Sunday, December 05, 2004

I thought I was crazy, but the voices in my head disagree

I was thinking...damn, I hate when that happens! I was thinking about the last rejection letter I received. Only a writer can understand that "a good rejection letter" is not an oxymoron.

By the standards of polite society, all fiction writers are insane. We hear voices; we talk to people who aren't there, and THEY TALK BACK (!). We create whole worlds, even entire universes, out of nothing but imagination. We are delusional, hallucinatory, and out of touch with reality. Worse, we are contagious. We spread our disease to others through our words, and they inhabit our realities, at least for a little while. According to the "real" world, we are crazy.

In actuality, though, writers are the ones who really are in touch with reality. We see the things that others decide not to acknowledge. We use our words to puncture the bubbles, rip the veils, throw open the doors so that others may see. In the Bible, the oft-repeated warning is "He that hath ears, let him hear". Our warning to the world should be: "He that hath eyes, let him read". I say warning because there are often grave dangers in seeing the things that others deny, much less trumpeting them to the world at large. It takes a lot of nerve to point your finger and say "That man's nekkid!", and the repercussions can be hard.

"Be careful what you wish for..." So I want to be a professional? Am I sure I can pay the price? I have to. I have no alternative. My silence would be the silence of the grave.

So much to do, so few of me

Here I am looking at my paltry little to-do list, and Zette has the nerve to post her list just for the month of December at Forward Motion. She has more work lined up for this month than I could get done in 3 months. AND SHE'LL GET IT ALL DONE! Amazing.

My list looks something like this:

Work on Web site (on-going)
Work on marketing short stories (on-going)
2 stories ready to submit (swift kick in the pants to get this done)
7 stories and 1 essay awaiting revision
8 stories, 1 essay, and 1 novel in various stages of first-draft disarray

Setting priorities and goals is tough. I have a lot of balls to keep in the air at one time. My current (and extremely provisional) thoughts are: devote 1 day per week to Web development until I get a substantial amount of content and functionality going, a couple of months, possibly; short stories and essays are my strength right now and my best hope for getting my name in front of the right people while working on the novel -- 1 day for story development, 1/2 day for market research, 1000 new words and/or 1 complete revision per week; 1000 new words on Washed in the Blood each week. My "day" averages about 5 hours, and my usual average is around 400 words / hour, though I have done 1000 when I was on a real roll. I need to play with the math and scheduling a little bit

General priorities (subject to change without notice):

1. Short stories / essays (writing / revising)
2. Market research and submitting
3. Novel
4. Web site

Right now, the difference between first and fourth is a little less than a smidgen. I'm working on clarifying that, too.

Enough boring stuff

Santa Claus came to see me yesterday (I love payday!) and brought me my long-awaited copies of Writing the Breakout Novel and WTBN Workbook. I'll have something to do while the Falcons are getting their butts kicked in Tampa Bay. They've been playing far too well lately, so it's time for a let-down.


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