lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 I feel like I've forgotten how to write. 

Which is weird, since I wrote about 2,000+ words of fan fiction yesterday.  So, it's not the actual act of putting words to page that I've forgotten how to do, but something else.  I've got a deadline fast approaching for an author guest slot in an invite-only magazine called Boundary Shock Quarterly, my issue will be about apocalypses that I was invited to contribute to, and I've been doing a LOT of thinking about stories that feature after the fall/the end of the world and what appeals to me about them.  Shawn and I even re-watched "Logan's Run," which surprised me by mostly standing the test of time. But, Mason challenged me to put some words to paper today and I have started numerous times only to be frustrated with the results.

I've gotten some good advice about how-to write short stories from the people in my writers' group, so I'm not necessarily looking for that right now. But, you know, if you really want to point me to writing blogs or whatnot, I'll definitely read anything you link to. I'm not so proud that I'd turn away a good resource.

What I'm really stymied about right now is something different, however. I was counseled to consider writing a story within a story, where there's something else going on and the end of the world is kind of more of a backdrop. Something like what [personal profile] naomikritzer did with "So Much Cooking."  (An amazing story, if you haven't already read it, you should.) This is excellent advice because a good short story is always operating on a number of different levels, but... okay, here's the thing that's really been hitting me _today_ as I sit down to write. I'm not sure that's me, the writer who writes brilliantly about the human condition clothed in science fiction. Think it's absolutely what most people are writing write now--most successful short story writers, anyway, given what I've been reading in prep for the Nebula Award nominations. I am a gigantic fan of slice-of-life manga, butI was re-reading some of the stuff I wrote to promote the launch of Resurrection Code, which very much is my "after the fall" novel, and it's all apocalypse travelogue with action.

And I'm wondering if I'm doing a disservice to myself by not just writing an adventure?

Eh, I should just write SOMETHING and stop overthinking the whole process.

Mason's right about me. I can talk myself OUT of any idea I have... and end up with nothing.

Well, I'm picking him up at 5:15 pm tonight (unless robotics gets cancelled due to the snow), so I have time to get something down. Probably I should just start writing ANYTHING and see where that takes me.

Or... I could do the dishes... or vacuum.

See, I'm a writer. I know how to avoid writing!


UPDATE: 325 words written. Ha! It's not a lot, but I'm exceedingly happy that words made it onto page. Go me!
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 I've determined today to get a decent start (well, re-start after talking to Wyrdsmiths,) on my proposal for a mystery cozy that my agent was looking for. I'm a four pages in and all I want to do is... anything else.  

In fact, I just got back from running an errand and am eyeing up the dishes. I hate doing the dishes.  The only thing that makes doing the dishes bearable to me is the fact that I usually watch anime while doing it.

I even started the laundry, another job I loathe.

All to avoid writing.

I'm SUCH a stereotype.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned the cozy here before.  There's no real "interest." All that happened is that my agent was talking to an editor (as per her job) and the editor said something to the effect of, "You know what *I'd* love to see....? I'd love to see a cozy mystery set in the craft beer brewing community" and my agent, being an actual decent person who seems to legitimately have my back, passed on this bit of industry gossip. I'm probably the absolute worst person to try to write this. For one, I don't drink beer. AT. ALL.  I grew up in a brewing town and the smell of hops kind of makes me think, unpleasantly, of overly hot, swampy days. So I never bothered to acquire a taste for it.  I've done some home brewing of wines, but never (obviously, since I don't drink it) beer.

HOWEVER, the universe seems to want me to give this a try, because, by absolute chance I met a woman at Minicon who not only is a craft beer enthusiast, but ran her own craft beer brewery.  So, I contacted Kathleen on Facebook and she's agreed to be my expert advisor.  In fact, we got together a couple of weekends ago and talked about the local craft brewing scene. I learned a lot of interesting stuff and immediately got an idea of how the murder could happen.

So, I've been diligently poking at this proposal for several weeks now. I really want to get it done so that I can start on the part that's going to be the most difficult for me: writing the sample chapters.  I should probably just start writing those, too, but [insert typical writerly whine, aka "WRITING IS HARD!"].

Who thought this was a good career for me, anyway?  Oh, wait. I did.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Last year, my friend and fellow writer, Sean M. Murphy decided he needed to stop calling himself a writer.  This morning, I woke up and discovered that another dear friend and colleague is considering doing the same.

This is heartbreaking to me.  

I want to blame something for this, but there are, frankly, too many options.

It seems to me that it's far harder to break-in to pro markets (magazine and novel) than it was when I first started writing. A lot of people are jumping straight to self-publishing these days, and, while that seems to work well for many, it's no more a guaranteed road to success than any other.  Personally, I find trying to motivate myself to write for self-publication much, much harder because of all of the extra work you have to take on yourself in order to get a finalized product out there.  This why the first of my self-published books is going to be the collaboration I'm doing with Rachel. (She just went over our proofs, because I have to head off to work in about fifteen minutes!  Thank gods for a co-writer!!)

But most of us struggle alone.  Even Sean, who was part of a writers' group, was ultimately alone with his own sense of 'being a writer' and all the myriad ways a person can fail at that.

That's the other thing I really want to blame.  Because, I think everyone realizes how hard it is to break it (and how hard it to survive once you do,) but I think we all underestimate how easy it is to undermine ourselves. Ultimately, I think Sean hit the nail on the head when he said 'writers' write' and that that should be the defining quality, but that's still a trap.  Because how OFTEN does a writer need to write in order to call themselves a writer?  Every day?  Every week?  Once a month?  Once a year?

My answer is that I think we ought to expand this definition a little, give ourselves a tiny break.  A writer is a writer if they have written, if they want to write, and if they write, but not necessarily all those things all the time, every day.  Some days, the best we can manage is that we wanted to write.  Sometimes, especially after some hard writing-related news (the publisher doesn't want to renew your contract, say,) it's enough to say, "I have written" while you take time to recuperate.

Of course, it's maybe easy for me to say.  I have books on the shelf with my name on them. 

But, damn it, my friends, I don't want to lose any more of you.  Cut yourselves a break.  You are a writer because you WILL write.  You're a writer because you HAVE written.  You're a writer because you WANT to write.  Courage is measured in that voice that says quietly, "I will try again tomorrow."

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