Thursday, January 27, 2011

Remembering to have fun

From My Cover Art

That's 'Cover Art' for a new short story that I'll have up for sale soon.

I don't have a bad life. There are many aspects of it that are better than I could ever have hoped for, really. I can, for instance, write whenever I please as long as I get some other work done, too. I can sleep as late as I like and work on stories through the night, which is my best writing time. While I have a few paying jobs that need attention, they are not nine to five jobs and I can work them in and around other things . . . like writing. I have contact with a number of writers and I don't have to deal with many annoying people in real life. There are other aspects that are not so great. I really want Russ to get a job in this area and move back home. We're a few months into the fourth year apart, and neither of us is happy.

Even still, this is a good life. Better than I had growing up when I was already supporting my mother and sister at 16 and continuing to do so until I married Russ. I have gotten back those years when I worked from 3:30 in the afternoon until after 2 am, went home and then got back up and went to school. (I am, by the way, the only person in my family to graduate from high school) I now have the ability to write all the things I would have done back then -- only better, I hope.

There's something I kind of forgot somewhere along the line in the last few years: I forgot that I am in a position where I can -- and should -- make things fun. Or rather, with me, allow them to be fun since I plainly have not stopped writing. I need to stop fretting about everything else and focus on some of the good stuff.

I love writing. A person cannot be prolific (I'll hit 80k for the year today) and not love creating stories. I have stories to share that I am editing and I have stories I haven't even written yet that I want to share. I am working at getting more time to apply to my writing so I can enjoy it without feeling as though I should be working on something else. That means cutting back on some other, odd things. After 14 years, I've told the county where I live that I would like to retire from the work of running their website. I've been doing it practically for free for a long, long time ($40 a month). I can use that time for other things. I also believe that I can make at least that much on story sales when I get moving!

This year I added a number of new moderators to Forward Motion and turned them loose to do whatever they think will help with the site. I've had a lot of ideas for new things, but no time to implement many of them. I got the Indie Publishing section up and running, at least, and in the care of someone who has made a real study of the situation. That's in good hands.

It means, really, that I just have to sit down and do things for myself. Not only write the first draft and play at editing now and then, but follow through all the way from the first word to the final moment I make it into an ebook. Oddly, the new Indie Publishing has helped in that way. I can see a real end to the work and that's pushed me to work harder again. I have found that I am not as lazy about editing as I had been for a while. And I rekindled my love for it, too.

Oh and here is a good analogy for doing things:

If you are going to make tea, it doesn't do enough to put the water in add the tea leaves. You actually have to turn the tea maker on. Staring at it will not create tea.

(Turns on tea maker)

Anyway. . . .

So far this year, I have three novels and one short story up on the Nook and Kindle sites. I will be adding two more short stories in a day or so. Yes, I am going for a lot of things through the ACOA site (which is close to opening as well). While some real life stuff sucks at the moment, I've decided that I am going to keep my attention back where I need it -- on my writing and getting things up for sales. Editing, editing, editing. And yes, that's fun for me, too.

Oh and I am using a great free program to help with editing. It lists how many times you use a word, whether it is a word commonly over used in general, etc. You can run the manuscript through the site or download the program and run it on the computer. I've done the second since I don't want to have to open the site every time I want to check.

You have to ignore the common words you use that it lists. You'll go crazy trying to cut some of them down and it's not necessary. But I really like working with the lists and figuring out what I can cut and should change.

And while it lists adverbs, can I give a reasonable thought to the OMG KILL ALL ADVERBS group? An adverb exists for a reason. They should not be overused, but there's no reason to rework every single instance of them and the same is true with passive voice sentences. Work hard to make certain what you've written is the best it can be, but don't make something worse if the passive voice (or adverb) works better. Be wise.

And remember to have fun. This should never be work, even when it's difficult. Challenges can be fun, too. Don't let them ruin the joy of writing for you. You'll learn to do better every time you conquer something that gives you trouble. You're getting better at writing with every page.

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