23 October 2012

Procrastination Station

Image courtesy of Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I finished the first draft of my WIP back at the end of June. I anticipated a week or two off to let it rest. During those weeks my personal life fell apart and things got off track. Over the past month or so I have wanted to get back to the story. But for some reason, I just couldn't make myself do it. I have been busy with other things in real life, but even once I had a little time, reading blogs or even critiquing others' work seemed more attractive... safer.

It's strange that the activity that gives me the most pleasure is also the one I can be the most reluctant to undertake. How could that be?

Perhaps it was just too daunting to consider all the work I will need to do. I know several structural decisions need to be made and carried out, and there is still a lot of historical research to be done. Then there's all the little details at a sentence and even a word level, with so much to remember as I move through each page. Maybe I worry that I will ruin the novel if I make bad decisions about plot or character. And maybe I'm just lazy and don't want to give my leisure time over to more work.

I eased myself into the process by reading through the spreadsheet I made detailing each scene, chapter and act (with word count, POV and plot for each). I was much relieved to find my excitement rising as I fell in love with the story all over again, even before reading the actual words of the novel itself.

Confidence bolstered, I began to edit chapter one. And that's when I remembered: I love to do this. Once I started, I lost all sense of time and my surroundings. I started to make bold decisions and to cut alternative phrases and re-write paragraphs based on developments I wrote later in the story and recent research. I also spent quite a while trying to decide between two similar words, and in researching some little details - but we must allow ourselves to obsess every now and then, right? At least I am back on the horse.

Have you ever found it hard to get back into a WIP? Why, and how did you get your groove back?

02 October 2012

Pondering Pen Names

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s a bit spooky: over the past week or so I’ve been considering taking up a pen name for my identity as a writer. Then all of a sudden, there’s a flurry of articles about pen names:
I was originally going to publish using my real name, but because of a recent change in my personal circumstances, and the fact that it’s hard to spell, I am 99% sure I will create a pseudonym that will remain constant throughout my career. I will keep my first name.

The idea is actually somewhat exciting. It makes my status as a writer seem more official somehow. I am not in a hurry to adopt a name, even though one has popped into my head. I even googled it to make sure there are no potential competitors. I want to study up on potential cool names before I decide, and even then I don’t think I will both to adopt it until the day when I (hopefully!) get some interest from agents. It will take some effort to make the change - not only the blog, but things like my Twitter and even my email address.

For now I will only be writing in one genre, but I do have ideas for stories in other (albeit related) genres. Previous wisdom was to have different pseudonyms for each “brand”, but I agree with Rachelle’s article that this would get unwieldy. I think modern readers are smart enough to figure out when their favourite author is trying something new, don’t you?

Do you write with a pseudonym? Do you prefer authors to stick to their brand?