“When I was a young man I observed that nine out of every ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.” -George Bernard Shaw.
Interesting Literature posted yet another great set of quotes, this one from George Bernard Shaw, and this was easily the first to really grab me. It’s simple and sweet with a very important message: keeping working, folks. And, better yet, work harder. The more you work on it, the more likely your chance of success. It’s a message that I’ve adopted whole-heartedly these days, especially when it comes to publishing and getting your work out there.
Lately, I have been struggling a little bit to get ten times more work done, but the effort is certainly there. Plowing through more stories. Trying to get more books published. Trying to comment to more blogs. The whole time, the mantra repeats in my head, “The more you do, the more you’ll succeed.” Sometimes, you seem to fail so much that it makes you wonder if you’re only trying to delude yourself, but then, you finally hit your mark, and you realize all the hard work has paid off.
….and then on to the next one. It’s a never-ending battle, really, but at least it’s one we (for the most part) enjoy. I think one of the things that people underestimate about this business and anything art related is how much work is really required. I’m constantly thinking about my work, doing my work, it’s pervasive in every aspect of my life. And, while all that hard work can really pay off in creating a lot of content and material, there’s still a lot more work to be done if you’re going to get that content and material to be successful. Even then, you could market the heck out of it, but there’s a factor of luck you can’t control that will also weave its way into your success. The whole “right place, right time” syndrome. We can’t control our luck. But we can control our work, so we just keep on it, keep it going, and keep trying, pushing past those failures and getting on to the successes.
Well, I’ll cut to the chase about one thing before I get into my RoW80 check in: I didn’t get that apartment I fell in love with. The reason I didn’t get that apartment was because of something stupid I did when I didn’t know any better, that messed up my credit, and will not be cleared for another two to three years from now, which means the odds of me finding an apartment went from slim to none (or very close to). There is a temporary solution that might cause some discomfort for a while, but at least it might save some money. So that should be interesting and I’ll keep my eyes open for a landlord that’s willing to look beyond the numbers and understand that people actually do learn and try to grow from stupid things they’ve done in the past.
Anyway, at least I have an answer and we’ve found a second course of action. Maybe now I can focus a little more on my writing, especially considering I have that whole book coming out in a few weeks and everything. It seems time is going way too fast and I don’t have enough time to do this, though that’s probably just the approaching-deadline-rush. Here’s a look at my goals broken down, nice and neat, for your perusal:
Goal One: Soulless. Man, I hope all these changes make the plots and conflicts seem a lot less stupid. I’ve reached the final two chapters on my rewrite, which means getting into formatting and all the nitty-gritty publishing stuff soon. And trying to squeeze in another edit, more than likely. I’m kind of in a state of astonishment over how much work has been done…and how much work still needs to be done. Twenty days feels both plenty of time and not nearly time enough. Either way, though, this thing is getting out there and it’s just surreal.
Goal Two: Short Stories. With a deadline on the 31st, I’ll also be trying to put together the pieces of a Torn Pages submission, and I’ve already gotten started on an idea for an August 31st deadline, though that one is playing rather similar to my Madeline novel. I’m not sure how much further I’ll pursue it. I’ve been really lazy with this, but it’s allowed until Soulless is closer to being ready.
Goal Three: Heartless. I finally worked through a part in Soulless that would have predicted how I wrote the spot I’m at in Heartless, so I can finally move on with the rough draft. What’s particularly exciting now is that I’ve decided to move something that happens in book one to this second book, so now I get to relive that whole experience over again. I’m really stoked for a lot of things in this book, and I have a feeling it will make anyone who really likes the first book completely lose their shit. In a
good great way.
So it’ll be an interesting next few weeks, but at least I’m still managing to magically get some work done despite everything going on. How’s everyone else doing? You can visit my fellow RoWers here.
With my head so far up Soulless‘s butt I can’t really see much else, I’ve been struggling to think of blog posts. I need to get some new fuel going, so I got to thinking about all those beautiful images I’ve been saving for prompts that I’ve found around the Internet and thought, “Ah-ha. Now there’s an idea!” So every once in a while, I’ll share one and talk about the inspiration it strikes in me. Hopefully, you can feel inspired, too, and share your own musings. The first one is an image I found on A Stairway to Fashion, one of my favorite fashion blogs, of the incredibly stunning Lupita Nyon’o,from July 2014’s Vogue magazine.
I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I saw this photograph, because I had to wonder how in the hell the photographer got into my rough draft of The Second Asyentai and composed up the perfect image of Katrin Ferrore (modern clothes notwithstanding). A beautiful and strong woman, short shorn hair (because hair is a liability in a battle!), looking regal and poised and staring at, of all things, the same bloody Serpent that she represents. In fact, my idea for a cover of Serpent in a Cage is much like this image, only in an art nouveau style, and with Auferrix instead of Katrin. This is definitely Katrin, though. Auferrix is too young and inexperienced; there’s knowledge and power here, which perfectly embodies Auferrix’s great-great-great-great-great-great-how-ever-many-greats-great-grandmother. Every time I look at it, I feel that surge of inspiration and admiration for the character, as she’s one of my favorites and truly a bad ass.
Once Soulless is out in the world (another great tale of strong, bad ass women), I might take a moment to revisit The Second Asyentai, or at least revisit Katrin’s chapters, keeping this inspiring image firmly in mind. She’s such a complexity and a rewarding challenge to write. And now I even have a pretty good idea of who would be the perfect cast for her, too. I wonder if the Serpent would also be available for casting?
The past two days have been…interesting, if you couldn’t tell by the fact that my RoW80 update is a day late. Aside from my minor meltdown and applying for a perfect, bigger-than-expected, totally-in-love-with-it, vintage ’20s apartment (which I am waiting to hear back from with bated breath; the guy said he’d get in touch once all the paperwork is done, “probably” yesterday around six, but no call. If I don’t hear from him by five today, I’m pestering him. I want this apartment so bad.), I also went on a spastic rampage and almost changed the entire ending of Soulless. Let me offer a word of advice to my fellow authors: if you start having a grand scheme to change your book dramatically, stop and take a shower first. I was able to work out that what I have going on now makes way more sense, that the new idea was cool on the surface but would never work in the grand scheme of things, and I saved myself a lot of heartbreak by thinking about it first. That was a close one. I’m still probably going to cut one of my favorite parts from the book, but I’ll still be using it, just later in the book.
I was kind of a mess (again!) yesterday waiting for that call, but since it didn’t come in, I had to grapple with disappointment and fear that he didn’t like what he saw on the credit checks and decided already not to rent to us. I reasoned with myself and told myself he was probably waiting on a reference or something like that. Then, someone was talking about meditation on the radio, and I reminded myself that I’m living far too much in the future right now, neglecting the fact that the true path to happiness is to live in the moment. So I’m focusing on that right now, looking at the present, paying attention and enjoying what is going on now, and not worrying about what may be. I can’t control any of that. But I can control how I make today count, no matter what may be ahead of me.
But we’re not here for me to vent out all my nervous excitement and worry and hope about an apartment. We’re here for a RoW80 Update! Here’s my goals and how they’ve been coming along these last few interesting days:
Goal One: Soulless. Did I mention how I almost completely changed the ending? Yeah. That was interesting. It’s so surreal to change so much of a book before it’s published. I feel very good about the changes, but I really feel like I’m flying in blind, and I can’t thank my beta-readers enough for opening my eyes to some real big issues. I’m learning a lot, too. Next time, give yourself more time before the deadline and the beta-reads. You’ll want a second round, more than likely. The entire tone of the book has changed, some of the “bad guys” turned into good guys, and one character even completely changed genders. I’m almost a little glad I gave myself a deadline when I did, because if there were more revisions, I might change even more of it completely.
Also, I’m finding it surprisingly difficult to put together my back cover blurb. When you’re writing pulpy apocalyptic zombie fiction with a side of steampunk, it’s really hard to describe it in one paragraph without sounding super cheesy. Maybe I should just put “Pulpy Apocalyptic Zombie Fiction with a Side of Steampunk.” I’d read that if I saw it on a back cover.
Goal Two: Short Stories. The Torn Pages deadline is coming up fast, so I’m really focusing on finally getting that story out, especially now that I have a new concept that I think is really cool and interesting. Other than than, I’m brushing the dust off my list of contests and submissions to keep an eye out for the next deadline.
Goal Three: Heartless. Heartless is at a little bit of a pause right now There’s a scene in Soulless I’m considering moving out of the first book and into the second, and whether or not I do that changes a lot of what I’m working on right now, so it’ll be a day or two before I decided. Until then, it waits.
Nothing too exciting, as you can see. Most of my energy is going decidedly into Soulless, as it should. It’s almost ready to go into formatting, but not quite yet. So I better get back to work. If you haven’t already, be sure to swing by here and support my fellow RoWers!
I have tried to think of a post for today no less than three times, and each one turned into a horrible ramble of complaints and problems that probably no one is interested in reading, complaining about how I can’t seem to get anything done despite the fact that I’m getting loads of things done. I realized that it all boiled down to one thing: mother flippin stress. I am just a great big ball of it right now, and it’s awful, and it’s crazy how stress both motivates me to work my ass off and makes me feel like I’m not doing nearly enough.
What am I stressed out about? Well, I’m still editing a book I plan to have published and released in less than twenty days. If I don’t find an apartment soon, I might not have a place to live at the end of August. I’m going to see an apartment that I really like on paper and I’m stressed about it turning out to be completely different in reality and/or we’re unable to get it for whatever reason. I’m stressed because, if we do get the apartment, I will be moving and publishing a book at the same time. Knowing how the world usually works, that’s probably exactly what’s going to happen, which will be crazy, but I won’t complain, because then I’ll finally be able to settle in to the next step in my life, which seems like it’s been on pause since freaking January. Oh, yeah, and all this cost a lot of money, so all that nice little bundle I saved up so I could quit my Day Job will be completely gone. Thank God I picked up that part time job…
And then there’s the What if? Oh, man, the What ifs? will kill you. What if we can’t find an apartment? What if people hate Soulless? What if I’m never able to get any traction with my writing and I have to spend the next decade of my life scraping and clawing through my finances just like the last decade? But, to those What Ifs?, I’m going to resolutely answer with a different kind of what: So what?
My life has been a crazy roller-coaster of ups and downs, of constantly feeling like I’m about to get ahead and then being knocked way the fuck back down. But you know what? I know I’m going to get back up again, because I’ve done it before, and I know things are going to work out because I don’t just sit here and dwell on the What Ifs?, no matter how they plague my brain. I’m still working through them, usually harder when I’m stressed than when I’m not, which means I’ll get through this, I’ll move on, I’ll keep charging ahead. So what if we don’t get the apartment, we’ll figure something out. So what if people hate Soulless? I like it, and it’s a huge accomplishment for me to have put together a whole book in less than a year. So what if I can never get ahead? What is there to get ahead to? I’m doing what I love, I found someone to share it with, and, if not for financial stresses (which, really, do they matter in the long run?), I’m really, really happy with life.
There really isn’t a point to this post except to let off some nervousness, vent a little bit, and remind myself (and perhaps others) that, while right now it seems like nothing is going right and things are all crazy, life is pretty freaking amazing right now, because I made it that way. I’m doing some pretty epic stuff here, so of course it’s going to be scary and nerve-wracking and exciting. These high-octane emotions are what makes it worth it, too. Sure, I may be a complete spastic crazy person right now, but I’m also a brilliant spastic crazy-person. Never forget that. Keep forging on. We may never get there, but, hey, it’s all about the journey, anyway, right?
So, anyone remember on my last RoW80 update, where I touted the joys of being able to get back on track? Yeah, well, that was before I realized my days off actually corresponded with my boyfriend’s days off, and we decided to take advantage of this fortuitous and rare event to just spend a day at his place doing absolutely nothing but watching TV and hanging out. It was glorious, but not exactly productive, and then Word has been slow lately with all the changes I’ve been making to Soulless so I’ve been going on-and-off from touching it. However, despite the impromtu stay-cation, I’ve got a pretty good schedule coming up this week so I think things will be good.
Let’s break it down a bit:
Goal One: Soulless. Like I said, I’ve been making so many changes that I feel Microsoft Word can’t even keep up with me. It gets laggy after I’ve been doing about an hour of edits, so I haven’t made much progress. I also cut a lot of the wishy-washy stuff in the middle, tightening the prose and plot, and pretty much now I’ve broken even with my word/page count with the stuff I’ve added and the stuff I’ve taken away. It’s definitely turning out to be a stronger story, and I’m excited again to finally get it finished and out already. Soon…soon!
Goal Two: Short Stories. Almost…almost have my Torn Pages submission ready, and I’m trying to turn more focus on getting some stuff finished and out there to potential paying markets, as it hit me that I might have to wait as long as another month before anything comes back on my current stories out in the ether. Self-publishing really does warp your perception and make you a little impatient when you shoot for something more traditional, but, the way I see it, the best solution is to just keep firing shots….eventually, I might hit something.
Goal Three: Heartless. Poor Heartless has been sorely neglected. The short stories and the edits are getting the top priority lately, but I hope to change this soon. It’s going to be real problematic if this draft isn’t done within the year, so I have to get my butt in gear.
There you have it! Sundays are usually not very productive for me, but I’m having a pretty good morning so far, so maybe I’ll managed to get some work squeezed in before the “It’s Sunday, let’s hang out and do nothing” sets in. How’s everyone else doing? You can check in on my fellow RoWers here (and I highly recommend you do!).
Over on good ol’ Facebook, the fantastic Elizabeth Anne Mitchell tagged me on a writing meme. And of course I can’t refuse a writing meme! It’s a new one I haven’t come across, where you simply post the first sentence of the first three chapters of your WIP. Naturally, I wanted to take the chance to capitalize on promoting Soulless, but I’ll do a bonus and include a Serpent in a Cage section, too!
The Slayer Saga: Soulless.
Chapter One: The carriage rumbled through the mountain, shaking from all the ruts and rocks scattered across the rough road.
Chapter Two: While it was certainly strange to be pampered, the Slayer found it surprisingly refreshing to be bathed, then resting on a large, soft bed.
Chapter Three: Only once in her entire life had the Slayer slept so deeply, when she had been exhausted and frightened beneath an old wooden cart.
Serpent in a Cage.
Chapter One: The sweltering heat, the buzzing insects, the jangling music and the murmuring of voices all blended together numbed Locke Mandrake Battarack’s poor brain and rendered him sluggish and useless.
Chapter Two: It did not take long for Locke and Gilferen to realize that the chase had gotten them utterly and completely turned around.
Chapter Three: The irritation over the flippant serving woman and the discovery of a bogus theft was nothing compared to Locke’s fury at this unexpected company.
And because I’m obsessed with these meme and I figure, why not? Here are the first sentences from the first three stories in my current collection, Bowlful of Bunnies:
Dragon Rising: Possom, Rabbit and Prairie Dog had all gone to the river to do the washing, and I had followed them to watch.
Lilacs: Margaret was five years old, and the only people who called her Margaret were her mother and her doctors.
The Wartburg Incident: In this grey stronghold, my solitude is heavy and burdensome.
So, what do you think? Of course, all memes “require” you to tag people to pass it along, but I hate doing that, so guess what? If they’re reading this, consider yourself tagged! Got a book or a WIP you want to share a little bit more of? Go ahead and steal this for your blogs. I’d love to read them!
Happy writing! And thanks again, Elizabeth!