The Writer as multi-tasker?

Like David, I have a lot on my plate this year. I have three books to deliver (two novels [one co-authored] and one academic book) and two more new ones (one novel and another academic book) on which I have to make serious progress by the end of the year. All 5 are already under contract so delay is not an option. I also have a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to direct, four issues of the academic journal I edit to prepare, and a student trip to the UK to lead, as well as other classes to teach, committees on which I have to serve etc. It’s going to be a very busy year. Which leads me to this rumination on productivity and multi-tasking.

With is amount on my plate and with deadlines looming, it’s tempting to be paddling in all of it at once. That, after all, […]

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The New Year is right around the bend. I can almost see it! Sooo. It’s that time of year again.

As writers, we don’t have bosses, time clocks, or long commutes. Jogging to work, for me, is about twenty feet to the right and down one flight of stairs. Because we can go to work in our jammies (and often do) writers might begin to think that we have all the time in the world to finish a project. We might become complacent and lazy about coming deadlines. Professional writers can’t give in to that easy mindset. We have to be self-motivated, self-starters, and able to focus deeply and widely on a project to the exclusion of all else. This means that we always have to have goals: long range, short range, and oops-I-have-an-unexpected-deadline goals.

Because it’s the time of year for introspection and self renewal, and because I’m still […]

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An Author’s List of Things That Go Bump in the Night

‘Tis the season for ghouls and goblins and other scary beings, so we at MW thought we would share a few of our own terrors with you. Ed started us off Saturday, and trust me when I tell you that I’ll never be following him into a Men’s Room. Today I’m going to offer a list (I seem to be into lists lately) of some pitfalls of the profession that fill me with abject fear, that keep we awake at night and haunt my dreams when at last I drift off, that make my blood . . . yeah, okay, they’re not all that scary. But they do give me angst….

1. Deadlines: Starting with the basics here. It’s not that I fear all deadlines. Far from it. I actually find them useful. They motivate me and force me to impose a timetable on my creative process, which can be […]

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How Can I get Published? Right Now! (Confessions of the Unkind)

I’ve worked with a number of writers over the years, and all have been desperately eager to get into print, and the younger they were, the more desperate they were. The very youngest believed they were ready—“right now, right this minute”—to be published. Hearing that they were not ready, or that their writing needed a lot of work, or that they might be ready some day, if they took some classes and gained some life experience, was often devastating to them, no matter how kindly the delivery of the words. Some refused to believe it. Some got mad and stomped off. Some have told me I was, “…wrong, just wrong. You just don’t understand.” Which proved my point, though how could I say that? I couldn’t.

There was a comment / question this week, here at MW, from one such young writer. Recently, I got a private email from another. […]

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Rewrites: The Magical Solution

It all came down to one paragraph.

For the last 4 weeks, I’ve been on rewrites for my next book, Mercy Blade. It has been a rough, tough rewrite, because the plots (two of them) were equally important, interwoven, complex, and based on things that happened in 1912. And, the book needs to be intense enough for the reader to feel that thriller-style immediacy that makes urban fantasy the action-packed, fast-paced ride it is supposed to be.

Most of the rewrite suggestions were fairly straightforward: Page 192: Has she forgotten she was pissed at Bruiser … ? Or could you take out her assertion that Bruiser knew? Page 196: Was Tyler antagonistic to her when Leo was interrogating him? Page 201: Does Bruiser react to her saying she fought Leo? Page 206: Why doesn’t Jane just shift to heal herself? See? Simple and straightforward. However, one thing was much less […]

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From the Desk of the ‘Ed’-itor

A few weeks ago I mentioned that working on editing projects is frequently like raising small children: you pay attention to the one that screams the loudest. Interestingly – and unexpectedly – the one that screamed the loudest this week was one I thought was dead: the specialty business magazine I’ve served as managing editor of over the last three years.

It’s been about eight months since we last published an issue and I thought the economy had gotten the better of it. But the publisher called me late last week and said they are going to produce a smaller issue for distribution at a conference at the end of July, and a full issue to be released in conjunction with a conference in October.

I told them I’d need the weekend to think about it, mainly because I suddenly find myself with a lot of projects on my plate […]

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Editing Magical Words: Week III

Half of editing is working with words in some way, and half of it is working on business-related issues. I did a little reading this week (Misty and Faith both sent me their Top 25 lists this week, so they’re off the hook), but mainly my time was spent in discussion with the members of MW about the pros and cons of approaching various publishers who might be interested in this book. We already had one highly reputable small-press publisher who expressed interest, so the discussion centered mainly around the question of small press vs. large (read: New York).

This is a bigger question than it might seem on the surface.

Working with a large New York-based publisher comes with a variety of pros and cons. One the one hand, they can offer larger printing runs, easier access to distributors and book stores, and more sizeable advances. On the other […]

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