Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Caught In The Act Of Writing

Just for fun (and…well…I could use a blog topic) I thought it might be enlightening to go back to the birth of my writing career, trace it through to the present, and see how the old “to do” list has changed. Word of warning: all time spans are approximate and I’m referring to the period in which I’ve truly (as they say) written toward the goal of publication.

Year One−Winter 2001

To Do List:

Write

Ah, this was a blessed era indeed! For in the beginning, a writer writes, and that’s pretty much it. At least, that’s the way it was for me. One day in late October, I saw an article in the L.A. Times about this thing called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which piqued my curiosity. It was a challenge, really, to all those people out there with good intentions of someday writing a novel who never get past the good intentions. This didn’t really apply to me since I’d completed a couple novels in the past, but it had been ten years since I’d given up after one measly rejection. Surely I was older and wiser now. Why not try it again?

I did, and I finished. I wrote a 50,000-word (200-page) novel in under four weeks. But was it any good? Well, maybe. Maybe not. First of all, it wasn’t long enough. For several months, I thought nothing more of it.

Year One−Spring 2002

I must have been surfing the web and stumbled across RWA (Romance Writers of America). Drilling down, I discovered their L.A. chapter and wow−who could believe the timing?−they were holding their annual one-day workshop that very weekend with someone named Deborah Dixon who’d be teaching something called GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict).

Well, let me tell you. After that day (and all its attendant light bulb moments), I was in the game for real. I joined a Yahoo critique group and made plans to go to RWA’s national conference in Denver the following July.

So within six months of beginning to write, I added to the “to do” list. Now, in addition to

Write
I added:
Critique other people’s work; submit mine for critique
Attend conferences
Read craft books
Read novels

Still…most of the time I just wrote.

Year Two−Winter 2003

I was invited to join a second critique group, I put aside the NaNoWriMo book, and I started Fit For Love.

To Do List:

Write (Fit For Love)
Critique the work of others/submit my own
Attend national conference
Read and study craft books

Year Three−Winter 2004
Finished Fit For Love

To Do List:

Start second book (Stealing Amy)
Write synopsis (Fit For Love)
Write query letters (Fit For Love)
Submit queries (Fit For Love)
Submit requests for partials/fulls (Fit For Love)
Read novels
Enter contests (Fit For Love)−final in second contest entered!

Edit/revise Fit For Love
Critique the work of others
Attend national conference

Year Three−Winter 2005
Finished Stealing Amy

To Do List:

Plot and start writing third book (Leftovers)
Write synopsis (Stealing Amy)
Write query (Stealing Amy)
Edit/revise Stealing Amy
Read novels
Continue submitting queries for both completed books

Continue submitting requested partials and fulls for both
Enter contests for both
Critique the work of others
Prepare pitch for national conference editor/agent appointment
Attend national conference
Attend regional conferences (Desert Rose in Phoenix and L.A. Chapter)
Start blogging almost daily

Year three−Fall 2005
Get serious request for Fit For Love

To Do List:

Write (Leftovers)

Revise and edit Fit For Love for millionth time
Compose chapter by chapter synopsis for unsolicited submission on Fit For Love
Continue submitting queries for both completed books
Continue submitting requested partials and fulls for both
Read novels
Enter contests for both

Critique the work of others
Continue blogging almost daily

Year Four −Winter 2006

Write (Leftovers)
Continue submitting Stealing Amy
Receive contract offer
Attend regional conference
Critique the work of others
Collaborate on web design for author site
Revise Stealing Amy
Reformat Stealing Amy according to publisher guidelines
Read novels
Continue blogging almost daily

Join publisher’s author loops
Submit info for cover art for Stealing Amy
Plot strategy for publicizing Stealing Amy
Study promotion options and begin forming plan
Think about next book
Get nervous about flaunting yourself to the romance-buying public

Okay, I’m exhausted, how about you? The point of this exercise was to demonstrate that at some point, so much of this business is NOT about the writing.

Which is a shame because, for the most part, this writer only wants to write.

2 comments:

John said...

Writers want to write. But...Today I was in a meeting on automated maintenance systems at a major psych hospital. After the meeting, one of the attendees came up to me and said, "Hey, I read your book." When I asked, "Which one?" their response was, "You have more?" Although I'm not about to quit my day job, it was still pretty neat. So, flaunt away.

randy said...

Wow. How cool. So, is he ordering "more"???