March 27, 2017

Being a Slow Writer in a Fast-paced Marketplace

For some people, writing 10,000 words is easy. Heck, for some writers I know, writing 40,000+ in one marathon writing session isn't unheard of. But for me, even 1,000-word days aren't common, because I'm a painfully slow writer. Sometimes, 100 words can take hours (and that's not counting the editing to come). 

This isn't because of the ever-elusive notion of inspiration, though of course it can be easier to write if I know what will happen next, what the scene should look like. If I don't have to do research as I go to make sure that what I'm writing in my contemporary (i.e. real-world) story could reasonably happen. 

Slower writers are at a disadvantage in today's publishing landscape, where the #1 piece of advice is to keep putting new work out—and often—to keep readers' attention, maximize marketing opportunities, etc. If you aren't on par with authors such as George R. R. Martin, you just don't have the luxury of waiting years between books. Even traditionally published authors try to write more than one series or genre with different houses, specifically so that they can publish more often than the traditional pace of no more than one book a year.

Sometimes as I write, or more accurately sit struggling to write the next line, I remind myself that I ultimately make up a lot of the time in the editing process. Faster writers often need more intense revisions because their drafting method is of the "get words on the page, any words, good, bad or ugly, just do it" style. To be clear, it's great that that works for them. It's an element of my own writing too sometimes, to a lesser extent. But ultimately, that's just not my writing style. 

Of course, my first drafts are still pretty terrible. Just ask my critique group (who don't see my very first draft anyway, but you get the point). But, they're usually readable and more or less coherent. You can see what the story is at its core, where it's going, who the characters are, etc. I have never had to delete entire subplots or add new ones, or finish out ones that started and went nowhere. I don't tend to add new characters, or delete ones either—not because I plan things out before I start writing, but because I think things through carefully as I go, even when the story veers somewhere I didn't expect. Ultimately, all of that slows down the writing itself, and forcing that word count up bit by bit can be draining, and disheartening.

And I know I'm not alone, being a slow writer in this fast-paced new wave of publishing. More experienced authors have even offered workshops on how to balance all those reader expectations and marketing opportunities with being a "slow" content creator. Even Kafka struggled, as this photo I recently came across shows:

All that to say, I know it's been a while since my last book came out, and meanwhile I haven't even announced a release date for the next one. But I personally can't write them any faster than I do. And I hope you'll find the wait worth it.

March 13, 2017

Just a Quick Update

It's been a while since I've posted about my projects, so I figure it's time for an update! Here's what's going on:

Fallen: I would really like to get this story edited and published before the end of the year (2017). Of course, I have underestimated the amount of time required just about every step of the way with this story so far, so please don't hold it against me if that doesn't happen. 

Part of the holdup with Fallen is that, before diving into those edits, I would really like to get Bobby & Lizanne's story finished up and out so you all can read it. The good news is I've already chosen a cover image! The bad news is that I don't have a title, and I'm only about halfway through the first draft at this point. But this story is where I'm trying to put the bulk of my writing focus right now. 

Meanwhile, I've also returned to the idea of brushing up all those flash fiction stories I've written—for contests like Flash! Friday or for Scripting Change or in general—and then putting them together into a collection. This is one of those things that should be easy, since each piece is written and short and just needs some editing... But then there's putting all those disjointed pieces together into one collection, ordering them for a smooth read, and a million other decisions to help the collection be enjoyable for readers, i.e. all of you

So that's what's going on with me. I'll be sharing updates on any fun promotions or exciting news as those roll in, and of course you can stay in touch via my newsletter or the VIP Reader Group

Meanwhile, I'd love to know: what's been going on with you??