Saturday, May 12, 2012

Repost: Writing is Dirty

This is a post I did ages ago at an old blog, before The Hanged Man's Ghost was ever published. Just a little peek into the writer brain.

"Writing is not a genteel profession. It's quite nasty and tough and kind of dirty."
~ Rosemary Mahoney

I am, at this juncture, finishing up a project I am, at the moment, calling Adder's Breath, but after further thought, it sounds...dirty. The quotation above (which I found because I unashamedly stalk Ms. Gail Carriger's blog when she's between novels. Don't give me that look, I know you do it too).

It reminded me of the when I first started writing Fynn Adder's story (see, his name is in the title, I'm so frickin' clever, right?). I remember wrestling with myself frequently. There were long nights, periods where I forgot to shower, eat, and in general take care of myself like a normal hygienic person ought to. Of course, at the time, I was also living in a dorm room with three other girls so I would say that I wasn't quite as bad as I could have been, if only for the sakes of my roommates and homework.

Fynn's story has come quite a ways from it's original roots. For one, it's longer, which I find to be a bonus. Two, it's cleaner, sharper, and funnier--so ha. Third, I've untangled the plot (which was atrocious looking back) killed off some typo demons which were getting afoul of my writerly awesomeness and overall, gotten my hands dirty.

That's right. Being an author is not some noble ideal folks. It's about work. Actual work. Days of research, headaches, hand cramps (tendonitis sucks by the way) and a reclusiveness and aversion to sunlight some might call unhealthy.

Fynn's story is reminding me why I want to write, which is nice. I want to write because I like to read. I write stories I want to read. Sure, in the back of my head is that creature with a pitchfork I like to call Steve, he's the part of my brain filled with commercial information and publishing know-how that has, as of yet, gotten me nowhere.

Steve and I have an interesting relationship. While I strive for art, Steve is thinking about that all important thing--Money. But a person who as never been published (we're excluding my unpaid self aggrandizement here.) it is difficult to get money to write. Therefore, I write because I want to, and money is secondary (at the moment).

Every striving novelist wants to be published, and I'm far to young to throw in the towel on trying just yet, but the rejections do hurt. I don't think anyone likes to be rejected.

Which has led to the creation of a mantra I repeat to myself several times before working up the courage to open emails and letters from publishers/agents/etc.

"The worst thing they can say is no."

I say it a lot actually. See, here's the thing. That is the worst thing they can say. Oh, I know, some will argue and say they could trash talk your work, blah, blah, but all of that is just a smokescreen for what they are really saying. No. We don't want it.

So you move on. Because it only takes one yes. One. (That's my other mantra).

Adder's story (whatever I end up titling it) will be sent off in hopes of publication just like everything else I have sitting in a neat little folder labeled: Finished Drafts.

<Addendum> The Hanged Man's Ghost was picked up and published! <end addendum>

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