Thanks for all the awesome responses to my writing status inquiry post! You guys rock on so many levels. Also, you’re at such varying stages of your paths through this murky, often scary writing world, that I feel there’s a richness to your combined experiences which I couldn’t possibly make on my own, not in the limited amount of time which I can dedicate to the pursue of my writing ambitions.
Which inevitably brings me to this post. Ahem.
My ambition with regards to writing fiction is fairly simple: I want to write good quality (ah, who am I kidding, I strive to eventually write awe inspiring quality) adult science-fiction, and publish it via the most convenient means available to me at the given time. Of course, I want people to read and like what I’m writing, and hopefully ask for more.
I don’t particularly want to make writing fiction a career in its proper sense, meaning I’m not out to quit my day-job and engineer space-cultures for a living. While I love it and couldn’t function normally without it, writing isn’t a professional ambition to me as it is a highly gratifying and mostly self-serving exploration of the possibilities of my imagination & storytelling skills.
Basically, I don’t want to be AN AUTHOR, as much as I want to WRITE STORIES, which ideally other people love to read. A very pedantic semantic distinction, but I’m sure you get me.
If it will somehow happen nonetheless — which requires for me to earn at least as much from my writing fiction as I do from testing software systems — then I’ll sure be one happy space-monkey. But I don’t aim at it.
That being said, I’m still somewhat weighed down by apprehension with regards to my output.
First and foremost, I feel like a total and absolute impostor, dispensing writing tips and professing my love of writing science-fiction, while not having published anything yet. At least a novella, a short story, even a darned piece of flash fiction to some reputable selling market. Something to justify the audacity of adding “science-fiction writer” to my name. (Yeah, I know, I haven’t even tried yet, shut up. I’m busy whining here.)
Things move much too slow for my infantile lack of patience. Which, obviously, I have only myself to thank for. Not having career ambitions about my writing, I dedicate only limited amounts of time to it (even though I never stop thinking about it). Which results in my project taking much too long to reach a level of satisfactory quality. Add to that the fact that I keep learning new stuff and inevitably improve with each lesson, and thus inevitably see more errors in my previous work. Headache preordained.
I sometimes feel ashamed of my lack of urgency. Somehow everybody around me writes and publishes things increasingly fast (regardless of publishing route), while I seem to trudge through a swamp. Don’t mind me, I’m just splashing about here. Smelling the waterlilies. Counting tadpoles.
My already modest ambitions have shrunk to getting my manuscript ready for beta-readers. That’s where I am now. Editing my stuff to get it into a decent shape that can support criticism. Luckily I don’t need to get myself ready for that, since I pretty much take everything upwards of “Your novel sucks sweaty, salty donkey balls” as useful feedback. But my novel… my novel needs work. Not much, not very deep work (I’ve already done that last year), but work nonetheless. And work takes time.
Will I find suited beta-readers? Hopefully. Will it take another half a year to get the novel in a query-able state? Likely. Will that bring me any closer to achieving my prudent ambition? I fucking hope so! I’ve put quite a lot more blood and sweat into this thing than I initially imagined, and I’ll be damned if I bury it in some drawer after all that.
So — to sum up this laborious post as succinctly as possible — I’m basically whining about not working as fast as I like, while not [willingly] investing more energy into it. How silly, you might think. Get a grip, girl. Type faster! But I also have a full-time job, a pre-crawling baby daughter, a humongous to-read list and a household to keep. And there’s decent weather now, so I’m outside as much as I can. Time to write? Shrunken to ‘just barely enough not to suffer from withdrawal-induced personality dysfunctions’ proportions.
All I can do is to continue editing my opus (I’m already somewhere around the middle), and exercise patience.
So easy, and yet so difficult.
I need to talk about it with people who understand, more or less, or I’d go bananas and tomahtoes and rocket ships.
How have you kept your spirits high through all the tedious, unrewarding, and uncertain time before your very first finished work met the very first proper eyes?
Are you even as anal as me when it comes to getting stuff ready for betas? I have a few writer friends who always send out their raw drafts to betas. I couldn’t do that, no matter how confident I was in my creation. Beta-readers are still not-me, after all, and thus their opinions have an innate market-testing quality to them.