Archive | January, 2011

The Mood to Write, and other mythical ideas

11 Jan

So I’ve been struggling lately to get back into a writing routine. I took a bit of time off after I burned myself out with a technically-victorious but personally unsatisfying National Novel Writing Month in November (or NaNoWriMo if yo’ nasty), and spent the darkest days of winter laying some stronger foundations for the year ahead. Then The Holidays happened, and us kids found out we had a long-lost half-brother (no, I’m not joking), and I was severely distracted for a while. Anyway, the point is I’m trying to get back into writing again and it is HARD.

I didn’t expect it to be easy. I’ve been writing like the wind for years now, and I know that it takes huge effort to discipline yourself into writing. But I’m re-training myself to have that kind of discipline again, even though it’s still dark and cold outside, and I’m still sleepy and wanting to hibernate. And it got me thinking, as I was cracking down on myself this morning, telling myself “damn it you’re going to write those 3 pages today, tomorrow, and the next…” about all the times I have decided not to write because I wasn’t “in the mood.” Or all the millions of times I’ve heard people say “I can only write when I’m inspired.”

Well, that’s bullshit.

Writing is not something that happens because a Muse comes down from Olympus and blows us full of ideas. Yes, we can be inspired to write, and have moments, days, even weeks when we’re thrilled to sit down at the page every day and cry a little when we have to put away the word processor or pen. But in most cases, while we might think about writing all day, and daydream about our characters and stories, and we “can’t wait to write today,” when the time comes we have to drag ourselves away from every single tiny distraction that we can possibly use to keep us away from the page. We struggle to plunk ourselves down and force ourselves to write. And an amazing thing happens then. If we can force ourselves to focus, to not check Facebook or answer the phone or start making grocery lists, at about 500 words (small potatoes!) the inspiration comes to us. We find ourselves nudged forward by a playful gust of creativity, ready to sweep us up in the fire.

And inspiration- it is fire, a fire that burns brightly when we give it fuel. The fuel itself is action- is writing. For another artist, it might be practicing instruments, sketching, singing, but for writers, if we want to find inspiration we need to show the Muse that we’re responsible parents, that we’ll take care of our brain children, that ideas are safe with us.

So next time you (or I) find yourself avoiding the sometimes-not-so-easy joy of writing because your mood isn’t right, or the gods of literature just aren’t on your side that day? Sit down, turn off your phone, disconnect the internet, and write.

As one of my favorite novels (Dune, by Frank Herbert) says: “Mood is a thing for cattle and women- mood is not for fighting.” Well word warriors? Just DO IT!



8 Jan

Welcome to my new blog. This used to be the site for my weekly web serial, “The Poppet and the Lune” (which you can read more about at the link to the right), but since I finished it last October I’ve taken the draft down while I’m querying agents and publishers. I’ll be using this new blog as a place where I can talk about writing and the publication process, as well as share some of my personal thoughts and feelings on the subject.

As far as the publication process goes… “The Poppet and the Lune,” or “TPaL” as I call it, was submitted to six literary agents this past week. Submitting to agents is a huge pain in the ass, no matter how great of a writer you are, and I’ll be making a post about that in the coming week, but in the meantime I wanted to share the already fun news I do have:

I got a partial request! :D

Yay and happiness and hurredly rushing to put together the requested materials!

While this is my first partial request for TPaL, it’s not my first partial request as a writer. No, years ago when I first began to submit my work I got so far as a full manuscript request for an old novel called “The Sins of the Guardians,” but unfortunately it didn’t go beyond that. While I still consider every bit of motion forward a worthy cause for celebration (at least you know you wrote a good query letter, eh?), it is by no means the end of my search for a literary agent.

Still, practicality aside, I’m just enjoying the moment. I have three more agents I’m waiting to hear back from (already got one pass, and one automated “we’re no longer accepting unsolicited query letters”), and a whole crap load more that I can submit to after them.

This part of the publication process, arguably the first step aside from actually writing the manuscript, can make or break a writer. I’ve had my moments of despair, as I know many others have had. But this time I feel confident that, regardless of how many rejections and passes I get in my inbox, I’ll still love my manuscript, and I will not despair.

Probably because I’m okay with self publishing, if it comes down to it :p

So, the materials are sent, and this blog is now live, and the site will be tweaked periodically until I get it just so. And, in case you were wondering, the background image is an etching I commissioned to be used potentially in the book cover for “The Poppet and the Lune.”

Have a great weekend!