Thursday, May 6, 2010

Murphy

Of course Murphy would have it that on the self same day that I read a yahoo article about how your migraine might actually be an aneurysm in your brain JUST ABOUT TO ASPLODE that I would get my semi-monthly headsplitter. In case you were wondering, the combined effects of a migraine and a mild hypochondria induced panic attack = peekaboo hand/finger silhouettes at the edges of your vision. Wtf, body?

A mild setback

As many of you know, in the past weeks I've started devoting myself to writing almost full time, and, more recently (and perhaps less well known), I've started inundating myself with information about the publishing industry as a whole, and agents specifically. They say you should dress for your dream job, and I know that part of that is knowing what I'm getting myself into, and how to go about it. The research I've done is pretty encouraging; the market is actually better for my genre than it was even two years ago, but (for better or for worse) hasn't really changed a whole lot in the procedure of things since high school: it's still mostly writing, patience, and more writing, and more patience, with a dash of not being an idiot about the whole thing by taking some time to understand the process. Which is very comforting, because I've been doing rounds of learning how to and writing queries and summaries, finding agents with relevant interests, and staying peripherally aware of the publishing world since, oh, say, my junior year of high school. And since then, a lot of agents and publishers have gotten on board with the whole internet thing, which makes everything a whole lot easier. With places like http://www.agentquery.com/ there's no reason to ever hassle an agent that won't pick you up, and you can feel out a personality fit from afar, because many of them actively maintain personal and professional blogs. Though, from reading said blogs, there are enough people still doing it wrong that I'm consistently made to feel like a shining star just for not having my head up my ass.

But I'm becoming increasingly aware that the hardest part of being a writer, right after self discipline (which is far and away the greatest battle for any artist), is self promotion. Everyone is talking about writing as a business - "authorpreneurship" - because if your book isn't salable, and if you don't have a plan for how to sell it, evidently the dollar signs drop out of the eyes of potential publishers like dead flies, and you (and your book) drop to the bottom of the pile. And I sense that this might be a problem for me - it's admittedly at least a fraction of the reason that I started this blog (though the tie ins for self promotion and the need for human communication and self-expression, at this point, are weirdly interconnected). I'm bad at maintaining contact with people, and bad at networking, and aren't blogs part of how people in "the biz" do that? So even if I only have six unique readers so far (and, boy, do I love whoever you six people are, you're my shining stars!), that's a start, isn't it?

Well, maybe.

To be honest the whole thing is still sortof unreal. I'm consistently fairly hopeful, but less consistently productive. I'm still working on the B.I.C. thing - or rather, the not spending all my free time poking around the internet and actually getting some shit done. I'm trying to self-impose deadlines with a handy dandy spreadsheet to track my progress, but it's one of those things where I have to balance between quantity productivity and quality productivity. NaNoWriMo is all about the frantic race for quantity which can act as the urgency induced inspiration that so many of us require to bust through writer's block, but at the same time I've found that it leads to MASSIVE GAPING PLOTHOLES because in the rush for wordcount there isn't much room to think out subsequent plot points. So I'm discovering my book as I'm writing it - pushing to force myself to write something anything to make that awful blank page stop staring, and then going "oh, so that's what happens" and forcing myself to accept and learn that rewriting, even and especially on the shitty first draft, is healthy, if painful to my inner racer.

Hmm, I seem to have gone off on some kind of tangent. Oh well, back to The Page!

p.s. new RSS and email subscription options, fabulous six!

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