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I am extremely energy efficient. I just need the energy first. May 14, 2013

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5StarI may have alluded on here before that I get very excited about people who want to work with me, who want to hire me as a writer. However, it seems those who would like to, seem to peter out, and not actually want to. Money pressure, not being ready, wanting to do it themselves. Despite a history of this happening, I still get excited.

I do realise that it is a part of the sales process, following up, keeping them keen and interested. I also realise that the sales part of the entire process is one of my weak links. Talking to people, getting them excited and interested, doing the writing and researching content, these things I am great at. The sale? The fishing and keeping them on the hook? Not so much. The writing genes were given to me by my father, but apparently not his awesome salesman genes. But, this is something I am working on, trust me.

Any way, at the end of April I signed up a social media client, ink on the dotted line. We sat down, planned out the first 3 months of marketing, looked at what would be happening in the real world which people would like to know more about, what content I will be producing, how I would check with him that it is all good. And off I went.

I GOT A CLIENT!

excitedpuppyI say this in such a way for a reason. Yes, I got a client. It is not surprising, since I have a few ready to sign on, I do know what I am talking about and doing, but the fact they said YES to me, got me REALLY excited. While we were out and about that weekend my wife was amazed, and slightly annoyed, at my energy levels bouncing around like a freaky mix of small child and adorable puppy. I was extremely happy and, validated, I guess?

So, while I was in this space, I wrote 8000 words of my novel. I wrote tag lines and company titles for another client, checking URL availability. I wrote an article for a magazine, started down the path of an awesome collaboration with some skilled people to help micro and small business. Not that I wouldn’t have done all those things anyway, but the zeal with which I achieved them, just from signing up one client?

I’m not a physicist, or a mathematician, but I think that maybe the ration of energy in and out might have been off. Or, I had a lot of stored potential energy which just needed a release.

This experience has made me think though. If I could somehow apply the rules and structures of a Professional Writing Client, and apply it to my novel writing, how quickly could I whip that thing out and to my editor?

Following on from that, I have had a lot of conversations this month about writing. How to write blogs, what writing works in which forum, how many words does an article make, how to re-purpose content. Crazy ideas for cyberpunk stories with organic hardware smuggling. Sometimes it is a good thing to sit and just throw crazy ideas out there. Like the Daily Pages from the Artist’s Way, you get all that crazy out there, and you settle down into the awesome.

Or something…

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My thoughts about Iain M Banks April 5, 2013

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v2-Iain-Banks-GETTYI read on my Facebook feed yesterday that Scottish author, Iain Banks, or Iain M Banks, as he is represented on my bookshelves with great pride, announced he is dying.

“I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.”

Reading further, he proposed to his partner, if she would like to be his widow. They married, quietly, in March, and are now traveling around visiting friends and family. He says he is unlikely to see the end of the year, and the doctors give him months.

I am knee-deep into The Algebraist, a present given to me by a friend at Christmas because she knows I love Iain’s work. My friend’s biggest fear was that I might already have the book.

This news of Iain’s pending demise saddens me. I am really affected by it. Someone reminded me we lost Anne McAffery recently, and while I am sad for the literary world over her passing, I, I don’t know. It seems because her passing was quick, and not announced ahead of schedule, it has not affected me as much as reading this man’s account.

This foreshadowing by Iain, has me thinking- is it better to know? Or is it better to be surprised? If you had the chance to tie up all of your loose ends and say goodbye, is that better?

There are people who would say that it is better to live life to the full so when you do pass on, you have left nothing behind. My best friend was like that. If he wanted to do something, he’d do it. He certainly lived life. He wanted to work and travel overseas, and he did it. Skiing in Europe? Sure! Live and work in London? Why not? He was in Johannesburg, working, and we were chatting. I was telling him he totally had to go to Capetown, climb Table Mountain, bungee jump, take a trip along the Garden Route, and drink some wine. I do believe he was going to book a week’s leave and do it.

Just hours later, to everyone’s surprise, he had suffered from an aneurism.

Now, I cannot compare the sadness I feel at the pending death of Iain and that of my friend. But, in times like this, it is a thought that passes through my mind.

Terry PratchettI also read of Terry Pratchett’s descent into losing his mind to Alzheimer’s, and his campaigning for his right to die, and that saddens me as well.

As a writer, I value my brain, my mind, the creative muscle between my ears that has been my best friend and refuge for a long long time. When I read about Terry’s wish to die, at his own hand before losing his mind, I understand that. If I lost my mind, if it were to go on me? It is one of my biggest fears I have. I think I would rather go, than remain with a mind that was gone.

I don’t drink much. I enjoy beer and bourbon, don’t get me wrong. But I can tell, after 1 or 2 drinks, my mind kicks back into neutral and just idles. And I don’t really like my mind being idle. I am so used to it running at hundreds of miles per hour, that when it slows down from alcohol, I can feel it. And I don’t like it.

Having this conversation with a friend, about my fear of both losing my mind to dementia or Alzheimer’s, or having a fully functioning mind but trapped in a body which didn’t connect, brought to the topic of zombies. She told me that, she has the same fear, and it is why she fears zombies the most. And they are my fear as well. Of all the horrible beasties out there, zombies are my least favourite. I have said that it is the humanity of it, I guess. Seeing people who used to be people, it disturbs me? But now, perhaps, another level, another reason I don’t like them, has been revealed. My fear of losing my mind and becoming a mindless zombie.

I have declared? Accepted? Finally figured out that, the thing I am here to do, in this life, is write. Oh sure, I will do many other things, but I am a writer. And, if the one thing which makes me do that thing I feel I am best at, is taken from me? What else would there be?

Not writing helps with the writing… March 12, 2013

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010 NoWriting1-300x300That may sound like an excuse to not write here, because I haven’t. But actually, it is something I am learning about the business of writing. Taking time away from doing the writing, to plan what I am to write about, actually helps when I get back in the saddle to tap away at the keyboard.

As a freelance professional writer, I am finding there is a lot of writing to do. Off the top of my head is this blog, my new blog, which you can find here –> Paw1… finishing off my novel (Still a work in progress), writing a newsletter, two newsletters, actually. And I have been editing some friend’s work, and, stuff.

However, through all of this, I am being coached by a business coach. I’ll give him a shout out, because he is really making me shift the way I think about things, about myself as a writer, and as a business person. I am slowly re-wiring my brain. 1208 Business Logo - Blue - Full Logo-01 That is his Facebook page. Go and like it, freak him out with all that attention.

But one thing he is getting me to do is look at the year, to plan things. In an effort to put a little bit of a divide between my professional and personal writing hats, I have launched a new weekly blog, and I am refreshing my monthly newsletter to be more business focused. To do this, I have divided the year up into quarters, with most of the 1st quarter used up, it gave me the month of March to get a run-up to the rest of the year. So, I thought of 3 BIG topics to talk about, then broke them down into 3 monthly lots, and then weekly topics to write about. I have the next quarter all lined up with topics about Social Media. I don’t have to sit at the computer and think- what am I going to write? Because I look down the list of what hasn’t been written yet, and off I go. It has made me more efficient, and actually makes me start to write sooner.

What else? Well, when writing projects crop up, they get scheduled into my day, so I know what I am to be writing and when. Tonight I did have here to do my personal blog, really I did. And here I am. I also have an hour or more worth of novelling to do, but considering the heat, that might get rescheduled.

Tomorrow I have to create a presentation about social media, work on a 1500 word article, and a copy writing proposal.

Another thing which I have noticed makes me work, is giving myself a deadline and announcing it. I announced that I would have my novel FINISHED by March. It didn’t happen, but I did get Acts 1 & 2 to an editing stage. My editor has Act 1, and by the time she nears the end of Act 2, I will have the book finished, and it will seem as if I had the book finished for her in time. Smoke and mirrors 😉

Trying to change the way your mind works, after so many years of working in a certain way, is a difficult task. But I am slowly seeing the benefits of this change of thinking, of planning more rather than going off by the seat of my pants. I should have know, really. My first couple of Nanowrimo novels I ‘pants’d’ them. But when I hit my sci fi epic, I put a lot more plotting and planning into it. And now I declare the month of October to be my month of Plotting and Planning. And I have found the quality of work I produce to be remarkably better.

Oh, and I think in April, I will have a new book cover design to show off. Shhh.. don’t tell Scarlett. She doesn’t know I want to hire her yet 😉

Lightning in a bottle February 5, 2013

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When I am inspired to write, by gum I am inspired to write. I am into dreaming, remembering my dreams and interpreting them from time to time. I love dreams, and hate them too. Last week I had a night terror about a gang of kids trying to kill me in a gym locker room. I ripped myself out of that dream and refused to go back to sleep because I knew I would go back into the same place and get beat on. It is also in my dreams that I get to hang out with my best friend, who passed away a little over 4 years ago. And yes, we were hanging out on Sunday night. He was drunk trying to get me into a night club, but because my clothes weren’t right, I was not allowed in.

But that is not what I was talking about. Both on Saturday night and Sunday night I had epic dreams. One involved being immortal, buried alive and then chasing the guy who tried to murder me 5000 years into the future, traveling at the speed of light to other planets and such. And the other dream was an alien invasion, survivalist, time-traveling dream. Both were awesome.

On Sunday morning I came to my computer and wrote my dream down. In 10 minutes I had 1500 words written down.

On Monday morning, same thing, I transcribed my dream down. Again, 10 minutes, 1200 words.

I am blown away by being able to crack out 1500 words in 10 minutes!

And then I look at my novelling, and how it crawls along at sometimes 2000 words a day. I have written for three days straight, but the impetus of the novel has totally dropped off. I think I need to spend a day doing nothing but novelling, away from the internet. Or, get the work writing done in the morning, and then take the afternoon off. See if I can repeat those epic stats of 1500 words in ten minutes. 9000 words in an hour? Damn.

I know I have had moments of inspiration where I have written LOTS. I would love to be able to bottle those moments, or some how put myself into those moments. Perhaps there is.

Or, perhaps those moments of inspiration are for dream recall, poetry and short stories, and I should keep the novelling as though I am running a marathon.

 

Food for thought. Olympics+Day+9+-+Athletics

The Plots are Plotted October 23, 2012

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8 days out from the start of Nanowrimo. I have settled on my three plots, and I am happy. I changed it up slightly from my original plan. I was going to have the 3 plots mingle and weave around each other, but considering the actual geographical location of the 3 plots and who are in each plot, that would have been just crazy.

So now the plots all come together at the end. I am once again, planning an epic battle at the end of the book, and the rough sketch I have on it, it is going to be awesome. A land, air and sea battle (yes, on the waters, where you might find out why the people in this world use sky ship and not boats…), plus the battle is going to be taken to the other world for a bit, just for funsies.

I am a little bit fearful of running three plots. How much time do I give to each plot, and where does that time get allocated? One chapter each? Jump between all three per chapter? Or write one entire plot, and then get to a point, go back and start another plot so I don’t lose that writerly flow? This is a decision I am going to have to make before Nanowrimo starts, I know that.

My next step is to look through art that I have, looking for environmental imagery, character art to represent people in my story, and redoing my map. I enjoyed having a map last year, eve if I didn’t publish it. It gave me a sense of place.

And then I am going to write an exciting preview for the book. I already have it in mind. I will release the preview to the world, get people excited about my book again!

How to conquer self-doubt October 6, 2012

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This article appeared in my content feed today:

how-to-conquer-self-doubt-and-just-write It is a guest post by CC Hunter. It has 5 points which make sense, and of which I would like to comment. Now, I have seen many other ways to conquer self doubt, and gosh knows I have it in spades. I am a professional writer now. Before when I was a wage-earner, and wrote nanowrimo novels only, if I wrote something bad, and no one liked it, that was okay. Hurtful, but okay. Now, I worry that if someone doesn’t like my work, I won’t get them again as a client, and it will cost me money, hurt my professional reputation, and a bad word will be spread about me. Self doubt? Oh hell yes.

So, let me look at these 5 tips.

1. Be Aware or Peer Pressure.

“…If you’re hanging out with negative people, people who have lost their ability to chase their dreams, you’re at risk of becoming just like them..”

Now, while I witness this in other people, other writers, I can say that, surrounding me, are remarkably positive people. I have friends around me who cheered loudly when I chose to become a freelance writer, as if- yes this is what you are SUPPOSED to be doing. I had so many people cheer me on when I self-published my book as if- yes, this is what you are SUPPOSED to be doing!

I have professional mentors backing me up, wanting me to succeed, helping me along the way. I have people who are testing the waters with me, using my services on small jobs. I have been called- ‘enthusiastic’ which, I frown at and think- compliment? But then, enthusiasm is better than professional complacency, I figure.

I am surrounded by people who support me, encourage me, smack me over the back of the head when I doubt myself, tell me that i am skilled, and talented, and not just to massage my ego. I am thankful to all of them, and I have told them, I think. If not, hi. Thanks peeps 🙂

2. Ward off the message that you don’t know what you’re doing by continually growing at a writer.

I said when I started my professional career that I have known the craft of writing for many many years, but now I am learning the BUSINESS of writing. I can see in myself that, jobs I had at the start of the year, if given the chance to do them now, I would do a better job. I am lucky in that I have the chance to grow my writing career inside the comfort zone of a business networking group, rather than throw myself on the knives of pure capitalism where, if you’re learning, you wont get much repeat business.

But, I do grow as a writer. I do not think anyone will ever be fully developed as a person, as a creator, as a dynamic being. You always have something to learn, some way of growing. I am willing o learn, willing to grow, willing to listen to people when they say- I’d like you to say this, or this, with your writing.

3. Mentor someone else

I don’t know if I am specifically mentoring one person, but I do put on the elder hat when I am in the Nanowrimo forums. I am not the oldest person participating in my region, but I am the longest serving Melbourne member. I offer writing and creative advice, ask questions and the like. I find myself answering questions about how to plot or plan, by showing how I do it, my “railway line” technique. reassuring people when they overly complicate things. I speak with a voice of authority and experience because, while I may have only published this year, I have successfully written 9 novels prior to that.

And when it comes to professional work, I seem to be taking on the role of a mentor. I have been having a conversation about how to quote for a job, how to be strong enough in yourself to quote what you’re worth, and not what you think someone will pay if you beg them because you REALLY need the money. In this example, I found a website which displayed editing rates of academic writing. I figured out a rate for a client, and dropped $20 off it. That way, if the client questioned why so much, I can show them what the market is charging, and how I am cheaper than the market because i want their business. I passed this knowledge onto a friend of mine who wants to be a freelance editor and writer, but is still too afraid to boldly charge higher due to self worth. I figure, if you have the social proof of a price, and can beat it, then that’s one very good step forward.

I want to help others. I have so many people helping me, I want to pass it forward.

4. Be leery of ruts.

I have these. I get in a funk and can’t write. I get them when writing supporting documentation for myself, the kind of writing which might not lead anywhere but I have to do them anyway. The suggestion is you should write something else, another genre, another form. Go write by hand, perhaps read something. But me, I sometimes feel- if I am not writing, I am not working, and I need to work to get paid, but not all the writing I am doing is paid work  etc etc etc. See where that leads?
5. Accept that sometimes you are going to fail.

This is a hard one to accept. With the economic situation, failing really isn’t a great option. I fail, then it gets tough. However, to learn, you need to fail. You find out what didn’t work, so you can make it work next time. It is how you accept failure as well, which makes you strong. Accept responsibility, if you can, and then control how YOU will not fail the next time.

When you talk about self-doubt, failure is the strongest poison there is. Doubting yourself to begin with, and then failing? It is a real bad mix. And you need to be willing to listen to, and believe, when your friends, your mentors, people who truly care about you and your work, tell you that you are good enough, that you are not a complete failure. They sometimes know more than you do.

These are only 5 suggestions and 5 items of self doubt. There are more, I know. But it is good to start with a small number, conquer those, and then work on the bigger picture.

 

Absence makes the mind go wander… September 2, 2012

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According to the stats, it has been almost a month since I last blogged. I should be blogging more regularly, I should. This is a way to keep in touch with an audience, and a way for you to get to know me.

So what have I been doing for almost a month? Let me see.

I have been concentrating on the professional side of my writing, trying to build that some more. To this end I have engaged a business coach and I am learning about Neuro Linguistic Programming, the language of selling, how to shape your language to one of persuasion, of a more positive nature. When someone asks you how you are, rather than saying- “not bad” which is, essentially 2 negatives, you say- I’m pretty good, 2 positives. Both answers more or less mean the same thing, right?

I have been studying up and strengthening my knowledge of Social Media, as it is a product I am offering, professionally, to clients. Building and running a social media presence for them, finding relevant content for their industry and engaging with followers and people who like them. And offering it cheaper than my competition, it seems. 😉

On the creative front, the novel isn’t selling that well, but then I did slacken off on the marketing front. Without constantly posting links to my book on Facebook, which reaps me likes but no sale, I’m not too sure what I can do to make sales on the book. I have tried to work the Goodreads, but am still getting lost over that. So much social media, so little brain cells!

I have sat with my cover designer to organise the printed version of my book. I still need to confirm the book size, and arrange the rear cover. This is something to be done during the week, and not on weekends apparently.

An idea which was posed to me was to write some short stories based in my steampunk verse, to give it some background, some depth and colour and history and stuff. I like the idea and have a couple of ideas, but the ideas are not strong enough to be total stories. And since all of my readers have purchased my book and have read it, I no longer have to consider spoilers when I talk about them. Also, my vandalwife has suggested that this blog would be good place to put the ideas, even if they are not whole stories, just to give an idea as to how my brain works.

Scary thought.

I have thought of the back story to Tempest and how she obtained her dragon-skin cloak, and the dragon hunt she went on. But then, how is that a story? Show her hunting a dragon? Which you know she does because she has the coat, and the blades, and her special ammunition for her pepper-box gun. I think it might deepen the mystery about her, rather than give any insight, since I do plan a reveal in book 2.

I thought of a story about a couple of smart, and smart-arsed, students at the Voroy University of Darbeton. They are like, anarchic students, think Revenge of the Nerds, or Animal House. They prank the dean, who happens to be Voroy. Voroy gets quite mad, and being on the board of Lenzell and Associates, revenge is quite the trip. Slap Stick doesn’t feel quite right, as I am still inspired by those films, and trying to think of WHAT they do which is so dastardly that they get expelled is still working its way through my brain…

I am thinking of writing a couple of shorts based in the Southern Lands (Sequel = South of the Border, remember?). This can set up some back-story characters, and get me into my own worlds, a visit before I set up shop there in November. Ideas include a reluctant or forbidden love story, something about slavery, or the beasties they are riding around on. Perhaps, during October, I should write these as apart of my plotting and planning month.

I haven’t written anything novellistic this month, and funnily enough I haven’t missed it. But it doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it, or considered options. But just thinking about it, isn’t the same as doing it, which is more powerful.

What happens when your computer dies? April 15, 2012

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You hear all the people saying – back up everything! And, sure, I do. I have a Dropbox for my creative work. But everything else? Hmmm. well, I copied my copy writing to an external hard drive. And i moved some pictures and stuff across. My Steam account saves all the games I’ve bought so I can download them again if I need.

But during the last week, I have had major computer issues which makes me realise just how much I SHOULD have backed up. My hard drive was failing. I thought it may have been memory, in that any web browser I had open would stop for a while and say- not responding. Same too with my email. Games had to be played in the lowest resolution. But then an IT friend told me this was due to the computer trying to access the FAT tables and not being able to? Or something? And that the hard drive was on its last legs.

Sure enough, the day after, Easter Friday, the computer failed to boot up and found many sectors unreadable. Thankfully it was still under warranty, so I had a new hard drive installed free of charge, but not until the Tuesday afterwards. As I said above, I had my creative work backed up, and I saved my copy writing work, and some images. But what did I lose? ALL of my emails. All of my photos and assorted imagery which I didn’t move across. The photos are a big loss. I just forgot to back them up. 😦 I lost all my collected book marks, so blogs and writing sites, copy writing inspiration sites and the like, all gone.

And no, they could not recover any data.

And then, round two of my bad luck? While re-installing Open Office, web browsers and email software, I completely forgot about anti-virus. I had some installed and running prior to the crash, and it never occurred to me that a new hard drive would mean no anti-virus! I bet you can see where this is going. I followed a Google link to the forums of my Roller Derby League, and suddenly messages were popping up telling me I had a virus, and a very infected computer and I NEEDED to install this anti-virus software! Every time I tried to launch a program, it was stopped and I was told- everything is infected!

Tried as I might, I couldn’t not clean the computer. So, I had to ring my IT support friend. He laughed at me, mocked me a little bit, which, granted, I guess I deserved. But the computer was cleaned, and I was off again. And now I have anti-virus stuff installed and running.

But my writing? Stalled. I am back into it now, but yeah, stalled.

But it was also stalled for another reason. I reached a very important conversation in my book. Someone from the city has found our heroes in the wild frontier and wants to bring them back with him. This conversation has more weight behind it now than it did in the original version, since how our heroes escaped the second time was a lot more violent. It has left the city on the verge of war. But, three times i tried to make this conversation work for me, and it just wasn’t. So, I am moving beyond it, writing the next part of the book, which is simple enough, up to the dramatic final ending. And then I will come back and work on that one scene, even get my new editor in to help suggest ways to make it work.

I am a very chronological writer. I like to know the ideas, the points in my book I have to join up to make the overall picture, and write to those points. I am not one to write all the good bits and then fill in the gaps with stuff. You have to earn the fun bits, I believe. So, this is a new thing for me, to write knowing something behind me is left undone.

On the professional front, I am in a rut. I am trying to create avenues to work and struggling. How to get yourself out to the world to say – I can write for you! Networking? Yeah, doing that. I am constructing a newsletter and asking people to sign up. Not yet though, but soon.

So, my writing challenges this week? Finish writing my novel and get it to my new editor. Get the bones of my pending newsletter, AND get a paid writing gig. I read somewhere that copy writing clients are better than gigs, because they provide ongoing work. I am working on that, but I plan, by the end of this week, to have at least one copy writing job which I will be doing.

And I plan to find some writing websites and blogs and book mark them. Just saying 😉

How right must you be when you write? April 3, 2012

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Two, no three things, came through my email today that had me thinking. How right do you have to be as a writer? In my professional line of work I know you have to be 100% right, but in whose opinion are you right? And what parts of your writing has to be right?

The Creative Penn posted this today, or yesterday, I don’t know if my email feed is slow this week or not. The heading which jumped out at me was “Are Writers Allowed to Make Mistakes?” My second questions was – to whom are we asking this permission? A lot of good points were made in this blog post, some of which resonate with me, especially the time of writing done, see below.

The second thing which came to me today was this comic strip: ‘How to get massive amounts of comments on your article‘. I know that when I wrote a blog post with ‘zombies’ in the title, I got close to 100 hits on that post. Why? Probably because zombies were cool that week.

The third item was an email newsletter about copy writing which I received. The email was titled ‘Oh Hi There!’, and the first paragraph was this:

I wanted to make the header “O hai,” but I wasn’t sure you were into LOLcats. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/2vmp9g )

All three examples show different ways that writers can be ‘wrong’, one deliberately, one contextually. But, with the purpose they are trying to convey, are they in fact ‘wrong’?

Two recent examples of my professional work have made me think about this question. One was three revisions of a website, to which eventually it turned out that all was needed was for the client to find their voice, and for me to edit it and polish it up, rather than take their voice and make it sound how I thought they wanted it to sound. The first two drafts I produced were not wrong, from my point of view. It was clean copy, it said what they wanted to say, it was laid out in the style their web graphics designer had presented them. It had key words for SEO and Google tracking. The second draft had the same text but more information about the client as a person, to give weight to their years of experience. But the flavour was not there. So the 3rd and final time was the win, with their words, some punctuation and grammar checking. I used the two free revisions term in my contract with this client. But, we got to where we wanted it to be, where the CLIENT wanted it to be.

So, was I wrong, with my first two attempts?

Another example, and one which makes me kick myself, was a recent tender writing task I had. It was due on a Tuesday, so I had everything completed by the Monday and sent off. I go off to play basketball and arrive home at 10pm to find an email requesting a table of contents, and to please have it to us by first thing in the morning. Here I was, tired and sore (I tend to play rough basketball. Hey, you play until they blow the whistle and THEN call the foul…), late at night. And I was about to work on an important document. My support staff were awesome, and did a quick supply run for flavoured milk and cookies while I showered and prepared myself. I had the table of contents finished and looking good, and emailed it to them at 1am in the morning.

I forgot to actually number the pages in the footer. A tiny detail I know, and I am still kicking myself over, even now. But, is it okay to say- it was a surprise request for work, late on a Monday night with a very tight deadline, and I was all tired and post-basketball? Is it okay that I produced an awesome table of contents but just forgot that one little thing? (That one thing which I guarantee I will never forget again).

With my fiction, there is a lot more wriggle room for the concept of right. The story and the idea? That can be, improved, honed, sharpened up. I have some excellent writing friends who help with that process, coming at my work from a Joseph Campbell point of view, a sci-fi fantasy geek girl point of view, a slush-pile editor point of view. I am absolutely appreciative of their harsh but fair critiques.

But at the next stage of copy editing and line editing, why do these tasks exist? Shouldn’t the writer be the expert at this? Do you not need an understanding of grammar and punctuation, language and sentence structure to actually write? So, it is okay to be wrong in certain areas because the editors will pick it up anyway?

I know the theory of being close to your work and not being able to see everything. That advice experts give about putting your manuscript away for a month so you can come back to it with fresh eyes is great, but it is still going to go through an editor, eyes and mind that did not conceive the book or the idea.

At this point, I am making my writing the best it can be. I am producing, for my clients, the best that I can, what I think is good copy. It is only after the fact you find out how wrong or right it is, and then, that is a subjective view as well. Isn’t it?

Happy New Writing Year! January 5, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in books and reading, writing.
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Hello and welcome to 2012. The Mayans think the world is going to end this year. I don’t believe it, however we’re going to have one hell of a party on that night.

So, New Year means resolutions, right? Well, I personally do not make NYR’s. Back in my more emo-poetic days I would say that I didn’t want to make promises to myself that I would only break. Now it is more like, I would rather set goals for myself, achieve them or excel them, but not feel guilty about not making them.

So, my goals for the new year? Get my Steam Punk book- A Girl From Out of Town out there and published on Smashwords. I have announced the date as Valentines Day, and I do intend to stick to that date. I am waiting to hear from 5 Beta Readers who told me they could read the book and give me feedback by the end of the first week in January. I know 2 of them have read or are reading the book. The other 3, I don’t know. Waiting on them to get back to me with independent feedback bugs me a little. But I will talk on that later. No, actually I will talk on that now.

Another goal I am implementing this year is to create more action MYSELF, rather than relying on others. While I cannot do everything myself, and I do like to support and use my networks, last year there was a lot of waiting for someone else to get stuff done, often weeks later than it should have taken, before I could take a step forward. While I can understand and accept that in some cases the people were very busy, one friend in particular, it was still aggravating not being able to promote me, because I had to rely on others.

So, this year I am going to try and do a lot myself. I have DL flyers promoting me. So now I am going to go around the neighbourhood, introduce myself as a copy writer, offer them the $100 deal, and ask that they have my flyers on their counter in case someone rocks up and might need me. I am going to get the cover for my novel, in electronic colourful wonderful format and promote theout of myself. I will see what I need for a banner ad on forums. I will bribe friends with chocolate, tweet and retweet and again, offer chocolate. I will suggest more ways people can use me as a copy writer, and how it is a good idea.

I opened the bottle of Moet which my friends from my last job gave me on New Years Eve at midnight. They said to open it when I got a new job. I figure 2012 is going to be my new job. It is going to be the year that my freelance career becomes viable. That my novel is published and makes some money. That I find some good part-time or temp work to pay the bills and relieve some of that stress. I am going to work, at what I want this year.

I will keep this updated to chart the path of my writing journey. I will keep my twitter feed going and my Facebook page updated. All part of the joy of an online platform.

Also, I will try and share resources, web pages, and other things, relevant to writing, and relevant to me. In that vein, may I present- 8 Secrets Which Writers Wont Tell You.

These are truths. Absolute writing truths. Sometimes I wish I could share these with clients, but you need to put that confident face on, that you know what you are doing, and that you are happy with your work on. Even if you’re not. Even if you’re worried that they might think- this is crap, who is this guy? I could have written this, why am I paying him so much for this pile of turd? I will put the poker face on when my novel is up for sale. While friends and hopefully people I don’t know, say- awesome book! Bring on the next one! I will sit there and go- that could have been better, oh crap I left that in. Its really not my best work….

Writing is such a personal thing. It comes from within the creator, from within me. Be it the creative romps of novel-writing, or the ordered copy writing for a client, it is all something created by me, by the writer. For me, there is always that higher level for potential of failure. It’s not like a regular job of A + B = product at $X, thank you come again. So each time I produce copy for a client and hand it over, it is me, in that piece. It is a part of me that could be rejected as- this is not what we were looking for. And for me, to continually put myself under the spot light, to repeatedly put my writing core on the chopping block, is a scary scary thing. I dont think even the most experienced writer is ever fully immune to the fear. But this is another thing this year I am going to, not conquer, but to recognise and face and accept.

Every time I write, every time I give someone a piece of my work, I am afraid and scared of their reaction. But that is okay. Face my fears and do it anyway.

2012 is going to be huge, massive, and awesome. And then its going to end with a huge party.