Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Patience

Okay, I know it's been a while since I posted, but there hasn't been much to report of late from the Land of Me. Work on the new book has been halting, but that's to be expected; it always takes me a while to get into the rhythm of a new piece, long or short, and to be honest, real life's been getting in the way a little more than I'd like. I've been meaning to post about the perils and pitfalls of incorporating backstory into the second in a series (an issue that's new to me), but that's a topic for another time. See, today, I'd rather talk about patience.

I confess, these past couple years of writing and submitting have made me something of an acceptance junkie. Whether shorts, or queries, or whatever, there's something addictive about the charge you get when somebody likes what you've written. Hell, just having stuff out on submission is exciting, because you never know when you're gonna get that letter, that e-mail, that call. But as I addressed in the last post, I've not written any shorts of late, which means acceptance-wise, things are kinda quiet 'round here.

There's oodles of writing advice floating around on this-here series of tubes, some good and some bad, but the one thing I've found most useful of late is courtesy of Joe Konrath. Now, I don't agree with all of Joe's advice, but one of his common refrains has been resonating with me of late: namely, that you should only set goals that are actually within your control. A finished first draft is an attainable goal, as is a final draft that you're proud of. Whether it's a runaway bestseller is out of your hands. Of course, thinking that way takes a bit of rewiring, but I'm working on it. (Thinking that way, not rewiring my brain.) (Crap, the parentheticals are back!) And my feeling is, if you kick ass at everything that's within your control, everything else will sort itself out.

So yeah. I love short stories -- and have every intention of continuing to write them -- but for me, books are where it's at. I think The Angels' Share is a damn good book. I think Dead Harvest is even better. I'm doing my level best to make the next one better than that. As for all the rest, I turn to the inspirational words of Mr. Axl Rose: "All we need is just a little patience."

Of course, this from the guy who's taken fifteen years to put a freakin' album together, but I digress...