clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Early End of Year

End of year, when we revisit all our writerly sins. I've plenty.

So, plan for half the year in 2014, fill the other half with the unanticipated from opportunity.

Biggest thing? Write more. Discipline. My friend above illustrates the point. The paper at the sides of his head? Total revised output for 2013. Not really good enough.

So, in 2013 I learned a lot about what works for me professionally to keep the wheels turning and "progress" occuring on projects on a daily basis. Never this year did I have the occasion to say "I should have but I didn't." That's great.

Now, my work process is solidified as rough draft, revise, full prose 1st, revise, critique #1, revise, edit, critique #2, minors - out to submission. Great. I have confidence in this process and feel solid about its execution. It's taken a decade to adopt the formal work habits to make this a reality. Of course, there is more iteration in the revision cycle than illustrated but it's a defined process I no longer have to think about. I do. I create.

Now, craft.

I'm going to work on the revision of short stories and their submission cycle in the next quarter. I know that the market is poor. I know success in publication brings almost no indication of success  as would come in a novel's release. My writing will however improve from this effort. I like short story. I like the discipline. I think working on the shorts will help restrain the urge to vomit all over the page in a novel, again. 100,000 words are not an excuse to be sloppy. I've been sloppy. Surprise.

This is a plan. This is a goal. This is a deadline (not disclosed, but they're in there). This is the difference between "wanting" and "doing." Writing is "doing."

I've joined the MWA as an affiliate (well - sent the app). That's the condition of membership when you raise your hand and say "I haven't sold a qualifier, yet." Humiliating. I'm paying as an "incomplete" as full disclosure of my lack of accomplishment and credit in my chosen avocation. Might as well get that out of the way now. Know shit? Sure. Done shit? Not that can be measured by sales - meaning I haven't accomplished shit you can buy and read. I'm invisible. I don't exist.

Oh, aspiring? No. I'm not aspiring. I'm writing. I'm producing. I'm revising. I'm editing and submitting. I just haven't convinced anyone to pay, yet.

This year, I've got stories I can execute which will pass muster. It's a mater of effort, and skill, and discipline.

I hate being managed. I hate managing myself. It has taken a while for the frustration at not engaging in the act of communicating with strangers through my writing to grow sufficiently burdensome to encourage myself.

Come to find out, I like strangers best. They are less disappointing than friends. They'll say horrible things - but intend to say them. When you write and you write because your emotions are so raw and unsophisticated and primitive, then the company of strangers offers a zone of safety not possible with friends. Strangers grow to be your source of defined kinship. They're "others" who haven't proved unreliable or unintentionally discourteous or casually hurtful.

We rely on people we've rarely met for the emotional fulfillment it is difficult to receive from the people who otherwise should be close to us. We speak to them through the monologue - our preferred means of communication. We write in dialogue. We express ourselves through monologue.

Writing is a malady. Once infected, it doesn't go away. Communication is the salve for the raw exposed nerves.

Write, mule, write.

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