Desktop Update – 8.25.14

I started writing this as a means to keep my mind in order. Between wedding planning, house-hunting, and everything else going on, it’s been tough making time to just relax and quiet all the external voices that come creeping in. When you’re stressed out by any number of responsibilities, you open yourself up to distractions. I’d love to check certain things off my to-do list, but it’s more important that I keep certain things off my list too. That being said, I’m reassessing my desktop and seeing what’s out there – along with planting a screenshot for accountability’s sake:

Priorities

1. Freelancing 

This is a tough gig. Don’t let the countless websites and email solicitations fool you – if you want to be a freelancer, it’s tough work. I know plenty of folks that want to do freelancing full-time, but their time is limited and/or their portfolios just don’t have the breadth to make proper headway. The 2014 year wasn’t my first year doing the freelance thing, but it’s certainly been the most rewarding thus far. The reason? 2013 was a lot of “Hey, I’ll do that for free” – that way I could accumulate some understanding of what it means to be a freelancer. And to be honest, not many people will pay you for a work unless you’ve had experience – proven experience – to do the jobs that are asked of you. One thing I’ve learned is that getting paid isn’t always the most important thing – it’s the experience. So here’s to a stronger, better 4th quarter in 2014 and beyond.

2. My next manuscript

The screenshot is not my next manuscript, but it is a short story I completed earlier this year. And I’m still working on the rewrite as I debate how to publish or merely share online. However, since A Dinner with Titans has been done for a while, I find myself putting more and more time into my next major manuscript: The Lion’s Den. It’s been nearly a year since I started The Lion’s Den and it’s been quite a year at that. I’ve worked through several iterations, worked up about 88,000 words, and even begun all over again. There’s no way to write that lightly – it’s been hard work. And now, I’m on my 2nd rewrite and am slowly making up ground as I push myself to finish before year-end. A time when the real fun begins: how to publish and where to publish. I have some ideas on how to go about that, but I can’t concern myself with that at the moment. The best I can do is get back to business and finish what I’ve begun, reminding myself of what’s behind me and what’s in front.

A Dinner with Titans_page 1

A Dinner with Titans_page 1

3. My (other) next manuscript

Though it’s not a requirement, I would suggest this to any aspiring writer: have plenty of projects lined up. Or at the very least, a few. Changing up the creative flow of things can help loosen up the mind and set you back on track. Especially in those moments when you’re frustrated or just plain stuck. I’ve never had an issue with this –  I’ve been working on sporadically on several – and these other works have helped to keep my head above water, but they’ve also restricted me from sinking into the bowels of a single idea that could make or break my spirit. That just wouldn’t be a good place to be in. First things, first though – finish the manuscript and then deviate my attention as appropriate.

Not Priorities

1. Starting another blog / building a new website

2. Searching for editors / publishers / agents

3. Allowing myself to get frustrated

 

 

Tweaks, Changes…Bleh…

I don’t know of anybody – and I mean, anybody – who enjoys editing and rewriting his own work. Cannibalizing what you’ve toiled over is a self-defeating concept. Like all the work was for naught. Now, additions and upgrades are another matter. For example, if I built a house, I wouldn’t mind putting in a porch; adding a deck; or trading in a nasty old couch for a new one. Those are all necessary improvements. Changes put forth in order to make things better. But when it comes to editing, rewriting, or just plain starting over – I hate it. It’s a loathsome process; one that never takes as long as I’d like, nor does it translate with the same results as my first draft. Still, it must be done. And still, I must go on with the understanding that it’s simply a part of the process.

Case in point, my local writer’s group put the screws to my latest work just this past weekend. They’ve been helping me by reading through the first draft of a novel I’ve been hashing out. A novel I’ve been creating for almost 9 months (yes, 9 stinking months), but it all came to a head last week when several parties involved said, “You need to go back and edit a lot of this.” And grudgingly, I agreed with them.

Ugh.

Imagine painting a five-story building – by yourself – and when you’re finished, you realize you used the wrong color. That’s the type of feeling I got. And what’s worse, I agreed with them. I knew that it needed some tweaks. I knew that it needed some changes. I knew that it needed a new coat of paint, so to speak. But my first reaction was this: ain’t no way I’m doing that again

I’ve always been good at getting my first draft done “well”. Like a good chef, I don’t need to grill four or five burgers until I get the proper patty. One shot and I’m done. But taking on a project such as this has made me understand – or rather, come to grips with – my own shortcomings as a writer. The first draft is never perfect. And if it is, you may be kidding yourself. There’s always some blind spot the writer is missing. So lucky for me, I have another set of eyes to poke and prod at what I’m doing. That way, before it gets to final print, I’ll know I’ve put the story through its proper paces.

But until that time, it’s back to the rewrites and revisions. Doing so with as much joy as I can muster. Which may be even harder than the rewrite itself….