Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day 27: Considerations

Today, something occurred to me: in focusing all my attention on writing the Modern Irish Myth books, they became something I didn't want to focus on. Which, you know, means that I wasn't getting anything done at all. It got to the point that thinking about writing The Blood of Leap was off-putting, rather than just requiring me to turn on my laptop and write. After all, that's what I do when I need to write a blog post (usually), so it's not that much effort. But actively disliking the idea of going to write the book?

No, I couldn't have it.

Writing is supposed to be fun. And I was enjoying writing the book, until a lot of different things came up that required my attention in one form or another. I don't believe in writing a book when it's not enjoyable. I purposely picked a topic for a my research paper that was both interesting in and of itself, and allowed me to look at interesting texts (translation: books, poems, songs, films and television shows - I rock at academia). It meant I wouldn't be put off writing it when I had to. (Even though I went into Major Procrastination Mode and didn't write it for a while.)

But I don't want to force myself to write a book in a bad mood knowing that focusing on it means I can't do anything else. This means two things are happening:

1. I'm going to take more time to write other things, not just the Modern Irish Myth books.

Let's look at this logically: I want to earn from writing. Fiction isn't exactly a goldmine for most writers. Focusing all of my writing time for the next few months on writing fiction means I probably won't make much money from it - one of my self-appointed parameters for success being to make a certain amount from writing generally speaking - unless I become a bestselling author - another parameter for writing success.

Add to this an interest in poetry, teaching, writing non-fiction, writing about writing, and writing other stories, and I've got a problem. If I focus entirely on the Modern Irish Myth books, not only am I less likely to find even minor success (the sort that makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere, but not necessarily the sort that makes me famous), I'm less likely to be happy writing.

Considering the amount of changes my life is going through at the moment, I don't think restricting my options is necessarily a good thing. I want to start freelancing seriously. I want to write more poetry. I want to rediscover a certain sense of self from writing. I want to write more about writing.

To manage this step more plausibly, I need to focus on Thing #2 to happen.

2. I'm revising the publication schedule for the books.

I had intended to release a book a month until the series is complete. This is a fast-track system to releasing eleven books in less than a year, which requires them to be written at a pace of at least one per month. Given my difficulty in focusing on the series with Big Ol' Life getting in the way, you might see the problem that might arise from this commitment. Unless I drive myself absolutely insane and risk hating the books as I write them in an effort to meet my previous writing schedule (to finish writing by October's end), a book a month means trying to focus all  the way through various holidays and events, and assumes my employment situation will remain as disappointingly the same as it is now. (I know, lots of people want and need jobs, but a grand total of 10.6 hours' pay per week isn't exactly enviable.)

Reality check: I want to work more hours. I need to. Not because I want to be Stinking Rich, but because I want to do more with my life than work at the weekends in a shop, arrange lunches with friends every couple of weeks (if I'm lucky), read comic books and go to the cinema. I want to travel. I don't even intend on travelling extensively until I can get myself earning enough to justify the expense. I just want to be able to go on a trip out west, or to London, or go to the Edinburgh Arts Festival. Even these simple things are out of my price range.

From my point of view, that sucks. I'm out of college, but I have next-to-nothing to my name and I'm in no position to improve my life. It just feels like I'm getting dragged along by circumstance.

So, with all of that in mind, the new publication schedule - unless I find it as equally restrictive as the current one - is to release the books every two months. This means that The Blood of Leap is due for release in September, not August. It means that the twelve books will take me to March 2015, not May 2014. A longer wait for the finish, yes, but this has a couple of benefits.

Firstly, I'm under less pressure to write the books in a short period of time, which means I'm less inclined to dislike them. (Much less inclined, in fact.) As a result of that, I'll be able to write better books.

Secondly, I'll be able to write other books in the meantime, and work on other projects, without the pressure to release something new all the time. With the series to keep me going until 2015, I'll be able to get other projects ready for launch. I've even got a couple of stand-alone titles in mind, which may find their way into publication either during the publication cycle, or afterwords (with the latter projections bringing the final run of fourteen titles to September 2015.)

Thirdly, I won't be crowding the market with my own books. I'd be a bit overwhelmed with the selling thing if I was trying to promote the books so heavily all the time until March. Yes, I'll have to promote the books, but at least I won't feel like it's all I'm ever doing if the publication dates are set further apart, and it won't seem like I'm rushing the books into publication for the sake of it. (The truth of the matter is, they're short books, which I can write quickly when I get to writing them; it just wouldn't look that way from the outside.)

All that considered...

I'm calling a halt on my Camp NaNoWriMo intentions. Next week, I'm going to make plans to see a friend. On Monday or Tuesday, whichever is free earliest, I'm going to spend the day writing poetry (which will probably require major Facebook stalkerage for scenic photographs for inspiration). I plan on writing a lot of poems in the day. I'm hoping my brain can manage between 15 and 25 poems - even if they require a lot of editing afterwards - to try get the rush from creativity back. I think it'll be good for me.

Basically, I'm sick of being caught up in life and not doing anything with it. It's time to make a change.

No comments: