The first rule of Fight Club…
Oh wait, sorry about that! The first lesson (and most important one I feel) I have to share with you from emerging successfully on the other side of the Clarion Write-a-Thon is this:
The Clarion Write-a-Thon reaffirmed that I need to budget for promotional time and keep that separate from hours spent writing.
The second lesson I have to share is that the Clarion Write-a-Thon was a way for me to reset my writing versus real life model. This was on purpose, I wanted to do this year-round as opposed to just during this time frame. Discipline is needed year-round, not just for writing workshops.
The third? What, besides being realistic about what I can and can’t accomplish? The third lesson surprised me a bit. This was all about the “not care.” That’s right. I am planted firmly in the “I don’t have time to care about the latest internet drama.” camp, because I am at full capacity on what I can and should care about. I would much rather celebrate a book or an author than gossip or talk about all the other b.s. that goes along with this industry. I know it’s easy to engage in industry-facing discussions (The stars only know I’ve been guilt of this in the past) but I have to spend my time writing and innovating – not commenting on a thread somewhere. I’m not saying other authors are wrong for doing this, either. It just doesn’t work for me.
However, there has got to be a better way to engage within the science fiction and fantasy communities than dive into drama, share inside jokes, or comment on the state of the industry. I’m still searching for ways to do that. For a while there I was discouraged, but I’m not the type to “stay down” as it were, so I’ve been putting myself out there making as many friends as possible. I’m really hoping the support network I’m building will help me discover the proverbial “light side” of this community, because I really want to see it, experience it, and extol its virtues.
Here’s number four. Be flexible, but remain focused. The heat and pollen count this summer really sucked for a lot of people – myself included. I was a lot crabbier than I can remember in past weeks, so I had to make a lot of adjustments and not beat myself up when I didn’t write that day. Thankfully, the weather has cooled off some, and I’m practicing my cliché side at the coffee shop.
Number five was to burn a number of older tales and partial drafts to the ground. They are dead, dead, and not zombified. They aren’t even mostly dead. They are desiccated corpses. They are not “fixable” because I’ve evolved as a writer, and I will continue to do so. Realizing this saves me the pain and trouble of salvaging the past. It also helps me re-focus my work into a structural vein, too. So… Erm… Don’t be afraid to “fire” a story that isn’t working.
What about you? Did you take part in a write-a-thon? What did you learn?
- Mood: The dragon. She is awake.
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Enough to bzzzzzzzzzz.
Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Up down and all around.
In My Ears: There’s a guy. At the coffee shop. And he’s whistling.
Game Last Played: Star Wars Battlefront.
Movie Last Viewed: Drawing a complete and total blank.
Latest Artistic Project: I posted some photos here.
Latest Release: Extreme Zombies from Prime Books.