Who I Am, and Who I Pretend to Be

I made it to 1000 followers on Twitter, this week. That’s an accomplishment, for me. I’m not all that outgoing in real life, but apparently, in a no-commitment forum, where all I have to do is be momentarily distracting, I’m not too bad.

I get a few views from Twitter, now and then… but not as many as I’d like. I still don’t have concrete goals or a sense of what realistic expectations would be, but there you are.

I keep thinking thoughts about getting on YouTube, too. Vague concepts of reading short stories on the internet keep dancing through my head. I’m not sure I could do that as myself, but… maybe as a giant green cat, or a hag, or some other costume that wouldn’t match my real-life, shy writer persona.

Or, maybe if I can drag some of my poor, unsuspecting friends into it with me.

Hello, poor unsuspecting friends. I have ideas. Come play with me.

Audiences don’t bother me that much. Stage fright? Never heard of it. Stepping off the stage fright? That’ll stop me cold. Dancing on table tops? Easy. Looking someone–just one person–in the eye, and saying Hey, I made this. Don’t laugh?  Well, that’s where I might throw up.

So, here I am. Trying to be moderately entertaining. Trying to come up with the character that would let me promote my work. That nice, balanced mix of traits I really have, and traits that are make believe.

Can I be myself while pretending to be someone else?

Sometimes, I think it’s actually possible.

 

Nanowrimo, Side Projects, and Momentum

The thing I really need to work on–not just this year, but always, no matter what–is organization. I need to write more linearly. I don’t know how to do that, right now, but I got some good suggestions the last time I brought it up.

Right now, I’m working on a story–and that’s using the word “working” pretty loosely–about a ship sent out into space to start a colony. I have a main character, and a secondary character, and maybe a thousand words. I had to think to remember what it was about so I could mention it here.

I really did intend to write, when I got started, but old projects and other commitments keep pulling me in. Maybe it needs to marinate a little longer before I have real thoughts on the subject. Or maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it’s not marinating; it could just be rotting at the back of the refrigerator.

Ordinarily, I’d just walk away from the idea–after all, if it can’t even hold my attention, how can I expect it to hold anybody else’s? But right now, I don’t really have a lot of focus, and my attention span is… hey, look! a duck!

I’m only a couple thousand words into it. If it doesn’t perk up, soon, somebody’s going to be torn apart and eaten, just to kick things off.

Momentum is one of the big things I get out of Nanowrimo. It helps to have a goal and a deadline, and four billion of your closest friends all waiting to be horribly disappointed.

I am going to need another project for that (since this one’s already started.)

I’m also coming up on the October edition of the scifi-fantasy-specfic blog hop I participate in. I’m supposed to have a story. I don’t have a story. Not even a small one. I have to glue myself to a chair and just do it. And later on, there’s the literary advent calendar (same deal.)

And a couple of other commitments that need time.

Plus, I may wind up having to squeeze in a Transcontinental Airway System beacons and arrows road trip later on. I can’t decide whether that sounds like fun, or not. But if everybody else is doing it… well, I don’t have a choice.

IWSG: Being Open, and Honest, and Finding Time for Writing

I’m an introvert, believe it or not. I’m good at hiding it–both on my blog and in real life–but that’s what I am. Someone who knew me well once said that I’m an audience person. I’m fine as long as no one expects me to be myself. Turn down the stage lights, put down the mic, and I’m terrified.

This blog is somewhere just past my comfort level. And a whole lot past my comfort level, if I have to think about people I know in real life reading it. (Which, I don’t, because there are so few of them who do. Even the ones who have the URL.)

I want to be open about my projects, and about my life in general, but there’s always that fear that I’m just not interesting enough to be worth anybody’s time… or that I’m too messed up to be.  Or that I’ll be open and honest, and shock and horrify everyone until they don’t love me anymore, and pretend not to know me when we meet on the streets.

Question of the Month:

Making time for writing used to be a problem for me. It’s still a problem, but it’s the kind of problem you overcome 99% of the time, like finding time to brush your teeth. No one ever says they don’t have time to brush their teeth.

So, the first time I ever finished a novel–meaning, the first time I made the decision to sit down and actually do it–was for NaNoWriMo. There was something about the community, and the support, and the clearly defined “This is What I’m Going to Do Today” goals that made finding the time seem so much easier.

I’ve slowly crept away from time-wasters. I don’t listen to more than two or three television shows (and always on the internet where I can control the schedule) and the few video games I used to play… gone.

Now, my goals shift–right now I’m looking to build my website–but there’s always time for writing of some kind.

The Insecure Writers’ Support Group’s Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

If you want to join us, or just see other blogs on the tour, follow the link below:

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

When am I going to get to read your book?

People have been asking me when they’re going to get to read my book. People I don’t know particularly well, and don’t really see as a part of my creative community.

Coworkers, mostly. The occasional family member. That fundamentalist preacher–who clearly would not like my book.

Nobody ever looks at a medical student, and says, So when are we gonna see some of this “gynecologisting”?

Anyway, a while back–when I was pressed for time and stupid enough to do it–I took some of my manuscript to work to edit over my (absurdly long) lunch hour. I figured people wouldn’t notice, but… of course, they did.

That’s the point where I should’ve lied.

Homework. It’s homework. (Which, by the way, was their first guess.)

Nope. I told the truth. And I’ve been suffering for it, ever since.

I’m a perfectionist. And a cynic. And that means that I’m usually afraid that if I don’t have every single comma in the right place, and every single i dotted just right, I’ll be driven out of town by an angry mob with pitchforks and torches.

I think the best thing in the world for me would be to print out copies of the next story, stand on a street corner somewhere, and hand them out.

Except… I could do that. Easily. As long as the street corner in question is somewhere else, filled with people I never have to see again.

For maximum benefit, it would have to be a street corner here in my own little world, filled with half-strangers and nearly-friends who I do have to see again.

Terrifying.

I’m simultaneously afraid they’ll look, shrug, and walk away, and afraid that they’ll look, laugh, and not walk away. That I’ll be left in a sea of laughter forever.

How much am I capable of trusting people? That may be something I have to work on. Suggestions?

IWSG: My First Piece of Writing

Insecure Writers' Support Group logo

So, the question from this month’s IWSG newsletter is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

That’s a tricky question, since I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure exactly when it dawned on me that I could actually do this for a living, but my First Rejection Slip was probably back in Middle School. I tried to sell some poetry I had written, and of course, I tried to sell it to the most wildly inappropriate, highest-paying markets I could find. Form rejections all around.

I dread to think what those poems really were, and I’m not sure I’d be able to find a copy, if I wanted to, but I still have those rejection letters. They’re souvenirs of those first steps.

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The IWSG Theme I Missed

The Insecure Writers’ Support Group decided it needed to have an (optional) theme for its posts, and somehow–busy life, no time–I managed to miss it, entirely.

This month’s theme was What is the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about your writing?

That’s a good one. Good, enough, in fact that I’m going back to catch up, today. I’ve gotten some nice compliments on my writing, and a whole lot of encouragement, even from people who aren’t all that complimentary.

There are people who have stuck by me–as friends and fellow writers for years while I improve, and people who have delivered just the right advice at the right moment.

But I think I’ll share a picture of a compliment, today. That sounds rare and exotic, and nearly fantastical, but I do happen to have a picture.

Photograph of a Real Compliment

Photograph of a Real Compliment

That’s a screenshot from my stats page. Now, you’ll note that I’m not a high-traffic blog. Just a few stories between friends. But that’s the list of views from a day when somebody found the novel I’m blogging, and started reading, and kept on reading.

I can’t recall if that person left a comment. Some of them do, and some of them don’t.

But they gave me their afternoon, and their time and their attention–because they decided my work was worth reading– and here’s the proof.