Sunday, 23 September 2012

Ways in which...


Photo by kind permission of V Sunkmanitu (see link below)

Ways in which I've made a tit* out of myself as a writer (in no particular order).



1. Waiting one year, three months and 16 days to get a reply from a publisher. Mercifully, not an exclusive submission, but why, why, why did I bother?

2. Using the phrase, 'Yours ethically,' to a client (who freaked a little and went elsewhere).

3. Making a flippant comment to an agent after waiting an extra week to hear about a writing competition, only to hear that the reason my email had been delayed was that I'd been shortlisted. I didn't win, which arguably is karma.

4. Not asking, up front, what the rate was per word, and then having to listen to a load of pony about what a great opportunity it will be for me in the long-term. That is, once I'd learned to go without food.

5. Writing at a rate per word where, ordinarily, outside the writing world, you'd be searching the job ads during your teabreak.

6. Taking FOREVER to take the plunge and self-publish my own novel. I mean, seriously, what IS the worst that could happen? Nobody buys and reads it? Shit, that's the situation if it isn't published. I lose a little money on it? Big deal - as long as I learn something. To be filed under 'don't be a wuss'. 

7. Letting two payment deadlines go by before issuing a client with a take down notice. (If I just love them even more, maybe they'll change...).

8. Agreeing to exclusive electronic rights for two years, which is the approximate lifepsan of a mosquito fish. Just in case you were wondering.

9. While attending a writing course in London, after work, the tutor snootily asked me to define my work for the benefit of him and the class. I explained that the essence of the novel (see, I can do snooty, too) was that the plot mattered more than the individual characters. 
"Ah, he nodded sagely, you've obviously read a great deal of Chekhov." 
"No," I replied, "but I've watched all his appearances in Star Trek." Phasers on pun.

10. Admitting all the above in a blog post.

* Photograph provided by Wolf Photography and Villayat Sunkmanitu.

Don't be shy - share your creative confessions in the comments box.

6 comments:

  1. You're very brave to bare your soul like this in the very public arena that is your blog. Hats off to you...and for the record, I would have LOVED to have seen the creative writing tutor's face! :D

    I suppose the biggest way I've made a t*t out of myself in my writing career to date would be sending out virtual first drafts of my novel to agents. This is something I will no doubt supersede in the future.

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    1. Hi, Joe - thanks for stopping by. The writing tutor (who nipped out to the shops during the break) blinked a couple of times, let the laughter subside and saw me for the idiot that I was. Truth be told, it was less intimidating to share some flippancy than to talk seriously about a novel that I thought might not have been taken seriously. The point being that I wasn't taking it seriously back then.

      How many drafts before submission is always a tricky one. I like to edit and then put the novel aside for at least a month. Objective feedback from writing groups can help too. The most important thing, for me, is to send in a manuscript when it's right for the book and not just comfortable for me.

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  2. Number two actually made me laugh out loud! Brilliant. I'm getting bored of 'Yours respectfully' in my letters for Amnesty International, I'm going to start using 'ethically' instead.

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    1. I wish you a better response than I got!

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  3. I totally love #2 and #9! I want to start using "yours ethically" now just for fun. :D

    The "rate per word" thing was a bit too close to home. I've done that already and I am totally amazed at some of the rates I've seen.

    Kudos to you for sharing all this!

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  4. If you hunt around on this blog - within the last three months, I think - you'll find some debate on the issue of rates. As someone said in Thelma and Louise: You get what you settle for.

    Glad you enjoyed the post.

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