Sunday, August 7, 2011

Inspiration (?!)

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time…The wait is simply too long.
-Leonard Bernstein

Ah, that age-old problem. Inspiration. Or lack thereof. I recently read an interview (or maybe saw it in a video) with Neil Gaiman who said something to the effect of that a writer has to make their word count whether they are inspired or not. You can’t sit around waiting to be inspired. And I know that. Intellectually, logically… I know that. But somehow, I can't make myself sit down and start writing when I don’t feel like I have anything to say. I don't have discipline.

The first draft of the first book I wrote was during Nanowrimo and I realized the absolute brilliance of that project. You have to write 50,000 words in a month, no matter what. Chances are the draft is probably crap. And it was. But I took that draft over the next year and made it into something I really liked. The next time Nanowrimo came around, I was a little over-confident in my abilities to reach 50,000 words. I was too lax, got too far behind and couldn’t catch up. I’ve been trying to tell myself ever since that "this is the month! I’m going to do my own Nanowrimo this month and bang out 50,000 words on the second book no matter how crappy it is. At least I’ll have a draft from which to work."

As Dr. Phil would say, "How’s that workin’ for ya?" Yeah… not so good.

So, for now I’m going to tell myself that I need to write at least 1,000 words each day. No matter what. I know I should aim higher. But, I know myself. If I aim too high, I’ll get overwhelmed and not do it. 1,000 words a day is better than nothin’. And if I reach that 1,000 and I’m on a roll, there’s nothing stopping me from reaching 2,000!

What about you other writer folks out there? How do you make yourself do it when there is no inspiration or motivation hovering over you?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So, here’s the deal. I wrote a novel. It’s a young adult fantasy novel (with a little romance thrown in for good measure. Maybe more than a little.) It is the first in what will be a trilogy. I have "finished" the first one. Finished is in quotations because… will I ever really stop tinkering with it until it is published and therefore untouchable? Doubtful. I have started sending out query letters to potential agents. However, before I even began doing that, I had in the back of my mind that I would not find an agent or a publisher for this and I would need to e-publish on my own.

Do I think my novel is that bad that no publisher or agent would touch it with a 10-foot pole? Absolutely not. I love this novel more than I should. My main character is likeable, conflicted, brave, and completely unaware of who she really is and the potential she is about to uncover. The premise rests heavily on the sad state of the environment of our planet. There is wormhole travel to another planet. There’s a gorgeous love-interest with deep emerald eyes. There are aliens with… well, I won’t throw out any more spoilers just in case you want to read it someday. I’ll write more about the novel in another post.
My point is – I’m pretty happy with the novel. I’ve had several people read it and they thought it was good, too. I’m not so cocky as to think I’m the next JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins. But I think it’s a solid first novel.

So why have I already planned for failure going the traditional publishing route? Because I’ve researched enough to know that is the nature of the beast. ("The beast" being the publishing world.) I don’t know exactly what the numbers are, but I know that a discouraging percentage of people who send their manuscripts out into the Universe get a nod on their first try, or within a reasonable amount of time.
I’m not patient enough for that. I want to get my characters and their story out into the Universe sooner rather than later. And I have also done enough research to know that e-publishing has been extremely successful for some. If, in the end, I end up e-publishing a work of literature that I happen to be proud of and at least a handful of people out there like it, then that will make me all kinds of happy, too.

If I end up e-publishing – which I think is likely – I’ll need some kind of forum to promote the book. Voila – a blog is born!

Not only will this be a great way to connect with folks who may eventually want to check out my book(s), but I’m looking forward to connecting with other e-publishing authors out there.

So, hello out there blogosphere! Is anyone there? I look forward to hearing from you. Tips, tricks or ideas about blogging are all more than welcome!