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Let It Go

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Okay, everyone. This is it. I’m proud to report that, true to my word, since my last post I have finished the second draft of my book. Not only that, but I’ve sent it off to FOUR people to read, and will soon give it to a fifth. Now I’m in the position where all I can really do is wait.

Now that I’m waiting and I happen to have some free time (a rarity, but I’m not complaining!), I’m wondering if I should think about picking up an old project. What do you all typically do during this time of waiting? I’m not sure how people feel about working on multiple projects at once. I worked for an agent once who told me that when I was reading through author biographies, I should see multiple unpublished projects as a red flag. Why would you be working on a second book when the first one hadn’t gone anywhere? Obviously you should be putting the time into the first book, to make it up to snuff for publication.

If I believed in that rule, it’s possible that I could never work on anything other than this one book, which maybe just won’t ever sell. Or maybe that’s pessimistic. I also see the point the agent was trying to make–maybe this isn’t a person who’s willing to work hard to get something right. I don’t think I fall into that category, though–I’m doing all of these revisions, am I not?–so maybe I’m in the clear there.

I’ve always been someone who multitasks, whether it’s with my writing or my work or . . . just anything, really. In middle school I used to carry around at least three books with me at all times, because I was reading them all simultaneously, depending on what I was in the mood for. By high school I got with it and knew how nerdy that made me look, so I kept the books in my locker instead of carrying them through the halls, but you see where I’m going with this. I remember in college there was a rule that we could only take one creative writing course at a time, and that was always confusing to me. Why can’t I take screenwriting and fiction writing at the same time? Why can’t I have multiple ideas for multiple stories and be working on all of it at once?

The funny thing about my book is that it really isn’t what I planned to finish first when I thought about the way I would start writing. I was actually pretty far into a different project, but I had to start a novel for my creative writing thesis at Barnard, and the young adult project I was working on wasn’t “serious” enough, so I picked up some characters I’d had kicking around in other writing assignments and started what is, now, my nearly finished book. It’s still young adult, but drastically more serious than the Meg Cabot-y, angsty teen novel I had been working on before (and which, honestly, I feel more excited about finishing).

If you’ve made a habit of reading my blog posts (bless you), you’ll know that making time to write is something that I’ve struggled with before. As a result, I’ve gotten in the habit of writing whenever I have thirty minutes or more of free time. Now that I’ve sent this book off to readers, I’m looking at my free time and feeling compelled to write, but not sure if I should be working on something else or waiting for this book to come back to me.

Like I said in my last post–I’m actually not that nervous about the comments from the readers. I’m excited to see their thoughts and to make the final changes before I take this thing to the next level, whatever that is.

So my question to all of you is this: What do you do while you’re waiting for beta readers to give you feedback? Do you prefer to work on multiple projects at a time, or to just focus on one until it is completely finished? And what’s “finished,” anyway?

P.S. The title of this blog post is a reference to my attitude about sending the book off to readers, and if anyone needs encouragement to make a move like that, I encourage you to watch this clip from Frozen. If she can build an ice castle in three minutes, you can submit your writing to readers!


Digital v Print – The Battle Continues

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In my last post I talked about editing digitally versus editing on hard copy. Last week Gizmodo posted this opinion piece about e-books versus the “old-fashioned” print versions, and I thought to myself, I really didn’t do any work on my manuscript this week. I should talk about this, instead! By which I mean, the article makes some great points that I wanted to share with you all!

You remember this.

If you read my post last week you can probably guess how I feel about e-books. Honestly, as someone who very publicly enjoys reading and writing, I’m surprised someone hasn’t already bought me an e-reader. I think if they were fifty dollars cheaper I’d have a stack of ten Kindles next to my fifteen journals people always seem to think I’ll love. But the truth is, I don’t really get it.

Yes, it stores all of your books in one place so you don’t have to store them all, but to be honest, I love the idea of having a library. I don’t know about you, but five-year-old me really internalized that scene in Beauty and the Beast where the Beast presents Belle with that ridiculous (read: amazing) library with shelves so high you needed a totally cute 18th century ladder to reach everything. Come on. You want one of those.

Seriously? You don’t want this in your house?

And speaking of libraries, what do I do if I already have one and I want to incorporate it into my e-library? Hsieh makes a great point about that in her article. She writes, “Unlike music or photographs, there is no way to migrate an old book library into a new one. Over the past decade, I’ve been able to convert my tapes to CDs, my CDs to MP3s, and now import my MP3s into Spotify and listen to music over the cloud. Yet, if I want to read my favorite books on my Nexus 7, I have to pay for a separate e-book version, assuming one even exists.” That’s a really good way to put it.

I think my issue is that I love old, inconvenient things that aren’t as efficient. With other technologies and digital media, the industry forced me to make the change. VHS tapes? Can’t buy those. Want to play that original Spice Girls cassette tape? No more tape player in your car. And now, you want DVD’s? Well fine, we’ll sell you a DVD, but we’ll also sell you a Blu-ray. And a digital copy. It kills me. I wouldn’t even have a smart phone right now if the store had offered me a flip phone that didn’t look like something my grandmother would use.

To me, e-readers are a whole different piece of the story that I don’t understand. Amazon and Barnes & Noble make the software on these readers available for your Mac, PC, or tablet, so why buy the reader? Just put whichever program you prefer (or both! Get crazy!) on your tablet and call it a day. Right?

The point is, print books are still readily accessible to me, often for a similar price to the e-book (if I’m buying in paperback), so why should I switch? Sure, I like the idea of having a slim little tablet to read Game of Thrones on so I don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of carrying around a thousand-page book in my purse. But I could just buy a bigger purse; that way, when I get on an airplane I can keep reading when you have to turn off your Nook for takeoff and landing.

Who’s inconvenienced now?