It’s Not About The Word Count…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaily writing.  It’s a surprisingly controversial topic for writers, but only because the word “writer” applies to everyone who wants to use it, and that as it should be.  Writers are as varied as something with lots of… variety.  Like plants.  And pop up randomly, like…

Ok, it’s spring here!  How can you not be inspired by spring!  Sheesh!

Daily writing is just a way to attune your mind to use words effectively.  Establishing this habit was the way I learned to feel like a writer, and to make words my every thought. My point of view became different from before.  I began to think about the words my thoughts used.  Random conversations I heard become models of dialogue. While noticing a transient moment of natural beauty, I reached for words to preserve it, and then I could transmit the fleeting moment to another.  Life’s travesties and joys became plot points for me to harvest.  I was the observer of the universe, noting the contrasts of chaos and order, and how they exist side by side.  The entire spread of time and existence were my writing prompts.

The painter never learns to paint without learning the way of the brush.  And the paint.  And the canvas.  Or the mouse and pixel. One thing I am certain of, and it is Art Finds A Way.  Very much like nature.

We all have obstacles in our path, and some of us have obstacles the size of the world. Real, everyday life sucks out our creative drive, burning it up for a bit more energy to just survive.  But a lot of us–I suspect–have obstacles exactly the size of our egos.  If we want to write, we find those obstacles and name them.  Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of being judged. Fear of sucking, despite our best effort.

I am asking you to put those fears aside and just write.  Write every day.  Find a way.  Ignore publishing for now.  Ignore peer review, and beta readers, and editing.  Don’t wait for NaNoWriMo. Don’t wait for the new laptop, or writing class, or whatever it is that is stopping you.  Form words into sentences and put them down on paper, or the screen, or the voice recording.  YOUR WORDS.

Give yourself an easy word count goal.  How long does it take to get down fifty words, or five hundred?  If time is limited, use that as your marker.  How many words can you put down in a fifteen minute break?  Can you do better tomorrow?

It’s just like anything else you have to learn.  You MUST practice, and if you don’t cheat yourself, you will get better.  Faster.  More coherent.  And when you figure out there is a missing technique you need, you research it and work to apply it.

Lots of people will tell you the word count doesn’t matter.  And they are right, the numbers don’t really matter.  It’s the effort behind the numbers that is the important bit.  Numbers are just a simple marker of effort expended.  Be proud of it.  Give yourself the gift of watching the goals being met and exceeded.  Pat yourself on the back, or have some chocolate.  Reward yourself.  Shrug off the awful days, the days you simply can’t meet your goals, and try again tomorrow.  Momentum is the key; keep moving forward.

And try to avoid sounding like a greeting card, or motivational poster, like I just did.  Not everything you write will bloom gloriously.  Just keep shoveling those words.  Spread them like manure.  Something will grow.

If you haven’t figured it out this is mostly a reminder for myself, since I am starting a daily word count goal, TODAY.  Updates on my progress start here.  I apologize for the wide distribution of a bit of random rambling, but I also hope it will find its way to those who are struggling. You are not alone.

Am I going to count this in my word count goal for the day?  You bet your sweet ass, I am.  Then I’m going for a walk.

Need A Kick In The Writing Pants?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you have trouble finding the motivation to write everyday?  A lot of people do.  Life happens; jobs, family, chores, pets, social media, books, movies, chocolate…  (Mmmmm, chocolate.)  My point is, writing every day can be a hard habit to cultivate.  You are doing homework for the rest of your life.

Homework as a hobby.  Let that thought sink in.

Ok, now that the sobbing has stopped, let’s figure out a way to make it relatively painless.  Writing is habit forming.  Unleashing that part of your brain on a regular basis can be not just habit forming, but also pleasurable.  I’m not going to compare it to drugs.  Maybe it’s closer to a good exercise or meditation high.  Anyway, there is an event coming that may help you develop the habit.

If you have been trying to write for more than a year and have not heard about NaNoWriMo, you really should get out from under the rock once in a while.  Take a walk through their website, or, if you prefer, “Google it.”

The premise is simple. Write a novel in a month.

The devil is in the details, and there are plenty of them.  I’ll hit the highlights as I understand them.  Write 50,000 words between Nov 1st and 30th.  That averages to 1,667 words a day.  There a tons of rules to follow if you want to officially “Win” the event, and you get a whole community of support online. It also is during the start of the Holiday season.  (Seriously, why during November?)  The percentage of participants finishing out the months is only about 20%, which is not too surprising, considering the high word count expected each day.  That’s getting close to full-time writer word counts. Even assuming you are really just writing a crappy first draft,  that’s a lot of words if you haven’t gotten that far in your writing.

There are also lots of writers who just write alongside the event.  They do the word count, but it’s to work on an existing project.  Or they write poetry, so they try to write one a day.  You could try that with limericks, too, if your writing leaned that way.  Some try a 500 word count, or 1,000. Some people know they simply can’t produce that word count, but they set aside a specific time a day to apply butt to chair and write.  Or they just carry the project with them , everywhere they go, using spare moments to write.

I spent a year and a half with a word count goal that high.  Five handwritten pages would average me 1700 words a day.  It took a couple of months to hit that consistently.  I learned to shrug off the one or two page days, then chuckle gleefully when I’d have some ten page days.  Some days it was on a completely different project than the one I was trying to finish, but I took those days, writing everything down into a different notebook, and thankful for the inspiration.

I still write rough drafts this way, pen to paper.  I find it soothing to the persnickety parts of the brain, letting the ideas play in the mud.  No red spellcheck line yelling at me, or the blue what-the-crap-is-wrong-now lines.   I’m able to cross out, and jumble together, or leave arrows, asterisks. and alternate words anywhere I damn well please.

My brain was a different shape by the time I finished that project.  The self-imposed cooling off period, while I wrote whatever came into my head and got set up with a newer laptop to type up the second draft,  was filled with a strange euphoria.  I had finished a project.  Something some writers struggle with their whole lives.  No matter what, I had that.  A properly finished pile of crap.  My crap.  My own crap that I would figure out how to fix.  (It’s called revision and editing in more polite groups.)

My point is, you won’t be ready to publish Dec 1st.  You will still have a lot of work to do, but if you spend that month developing that writing habit, don’t stop when it’s over.  Continue it.  Embrace it.  You don’t have to “Win” or officially finish, but you might find those spaces in your brain and schedule that are built just for writing.  And if you are a writer looking for those spaces, it’s pretty damn wonderful.

The sublime feeling of finishing a project never gets old, and sustained word count is an experience not to be missed.  Both are worth working toward, and I spend a fair amount of daily thought on how to get myself back to that place.  I want you to have those feelings, too.  So give yourself permission to write, whether it’s by joining the ranks of NaNoWriMo or a more solitary  program.  Give yourself permission to have bad days, then forgive and move on.  You can do it.

Happy Writing!

Outlines Versus Free Writing: Cage Match!

Every writer and proto-writer has an opinion on this subject, so I guess it’s my turn to add my two cents.

I was taught to outline in my Creative Writing class.  Pick a story, decide on some characters, then pin the idea to an outline, like a butterfly fresh from the killing jar.  (Can you see the drift of this piece already?)  That is how “proper” writers do it.  I managed to create stories in that class, got an A, and thought I knew how to write.  (Ha ha.)

Once out of formal education and into the real world of bills, working, grocery shopping, laundry, and managing relationships, I produced weak ideas, half-assed character bios, and rough outlines.  There was little to no actual writing.  I realized I wasn’t a writer.  Life went on.

Then I had a dream so intense I frantically wrote it down.  It was so in-depth it took nearly a week of scribbling during every free moment, ending up with a weird beast of half outline, half chapter summery, and half micro-scenes.  (Yes, three halves equals weird beast. Picture a chimera.)  I had written down interesting dreams in the past, but dream journaling wasn’t a habit, and certainly nothing of this length.  But still, it pulled at me, seduced me, waking me often at 4am–two hours early– so I kept digging, going deeper into the story, the world, the characters.  Weeks tuned into months as I wrestled with its form, including a graphic novel script.  Eventually, I woke from the intense daze, with a organized daily writing regimen, and staring at the first draft of a novel.

Shit.  I am a writer.

It was crap, but the good kind of crap for a writer.  The kind of crap that said it was getting better as I worked with it, relearning lost skills, and adding completely new ones.  There was a good story under all that crap, like a very hard poo-stone, I just had to remove enough stone, sometimes with a sledgehammer.

My earliest hammer was Stephen King’s “On Writing.”  I was given permission to just write, get it down, then see what it was.  Sometimes “proper” writers do that, and make money, too.  No one had ever told me that!  He became my spirit guide–probably making weird faces behind me–as I continued to write daily, and reading as many “How to write” books as I could get my hands on.  The writing regimen was much better than being woken at 4am by dialogue. (Shut up.  Shut up!  SHUT UP!!)

Another early hammer was Terry Brook’s “Sometimes the Magic Works.”  Here was a “proper” writer, with advice on outlining that was so familiar, and comforting, and completely not something that works for me.  But he told me something my teachers never did.  He freely acknowledged that it wasn’t the only way to write.  Writing was the most important thing. The only thing.  His gentle suggestion that outlining after the rough draft was done, to clarify the story–and especially if there was a road block to finishing–was gratefully received.

Somewhere in the mental cage match of Stephen “The Wild Man” King verses Terry “The Organizer” Brooks, I found a balance point.  The raw story, outlined for revision, gives me a handle on the storytelling.  Do I have good, three-dimensional characters?  Is the story hitting the key points of the journey?  Have I provided enough description?  Is there natural themes and symbolism that can be refined?  Did I start with a hook, and end with satisfaction?  If the answer is yes, proceed to next level, clean up and line-editing.

My two cents for new writers?

Does outlining fulfill a need in your brain?  Start there, but don’t stop there.

Do you prefer to be surprised by the story?  Go on that adventure with your characters, but when you get home, take a hard look at the storytelling.

Just write.  Keep writing, in however way your mind finds satisfaction in the act, because writers are idiots.  We are willingly doing homework as a hobby, at least until we are getting paid for it.

 

 

 

Writer Lost…

 

I finished the beta readers draft of my manuscript about 24 hours ago…

I know what is next, a little tweaking and polishing, fixing the misspelled words that even spellcheck shrugged at, and a half dozen alien slang words.  Then, let it go, into the hands of my trusted beta readers, to tell me what trees I missed while in the forest.  I know, and have been warned, to not cling, to not fiddle it to death.

I feel odd.  Empty and full.  Happy and sad.  Confused and confident.

Word count is 176,427.  Looking at the log, it took 82 non-consecutive days.  Most of the missed days were holidays; even while sick I could put aside some time for it.  The log says I started the rewrite on Oct 9th.  I don’t remember, it just seems like I was always writing it.

My brain feels like it’s a different shape, somehow, even more than when I finished the longhand first draft.  I’m wondering if it could ever go back to the original shape.  Would I want it to?  Will I feel this way after every re-write?  Every future book?

While I’m in this odd state, not ready to edit, not ready to move on to another project, I’m working on the character list/bio and a slang glossary.  May be I’ll look at the synopsis, press blurb, and jacket teaser, too.  One way or another, I will rough edit it and hand it over in a week.  That is my new goal.

Coming soon, the epic Sci-fi Romance, ‘The Contract.’

I hope…

Erotica; Guilty Pleasure or Evil Incarnate?

Why does it have to be one or the other?  Why do we feel the need to hide interest in something so innate?  It’s a combination of biology, emotional bonding, and physical pleasure.  I think there is an element of something more, if you’re lucky, a spiritual bond that transcends the physical world.  Are we really still that hung up on propriety?  On the rules of dead societies?

This week I kept mentally dissecting my manuscript.  What is left if I take out the Romance?  Run of the mill Sci-Fi, with no character growth.  What if I take out the Sci-fi, putting it in a modern setting?  Typical modern Romance, and there’s millions of them.  How about just taking out the erotica, making the relationship more palatable for the average reader?  A story with no teeth, no bite, and no flavor.  The literary equivalent of ‘Fat Free’.  Urg.

This weeks self-help manual, ‘Words Fail Me’ by Patricia T. O’Conner, warns to leave some things to the readers imagination, and I understand that concept, and I agree.  I’m trying to leave story crumbs for the reader to follow, hoping they will have to reach for the next page.  But, for some reason, the urge to keep the sex scenes in the present, and in an unfiltered, raw form is overwhelming for me.

Patricia also has this to say about humor, after a long quote from Monty Python’s dead-parrot sketch.  “If you want to write about humorously about sex or money or the Grim Reaper or some other delicate matter, get out your thesaurus and collect every outrageous euphemism you can find.”  And, THAT is what I want readers to find in the sex scenes; love, sex, and laughter.  I want to write about the secret moments in a relationship; the moments you can’t really explain to any body.  You HAD to be there.

I’m so close to the finished manuscript.  Only three chapters to go.  Word count to date is 159,179.  Daily word count is consistently just above 2,000 per day.  I have worked back into a proper writing schedule, after the Holiday madness.  Hard editing will be happening by next week, although I will be spitting my time by creative writing on a different story arc, just to keep my hand in.

Editing will be a new experience for me.  I have more ‘self-help’ books lined up for that process.  I’m sure I’ll be blogging about that, too.

Do you want tame stories?  Turn back.  Do you want to re-bury Pompeii because the graffiti is too risqué?  Piss off.  The kink in ’50 Shades’ too much for you?  Enjoy the vanilla, and don’t go near Anne Rice’s ‘Sleeping Beauty Trilogy’.  (Seriously, that is some… never mind.)  And don’t wander too deep in the Amazon e-book forest.  (‘A Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay’ by Hunter Fox?  Sure, I’ll give it a read.) 

As for me, I’m not flinching.  I’m writing the story I’ve been given.  You want a peek at a relationship in the raw?  Real tears, blood, and soul?  The unbearably good stuff you have to keep secret?  The things that make you scream in frustration?  The dance of spirit reaching out, connecting, then cracking dirty jokes in bed?  Life on the edge of a relationship?

I found a map.  I’ve strapped on my writing machete, and laced my jungle boots tight.

Follow me.

 

Writing Erotica; How deep will you go?

First of all, this should be the last time this blog will appear on my personal Facebook page. I plan on having the Danae Wulfe author page up by next Wednesday, and all ‘writing’ posts will be coming from there.  I don’t plan on cross posting.  If you have enjoyed reading these blogs or my other posts, please keep an eye out for the new page.

Word count for the Beta draft is 144,221.  I’m five chapters from the end.  I’m getting excited to finish, do some final editing, make up a few more ‘Sci-fi’ words, and give it to some Beta readers.  I’m noticing my brain seems to be a different shape then when I started. Is this normal?

That should be enough words to keep the Facebook post clean, so lets get down to the dirty bits.  18 and over, please!

Ok, you have decided what kinds of words you are going to use for your sex scene, unless your character decided for you.  (Mine did.)

Now, you have to decide how detailed you are going to get.  Vague descriptions, or as detailed as a sex manual. Maybe somewhere in between?  Are you a nearsighted nun describing something seen through a frosted window?  The average person?  A doctor describing a procedure performed under strong lights? A professional dominatrix paid by the dirty word?

Do you know what?  Doesn’t matter.  No matter what you choose, lots of people will think you are  wrong, and a bad writer.

I’ll admit it, the first time I read a modern graphic sex scene, I was shocked. I kept feeling that I was reading something Not Allowed and couldn’t understand why it was just sitting on a shelf, where anyone could pick it up. It should have been wrapped in brown paper and behind the counter, requiring you to ask for it.  The pictures it made in my head, so… intense. So real. So… erotic.

e-rot-ic  adj.  1. Of or concerning sexual love and desire; amatory.  2.Tending to arouse sexual desire.

The more research I do, on writers, erotica, and publishers, the more I find a subtle-and not so subtle-disapproval for writers and publishers who use graphic depictions, even by those who consider themselves unbiased.  It’s labeled ‘porn’, regardless of the depth of the story, and disregarded as serious writing, BUT somehow makes sales.  Sometimes, LOTS of sales, but that apparently only compounds its offenses.

I get it, as a society we are struggling with our sexuality, both as individuals and as ‘groups’.  We still seem to think we have the right to decide if someone is too slutty, too prudish, too confused or just wrong.  You want to have an opinion? Great. It’s normal for the mind to form opinions based on your experiences. Just don’t expect everyone else to subscribe to your particular flavor of morality.

Books are the ultimate in virtual reality.  In its pages you can explore issues, fears, hopes and fantasies.  They can pose the big questions, in a safe but challenging environment. What bothers you about ‘Tom Sawyer’ or ‘The Color Purple’ or ‘Atlas Shrugged’ or ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ or…

Did I lose you? Possibly, but that’s ok.  It’s a hot button, for a lot of people.

Back to the word ‘erotic’.  The definition mentions sexual love.  So, if I’m doing my job right, as a writer, the description of a first touch, or a first kiss, should be considered ‘erotic’, just as much as the first penetration. Before, during, and after a sexual encounter is an especially open and vulnerable point in a relationship.

Some religions think there are three points that you can touch spiritual enlightenment; birth, sex, and death.  Sex is the only one of those you can normally do more than once. Personally, I believe this is why the sex act changes a relationship permanently, either for good or for bad.

Heck, if I am doing my job, the clenched fist hitting the face of your enemy should FEEL visceral.  (Hopefully, not erotic.)  Also, you should FEEL as if you are piloting the space craft, dancing at the Ball, eating the weird foods, and consoling your best friend. Why should I flinch away from sex?

You’re still thinking about ‘Fifty Shades’, aren’t you?  sigh.

Look for my next blog, Erotica; Guilty Pleasure or Evil Incarnate?  In the interim, leave a comment and we can discuss things…

 

When is a Cock Not a Rooster? A writer’s confusion…

Word count first.  I’m at 126,648 on the Beta draft, and have passed the chapter that could be a cliff hanger if I decide to split the book in two.  I wrote an alternative chapter ending suitable for the cliffhanger, saved it, and continued on the  original manuscript.  I had some zero word days during the week, due to the holiday, but I also had one 5,000 plus word day.

I love those.  They make me feel like a grown-up writer, although I end up a bit spacy by the end of the day, unable to come out of Bookland.

Anyway, adults only from here on.

18 and over please.

Don’t keep reading if you are under 18.  I have already ruined my daughter’s childhood, or so she has told me.  Who knew she would react that way to the word ‘McGuppies’?

I mean it…

When is a Cock not a Rooster?  When it’s a penis, of course.  Did that word make you flinch?  I still does for me, sometimes.  I think it’s strange, how words can make you react so viscerally.  Still, it’s better than some of the historical terms.  If you ever need a laugh, look them up and use them in conversation, maybe even the bed room.  Tallywacker is a favorite.  Try whispering it.

Moist.  That gets a lot of people, but I like it.  Moist cake.  Moist kisses.  Equally decedent.  Equally sought.

I’ve always had a problem with the way people use vagina as the word for female genitals.  That is the internal structure.  Shall we just call the penis a ‘shaft’?  The problem is, I’ve never found a word for the female genitals that isn’t used as an insult, or giggle-inducing flowery, and I have LOOKED.   Just don’t get me started on the ridiculously childish V-jay jay.  You are a grown-ass woman, act like it!

Then you have all the words and phrases for the sex act.  So, so many…  Why are we so obsessed?  There are entire dictionaries with timelines, for the more historically minded.  You don’t want to use the wrong slang in your historical romance, do you?  Do You?

Anyway, the writer attempting to write a sex scene has a hard road to follow.  There are only so many words the modern audience will understand, or tolerate, so you go to the Thesaurus, or lift nice words from other writers.

What word gives you a thrill when reading it?  Put it on the list.  Don’t like it?  I have those words, too.  Frankly, I’m only allowing an author the word ‘lave’ once per book before I want to throw the book at their head.  I’ve seen it too many times in the past three years.

So, now you have all the words; medical, flowery, slang, dirty, and everything in-between, but you can only use them so often before they lose meaning or just bore the reader.  Wait, what if there is more than one sex scene?

Depending on the category of words you use, your work is split into different places.  Romance, vanilla, steamy, erotica, hard core, or porn.  There are probably more, but I’m still playing catch-up.

Problem is, nobody will define the categories, or they contradict themselves.  One publisher’s submissions tips I recently read insisted they wanted steamy ménage (specifically, only m/f/m) but ‘no erotica or porn’.  They didn’t want anything that was ‘just sex, outside of a relationship’.  No porn, yeah, but how does that include erotica?  Is there a different meaning to the word ‘erotic’ that I’m missing?

Then there is the question of what would your character actually use, both as spoken words and internal dialogue.  You have to stay true to the story.  Right?  Yeah, I thought so.

Now, you have your reader.  The range from “Urg, they’re kissing, again”, through “Eek, no squishy bits”, to “Meh, too tame.”  Luckily, no one has to admit their guilty secret if they like to read erotica, especially in the age of e-books.  Awkward is the moment you head to the Erotica section of a book store, only to find someone already there.  Doubly awkward if the person is the opposite gender.  “Just passing through…  this clearly marked, hard to get to, right angled corner of the store.”

Hmmm, I seem to have rambled, and we’re not even into the content of a sex scene.  I guess we should pick it up next week.  Keep an eye out for ‘How deep is your love?’ or maybe ‘Just the tip, I promise.’  I haven’t decided.  Enjoy the start to the new year!

 

A Writer’s Apology…

Ok, this is not the blog ‘When is a Cock Not a Rooster’.  With the holiday screeching up on me like a Reaver on meth and Pop Rocks, I’m just doing a word count and a few musings. We will explore the confusing word of erotica next week. Sorry for being a… Rooster Tease?

With day job, parenting, holiday, housework, blah, blah, and blah, writing this week seemed a real struggle.  My daily goal is 2,000 and I was barely doing half last week, then a 22 word day happened.  Exhausted, I decided to take a couple of days off from writing, just to catch up on life. I closed the manuscript, put away the laptop, shelved my reference books, and just did all the other things.  The two days turned into four, catching up seemed to be farther away, but I did get on top of it all.  I decided I could write in the morning.

Morning came.  I wrote.  It was fun. Meditative. Restorative. Soothing.
I hit Word Count Goal in four hours. The next morning I hit it in three.

I didn’t realize how much I had begun to rely on the calm, otherworldly mental state I achieve during my writing.  It anchors me for the rest of the day.  If I had continued to write during those days, would I have been more patient? More balanced? Possibly.

I know it is impossible to consider every day a ‘writing day’, but I think I will be fighting for every one I can get ahold of, for my own sanity, as well as being a better person for my family and friends.  Word count to date is 117,188.  I’m not even going to calculate daily average.  I’m happy with the week for other reasons.

Please, everybody, enjoy the Holiday however you wish, whatever it is that you celebrate.  Hold the moment in time close to your heart.  Find a way to preserve it.  Catch it, forever a memory.  We will not walk this way, again.

 

 

A Writers Confession…

To date, 112,444 words.  I’m only about 2/3 through the rough manuscript.  Both concepts are equally disturbing.

Have I really typed that many words?  What do I do with this mountain?  How do I divide it?  I’m close to a chapter that could work for a cliffhanger, but I hate those.  Plus, that would leave the remainder short on word count for a novel.

But the real confession…

It’s a Romance.

That wasn’t the plan!  I read Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  I want to write Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  I gave up on romance in my teens (in the 80’s), because the characters were too stupid to deserve any happiness.  I won’t list the writers who did this to me, they have followers.

Because most of my manuscripts-in-progress have some element of Romance, I spent the last three years trying to play catch up.  There are many improvements to the genre, stronger characters, better plot lines, believable dialogue.  Personally, my discovery of Paranormal Romance, with the smaller Fantasy sub-genre, was the only way I was able to make sense of the things I was writing.

I keep telling myself that it’s a Sci-Fi with a romance sub-plot, but it’s not.  This story is ‘girl meets boy’.  It’s on a planet far from Earth, but in our Galaxy.  About three or four hundred years in the future.  I asked myself, “How difficult would it be to find a man acceptable for this particular woman?”  Turns out, pretty damn hard.

The problem?  It’s not a good romance by Romance standards.  The carnal relationship starts right away, not delayed for effect.  The male antagonist isn’t an Alpha-hole  who needs to be reformed.  The female protagonist isn’t in her twenty’s, naïve, and needs to be sexually educated.  It’s almost bizarre opposite land.  I will be pushing  Romance readers away in droves.

The squishy bits will turn off most traditional Sci-Fi readers, although that genre has made some changes, too.

Am I blurring genre lines or just writing something unmarketable?

On top of all that, apparently I’m writing ‘hard core erotica’, although getting a definitive definition for that is difficult.  I try for the ‘pan away to the fireplace’ trick, but it’s ridiculous, considering how much of the relationship changes in bed.  I can’t just say, “She is falling for the guy, and decides on hot sex and a relationship.”  I have to show that, right?Anyway, ‘Bad Sex Scene Award’, here I come.  Yay!

So, apparently, I’m writing an Epic length, ‘hard’ Erotic Sci-Fi Romance.  My potential readers are few.  I’m so screwed.

Next week, let’s explore the confusing world of erotica.  Look for my next blog; When is a Cock not a Rooster?  Warning, 18 and over!

When is a writer like a… WRITER?

Publishing.  Every writer’s dream AND nightmare.  The struggle of writing for self OR for the market.  Are your readers your employees OR your customers?

I have a Post Office receipt.  I submitted a short story to a magazine.  They wanted hard copy, complete with SASE.  I liked doing it.  It was my first submission, and how I always envisioned it.  Now I am wondering who has more trouble embracing the new world of technology, them or me?

So, now I wait, stomach in little knots.  Will I be accepted?  Published and also important, PAID?  Or, will I be rejected.  The first rejection to put on a cork board.  How many will I tally up in my career?  Which outcome makes me a writer?

The answer?  Both.

So many people never get this far, but I’m a writer because I write.  Getting paid for it no longer matters.  I will continue, just for the pleasure of manipulating words, just like I will keep eating foods that taste good.

Don’t get me wrong, I would still love to be paid.  Money buys stuff; pens, notebook paper, books, writing programs, more books, dark chocolate, and books.

But, I have already been compensated for the time I have put in; reading, researching, trying to improve my technique, reading my work with a harsher eye, and most importantly, sitting down and putting the words on paper.  The grueling day-to-day work of writing that has become a form of sustenance.

Eat, Drink, Write, Rest.

I have learned so much this year.  Pushed far beyond my comfort zones, and I do realize I have so much farther to go, just to be self published.  I am thankful for the opportunities in the modern age, and thankful there are so many other writers out there, willing to share the experience.

I am not alone.

I find myself already trying to hold my hand out to those coming up with us, to lift them higher.

You are not alone.

Word count on beta draft to date: 90,100.  That’s about 1600 per day this week.  Considering the stresses of the season, I’m content with that.  I’ve seen worse.