Anyone who says that writing fiction for publication is always fun is completely full of shit. Either that person is demented, or she’s not doing it right. To be a writer, you have to REALLY love your work. You have to understand that the rewards are worth the war.
Writing is hard work. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always fun. And more often than not, the process sucks. The writing part is great, when the words are flowing. If writer’s block scares you, then honey…you are in HUGE trouble.
But even that isn’t the worst part. The behind-the-scenes brain-to-shelf part is what truly sucks.
After the initial story is on paper, there’s the first round of self-editing and revising. Then the round of “here read this” to everyone you know. Then there’s the submission process.
Query letters suck, too.
Then there’s the waiting, which is probably the worst part. You have to sit there and try not to go completely insane while someone else judges your work as “saleable” or “shit”. (NOW WAIT JUST A MINUTE… WHO THE [bleep] DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO TELL ME IF I’M GOOD ENOUGH OR NOT??? Oh yeah, the editor… I’m sorry, please continue.) Then after those long weeks (and sometimes months) of waiting comes the form rejection letter – or if you’re extremely lucky, the congratulatory note with a contract attached.
Then the editor gets her grimy little hands on your precious manuscript and hacks it to bits. And all the while, you’re supposed to stand there and smile and say okay as she looks you in the eyes and tells you that you’re a substandard writer who needs to just give up and go work at McDonald’s (okay, she isn’t really saying that, but when you’re on the receiving end of that marked-up Word document, that’s what it feels like).
Once that crying, screaming fit is over, you edit, return, and wait some more. Sometimes there are more edits. Then there’s cover art…which you’re supposed to have a say in but it doesn’t always work like that. Then after long months of battle, your book goes live and you can sit back with a smile and say “I did it.”
Right now, even that satisfaction isn’t enough to keep me motivated. I haven’t written more than a sentence since Thursday. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve opened up stories and stared at them. I’ve had LOTS of ideas. I just haven’t been able to get my mind and my hands working in tandem.
I have ideas all day long. Things float through my head on little clouds of genius, but by the time I can get my fingers around a pen or to a keyboard to get them out, that little cloud has puttered to nothing and the idea has drowned in a sea of blather.
At first, I thought it was because I was trying to type and I needed to be hand-writing. Then even the pen…my trusty blue sidekick for the last two years… revolted and said “nope, I ain’t doin’ it.”
So I sat down this morning and I booted up the laptop. And I pulled out the portable hard drive. And I looked at everything there. Then, I made a list of everything I have to distract me between the two.
I now have a plan.
The hard drive is going to be overhauled tonight – all of the music is coming off, and only what I listen to is going back. All of my finished stories (original, fanfiction, and everything else) are going onto the big hard drive attached to the desktop. All the photos, screencaps, wallpapers, and what-have-you are coming off.
Then, I’m going to buy a new flash drive, and I’m only going to add the outstanding, ACTIVE projects. I think I have seven right now. No outlines. No folders with character pics and stuff like that. Just the things that NEED to be finished:
The Untitled Shifter thing
The Neverland Wars
Skippin’ Stones (a new short piece that’s *almost* finished)
The Father Grimm Submission (Wicked East Press has some nifty little calls out right now, and I like this one)
Those are the seven things I’m keeping handy, even if they don’t all go on the flash drive at one time. Everything else is going into the archives for the time-being. Then I’m pulling out the battle gear. The pen and the computer are going to be attached to me all the time. That flash drive will never leave my presence. No matter what computer I’m in front of, I’ll have the ability to plug that bad boy up and make at least a little bit of progress.
I’m up to three rejections, and my ego has taken a bit of a hit. But… I’m not giving up. People are still reading my story and they’re telling me they like it (of course, that self-deprecating monster in my head keeps telling me that I shouldn’t believe them, but I’m choosing to ignore it).
I’m spreading out flypaper on the floor of my brain as I write this. My notebook and pen are at one hand, my laptop at the other, and the computer I’m currently typing this on is directly in front of me. Whatever medium it requires to get those damned, snaky words out of my head, I’m going to use.
I need to get some refills for this pen, too. She needs some new ammo if I’m to win this war. It used to be that the only way I could get words out was to sit down with a notebook and pen, but I’m moving past that, training my brain to adapt and accept new modes of warfare.
FandomFest starts next week. Before it gets here, I WILL have one more story finished. I will, damn it.
And one final note:
To those of you who have sent me stuff to read over… You’ll have it back tomorrow. I promise.