Equal parts determination and madness

Or “I’m hitting all of the walls today so I’m going to rant a bit while still being positive about writing”.

Writing, on some days, is a completely magical experience. Those are the days I get completely lost in the words, not focusing on time or making sure I’m eating or anything else. Since becoming the joint-owner of three cats, I’ve gotten used to ignoring the occasional glimpse of cat anus as one of the two cats who don’t hate me will wander between my laptop and my line-of-sight. I lead a magical life.

Other days–days like today, for instance–are less productive. I have an idea of where I want to go with my writing, and then I proceed to flop around without any real progress. It feels like the cartoon depiction of falling down an up escalator, complete with irate people-as-obstacles and all. Days like this make me have serious doubts I could ever become a proper writing-for-a-living sort of writer. They’re not particularly enjoyable days, and I could probably chalk a lot of it up to the hilarious constellation of neuroses I have.

Fortunately for me, I happen to have a tremendous support system of friends and family, a spectacular girlfriend who tolerates my particular brand of crazy that shows up from time-to-time (don’t ask her, though, or she’ll say it’s around all of the time). I acknowledge that goals like being able to write for a living or becoming a best-selling author are lofty, and that’s putting it mildly, but I can also say I will never stop writing. Even on my worst days, I still add at least a couple words to something, or I tweak and adjust something I’ve worked on, because I need to keep at it. I am far from perfect at what I do, as evidenced by the proofread-and-commented copies I get back, but I have my strong points and my weak points. The ultimate goal, above all else, is to continue improving upon the weak points while refining the strong ones.

This post started off as feeling down and out, but I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the entire world again. I’d throw together a shitty metaphor about feeling victorious, but I’m going to focus on fixing up Cordelia’s as much as I can so it can be that much closer to being publication-ready.

Happy Sunday, folks. I hope you all have a kickass week, devoid of doubts and frustration.

Progress to the tune of small nervous breakdowns

Short version of an update from yesterday: I saw a cover band named Velveeta last night, indulged in a fair bit of alcohol consumption, and didn’t go to bed until an ungodly hour. Let’s not talk of this again.

My new novel-project is coming along nicely, which is good. I can’t turn that into a negative. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s getting positive feedback so far from my beta-reader(s). There could be some level of bias there, but I also accept that these are people who I can trust because they would cautiously and kindly let me know if my writing is turning into garbage.

There may have also been mention at some point from someone–someone who happens to be me–about eventually wanting to send something to HarperCollins for publication consideration. I would have to research it, find out what all goes into such a challenge, and then make it happen. The goal wasn’t publication, but an attempt. Even a rejection would be fantastic, as it would indicate I’ve met a goal. I can also say, completely devoid of any doubts, that if I did get accepted (that if is so big that there are now billboards along major highways advertising it as a tourist attraction) I would probably have a multi-week meltdown as I processed the greatest success of my adult life. Let’s also not dwell on that.

Short version: HarperCollins does not accept any unsolicited anythings. Ever. That much I guessed even going into this, but I figured I would look into it anyway because sometimes my delusions of grandeur take on a life of their own and go crazy. This was one such time. They do, however, also have a link to a web site called Authonomy. Curiosity got the better of me, as it should in this situation, and I clicked the link. Continue reading

Running into a wall (until the damn thing breaks)

I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk this past week or so. Blame it on me not feeling quite 100% or perhaps on the sleep deprivation, but I’ve not really felt like doing much writing. This would be less of a problem if I didn’t have two things I need to finish within a reasonable amount of time (read as about a week ago, probably).

Naturally, I sit down at my desktop, I open Microsoft Word, and then I sit here and stare at the blank document as I become increasingly frustrated with not being able to string words together effectively. Given that I’m working on a post for Screen Robot and a guest post for Onezumi, I want these pieces to be perfect. My current mindset says give up, and there were a couple times today when I considered contacting the respective folks necessary and apologetically bowing out. Obviously bad decision-making on my part resulted in taking on more than I can handle writing-wise, right?

Except I don’t. I can’t, in fact. Just because I can’t force myself into a motivated state doesn’t mean I won’t damn well try as hard as I can until I want to smash my computer (the good news there being I wouldn’t smash this computer because it is a magnificent beast of a machine, courtesy of Jason’s hard work and computer wizardry).

A rather unwelcome guest has arrived, in the form of sleepiness, and so it’s time I turn my attention where it needs to be. If I finish one of my drafts for the night I’ll be pretty content. Two would be better, but the sleepies weighing my eyelids down seem to disagree with the possibility of that happening.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of down-time

Well-known fact: I have poor time-management skills for someone who works a 40+ hour a week job but also wants to become a relatively well-known writer. Or maybe it’s a little-known fact for some of you, in which case I’ll take a moment and appreciate my good fortune that not all of my readers readily identify me as a terrible, lazy slacker.

Let me ruin that for you. I came home from my first day back at work and napped, off and on, for about two hours. My body doesn’t always appreciate naps, but it seemed like a particularly necessary evil tonight for some reason. Probably because not being at work for eleven days and then returning after a day of furniture shopping makes for a rather tired person who can’t stop thinking “I need a vacation”. During my vacation, which had been filled with plans of creative time while Jason worked and potentially drunken shenanigans while we hung out, I accomplished far less than I had hoped to during my plotting of said vacation. My world-building for the still-unnamed novel project found some good points here and there, and a couple characters were really fleshed out more than I could have hoped. However, this was not nearly what I envisioned myself getting done.

I’m only somewhat okay with calling this more of a success than a failure, if only because failure seems to indicate there was absolutely no movement towards my goals (which included writing multiple short stories, sending them off for consideration, and accomplishing a great deal towards the page count of the previously mentioned novel project). I can’t, even in my magnificent self-loathing, call last week a complete failure, anyway.  Continue reading

Failure and rejection aren’t always that bad

Oh, hey. A second post today, and it’s not even Christmas. Conversely, I think this is a topic I’ve touched on in the past. It just won’t stop nagging me, so I wanted to give it some time anyway. It ties in with the earlier post, which you should definitely check out if you’ve not seen it. Possibly one of my best ones yet.

Before I dreamed of becoming a published writer, but after wanting to become a mad scientist and take over the world (yes, that was a thing that actually happened), I wanted to be an actor. That’s a bit of an understatement. I dreamed of being the next go-to actor for all of the best, most terrifying villains. Surprise. I wanted to play the role of the evil guy for a living, which was a step down from actually taking over the world and being a proper evil genius.

However, I had no idea where to start. How would I become the next big villain in the next big movie? Who would I have to contact to make this happen? I knew there would have to be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears shed, but I felt like had the necessary potential to make this dream a reality. Continue reading

Why misadventures in fiction?

Once upon a time, not particularly long ago in the bigger scheme of things, I started a WordPress blog named Phil’s Misadventures in Fiction. It happened because I had an idea for a story, which would eventually (still very tentatively) end up named Joshua’s Nightmares. In moments of pride, I would insist on calling it my web site and not my blog. I would post frequently, and then I would drop off of the planet because of other obligations. And then I would do absurd things like force myself to keep active while binge-writing a novel in under three months. I even shelled out some money so my WordPress could be listed as misadventuresinfiction.com (a fact that will never fail to make me smile for some reason).

Why misadventures, though? Why not adventures? Quests? Journeys, even? This is something I failed to consider, largely choosing misadventures because it felt right. It had that little bit of silly humor to it, and Misadventures in Fiction just sort of rolls off the tongue (or, perhaps, it awkwardly clunks off of the tongue). The title happened, it stuck, and I grew to love it as time marched along, as any creator often does (while spending much time in self-loathing for other things). Continue reading