Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What do I say now?

Currently I have a proposal with a relatively good chance of selling sitting on my desk. I need to do a final read over, adjust the outline to coincide with what changed in the sample chapters (yeah, yeah, but that’s life) and send it out.

It’s been sitting on my desk for two days, in this state.

I can hear you go “What’s wrong, Sarah? Allergy to money?”

Uh. I went to a con over the weekend. It’s not just the proposal that’s sat. There’s dust bunnies (well, technically havey-cat bunnies or perhaps dust havey cats) on the stairs and the guys are running out of clean clothes. I’ve caught up on some of the more urgent emailing. I haven’t even gone to the diner, because I don’t have the energy. I’m just starting to recover but I’m leaving tomorrow to teach a workshop in TX. (Looking forward to it, but also glad it’s the last trip of the season.)

The entire summer has been like that, and I’ve got remarkably little accomplished. I know I can’t be “normal” on that, because I know people who are off to a con every weekend or every other weekend and still write encyclopedic amounts. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like flying.

All this prompted me to think about the life of a writer. See, I thought it was going to be sit down and write, and go to coffee shops and look romantic. Sometimes talk to other writers about our precious gift or something.

Okay, I didn’t exactly think that – I’m not a total prat – but at the back of my mind, I think I imagined something like that. Instead, it’s writing proposals, tracking advances, staying on deadline, all the while trying to promote the books, read enough to stay on top of the field and – heaven help me – at least try to stay in touch with the real world and your family.

We live in a walking area because I’ve found I need to go out preferably once a day and see people. Not necessarily talk to them, but just people watch. Strangers. Passerbys. It keeps me grounded on the fact that there are people outside my head. I haven’t gone out in weeks.

So, what is the purpose of this, other than bitching? To ask you guys a bunch of questions. I know we’ve been running a mini workshop of sorts for the last several months. And I know lots of you are writers. But I also know not all are. And the workshop format does have limits – for one, how many years can we keep this up and still have something interesting to say?

No, I don’t propose leaving the blog. I like you guys and I like my fellow bloggers. My question is more – what else would you like us to talk about? Our current projects, that might never see the light of day? What we’re researching at the moment? The reading cravings that have afflicted us and we have no idea where it will lead? Whom we met at the last con and how they seem to be doing? (Not in mean spirit, but we all have many friends in this field.) Our current impression of what’s going on in the publishing district right now? (I don’t mean just bitching. We have to keep that to a minimum, anyway. But “Did you know such and such merged? What do you think?”)

I’m asking because I found at cons that fans like to hear us talk about this sort of thing. Stuff like “I thought DST was going to be this story about a thief named Imogene and then this Athena chick took over.” (And no, that’s not true. Spare me. It’s five thirty in the morning for me.) They like to know what books we’re currently reading – non-research – how we’re enjoying them, and how they relate to the writing, sometimes in a tortuous way.

Would there be any interest in that type of thing? Not so much “writing” as “my writing life.” (Mind you there’s use in that for aspiring writers too. One of my mentors told me, when I was a wee writing lass – it’s five in the morning! – that in this field you trade up for bigger problems ever step up the ladder. I think it’s true. You also trade up for bigger rewards, and I don’t mean just monetary. Sometimes only knowing a writer over years allows you to see both sides of it.) So, talk to the blitzed between-trips writer. What would you like to see more of?

No, I’m not proposing leaving the blog. I enjoy both the blog and my co-bloggers. I'm just trying to figure out how to make the blog more useful to more people. And also more fun to the rest of us.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, chatty stuff is nice. But also instructional, for instance, one thing you mentioned, probably in the Diner, was "How to do foreign or faux languages right."

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

yeah, Matapam. Still intend on doing it. I just got whacked upside the head by traveling this summer. I've literally been home for a maximum of two weeks, between cons/family/etc. I HATE travel. Fortunately after this trip to TX I'll be home for at least three months.

While on that, would you or another dinerite post in the diner I'm not ignoring people? We're still tuning the software for me to get into it (it's cranky) having whacked the computer and replaced everything. And now it doesn't look like I'll get there before leaving tomorrow. I WILL be there next week, though, and I'm doing the sixth musketeer book (long story) which I'll be excerpting as I write. I also want to run a few sample chapters for new stuff past people.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

Personally, I like to hear about the behind-the-scenes stuff to the stories. I love it when anthologies feature a foreword about how this story or that was conceived. What course of thinking took you to that direction instead of this one? I don't know that it's particularly instructional, but I do enjoy it.

Linda Davis

C Kelsey said...

I enjoy whatever folks here choose to offer. I regard anything to read as a learning experience. Teach me what you will oh great authors! ;)

Kate said...

I'm not exactly qualified to comment here, being one of the regular posters, but what the heck.

I like all the "about writing" posts, and also the posts that can only be described as "weirdness of a writer's life".

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Weirdness of a writers life!

I like that, Kate.

Matching pegs when hanging out the washing. That's not weird if someone else does it.

Linda, I like to know where ideas come from and how we embroider them to turn them into stories.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sarah rumor has it that you live in Colorado Springs. Is that true.? :)

Tom M.

Amanda Green said...

Tom, you know you should never believe what the rumors say. Now, is there anything in particular you want Sarah, Dave or anyone else to discuss on the blog -- besides where they happen to reside?

Chris McMahon said...

I am continually interested in the writing process, and how that differs for different writers. When people write, what inspires them, how they approach stories. It's such a mysterious process, every little clue helps.

I don't think we need to be too narrow, or afraid of taking a left-field departure in what we blog about. Somehow all these will interconect with either the craft or writing or other aspects - we are not going to be able to help ourselves!

Sarah A. Hoyt said...


Actually the writers-life posts or in my case belonging to a list with a lot of writers, who had been in the field for years and jsut hearing about their lives, helped me immensely. Sometimes the things that open your eyes -- PTerry saying how he had tops five people in his signing tour in NINETY in the US -- Ninety, when I'd have mortgaged my house to go see him -- are the little "oh, by the way"

Sarah A. Hoyt said...


You're just a total blog-follower, aren't you ;)

Thank you.


Sarah A. Hoyt said...


I think it's a well known fact that I live in Denver. And why is it relevant?

Sarah A. Hoyt said...


I am coming down with a piece of Military Fantasy. I swear to bog I've tried to turn it away, but it didn't happen.

C Kelsey said...

Being a blog-follower is better than being a flog-bollower, yes? ;)