Friday Morning (er, Saturday afternoon?) FYI – 2/9/2018

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Ass I write this, I realize I’m butting up against overwhelmed-ness. I’m finalizing my novel for querying, working on several other writerly projects, and have a mountain of day job stuff going on. I’ve also signed-on to teach goat yoga (not a typo) on weekends, have to get my condo ready to be rented, and will be doing a ton of submission reading for a writer contest starting soon.

And that’s okay. In fact, it’s kind of awesome. That’s this week’s FYI:

I believe if you don’t go to bed exhausted you’ve wasted some part of your day. Always better to have more to do than less. Leisure time is healthy, of course, but only after accomplishing something. I’m going to accomplish a lot in the next few months. Or fail. Either way, I’ll be able to look back and know I didn’t sit on my hands through any of it. That’s a reward in itself.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 2/2/2018

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (I’m-in-Sao-Paolo-Brazil-recovering-from-a-beef-hangover edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Last week, I FYI-ed my writer chums about being patient with revisions, relaying how it’s taken me nearly a year to revise my latest book. A friend reached out and recommended I take that post down because “You shouldn’t post about your writing or revision process. Agents are going to reject you if they read that and think you do things you shouldn’t.” If you’ll indulge me (if not, close the tab now) I’d like to address that concern.

First, no matter how much some perpetuate the myth, agents aren’t heartless monsters combing the interwebz for reasons to reject you when you eventually query them. Nuff said.

Second, I don’t plan to take a year revising any book I’ll write going forward. For the two books I queried before my current novel, I made mistakes in both the writing and the revising (and so, subsequently, the querying). Taking extra time with book three allowed me to identify where I’d gone wrong process-wise with the first two. What I learned will prevent me from now making certain mistakes in the first place, and write/revise smarter and more efficiently.

Last, writers should blog/tweet/whatever about their experiences, because we can all learn something from each other. We’re all students and teachers in this mad escapade of trying to line up 100K words in a pleasing order. Play nice and share.

Oh yeah, I need an FYI. Hmm. Maybe this… :

Don’t be afraid of agents, grow beyond your mistakes, share what you know.

That’ll do.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 1/26/2018

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

I’m not generally one for broad catch phrases, but ‘It’ll be done when it’s done’ is one I like. As both a writer and trainer, I see a lot of impatience. Writers make up deadlines for finishing revisions, folks think they can be trained to an expert level on something in a day, etc. Were I not such a well-rounded human, it would be upsetting.

Still, I feel for those who impose unrealistic deadlines, writers in particular. I know how stressful that can be, because I used to do it. I wrote a book a year for three years straight. Queried the first two way before I should have, because I declared them done before they were, and because ‘I had to’ according to some dates I’d made up. I finished the first draft for the third in late 2016, and still haven’t sent it out wide. Some will call that dragging my feet, but I’ve worked on the book the whole time, doing everything I can to make it great rather than rushing it out the door at ‘good enough’ just to get rejected because it wasn’t.

And it’s so much better than it was a year ago, or six months ago, or three.

That leads us to this week’s FYI:

Sure, deciding to finish a first draft in six months is a good idea (here’s another phrase: ‘Just finish it’), but first drafts are normally a mess anyway. Revising your novel (one more: ‘Writing is re-writing’) will take much longer. Accept that.

You aren’t going to take your book from mess to awesome after one beta reader and a couple weeks of edits. You’re not.

No, you don’t have to query in February, or any other month for that matter. That’s in your head.

No, you shouldn’t pitch your book if you finished the first draft a month ago. Or two. Or probably three.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t rush (last one: ‘A writer’s worst enemy is impatience’). If you’re story is badass, agents and editors will love it when it’s razor sharp. Don’t risk them passing it over when it’s butter knife dull.

Huh, I guess I like catch phrases more than I thought.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 1/19/2018

Eyes dry and vision blurry, I crane my stiff neck to peer up from my manuscript. I shape my sore, crooked fingers back into something resembling a human hand, and wipe dust from the lower right corner of the screen.

Can’t be. How could so much time have passed without a Friday Morning FYI?

Must. Fix. That.

***

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (been-revising-my-MS edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

I decided to crawl out of my no-blogging hole to address something I keep hearing/reading: that creative people are bad at, well, everything that folks consider uncreative. You know the story…

“It’s okay, Cynthia. I never expected you to finish on time. You’re the creative type.”

“We can’t give that project to Scott. He just does creative stuff. He won’t be able to coordinate everything.”

“I’m not good at managing my time, or my money, or my life; I’m a creative. Wanna do shots?”

Utter nonsense.

Baring some life tragedy, I make my deadlines, for instance. Be it day job stuff or writing stuff, I get done on time. Just because someone can draw/paint/write/sculpt/design/make original music/act/dance/Photoshop (yes, I used Photoshop as a verb, move along) doesn’t disqualify them from effectively managing their time, carrying out defined processes, or meeting deadlines. That’s this week’s FYI:

To anyone working with creatives, please stop assuming we’re one-dimensional art monkeys who don’t know how to (or care to) tell time or have any other appreciable skills besides sleeping late. That’s silly.

To creatives who perpetuate this impression, please stop honoring only your creative side. You’re doing yourself (and the rest of us) a disservice. We’re more than an elegant turn of phrase, and understanding of color theory, and perfect pitch. Those things are pretty cool, though 😀

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 3/17/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (prob never gonna get one of these done on a Friday again edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

This week, I sat down with my final beta reader (lucky #6) for my latest novel. We had a few drinks, some pizza, a few more drinks, and talked/laughed/debated about/over my book for around two hours. It was a fun time, and I got some good feedback, as always. That brings us to this week’s FYI:

Writers, you’ve seen me write this before, but I’m going to beat the drum again: Beta readers are important. You’re too close to your story, even if it’s been locked in a drawer for a while. Fresh eyes always see things you don’t/can’t, providing perspective you don’t have. Before you query, give your book to people whose opinions you trust (yes, even people you suspect might not like it) and ask them for their brutally-honest opinion. Once they ‘ve provided that, honor the commitment they made to you by spending time considering their feedback. They won’t always be right, but they don’t need to be. Just getting you to look at something the way they saw it can expose problems you never recognized.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}