The ‘To and Fro’ of Writing

If the dream of being a published author includes the ‘hideaway’ at the bottom of the perfect garden in full bloom on a summer’s day with bees buzzing between the flowers, think again.

When the vision is of a long desk with a deep leather chair set in front of a panoramic window showing the view of the beach and a long stretch of sand leading to the palest blue water ever seen, my advice is to reconsider.

If the picture is of the writer tapping away at the keyboard, making notes on paper, taking the occasional call from his or her agent and smiling in ill-disguised pleasure over a glass of wine at the end of a writing day while reading the latest heartwarming review over the last release, alter those ideas.

Most published authors still need to work on a part-time if not full-time basis. Even if they can write full-time, life isn’t all roses and champagne.

I haven’t blogged about writing for a while so thought this was an apt post. My teenage dream was not as fanciful, and mostly composed of finishing a single work, sending it away, having it edited, published, and while…yes, maybe having to attend books signings, working on the next novel. I never envisioned the back and forth, to and fro, hop from one foot to the other, mental swings and roundabouts of working on several stories at once.

I’ve edits on one work and have to return the galley proof to a deadline, trying to write a full novel (to a personal deadline), trying to write/edit a short story that’s needed ASAP, and trying to draft a proposal for yet another idea for a potential novel. Oh…and I’d also like to be working on a few short stories I’m considering sending out and/or putting together in an anthology. There are many pitfalls linked to the dream of becoming a published author, many of which no one warns about, and working on more than one project simultaneously is one.

I’m not even going to pretend to enjoy it. On the rare and fortunate occasions when the work flows the last thing a writer wants is to have that stream interrupted, to throw a mental switch, and to perform a intellectual feat of dexterity. That’s what makes leaving a story at long last nagging to be written to rest, to work on something you’ve possibly read and edited thirty times, so torturous.

Sometimes I read something I wish I’d written myself. Often it’s a book. This time it’s a blog. No one can express what I’m trying to put across more than this post by author Kate Douglas. It’s an oldie but goodie so I’ll let her speak for writers everywhere:http://lisapietsch.com/2010/04/20/kate-douglas-delivers-the-essential-author-101/

Time for a Change

I made the difficult decision last week to remove some of my titles from circulation. Not an easy or overnight decision by any means—I spent many months reaching that conclusion. With the closure of one publisher now was as good a time as any to reconsider some of my older works. Those I’ve withdrawn no longer represent me. I’ve improved and my style has changed. I may re-release some after an edit but I’m happy to let others rest for now, if not indefinitely. I wrote a few books I never intended to write, owing to the muse and opportunity. I regret none of them—they were all a learning experience—but my interests have grown, as have the possibilities.

To some writers, particularly those still seeking publication, the decision to withdraw books from the market may sound surprising. No one warns you of the heartache when a good publisher closes, or having to make the sometimes heartrending choices, and this was definitely one of those. I was pleased and proud to hear their door remains open. This re-enforces the fact they were a wonderful group to work with and tells me they’ve appreciated the stories I produced for them. Didn’t make parting ways any easier.

The simple truth is some older works can do more harm than good, particularly when the writing has improved so much as to be almost unrecognisable. I don’t mean the older work is necessarily poor, but the difference can be so great it may influence someone’s decision to hire the writer, and there can be many factors too many to bother mentioning here. If a work weighs heavily on the writer, if there’s a smidgen of doubt, the best thing can be to put the work to bed. In the matter of love it’s sometimes said the heart wants what the heart wants. It’s a peculiar lesson for the writer to realise the same can be said of one’s writing.

Dark Poetry

Dark fiction doesn’t have to only mean stories. I’ve dabbled with poetry occasionally but not written much for several years. Still, whenever I’ve crossed my dark fiction with what poetry skills I have there’s no denying one improves the other.

Of course, this type of playing with words is nothing new. We can thank Poe for creating one of the most famous pieces of dark poetry.

Could there be a better voice to read this to you than Christopher Lee?

 

Though if you’d prefer some graphics: