At some point, I became afraid of failing. Is this due to age? I don’t remember being so worried when I was younger. I didn’t like getting low grades on tests and essays, but I’d look at it as a chance to learn. I’d read over every correction and figure out where I went wrong.
Where did that person go? I feel like I’ve been avoiding writing at all because I’m afraid of it being crap. I already know that not everything is going to be a gem. That doesn’t stop me from seizing up and becoming super exhausted at the prospect of starting completely over with a new story.
I needed to do something to shake things up. And so I accepted a challenge to write and publish a story within 8 hours issued by J.A. Konrath. I found out about it on Monday, and
the “deadline” technically was Thursday. I didn’t really start until Tuesday.
But I did it. I am terrified.
My current process for writing things for release: More than a few drafts, polished as much as I think I can on my own because I don’t want to waste the time of my readers. I hand it off to a close friend for content editing. I take it back, make more changes, hand it off to another friend for content and grammar. Get it back, make more changes. Give it to another friend who is an avid reader, and a really great copy editor. Get it back, make a bunch of fixes. And then finally, I hand off a printed copy to my boyfriend and have him go over it in the picky way he does. Get it back, make more corrections. (there are always more to be made!) By the first time I’ve sent a story out, I’m sick of it.
The challenge was to write a short in 8 hours, including doing the cover on your own, the blurb on your own, and the editing on your own. I spent about six hours on the story, one hour on the cover (pitiful), half an hour on the blurb (I did get a second opinion on that blurb over lunch). And then some extra time to print it out and self-edit. I am sure I was over the 8 hour mark, but only if I count all the time I spent staring off into space while sitting in front of my computer. And I’m not.
I present my short, The Hungry:
Twenty years ago, the world ended and no one will discuss it.
Rebecca, a denizen of one of the protected cities, volunteers to join the courier service in order to see out what is beyond her city’s fence with her own eyes. Is she prepared for what she will find?
Aside from one passage where I was concerned about if the action would be clear, I didn’t share any of it with my friends. I just wrote it and put it out there. I’m surprised at my own audacity. I shouldn’t think that I can do this– write something fast and put it for sale.
But I did.
The story came in at about 8,000 words. It’s marked for .99 and is only available on the Kindle. Saturday and Sunday it can be downloaded for free. Come see how badly I have screwed things up!
The local NaNoWrimo chapter is holding a meet and greet on Monday. They’ll do local write-ins during November. I’ve never actually gone to one of these write-ins, though I was very curious. Part of it was because I couldn’t make the meet-ups, but most of it was because it meant having to meet writers in real life.
I’m so used to writers being someone on the computer screen. Your face is just a picture next to your twitter name/bio to me. What I meet are a writer’s words, and I learn a lot from those words. Despite the importance of book covers and author pictures, I really judge a writer on what they say. (I’m actually very picky, friends! I don’t just friend people because they also happen to write. /snob) The internet is our medium, we live our words and put ourselves forward with them. Some of my best friends have never even heard my voice! But they know me better than many people who actually meet me and have a chat with me.
The other thing about write-ins for me is that they’re just a distraction. How in the world would anyone get any writing done as a group and in public? I don’t think I would. Maybe their furor would help? It might be an interesting group dynamic. Anything can happen when people get together. So, though I’m nervous, I just might go.
Yes, this year, I’m doing NaNo. My intent is to knock out the next rough draft of a story that’s been on my mind for a year now. I need to learn how to write out rough drafts faster, especially if I want to spend more time editing. My current plan is to write up a basic outline, and then each day in November that I sit down to write, I’m going to write out what I intend to do that day. Sort of the same way I do already when I get stuck on something. I put down my intent with the scene so that I can see it clearer.