Thursday, April 11, 2013

Writing vs. Editing

I might be committing to a part-time writing job, and it makes me nervous. Why? What is the deal? Here's the deal.

I knew from the beginning of my professional writing career that I wanted to be an editor.

I have only finished (to the very last word) ONE novel. (Though, to my credit, I have written substantial chunks of another four.)

When I took Writing Short Stories in undergrad, I waited until the day before the short story was due to sit down and write it.

When I worked at Boyd Street magazine, I hated writing feature stories. This is a major confession. I hated writing them...until I started writing them. And then I loved it.

When I started that short story, I loved it.

When I sit down to write, I love it.

It's getting there that is the problem.

On the other hand, when I'm given somebody else's project to work on, I can't wait to get to the computer and work on it. I want to shut up my children, lock them away. I want to work!

So here I am being offered a writing job, and I'm terrified to say yes. I'm uncomfortable. What if I don't want to sit down and write these projects?

I just need to remember that when I actually do it, I love it. When I actually am writing, I love it. I will keep repeating this to myself.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

My husband called me out on something today.

There's been this stress sort of creeping around since I lost my job, and the stress is:

on my end - I'm terrified of doing a crap job
 on his end - anger that I'm terrified of rejection

There's a slight distinction there. He thinks I'm afraid of being rejected, which maybe on some level I am, but the real problem is that I haven't been busting my butt to get new jobs because I'm afraid of not doing a good job. And also, because in my heart of hearts, I want to be lazy. Thus a new stresser between us:

on my end - I think it's okay to be lazy
on his end - he is terrified of rest

So, what is a couple at odds to do? Encourage each other anyway. You've rested more because of me, and that's okay because rest is good (it is, buddy). And I've changed a ton because of you, because I'm not a raging, callous, stubborn maniac anymore. All is well.

But still, that insecurity. I decided to just go for it today, and I have him to thank.

Monday, April 08, 2013

1,000,000 Words

Moving forward on the novel is going well, except I didn't write all weekend. Hopefully today I can sit down for at least an hour and get some new work written. It is REALLY hard not looking back at what I've already written, but I've made a vow to myself. I will. not. look. back! Unless I HAVE to look back to remember something, and even then, I'm only doing search and finds, not big reads. I really want to do this. I haven't COMPLETED a novel since graduate school.

Stephen King somewhere wrote that one does not become a good writer until she's written 1,000,000 words. I wonder whether emails and edits and status updates and Tweets, etc., count toward that 1 mil because I have to say: the prose is coming easier this time around. It's far from great, but I'm not laboring over it like I used to. I remember sitting at the computer screen thinking that nothing would ever come. Writing maybe two pages in an hour. Perhaps the story is just more concrete in my mind than those stories were, but I'm moving. I didn't think this was possible for me. It's kind of exciting.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Writing Therapy

I started writing something. 

In the past, I've plotted and plotted and plotted and dossiered and dossiered and dossiered and then started writing and almost immediately given up. 

Yesterday, I just started writing. I've had the idea for a while, a few months. I've sketched a very brief outline of some possible characters. But I did that weeks ago. I didn't even open up the character file yesterday. I just started writing. 

I listened once to mystery writer Carolyn Hart talk about how she writes intuitively. She'll know the basics of a story (who the protagonist is, who the antagonist is, who done it) before she starts writing, but that's it. I remember that blowing my mind. I was taught to plot! I was taught to know everything! And here was this incredible writer who chugs out a book every four to six months, and how does she do it? She just writes. 

I decided maybe that would be best for me yesterday. I was reading John Miller's The First Assassin and thought, like I often do, I can do that. Why don't I write something? Except I actually had this idea in the back of my mind and did it. 

The verdict? I'm only five single-spaced pages in, but I think it's viable. And the weird thing is, it's coming fast. At least so far. I usually sit and labor over page, worrying about everything before moving on. This time, I'm just moving. And having the experience I do editing, the prose actually isn't so terrible on first run. It's not great, not perfect, but it's working. My husband even liked it, and he is Mr. Critical. 

So, there you go. The way to cheer up my jobless blues is to write something. If I keep at it, I might let you know what it is I'm working up. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Day 2 of No Work

I did not know what to do with myself yesterday. Only three months back to work, and without NEEDING to be on the computer, what was I to do? Clean my house?! Play with my children?! I walked around staring at things and doing nothing - then wanted to get on my computer again.

Okay, so the truth is I DID play with my children and clean my house some, but I'm trying to make a point here! (without incriminating myself)

The other truth is, I kind of felt like Charlie Brown all day. I felt VERY sorry for myself and kept imagining a gray cloud hanging over my head. Poor, sad, jobless me.

Today, I'm back to normal. That didn't take long! I'm on the job hunt and figuring out how to get my name out there. (Turns out, if you know one highly networked person, and that person Tweets about you, you get a million more followers over night. So now I am under more pressure to be cool on Twitter in hopes of finding work.)

It's going to be almost impossible to replace my job with Heath. It was just so perfect. But there are plenty of writers out there who need editors. I think the best thing that has come from this is the realization that I want to work again. I love it. I love editing. I love working with writers. I love being creative in that way. I missed it. So there you go.

Side note: my daughter is carrying around a hymnal and doing a procession from the stairs to the play room. When she gets to the dining room, she stops and bows, as if before the crucifix. She even had me make her a cross on a pole that she can carry around the house. This Anglican business is pretty awesome.

As far as reading goes, I've given up on London and picked up John J. Miller's The First Assassin. A semi-promising start. My first impression is that it's a dude's novel (how non-feminist is that?!), but I've only read a few pages. He certainly has the rules down. There is a gun in the first sentence.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Shameless Plug

Well, a sad day here at our house. At least for me. I'm out of a job.

I have other contract work, but currently it is minimal, and my main client's company is no more, so my job working for him is also no more.

I'm trying not to get too down about it. I have really enjoyed being creative, using my gifts, feeling productive and purposeful (not that my life didn't have purpose before). I've enjoyed making money doing work I love from home, part-time. This was a job that will be difficult to recreate. Still, I know that if I'm to use my gifts, I will. There will be other opportunities. I just need to find them.

I'm going to miss spending time trolling book blogs and trying to meet people online and sending queries and, of course and mostly, editing. I'm going to miss working with Heath, whose work I believe in and whose work has gotten two agent bites in two weeks! There's obviously something there.

So what do I do now? I brainstorm. I've already had a meeting with the journalism guy up at the college where my husband works. Oddly, I had an appt on campus this morning. Our eldest daughter was taking part in a developmental psychology experiment, and John's office was downstairs in the same building, so hey: why not go meet with him? (I got a free book out of it! Have you read The First Assassin?)

John told me to send him my res and he'd make a few calls. Also, met a guy last weekend who writes horror novels and lives in the UP. Hopefully he will contact me. Horror novels from a Upper (yoo-per)? Yes, please.

Other than that, those of you who read my blog: if you need an editor or publicist or know someone who might, email me! I love all genres of fiction and non-fiction. I love working with authors and have a successful track record. I've also done plenty of business contract editing. I'd be happy to send you a resume.