I had planned for another post today about looking at life through a positive lens, but I decided that I needed to write this one first, cutting it into the line. Positivity will come next Tuesday.
Coming on the heels of my last post about not waiting to change, I have continued to struggle this last week with kicking open my writing. Things were bugging me. I mean, really bugging me. All about my writing of course. Mainly, that I was trying to push forward writing every day without working on the things that truly needed my attention.
For one, as I’ve posted before, my ability to plan things sucks. Added to that is my inability to take notes to track things as they move along in the story. Blah blah blah, I’ve said it all before. And while in the past I’ve been able to trounce through writing stories without these things, I am in the need to build new foundations to help to make a more solid writing career take hold. I am the man who has built his writing career on the sands rather than bedrock, and my shabby little hut has been washed away far too many times for me to count. Rather than rebuild it this time in the same place, I am looking for a place of more solid foundation. I need to if I am going to make this work, because even though I’d do it solely for the act of writing, I would like to know that I am capable of creating a business for myself from my work.
In addition to reading through “The Law of Success” by Napoleon Hill (note, there’s A LOT on positivity in that as well), I’ve been consuming numerous articles and blogs on productivity, writing, and the business side of writing. Not that all these articles agree as to the most optimal methods, they each give pointers on finding what is optimal for me. And one thing that they do all agree on: I’ve been approaching it all wrong up to this point.
Writing 1,000 words every day is a noble goal as a writer. It is an important goal. However, when I am spending 0 time on editing, notetaking, outlining or planning, etc, those 1,000 words each day might as well be torn up and thrown away. Because all I am doing is piling up a mound of crap that will eventually grind me to a halt. Particularly when I have so few people that are able to or willing to give me help in my endeavors (it’s another scenario of no one offered nor have I asked). It falls on me.
Today it really occurred to me: it’s not the writing itself that I’ve been struggling with, it’s that I haven’t made the effort to move along any of the 5 projects I partly finished (the first drafts) last year. They’ve been nagging me as they sit waiting to move into the next phases of there creation.
For one, after a readthrough from my wife and son, my planned middle-grade book “Soar” is in need of HEAVY work. The story is solid, but the wording is choppy lending itself to sounding awkward a lot when read aloud.
Another example: my planned novella “Antlers” is in need of a perspective change moving the narrator from 3rd person semi-omniscient to 1st person, better fitting the ideas I had worked into that story.
Then there’s Of Earth and Ice, my epic-scifi-dystopia, which will need the works done to it.
Writing forward is OK… so long as I am also moving my other stories onto further stages closer to publication… so long as I am tending to the back of the house.
I had this idea that all I needed to do was write again, not noticing the pile of unfinished projects needing their next stages completed keeping me from writing any more. They were the gorilla in the room I was desperately ignoring.
As I told my wife that she was right on something else I learned thanks to a blog post from Kristine Kathryn Rusch, I decided that this year needed to be different than 2018. Last year I focused on just writing: on pushing out word count. I neglected marketing, editing, reviewing, and all the other background stuff. I only wrote. (Sure, there was the release of The Colonist, and though it was a solid story, I had rushed it.)
This is what I am going to do for my 2019: foundation work. Writing will still be a part of my routine, and I will try to build up a daily word count. More importantly however, I want to learn the business end of this endeavor. I want to learn how to market and promote myself, my stories. I want to go back through my stories, such as Gravity and Agnes, to see if there is a way to strengthen them up (without a full rewrite at this point) while also taking notes to follow along as I build those worlds in future works.
I need to learn how to plan as me. What methods will I be able to use that will work for me… that I’ll use consistently?
Additionally, I must learn to take projects through to completion, not dropping them off after the first draft is done only to forget them.
Writing isn’t just throwing words down only paper to make a fancy story, there’s much more to it that I’ve avoided up to this point. 2019 is the year I fix that.