On this April Fools’ Day, I will be taking a break from reading social media, but I guess that doesn’t mean I can’t post my own stuff. (No April Fools’ jokes here.)
I feel like I make a lot of plans for the future on this blog (when I actually post), and they don’t always come to pass, so now I’m focusing on the present. Time to report on what I have done and what I’m doing and not what I plan to do one day.
I’m finishing up the first draft of my sex magic romance novel. I’ve also been rewriting the first 40,000 words. My short 60,000 word romance novel looks like it is going to be closer to 80,000 words. I’m not sure how long I’ve been working on this one, but it’s a lot longer than I was planning.
I’m rewriting The Forgiving to release it as a paperback. I have no idea how long this will take, but I’m not going to rush it. I’m not going for any major changes, but there are a few parts I’m not satisfied with and I want improved before the book is in print.
I’m in the process of learning how to make comics. This includes doing the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook and going through Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. I’ve also written a four page comic for a contest. A novice artist is drawing the art.
I’m reading drastically more books. Most of these are romance novels and Image comic books. Some romance recommendations: Rattlesnake, The Lightning-Struck Heart, and Erica’s Choice. Some comic recommendations: Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars and Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine.
I’m in the middle of American Gods.
That’s me right now. I hope I have more to update you on soon.
Self-imposed deadlines are the name of the game for a self-publishing indie author.
Deadlines are powerful and very weird things, especially when you get to choose them yourself. Sometimes the date is chosen for no other reason than things have to get done at some point and why not then. For House of Cabal Vol. 2 that hard deadline where everything has to be finished is at the end of the month, that way I have March to have it copy edited and released to the reading public.
To have it ready by that date, I knew I needed a strong new draft to be finished early in the month.
I gave myself nine days to rewrite the nine chapters of the book. I had a bit of a head start and the first chapter was already in pretty good shape, so it was more like seven and a half chapters, but for a 45,000 to 50,000-word book, that’s a lot to rewrite in such a short time.
If I had only given myself the end-of-the-month deadline, it would have been too easy to procrastinate. Giving myself a closer deadline, forced me to accomplish more in less time.
After today, I can reassess, and figure out what new deadlines I should make between now and March.
Current draft status: The first seven chapters are mostly finished. I’m still working on chapter eight and haven’t touched chapter nine. I have a lot to do, but it feels completely doable. It won’t be a final draft, but I’ll be in good shape to finish up House of Cabal Volume Two: Estate by the end of the month, as planned.
Super Bowl Sunday I stayed mostly at my desk all day. For quite a few hours I wasted time on Twitter. I finally got to writing around the time of the halftime show. I accomplished quite a bit the rest of the day, probably eight hours of writing out of the fourteen I was trying to write, but my confidence in my book is wavering.
This dark moment of the soul, when you think the feat is impossible because you seemed to have tried everything, is a natural stage when you are getting close to accomplishing a tough goal.
You put a lot of work into a section and it just doesn’t work and you fear it never will. Sometimes it needs to be cut or rearrange, but if you have done all the work, and you’ve fixed all the big problems, the writing still might be in a form that seems awful to you.
This is usually right before it gets good.
When you are in that dark cave, you have to keep going.
It’s an odd thing that happens, reaching the light. I’ll work on a chapter and work on it, and it will spring to life unexpectedly. I can often feel the shift like it’s a bit of magic.
This has not yet happened with the problem section, a talky bit around chapter seven. But I have faith. I’ll get through the dark cave and reach the other side if I keep at it. It’s just the nature of the work.
Current draft status: The first six chapters are mostly finished. I’m still working on the hard copy of eight and nine. I’ll try my hardest to finish the draft on day nine, Tuesday, but I worry I still have too much left to do.
Take naps as needed.
It’s better to take a rest break than to keep struggling when your mind has stopped working. I’ve found I’m sharp in the morning and by mid-afternoon, around two, I become useless.
That’s when I go for a walk, read a book, and eat lunch. Then I test if I’m up for writing again. Often I’m not. I do other things until I’m tired and then try to sleep a while. Once I’m awake again, I’m often good to write for a night session, another few hours until I’m sleepy again.
This is obviously different for everyone. Rest and writing times are something you have to experiment with to find something that works for you.
Current draft status: The first four chapters are mostly finished, chapter five is now in good shape, and I’ve already started on chapter six.
As a way to focus it is often advisable to write in different locations. While there is something to be said for the routine of a regular workspace, I haven’t mastered that routine, so sometimes it helps me to go to a place I don’t normally write, such as a coffee shop. A coffee shop forces me to focus on writing because of the new stimulus around me.
This seems counter-intuitive, but the low-level static of a new (or relatively new) environment makes you choose what you are focusing on while you shut everything else out. When I am in a familiar environment my mind can start to drift and long for stimulation beyond the act of writing. When my mind is in a stimulating environment I just want to shut out the noise and focus on my work.
Also, when I write in a different place, I always know the reason why I’m there: to get work down. It’s harder to go out of your way to find a place to write and then just surf the internet.
Current draft status: The first three chapters are mostly done, six to go.
This rewrite involves expanding description I skimped on in earlier drafts, clarifying unintentional vagueness, rewording sentences that could be confusing, and reading the dialogue to make sure it sounds natural and right for each character, all this among other general fixes to any errors I find.
I will also be improving the rhythm and flow of the prose, but that won’t be the focus of this draft, as the prose will still be changing too much in the editing process after this draft is complete.
Current draft status: The first two chapters are mostly done, and another four or five are in good shape, but the last few might need substantial work.
I was going to learn to code, but I guess I’ll try mastering the English language first.
I have this crazy idea. I’ll become my own copy editor. It will take time and daily study. I’ll have to master a craft that is not one of my natural gifts. Not by a long shot. It will be a struggle. Hopefully it will pay off.
The worst that could happen is I become better at grammar, and I still have to hire an editor anyway.
I just can’t pay to have three novels edited in one year. Especially if there might not be a return on my investment. I can either get a job just so I can pay a copy editor potentially thousands of dollars, or I can use that time to master proofreading myself.
These are the decisions you have to make when you are your own publisher and your publisher is flat broke.
Note: It is pretty much universal self-publishing advice to at the very least hire a copy editor, so use this post with caution.