Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Climbing Mt. Killanocontract

First, I thought it was my muse playing games.

She'd been on vacation or something because my head hadn't been 100% focused on writing since right before Thanksgiving. Not that I hadn't attempted, but I couldn't seem to buckle down.

After a little soul searching, I realized that it's not that I'm uninspired. I'm unmotivated and somewhat unwilling to climb Mt. Killanocontract - that steep incline of writing novel after novel purely for the creative release. Maybe you'll sell it one day. Maybe you won't.

Don't get me wrong. Usually inspiration carries me through. I've written several manuscripts on I-juice alone!

But, after finishing first draft re-writes on TWISTED, I found it hard to kickstart my motor and do what I needed to do on my third manuscript, which is not under contract and totally unrelated to the DRB Clique series.

Maybe it's burn out from the three-year grind I was on trying to get my manuscript agented and then acquired. I was a mad writing dervish, non-stop. And it paid off!

Or, maybe it's a new realization that there's another way to sell novels besides writing them full out and hoping someone will buy them.

Or perhaps I'm just a greedy capitalist. But I enjoy getting paid to write and I'm finding it hard to pour the amount of time necessary into an uncontracted novel.

I'm not proud of this. It goes against the grain of my true feelings for writing. I loved doing it before I got paid to do it and I love it still.

Hands down, it's the first job I've had unconditional love for.

But I'd be lying if I said I felt bad about preferring to work under contract.

(Wo)man cannot live on love alone.

Truth is, my love and passion for writing isn't always able to conquer the fatigue that comes from holding two full-time jobs, and spending the time and attention needed to nurture my family.

Even when I want to, I don't always have the time or energy to sit in my office and riff with my muse.

So many days I've said, "Okay once everyone goes to bed, I'm going to get in there and..."

But by the time I get the girls settled and the hubster off to bed, I'm tired. And either I'm ready to crawl in bed too or I'm ready for some good ol' mindless TV time (i.e. alone time).

Plus, I've always had this insatiable need to work smarter, not harder.

It isn't that I can't hold my regular FTJ and write. I've been doing that for three years.

From August right up until Thanksgiving I was burning the midnight oil on DRAMA edits and TWISTED re-writes.

I never had a problem getting into the office, no matter how full my day had been. I'd be up late, wired. Normally I had to force myself to bed.

But once I turned in both, the pilot light blew out on my motivation.

I guess I'm a little slow. But I realized that I enjoyed working on projects that were a sure thing. It was like tasting a forbidden nectar.

Now, I'm finding it a challenge to go back to the "other side."

I'm not saying that I'll never write another word until someone pays me. But the thought of writing novel after novel with no notion if they'll ever be acquired, wreaks havoc with my motivation.

Would I feel differently if writing were my sole job? Not sure.


All I know is, now, going into my office after a full day to work on a project that may or may not see the light of day in the publishing world...feels like a chore.

With the work under contract, the knowledge that I have a deadline (imposed by someone else) and am fixing the mss based on my editor's insight are great motivators.

Having a clear direction defined by a person who has a vested (financial and otherwise) interest in the novel is, apparently, the best motivation for me.

Not to mention, writing under an editor's direction is much more productive than my own scatter-brained attempts at "fixing" holes in a mss, which can sometimes be akin to a dog chasing its tail.

As long as I still have to punch the clock at another job, writing under contract is a smart way to work.

Without a contract...I'm fairly certain that keeping my FTJ while trying to churn out new (good) work is my Everest.


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