Wednesday, March 12th

#114: Opening Up Shop

Music: The Bar-Kays
Mood: optimistic
As a result of both my experiences at Potlatch 17 and a near-death experience, I have reassessed my approach to my writing. Specifically, I realized that I need to treat writing once again as an actual job in the sense that I devote at least 20 hours a week. My goal is to write for at least an hour every day, but that is only exercise. The only way that I can truly make writing into a thriving career for myself is to put in serious hours at it.

I have done this before. Last year at this time, I was getting up early every morning (considering I don't get home from work until 1-3 AM) and writing most of the morning and afternoon until it was time to go to work. This discipline produced a book. Since I finished the book last June, I have not written with that level of commitment and intensity. I did manage to get the book edited (which is currently being read- but not edited- by my friend who is a professional editor), but it was more of a haphazard schedule.

I see not only the need to get into a disciplined writing schedule, but to also have things to work on. One of the things that I saw at Potlatch (and I knew already) is that to break into the biz, it helps if you get some work published first in the SF magazines. I have a couple of interesting short story ideas, including one I want to work on when I finish this. I have also become a founding member of a writer's group made of folks from the Seattle area who met at Potlatch. I want to bring a rough draft of this story to the writer's group and read what other prople have sent me so far. I am also working on getting the book published. I see that in addition to researching agents, I need to actually get the manuscript professionally edited. I have been reluctant to pay for it, but it sounds like a worthwhile investment.

So I have a plan here, but it's going to take time to do everything. Like anything worth doing, I need to budget my time and commit to finishing it. I want to be a writer and this is what I have to do in order to become one, or in the words of an inspirational quote I came across last weekend: "Mean it and you will make it."

santo26 on 03.12.08 @ 03:54 PM PST [link]

Tuesday, March 4th

#113: Viva Potatch!

Music: Alison Moyet
Mood: pleased
So how was Potlatch 17? It was great! It was everything that I wanted it to be and more. I wanted to meet some fellow Seattle-based sci-fi writers (check!), talk with older writers and learn from them (check!), go to some fasinating panels including the one about Octavia Butler (check!), and maybe pick up one or two awesome books at the dealers tables (check!).

It was so awesome to be around so many like-minded people for once. I do love writing, but sometimes, when you are deep into it, it seems that all I do is get up, write, go to work, come home, go to bed, wash, rinse, repeat. Trying to translate the images into my head into nerve impulses that make my fingers type letters that make words that somewhat approximate what I am seeing is not the most social of enterprises. While I do get out of the house occasionally, I rarely get to do so with people who are into writing, so Potlatch was very affirming in so many ways. The deadline for Clarion West passed during the middle of the convention, and there were so many people there who had attended (Potlatch and Clarion West are two facets of the same community after all), I began to regret my decision to not at least throw my hat into the ring and see if I could get in.

On the other hand, I attended Potlatch as a rookie writer. I wanted to sit in and listen and see where to go next. While I've always been writing, I have only recently decided to follow my calling as a writer. Among the many amazing things I learned this weekend, I realized that in addition to sending the book out and seeing what happens, I need to keep writing, join up some writers groups and keep myself up on what's going on in the SF and larger literary world.

I am in the midst of developing two short stories that I will send out to the SF mags. I'll let you know how they are coming...

santo26 on 03.04.08 @ 07:38 PM PST [link]

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