September 22, 2010

So Much Time ~ So Many Tempting Things to Do

Now that I've reliquished my responsibility as an editor and publisher, I'm no longer inundated with story submissions.  I no longer have the pressure of a bi-monthly publication deadline or the stress of compiling, proofing, and managing an online magazine.

I have 'me' time.

Blissful free time.  To write.  To brainstorm story ideas, plot twists.  To explore new interests.

So what have I done since August 1st?  What did I accomplish?

Well ...

I've rearranged my home office.  Bought a new faux-leather, swivel chair.  New file folders.  Colored pens and index cards.  Two large bulletin boards.

I joined a few social networking groups: Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, TriggerStreet.  Met and emailed tons of new writer friends.  Attended several local and out-of-state writing conventions.

And I've prograstinated.

Yep.  Like my dear, alter-ego Phil Adams, I've done everything but write.

Surprised

Why? When I was so excited to plunge back into novel writing, how could I sit in my office, in my new faux-leather, swivel chair, and no produce one paragraph or sentence of prose?

My simple answer ~ I've taken up script reading.

I may not be writing, but I venturing into a whole new realm of artistic expression.

And I'm liking it.  Smile

May 26, 2010

End of an Era

It's official ~  AlienSkin Magazine is Closing

After several months of soul searching, I have decided to close the magazine.  We've been publishing short stories from writers around the world for 8 years.  Now I'd like to focus on my own writing.

I notified our staff and submitted closure notices to Ralan.com and Duotrope.com market listings.  Ralan was shocked ~ but he knows how markets come and go.  He wished us well and respects our lengthy run, the achievements we've accomplished in encouraging and publishing fledgling writers.  We helped many writers attain their dream of having their story published.

The online website will remain live so our blogs and online contact information can be updated.  But as of July 31st, AlienSkin Magazine will cease publication. 

Staffers were a little surprised that the June/July 2010 issue will be our last, but most of them saw it coming.  They knew submission reading and responses took a huge chunk of time out of evenings and weekends.  Time I will soon be able to devote to novel writing.

I'm sure many writers will be sad to see us go.  Many newbie writers will find it a bit harder to attain their first fiction sale and publication, but there are plenty of other markets out there that need good stories.  Other markets will indeed give your story a chance.

While I'm a sad we did not achieve my original 10 year publishing goal for AlienSkin, I'm excited to have more time to write!

February 15, 2010

Dalliance vs. Diligence

Lately, I’ve found myself falling off mark in my writing goals.  Whether I'm was attempting to pursue daily word or page counts on specific projects, I struggled to catch up as the midnight hour approached and as it gave way to the next hour.

Day to day, and as weekends came and went, I felt like a hamster inside a locked cage, running circles within a spinning wire wheel.  I wasn't making progress.

On weeknights, writing beyond 1 am jeopardized how alert I was to tackle my day-job the next morning.  Getting out of bed, getting ready for work, and being at work became a struggle.  I moaned and groaned.  During my day job, I daydreamed.  I needed twice as much coffee to get through the day.

By the weekend, I was miserable ~ way behind on my writing objective.  Sitting down to write on a Saturday, knowing I had a good 15 hours of ‘alone time’, I felt the pressure of having to play catch up, to regain the words or pages I needed to keep the week on course.  The pressure weighed on me.  It bogged me down.  And, like most writers, when I'm stressed, I can't write.  My creative juice doesn’t flow as it should.   The little voice of my muse becomes too faint to be heard.  I end up facing hours of writer’s block.  I develop half-ass scenes that inevitably need to be rewritten.  I waste time.

It was agonizing!  All my character and narrative voices were screaming at me.  They wanted to be heard.  They wanted to be written.

I used to produce and accomplish so much...

In the last three months, short stories, novel chapters, script scenes, Twitter and blog posts have all back up or fallen to the wayside.  Laundry, dishes, and clutter about my house have piled up.  Hubby’s complaining that the fridge is bare.  I would hear him opening and closing kitchen cabinets in search of edibles to cook.  We'd end up ordering out.

I longed for that endless hot shower or a half-hour soak in the tub, but settled for a quick sluicing and rapid dry-off instead.

So I sat down and assessed where all my time went.  In doing so, I discovered 3 things.

1.  My web browsing of research topics was taking hours not minutes.

2.  I tend to procrastinate when I'm facing difficult or challenging scenes; sometimes 
     dwadling for hours, sometimes for days ~ even for weeks at a time.

3.  I often switched projects to those which scream loudest.

Yowser!

So what remedy would get me back on track?

A simple one actually.

To Reduce Web Browsing: 
I list my topics to be researched.  I utilize 45 minutes of my lunch hour at work to surf      the web efficiently and email myself the web-pages or links to the info I need.

To Reduce Procrastination During Difficult Scenes: 
I devote 5 hours on Saturdays for Brainstorming.  So far it’s working!

To Keep From Switching Projects:
I schedule my writing project a head of time, giving myself 2 to 3 projects to choose from for the week.  Once I choose the project to write that week, I stick to it.  Plug ahead with it.  I’m finding each project is making headway.

To Keep Up with the House, Personal, & Social Obligations:
I’ve revamped my writing schedule to start at 7:30 pm instead of 7 pm on weekdays.  The extra 1/2 hr gives me time to tackled laundry, dishes, blogging, tweeting, showering, soaking, shopping, emailing, or game playing on the web.

Focus is the key.

By focusing in on my previous problem ~ pinpointing the flaws in my expectations, I was able to develope a solution that works for me.  I can now focus on my writing. 

I’m producing pages and feeling confident in what I’ve written.

How are you doing with your writing? 

Are you completing projects?  Are you submitting stories and getting published?

If you are super! 

If you’re not, maybe it’s time for you to step back and take an honest look at what you’re doing on a daily basis.

Assess waht you're doing.  Recognize and decide where you can make a change, then change it.  You might be surpirsed to find you actually have time to write that novel!