decisions and committments

I had an epiphany, if you will.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with a friend of mine lately about money and business. He has a regular job but has also created a successful business on the side which is doing quite well for him. I’ve asked him many times to give me ideas on how I could do the same. I would love to have a little something on the side that I could build up, make some money with, and hopefully with time reach the level where I could shift completely into it.

Over lunch a couple weeks ago he made a comment that didn’t sink in until later that night. He said that no matter what I choose, it has to be something I’m passionate about, or I won’t ever be dedicated to putting in the time required to make it work. I thought about that as I considered various business opportunities, one very seriously. And then, one evening as I was looking at it, it hit me. I have something that I’m passionate about–WRITING. It’s something I know I can be successful at, but it’s going to take time and dedication. As I sit here, I can’t think of a single other thing I would rather do more than writing full time for a career. I absolutely love it.

So, I committed right then and there to get back on the horse and start making it work. I’ve been talking about this for years. Frankly, it’s disgusting that I’ve spent that long complaining about wanting to be a writer and yet not doing anything about it.

I have gotten involved again with my online writing group. It’s a great resource that I have been foolish enough to ignore for almost a year now. I also decided that it’s time to start submitting stuff for publication. I wrote a short story a year or so ago, and I’ve been kicking around the idea of sending it to some magazines to see if I get any nibbles for publication. Or perhaps even epublishing it myself onto Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In the end, I have decided for this first one to send it to some magazines. While I am anxious to give the ePub world a try, I’m just not ready. One of the things I’m missing is cover art. Nobody is going to buy a book with just words for the cover. I need to find a way to get some good art created so my book will look like, well, a book.

In the meantime, I am going to be continuing to work on my novel as well as some short stories. I would like to shortly have several short stories submitted to various magazines. That’s not going to make much by way of income, but the experience of it will be invaluable. Even if they get rejected, if I can at least get lucky enough to get some comments as to how I can improve, I’ll consider it a victory. With time, hopefully I can get several of them published and then start generating a little bit of name recognition within the publishing world. All the while, I’ll be finishing up the first draft of my novel and then begin the revisions process on that.

I just watched an interesting video from a class taught by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson (one of my favorites). You can check out his website at Anyway, he walked the class through his revision process which includes somewhere around 8 revisions. WOW!

Well, this has gotten a bit long winded, but I hadn’t really posted since I was in NaNoWriMo last November. I just looked and realized I never even posted that I had won. It was tough because of how slow a start I got, but I made it. And I’m super happy I did.

More to come soon…



NaNoWriMo Day #7

Daily Writing Goal: 1667 words

Actual Words Written: 2077 words

Total Words Written: 13508 words

First, I just wanted to thank all those who read my last post.  I enjoyed your comments and “likes.”  It’s great to meet fellow writers and discover your blogs.

This has been an interesting NaNo for me.  As you know, I got a slow start.  I’ve already missed 2 of the 7 days because of (1: having to spend a day rereading material to get caught up, and 2: giving tours at an open house and then watching the presidential election).

Fortunately, the material has been flowing nicely, and I’m able to build a cushion each day I write.  In fact, of the 5 days I’ve actually written, I’ve always had more than the daily goal.  I typically try to write 2500 words at a sitting.  Right now my daily average for the 7 days is 1930 words a day, but that’s with actually only writing 5 of the 7 days.  My actual average for days written is 2691 words per day.  I can live with that.

It’s been so nice writing again.  I forget how much I love it.  For those of you who don’t know, I am an attorney by day.  While I enjoy what I do some days, many days I don’t.  My whole life I’ve wanted to be a professional writer.  Now that I’m writing again and loving it so much, it makes me realize how great it would be to be able to shut the door to my law practice forever and pursue my dream every single day.  I’m hoping this will give me the push I need to do it.

I’m on track to have my entire first draft completed at the conclusion of this month.  That is an overwhelmingly exciting thought to me.  The thought of finishing the first draft and actually being able to edit and rewrite is intoxicating.  That would put me so much closer to my goal of actually submitting this book for publication (which brings up an interesting point).

We are at an interesting fork in the road, if you will, from a publishing standpoint.  The invention of the eReader has made self publishing so much easier than it ever was before.  In fact, a person can epublish their own works for pretty much nothing.  No out-of-pocket outlay for production costs, inventory storage and shipping, etc.  But, the problem with that is that everyone is doing it.  There are so many BAD books being published filled with poor writing, spelling errors, etc., all the stuff that a good editor can help you find and fix.

I have no doubt that at some point in my career I will self publish my own writing, even if just little side novellas.  But, I have always wanted to see my books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble.  I’ve always wanted to sit at a table at a book signing with fans lined up to meet me.  That’s something you just don’t get if you don’t use a traditional publisher.

I’m obviously not the expert on this, and lots others have WAY more experience than I do. But those are my thoughts as of today.  Of course, I am a lawyer.  “I reserve the right to amend” is a phrase I use often.

What are your thoughts with your writing?  Epub?  Traditional publishing house?  I’d be interested to hear.

short story update

You’ll notice the progress bar shows that the first draft of operation sacrifice is now 100% complete.  Sorry I didn’t do a better job of updating that as I went.  And let me tell you.  Writing a short story is MUCH harder than you think.  It’s tough to build a believable setting with relatable characters and a good plot arc all just in a few pages.

Part of the problem is that there was nothing to update for a very long time.  We had several weeks to work on this project, and I am a terrible procrastinator at times.  I knew what my story would be about (or so I thought – see below), and so I took WAY too many nights off.

Well, our self-imposed deadline to post the first draft for critiques was 8/1/11 (aka tomorrow).

By Friday night when I went to bed, I had 1,500 words written of my 10,000+ word short story.  And, to make matters worse, my wife’s brother came to visit from Germany (military), and since we haven’t seen him in several years, we packed up and went over to stay with all the fam.  Not exactly the perfect atmosphere for distraction free writing.

This is the good part.  THIS is why I love writing.

Being at the fam’s actually worked out better than I thought because my wife and kids were occupied with family stuff the entire day, allowing me to hole up in a bedroom upstairs with my trusty netbook and type incessantly.

I started writing the story I had contrived in my head.  Only, certain things that I thought would happen, didn’t happen.  In fact, one path took a 90 degree turn on me, and before I knew it, the story was SO much better.  A twist was there that even I wasn’t expecting.  Believe me, I’m as surprised as you!  That’s what I love.  The story grows and develops on its own.  I’m just the cultivator.  I plant the seed, have a pretty good idea what the plant will look like, but you just never know.

The draft will be posted to my writing group tomorrow for the first round of critiques.  Then it’ll be back to the drawing board for revisions and rewrite.  I already have a small section in mind that I want to include.  Some sections need a little more detail.  Currently, I’m at just over 10,800 words.  I wanted to be closer to 12-13,000.  So, I may have to add a bit.  I don’t know yet whether there will be a second round of edits or not.  I assume so, but we’ll have to play that by ear.

Either way, I’ll let you know more when I know more.

In the meantime, I’ll be busy critiquing several other short stories and then fixing mine when it comes back.  So, I don’t think I’ll have time to get back to my novel yet, but hopefully soon.

The best thing about this project is that it finally got me writing again, and I remembered just how much I love it.

Thanks for reading.