What A Rut…

Well I suppose it had to happen sometime, right?

After spending 8 months writing something upwards of 20 short stories and 2 and a half novels – and getting published 8 times – I would say that it’s probably time for me to hit a wall.

I think part of the problem is that I’m spending nearly 100% of my time editing older stuff, trying to force myself to take it slow and do things right.  What a pain!  I’m used to doing everything as quickly as I can so I can move on, but now I have 3 short stories and a novel undergoing revision at the same time with no new material being produced.  So most of the time I am staring at a screen and not noticing a lot of movement.  The progression is what keeps me motivated, and without progression I feel like I’m not getting anywhere.

Another part of being discouraged comes with this doom-and-gloom rumor I’m hearing about the traditional publishing scene (writer + agent + editor + publisher = career) going to hell.  People are saying that it’s all about the e-book, it’s all about self publishing.  I don’t want that.  I think there’s a reason that we’re artists – we’re not meant to be good at all four points of the writing process.  While I’m not certain that having so many middle men is good, I’m also pretty sure that I don’t want to have to devote 26 hours a day to doing all of that stuff.  I want to write.  I want other people to take a reasonable cut of my pay in order to do their job of editing, negotiating, and publishing.  When I hear about all these trends heading toward that going away, it gives me that what’s-the-point feeling when it comes to trying to make a career about this.

I suppose there’s only one thing I can do about it for the moment:  write.  That’s what I’ve been doing the whole time, anyway.  I’m learning about myself the whole time.  I always thought I needed multiple projects to keep me going – now I realize that I think I need multiple projects in multiple different stages to do it.  Brandon Sanderson posted earlier this week that his goal was to do 10,000 words a week for the next Wheel of Time book.  When I was writing the Last Scion, I was doing 10,000 words a day, sometimes more, while working 9-10 hours a day.  Not to compare my drivel with that of an experienced writer, but I think it’s obvious that I needed that pressure of an insane deadline in combination with the thrill of writing something new to keep me going.

Well, I suppose I’ve wasted enough time here complaining about not writing.  Time to type elsewhere.

3 Comments

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  1. Since you’ve actually had things published, the traditional route may seem more appealing. All its positive influences considered, it does make more sense to create and have an editor sharpen the edge. However, with the volume of submissions out there, I’d say that few editors actually want to spend time editing. I think they might just be hunting for the thing that will pass muster with very little revision. Either that, or if you’re a nobody like me…they may not even give the piece a chance. I’ve heard stories that some editors make up their mind after just one page. Well, so much for the creative strategy of surprise… either spit out something really awesome from the first paragraph of forget it. M. Knight Shyamalan would fail to impress those types.
    I just wish I could get my danged foot in the door somewhere…

  2. I wouldn’t say that all the signs point to the traditional model going away – you’re just reading the wrong blogs. If you start following a lot of traditionally published authors, you’ll find most of them still have a lot of nice things to say about the traditional model. Certainly, some don’t – especially those that are, you know, switching to the self-pub model – but most still do.

    I will say this: if you’re able to churn out 10,000 words a day, then you’re going to build up a lot of writing experience very fast, and it seems to me you’re going to learn a lot about how to improve what you’re writing very quickly… that’s definitely going to help you get a leg up in the traditional publishing world over time.

  3. The key there is that traditional publishing is still a wholly viable option, and probably will be for the near future. It’s just that e-publishing and self-publishing are ramping up so much people are actually beginning to believe the hype.

    My brother bought a crapload of e-books off Amazon for a couple of bucks each. How much of those has he read, three months later? Two. He spent most of his reading time finishing a stack of hardbacks he borrowed from the library.

    What does that tell you?

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