Discovery writing vs Outlining

I’ve been a discovery writer all my life — even the crap I wrote as a kid, whether for my own enjoyment or for school, was all by the seat of my pants.  It wasn’t until recently (well, in the past couple of years) that I read about outlining your work to help you stay organized.  I fully embrace anything to keep me organized — as a creative person, I’m pretty much not-organized.  Well, for my day-job, I have to be, so maybe that’s forced a little of that back into my writing — but I’m getting ahead of myself.

So — my book, recently published, was a total seat-of-my-pants sort of thing.  I had written myself into a corner, I set it aside, life got in the way for a long time, then when I finally sat back down to keep writing, I couldn’t remember where I wanted to go.  So, discovery sometimes sucks. I basically ended up re-writing the story from the beginning.  Which wasn’t a bad thing when all was said and done as I think it became a stronger story.

This weekend I had the chance to catch up with my brother, who also writes, but has yet to publish anything.  He’s a total discovery writer and we debated the merits of outlining versus seat-of-the-pants.  He contends he’d get bored if he outlined everything.  I see his point, but then again, I think there has to be a road-map — so you don’t get lost, if I can stretch the analogy a bit further.

I’ve come to the conclusion I may be a tweener — I like to see where things take me, but I do want to have a map telling me where I want to go. I’m going to try my road map in my next project and see how that works.

I’d love to hear how others do this — total outlining, total discovery or some place in between?  Let me know in the comments.

Post publish blues

What do you do after meeting a goal?  The smart answer is setting another goal, isn’t it?  I have a new goal, write the second Adventure of Tremain and Christopher, but I’m not ready to start it yet.  Start the planning and writing, that is.  I’ve already started imagining scenes and dialog.  I think I have the beginning and the ending figured out.  But actually sitting down and writing this out?  Nope.  Not yet.

Part of this is I really want to see how well book #1 does.  It’s only been a week since I hit the “go live” button on Amazon — For those that have already purchased and read it, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  For those who haven’t heard of it (or me, for that matter) yet, I’m trying to reach you!  The marketing of this is stymieing me.  I can see why some opt for the piles of rejection letters from agents or publishers.  They won’t have to deal with marketing themselves.  I don’t have any “platform” yet — I haven’t built an audience.  Hopefully, this blog and the mailing list attached to it will help in this.  It’s just getting myself to a point where people notice me and my book(s).

I know I have to get more work out there to get noticed.  Intellectually, I’m well aware of that fact.  Emotionally, I’m still letting go of my first book, it’s been an education for me to do something that I’ve always wanted to do — and now I’ve experienced the challenges and the fun involved.  Yes, there is fun involved.

The fun is friends asking if I would sign their books.  Really!  I’m thinking I’m still just a poser here, I’ve written one book, why would you want me to sign it?  Still, it’s fun to be asked.  It’s cool.

I keep fighting the urge to check and see how well (or not) it’s selling.  I’m not always successful in that.  I do check it and am pleasantly surprised that I have sold some copies in just the few days it’s been out.  I’m not going to be quitting my day job just yet, but it’s nice to see someone has bought it.

I’m going to drive myself nuts doing that — but until I feel more comfortable with the process, I guess nuts is what I’ll be.  This audience building thing is like walking up a hill made of loose sand.  It’s hard work. Everyone will tell you it’s hard work, and I’m sitting here quietly thinking to myself “really, I just wrote something everyone is going to love, how hard can it be?”  Let me tell you — It’s not easy.  But then again, nothing worthwhile ever is.

I’ll figure this thing out.  I’ll keep writing.  I’ll keep publishing.  I’ll slowly build my “empire”.  Let’s see where we can go.

The Book is out!

So I finally finished the book, worked with my editor, hired the cover artist and published the darned thing!  It’s available now on Amazon!  To say I’m excited about it is an understatement . . .

If you read it, please leave me a review — or comment here — let me know what you think — there’s more coming!!!


Time as a commodity

I’ve never had a problem with managing my time.  Not really.  Not until I tried to factor writing into my day.  Holy cow, does time fly!  Seriously, I get home, cook, eat, schmooz with the family and before you know it, I’m half asleep only to start my day again in a few hours.  Where does someone with a full time job FIND the time?

I know — I’ve read a shit-ton of articles on the subject — you have to sacrifice, you have to get up earlier, go to bed later, etc . . . not always easy to do.  I do make time on the weekends, when there’s not as much of a demand on my day, but during the week, now THAT is a bugger to figure out.

The funny thing is, my most creative thoughts come when I’m at work and can’t do a darned thing about them.  Usually, I can jot these things down, thinking I’ll get to them after work, but, if you’ve read the fist paragraph, you know where THAT’s heading.

I’ve come to the realization that time, in all its glory, is the real commodity in today’s world.  We’re either trying to make it, spend it, fill it or waste it.  I’d rather just have an hour or two more of it a day so I can do the little clickety-click on the laptop.  That would be nice.

Things are moving along, though.  I did write another 3,000 words over the weekend until the creative batteries needed recharging.  I’m about halfway through the re-write.  When that’s done, I’m going to set it aside and work on a little non-fiction project I cooked up in one of my more creative moments (yes, while at work, why do you ask?).  In the meantime, I’ll try to do better at making time during the week, hopefully filling that time with productive noise making on the laptop.

. . And so it begins . . .

For as long as I could remember, I’ve always been writing, whether it was comic books as a kid (I thought they were awesome), or some sorts of stories ranging from fantasy to science fiction.  I always had an outlet for my creativity.  After high school,  I took a course in writing from the Institute of Children’s Literature, which I loved (I still have all the lessons and papers from that course), but never did anything with it.  Then LIFE happened:  Going to school, getting married, having a family, you know, important stuff!  I found a career of sorts in the embroidery industry and now own part of an embroidery/screen printing company. Whew!


While my career has been an interesting one, I still have that creative bug in me, pushing me to do something more . . . so I decided to write again.  It’s taken me a couple of years and a few different writing programs, but I finally finished the first draft of what I hope to become my first book.  I was so excited, I quick whipped through a second draft.

While on Twitter, I saw a new hashtag trending:  #PIT2PUB and got REALLY excited — so much so that I quick wrote up a little hook for my book and posted it.  You can imagine the thrill I got when I saw I had two likes!  One was from another writer and the other was from a publisher.  Shit was getting real.  I sent in the submission with my fingers crossed and a prayer permanently on my lips.  Two days later  an email appeared from the publisher.  Thanks but no thanks and here’s some feedback.  Yes, I was disappointed, but the feedback was cool.  I appreciate the time they took not only to read one out of a ton of submissions I’m sure they get on a regular basis, but they gave personal feedback on my writing.

This is where I’m at right now.  I’m going to finish this draft and start re-writing again, paying closer attention to the stuff that was pointed out.   I’m going to be a better writer.  I’m going to publish.  And dammit, I’m going to have fun doing it.