Sunday, 3 November 2013

About That: Organisation

In MY HOME. My friends despair of ever seeing my floor under my floordrobe and wonder why I have multiples of everything. I admit I am am a slob, messy, cluttered, untidy and a bit of a hoarder.Do I really need 12 potato peelers?

Jeckle and Hyde have nothing on me...except the killing bit.

In my workplaces I am super duper organised. When I was in the hospitality industry I could cater for hundreds and do marvelous things on time on a tight budget and orchestrate the whole food ballet with a calm and steadying pace. Teaching people, editing, working in retail or tourism or the disability sector. All these I have worked in and in all of them I was organised.

As far as writing went well I entered 25 word or less competitions and studied writing and art in fits and starts, never finishing anything and occasionally winning the competitions. I read and read and read and read and I write things all the time. Usually shopping lists and rosters and minutes for meetings and emails, always dreaming of one day having the time to write. One day I'll write a book.

I joined camp NanoWriMo back in April and set myself a goal of 50k and beat that by 6k and it was at that time I decided it was time my talents were put to good use. By August I had already contributed to five anthologies and by October they were beginning to be published and for sale and another five anthologies had accepted work, both writing and art. I entered competitions and I was averaging 1600 words a day no matter what and two weeks ago managed to write 11,000 words in one day.

The following day I could not focus my eyes so I plainly overdid it.

So what has changed? What is the difference?

I made a decision. I looked at my house and my computer and thought; my writing, IS my career and I need to prioritise and treat it like a career so everything else has to fit in around that.

Then I signed up for NaNoWriMo, and the Romance writers sister challenge and SkaDaMo and PiBoIdMo all in November.

Next day I gridded up my windows and put the days down one side and colour coded the columns and set my minimum requirements and I wrote myself a roster of when to get up, when to have breakfast, when to exercise, which task to do at which time and what time to go to bed. I added in a diet/eating plan and a water intake. Just like I would do if I were catering for a wedding with a thousand guests and I am following it, just as I would if I were running a commercial kitchen or working in a factory or restaurant or farm or school.

I am exploring my interests and have written horror and fairy tales, superhero stories and steampunk, sci fi, romance and picture books.

I am drawing and sketching and painting and attended an art class for ten weeks to polish up some rusty skills.

The only way to complete that much writing is to be organised and to WANT IT. Creating stories has to be the priority.
I have made all the excuses anyone else can make. Kids too young, kids are teens, job takes too much time, demanding spouse, car doesn't work, not enough time, sick, tired, can't think, writers block. I am sure I have made thousands of excuses for why my writing wasn't already my career. The biggest excuses are the lies I told myself and which I truly believed. I'm not good enough, they'll think I am a fake, why would anyone read my crap,I've got nothing worth telling, they always give the work to young pretty connected people, they should come find me, know them all, you have said them too.

I have had four rejections so far. The first one was a whole page letter .apologising to me for "...not offering publication at this time but your work did not fit our theme and all of our editors have read it and love it and think it shows great potential..." and "...Please feel free to send us any other work you may have..."

The second rejection ran along the same lines as the first. Both for the same manuscript.Both from big name mainstream publishers.

The third rejection said something like "...sorry we would love to publish your stories but our lists are closed, please keep in touch and send to us when the lists reopen.."

and the fourth rejection said "...we want more, this is too short, write more and send it back to us, explore those characters and that situation...."

and yet even with those glowing rejections, which I took as rejection of me as a human being and could only see the NO part of the letters, it took a long time for me to understand that when an editor and mainstream publishing company sends a personal rejection of an entire a4 page in length, then I better sit up and realise I have a skill worthy of publication.

I didn't send anything to any of them again. Self sabotaging behaviour.

Now,I am a writer! I think it, I say it, I do it.This is the first time ever that I describe myself as such and now I am doing that which I need to do to make it my full time career. I write, every day. I join writing groups. I subscribed to good quality magazines. I paid membership to quality writers organisations and I go to events where I will meet and learn. I smile when people want to tell me their great story and say 'well write it!' and when others ask me to come and talk to their class I say "Pay me!" I observe the world around me, I record what I see, smell, hear, taste and feel and I do my job every day. I write and draw. It is my career. :)