It’s Not What You Think: My Epic Writer Fail

In preparation for my two book signings this year, I was forced to notify my day job that I would be gone for a few days and had to endure some obligatory small talk which quickly turned to a question I damn well should know how to answer by now but still don’t:

How many books have you written?

Intellectually, I know all they wanted to know was how many books I’d published. Because they don’t care about anything not published, and they shouldn’t. There’s a reason why I didn’t publish it, after all. But on an emotional level, I took that question literally and started a futile internal effort to quantify everything I’d ever written since the very first poems I’d scribbled into an autograph book when I was 9 years old. Because I’m a writer and that’s what I do.

Talk about an awkward conversation stopper.

And that got me thinking about how different things matter to different people. And then I thought about the lists I used to keep of everything I’d written, and how I don’t have time to do that anymore, and my train of thought naturally drifted off the rails to things like multitasking and math, which ultimately led me to this momentous conclusion:

Multitasking is for worker bees

Study after study have been done on the subject of multitasking. For years it has been marketed as a valuable skill (because it gets employees to do more work in less time). But it’s recently been exposed as the fraud that it is. The more tasks you have to do at one time, the less effective you are at performing each individual task. Workload goes up, quality of work goes down. Simple, straight forward concept.

This is why multitasking is only feasible for work that relies more on habit and muscle memory than active problem solving. You can collate files and still talk on the phone if you’ve done it hundreds of times before. You can stuff envelopes and pay attention to a webinar. You can type a generic email and tell someone where the copy paper is stored without breaking your WPM stride.

But you can’t formulate a complex multi-dimensional world with multiple religious sects and social strata while simultaneously organizing a multi-step out of state travel itinerary and actively participating in pre-event promotion.

Which is my way of saying I’ve fallen behind schedule on Prince of Deceit.

Right now, I am maybe 3 or so chapters away from finishing the story, but I went back to have screaming fight with this bitch because it is giving me enough attitude to make a hormonal teenager jealous and I need to teach it who’s in charge. Again.

Seriously, it’s one of those moments where my internal dialogue goes something like this:

Me to manuscript: Is it me? Was I a bad writer to you? Did I not give you everything you ever wanted? Why are you punishing me like this?

Manuscript: Screw you! You’re not my mom!

Me: Yes I am, you little brat! I brought you into this world and I can take you the f#ck out again!

There’s a lot of door slamming happening right now. I’m hoping it’s a phase because I can’t handle this for much longer. It’s time this royal pain of a freeloader moved out and got a job.

It doesn’t help that I’d made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t work on anything else until this book was finished, which now means not only will PoD not get published this year, nothing else will, either. Ya know, just in case I didn’t feel like enough of a failure already. Good thing I don’t have a release schedule breathing down my neck. Score one for being my own publisher.

Anyway, this is just a small authory update for those of you keeping track. 🙂  Since I haven’t been very active online lately, I just wanted to reassure everyone that I’m still alive, still writing (or rewriting), and still very much an introvert, public appearances notwithstanding.

And now I go back to my red pen (I think it’s running out of ink…)

Until next time!

Character Development: Aiden and The Break of Chapter 26

Have you ever been asked to do a character analysis in English class as a student? I don’t remember much from the ones I did, but I do enjoy the concept. Obviously, not every character ever written is worthy of the bother, but every once in a while you get one you could spend hours on the couch with (in psychoanalysis…). You think you know them, but the more you look, the deeper you see. Part of why I love reading, re-reading, and writing is that all three allow you to revisit a certain situation, a certain place and time, a certain sentence spoken, and look beneath the surface in a way you can’t do in real life. Nuance and subtlety are the most irresistible lure for any hardcore bookworm. Yes, we enjoy action and passion, and witty dialogue, but what really keeps us coming back isn’t the obvious, it’s the things you have to dig for, think about, and chew on.

Why would you do that to a person??

WolfenNot too long ago, I was confronted with a reader’s question that gave me pause. The question was about Aiden from Wolfen and a certain thing that happens to him about halfway through the book. My answer was going to be simple and to the point: it was a test for him and another character, and their arcs hinged upon how they responded to it. But I paused because as I was typing this answer out, my mind veered off to a place I hadn’t gone before, even while writing this book, and it completely changed what I wanted to say. That place was Aiden’s past.

“Why would you do that to a person?” they asked.

Here’s my answer:

Continue reading “Character Development: Aiden and The Break of Chapter 26”

Tough Love: 7 Reasons Why Rejection Is Actually Good For You

 

Master

I recently came across this article about how publishing houses handle rejection letters. Shared on Facebook and promptly got into a couple of very good discussions about several elements the article presented. As I found it about a week after this blog post, which talks about the culture of entitlement and victimhood, I will admit my mindset was a bit skewed going into it, but thinking back, I still stand by my opinion that rejection is a natural and necessary part of growing as a writer and creator. Here is why:

Continue reading “Tough Love: 7 Reasons Why Rejection Is Actually Good For You”

Time Is Relative–The Weird One You Avoid At Reunions

Every year, at some point in the middle, I look back on the previous few months and bemoan the lack of a new book release. The thinking goes, if I didn’t publish a book yet, then I’m slacking, and losing momentum in the market, and losing readers along the way. What have I been doing with all this time?? It’s worse when I look at my Facebook News Feed and see dozens of other authors posting about their new or upcoming releases. I’m happy for my friends, but at the same time feel like I just missed a ton of opportunities.

And every year I have to remind myself that is the wrong kind of thinking.

Continue reading “Time Is Relative–The Weird One You Avoid At Reunions”