Monday, 24 February 2014

And along came Lori

So, LA Witt has been in my house for more than a week, and while we haven't done much sight-seeing, we've been writing like crazy people, so there's a new book coming fairly soon, since we already have about 60k on that one. It's all raw and needs editing, but we've been doing about 10k/day, unless we're doing other stuff.

And it's hilarious, so I'm assuming we're writing a romantic comedy about two writers. Lots of jokes and insider jokes, and more or less subtle digs at how things work and the crazy-making stuff. Much of that might end up cut, but it's cathartic to write them.

We have a crazy plan to do 2-3 novels until 6 March. Granted, one of them is already half written and only requires finishing up, so it's not too crazy to think we can do this.

I'm becoming more and more at peace with the whole idea I won't be full-time employed in 2014 and just focus on increasing royalties, aka, write more, publish more and hopefully fret less about what's going to sell and what won't. It's a pretty sweet life generally and I'm not complaining when so many people have it so much worse.

That said, GRL registrations rolled around and so many people really wanted to meet me (and I promised, because I wanted to see them too), I've done the numbers of expected income in case I don't find an adequate job (and there's precious little out there), and I can't swing the $2,000 it'll likely cost. I'm going with the worst-case scenario and in that, there's no way I'll do much travelling, let alone do non-UK conferences which add costs like swag and admission fees and hotel. I might swing a couch-surfing kind of holiday, but I'll know closer to the end of the year how much money I'll have for travelling.

What money I do have I'll spend on learning an alternative career that focuses more on healing/helping people while keeping my freedom. I'm confident things will look very different in 2015, and I should be ready for the alternative career in 2015, too.

But I hope everybody who got in will have a ball of a time. Have a drink on me, and I should see you at GRL in 2015, if not earlier in Bristol or elsewhere. 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Still editing

I had my second job coaching meeting today - mostly it was about re-jigging my CV to declutter it (and get it down to two pages, without losing too much content), and a skills analysis (about four pages full of what I'm good at). I'm starting to relax about the whole thing. Yes, it's going on the fifth week post-closure of the business, but my anxiety levels are down. This is a good thing.

Writing-wise, I'm still editing, and it's a struggle. Every sentence I add, I'm second-guessing myself. Mostly, though, it's about reworking the ending, so the last 30-40%. That's where the bulk of the work is - that's where all the additions are really going to be felt. I'm terrified I'll blow it, after so much hard, hard work, but I'm still pushing onwards. Slow and steady. I can't say I'm enjoying the process. At all. I loathe editing at the best of times, and the longer it takes, the more I hate it. My critical mind just gets stronger and stronger, and the whole thing starts to feel like running a marathon where somebody shoots you in the legs every 10km or so. It just keeps getting harder.

And all that's not helped by wanting to write other books. I've promised books, and there are books I have wanted to write for 3-4 years, and books that are done and just need a polish. I have several full novels that just need a little TLC. There are sequels and prequels I want to write because the characters are loud, and two half-finished novels with Lori I want to write, and I'm still dragging this whale towards the finishing line.

Part of the struggle is definitely fear of failure and of "ruining" it. Part is I'm getting tired of the book - I love the story and the characters, but I get tired of just about everything I've lived and breathed for longer than six months or so. I want to move on.

But the only way to free myself to write and think something else is by battling on. I just wish editing had a runner's high. I know high-speed writing does - once you build momentum, it's tremendous. Books can live entirely off kinetic energy. Editing, however, doesn't. At least not for me. I fret and freak out and hate the fact that I've written the book in the first place.

Ideally, of course, that battle won't be on the page. For the reader, the writing has to be seamless, the scenes all logical consequences of what characters are up to - even though the original draft didn't have those ten scenes. Ideally, being made to guess, the reader won't be able to even name the scenes that were "likely added".

I can wrestle the book all day and have only 800 words to show for it, which feels quite pitiful. Yeah, I'm slow. I'm a slow-ish writer, and I'm most definitely a slow self-editor.

I guess the only important thing about all of this is to show up, battle all day and have those 800 words as opposed to not. Every single sentence is progress.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Gardening leave, week 4

It's been a rough week at Casa Voinov. The Dude came back from a convention with a major case of con crud, ending up skipping work and being very Ill. Then he dragged himself to an interview (he's thoroughly disenchanted with the current place), and then didn't get it, cue lots of morose introspection and generally awful mood.

Meanwhile, after two weeks in limbo, the full-time job for me didn't happen, due to somebody else having more experience in the specific field. I'm a good all-rounder as far as financials go, but I wasn't a specialist for what they wanted. Now, I'm just going to broaden my scope and look at contract/temp work too, and stuff like maternity cover. The only thing I'm definitely not going back to is journalism.

Part of me is relieved, another part dreads the full-time writer thing. Financially, things are going to be extremely tight - I just lost 60-70% of my income, so GRL is officially cancelled until I find a day job. I'll scrape together enough for the UK GLBTQ Meet, but that's just outside the door for me.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to add about 10k to a novel and it's an uphill battle. Once that is done (because it's fiddly work like trying to do brain surgery in nearly complete darkness), I'm putting myself on a 3k/day schedule, which should get me to one million words in 2014. Hopefully, this will be the tightest year financially as a full-timer.