It’s Nanowrimo! Holy gods where has the year gone? I feel like just yesterday I was saying Happy New Year to folks.
Ok, so, it’s November and I’ve apparently been abducted by aliens this year because that’s the only way to explain all the missing time. I’m also recovering from seriously heavy burnout. Slowly feeling more like myself, but trying not to push it. Pushing it leads to more burnout.
And because it’s Nanowrimo, we have a new crop to harvest! A new crop of writing advice!
Like all harvests, some of it is good, some of it is bad, and some of it is of dubious quality. Be careful before you dig in; you don’t want ergot poisoning. (Actually…ergot is a hallucinogen, so it might help you come up with things to write. GO FOR IT! No, don’t, don’t ever take advice from me. Or do, whatever, I’m not your supervisor.)
Floating out there in cyberspace, I saw one particular part of writing advice that I needed to comment on. (I don’t remember where I saw it; I just know I saw it. Also it’s not an uncommon piece of advice to get tossed around.)
It said something along the lines of “it’s no good writing a bunch of words if you have to toss most of them out.”
Yeah, so, this is wrong. I mean, in my not so humble opinion, obviously, your mileage may vary, but so, so wrong.
Working hard or hardly working? HA HA HA HA HA no seriously, I have a problem.
Procrastination doesn’t just come naturally, you know. We have to work hard at it. Really make sure we’re getting everything we can out of the time we waste.
After feeling awful for over two weeks because I haven’t been writing or editing, I finally got down to working on The Jade Star of Athering again today. I thought that working on it would make me feel better — and you know, it has. I’ve worked on it for maybe 20 minutes and written about 150 new words in it. Now I’m feeling “Okay, I worked on this, can I quit and do something else now?” That sort of ‘feeling better’.
Here’s the thing with The Jade Star of Athering. I set myself up for editing failure with it.
My natural writing state is to write a bunch and go back and edit it before moving on. I am an edit-as-I-goer. That was how I did Bellica, and while Bellica took way too much time, its finished first draft was about 10x cleaner than its sequel’s first draft.
I started doing Jade Star that way, too. It is, as I said, my natural state.
But then I published Bellica and became active in online indie author circles and started reading all this advice and…somewhere along the way I internalized the idea that the point was to get it written and edit it later. I’LL FIX IT IN POST, my brain drunkenly screamed as I tried like hell to finish my first drafts. THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, it further said, swigging some vodka (I don’t know where my brain got the vodka) before knocking over a lamp.
This worked out okay for Stranger Skies, which was fully plotted before I wrote it (and therein lies the difference, likely). I say okay, because editing Stranger Skies was still like dragging my carcass through a swamp made of death and tears in a way that editing Bellica wasn’t.
And now editing The Jade Star of Athering is turning out to be even worse.
Part of my issues are related to Fear of the Sequel, yes — I won’t deny that. There lurks a fear in me that I can only do great first books and whatever book is next in the series will fall short. Which is fair, as it’s basically a trope now that Sequels Always Suck, so it makes sense I’d feel that way about my own work (whether or not it’s true). But mostly, the big wall that keeps springing up is the fact that this finished first draft is the messiest pile of crap I have ever produced. And that’s because I absorbed “Don’t get it right, get it written” when I was finishing it.
Look, “Don’t get it right, get it written” is actually great advice for people who are not natural edit-as-we-goers. If you are the type of writer who works better editing after the first draft is done, then yes, absolutely, vomit those words onto the page and make it pretty, make it make sense, later. Do it, because it works for you.
It doesn’t work for me. And that’s a lesson I’ve learned, now, and I won’t repeat this mistake in the future. When I’m finished The Jade Star of Athering — which was supposed to be at the beginning of this month, by the way, and now it’s looking like I’ll have to push the release date — I’ll be working on From the Ashes, the next book in The Borderlands Saga. And I’m going to let my natural inclination to edit as I go take the lead, this time.
How to procrastinate: let writing advice override your natural inclination for editing as you go. Finish a first draft. Try to edit that first draft. Suddenly, everything will look better than editing that thing (including my publishing work, which I usually also try to procrastinate on).
“All voices sing in unison: get out get out get out escape escape escape…” but violence and death stalk Jane along every bend of every way out….
Can you escape a past you never knew?
Four hardworking professionals live the good life–until one falls into a hole in a Vancouver street. As the world’s colors change, each man grapples with shadows of war as Jane tumbles into the abyss of the Disappeared.
Paul and Zack, thrown together by what may be Jane’s last testament, are hardly excited about cooperating with each other on any issue, least of all on the disappearance, weeks ago, of their mutual friend and her little daughter.
What did Jane expect of them–if anything? What does her story mean–if anything? And what, if anything, should they do about Matt, Jane’s beloved husband, the man each of them suspects?
Caught in an ancient web of caring and enduring, action and restraint, law and healing, Zack and Paul enact the next steps–in Jane’s existence as well as their own.
Available for preorder in ebook and paperback from these locations
Note, the paperback preorder is only available from our Storenvy store, and not anywhere else. If you buy a paperback copy from Amazon or B&N, you are getting an older copy of the book which is completely different from this version. (Broken Sleep was originally published 9 years ago. That version is out of print, and the book has gone through extensive revisions prior to this version being released. They are basically completely different books.) The paperback of this version will be available via Createspace after the release date of September 23rd.
If you were hoping for an ARC of the book, there’s still time for one. Fill out this form and I’ll send you a copy of the ebook ASAP.
And now, I think I’ve spent enough time procrastinating. I even took a big break from working on this post to update my Facebook page and create a new cover image for it. I work really had at avoiding work, y’all.
Go order Broken Sleep, or request the ARC or something. Make my procrastination worth it! <3