Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Insecure Writer and Sending Your Baby Off To The Editor


Today is September's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

The fact that I just sent my debut manuscript off to my editor.

I’ve always felt I had a pretty good handle on my manuscript, at least as far as typos and errors were concerned. I have a knack for spotting them, and considering that I’ve reread every chapter in my manuscript at least a hundred times (minimum), I assumed simple errors would have been stamped out by now. But as I read through the manuscript one last time before shipping it off to the editor, it became clear to me just how easily errors can slip through.

And that keeps me up at night.

Well, so what, you say. Who cares if a few errors slip through now? I’m still in the editing stages, and more errors will inevitably slip in later while I’m revising based on the editor’s suggestions. But what about later when all the editing is done and I’m finally ready to publish the darn thing? Will I be able to click on that "upload manuscript" button, or will I keep searching my manuscript over and over again, searching for that last elusive error?

I know that errors are inevitable, and that all books have them, but that doesn't make me feel any better.

September's question: How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

I’ll consider myself a successful writer the instant I upload my first book to Amazon. Period. It’ll be an ebook, of course, but that’s okay by me. I’m sure I'll eventually put together a print version, if only so I can have a physical copy or two of my own to sit on my desk. 

As far as income goes, I do have  a target in mind, but whether or not I meet that goal won't determine if I'm a successful writer or not. All that will determine is whether my writing is a career, or an expensive hobby.

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


P.S. Do any of you know any good proofreaders?

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Insecure Writer and the Pleasure of Pushing Back Deadlines


Today is August's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

Actually, not much.

Some of you may remember from last month that I was worried my editor was about to send me an email announcing she was ready for my manuscript--a manuscript that I was still deep in the middle of revising. In fact, I received the dreaded email about three hours after my IWSG post. Yikes!

The good news, and the reason I'm much more relaxed this month, is that she was able to switch my editing slot with that of another writer, which means she won't need my manuscript until sometime in September. Woohoo! And if that wasn't reason enough to celebrate, it turns out my revisions are moving along at a nice, steady pace, so I should have my manuscript ready long before September rolls around. Nothing like an extension to relieve the pressures of editing.

Of course, if I haven't finished my edits by next month's IWSG post, then my insecurity levels will once again skyrocket.

August's question: What is your favorite writing craft book? 

To be honest, I'm probably much more interested in reading everyone's answer than answering the question myself. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell was my go-to book back when I was first learning to write. Since then, I've been so busy trying to finish my manuscript, I've neglected my pile of craft books. 

Bad author! Bad, bad author! 

P.S. I am reading craft books these days, but they're all about marketing books, not writing them.

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Insecure Writer and Waiting For Your Editor's Email


Today is July's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

The fact that it’s almost time to send my manuscript to the editor.

Back in January, I finished adding the final touches to the manuscript I’ve been working on for well over five years. It had already been through two critique groups by then, so I felt it was time to send it off to an editor. Turns out my preferred editor is in demand, so she couldn’t pencil me in until July. At the time, I was disappointed at the delay, but after a beta-reader pointed out some problems with the story a few months ago, I was grateful for the extra time to fix things up.

But now it’s finally July, and the editor will be emailing me any day now, asking for my manuscript, and that makes me anxious. What will she think of the story? How many changes will she suggest? How much work will it take to fix them? I’m not so wedded to my words that changing things here and there will bother me overmuch, but what if she points out problems I’m not a good enough writer to fix?

Those of you who have worked with multiple editors on multiple projects may chuckle at this last concern, but to me it's a real possibility. I want this story to be as good as it can be, and I'm deathly afraid I'll be the biggest factor holding it back.

July's question: What would make you quit writing? 

Very little, as I’m having too much fun doing it. Only if it became too painful to write, either physically or because of severe emotional trauma, would I consider stopping. Oh, and I suppose going blind would probably do it too. I need to see the words on the page for me to write.   

By the way, be sure to stop by the other co-hosts for this month: Pat GarciaVictoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue.

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Insecure Writer and Dealing With Revisions


Today is June's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

The tedious process of revising my debut manuscript.

It’s not as if I haven’t already edited the heck out of my novel over the past five years. It’s been through two critique groups, and I’ve gone through it myself so many times I practically have it memorized. In fact, I felt it was in good enough shape to schedule a copy edit with a professional editor. All seemed to be good.

Then I sent a copy to a beta reader who has some experience with urban fantasies (Thanks, Loni).

Unfortunately, she found a few problems in areas I hadn’t considered. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but she basically had a problem with both the protagonist and the antagonist. Arg! Nothing that can't be fixed, mind you, but some of those fixes will require major modifications to the story and that’s what’s setting off my insecurities.

I’ve always had difficulty making changes to scenes I felt were essentially finished. Once I have the scene the way I like it, I have a hard time imagining the scene happening in any other way. It's a mental thing. I’m making my way through my manuscript, tackling scenes one at a time, but it's slow process. Changes in one scene often necessitate making changes elsewhere in the story. My biggest fear is that after I finish all these revisions, the professional editor will come back with all sorts of new problems, requiring yet another painful rewrite.

And I thought writing the first draft was hard.

June's question: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? 

Maybe this isn’t the best way to write, but I’m constantly going back and editing chapters even as I’m working on the first draft. Since I’m such a slow writer, however, it may be six to twelve months before I return to a chapter I’ve already worked on, which gives me plenty of time to look at the words with fresh eyes.  

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Insecure Writer and Frittering Away My Writing Time


Today is May's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

The worry that I might not have the drive to be a commercially successful writer.

Don’t get me wrong. I like writing. But life keeps you busy, and a writer has to be strong enough to stay productive even when life is happening all around them. Between my tutoring schedule, my wife’s car accident, doing the taxes, and all the other stuff life threw at me lately, I simply haven’t done much in the way of writing. 

It’s not like I haven’t had some time to write. I just haven’t made use of the time I did have available. I read so many stories of writers working full time jobs, taking care of their families, and still pumping out story after story. And here I am, frittering away the spare moments I do have. Heck, it's 11:50 pm and I'm scrambling to finish the day's IWSG post. 

What's going to happen when I have to worry about marketing the book?

Thanks for listening. 


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Insecure Writer and Not Knowing What Life Has Planned For You


Today is April's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

Not knowing what life is about to deal you.

I’m a bit late with my post today. Not particularly unusual for me, but this time I have an excuse. Instead of spending Tuesday writing a post about the insecurities of editing your manuscript based on your beta reader’s input, I spent most of it in the emergency room after my wife and son were in an automobile accident.
Long story short, a car ran a red light and T-boned the passenger side of our car. My son was driving, so my wife took the brunt of the impact. The ambulance came and took her to the hospital. I took my son there a few hours later when he started developing some pain too.

Notice the several deployed airbags

As a writer, I suppose I should wait until the end of the post to let you know how it all came out, but since we’re all friends here, I’ll let you know that, besides some aches and bruises, everyone is okay. 

But that doesn’t mean the ten hours we spent in the emergency room were not without some scares. They found a fracture in my wife’s C1 vertebrae, the one at the very top of her spine, so they put a neck brace on her. The neurosurgeon told us that, assuming my wife didn’t need surgery, she’d have to wear the brace for at least 6 weeks. They did some more tests, then an orderly came by to do a COVID test, suggesting that they were planning on admitting her to the hospital. Then they performed another test or two, and then finally two hours later, the doctor came by to announce that my wife could take the brace off. The fracture was small enough it would take care of itself.

Talk about a relief. I thought my wife’s eyes were about to bug out when the doctor told us. So now we're back home, resting and recuperating.

The moral of the story is simply this. While you’re sitting in front of your keyboard and slaving away on your story, always remember that you never know what life has planned for you. Maybe your next story will be a success, maybe it won’t. It doesn’t matter. You’ve always got another story waiting inside you. Your job is keep pecking away at the keyboard and let life figure out what’s going to happen with it.

Oh, and always wear seat belts.

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Insecure Writer and Those Darned Roadblocks


Today is March's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

The inevitable stoppages in my writing progress. 

Some of you may remember that even though I'm working through edits on my debut urban fantasy, I’ve already begun working on the sequel. When you’re a slow writer like me, it’s best to keep the pipeline moving at all times. Progress has been good, but this month I finally hit one of those irritating roadblocks where the writing comes screeching to a halt.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

I didn’t expect this scene to be particularly tough. The protagonist has to sneak into the bad guy’s lair and steal something. But this was a scene I hadn’t initially planned on writing and the decisions I was forced to make brought the writing to a standstill. What would be the setting? Where would the bad guys be located and how many would there be? What special obstacles would be present that made this scene unique? And how would I weave it all together in a way that maximizes the reader’s entertainment. Needless to say, after a week or two of ineffectual floundering , I moved onto to the next scene, if only to retain my sanity.

This is how my writing always seems to work. I make good progress for a couple of weeks, and just when I think I've finally figured this whole writing thing out, something like this comes along and nothing gets written for a couple of weeks, bringing my productivity back down to its usual annoyingly slow pace. Who says writing is easy?

March's question: Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice? 

Several years ago, I read both science fiction and fantasy, both paranormal and urban, but now that I’m writing urban fantasy, that’s pretty much the only genre I read these days. If I had more time to read, I’d probably read more genres, but slow writers don’t have that luxury.
I’m proud to announce that I’m one of this month’s co-hosts. Please be sure to stop by the other co-host blogs and say hi. 

Take care everyone, and stay safe!