Monday, June 27, 2005

Getting There

Almost finished with the huge big monstrous epic adventure sci-fi paranormal thriller I'm hoping will be my break out novel. Which is great, but now opens a whole new can of worms.

As many of y'all know, I've got a book coming out in a few short months. One of the things 'they' don't tell you about when you're first book is bought by a publisher, is what transpires between the time you wrote 'the end' on that novel, and the time it actually hits the shelves. Of course, I was just estatic to get 'the call'--but now, I'm more terrified that the book will not measure up to the new standards I've reached in crafting my very best book since then.

So be warned, those of you who are trying to break into publishing--your first books are likely not going to be the best thing you'll ever publish. I'm only hoping that I'll be given another chance to publish again if this first book flops. It's more nightmarish thatn I'm letting on--in fact, I Am losing sleep over it, tossing and turning.

I take heart in the fairytale of Stephen King's career, however. Everyone just loved Carrie, and although like Stark Knight, it wasn't his first book, it also wasn't his best book. It's true that authors evolve and grow stronger over time. I'm just really hoping I get that chance.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

On Getting Work Done . . .

All right, all right, I know, I know, I'm supposed to be working . . .

I've offered advice to harried authors on the importance of being focused and determined--do you think I could take my own advice? Not lately.

Sure, I've done the "let's get my house clean so I can really concentrate bit"--but with three kids and a demanding husband, the house is never clean. Which means my concentration is shot on a more or less regular basis.

I've also done the "prepare the night before so your writing time is used wisely"--but rarely do I wake up to emails that don't demand my immediate attention--of course, this is completely subjective. Will the world end today if I don't rebutt the jerk who's running amok with neadrethal epiphets and obtuse deragatory commentary about every political and global issue? No. But for some reason, while I'm drinking my morning java, i believe it does.

Then there's the old, "work while the kids are sleeping." I work while the kids are awake--cleaning, cooking, teaching, chauffering, laundry, groceries, budgeting, paying the bills--you name it, I have more 'jobs' than I can count. Who want's to work during the only time you have to relax? Imagine a man, on every lunch hour, fifteen minute break, and in every hour before and after his nine-to-fiver, busting his butt on 'work'. Can we say homicidal maniac? :)

Okay, so all of the above are just dumb excuses--and isn't it funny how those excuses become MOST popular when the writing tasks ahead are MOST daunting?

Right now, this is what my immediate writing demands are:

Finish writing AND editing a manuscript by July 1st (less than 2 weeks away)
Write a 5-10K short story that is exceptional and exciting--a task given by my publisher.
Write press releases (at least two to begin with)
Write three parenting short stories for Chris Vogler, for free (don't ask, I was dumb)
Write the first newsletter for my author's yahoo group.

Not to mention the myriad other tasks: a column I agreed to write, advertising and promotional materials, letters to book stores, website content, etc. etc.

I'm a writer, so why am I not WRITING?

I need a chocolate fix, quick!
Who just managed to meet today's deadline on the contest she volunteered to judge.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Writing and Relatives

I love my in-laws :) Every summer they drive over 1,000 miles to spend time with our family and spoil us rotten. However, it's murder on the writing time. After being lavished with gifts, treated to a pedicure, and being plied with one delicious, totally fattening and wonderfully tasty meal after another, I find myself returning to unanswered emails, deadlines approaching t warp speed, and obligations that I have yet to begin fulfilling, let alone meeting. *Sigh* To be independently wealthy! LOL!

Seriously though, a word to wise, if you know you will be away from your work for at least three days, there are steps you should take to make your 'homecoming' all the more easy--steps I neglected to take myself this time around. However, this is what I normally do when preparing for an extended leave:

1) Go on Digest or 'No Mail': If you belong to Yahoo groups, this is simply done by accessing your groups page and selecting your choice, then with one click of a button, you can 'set all' to that preference. If you don't have access to this feature in other list groups, try emailing the list manager and requesting either option.

2) Get BUSY!: Finish up as much as you possibly can--better to leave knowing you'll only have the 'new' to return to and none of the 'old' overburdening you. Finish critiques, if you belong to a critique group, finish any materials outstanding for your editor, publisher, or agent. Make sure all your correspondence is up to date.

3) Clean your Desk!: If you're like me, it's often clean beneath a host of open books, turned to the correct research information, notebooks, open folders, sheets of printed information, pens, and usually mail. Get this all tucked neatly away, completing tasks as you go. Treat yourself to candles, music choices, or special little accessories (such as chocolate, but I recommend you hide this if you have children!) that make working a pleasure. There is nothing more inviting than a beautiful workspace when you return!

4) Make a List!: Detail the work you wish to complete when you return--writing the next chapter, scene, or editing, research you wish to begin, anything that you couldn't complete before leaving. Having a sense of direction will greatly help eliminate that appeal of a few thousand games of solitaire or surfing Yahoo Messenger or MSN for a few chatty friends ;)

Had I done all that, I wouldn't right now be blogging :) I'd probably be finishing the manuscript that's due on the 1st of July. How quickly time flies!!!

Until next time, I leave you with with this excellent resource:

Charlotte Miller: Press Kit
Excellent information on putting together your own press kit--great for newly published authors like 'moi' (can you just hear Miss Piggy?? :) )