Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Great Procrastinator

If there's one thing I'm great it, it's procrastinating.
It's true.
If I weren't so darn good at it I'd already be published several times over, my house would be spotless and my kids would have the cleanest, most hole-free clothes on the block.
Alas, this is one area in which I excel.

Then I get those phases where I see a job that needs to be done and get it done before I have the opportunity to put it off. No seizing the chance to procrastinate - I jump before the dust can settle and get things done. In general, I'm not exactly a go-getter. Nope, not me. But the more I sit back, the more nothing gets accomplished.

Query letters don't write themselves. Novels don't edit themselves. (Although the kids are learning to cook and clean.) In short, no one else will do it for me. At the end of the day, it's ME who has to put on my "game face" and do what must be done if I ever want my novels to grace the shelves of Coles, Chapters and Amazon. I am the only person who cares if my work is ever published.

Every little triumph I have, whether it be publishing a photograph or short story in a magazine, a story or poem in an anthology or a full-length novel in bookform or on-line is added to my list of accomplishments. Every year, that list grows a little bit longer. This year alone, I am part of two anthologies - the second due for release by Christmas (I hope!) called A Walk in Fields of Gold.

Procrastination gets you nowhere.

Rolling up your shirtsleeves and working hard to make your dreams come true can get you much farther.
I know I'm a month ahead of schedule, but I have two Resolutions for 2011.
Number 1: I'm working harder than ever to get my novels published. I have two that are ready aside from a great hook and cover letter.
Number 2: I'm taking better care of ME next year. It's hard keep on top of things when you feel like someone ran you over with a team of sled dogs.

To be honest, I was going to post Chapter One of Date with a Dead Guy but...I procrastinated.
I'll get right on that. Soon. Maybe.

Keep on Writing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Edits and Re-writes...

I've spent a lot of time this week - between trying to get rid of a sinus infection, doing the laundry and going to work - editing. The working title of the book is "Date With a Dead Guy." I started it right after I finished "The Bookstore Lady" (less of a mouthful than The Bookstore Lady's Secret Life) a couple of years ago. Both books have been written, edited, re-written and edited again until I'm starting to hate them both.

But, alas, I don't. They are my babies after all.

As I type, "Date With a Dead Guy" is being printed off so I can give it one last good reading before I submit it to a couple of friends to read. Regardless of their comments, I also need to rework my query letter and come up with a darn good tag-line. You know those lines. They're the one's that hook readers and shoppers alike. Every product on the market today has a phrase that every consumer associates with it. We all know them by heart - ever sing the Oscar Mayer wiener song? - even if sometimes we can't quite remember what product they're for.

Next week, I'll post a chapter from "Date With a Dead Guy."

This week, I have a lot of work to do and an agent to find.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Marge's First Novel

Okay, I admit it, I watch The Simpsons. I was one of the skeptics who said they'd never last, but they have and I am a fan. My favourite episode has to be the one I saw the other night. Marge meets a writer at the public library and asks what kind of training you need to be a writer. The woman tells her that she needs to take courses. She'd taken one at the local continuing education program that lasted a whole hour and was now a published romance author.

Marge dives in and writes a romance based around a painting in her livingroom of Moby Dick and "what she knows." The instant she completes it and sends it to a publisher, they love it and print it. Of course, we all know this is for the sake of a 30 minute cartoon. The fallout from neighbours speculating on who characters are based on leads to a confrontation between Homer and Flanders on top of a cliff beside the ocean.

I don't think any of my novels will end in any confrontations between friends, family or neighbours, but it was a fun view of someone who wants to be a writer. Marge demanded her time to write from her family and stuck to it until she had a manuscript. She sent it in without hesitation. Lucky her, the first person she sent it to loved it and sold it all over town. She didn't even have to research agents or publishers, nor did she have to face rejection.

We don't live in a cartoon world.
We get rejections.
We get readers and editors who tell us "this doesn't work, make me love it."

For every writer who gets their "first" novel published, there are several practice manuscripts in the closet that could say otherwise and a stack of rejections to keep them company.