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The Last Great Idea

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earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
The Last Great Idea  Reply with quote  

Four months ago, I took the advice of a successful writer of short stories who suggested that I sub everything I write, even if I don't think it's any good. However, before I could take his advice, I actually had to write some stuff (other than the novel which I'd already written, but that's another issue entirely). After about a month and a half of scribbling, I came up with four satisfying pieces. I also found out I am a science fiction writer with an odd literary bent (you'd think after a 75,000 wd sci-fi manuscript I'd know that, but I didn't). Funny thing is, I got no say in it.

After about three months of rejects. (I have a slip from the Atlanta Review with note from the editor scribbled on it that I'm probably going to frame) I've finally placed everything. Two of them have been accepted into paying markets within the last two days.

Yippee. However, in the last two months, I've taken on a great new job, taught summer school and run VBS in addition to the normal family of six and too many pets stuff, all of which meant that little or no real writing has been going on. Until this week, I've been too fried and too harried to do much more than pop in here e couple of times a day or read on a poetry workshop I also frequent.

I finally have time. Nothing to hide from and everything to gain from doing what I love best.

So here I sit. Not blocked, just . . . startled? And I have no idea what to write next. And while I'm not going to get get very far on the proceeds from the two sales (To town and back maybe?), I have found the place I write from and the confidence that I can do it well enough that people will give me a little money for it every once in a while. Plus, I've published everything I subbed. To my complete surprise.

This all presents me with an odd sort of performance pressure. I've had stage fright plenty of times, but nothing like this . . .

Does anyone else do this after they've had minor or major sales? What did you do to get over it? Or does it just fade?
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Post Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:27 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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Earth:

First, congrats! Fantastic! Amazing! Good for you.

Now. Keep thinking about your writing. Write when you can. Think of yourself as a writer, think like a writer, look at stuff as a writer, what other people call life, is your research. Make notes for what you'll write, when you get time to write. A notebook or journal is critically important now, because when you don't have time to write is when you will get your best ideas. (This is because irony is the most powerful force in the universe, but I won't go into it at length, since my belief in this theory borders on religious zealotry.) Put down as many details as you can. Stop the car and write the idea down. Don't try to write while driving. I find a mneumonic scratched in the dust on the dashboard will be enough to remind you what you need to write when you pull over.


I sold my first and only story five years before I made my second sale, which was Practical Demonkeeping. This was mainly because in that five years I only wrote a couple of stories, neither of which I submitted. That is not an example you want to follow.

Congratulations, you have become a writer.

Now, you have to stay a writer. The latter is harder.

Post Mon Aug 16, 2004 6:50 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
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chris wrote:
Earth:

Make notes for what you'll write, when you get time to write. A notebook or journal is critically important now, because when you don't have time to write is when you will get your best ideas. (This is because irony is the most powerful force in the universe, but I won't go into it at length, since my belief in this theory borders on religious zealotry.)


Wow . . . you too? I always thought it was a personal quirk developed over several years of sitting in hated math classes and church business meetings. I write best when I'm supposed to be doing something else or going someplace important. And, no, I'd rather not over examine it.

Thanks bunches Chris. Good advice. I've just snitched one of the boys' unused notebooks from their stack of school supplies and put it in my briefcase.

mary
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. . .once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
(The Velveteen Rabbit)

Post Tue Aug 17, 2004 5:19 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
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