Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hitting The Send Button

It's been a week ( I think) since I took a good look at my writing habits (or lack thereof) and decided they needed an overhaul.  It looks like that was a good decision, because I made my deadline. (Cue applause).

Actually, I had three.  Today was the first.  Chizine's Rannu Fund Award Contest Deadline was today, May 31st and I hit the SEND button on my submission at 12:18 pm Arizona time.  The time stamp is for me, by the way, just because I like to be efficient.

It was touch and go, I'll tell you.  I agonized over the finishing touches of my story, whittled it down for three hours, and finally decided it was as ready as it would ever be.

It's a funny thing, hitting SEND.  It seems like a pretty simple action, one click of the mouse and off it goes, but there's nothing simple about it.  There's last minute checks of formatting, last minute checks of the email address, of the bio, etc.  It may sound a bit OCD-ish to some of you, but if you're a writer, I think you can feel me.

It's not that it's been a while since I submitted anything - the end of December I sent off a story to Glimmertrain's Fiction Open Contest (I didn't win, but I was a finalist, and that's better than seeing 'complete' on my submissions page, let me tell you. 

This is different, though.  This is Chizine.  If you write horror, you know what I'm talking about.  Chizine.  I'm not saying it's the 'end all, be all' but it's pretty damn close. I want that feather in my hat.  Is that vain?  Yeah.  Yeah it is.  But I'm a big enough person to admit it, so who cares.

I'll be honest, I want to win.  But I know the odds.  And in reality, even if I don't, it's okay.  It's okay because regardless of the outcome, I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I hit the deadline.

2nd deadline is in two weeks.  Narrative Magazine's deadline for general submissions.  And then it's back to my novel outline.  That deadline is the end of June.  Wish me luck.  With three kids, trying to enjoy their summer break, I've got my work cut out for me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just One More Line Edit.....

I've tried to put this story to bed fifteen times in the last three days.  And it won't go the F%#$@ to sleep!!

I know - that's bad.  But to be honest, no one reads this darn blog anyway, so I'm figuring I'm pretty safe, especially from the Mom's club members who might decide to kick me out due to my crude postings.

I'm kidding...haven't been a member of Mom's Club for almost 2 years now. :)

But I digress--

This story has gone from 6000 words to 5500, back to 6 and then finally finishing up around 6700.  I've changed motive, changed characters, changed dialogue, changed story line --- all for the better, I'm hoping.  But one can never know.  When you have to try to put a story to bed for three straight days, you're tired.  You're bug-eyed.  You're brain can't differentiate between a cliched adverbs and brilliant delivery. 

That's where your readers come in, your writing partners.  Someone to tell you just where you lost the thread.  These people take the place of setting your 'finished' story in a drawer and waiting six weeks until you can look at it with fresh eyes.  Either way works - one is just faster than the other.

So -- to put this damn thing to sleep.  All I need is one more line edit.  One.  And then I'm done.  Or maybe I should just keep those 4 words to myself.  Just in case I believe in jinxes.  One more line edit.  Then please --- please-  Go the F&%$@ to SLEEP!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Death Of A Facebook Addict

There comes a time in every writer's life, when she has to decide what is more important, two sentences on a status update, or one thousand words a day, give or take.

For me, that time in my life was yesterday, 8pm or so Arizona time.  It was one of the most freeing decisions I've made in a really long time.

Freeing.  That's a huge word.  Especially when you consider how extremely tight our ties are to that social media monster.  Don't get me wrong, there's nothing inherently wrong with Facebook; on the contrary, it's what's wrong with us as a society. One views the deactivation of Facebook almost like a divorce, if you will.  You fear you'll be alone, with no one to understand what you're going through.  That you'll lose all the friends that you and Facebook once entertained together. And what about the children you created together - by children, I mean the photos you uploaded, the creative and witty posts you made, the awesome events that helped bring everyone together?  Yes, those were your children and now with the divorce, will you ever see them again?

Dramatic, I know, but a truth of sorts nonetheless.  There's many people out there adept at handling all the juggling required to maintain a Facebook page, write everyday, blog, network, family life, all while working full time job. But I am not one of those people.  I tried to kid myself for a while, but when it came down to it, I was not that multi-talented.  My production of work had stalled, my focus was out of whack, I became too caught up in what 'The Jones' were doing, instead of being caught up in what my characters were doing.

So I deactivated it.  No notice, no tearful goodbyes, just rip the band-aid off and let the quick sting of pain come and go.  And it did.

The thing is, while I expected it to be a really difficult decision, with just two clicks of my mouse, (along with a small explanation as to why I was leaving, which is kind of ridiculous if you ask me, especially because Facebook requires it, but so be it) it was done.  And I found myself kind of smiling a little.

The withdrawal symptoms are almost non-existent, thank the Lord, but I still find myself hearing something funny my kids say and think to myself, "Oh my gosh, I need to Facebook that!"  And then I remember and I laugh. And then I turn on my computer and pull up the story I'm working on.

I don't know if it will be for good, or if it's just a temporary situation, but I will miss my friends in the industry with whom I became great friends over the years - Ray Garton, Jeff Brown, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Brad C. Hodson, and of course my Snutch Lab writing partners whose links you'll find on the sidebar of my blog.  But then again, it's not like I'm falling off the face of the earth just because I won't see them on Facebook.  Right?  :)  I still have Snutch on Zoetrope, and everyone else still has email...I think.  Heh. :)

The important thing is I'll be making my writing my priority, not some funny quip I decided the whole world had to know right then and there.  And maybe one day I'll be back.  Who knows.
Until then, as always,


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Editing Is The Devil

Why can't the damn story come out right the first time?  Seriously, I'm about to dump all 6000 words into cyberspace and not feel one bit of regret.

Call it the flaw of perfectionism, OCD, or just plain sitting on a pitty potty, it matters not.  The end result is the same:  I can't stand editing.

It's not the hard work that kills me, the constant deletion and additions that take up more time than the actual writing of the story. It's the feeling I get as every hour passes, that NOTHING I do will make this story worth something.  That every single deletion or addition is only serving to reduce my words to meaningless dribble, and the more I touch, the more I harm.  Until, by the time I've finished, I can't distinguish between a brilliant sentence and a fifth grader's attempt at what he or she did last summer.

Why can't I realize during the actual writing, that the paragraph I just wrote doesn't do squat for the momentum of the story? Why can't I realize, right then and there, as I'm typing my thousandth word, that I have completely screwed up the story logic, or better yet, never got to it in the first freaking place???

I'll tell you a shameful secret -- it makes me want to quit.  Seriously.  And what makes it almost unbearable, is that writing is the loneliest freaking business out there.  I see all these opportunities out there, all these great posts about people selling their novels, getting a story accepted to a great magazine, and it energizes me into action, because I'm a writer, damn it! I can DO this. I HAVE done it.  But then, that old devil called doubt creeps in and stomps on me.Yes, writing is lonely.

I hate it.

I also love it.  But I'm not loving it now. Now, all I want to do is cry.  And throw my laptop out of the window.

It's almost 11pm Arizona time, and I'm grouchy because I've been at it all day.  I'm nothing if not persistent. So maybe tomorrow, I'll get it right.

Let's hope so, at least.

Okay, rant over. For now.