This Week in Misadventures…and procrastination

Or “Let’s try this again from my laptop so it doesn’t keep breaking WordPress,” and “there was a topically appropriate subtitle but backspace kept deleting everything on my Surface”.

This week has spanned the good, the bad, and the ugly in terms of motivation and productivity. I could easily say I accomplished a lot of what I’d wanted to, but the comparison of completed planned things versus completed unplanned ones is a bit askew in favor of the unplanned. Hooray, things got done. Boo, lack of discipline and being easily distracted. In light of this post being “This Week in Misadventures…and procrastination” (we’ll get to the procrastination part because I’m not letting myself off the hook there), I suppose I should get to the actual misadventures from my week.

Writing

Big progress here, and I almost feel bad for not giving the first piece of news its own section. Whether it was brought on by having a new set of eyes, or just another resurgence of my writing madness (like Reefer Madness, except not a musical and there are no drugs involved..save for alcohol and caffeine, of course), but Joshua’s Nightmares ended up open on both my laptop and my Surface 2 (hey there, free copy of Office). I went through, line by line, and fixed mistakes as I could. I’m not talking just they’re when I should have used there, though I did have a few very embarrassing moments like that (more than I’d care to admit). A few odd word choice flub-ups here and there, and a few continuity errors. I’m positive there are more continuity errors requiring my attention down the road. The draft, going into this edit, was 293 pages, and it’s now a hair over 295. It’s not about the page count so long as I manage to actually create something engaging and enjoyable at a high enough level of quality that I am happy with the end result.

Maybe this part is a touch of narcissism or self-indulgence, but I have never been so consistently happy with something I’ve written for thing long a period of time. All points, from idea to red notebook, and from red notebook to hours of me probably burning up my retinas while binge-writing, I have consistently been happy with Joshua’s Nightmares. When I opened the file at the start of the week and looked things over, before really starting the editing, I was very happy to see I hadn’t reverted to my usual state of hating my work. Definitely something that amounts to a big victory overall.

However! There were a couple blog posts I had planned for this week, and I allowed them to go by the wayside after my The Fault in Our Stars post. If I’m working to help make it possible for me to write, hoping to eventually write as a job, then I need to get my act together with staying on task. This is me telling myself that in front of all of you, kindly reader-folks, so as to hold myself accountable.

Other plans include getting back to writing Warpt Factor installments. I owe my Aunt Leanne at least one new entry by August 26th.

Reading

I may or may not have indulged myself in a trip to the Altoona Barnes & Noble. It’s a big, beautiful, impressive location, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the quality of customer service provided by the location at South Hills Village (I will always be loyal to the Barnes & Noble at South Hills Village). I picked up The Intern’s Handbook (Shane Kuhn), Looking for Alaska (John Green), and We Are What We Pretend to Be: The First and Last Works (Kurt Vonnegut).

The last one, in particular, I think is a real treasure of a buy, and that’s before even cracking the spine. Vonnegut’s books are wonderful, despite or perhaps because of their ability to take me to a bit of a dark, thoughtful place. I still regret not working up the nerve to write him a fan letter.

Looking for Alaska was a title highly recommended by friends. After how much I enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, I had to give it a chance (no biases this time).

The Conundrum

Hoo boy. This might eat up the bulk of this week’s post. I took a break, retrieved food, and now feel ready to tackle this. I’d say it’s a matter of “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” but it was largely a matter of I didn’t feel like cooking so I had to drive somewhere. That meant listening to music in my car, which always gets me back in the right mindset. The write mindset, perhaps? Groan.

My writing skills have grown and developed over the years, and I’m pretty certain they’re a lot better than they were in the days of me writing short stories accompanied by MS Paint doodles (though Robo-Wars was a masterpiece of horrible, amazing sugar-fueled enthusiasm and my family certainly indulged me with enough compliments for it). This personal growth is only matched by the complete lack of knowledge I have in regards to publishing. Well, maybe not a complete lack, but it’s damn close enough that it take a step and prod complete lack in the eye with a stick. That sounded better in my head, I fear.

The problem is this: do I go for conventional publishing with Joshua’s Nightmares or do I consider self-publishing? This is a question I’ve pestered and bothered my friends, writers and otherwise, with off and on for a while now. As I said earlier in this very post, I’m sure there are still things that need adjusting in book one. I’m sure there are still things that I missed, of course. There’s also a very real possibility my enthusiasm, paired with the very strong positive reactions I’ve gotten so far (Thank you so very much to my proofreaders and the beta-readers!), have me too ready to lunge into getting this thing available for people. However, to look at that in a positive light: I really want to get a chance to share this book with people and see what they think, because it was such tremendous fun to write and I feel like it’ll be just as much fun to read.

The Pros of Self-Publishing (As Far as I Can Tell)

It’s an easier route to accomplishing my end-goal: getting this book into people’s hands so they can read it, and enjoy it. Or hate it, because I’m not discounting that possibility. I’ve heard increasingly positive things about self-publishing no longer having the stigma it carried before. I also understand, though it is not particularly likely, it also a possible stepping stone into conventional publishing (which, of course, would be ideal). Submitting to a smaller press doesn’t necessarily mean the work will get out there, and submitting to a larger one typically requires an agent (which is resource I certainly can’t afford).

The Cons of Self-Publishing (As Far as I Can Tell)

From what I understand, self-publishing is still somewhat frowned upon. It doesn’t always work out, and is dependent upon my being able to market it well. Still no guarantees. I still can’t quite shake the feeling it’s a lazy solution to a more complex issue. This is more instant gratification and less work in regards to getting the actual book out, however (I should note there are obviously many successful self-published books and this view is largely my negativity sneaking out).

The Important Stuff

Regardless of if it happens via self-publishing or conventional publishing, I will work every day, as hard as I can, until Joshua’s Nightmares is available to share with the world. I’ve gotten warnings about not becoming too attached to one particular work, and to keep my focus on multiple things, and that’s all very valid advice. And I’ll follow it to a degree. I’m stubborn, and maybe a little dense, and I can’t help but keep my eyes on the prize (GROAN~!) of making a published Joshua’s Nightmares a reality. It’s why Misadventures in Fiction got started in the first place, and I’ll be damn sure I achieve that goal some day. I can’t thank the folks who have read it, and critiqued it, enough. The enthusiasm, and eagerness to read more, are what fueled me to write more and more each night. If you’re one of the guilty parties responsible, and if it’s ever possible, I will certainly be providing super deluxe editions (read as: mighty ego-fuel).

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