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[process] Some home truths on finishing what you start - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-01-02 07:55
Subject: [process] Some home truths on finishing what you start
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal, process, writing
A thing I hear reasonably often from aspiring writers, and occasionally from established writers, goes somewhat like this: "I was working on this novel, when I had a better idea that caught my attention, so I quit after 40,000 words." Often this is followed by: "I have seven unfinished novels." Or however many. And optionally by: "I don't understand why I can never get anything to market."

I have to say people, finish what you start. There's always a shinier idea somewhere ready to come along and grab you by the shoulder. That's the nature of our imaginations, and it's a normal part of writing avoidance.

Look at me, now, with a 600,000 word project on my desk of which I've written 200,000 words only to be interrupted by chemotherapy. How could I possibly manage such a project if every neat idea I had in the mean time interrupted me?

Furthermore, if you don't finish what you start, you've got nothing to sell. Six or eight or ten unfinished novels are worth less than one finished novel. Heck, an infinite number of unfinished novels are worth less than one finished novel. If you don't have the discipline to follow through an idea when the middle gets muddled and draggy and boring (and they all do that when you're in the middle of writing a novel), you don't have the discipline to be an author.

I've written through parenting crisis, emotional disasters, mental stress and distress including anxiety and depression, busy times at work, illness, you name it. In the eleven years since I became a pro, chemotherapy and surgery are the only things that have been able to stop me cold, and believe me, if I could find a way around that, I would. There are no excuses except the ones you make up for yourself. Even with chemotherapy and surgery these past two years, I've managed about 250,000 words of first draft each year.

If you want to be an author, finish the project. Then write the next project. Being a pro is that simple, and it's that hard.

What is it that stops you from writing?

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Nicosian: frogstack
User: nicosian
Date: 2012-01-02 16:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:frogstack
Its exactly what I'm doing now.

( ok, massive life upheaval stalled the novel i'm working on, for about 7 years: 3 miscarriages, 2 long distance moves, university.)

Truth: I started writing it from scratch in april when I was in the Netherlands. My internet went out and I didn't want to navigate narrow little stairs in a dark house with a dark yard, to go reset the router.:D

I've had other ideas, and they can sit and wait till this gets done, this time. I believe if I get this done I'll finally stop misplacing my celphone, my keys, my transit pass....

Edited at 2012-01-02 04:04 pm (UTC)
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Keikaimalu
User: keikaimalu
Date: 2012-01-02 16:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm not convinced it's all about discipline; I think it's partly about having the right tools in your toolbox.

I haven't sold any novels yet, but I've completed drafts of 7, of which I've brought 4 to a finished, publishable state (by my own standards). I have probably a dozen that I've started and stopped.

When I try to figure out why I finish some and not others, I realize that the issues are more structural than willpower-related. The 7 I finished, I knew how to finish. The others -- I got bogged down because I couldn't find my way through to the end.

So I've been making a study of story structure (short-form and novel), to add enough tools to my writerly toolbox that I don't end up trying to use a butter-knife when nothing but a screwdriver will do.
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kellymccullough
User: kellymccullough
Date: 2012-01-02 17:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think this one is a bit of an oversimplification. You absolutely must finish some of what you write, but finishing everything is not a necessary precondition to a successful career. Sometimes, the reason a writer walks away from a piece is that they don't have the tools to finish it, or because the idea has turned out to not be a very good one.

I've got something like a hundred short stories in one stage of incomplete or another, but also 50 or 60 finished, about half of which were published. I've got at least a dozen unfinished novels and 17 complete ones with 8 of those in print or forthcoming and 7 out on submission.

I know at least 3 writers who ended up not writing anything for months because they were stuck on something and had been drilled to believe you can't walk away from a piece who then went on to start something else and finish it. If you don't finish anything, you're not going anywhere, period. At the same time, not being able to walk away from a story that's not going anywhere can be a great recipe for not writing.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-02 17:33 (UTC)
Subject:
Well, everyone is different. But I suspect the number of pieces unfinished due to shiny distraction (ie, lack of discipline) is a significant factor, even compared to the number of pieces unfinished due to technique reasons.

And to be clear, I have one major unfinished novel that's been on my desk for the better part of the last decade, for exactly the reason you describe. (It's Original Destiny, Manifest Sin.) At that time, I didn't have the professional tools to finish what I started back around 2004. But I didn't abandon that novel because I had a better idea — which, you'll note, is specifically the issue I address in the post — I set it aside until my professional development as a writer let me come back to it. And ODMS is the next novel on my writing schedule after I wrap the Sunspin cycle.
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kellymccullough
User: kellymccullough
Date: 2012-01-02 17:51 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
Fair enough, and I agree that the distraction factor is the deadlier problem for the vast majority of writers. It was just that this: If you want to be an author, finish the project. Then write the next project. Being a pro is that simple, and it's that hard. seemed a pretty absolute sort of statement in a way that I more or less object to out of reflex.

I've mentored a number of writers who've adopted absolute statements as axiomatic in a way that's been very damaging to their development, and two specifically who'd taken "you must finish everything you start" as gospel in a way that made them feel like absolute failures when they hit a piece they couldn't finish. In both cases, having a pro give them permission to not finish something once in a while, emotionally freed them to pursue pieces they felt passionate about and were able to finish within relatively short time periods thereafter.

BTW, I'm realizing that I don't comment that often, and that it's usually on writing pieces where I have a nit to pick. This isn't because I'm grumpy with your advice. Quite the contrary. I'm in violent agreement with you on probably 95% of your writing advice and will often point people over this way to read you saying smart things about writing. It's just that, being the contrary sort of soul that I am it's usually the 5% with which I disagree that motivates me to put fingers to keyboard.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-02 19:03 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
You are right, and I do need to clarify my remarks I think. Because as I've said numerous times, the only canonical advice I believe in is "Write more". Everything else varies with the writer and the situation. But I do believe pretty strongly that abandoning a project because you think you had a better idea is a short road to disappointment and failure.
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2012-01-02 17:56 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
I love the title.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-02 19:01 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
Thank you. As you might imagine, this is a magical alternate history of the 19th century American west. I've published a handful of short stories in the continuity.
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jackwilliambell
User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2012-01-02 20:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know I am currently stalled precisely because I realized I don't have the chops to do what I want to do with my novel. I haven't managed to get over that hump yet and, to my shame, must admit I haven't been trying hard enough.

I need to learn more about character and about how different characters respond to being put in jeopardy. Plus I didn't adequately understand the power of giving my protagonist unpleasant tasks or putting them into emotionally charged situations they don't like, but must deal with. The trick there seems to revolve around making the jeopardy (whether small or large) fit the character. But I'm not sure I really grok it yet.

So my excuse for not writing is: I suck. Whereas in my heart I'm not really giving up, just trying to get past the suckocity. Only in my heart of hearts I know I am not trying hard enough.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-02 21:03 (UTC)
Subject:
So write something else. That's what I do when I get stuck. :)
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jackwilliambell
User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2012-01-02 21:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually I did start something else. But then I felt like I should force myself to continue on the thing I am blocked on, so I haven't gone back to it.

Are you saying it is OK to have multiple projects in the works, so long as you actually finish all of them?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-02 21:19 (UTC)
Subject:
Are you saying it is OK to have multiple projects in the works, so long as you actually finish all of them?

Yep. In fact, I just finished a blog post for tomorrow clarifying some of this. I mean, look at it this way. How long have I had Original Destiny in the works, yet I continue to write other books...?
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Adam Israel: I'm here because you broke something
User: stonetable
Date: 2012-01-02 17:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:I'm here because you broke something
I've mostly finished the first draft of every short story I've started but where I fall down is in picking them back up for revision. That's been the hard part for me, and the thing I really need to get into the habit of doing this year.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-02 17:43 (UTC)
Subject:
There's another rant for another time, but honestly, if you don't finish the drafts, you have nothing to revise, so good for you.

By way of (hopefully) encouraging you: Revision is a separate art from drafting, and one that I have always found more challenging and less emotionally rewarding. The single most salient aspect of my journey as a writer over the past 21 years has been learning to (a) revise with even mild competence and (b) to find sufficient joy in that process to boost my motivation. Stick to it, it will come.
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irismoonlight
User: irismoonlight
Date: 2012-01-02 19:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Finishing the writing isn't the problem, really. Finishing the REVISION is.
I recently took stock of my hard drive; I have nine completed manuscripts in zero to final draft form and five unfinished ones. Only one of the complete manuscripts is agent-ready.

In answer to your question, I stopped working on the unfinished ones for various reasons. Two because the story isn't "cured;" I don't know where each is going (or I felt it was going in a trite, overdone or too predictable direction). They're waiting on my brain. One because the story creeps me out. The others because I need to finish revisions on those I have finished, because they involve the same characters and I need to outline those books' character arcs in ink before I can add to their growth/pain. I've also ended up setting manuscripts aside so I can finish revisions on the ones that are complete.

It took me seven years to get that one final draft revised into agent-ready form. I can't take that much time with each; I MUST get more efficient. I'm learning, and I seem to be making progress in speedier revision (I'm a third of the way through another) but I find it hair-tearingly slow. It is the most frustrating part of creation for me (and the most rewarding, because the depth-of-story from each book doesn't arrive for me until the revision).

You seem to draft and revise swiftly; the entirety seemed gelled for you before you start. I envy that a bit, and am glad that works for you. I'm still juggling pieces and making connections on the third pass. It's horribly inefficient but that seems to be my process.

(Also, if I don't allow myself to do at least a little bit of "shiny" writing periodically I end up adding florid unnecessary bits to the works in revision that I have to chop out later. I'm trying to teach myself to write short stories, or at least short story writing exercises, to give my brain its magpie moments. Because the act of fermenting and creating is SO much more fun than the act of kneading that creation into something nutritious and digestible. Uh. My apologies for the tormented food metaphor. Lunch now).
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-02 20:33 (UTC)
Subject:
You seem to draft and revise swiftly; the entirety seemed gelled for you before you start

Quickly yes, but gelled... Hmm. Well, gelled somewhere in my subconscious. Even with a tight outline, I am often quite surprised at what shows up via my keyboard. But yes, it's a fairly rare gift I have for working rapidly with more-than-passable output quality. That's the only thing that's kept me productive through these years of cancer.
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MG Ellington
User: xjenavivex
Date: 2012-01-02 17:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you, Jay.
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Starshadow
User: arielstarshadow
Date: 2012-01-02 18:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Honestly, what usually gets me is that I feel like my writing is spot-on for the first chapter or so, and then it just feels like the overall quality of the words I'm putting on the page drops after that until I reach a point where I'm sure it's all drivel and horrible and banal.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2012-01-02 19:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This is very normal. It's just your writer brain playing tricks on you. Don't let it stop you.
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Angel
User: valarltd
Date: 2012-01-02 18:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you. I have friends who are "oh, I can't write, my husband is on the road." "I can't write, my mom's in the hospital." "I can't write, I'm blocked." blah blah blah,

My daughter spent almost a year in a psych hospital. I was driving a semi long distance. And I still wrote.

My mother is dying of leukemia. I'm still writing.

If you are a writer, you will write if it means doing it with tongue-tip on the inside of your cheek while in solitary and a strait jacket.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2012-01-02 19:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
First of all, I'm very, very sorry for your difficulties, and I'm glad you've been able to keep writing. However, a major life crisis is a totally different thing from being distracted by a new idea. For many people in situations like yours, the time/energy matrix simply doesn't accommodate writing. Many pro writers I know, including bestselling SF/F writers, have taken time off from their careers in order to take care of family business, and that's fine.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-02 20:33 (UTC)
Subject:
What she said. In spades. I was trying to make a relatively narrow point about the pursuit of ideas, but did not construct my post or my concluding remarks as well as I might have.
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Angel
User: valarltd
Date: 2012-01-02 23:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And for some of us, during those crises, writing is our only lifeline to sanity.

I was thinking of people who let every little thing get in the way of their writing, whether their job or the lumbago flare of their great-aunt five states away. They will take any excuse they can get to not write.

Those having genuine crises, like our hosts, like my friend who took his wife through the end of her terminal illness last spring, must make their own assessment of energy and needs and do what is best.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2012-01-03 00:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know the type you mean. I once had someone tell me that he would love to have paid maternity leave from his job so that he could have time to write a novel, simultaneously demonstrating cluelessness about writing AND parenting. The mind boggles.
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inflectionpoint
User: inflectionpoint
Date: 2012-01-03 14:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This. I'm not a writer, but this. And I'm so sorry for your hard times. That's too much awful for anyone.

If you want to finish a Ph.D., you will.
If you want to stay married, you will.
If you want FOO, you will.

It may mean losing a lot of other things and you may regret the cost later, but if you want to do foo, you will.

I've seen far too many creative, clever, skilled people torpedo themselves with every excuse under the sun, including family sabotage, which is one of the hardest things for me to deal with - the thing where when you sit down to work on your Thing, they Suddenly Need Help, or Manifest Imaginary Problems. There's always something when you try to string together fifteen minutes of peace to work on your Thing.

I appreciate you saying this - many folks are afraid to say it for fear that it sounds unkind. But it's an important truth. Thank you.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-03 14:11 (UTC)
Subject:
I've made the same point along the way, about what we give up to get what we want (or think we want). For some reason, whenever I talk about giving up television shows and video games to have more time to write, as I did many years ago, people develop the most amazing excuses.
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inflectionpoint
User: inflectionpoint
Date: 2012-01-03 14:22 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
Yep.

I don't watch TV. Time sucker. If my partner is watching TV, that's time for me to knit or to do house chores or such.

But it's really a matter of how much do you want X? Obviously, you can't have X, Y, and Z, if they happen to contain mutually contradictory elements, but you can always work toward X and do your utmost to get it.

I was thinking of someone I know when writing this post. They always talk about wanting to have finished their Ph.D., but "couldn't" because of this, that, or the other thing. They always talk about wanting to do This Large Project, but being unable to because of their health. (I've seen people with scary and big health issues take on this particular project and complete it.) And so on and so on.

It got really annoying to be in the room with this attitude when I've worked really hard and -done- things, started to feel almost like the person was pissing on my accomplishments to excuse their own game. So I stopped being in that room.

There's a difficult line between being gentle and encouraging of people and reminding them that if you want it, go and GET it.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-03 14:31 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
There's a difficult line between being gentle and encouraging of people and reminding them that if you want it, go and GET it.

Toughlove, yeah. And it's trick to pull that off with writers, as we tend to collect neuroses and social dysfunctions the way other people collect coffee mugs and t-shirts. I've been diagnosed with clinical depression, which I've dealt with over the years, and I'm almost certainly diagnosably hypomaniac and hypergraphic myself, not to mention rather likely either ADD or ADHD (those last two didn't start being widely diagnosed til well after I'd grown up and out of reach of school psychs). In both my Day Jobbe and my writing life I've found paths where most of my little grab bag of psych issues are strengths rather than weaknesses, and combined with the fact that I'm a mouthy, glib, high-functioning extrovert, I get along fine in life.

All of which is to say that in general I don't wilt under criticism and can take a lot of negative feedback without losing my smile ... those last two not being true of many writers both aspiring and working. Telling some people to get off their butts and go GET it just doesn't work.
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inflectionpoint
User: inflectionpoint
Date: 2012-01-03 14:41 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Re:
Yep. I don't know what does work for those folks. (I had depression for years. Meds were good. Getting out of a very bad relationship web was good and was facilitated by being on correct meds long enough. Getting out of a hellish job was what got me to a point where it resolved enough that meds are not a part of my life anymore. Exercise is helping it stay that way. But dear god, it's a lot of extra work.)

And yes, the extrovert thing does help. When I left Hellish Job and changed my social web, suddenly... I became more extroverted, because the people around me were at the worst a zero and not a large net negative. This meant that people were now actually interesting, pleasant, and even fun sometimes. For me, this was like when I got glasses at age six. You mean it can be like this? Nifty. And it helps with forming connections and relationships that are good for just about anything a person wants or needs to do.

So I just have to step away, or pull my attention away from it. It's really painful and sad to watch someone throw away what could be a viable career (in field X) because they weren't able to go GET it. I spent too long watching them suffer from family sabotage and then left the scene.

It's frustrating because I want everyone (well with one exception, there's only one person on earth I really dislike this much) to be happy and satisfied.

But I can't do it for them. And what works for me here and now doesn't work for Someone Else Then and There necessarily.

The best I can do is do what I do and show how it works if someone asks. That's all I got.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-03 14:52 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Re:
It's really painful and sad to watch someone throw away what could be a viable career

The most painful emerging career crash I've personally witnessed was someone with a promising short story career and strong editorial interest from a major house re their novel-in-progress, who went through a really bad series of relationship issues, and reacted by crawling up inside one of the major MMORPG environments and abandoning original fiction altogether for 250K+ words a year of in-game fanfic. That was four or five years ago, and insofar as I am aware they have yet to return to writing anything outside their gaming obsession.

I'm all for gaming if that's what you want to do, and Ghu knows not everyone *should* be a writer, but that was heart-breaking to watch, and be able to do nothing. This person could have been a major voice in SF/F over time.
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inflectionpoint
User: inflectionpoint
Date: 2012-01-03 15:05 (UTC)
Subject: Yeouch.
That is just terrible.

I have seen someone who writes almost a million words a year of fanfic. Hir home is always in a financial crisis, and there's a lot of other crisis in their life. Part of me thinks, for heaven's sake, if you can write a million words a year of fanfic, you could get a paying job of some sort. But this is the kind of person who doesn't want to hear that.

New question for you about fanfic. Is fanfic a useful place for a person to learn how to write and develop skills? Or is it a strange dead end and time sucker? I'm curious what your take is. (And heading off to work now. Cats woke me earlier than usual today.)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-03 15:17 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Yeouch.
New question for you about fanfic. Is fanfic a useful place for a person to learn how to write and develop skills? Or is it a strange dead end and time sucker?

Um, yes to both, potentially. I'll point out some very significant newer writers such as Elizabeth Bear and Naomi Novik came out of the fanfic community. It's an environment where reader response is clear, obvious and critical to continued success. Fanfic authors hear a lot more detailed critique from their readers than I do, that's for sure.

I've learned not to offer my *personal* opinions of fanfic, as they're largely negative and I tend to get dogpiled hard when I speak up. My *professional* opinions are that anyone who loves a body of work enough to write about it themselves is a deeply committed fan, and as a writer I should ever be so lucky as to have a fanfic following. However, I really struggle with the copyright and IP issues, and confess to snickering a lot whenever a plagiarism scandal breaks out in fanfic, as I tend to think anyone who bases their work on copyright infringement in the first place doesn't have a leg to stand on when complaining about their work being inappropriately copied.
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jackwilliambell
User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2012-01-02 20:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
[Hangs head]

Yes Sensei...
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2012-01-02 21:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
While I've always been grateful that writing has gotten me through some pretty hard and depressing times, the irony is that what stops me are really happy times. I don't mean long consistent happy periods, but things like visiting rarely-seen friends, holidays spent with family members, and so on.
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mmegaera
User: mmegaera
Date: 2012-01-03 03:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This. In spades.
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magicalbookworm
User: magicalbookworm
Date: 2012-01-03 00:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For me - it's feedback. Why write when I know I can't get anyone from any of the handful of Crit groups I belong to read anything I've written. I would love to be able to move past the idea of someone critting my work, but I know I need that extra set of eyes to go through the writting and point out things that don't work.
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mmegaera
User: mmegaera
Date: 2012-01-03 03:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This in spades, too.

What I want is one of those mythical Beta Readers [g].
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magicalbookworm
User: magicalbookworm
Date: 2012-01-03 05:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
They are mythical aren't they?! Everyone talks about wonderful beta readers and I'm starting to wondering if they're real or not!
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mmegaera
User: mmegaera
Date: 2012-01-03 17:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, they are to other people...
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magicalbookworm
User: magicalbookworm
Date: 2012-01-04 01:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If you ever find one, pass the word to me of how you did!
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mmegaera
User: mmegaera
Date: 2012-01-04 05:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Will do. And ditto [g].
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Lupa
User: lupagreenwolf
Date: 2012-01-03 05:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This. Sooooo this. I'm very good at staying focused on one writing project at a time, even if I have half a dozen others biting at my heels the whole time.
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Shalanna: calvin with hobbes
User: shalanna
Date: 2012-01-03 05:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:calvin with hobbes
What is it that stops me from writing?

That nobody cares. My mother doesn't read fiction. My husband only reads software manuals and that certain subgenre of fantasy that I call "bricks" (the long series of books concerning battles, royalty, court intrigue, and so forth). I've finally given up on traditional publishing because of all the time I've wasted on it (years of agents calling me and suggesting specific revisions, and then not being signed by those agents after the revisions, even though they often said that they still love the story and the writing--it's just not something they feel they can sell now, or they don't love it enough, or whatever). I've put several books out on the Kindle, but I don't have any way to promote them.

I don't know why I don't just STOP entirely. I do take breaks when I get too depressed. But then I always feel a pull back to the blank page. I'll be completing a revision/polish of MIRANDA'S RIGHTS (a witchy modern fantasy) and another book that is a romantic suspense, just because I want to read them when they're finished (I write what I like to read, which is the major problem--in general, I don't like the sorts of books that are blockbusters today). Then I'll put them on the Kindle and take them to CreateSpace for print editions. Then I'll download the Kindle editions and order a couple of print copies for myself. Then I'll put them on the shelf at the end of the bed. I'm not a good promoter, and I hate it when people blather on about their books like some Amway distributor with no boundaries.

I don't have a problem finishing a novel (and then letting it sit, and then revising, and then getting some poor beta reader, and then revising and polishing again, and then waiting for the rejecting to start). It's just that I often wonder . . . what's the point? What's the point in doing it? Nobody cares. I only do it for my own satisfaction these days, having given up on my work ever appealing to others.

It's like my piano playing. Some days it gives me great satisfaction. Other times, I wonder, why do I try? Nobody wants to hear the piano. My family hates the sound of it. I get stage fright when people are watching, anyway. What's the point? Who wants to hear me play old standards by ear? Who CARES about Mozart? Very few people today, I can assure you. Outside of the conservatory, at least.

And I'll never be invited to play in a conservatory, that's for sure.

I don't know . . . it's not apathy on MY part, but discouragement because of the lack of interest on everyone else's. That's what stops me.

It just doesn't keep me stopped. Because I'm an idiot who still insists on Believing. Don't know how much longer that will last. If it would end, my life would be so much easier!

Oops. I think you wanted a reasonable answer such as, "I have a day job," or "My family takes up all my time." Sorry about that, Chief.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-01-03 13:36 (UTC)
Subject:
Speaking as someone who wrote and submitted constantly for a decade before publishing word one, I do get this.
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Shalanna: SallyBrown
User: shalanna
Date: 2012-01-03 14:35 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
Keyword:SallyBrown
Thank you.

I've been at this seriously (non-juvenilia) since I married in 1984, on and off. Off when I got discouraged, up to two years at a time. I've been "almost there" and "this close" too many times to count. Currently I think my work just doesn't fit the market, and I know I couldn't do a "blockbuster"-style novel because my heart wouldn't be in it, and that always shows. It's tough.

And now that the Kindle market has opened up, it's tougher than ever to market your work. What a blessing of chaos it is out there! But it makes the advice "finish what you start" more important than ever, as when you do have a finished product that lives up to your own artistic standards, you can put it out for others to read. Kind of cool, actually.
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January 2014
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