Monday, February 5, 2007

The price of freedom:

So on Magical Musings the blog today is about the freedom of being unpublished, how so many writers look back on this "pre-published" time with longing because it was before deadlines, back when writing was just "fun" before it became a job...etc.

So that post inspired my blogpost, and some of it I'm repeating directly from my comment cause I'm getting lazy with the blog. I'm going to have to develop some accountability factor for my blogging. ;)

The vast acres of time and freedom that prepublished writers have can be as much of a curse as it is a blessing, because it can be a wilderness that is hard to navigate. Without deadlines...sometimes shit doesn't happen.

I’m pre-published and deadline oriented. If I’m not, I don’t produce, if I don’t produce I can’t get published. The more I produce, and the better I get, the more I up my odds. So I don’t really see it as “vast acres of freedom.” I see it as Deadlines I’m not getting paid for lol. So when the day comes when my deadlines equal a check, I won’t be sad to see this “vast freedom” leave me. ;)

Because I can't produce in "freedom" I have to be chained to a deadline, either self imposed or imposed on me. At least once it's imposed on me there will be money attached to it. A pretty little carrot that I can chase.

I tend to get involved in online deadline oriented writer groups where you have to post your progress for accountability. Last November I was in a smaller LJ group for nanowrimo and we had to post wordcount progress every day. Now I’m doing something on LJ called “novel in 90″ and during this 90 days I’m revising one novel and completing the rough draft of another. I do about 2 hours of revisions and 1 hour of rough draft a day and I take maybe a day off a week.

If I don’t do this, I don’t feel like a writer. And the reality is...I'm not one. Writers write. And if I ever hope to be published I have to write a lot, and on a deadline.


spyscribbler said...

Me too! When I don't have a deadline breathing down my neck, I get slow.

Zoe Winters said...

:) Deadlines Rawk.

I think there are just some very diff temperaments in this biz. Some people hate deadlines and would rather be free, some people love deadlines.

Some people want to write by the seat of their pants, some people (like myself) are anal outliners. Different things work for different people, however certain ways (like working with outlines and under deadlines) is more attractive to the industry as a whole.

I can't help but believe I've made my way much easier just by not rebelling against this necessary part of the publishing industry. If you sell, you're going to have deadlines, and if you sell to New York you're going to have to learn to outline. So, yeah...why fight that?

It's only an added benefit that these are the methods of working that I personally prefer.

Zoe Winters said... "certain ways ARE more attractive to the industry" not "IS" Gah...yeah, I'm a writer.

*head desk*

Edie said...

My goal for 2007 is to treat writing like a job. I'm good at goal setting normally, but 2006 got a little crazy for me. I'm back on track now. :)

Liz Kreger said...

Good post, Zoe. And you're 100% right. Even though we do this for enjoyment, you can't forget the goal of getting published. If you manage to discipline yourself now, think how much easier it will to produce "X" number of pages in the future when you are published and you're accountable for your progress.

Zoe Winters said...

Cool Edie, me too! (treating it like a job.)

Thanks Liz. :)

Michelle said...

Zoe, I started feeling this terrible sense of time slipping away from me late last year. That is when I started getting really serious about things, and I've been strict with myself ever since.

Zoe Winters said...

Yeah Michelle, I know the feeling. I'm only 27 but after Eragon I got my butt in gear. I mean I think I slacked off a lot when I was younger because not a lot of younger people got published, so "why bother" yeah...that was immaturity speaking lol, but i was a kid hehe.

But anyway I got to my mid twenties and suddenly I was running out of excuses to sit on my butt and not write, especially considering the huge long haul that the publishing journey is. So I got serious. I stopped acting like I had other goals and ambitions, because I really don't. And I made everything about the writing. :)

Jeremy James said...

"So I got serious. I stopped acting like I had other goals and ambitions, because I really don't. And I made everything about the writing. :)

That's beautiful. Me too. And what a difference! Great blog. I'll be back!

Zoe Winters said...

Thanks Jeremy! The world sort of shifted to my axis when I finally got really honest with myself. This isn't just something I would kind of sort of like to do someday, this IS the goal. lol. Why fight it? ;)

Camilla said...

Thank you for this post Zoe. Something just clicked within me while I was reading it--especially the part Jeremy quoted. I have other things to do(school) and assume I have to put all my responsibility into one basket(not writing) or else my life would fall apart. This reassured me that if I wanted to become published, I needed to treat writing like my primary responsibility and work everything else around that, instead of the other way around. I'll have to do it anyways when I do sell.

Zoe Winters said...

Hi Camilla! Thanks for the comment. I'm glad that it inspired you to make writing more of a priority. Even doing just little bits at a time 750 words a day on a rough draft or an hour in revisions, really helps you to produce. Consistency is key and if you can give just an hour a day to it even, you'll produce a lot more. :)