Sunday, December 22, 2013

Side Effect

I've been writing a lot of poetry recently. In fact I've got so many poems now I'm estimating that my first book of poetry will be out next year. All I need is fifty poems and I've got thirty-one poems now and another dozen or so that I'm working on to add to my collection. That means when all is said and done I'm within seven poems and I'll definitely write that many poems in the new year if current trends continue.

But there's an interesting side effect of all this poetry writing that I wasn't expecting. I seem to be more in touch with my feelings and emotions. That's not surprising since many poems are about a feeling or an emotion, just an unexpected because I've been writing poems for years and never experienced this before.

Not that I'm complaining. I like this side effect. It makes me feel more alive than I have in years. I've spent my life large part of my life working, like most people. The routine of the day, the drudgery of work, and the small moments of relaxation with a game in my phone, or a video clip on Facebook, sort of drain away my spark, my edge, and zeal for life.

But writing poetry helps to counteract that for me. And I didn't realize it until the last few weeks when several poems spilled out of me and into a text document the other day. It felt good to say a few things that had been in there for some time.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Is a Puzzlement

At the start of the month, I released a new story, Gray's World, on Smashwords. It's a science fiction story, one which I had submitted to some magazines and which they rejected. That was a few years ago when I was still struggling to figure why my novel wouldn't sell either.

Recently I realized how to fix the story. So I did and released it. I saw one tweet about it and since then people have been downloading it at a steady clip. Currently, as of this morning, I see 89 downloads in only two weeks. That's my best performance so far out of about ten stories in Smashwords. If this continues it will the first story of mine to break 100 downloads.

While all that is great my question is why? Do people like to read science fiction more than fantasy? I'm thinking yes. Did that one tweet make a difference? I'm thinking, maybe. Is words of mouth a factor? Possibly but I have no way to know. Or is it the time of year? Would the same story released in April or June be showing the same results? No way to know.

And this is where Smashwords breaks down. While readers can post reviews, what is really needed is a way for writers to talk to readers about likes and dislikes. What motivated selecting one story over another. I'm thinking that the mere fact that the story is free is an overriding factor. I have no doubt that if the prices was $0.99, I'd be blogging about something else today because the number of sales would be zero.

So I am left with more questions than answers. All I can do is keeping watching the performance of all of my stories and hope an answer presents itself.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Random Order

I've been writing all sorts of things as the mood hits. For example, I began writing a few poems. My poetry collection now has over 30 poems in it and I manage to capture a few more. When I have 50 poems I'll give thought to releasing it.

Revision on Book 2 continues but in a fit of activity I managed to plot out Books 5 and 6. It was necessary to do both books at once to match sure the timelines were in sync and not contradictory. I'll probably revise the plot of Book 6 later but at least I've got a good handle on it.

I released another story on Smashwords for free; this one was my first science fiction tale. I've been watching the downloads ever since. 

Revision on my very first novel has been slow but encouraging. This is the very first idea I had for a story. It is a mix of fantasy, science-fiction, and a few other things. Years ago, before the Aglaril Cycle was even a glimpse in my eye, this was the project that got me writing. The problem with the story is I had no ending. That recently changed and when it did, I dusted off the old files and began to look at them again. 

As things done now, I don't think this will be a novel any more, but it might be a novella. I'll have to seen. Currently it is only around 15,000. 

All of this work has been exactly what I need to do it keep the writing fires lit and burning, but there is not rhyme or reason to which one comes first or last. And now that Book 5 is plotted, it can rest until January when I'll began writing it, which is good there are several characters I need to think about, describe and name.

At the end of the month, the two short stories I'm working on will be re-read. Hopefully one of them will be ready to go out and be released. If it is, it comes off the list of work; if not, I'll revise and check it again in a month.

So you see, I've a plan for the writing I'm focused on but no set plan for which one comes first on any given day. That suits me and the way I like to way. 

Hope you all are continuing to write too.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

More Writer Traps

As anyone knows who has been writing for any length of time, it is easy for someone to waste time on other activities that should or could be spent on writing. This is the writer trap.

They come is all shapes and sizes and I've written about a few. Generally, they come in the form of distractions such as surfacing the Internet, playing computer games, keeping up on social media, and so on. But anything can be a writer trap of this type such as a movie on TV that you don't plan to watch but get sucked into.

But this past week I found another kind: one that involves having too many projects to work on. At the moment I've got lots of projects:

  • revising Book 2
  • working on several short stories
  • reviewing poems for my poetry collection
  • promoting Book 1
  • web site revisions
  • finding writers for the author event I'm organizing in the spring
  • keeping up on local author events in my area
All of these need my attention and are important things to do but the main focus of this week was revising Book 2 since I've neglected it for so long. But I found having these other projects a distraction too and so one day I focused on my poetry and not my novel. Another day I took for my web site.

This surprised me because I was not expecting it. But when I looked back on how far I had gotten in revising Book 2 the trap was obvious. I'll have to watch that for the future. Although it will be hard because distraction of this type are likely to increase as more books are completed.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Seriously

One of my early blog posts asked the question are you serious about writing. By that I meant are meant are you willing to do what it takes to write and publish your work. My view at the time was that writing is for sharing -- something I still believe -- and that in order to share a story or poem or written piece, you must publish it.

However, I'm not sure how many other writers share that view. I say this because I've begun to research out to many area writing groups looking for people with published work like me. I am looking for them because I manage to convince my local library to host an author event in the spring. So now I need about five people to come and talk about their work.

So far the results from reaching out to writing groups has been a bust. No one has expressed interest. So I began to suspect that writers in writing groups are not serious. They are writing for themselves or perhaps are few others. But they don't ever plan to publish. That's fine, of course, and confirms my view that belonging to a writing group is not for me.

Ironically, however, I've had to join several groups so I could advertise the author event coming next spring, not that this has done me much good...

And it still leaves me with the issue of finding writers with published books who want to participate in the author event I'm trying to get off the ground. 

I suppose this time of year people aren't thinking about the spring; they are thinking about the end of the year, holidays, family, presents, food, and all that stuff. That doesn't make my job any easier but might explain why I've gotten no response.

Perhaps a more direct approach is in order. I can use social media to find people ask them directly. I also plan to post a notice in the library hoping that any writers that use the institution will see the notice and respond.

And in the meantime, I'm planning to attend local gatherings put on by others to research how I might attend them in the future as a seller and not a buyer. I went to a book fair in Groton, MA last week, for example and gave my information to the organizer in case they want to do another fair in the future.

And amidst all they I've got novels and stories to write and revise. No wonder I'm tried.