraping old paint. But I don't really want to use that as an excuse.

So, this got me wondering if perhaps it's my schedule that's keeping me cut off from my "diligent worker" side.

A lot of writing books will either give the newbie writer specific exercises or suggestions in terms of writing schedules. An hour a day in the morning, before anything else, half an hour in the evening, four hours while "the kids" are at school. Other advice givers say whatever works for you without any suggestions.

I say, in my limited experience, play around with it. Figure out what time you already have free, start there, writing and editing. If you find that's not enough time, see where you can squeeze more. Examine whether that time of day works, and whether that free time can be moved. Try different lengths of time at different times of day, in different places.

When I was at university, I got some writing done on the bus ride to campus (1 1/2 hours usually), and in high school, I got a lot of writing done during recess and lunch (hanging out in front of my friend's English class, or on the outdoor stage). That's where the characters and plot for my first finished novel came. I even started a vampire story with another friend, while walking around the gym on Fridays during P.E. and got fairly far along--filled most of a spiral notebook with that story (Fridays were 'do whatever' in P.E., but we had to do something, if not a sport, then walk around the gym 12 times. I became skilled in walking and writing at the same time).

Now, though, I'm out of school, focusing on the writing, and don't have the added time constraint of a job. And I'm at a loss. During winter break, the 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. slot worked for me, but it doesn't now when I can't relax during the day.

I need to find a new schedule that works for me, because what I have now doesn't.

Which I think is a point most writing books neglect. Your writing schedule can change. There's no rule that says once you become a writer (however you define it for yourself) you have to pick a certain time of day and amount of time and that's what you should stick to in order to be considered a "serious writer." Srsly.

Life gets in the way, our living situations change, and sometimes, you may find a certain time just doesn't work as well for you anymore. Never limit yourself, that should (could) be a writer's credo.

My goal for today, then, is to find a schedule that works for me. I've been slogging through it for the past month, wasting so much time. I don't want to waste anymore. So I'll push through today and see at what time I seem to get the most work done. I'll even stay up late and see if the 9-2 could work for me again. I'll let you know how it goes.

Happy writing.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nathan Bransford Linkage

A swing by Writtenwyrdd's blog reminded me, I wanted to share a particular link. When I swung by agent Nathan Bransford's blog, I saw another link to share.

The latter is actually a post of links. "Writing Advice Database" lists a ton of Bransford's past posts regarding writing, broken down into sub-headings like "The Writing Process" "Revising" and "Genres and Classification." The last heading being, enjoyably, "Staying Sane During the Writing/Publishing Process." Because we all need help with that sometimes, don't we?

The other post, which I originally wanted to mention was, "Revision Checklist." I know when I write a story, I'll read writing books beforehand, and sometimes after, but when I'm in the thick of things, writing or editing, I don't always consciously think about what I should be looking for. I found this post, which is a list of questions to keep in mind when revising, easy to understand and something that I think will be rather helpful to me. Mostly as something I can write out or print and keep near at hand, perhaps to glance at when I know something isn't working in a scene, but I can't figure out what. I thought it might helps others as well.

In fact, the post in between these two is on how one knows when one is done editing, with Bransford asking for answers to that question in the comments section.

These are strangely well-timed, for me at least, as if Mr. Bransford somehow knows I'm diving into editing two novels. (Is he psychic? Are all agents?) ;)

Anyway, maybe these posts will help others. Happy writing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Eddings

My dad was reading Eddings' books for as long as I can remember. When I was just beginning to get into fantasy, my older sister was speeding though the Belgariad. Going through my long list of author/writer and agent blogs, I came across one mention, which prompted me to go digging.

According to a few sources, David Eddings died on June 2, 2009 at the age of 77.

His wife, Leigh Eddings, died in 2007.

It seems that one of the first mentions of this was on Twitter (not where I saw it), so I am still digging to find the most credible source. It appears About.com has an article on this, as does Forbidden Planet . SFCrownsnest may be the first, written by Stephen Hunt, or certainly one of the first. Three of the most credible sources seem to be Associated Content, The Guardian and Media Bistro.

Fantasy Book Review has a good, detailed biography of his life and work.

Too many of the long-standing, wonderful writers of fantasy are leaving us.

I swung by LKH's blog before posting here, and she'd shared a couple of quotes. The last one especially stuck with me.

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." To quote Frank Herbert, Dune—Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Writer's Summer

Well, this writer's summer, anyhow.

I started with wanting a week or so of rest. I cleaned. Then I caught the cleaning bug even when I didn't need to clean for the sake of a graduation party. Now I've started the process of cleaning the house, and yet have spent the day so far, on the computer.

I have editing to do, and research for agents, then the querying. I'm thinking it will work best in that order. Much as part of me wants to just send off teh query letters, I know I've seen a few agents who aren't accepting letters right now, and others whose blogs I follow, but who don't accept my genre.

(To explain, I first starting reading agent blogs a couple of years ago when I visited agentquery.com, thinking I'd query for that first novel and be ready to do so as soon as I was done with it. Well, agent query contains links to agent blogs, for some of them. So, in my search for sci fi/fantasy agents, I found blogs, and those blogs had links or comments by other agents, some of whom didn't accept my genre. From there, I have a fairly large list of blogs I visit, and although my first thought it to query those I follow, I immediately remember that that won't work for all of them.)

Anyway, it's Tuesday, for those of you following the calender. I tend to wear my watch, with its reminder of the day and date in addition to the time, but still, I lose track. I've blinked only to find days, weeks, almost entire months having passed with my hardly noticing. This week is nearly half over, which to my mother means the whole week is almost at an end. So I think what I'd like to do is finish with the manic cleaning, so my work space is clean, and so I won't have the rest of the house as an excuse. Then I'll hit the editing. One story just needs a final go-over, fix up the ending a bit, make sure the world-building works (i.e. enough of it, but not too heavy). The other is more recent, but needs a lot more work.

First one first, then query, then hope for the best.

In the midst of that, research short story markets for this secondary world fantasy story with no magic.

In blog-admin updatey-ness: there is a Followers link in the side bar, as well as a Search bar.

Happy writing, people.