Wednesday, May 8, 2013

If It's Good for Neil Gaiman... - #56-57

Twitter has been the best tool for staying connected, at least for me as a writer. 

I found this new Tumblr account: YA Publishing FAQ. And within the latest posts was an entry from Neil Gaiman. He's answering a question posed about author's publishing times and what they owe their audience, if they do, but he's also talking process and how it differs for everyone. It resonated with me, so I wanted to share it with you:

The excerpt below was originally posted at Neil Gailman's Journal online.

"Some writers need a while to charge their batteries, and then write their books very rapidly. Some writers write a page or so every day, rain or shine. Some writers run out of steam, and need to do whatever it is they happen to do until they're ready to write again. Sometimes writers haven't quite got the next book in a series ready in their heads, but they have something else all ready instead, so they write the thing that's ready to go, prompting cries of outrage from people who want to know why the author could possibly write Book X while the fans were waiting for Book Y.

I remember hearing an upset comics editor telling a roomful of other editors about a comics artist who had taken a few weeks off to paint his house. The editor pointed out, repeatedly, that for the money the artist would have been paid for those weeks' work he could easily have afforded to hire someone to paint his house, and made money too. And I thought, but did not say, “But what if he wanted to paint his house?”

I blew a deadline recently. Terminally blew it. First time in 25 years I've sighed and said, “I can't do this, and you won't get your story.” It was already late, I was under a bunch of deadline pressure, my father died, and suddenly the story, too, was dead on the page. I liked the voice it was in, but it wasn't working, and eventually, rather than drive the editors and publishers mad waiting for a story that wasn't going to come, I gave up on it and apologised, worried that I could no longer write fiction.

I turned my attention to the next deadline waiting – a script. It flowed easily and delightfully, was the most fun I've had writing anything in ages, all the characters did exactly what I had hoped they would do, and the story was better than I had dared to hope.

Sometimes it happens like that. You don't choose what will work. You simply do the best you can each time. And you try to do what you can to increase the likelihood that good art will be created.

And sometimes, and it's as true of authors as it is of readers, you have a life. People in your world get sick or die. You fall in love, or out of love. You move house. Your aunt comes to stay. You agreed to give a talk half-way around the world five years ago, and suddenly you realise that that talk is due now. Your last book comes out and the critics vociferously hated it and now you simply don't feel like writing another. Your cat learns to levitate and the matter must be properly documented and investigated. There are deer in the apple orchard. A thunderstorm fries your hard disk and fries the backup drive as well...

And life is a good thing for a writer. It's where we get our raw material, for a start. We quite like to stop and watch it."

So, there you go, friends. If it's good for Neil Gaiman, it's good for me. Life happens. We can't always hold ourselves to deadlines and expectations. This specifically struck a chord with me because I'm getting to a point in my WIP that isn't exciting to talk about on the blog without giving away the story. Plus, I'm not sure if I should talk about it - instead of sharing story on here, I need to create story in Scrivener. 

That said, I'm suspending the daily word count and all things WIP related. If I want to chat about it, fine, if not I won't feel pressure (created solely from myself when I started this 365 day project) to post about the WIP. 

What I will definitely do, no matter what, is give updates on overall goals reached. For example: when the draft is done. When I'm revising it. When I draft a query.

During the rest of the 365 day project, I'll blog about the rest of the writing process - even the non-writing related variety. 

Here's to living life, you guys! Hope you're having a wonderful day.

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