Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Not-Really Writing

For someone who's been doing a lot of writing stuff lately, I haven't gotten much writing done. :/ Anyone else had times when you seem to be always busy but not much concrete product comes of it...?

First, I've got this story I'm working on. It's a fantasy, in a sort-of old Arabic (pre-Islam) setting, so I've been doing research for that. I have a file with notes on the characters and notes on the plot and notes on djinn and magic and How The World Works in this sort of setting (and the husband and I watched a thing on TV last night that talked about old Egyptian magic which I think I'm going to incorporate into this story, or maybe use for another one but I'm going to use it for something 'cause it's cool) but haven't done any actual writing on the story itself yet. Last time I wrote a non-realspace story (that one was SF) I did most of my "planning" in the story itself, sort of, coming up with tech info and history and economics and social structures and such as I wrote. I had to cut most of it out, of course, since it was only a short story and couldn't support that kind of info-dump, and although I saved what I cut, I had to cut over and over and ended up starting the story three or four times. It worked out in the end but it was frustrating at the time so I figured I'd do all the work in a notes file this time rather than doing all my worldbuilding in story form. [wry smile] I'm not seeing that it's all that much less work, but we'll see how it goes. And I still haven't written a word of the actual story, which is for an anthology which closes on 30 September.

Then there's a fiction challenge I signed up for which requires a lot of pre-writing work. It's a remix fest, where you're assigned another fest writer and you choose one of her/his stories to rewrite -- remix -- putting your own spin on it. I've wanted to do one of these for a long time because they look like great fun, both to get to fiddle with someone else's story and to see what someone else will do to one of mine. It's a lot of work, though, and at this point I'm still going through my assigned writer's fiction index, reading through likely stories, pasting links to whatever rings a bell and taking preliminary notes. I have some possibilities but nothing that's really jumped up and waved at me, so I'm going on through the rest of the stories. Other people who've done this before have said that they've ended up starting remixes on several stories before finding one which actually works out past the first thousand words or so, so I'm starting early to give myself time. (Usually I'm a dedicated procrastinator but I have enough functional braincells to realize that might not work here.) The story's due on... 30 September.

Then there's the camping story I was working on earlier. I actually have about 1400 words of this one and it's coming along nicely, but the anthology I have in mind to submit to is open until 30 November so I've back-burnered it while I'm working on the other things. Figures, the one story I was making progress on is the one I have almost 3.5 months to do. [wry smile]

MOME Awards -- this is a sort of peripheral activity but it's still important to me. This is a new award this year and it's gotten a lot of interest and participation within its community. Voting is ongoing through 15 September and there are a lot of stories on the ballot which I haven't read yet, or which I need to at least skim to remind myself of what was which. This is a tighter deadline but at least it's just a matter of reading, which is time-consuming but not something I have to focus on producing like I do with a story. And luckily, as I go down the ballot (which goes from shorter categories to longer ones) I'll run into more and more stories I remember and won't have to reread, which is the only reason I have any hope of getting all the way through. And I do want to because I think this is a great award format and I want to support it. The fact that three of my own stories made the final ballot has nothing at all to do with it. [innocent humming]

At any rate, this is what I actually Have To Do in the next couple of months. Around that is keeping up with reading and such, and paying occasional attention to my husband. I'm just hoping with many sets of virtual fingers crossed that no major kerfuffles or blow-ups occur, because I seriously Do Not have time to get caught up in anything like that. [glares at LJ] But hopefully having it all written out like this will help me stay focused. I should have plenty of time for all this, it's just a matter of organization. Really. :/



Travis Erwin said...

I admire your ambition. Keep plugging away but don't beat yourself up if you don't meet all your goals as quick as you'd hoped.

Angie said...

Thanks, Travis. :) I'm OK with not meeting them quickly, so long as I don't miss any of them. ;)

I do know what you mean, though, and no, the world won't crumble if I miss something. There'll be other anthologies, and other opportunities, and none of the stories are so singularly written that they would only fit that one market. I can't miss the fest deadline since there are other people counting on me, but the anthologies are realistically flexible since the editors have no clue I exist and won't be at all disappointed if I don't submit what I was planning.

The thing is, I really should be able to make all my deadlines. There aren't that many and they're spread out over long enough that it's not at all impossible. I don't have a day job, nor do I have children. I do have a full life, but I have some new priorities now and I'm still working out how to rearrange things to accommodate them.

But you're right -- no reason to slit my wrists if I miss something. One more thing to keep telling myself. :)


Unknown said...

Today would be one of those days. lol I'm finding myself involved in a chat and blog hopping and as of yet haven't even opened Word.

I won't be too hard on myself though because I have subbed two things already this month and one was contracted last night, but it's still frustrating when the day slips by.

Angie said...

Samantha -- congrats on the subs and double congrats on the contract, that's great! :D

I know what you mean, though, about letting a day slip away. Luckily after a lot of dinking around I've actually had a pretty productive day. I've written about 900 words so far on my 30 Sep. anthology story, and I got most of the blogs I read into a feed reader, which took some time to do but it'll save me time every day from now on not having to check each one manually. I know, I'm lame -- I'm just used to having almost everything I check online being on a journal system with an automatically compiled reading list. When I only read a couple of external blogs it was just as easy to check them individually through bookmarks in my browser. Since I've gotten more into professional writing and publishing blogs, though, it's gotten out of hand.

I think that's classic "yak shaving" -- where you start out wanting to do one task and end up getting diverted into something completely different but you're still technically working on the original task. So I was dinking around with RSS feeds for a couple of hours (and ended up using Google Reader) but it'll clear out extra time I can use to write each day, so it was really "writing work." [rueful smile]