We had our 3-week, 6,500-mile vacation experience at the beginning of this month. We did some fun things, including the St. Louis Arch, the Maid of the Mist boat tour at Niagara Falls, and a tour of the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River, including Boldt Castle, and I’m very happy that so many family members finally got to meet my daughter Elizabeth. But that 3-day drive back from North Carolina was a killer, and I think I’m still recovering.
By now, everyone probably knows that the work “recreation” has its roots in “recreate”, as in, to create something again, so recreation was originally thought of as a form of self-renewal. Or so they say, anyway. I didn’t expect that out of our vacation. For my writing, I had plans for before I left, plans for while I was gone, and plans for when I got back. I could see no need for recreating myself, because everything was going fine.
But then over the vacation I was reading Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, and suddenly I was spending those long driving hours thinking about how his process and advice could be the comprehensive, simple solution to problems and complications that have nagged me for a long time.
Based on his advice, I’ve been considering making three significant changes. I truly think they will take me to the next level in my writing career.
First, and perhaps most terrifying, Dean’s post on rewriting caused me to reconsider my process. He affirms things that I’ve known and/or suspected about rewriting and editors for a long time: basically that editing a story makes it different, but not better, and sucks the originality out of a story.
Dean goes beyond merely warning against rewriting, though. He advocates abiding by rules that science fiction author Robert Heinlein laid out for the business of writing. If you haven’t seen them before, they go like this:
1) You must write.
2) You must finish what you write.
3) You must not rewrite unless to editorial demand.
4) You must mail your work to someone who can buy it. [In today’s world, this means to indie publish it.]
5) You must keep the work in the mail until someone buys it. [In today’s world, this means to keep it in print.]
I won’t go into the details here, but I spent all of July considering these rules, and they seem perfect for me.
Dean ends his post with this:
If you are rewriting and not selling, try to stop rewriting for a year and just mail or publish your work. You might be stunned at what happens.
That’s the first challenge I’m going to accept.
Next, in a post he wrote about keeping writing going (for 2014, but the advice is still good), one of his ideas (#4) was to “Get one new book up indie published every two weeks.” By that, he meant a new, full-length work of fiction. That idea intrigued me.
Looking at my own raw counts and projections, I’ve realized before that was possible, not including the time suck that is editing. I’ve even done it twice before, first with /Winter Kills/ and recently with /Zombies Versus Comicon/. Following Heinlein’s advice to remove the editing makes the task even easier.
But a goal of doing that every two weeks for the next year? That will be a challenge, but, wow, what an exciting thought. I may have to fudge the definitions a bit with the secret project I have coming up shortly, but I’m going to do it.
And finally, every day for the last two years, Dean has been doing what he calls Writing In Public. Every night, he writes a blog post describing what he did for his writing business that day, including word counts for the various types fo writing he’s done. He has said that the experience has helped him stay true to his goals, and that sounds good for me, too.
So that’s it, me, recreated, Three new goals:
- Follow Heinlein’s rules.
- New book every two weeks.
- Write in public.
This is going to be fun.
Beginning August 1st…