Monday, January 16, 2017

At Five years

So it has been close to five years since I started writing seriously. I was writing a bit before then but it was January 2012 when I started daily work on my first novel length manuscript. When I started writing my motivations were sort of out of place. I guess I liked the idea of being a writer and living the writers life. I liked reading a lot, but I was more interested in the aura of writing than the act itself. I was also interested in a huge variety of work. I sort of wanted to see it all. I also figured that getting published would be easy, or I suppose I didn't give a whole lot of thought to the publishing aspect at all. I wanted to meet lots of other writers and talk with other writers and be around them.

I figured (this is embarrassing now) that I would be able to figure out how to be a writer as a full time profession and be able to live off of my writing from then on out.

After five years my attitude has changed somewhat. After two and a half novel length manuscripts, none of which have been published and a handful of short stories I have come to recognize the marathon nature of writing. I have also shifted my interests and goals away from publishing and making money and toward the act at hand. The simple act of putting words onto paper, filling the page and moving along.

Though I only read the book describing it a few months ago, for perhaps the last year and a half my attitude toward writing has grown closer and closer to the process of finding 'flow' in my work. Rather than putting all of my hopes and expectations into publishing my work (where the highs never seem to justify the effort and the lows of rejection inevitably throw me off) I look at the process of writing itself as the important part. I get far more enjoyment and fulfillment during a solid writing streak than the few times I have seen my words in print.

This is not some fatalistic or cynical take on publishing. Rather, I figured I'll get to it when I get to it, and at a point where the effort expended.

I guess what I do have to admit, and this took me a long time to figure out, is that the only part of 'the writing process' that I understand is the actual writing part (though to be humble I should admit that even that is a stretch). I don't understand how to edit, how to publish or how to refine my work. I just don't get those parts and I find the actual fact of publishing to be so unrewarding in the concrete (yet persistently alluring in the abstract) that I have little motivation to push me toward these things.

I'm confronted here (again and again, every day, with few exceptions for these pas five years) with the question of whether I am a real writer if I do not publish. If I am only doing this for myself am I fulfilling the goals that I set out for myself? If I am not publishing does this work matter? If I am not publishing am I 'moving forward' moving toward better work or more engagement?

I suppose the only real benefit to publishing would be to 'push myself' to extend myself in some way. Again, the rewards of this are hard to define or predict, if they exist at all.

Thus far the majority of my publications have, more or less, fallen into my lap. I've been lucky in that way, but then it means that when nothing comes to me, I do not publish. Again, this is something that I am uneasy with, but accepting of. The question is whether this is something I should accept or something I should rail against.

The turning point for this was the string of rejections from my first novel length manuscript. It was hard, but rather than deter me totally it cause me to reevaluate the threshold for which I considered work 'ready' for publication. Since that point I wanted to make sure that, if I sent something out, it would most likely get one acceptance, or at least some positive feedback. I've been wondering recently if I set that bar too high, since I have not felt that I have produced anything capable of publishing in nearly two years. Or perhaps I have set the bar right.

I set a goal a few years ago to publish me first novel before I turned thirty. I am twenty eight now, about to turn twenty-nine and it does not seem like this is going to happen. I have become very aware of the passage of time lately as well, and it seems like life is passing be very quickly. I originally started to write (and still do to some extent) as a way to mark the passage of time, so that I can look back at the months or years that have passed and see that I have left, at the very least, something. Like a misguided attempt at timelessness. It now feels like a race, the hopeless race against time to create something.

I feel like I am at a point of tension or a point of prolonged stasis. Something has to advance soon, or move or break. I'm not sure what it will be. I've been at this for five years and little seems to have happened. Though perhaps I have this framed all wrong. Maybe something like this can exist in stasis indefinitely, maybe through lack of talent or mediocrity something like this can exist in stasis forever.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Update

So I took something like six or seven months off from really thinking about publishing. I've been writing, not a lot, but every day, but I haven't made anything worth publishing in nearly a year, and the past set of submissions (over a dozen) were all rejections.

I got a few encouraging rejections, but still they are getting to me, and there hasn't really been anything that has popped up on its own. Also I haven't really met any writers here in MPLS and I'm falling out of contact with the writers I knew in WA so now I feel pretty isolated I/R/T literature as an imminent thing (as opposed to an abstract thing, I guess).

With a little time on my hands I looked back on my manuscript I wrote last year and the idea of submitting that made me sort of nauseuous. I feel like I can't really do anything until I offload that so I put it up on KDP, just to have it somewhere else. I looked at small presses to submit to and it was the most depressing thing. Just not worth the effort. You can spend hours upon hours looking for presses and then they really should buy their books and read them to find out what they publish so that takes you another like couple months and then their subs are closed and then if you find one that seems like it works the chances of getting you novel submitted is less than 5 percent or whatever, and even some of these small ones ask for an agent so, I just don't know what to do. I still like writing (I wish I could do it more) but I just don't really know how I am supposed to approach publishing as a part of that. Whether I should hustle as hard as I can or just let it be and just focus on writing and just let it happen when it happens. It seems like both ways are dead ends. I guess.

I'm not sure if that is a good idea or not, I don't expect anyone to buy it, but it is there, it is externalized.

I put up my first manuscript up as well. Here

I guess it sort of feels like a cop out. Like none of the authors admire put their work up on KDP, so I won't be like them, or something.

I feel like I never really hooked into a community of writers and I feel like I at least expended some effort on that, but it never really came to anything. It seems like everyone I talked to just got their work published becuase they knew someone and I've never really known anyone who does that stuff, and even when I tried to meet people who were in publishing it never came to anything.

I guess I'm not one to hustle.

I don't know I want to tell myself that right now isn't the time or something, but I'm losing patience, I've lost patience and I just want to move on, I want to throw this old work behind me and move onto something actually worthwhile.

I've ruminating on something recently and started to work on it, but I just feel like it won't go anywhere either.

I didn't write or read much because I was learning to code, which is cool because I have a decent paying job now, but I also sort of feel like I am getting away from my core priority. Like I was so excited a few years ago at the prospect at being a full time writer, or devoting my main ambition to pursuing fiction, but now I've spent all this time and money and effort doing something totally separate from that and I feel like I have compromised myself or compromised my goals.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I put my latest manuscript on kindle

I've been feeling pretty pessimistic about writing recently, and the publishing process in particular so I caved and put my last manuscript up on Kindle direct publishing.

I felt it wasn't moving anywhere, so I might as well move it out of my hard drive.

You can find it here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C4Z6N4U

Monday, November 16, 2015

New Piece out

I have a collaborative piece out in Neoglyphic Media's 'Emergence' #3

http://neoglyphicmedia.com/catalog/books/emergence-newspaper-3/

Monday, June 29, 2015

Update

I updated my 'Philosohpies of Literature Section'

Maybe refined is a better word.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

An idea

I'm thinking about experimental writing right now and I want to make a compilation of short essays (500-1000 words) of leading experimental writers answering a questions like 'When we write experimental/avant-garde/innovative fiction, what is it, exactly, that we are doing?'

I'm not really sure how to go about doing this but I have my own ideas and I am curious what other writers, those who have been doing it for a while and have been successful at it, have thought about this idea.

It could make a bunch of bullshit or be really interesting or could be something altogether different.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Looking for beta readers

I'm looking for beta readers for my new novel. It is 90k words (~360 pgs.) and I'm currently calling it Swallow in the Abattoir.

I'm looking for general, but thoughtful and detailed, comments (i.e. not line edits or proofreading).

I consider it in the vein of Delillo or Gaddis with some bizarre elements. Alternates focus between plot and language.

If you would be interested e-mail me at thisis.fryou@gmail.com