The Green Eyed, Pen Wielding Monster

green-eyed abyssinian

I'm battling the Green Eyed Monster...No, not this one... Image via Wikipedia

I’m fighting the Green-Eyed Monster this Monday morning, my friends.

A person I went to high school with, who may have been mentioned previously, has been published. She’s a self-proclaimed theater geek, someone who loves the production side of putting on plays. I have no idea how long she’s been writing, what inspired her to write, or when her first two books were accepted. I wasn’t there for the journey, just the facebook updates.

The latest facebook update, that her third book is being published, was met at first with a wonderful rush of good cheer and congratulations. I love it when people are achieving their goals and moving forward in life. I’m the type of person that can be happy for other people, even when my life is worthy of a good flush and a few floral scented sprays from an aerosol can. I’m happy when my friends are happy.

But then, a soft, insistent voice began speaking in my ear. “But, why isn’t that you? You’re a great writer. You’ve ALWAYS wanted to write for a living. She’s living your life, and you’re happy for her; that’s cool. I don’t understand it, but whatever floats your boat, right? But when’s it going to be your turn?”

I try to tune it out, but the thing is, the Green-Eyed one has a very attractive voice (he should really consider a career as a voice over artist). He’s also very observant. He’s seen me at my computer perfecting piece after piece. He’s seen me send out three separate pieces and receive three identical rejections. He knows exactly which emotional buttons to push to get this writer all riled up.

But I’m fighting him off with work. I’ve done two marriage kit interviews in the past week. I’m knee deep in work on this college preparatory course (to be turned into possible eBook). I’ve set goals for myself to send off one piece and finish a chapter of another. I’ve been reading. I’ve been reading inspiring quotes and blog posts and listening to empowering messages. Yet, somehow I still feel I’m on the losing end of this battle.

As hard as I’ve been working with all of these blogs, the readership is still low. Even with fresh, well-executed ideas for new content, design tweaks, promotion on Facebook and Twitter, guest posters, a full digital recorder, and most of my creative energy and positive thoughts focused on it, the readership still hasn’t grown much. Despite giving these endeavors my best, I’ve made little to know progress. How, then, can I expect my fiction and memoir writing to make any waves in a much bigger pond?

This morning, I’ve been tired. I’ve filled as much time as I could taking in post from other writers, gathering to myself suggestions to shake up my writing life, but I still feel bereft of any real motivation to write anything. Instead, I just feel a weak pulse of jealousy mixed in with fear of rejection, insecurity, and discouragement. My writing self is on life support…

The Green Eyed Monster is about to claim another victim.

Feeding the Beast

Creative writing class-fine arts center (40269...

My name is Copywrite1985, and I can't stop expanding on my stories... Image via Wikipedia

“How’s your writing going?” My dad asks me. I’m trolling Books A Million, my third book related stop of the day. I’ve already been to the public library to get my library card, as well as to the used book shop in the quaint little downtown area I finally got a little time to explore. I still haven’t found the book club book that I’m looking for, but I’ve found a lot of other books that I find equally enticing.

“I’ve been busy with my blog–the content and learning about hosting my own site,” I respond, surveying thick computer books with a critical eye. I’m looking for a book on Java, which, my boyfriend has explained to me, is completely different from Java Script. Who knew? It’s a birthday present for the boyfriend; I hope he likes it. I want to show that I’m interested in helping him progress as a person, that I actually am listening when he goes into tech speak.

“I have to buckle down and work on my book. I don’t know when it’s coming out now,” my dad laments. He was shooting for a Valentine’s Day release, as his book centers on relationships. I’ve recently introduced him to the wonders of Smashwords, a program I myself haven’t had the opportunity to use, but is highly recommended for self-publishing. “Everytime I get close to finishing, there’s something else. The book keeps changing at the eleventh hour.”

I know how that feels. You think you know where you’re going, then all of a sudden, there’s a detour. Has this ever happened to you? You’ve thought you were done with a story, then you go back to revise and find yourself going in another direction entirely?

I have a short story that I wrote for a creative writing class. Our teacher required us to make a large revision (we had to change/refine at least fifty percent of the story, I believe. These were significant changes, not merely proofreading and adding a sentence). I don’t write that way. Usually, when I finish writing, aside from proofreading and revisions for clarity and style, it’s done. So I wasn’t excited about having to change my story.

After taking into account some of the things that people in class pointed out weren’t working, I see an entirely different angle that makes one character’s agreement to even meet for the climactic moment more believable. I add in backstory on another character that explains a bit of her brass attitude.

The revisions go well and my teacher asks me if I considered publication for it. I put the story away for a while, intending to give it one more fresh look before I sent it out for possible publication. When I pulled it out again, I found even more areas to expand upon, more places where I wanted the writing to be more concise. I wanted to concisely reveal more detail/personality of a supporting character. I’ll just tweak a bit here. I handed in the story revision in the Spring semester of 2008; the story has been sent to zero publications.

I’m having a bit of trouble letting go. I know that this isn’t all of the story, that other short stories may follow with the focus being characters that are supporting characters in the current narrative, maybe, but I can’t seem to get this story out of my hands and into the hands of publishers.

How do you know when a story is “done”? How do you force yourself to declare it a finished product and begin the (possibly) long process of trying to get it published? Someone help me let go, already!

Too Old for Success?

Sample of old russian сensorship. Book "N...

Will I ever have my name on pages like these? Image via Wikipedia

Someone told me once that if you don’t publish anything by the time you’re twenty-five, then you aren’t any good. All of the greats published before they were twenty-five–some of them were even dead by then, you know. Of course, I knew this was all rubbish, but in the back of my mind, the idea took root and persisted. I had to be published by twenty-five. I had to be published, not because it meant I was successful, but that I was one of the greats.

I’ll be twenty-six in a little over a month. Though I’ve been published in a newspaper and a required reading book for my high school, I haven’t had that great bit of success. I’ve not been recognized as great, despite entering contests, winning medals, getting As. Everyone was shocked I hadn’t been published yet. I remember how well you wrote in high school; when is your book coming out? Have you found an agent? What happened?

Since I’ve been out of school, I’ve seen many people get published. I’ve seen people get published who were only slightly interested in writing. Maybe I’ll write a book. I’ve seen people published whose passions lie in other areas. I’ve seen people published that, being honest, I didn’t think had good ideas or wrote about trivial things.

I began to be a hater of published authors. I could do that and be published, but I’m not compromising my art! I thought. Then I started a book in a genre I never had an interest in writing that sells well. It was something I wanted to write and was still good writing, but I felt like I was writing it now, pushing forward with it now, because it fits the current trend in publishing (and no, there are no vampires, shape shifters, or angels). I was obsessed with being published before twenty-six, even though I didn’t have many things worth sending to a publisher.

The writing wasn’t fun anymore, nor was it rewarding. I wasn’t trying to tell a good story well; I was looking for recognition, for validation. I wanted someone to say, officially, Yes you can write well, and people are interested in what you have to say. I was even developing an unhealthy attachment to my blog stats.

Now I’m settling back down. I’ve refocused myself. Now, I realize I don’t just want to be published; I want to publish something I’m proud of, something that’s ready to be out in the world. I realize that either people want to read what I write or they don’t; it has no bearing on the fact I feel compelled to write, and I will keep writing no matter if it’s published in my lifetime to worldwide acclaim or critically and commercially panned, or not published at all.

What are your thoughts on an “age” for publication? Do you have an age you are aiming to be published by? How important is publication to you?

Roses by Other Names

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

My story isn't this campy...nor does it has as good of a tagline...sigh... Image via Wikipedia

You can never underestimate the power of a good name. Maybe a rose would smell the same, but would as many people shell out fifty bucks for a bouquet of Pukes or Drivels (assuming all words held the same meaning save rose)? A name should in some way describe what something is at its core, whether the connection is obvious right away or reveals itself over time–like Oranges or Killer Bees.

Seeing as names are so important, it’s no wonder I am wrestling with naming this NaNoWriMo Novel. When I ponder pitching my book to an agent in a query letter, the current title is one of the things that bothers me (never mind I’m not even finished with the first draft, let alone ready to query; this is just how my brain works). After quite a few attempts at tweaking it, it still doesn’t fit.

Usually, I’m pretty happy with the titles that I come up with for my works. They usually say something about what I’m trying to convey with the piece, or focuses on something central to the plot or main character. In this instance, I know what I want the title to focus in on, but I have no idea how to convey this without being…cheesy.

I know that Chick Lit can stand a little cheese, but my writing is one of the few things I don’t want cheese on! Even though a lot of the story is fun and sweet, there’s a real message I am trying to subtly get across. I want this book to be one you wouldn’t mind passing along to a friend. A cheesy title isn’t going to cut it.

The feel I’m going for is something class reunion/class related. Feel free to ramble about how you were when you were in school, or how your high school reunion went, or who you dreaded seeing. Maybe by hearing how it went for other people, something will be sparked in my brain that will eventually lead me to the right title for my masterpiece.

PostAWeek?

Internets = srs.biz. Parody motivator.

Indeed it is! Image via Wikipedia

For those of you that follow my other blog, you know I’m participating in Postaday2011. That doesn’t mean that I mean to neglect you. I plan on doing PostAWeek for this blog, as well as my review blog. I’ll do posts for this blog Mondays and the review blog Tuesdays. That doesn’t mean that I won’t update on any other day if the mood strikes me. I just want you to know that I haven’t forgotten all of my fellow writing enthusiasts! A real post to come later tonight.