Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Keeping the Habit Going...

Since blogging Saturday about my recent frustrations on the writing side, I started yet another story... only this one is specifically for a call I noticed that ends June 1st.

The idea is that by putting a deadline there, I can try and force myself to write. Sure, I'm writing for an open call. There is no guarantee in that and the piece may not be chosen. But that doesn't mean it will necessarily be a fruitless exercise.

The call is for work between 2500 and 8000 words, so I am not committing to a novel or anything. But finishing even a short work will be a step in the right direction. It's a call for college years themed erotica, and my college experiences were a fertile field for my early ventures into erotica. This time, I chose an event from my actual past and I am tweaking it to turn out differently. The central idea is the chance to relive a decision that I don't necessarily regret but where I have wondered about alternative outcomes.

I'm not changing the initial point of decision, the place that could have really gone either way, because I like the choice I made. It was one of those moments where I feel like I lived up to my ideals... doing something the right way, despite there being a personal cost.

However, I am changing the aftermath of that decision. That is where the "What if..." portion comes in to play.

So far, I written just over 2000 words and have almost reached the point where speculation will diverge from reality. Not that the story is exactly what happened and certainly the dialogue is not accurate. I mean, it was twenty years ago and I have trouble remembering things with that detail after twenty minutes.

So it isn't really a "true story." It is more like based on what maybe could have been a real story if the persons in the story might have concentrated a little less on what things appeared to be and a little more on what they really wanted.

But I'm having fun with it. And it has been a while since I wrote for fun.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

It Isn't Really Writer's Block

My writing has been at a standstill lately. I keep making myself promises to get moving again, and then other things get in the way or I sit at the keyboard and just stare until I finally click over to Facebook or open the news or a blog. I've constantly wondered what I am lacking.

There are several things one needs to write. Some fall under motivation, some ability or talent, some logistical.

The opportunity to write, the time in other words, is there. Oh, I'm busy. Very busy. I get up Monday through Friday and head to work, of course. Then I come home and four days a week the turnaround time until heading to the dojang for taekwondo is short, but not THAT short. Three of those days I have at least an hour of down time. And there are all the other things that need doing. Sleep, sustenance, laundry. But I have not picked up my PS3 controller or booted up Fallout or Neverwinter Nights in weeks. And I usually have the whole weekend with only minor commitments. So although my time is tight, there are places where I could sit down and bang away at wordsmithing.

All the incentive is there, at least rationally. And I sure as hell could use the money, more now than ever. I have two WIP's that are already sold; contracts aren't signed, but the publishers have been waiting on the finished work for quite some time and have not made any indication that they have changed their mind. One was even up on a Coming Soon page --- and was "coming soon" for way tooooo long. Eventually, when the site got updated, it came off.

I also have plenty of work started, in various stages of completion. Most of them stalled at around 30K. I have even more tales with the outlines of a plot on paper (virtual and otherwise) and no shortage of ideas. So, the creativity is there. The ideas have never stopped flowing.

I think it might boil down to two things, and they are related. Audience and enjoyment. When I first turned my mind back to writing, I had both of those. I started with sportswriting, of course. And audience was never a problem with those blogs, especially after I started working for a national website and had their linkages. I didn't always get heavy feedback on each post, but I could see the numbers as far as pageloads. And I did get comments, sometimes dozens of them.

When I started writing erotica and erotic romance, it was at Literotica and I again had feedback... some of it very strong. The negative stuff rarely bothered me. In some ways it was more energizing then the good stuff. And the community and the standards of the AH and the audience made me a better writer.

But the money at Lit is non-existent. Yeah, a couple of contest wins -- but that doesn't pay bills, it just feeds the ego and lets you splurge on a minor indulgence. The sports money was better and more predictable, but was strictly a secondary income source. You could make more money collecting aluminum cans than I did as a "professional sportswriter."

The enjoyment of creation is fine. I still get that. Liking my own turn of phrase or plot point. But the second step in enjoying writing, for me at least, is having someone react. The greatest compliment you can receive as a writer is when people believe your fiction is real. I've had people argue with me. "That's wrong, because she would never do that!" What a compliment, when a reader gets mad at me because the creation of my imagination is so completely real to them that they honestly believe that character has a life and a personality outside my skull.

I need to find that part again. I am no Emily Dickinson in talent... but also, I am not one in temperament. I can not sit alone and create my art for it's own sake. My art is only complete when it has created, or failed to create, an emotion in my audience.

Of course, the dilemma is that in order to find an audience... I HAVE TO FINISH SOMETHING!