Tuesday 15 June 2010

Kill your ego

I'm very nearly done with this place. 3.5 working days left to go. I'm cleaning out my desk, my bookmarks, my inbox, and everything else. Whoever's going to work on this computer, I'll give them the cleanest start possible. They'll need every help they can get with Sock Boy just two desks down. Pretty sure they'll wipe stuff, anyway, but I can make things easy on them.

My level of skintness is actually almost comical. I haven't been counting pennies like that since late 2007, when I started at this company and was missing 2 weeks pay, went to a trade fair in Germany and ended up with a negative zero on my account. Now, I'm going to Turkey for a week (which is thankfully cheap to live at, and I intend to hole up with a manuscript and my e-reader and a book on risk instruments), and I'll have to keep a tight budget, so no Turkish rug for the study.

I was looking forward to getting one for months, but I've done the numbers, but there's no way I can do it, even if I'm not overpaying this time (the rug in the study was more expensive than it strictly had to be, but I still think it's worth every penny. Which is my way of saying "I don't mind having been ripped off by the carpet dealer"). It's a bummer, definitely. The study really needs a rug, it's too damn barren at the moment, and the room *echoes*, which is distracting. It might get better with a few book shelves, but right now, I'm glad I'm facing the window to the garden since behind me is just desolation. Nice, white-walled, hardwood-floored desolation, but the impression remains.

Other things are more important. I need a chest of drawers and a smallish wardrobe (I mean, all we really own is work clothes, so we need a place for hanging some suits and shirts, some leisure clothes - in my case, that's two pairs of jeans and a pile of t-shirts, and then workout clothes - and that's it). Rug is decoration, and hence not strictly necessary. Will also have to find somebody to frame the prints we got in Singapore (pair of carps and a dragon), but that's also pretty secondary at the moment.

I spent yesterday watching Paraguay and Italy and digging around the house for my passport, doing some financial paperwork, and then doing some errata as the errata monkey for a publisher. One story I read made me throw up in my mouth a little. There are some writers I want to hit with their keyboard a lot and then lock the keyboard away, forever. No language should suffer such abuse. Thankfully, I managed to not send them an email offering them a "Style/Creative Writing 101 Course" - the fact they were rhythm-deaf and most likely mildly dyslectic didn't help (I'm not dissing dyslectics, I have several friends who are, and I beta for them, so I recognise the patterns). I've long since learnt to only offer help with writing when I'm being asked for it. It's too much work and offends too many people ("What? You mean I CANNOT WRITE? YOU BASTARD!") for no reward at all. At 35, I've finally learnt that. I've been called an "arrogant asshole" too often, I don't have to go out of my way to get more of those.

This morning, on the train, I had two or three strong scenes from "Iron Cross", both towards the end. The muse is flagging towards the middle, but the ending is fully there, with Dolby Surround, 3D and kick-ass special effects (okay, there are only a few scenes that *need* special effects, but hey). This is the manuscript I'm taking to Turkey, most likely.

Got feedback on ROI which did a cracking job of confirming my deepest fears and insecurities about the text, so I'm kicking that one to the bottom of the "to edit" pile and forget about it for at least another 6-12 months until I've finally found a solution for all its issues and focus on the easy victories in the meantime.

Chances are, I won't have the concentration or focus for it once I've started the new job, which will demand 150% of my brain and that leaves only 10% for writing. Perfect time to edit and fix minor issues, bad timing for reworking a book like ROI. I think maybe the voice is all wrong, so I'll look into that. It may turn into first person, too, and end up more disjointed and "literary" than it's now. Or I go the totally different way and just got out the finance stuff and move it more towards "office romance". I don't know. I might have to do both to see if either of those works. But at 140k, it's a huge project and might need another year until I can tackle it. Growing with your challenges, again, I guess. I'm not sure if the flaws a fatal, I just know I'm not telling the story right. That itches and irritates, but well, that's the life of the writer.

Or as I keep telling newbies and not-so-newbies who can deal with the truth (some are too fragile and can't deal with it, which is fine) - nobody gives a fuck about your ego. Time I put that on the wall and look at it a lot. My ego doesn't matter. I just have to tell the bleeding story, whatever the cost.

Back to the drawing board.


  1. *peeks around the corner with hanging ears and huge eyes*

    Thank god, it wasn´t MY story you were reading... I know I had someone clean up all the spelling errors. Can´t be mine!

    I wasn´t too mean yesterday, was I?

    *crawls back into the world of beautiful VoIP telephone systems*

    Deadlines suck!

    As for the rug... for now, one of those simple woven IKEA rugs might do the trick

  2. ROI: no, please don't tear it apart. And I loved the 'voice' in it so I'm wondering (nervously) why you say it might be "all wrong". It was right for me and I still hear that 'voice' rather often in my head. Yes, it's weird.

    How much does a Turkish rug cost?

  3. Gawd, I'm envious of all the places you have been. I would have to cross the fraking ocean just to stand in England. *gg*

    Ego - what ego! For years I've been telling myself I CANNOT write and why do I bother. Still, I continue to prey on fandom with my bits and pieces of so-called writing. If you can see fit to send me your talent and your huge lexicon, I would only be too happy.

    Have a wonderful holiday(?) in Turkey.

    One day I hope to ask questions about Dan in Special Forces. But not just yet, because I'm a little nervous.

  4. @Kat: yeah, but you'd get a beta before sending that stuff to a publisher, wouldn't you? (As a non-native speaker, I'm paranoid, I always send everything to natives).

    @Elaine: It's all not decided yet. I'll need to experiment to find some solutions. I know it's not *quite* working the way it should... Budget for a rug in study size could be anywhere... depending on quality, pattern, knots per square meter (and the ability of the dealer to judge how much you want the rug and how much you can pay).

    @Nicci: I just really like traveling and granted, it's easy to get anywhere from here. :) But you could fit all of Europe a few times into America. :) And i'd always encourage people to write - always. It's a tough road to travel, but it's worth it.

    Questions regarding Dan are probably best asked to the other writer. :) I wrote mostly Vadim and some other characters. :)

  5. Absolutely, there´s no way, I´d send anything out, without a check by my comma girl!
    (I tend to put a comma, whenever I do a thought break, hence the name. It was a classic joke with my first publisher... Kat and the Comma)

    Fangirl moment Inc: Hooch <3