Saturday, March 29, 2014

Setbacks Don't Mean Give Up

It's been an interesting time for me as a writer recently. I was so full of optimism when I set out on my editing journey, and visions of book contracts danced in my dreams. I still feel good about novel 6, but the doubt has begun to creep in. It's slower going than I expected. I'm itching to start something new. I am dreading trying to query. I haven't had any great insights in how to fix a character that maybe isn't working.

I read this post yesterday about whether or not I'm publishable, and I closed the tab with the unshakable feeling that the tea leaves were definitely not in my favor. I was in a really down place. This anxiety over my dead-end future in writing combined with my current looming unemployment to make me feel like a complete loser. But then my boyfriend came home, and after lots of hugs and crying into his shoulder, I began to see things in a better light. So maybe none of my queries have been successful. That's just a problem with my queries. It doesn't say shit about my book, because no one actually read the book. I ended up knocking out another couple scenes and reaching the halfway point of this edit.

Yes, it's been 2 months and I'm only halfway. It's frustrating. I gave myself a 3 month deadline, and obviously I am not on track for that. It's tempting to give up. It's like when you're trying to eat healthy, and you end up having a piece of cake, so then you think "Well, I already fucked up," and go on and eat the entire cake (I'm not the only one that does that, right? RIGHT?!). But eating a whole cake is way worse than eating a piece, and giving up on something because I'm behind is way worse than just finishing late. So it's time to gird my loins, buckle down, and finish what I've started. And maybe eat some cake.

I'm not kidding about the cake. This was mine and my boyfriend's Saturday night last month!

Hell, it's not even too late for me to make a good push and still meet my end-of-April deadline!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fun With Numbers

I know, I know, some of you might not think numbers are very fun. I suppose I'm sort of an odd kind of writer who gets all excited about the right side of the brain, but I also suspect I'm not all that much of an outlier.

I have always loved writing. Seriously, I cannot remember a time in which I did not write. In parallel, I have always loved math. I was homeschooled until 3rd grade, and I used to work ahead in my math homework because I just thought it was fun. I had a sign on my bedroom door that said "Fractions rule!" when I was in grade school. One of my favorite classes I ever took was Partial Differential Equations (I took it during summer school basically just because I could), and I'm not too humble to admit I kicked that class's ass. I even got a special write up from my professor.

Basically, what I am saying, is that I am a nerd of both the number and letter type. So, numbers!

I joined Goodreads back in 2011. Initially, I made a pretty good effort at adding a lot of books that I had read. I went through both of the bookshelves in my apartment, for example, as well as adding other books that had stuck in my mind. But let's face it, I've read SO many books that there is no way that I got even close to all of them. Which means the overall numbers on my shelves aren't necessarily indicative. But since I joined, I have been meticulous about logging all of my reading. I would be surprised if I've missed more than 2 books I read in that time. So my recent stats are definitely accurate, and I decided to play with my 2013 books.

Total books read: 63
Non-fiction: 0
Fantasy: 37
Science Fiction: 22
General Fiction: 4

Ha! Well I think there is a definite trend here. I even made a pie chart to illustrate this.

it took me a shamefully long time to decide on a color scheme
For the record, I had way too much fun doing this.

So I find myself thinking a few things. One, I can't believe I didn't read a single non-fiction book last year. Okay, I read half of one, but I haven't touched it in months. Two, clearly I have little interest in non-genre fiction. Although this set of statistics doesn't show quite the whole picture.

I gave 9 5-star ratings during 2013, and the breakdown for those was 1 general fiction, 4 fantasy, and 4 science fiction. I'm not going to bother with a whole pie chart for that, but that's an 11/44/44 percentage breakdown, compared to the overall 6/35/59. So while I'm reading a whole lot more fantasy than anything else, I'm not liking it quite as much. (Also worth pointing out is that those 3 of those fantasy 5-star ratings are to the same author for books in the same series.) And while I may not seek out general fiction, I often like it when I read it.

What this all means for me going forward--besides that I like Excel far more than anyone ought to--is that I should make more of an effort to broaden my horizons. I've done that in other areas before (like trying to read more female authors, but that is definitely for another post), and I know it can only result in more, better reading for me. I'll try to revisit this once 2014 bites the dust and see if I managed to break out of my comfort zone a little bit!