Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Holy Moly, I used to be a pretty good writer!

I know I said I was going dark on blogging, but as soon as I cut loose of the blog, the throttle got stuck on my plans, and I've been varooming around wildly.  And now I'm too excited for words..... Wait, I mean I'm too excited to NOT have words.

To quote Mr. Monk,

Here's What happened

I had this plan which I didn't fully mention to you guys, because it was in constant motion anyway.  But it went like this:

1.) I've only published on thing in 19 months -- The Misplaced Hero, which is available here for free on the blog, so it kinda doesn't count.  For at least 17 of those months, I've been dealing with kerfuffle, and really haven't done much of anything but this blog.  So in a sense, my career has been at a standstill while I dealt with 'stuff.'

Which gave me a chance to start over.

2.) So the plan was to write a bunch of stuff and start publishing again, maybe with some of the stuff under a pen name.  And not really do anything else.  Let each book be the promotion for the previous book.

3.) Then I was browsing around KBoards, and I noticed a lot of people were saying the same thing: the one thing they all wished they had done from the start was have a mailing list.  Most people were regretting 90 percent of the other things they did to promote books, etc.  But nobody regretted having a mailing list.

And, thought I, as long as I'm starting over, I might as well start a mailing list.  I gotta make over the end matter on my books anyway, so I might as well have that link there from the start of the new me.

4.) Which led me to think, golly, I really should redo the end matter on my old books.  Some of those have long annoying samples.  And it will give me a chance to add the mailing list link, or maybe just a link to my main webpage which will have a prominent mailing list link.... Oh, crap.

5.) That main webpage is WAY out of date.  Gotta update that.  Well, I'm not going to publish anything untl the end of August, so I have some time.

This is beginning to sound like a death spiral, isn't it?  I mean, "I'm just going to stop everything else and write, except I'll just do this one thing, and that one other thing, which actually means I have to do these six other things...."

Except it isn't a death spiral, it's a start up chime.  (It's true, a lot of my grand plans have ended with the words "Oh, right, I have to update my webpage."  But not this time.)

The Restart Chime

6.) I went all zen on that "Getting Things Done" thing.  My GTD System got implemented.  It was all completely unconscious.  I just had stuff I wanted to get done and the system sort of created itself.  I created a "Job Jar" document where I put every little thing I wanted to get done that I could do while working in my office.  And I numbered the items so I could use Random.org to choose a task any time I found myself dithering. I also acquired a little Mac software thingy called "Minute Timer" to time 15 minute work bouts.

It didn't work perfectly, but I found I was getting things done....

Then I accidentally hit the turbo-charge button.

7.) A long time ago I published a collection of my fantasy and children's stories -- then realized the stories didn't fit together all that well, so I unpublished it and put the grown up fantasy stories into another collection (The Bellhound), and I always meant to republish the children's collection and never did.  So that seemed like a natural to add to the publication schedule.  It's all ready, just needs to be redone to fit my new standards.

8.) I just had to redo the cover... and oh, wow, I really like how that came out.  (You see the rough version to right. With my old pen name for children's writing - I'm considering using it for the kid stuff.)

And the collection looks really nifty.  I can't wait until the middle of September to publish this.  I want to do it now.  Tonight.

Except with my new pricing schedule it was a little short, I thought, for a 2.99 book.

9.) I wrote a bunch of children's stories, so I started digging in my trunk for a couple more stories to fill in for the ones I had removed.
10.) Now suddenly I had two collections of children's stories to publish.  Oh, and a novelette.  Oh, that story would work with a little change here or there.  And that one, though it sucks, would actually work if I rewrote the idea now as a children's story.  Oh, crap, I forgot about that story!  That's got to be the best thing I ever wrote!  Why didn't I finish it? (No market.  Right.)

I used to be a freaking good writer, you know that?  Why am I not writing like that any more?  (Except for those other stories.  I'm glad I don't write like that any more.)

Anyway, it's kind of like I stumbled into a room full of triple-fudge dark chocolate cake and ice cream, all for me.  I am so utterly pleased to revive that story I didn't finish.  I am still tickled about all my current stuff too.

And yeah, I'm pushing up the start of publications under my own name.  I'll start with the first collection around August 15, and go with two publications a month until the middle of November.  I expect, at that time, to go dark and publish some of the stuff I'm going to write under a pen name.

But for now, I'm just tickled pink to have rediscovered 3/4 of a fantasy/western story titled "The Pottsville Miracles."  I bet I can beat that last 1/4 into submission.  I can't wait to get it out there.

See you in the funny papers.


jnfr said...

I'm really happy to hear that you found some old works that you love so. And I really like that children's book cover, too.

Keep at it!

Kyra said...

sounds like a case of KKR's popcorn kittens!

and ooh, a fantasy-western! can't wait to see that :-D

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks for following even though the slow dreary update times.

I'll be posting Sundays through the rest of August and then going back to some kind of regular blog posting on September 1.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

That's cover is terrific!

And it sounds like you've discovered some gold. Glad that's going so well.

You made me laugh with the death spiral. My tasks so frequently go that way...

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Elizabeth!

I ended up going with different fonts than the rough in this post, but I do like the rustic wood-cut look. I have a lot of fun doing them.