I’ll admit it. I live in fear. Always.
Constantly, I fear that my writing ideas will run dry or that I will have so many ideas that I’ll never get them all out–that there will be fantastic stories I want to tell and, even if they’re terrible, that I’ll never release them all.
I fear that my writing won’t be exactly as I want it. No matter how many times I edit, no matter how much I scrutinize, I fear that I will always have been able to “do better”.
I fear that I will pass on something amazing because I did not have the patience or the lucidity of vision to take it, shape it, and create the diamond that lies within that ugly piece of coal.
I’m afraid that the idea I go with that shapes an entire story is the wrong idea, and only after I publish the finished product will I realize that, no, I NOW have the perfect idea but it is too late to change it all. What if The Beatles really had gone with “Scrambled Eggs” because they couldn’t come up with the actual lyrics for “Yesterday”? Yeah, that.
All of this is part of the reason it takes me so damn long to produce a final product (yes, part of it is also time constraints–gotta pay the bills). I am not a perfectionist, but I question everything. If something in my writing can be done better, then I want to do it better. I want to look at each piece my writing from every angle, inside and out. I want to tell the best damn story that I can.
And that story may suck but at least I will know that it was the best effort I could put forth.
Whether it is the “correct” decision or not, self-publishing is the avenue I am using for my books. I decided, at the outset, that I would maybe toy with submitting the books to agents/publishers and, if someone bit, great. If not, I was under no illusions in the first place.
I fully realize that there are pros and cons to both processes. Ultimately, I want to have as much control over my writing as I possibly can. The potential for profit may be less, it may be more, or it may not even matter. Don’t get me wrong, I like to be paid for my work, but these books are more important to me than just dollar signs. I thoroughly enjoy writing them and I hope that people enjoy reading them.
The creation, the writing, the imagination–these are what I value more than anything. Would I love to be a world-famous writer who wordsmiths for a living? You bet I would. I am, however, a realist. What I derive from this whole experience is going to be affected by a lot of factors and, yes, money will be one of them. But it will not, by any means, be the most important factor.
When I first started writing, there were zero avenues for self-publishing, so I consider it a boon that I can work on something in a hobby-like fashion (albeit, rabidly) and, on my own time, put it out there for people to consume and, hopefully, enjoy. Unless something better comes along, this is the route I am taking.
I don’t enjoy hearing my own voice–even if it’s just audio, but especially on video. I would wager that most people feel much the same way. As a result, I try to avoid hearing my own voice because all I can think is “How can anyone stand to listen to me talk?” Actually, I think that a lot anyway.
So it’s no surprise that I am not a fan of reading my own writing out loud. It’s bad enough that I have to pore over it anyway, but doing so audibly is the proverbial hot wing sauce in the newly-shaven face. Or the salt in the wound…you like salt, I like hot wings.
I have, however, begun reading “The Call of Chaos” to myself, out loud. No matter how proud I am of this book and its successor, it is still relatively unpleasant. Oh, and I’m not sure anyone else in Starbucks appreciated me reading to myself. (Don’t worry, I actually read it really quietly…with headphones on…so maybe not as quietly as I thought?)
In summary: reading my stuff out loud: bad. Getting to this stage of the writing process: good.
I feel myself getting anxious. It’s a feeling that starts as a very low, soft hum deep down but, over time, it gains momentum and mass, slowly becoming more than just a niggling in the back of my head.
It’s gone from “sweet, you’re getting done with TWO books” to “These should be done already. What’s the holdup, man?” I really want these books to be finished.
In the video game industry there is a term called “vaporware” to describe a game that is taking so much time to be released that nobody truly believes it will ever hit the market. While I know that both of my books are not vaporware, I sometimes feel that this is the case. If every single aspect of this process was within my control, I would be able to push myself to simply buckle down and get it done. After all, that’s what I want–to get these bad boys out there.
Editing is going much more quickly than I thought it would and I am nearing the end. That light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger way more rapidly than I thought it would. After that, it’s all business, which I am not looking forward to. And, y es, there is a little doubt–pushing that final button and putting these books out there is a little scary…and exciting! Oh, I’ll do it, but I may have to throw up afterward.
Until then, I have editing to take care of. I also have artwork to get squared away. That second part is out of my control. I cannot draw and my eye for art is pretty much totally blind. I cannot create visual art. This process is out of my hands and, as I near completion of these two books, I’m beginning to get nervous.
I can, however, only focus on those things over which I have control. I will get done what I can and harangue the people that I need to. Hopefully I can keep the nerves to a minimum.
So, how much/often do I write? The answer: As often as my brain lets me.
I can’t write at home. Well, I mean, I can, but it’s more difficult. I have a myriad distractions no matter where I am at home. There is family, pets, TV, video games, chores, ninjas, and sometimes even pirates. These are the same reasons why I have a difficult time picking up a book at home. I have a billion things I want to do and, no matter what I’m doing, I am thinking about other things I want to do.
So when or, more appropriately, where do I write?
I can’t force myself to write. “You rush a Miracle Man, you get rotten miracles”. You rush me, you’ll get nonsensical crap that isn’t worth reading. Trust me. It doesn’t work for me, and nobody would want to read it. It would probably take me three times longer to salvage it than it did to write it in the first place.
I most often write on Sundays. By then, I’ve been able to put the busy week behind me, focus on what I want to accomplish, and put words down on digital paper. Throw some coffee into the mix and magic happens.
Yes, I have also been known to throw down some word fighting at work in between tasks. Most often, however, those segments require the most editing and reworking. This all tends to help reduce stress at work, as well. Taking a few minutes to craft an entire world is the perfect way to break monotony.
Lately, I’ve been working mostly on setting up all of the supporting materials in anticipation of when I release both books into the wild. This includes this website, Facebook, and I’m even getting familiar with Twitter (yeah yeah, stop laughing).
There are so many avenues for communication that it is mind-boggling. I recall the days when, if you wanted to get the message out there to the mass public, you had to code a website and hope people found you. Yes, those were terrifying, dark times. They were times when you had to listen to a modem screech and negotiate with another modem on the other end until they both agreed and made beautiful music together.
And everything took ages to load. Oh, the lag! But I digress.
I am trying to get the hang of all of the methods I can use to not only present my books, but also to discuss and gather feedback about them. I can see why, for some people, this can be a full-time job.
One day, I hope it is my full-time job. 🙂
So, I’ll say it. I’m terrible at naming things. People, places, things, stuff, junk…all of it. Sometimes, I’ll rename something three or four times and maybe be happy with the outcome. I currently have a list of things to rename in both “The Call of Chaos” and “The Coming Storm”, which I will be doing very soon. It’s going to suck, but it’s necessary.
Every once in a while, I’ll be watching TV or a movie and find something that makes me think “Wow, that sounds like a name I would make up!” If there was ever any question, that’s not a good thing.
So, yeah, that is one of the tasks I have to do while I tighten up both books during the coming weeks (hopefully only two or three weeks). Yep. It’ll be me, sitting at a table in a coffee shop, talking to myself and randomly coming up with combinations of letters until something sounds right.
I guess, for the most part, that’s what writing a book is, anyway, no?
Today, I finished the first edit of “The Coming Storm”. This marks the beginning of the end for the editing process. What’s left? There is some general tightening and tidying to be done and, once it’s over, publishing is not far behind.
I can’t begin to convey just how excited I am about this. I absolutely love to tell stories and, soon enough, I will be able to share these with those who wish to listen (or, more appropriately, read–you get the idea).