Saturday, February 04, 2006

People Come From All Around

Search engine query round-up:

Another vote for "sex in the attic". All right, all right, I'm going! Jeez!
"CARTER WATCH" It's enough to make a guy paranoid. Gotta go close the blinds now.
"16 years naked". This one from Germany. Put some clothes on, for God's sake! Nobody wants to see that.
"Time's a Wastin' carter" Is that a hint?
"stories of dancing in the darkness" I have a few, but I ain't telling them here.

So the message I'm getting is that you guys want to hear my stories of dancing in the darkness while wasting time hjaving sex in the attic after 16 years of nakedness. And you think I'm weird!

Friday, February 03, 2006

So, Who Am I, Really?

Yesterday's post brought me to thinking about the direction I want to go in my writing career. Fiction is absolutely my first, best love. Fiction lets me explore deep places and discover fascinating new things. Though some of them are a little slimy-icky, that's OK. They are things I need to see and disect. If someone else in the world can learn something from that, too, that's just "more better". But...

But...I also like to write nonfiction. I get to do research and learn new things. I write well. Frankly, I write a heap better than most of the people publishing nonfiction these days. Nonfiction pays better, too. Lots better. And I can knock out a publication-ready 2000 word article in no more than a couple of days. Short stories take a lot more time, sweat, blood, and cursing, and I can't seem to sell them for shit. Yet.

So what do I do? Use nonfiction to get name recognition, publication credits, and money for books, a new computer, all the essentials of a writer's life? There are two real questions, I think.

  • Can I balance two very different kinds of writing in limited time available?

  • Will becoming known as a writer of nonfiction hurt my chances at publishing fiction?

The first question is just a matter of discipline, which I have not yet developed to the extent required. That's kind of worrisome. If I decide to concentrate more on nonfiction, will I let my fiction languish, or can I find the discipline to wear all these different hats at their appropriate times. I guess there's no way to tell without making the commitment and going forward with it, but my self-destructive side is still very much active in my life. Self-sabotage is so easy, and "I told you so" makes my internal critic so very happy. I'm gradually learning to forgive myself for my mistakes and pick up where I left off, so that would help.

The impact of a writer's reputation on publishing fiction is a little murky in this area. There certainly are writers who swing both ways. Holly and Zette are both prime examples, but they concentrate mainly on writing about writing, meta-writing is the academic buzz-word. What I'm talking about is doing general nonfiction, whatever subject I can think of that has any interest for me, which is just about everything. I think the answer to that question remains up in the air. Fiction publishing is subject to a lot more vagaries than nonfiction, is my impression. Reputation is very important, both in terms of personality and in terms of previous publications. That nags at me and holds me back from jumping in.

I'm really dithering about this right now. It sure is nice to have stuff published and get paid for it, but I sure would prefer for it to be my fiction. I'll check with the Tarot one day soon and see if it can offer any focus. So, who am I really? I guess that's for me to decide.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The New Paradigm

My post the other day about publishers discovering the Internet stirred up some dust bunnies in the old attic. After the sneezing subsided, I managed to corral a few of them and arrange them in some semblance of order.

Those of use who did not grow up with the Internet often have a hard time adapting our thinking to the new reality. A 'Net-centric world functions differently than I am used to. Things are not always cut and dried. Connections spring up and vanish in the flash of an electron. Virtually instantaneous communication and short attention spans make marketing far more difficult than it used to be while opening up vast opportunities for innovation.

I have always taken a Bull-in-a-China-Shop approach to life. Damn the torpedoes, I'm coming through! That is not always a good thing. The electronic world demands more finesse, faster footwork than I can handle much of the time. Illusion is prevalent, and I don't always know where I stand anymore. For an old hide-bound rhinoceros like me, that's really uncomfortable.

I guess my major point, if I even have one, is that I can empathize to a certain degree with the major publishing houses. Recognizing the possibilities and jumping fast enough and far enough to capture them is hard for old fogies like us. The old-fashioned ways of doing business are good enough anymore, though. Adapt or die is frighteningly real these days. We can do it, but damned if I'm not going to complain about it.

They Don't Always Get It Right

Your Love Life Secrets Are

Looking back on your life, you will only have one true love.


You're a little scarred from your past relationships, but who isn't?

Hey, that's life. Scars give you character, right?

You expect a lot from your lover - you want the full package. You tend to be very picky.

If you're not getting the full package, why bother? Being in love takes too much time and work to settle for less.

In fights, you are able to walk away and calm down. You are able to weather the storm.

Yeah, that's me. Mostly. Depends on just how pissed off I am.

Getting over a break-up doesn't take long. Easy come, easy go.

Ummm...No. You don't get scars from paper cuts. It takes a deep wound.

60% right. A very low D at best. Whatever. It's not like I really believe in this stuff, ya know?

Got the link from Heather.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Osama bin WashingMachine

My washer has resorted to terrorism. I think it may also be hoarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. This means war! It's already been a most joyful week working on the fu...ummmm...doggone thing. Looks like a long weekend ahead.

I don't mind fixing the dryer when it breaks. There's so little that can go wrong with a dryer. It's just a motor, a belt, and a heater. Easy to move, since it's mostly empty space. Usually replacing a thermostat or a switch gets it going again. 15-20 bucks max.

Washing machines, though. Bleh. Motor, transmission, inner tub, outer tub, pump, hoses, switches, AAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!! There's nothing easy about it. Everything is heavy, and I have to crawl around on the floor to get to anything. I wind up with headaches, backaches, and a very bad attitude. The only upside is that I would be in an even worse mood if we had to pay a repairman, or, God forbid!, replace it.

To call our budget "strained" is a truly masterful understatement. Ah, the joys of living as a writer/Librarian. Good thing I'm not bound up with pursuing worldy wealth, huh? Enough to live on would be welcome, though. If living like this builds character, then I certainly have an excess built up. Maybe I can sell some of it on eBay.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Slowly But Surely

Mainstream publishers are gradually discovering that the Internet is not just a fly-by-night geek hangout. There are actual people out there USING the doggone thing!

Among the highlights:
  • Fictitious Web sites and blogs based on characters from forth-coming books
  • Web-based games based on novels
  • Free content online (hmmm, I think I've seen that before...)

The publishing industry seems to run about 25 - 50 years behind the times as a matter of course. It's really a shame, when that industry could use new technologies in so many different ways to streamline production, enhance promotion, reduce costs, and *GASP* make more money! God! They might have to actually start paying the writers, too! It could be the End of The World As We Know It. Good riddance, some of us say.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Way of the Cheetah

Way of the Cheetah: How to Boost Your Productivity by Lynn Viehl. 2006.

So you call yourself a writer, or would like to, but there just doesn't seem to be enough time. Maybe the distractions of your busy life get in your way. Maybe you start strong but have trouble finishing anything. Don't lose heart; the cavalry is here.

Lynn Viehl, well known arounf the blogoverse as Paperback Writer, offers her views on what it takes to be a successful writer in Way of the Cheetah: How to Boost Your Productivity. Her practical, no-nonsense approach to the writing life is refreshing and inspirational. These are the "secrets" that have enabled her to sell 32 novels in six years, 9 in 2005 alone. As a member of the elite Million-Words-a-Year Club, Viehl knows how to produce, and now she is sharing her methods with the rest of us.

Cheetahs have to produce in order to survive. They don't spend time worrying about what the other cheetahs think, or if they're "doing it right". They hunt, or they starve. Just like the cheetah, writers have to produce to be successful. They have to write. Butt in chair, words on paper. That work ethic is the biggest price of success, and the hardest habit to develop. Way of the Cheetah shows you how.

Viehl offers her proven tactics for overcoming distractions, organizing your work space, breaking out of the dreaded cyle of the Eternal Edit, and getting past all the other traps that await the unwary. Above all, she emphasizes the necessity to take your writing seriously. If you want a hobby, consider stamp collecting. Writing is hard work. You can't avoid that work, so you have to be serious about it.

At 71 pages, Way of the Cheetah is by no means a hefty tome, but each of those pages contains golden nuggets and sparkling jewels just waiting for you. Each of the 8 steps along the Way gives hard, practical advice for increasing your productivity, followed by exercises designed to guide you through putting that advice to work in your own writing life. Some of it will work for you, some will not, but every writer will find something here to benefit their career. I know I sure have.

I highly recommend Way of the Cheetah to all writers looking for the path to success. My feet are beginning to tread the Way, come join me.

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