Falling Off The Wagon


I gave up. I didn’t mean to, but it struck me last week that that is the truth. Those of you who follow my Twitter will know that I was talking about falling off the wagon. Well… this is what I mean. I fell off the wagon of writing my 750 words each day and I fell off the wagon of submitting my humble book to agents. One of those is acceptable, one of those is not. And I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at which way around those are.

Last year, when I started this blog, I was still visiting the Leicester Writers Club. I came back after one night with them and wrote an entry about the agent who was there and how much his appearance frightened me. I won’t recap the whole post, because you can read it here, but it boiled down to the fact that I didn’t have a pitch, I didn’t have a blurb and I didn’t have a product that was ready for him to see. A year down the line, the novel had has a LOT of work, but it just needs final tweaks. And it was Wednesday when I was finalising the next of my letters that I realised I still wasn’t happy. And that’s just not right.

I can’t possibly send this work to agents and expect them to take me seriously if I’m having doubts about something as basic as a piece of the plot. Or if I’m questioning my fact finding for the historical references. I wouldn’t take anybody seriously in that position, so why should they? The writing could be incredible, but if the subject matter is drivel, its a waste of their time.

That’s too strong. The story isn’t drivel, but do you see where I’m coming from? And its all because I let myself get too close and stay too close to the writing. I didn’t give myself a long enough break. I need to leave it, forget about and put my editing/proofing head on with utterly clear, clean fresh eyes and give it one last look. Then I need to give it to other people.

I did some beta reading for a chap on Twitter a while ago. It was a 25k piece and he needed the feedback to finish it off. Like me. But I’ve never given anybody the whole of this piece to read. Lots of people have read the sections I’m troubled about and lots of people have given me the feedback to make them better. Which is perfect. But what about the rest? What if there is something there that I haven’t picked up that someone who doesn’t know the story will? Could happen.

So I need to stop sending samples to agents. That is acceptable. I need to put out a call for beta readers (interested?) willing to read a 100k vamp-fic which DOES NOT fall under the banner of any sort of ‘paranormal romance’ that is filling the shops right now. Its vamp-fic, its dark urban fantasy, its about vampires being mean and humans getting caught up in the currents. Booo-yaaaaar! Lol.

Anyway, letting that wagon get away is acceptable. For now. When I chase it down to get back on I’ll have running shoes and a straight road. So that will be easy.

The other wagon, the 750 words wagon is not. I was working so hard on my streak. I was itching to get to 50 days and feeling terribly proud at how well I’d done. And suddenly, just for no reason at all, I missed a day. I remembered at 00:09 because I was still up and mooching and went stomping about the kitchen in a mood. I couldn’t believe that I’d skipped it. But after that, I didn’t do any more. I just didn’t go back to the page.

That is not acceptable. Besides, it shouldn’t be about the streak. While the stats are nice and while it is wonderful to see all the weird meta data that comes up from my words, I shouldn’t give up just because it will take me ages to get back to where I was. Nuh uh! The 750 exercise should be about writing, about remembering how much I love the act of setting my fingers to keys. Its just an exercise to make sure that I do write every day. Who cares about the stats?!

So… I’m back. You might have noticed Twitter updates about it again and they should be here to stay. There will be a gap when I’m on my LARP of course (not much I can do about that) but I will keep going again afterwards. Hell, its good practise, if anything, for this year’s NaNo since writing this many words a day is only just shy of what I’d need to make the 50k words in November.

I wanted a theme though, since writing blindly isn’t always the best way for me to achieve the goal of 750. So… what I’m going do to do is use each day to write a short. I’m not going to push myself to make them massively original or unique to begin with; I want to get my eye in. But I’m going to use it as an exercise to practise writing flash fiction and then take them the best ones to Phoenix Writers for feedback. I want to use this gap from novels to build up a library of shorter stuff so I can start entering competitions and populating this site with more of my work.

Heh, a new challenge. Yey! I like those. :-)

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About Ileandra Young

I am a twenty-nine year old writer currently juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel is due for release in Autmn 2014.
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One Response to Falling Off The Wagon

  1. Sounds like you’ll have fun!

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