Sunday, July 27, 2014

And then...


Often I mention how much I enjoy writing as an independent. Being an indie writer offers many benefits to self-motivated writers. I am sure those who work on contract for their books feel it's worth it for the benefits they receive in promotion and prestige; but they do have time constraints that an independent writer does not have except what they put them on themselves. 

When I decided to go independent, I had been writing all of my life-- literally. Oh as a child it wasn't much detail, but it was still there in creating stories whether for paper dolls (which I had to make myself as nobody put out what I wanted which were hot women and handsome men-- none of those cute baby or little girl paperdolls for me), or my first ones written down with words, they all were about putting together plots and characters. My cousin and I, on family gatherings, would go for walks taking turns telling parts of an ongoing story.

My writing has involved worked with a consulting writer to develop the skills of the craft. Some of my stories were handwritten, then came the old Royal typewriter, electric typewriters, white out, carbon copies and finally the first Atari computer, which I couldn't believe would be better until I learned you could rearrange where a paragraph set and no more need for erase papers-- finally to today with the machine sitting in front of me and the internet. Yes, fiction writing was always in my life.

The decision to go indie was actually pretty easy. I had a lot of manuscripts (very few of which had I ever sent off to publishing houses for an assortment of reasons). I didn't want to make them fit what the editors had told me I would need to do. 

I also assessed the drawbacks of going indie. You must do all your promotion. You don't have the prestige that goes with publishing houses, but for the writing work itself there were only pluses. 

Being an indie writer lets me arrange my workday, set my goals, and allows me to bounce from project to project. I can edit or write. I can work on places to promote. Because I love what I do, am good at self-motivating, and am not easily distracted, it works for me.  In the morning I pretty much know what I will be doing that day but if I wish, I can reset the day. My writing work (about 8 hours a day at least 5 days a week, with less hours on week-ends but no days without some writing) are made up of a variety of activities which may involve covers, social media, researching, editing, and writing on more than one book.


It might seem crazy to a non-writer, but I had begun writing the next full-length novel when I still had one more edit due for Comes the Dawn. There were reasons for that. If you keep editing and re-editing a manuscript, pretty soon, you don't really see it. You lose focus. By having other work in between, when you come back to the original, it feels fresh.

With a good start on the Oregon historical, a deeper look at my characters, I then put it aside and did the final edit on the Arizona historical. I was really loving how it was going but I needed that last edit.  This had been the shortest time I ever had between writing a rough draft and putting a book out, and I might not do it that way again. But with its final edit, I fell in love with Comes the Dawn all over. That'd not have happened had I kept reading and re-reading it. Time between let me look at the work afresh.

That ability to change course, between editing and writing something original or to work on something I might never publish, is one of the big pluses of being an indie writer. With no contracts, the only promise I have is to myself and to the stories. It also means nobody else is forcing me fit a mold, which, to be honest, might've made the books sell better. Life is though a set of trade-offs. Stay true to your own self or fit what others want? Those choices don't just occur with creative work.

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