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It goes thusly

Well, I’m getting some writing done on The Secret. For the curious (which ought to be at least a few of you, or why are you reading my blog?) I’m doing the first draft on an Alphasmart Neo. It’s a very simple dedicated word-processing device. Lightweight, hundreds of hours of battery life (really), and only six visible lines on its display (which makes interrupting the flow of words for edits a major pain, which encourages me to keep writing instead). Oh, and it has no internet/networking capability—which is a great help to me. I’d think ’twere perfect if it had two more lines of text on its display and it had a slightly larger keyboard. But I also think I should shut up and deal, ’cause it’s pretty nice.

That whole concept seems so noble and pure. And this is one of those times I might shut up. But such is not my way. Instead I’ll add this: although I did bring a laptop with me on this semi-sabbatical (witness this post), I sort of forgot to bring the USB dingus that lets me connect my Neo to said laptop. So, yesterday afternoon? When I wanted to move my work to the laptop for a while & do some editing in Scrivener? I couldn’t. Probably a good thing, that.

Meanwhile I keep taking breaks, and within (sometimes without) them I’m thinking about my overall strategy as a writer. Not just how I’m approaching this book, but what I’d like for my career. And there are a few things I currently suspect I’ll do that don’t necessarily follow any advice I’ve read anywhere. IOW, since it’s well known that I’m kind of stupid, I intend to act like it. For instance:

  • Reviews. Ah, reviews. Ain’t they grand? Okay, to the point: Yesterday I left a comment on a review I really liked. Mostly elder-advisor-writer-folks suggest that we younguns (context matters here) leave reviewers alone. I think that makes a certain amount of sense, in that flame wars are boring to non-participants & getting hung up on readers’ perceptions of value can mess up a writer. However, I ain’t that kind of writer. Bad reviews make me smile a little bit…I only wish they’d be more vicious and creative with their nasty little poisons <grin>. But good reviews make me happy too. So—well, what the heck, for me there’s no obvious downside. And I don’t want to seem unapproachable. For chrissake I’m putting my fiction out in the world for people to read. It’s probably not because I want to hide. Ya know? So my new policy is to read, enjoy, and frequently comment on reviews. Oh, and thanks if you’ve already reviewed something or other.
  • I have real trouble doing first-draft stuff without a bunch of dedicated non-interruptible time. So I’m going to have a new policy: when I get time like that, I need to spend it on creating new material. Book covers, print layout, format conversions, editing/proofing, any “marketing” stuff I might talk myself into doing…all that can happen whenever I can work but I can’t write.
  • It turns out I write pretty fast when I’m actually sitting down at a keyboard of some sort. Frankly I don’t see why I couldn’t reliably do a first draft of a novel in a month. So, if I can arrange some more writing time in the reasonably near future (I think I can) I may see how many of those I can string together. Which may mean I’ll have chunks of unpublished stuff sitting around, but life happens to writing schedules & wouldn’t it be nice if that meant I could finally get around to the whole list of cover/edit/proof/layout/publish chores?
  • This part’s a secret, so don’t tell anybody. I tend to be weird about genres. Not all readers, even those who love a particular book, will want to read all my stuff. So I think I’ll create a pen name or two. I’ll tell the readers what I’m doing, though, so they can find my other-genre stuff if they want to. Well, okay, I’m obviously not good at keeping secrets. So I guess you can tell people if you want to. Even though I’m telling people right now, and at the moment it means nothing, because it hasn’t happened.
  • I think that’s enough bullet points for one day. Don’t you?

It’s probably enough non-new-fiction words for one day too. Have fun out there.


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