Action or retreat

Apologies to any die hard readers still out there for the long long gap since my last blog.  I have been writing when I can but have put the limited amounts of writing time and energy I have been able to muster into keeping Invisus going. Even that is slow progress. I try to make sure I write some thing every week but even that is becoming a challenge.

I am not going to dwell on that though as this blog seemed to be becoming a bit heavy going and I would rather write to entertain, challenge, interest, amuse or even maybe one day inspire.

This post is to ask for your advice and if you are willing to share the post to help me get more opinions that would be great too.

Up to now I have not given much thought to how I would attempt to breakthrough into the publishing world with Invisus. It is currently about 32,000 words and there is plenty of story left to tell so I had left that for the future.

However, I have come across two possible options for an early submission of it for consideration. One is a competition for a book from a new, unpublished writer. The prize is a good amount of money but more importantly the printed publication and promotion of the book. They are asking for an outline and the first 10,000 words by January.

The second option is from what looks like quite quirky e-publishers who are taking submissions (doesn’t need to be finished) until December. They are not a self-publishing company and do not ever ask for any money they say. The want new titles and will promote on the web.

Decisions, decisions.

There is a big part of me that really wants to see Invisus as a printed book. I can almost visualise it, smell it and feel the emotions of holding it in my hands. There again, would I stand a better chance of being accepted for e-publication?

It is hard to put your work out there – put your self out there – to be accepted or rejected. I have done that before with projects and keeping that belief in your work going is challenging.

The stories of authors who are now revered after frequent rejections from publishers are well known, and that does help the belief that whoever rejects you just doesn’t get what you are trying to do. Actually to be honest they are, of course, just wrong! Aren’t they?

So what to do? Go for the enticing publishing deal and battle it out with thousands, tens of thousands, millions of others? After all, someone has to win and if they don’t choose me they will have made a big mistake! Or go for the e-publishing which probably is the future of books whether we like it or not?

Or should I just retreat, take the pressure off myself, wait until it is finished and hope there is an opportunity then?

What do you think?

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Falling into the abyss

Apologies to anyone following me who has noticed that my blog seems to have disappeared. I have been struggling along with writing recently but barely able to manage a few hundred words here and there on Invisus and with no inner resources for anything else.

It feels like I am rocking back and forth on the edge of a writing abyss, in danger of toppling over into the easier state of not doing anything. Inside me is the angst of knowing that would not be the right thing for me. The unrewarding easy routes in life were never to be mine.

Invisus has reached 26,000 words. Now I have an element in the story I am not sure about, which means it probably isn’t working or at least not in its present form. Despite knowing that, I am loathe to take it out as it would leave me with quite a few problems. I am also at a point where I need to move the story on into less familiar, more research hungry, scenarios. I am looking forward to that but there is a fear and a laziness that means I keep finding excuses for delay.

More computer issues got in the way too. I lost another whole section of writing. It was on one of the very hot days and I had disciplined myself to get on with it. I was then thoroughly enjoying myself – as I always do when writing – and also went back and tweaked a few bits in the earlier sections. Something went wrong in the saving process despite the extra care I take since last time. All the new work had disappeared. I had a meltdown. Tears streaming down my face I searched my computer for the autosaves I had seen happening and the saved version I knew I had created. I did eventually, and with huge relief and thanks to the powers that be, find it.

What followed was a frantic session of re-saving, copying to an external drive, emailing to myself and printing off the whole lot to ensure that my ‘baby’ didn’t get lost again. The problem then was that thinking about writing brought back those feelings of distress and desperation. When I sit down to write I aim to go back the the mental world I was in when I finished my last session of writing. After this experience I did not want to go back there ever again! When I thought about writing I could only remember the tears and the terrible fear of closing the file down again it case it disappeared for ever this time.

Finally, a few days ago I took the plunge. I managed a few hundred words and took the first step towards moving into that scary new section. I printed off the new words before finally closing the file.

I woke up this morning with writing thoughts. Morning is not a peaceful time for me to write Invisus, especially at such a challenging point. But a blog post that popped up in front of me when I signed on to WordPress inspired me to write something so thank you damyantiwrites (I have shared that post).

Excuses over, I am going to stop wobbling about at the edge of this abyss and go and find a bridge.

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Have You Tried Writing First Thing in the Morning?

Have You Tried Writing First Thing in the Morning?.

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Direct and methodical

I am not a methodical person. When I have a practical task to complete I do try to be methodical but rarely succeed. The trouble is I have a very low boredom threshold and a patience deficiency.

For instance, I decide to paint a room and I determine to start in one place and methodically work my way along until the whole area is covered. Sadly this is not to be. After a few minutes the boredom sets in. I try putting on some music but that doesn’t change the physical task. So I move to the far corner and put some paint on there and then decide I will get a different brush and do round the electrical socket and the light switch first.

This is all very well but fairly soon I lose track of which bits I have done and which I haven’t. The fading afternoon light doesn’t help and in the morning the full patchiness horror is revealed. Instead of doing a methodical second coat I then start dabbing at the thinly painted patches because that it a marginally more interesting pastime. Suffice to say this second coat is not the last.

The reason for recounting this unproductive character trait is that I have realised recently that I am having to be methodical in writing Invisus. Because I have chosen to simply sit and write it as it comes I can’t start jumping around the timeline and the plot. I could try but, as I have mentioned previously, I find that unexpected events and characters happen during the writing process. How then can I jump ahead when I don’t know everything that will have gone before?

Up to now I have not even been tempted to try writing in non sequential sections. I have kept a direct and methodical path, telling the story as it unfolds. I did consider, at the beginning, of using two perspectives and jumping between them but when reading I am not keen on that style so it didn’t make sense to try to write like that. I do find sometimes that I feel there is a long road still stretching ahead of me and I get impatient to get to what I see as more interesting parts of the plot. This impatience is what gave me the realisation that I am actually writing in a direct and methodical way. When the surprise wore off I felt quite pleased with myself and my impatience lessened. After all, every bit of the plot needs to be interesting and the current part deserves the very best attention.

I find I write in small chunks of 400 – 1,000 words at a time which I think helps. I take on board the philosophy of stopping when you still know what is coming next. By the way, another tip I was once given was to stop writing in mid sentence so that when you sit back down to write again, you mentally go back to your thinking more easily. I do this sometimes or write a memory jogger note for next time. I also keep a running word count now so that I can see that I truly am progressing. A bit sad I know but I do find it encouraging. Currently I have just exceeded 20,000 words and am feeling pretty proud of that.

So I will content myself with occasional conscious, and lots of subconscious, thinking about the plot sections to come, and the odd scribbled note of a phrase I like or an idea I might use. Or I might not use. And I will continue my direct and methodical writing because I would never want to lose the surprises which are born from it.

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Distraction and Deviation

A blank page moment faced me as I started this post. The answer seemed to be to write that fact as the first sentence and see what follows. I do know why it is really, I have been easily distracted since my break from writing and from my iPad.

I have to say I didn’t miss the iPad as much as I thought I would. I didn’t even use the iPhone as an alternative – I let it have a holiday and just be a phone for a bit which I am sure it enjoyed. On my return I was curious to see how I reacted to the reunion. I was quite tired and needed to unpack and settle in. So it was about……. two hours before I picked it up, just to look at a couple of things….

Now I am back to the usual usage and this has caused some of the distraction and deviation which have given this post it’s title. I had time to think a bit while I was in a different, lovely place. I had one idea for a little adjustment to the Invisus story and I have managed to make that amendment. But I was also thinking about my day to day job and the fact that it is contract based and may come to an end. In addition I started thinking about previously written work and artwork I have done and kept in a folder. I talked about firing arrows in my first post (having a go at lots of things and making lots of contacts to see what happens). A few new arrows seemed to be asking to head off into the ether.

iPad safely back in hand, one distraction that caused me to deviate from writing Invisus was spending some time registering on Redbubble. I am in the process of uploading a few designs to be available for products. My ID on there is VeeJR if you fancy a look – I will post a link when I have it better organised but, to my joy, I sold a greetings card the very next day. There have been no further sales as yet but that one, along with a few views, was enough to encourage me to stick with it. I hadn’t really told anyone about it so I don’t think it was a friend but you never know – the Internet is so clever at telling on you that I suppose it could be someone I know. Even if it is it means I have a friend prepared to spend real money on my design.

Redbubble also offers a ‘journal’ blog which was an additional distraction as I wanted to write a post about my work and the fact that I am hoping to be able to offer more products soon.

Another deviation that has distracted me has been looking at websites where you can register as an author to write articles for business. It looks like there may not be regular work, nor are they particularly lucrative but may be worth a shot. I am going to fire a couple more arrows and register with a couple. I will report back on those too.

Now the little nagger is telling me I need to write some more of Invisus, and I am arguing that I need to deviate and do this other stuff. Randomly I also feel an urge to do some sewing or more artwork. I suppose a lot has happened to inspire me, which is great. This is really positive and I need to be careful not to lose sight of this positive thinking phase because I am approaching that state where there is too much in my head demanding attention. I could reach the point, as has happened before, where I am immobilised by it all and end up not able to do anything at all.

What to do? Make a coffee I think and then………..

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iPad detox

It has to be done I reckon. I think I need to leave my iPad behind, to not take it on holiday for the next week. It’s going to be tough and that fact alone is enough for me to believe I need some iPad free time. An iPad detox week. I don’t write on the iPad, I use a laptop as I find the keyboard easier. I do, however, use the iPad every day for the many activities and entertainments it can provide. And for writing this blog and reading others.

It will be interesting to see what impact this break has on writing Invisus. I haven’t written anything for nearly a week and it will now be another week before I can sit down to it again. I am wondering how that might affect my progress. The plot will have a good chance to bubble away underneath and when I restart I intend to read back over from the beginning. Recently I have only read back the last couple of pages before continuing, apart from dipping in and out for the odd check for consistency.

Also I will be in a different environment and that could add a few ideas to the mix. Of course there is the fear that it will all disappear. That when I come back I will read my precious words and they will have lost their sparkle. And what if there aren’t any new ones waiting to surprise me?

Somehow I feel it will be alright. I need to believe it will be, and I need to enjoy leaving Invisus as well as the iPad to rest themselves as I rest myself.

I will, of course, have a pen and paper with me. And the iPhone…….for emergencies……..

Footnote: apologies for this being a rather short and scrappy post but I wanted to write something as an assurance to myself, and any readers out there, that the journey continues.

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Expecting the unexpected

Deciding to write using a free flowing method has had unexpected consequences. Generally it has worked well, I just go with whatever comes to mind in the moment. If I have been in need of a name or something which needs researching I have used something like xxxx or put reminders in brackets and carried on so as not to stop the flow. In fact I currently have an xxxx and a zzzz needing names and a note to find out how to pronounce the Greek letter tau, not the sound of it but the letter name. (If anyone knows I would be grateful for the info.)

The unexpected effect of this method of writing has been unexpected happenings. I will be tapping away and then all of a sudden an idea will flash across my mind and, almost before I know it, sneak down into my fingertips and arrive in the story.

I have acquired three new characters in this way, who then have to be dealt with. I am happy with that as I didn’t want the story to be underpopulated. Maybe not having all the characters defined before starting could be frowned on but it seems to be working for me so far.

More disturbing are the unexpected events that take place. Characters have suddenly said something, or found something, or done something that catches me out. I then have to stop while the new turn of events has a chance to settle in. I have not yet taken out any of these interlopers. Actually I am quite pleased with them.

Now I have started to expect the unexpected to happen and I look forward to finding out myself where the story will go next. Of course I know the overall story although I have to admit I am not entirely sure how it will end yet. I hope my expectation will not serve to subdue the pop ups. Before I worry about that I have to deal with the disappearance of a character I had thought would be around for a lot longer. Still, I have my main character. As long as nothing happens to her……..

Footnote: I have passed the 10,000 word mark. Thank you for the support and encouragement. It really helps 😀

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