a.k.a. Taking on more to do more.
Happy Forth! Happy Independence Day! Merry Meat ‘n Beer Day! Or whatever version of this national holiday you subscribe to!
In my ongoing involvement with the Clarion West, Write-a-Thon 2022, the duality of novel writing—drafting and revising—has become a daily discussion. By completion of the first draft of my previous book, BLACKFIRE, I considered myself a drafting wizard, capable of shutting my internal editor off and dumping my unconscious onto the page with nary a concern for quality.
Then I spent two years ensconced in revision mode. Combing through the book; page by page; paragraph by paragraph; sentence by sentence; word by word. Carving out useless passages, condensing repetition, and massaging the prose. Draft, after draft, after draft.
The great surprise was, this dreaded process became a joy. Like an alpinist facing an undiscovered range in need of conquering. So, everyday I trudged my way up to plant a flag until I was the Tenzig Norgay of my literary world. Now I’m back in drafting mode with the second book in the UNITY SONG TRILOGY, GHOST FLEET, and it’s hard to shut off that internal editor. A part of me wonders if decades of writing comic scripts and advertising copy hadn’t developed an internal prose editor when I wrote the first novel? But revising a 150k+ word book, multiple times, installed that particular bit of software. Now, I need to learn how to bypass it and type with abandon. The whole thing smacks of the second album curse.
To help, I’m employing as many techniques as possible. Meditating to clear my mind. Listening to a backlog of Writing Excuses podcasts to challenge my mind. Tracking my daily progress on an open Google Sheet and sharing the results on my WaT22 page. Setting up this Substack newsletter to help connect with others. Talking with various creators on my podcast for inspiration. Coaching and encouraging fellow writers to build my community. It’s all what I call expanding my capacity.
When I take on a project, I always take on more than I feel I can do—yet I end up accomplishing the goal. If I took on manageable amount, my mind would slot the problems into the well worn lanes I’ve developed over the last three decades and produce a solution. Job done, but I wouldn’t grow much from the experience. By choosing to take on more, I need to expand my capacity in order to be successful.
With the after effects of Covid [thankfully] abating and WaT22 in full swing I’m adding more onto my plate to expand my capacity—and maybe overload my internal editor while I draft if I’m lucky.
Have a wonderful Fourth of July, and please consider a donation to Clarion West in my name before you stuff yourself full of grilled meats. With your help we can make this a record fundraising drive for an amazing organization dedicated to supporting underserved voices in speculative fiction.
All my best to you,
P.S. Last year I offered a big list of Group Stretch Goals and Individual Donation Benefits and I wanted to run them by you before I post them. Let me know if this would loosen your purse strings.
Group Donation Stretch Goals
$0-$100: I will post a chapter a week from my first book, BLACKFIRE, during Write-a-Thon on a hidden page on my website. (there will be a link in the next newsletter to them)
$250+: Above. Plus, I will post bonus chapters from BLACKFIRE during Write-a-Thon on a hidden page on my website. (there will be a link in the next newsletter to them)
$500+: Above. Plus, I will post original character sketches on my website. (there will be a link in the newsletter to them when this Stretch Goal is unlocked)
$1000+: Above. Plus, I will post an original full-color character illustration on my website. (there will be a link in the newsletter to them when this Stretch Goal is unlocked)
$2000+: Everything above. Plus, I will send you an original full-color annotated galaxy map for the series with bonus character info. (there will be a link in the newsletter to them when this Stretch Goal is unlocked)
Individual Donation Benefits
$50+: I will email donors at this level a PDF collection of the posted chapters—following Write-a-Thon.
$100+: I will email donors at this level a PDF collection of the posted chapters with character sketches—following Write-a-Thon.
$500+: I will email donors at this level a PDF collection of the posted chapters, with character sketches, and the full-color character illustration as cover—following Write-a-Thon.
$1000+: Above, plus I will mail you a reader hardcopy of BLACKFIRE—following Write-a-Thon.
$2500+: Above. Plus, I will include a hi-res galaxy map, and I will add your name to the BLACKFIRE Thank You section—following Write-a-Thon.
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