Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Writing Dry Spell, Book Review, And Other Happenings.

Good morning, faithful readers.

I guess I'm getting to the point where I need to deviate from posting up articles exclusively about fiction craft in favor of something a little more personal just so I can get any post out at all. Don't worry, I'm still keeping this relevant to the subject at hand. Writing's a journey, right? You might as well hear a bit about mine.

Lately I've been going through a writing dry spell. I blame my day job, my many social involvements, and the writing workshop I attended at Timegate. The day job has become ultimately boring and tedious. My job title is copywriter, but with the shortage of time and people, I haven't done any writing for it for at least the past 3-4 months. I realize that it's time to start looking for a new job and I've been working on a writing sample for a game developer position near Seattle. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and the steampunk/geek community here in Atlanta. However it's got d*ck all when it comes to jobs in my field outside of temp-work.

My social life has gotten thoroughly busier. Starting one's writing career is not only about writing, it's about the connections one makes in life. It's about how to market oneself. I am a steampunk enthusiast. My novel takes place in a steampunk setting. Therefore, through certain very good friends of mine, I have been getting more involved in the steampunk community here in Atlanta and elsewhere. I'm currently helping my friend, Doctor Q put together the Mechanical Masquerade, a huge steampunk-themed masquerade ball in November (by the way, he's also putting on a Wild West themed event on July 23rd; if you're in the Atlanta area, check it out!). I've also started writing articles for his news site, The Steampunk Chronicle. Actually the reason why I started writing this post today was to garner some attention for my book review on there of Caitlin Kittredge's The Iron Thorn.  Other than that, I guess I've been out and about more to escape the now quiet darkness of my apartment--my only company my cat as I sit among wall decorations and furniture that are not even mine. But I've also found that being social is expensive, which is also why I'm learning to cope and stay home. The fact that I'm also preparing to go to the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade in two weeks helps. Sewing and Netflix work wonders for one's mind.

The writing workshop at Timegate proved to not be all that helpful, instructor-wise. Now mind you, I am learning on how to accept criticism and not take it personally, but I also am able to tell when a person does or does not have any business teaching. There is a difference between constructive criticism and personal attacks, the instructor didn't seem to know it. Also in a market where books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane and the Damned, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell often make it to the bestseller lists, how can someone honestly claim that no one writes or reads the Victorian style anymore? Really I ended up getting better advice from the participants of the workshop, and also found a new beta reader who's just been plain awesome so far. If you're reading this, hun, I will get you the next chapter soon! I just want to clean it up a little first.

I do admit the workshop has done a bit of a number on my self-esteem as a writer, making me constantly question my skill as a writer. I'm working on getting over it, though. Beer helps. Remembering the coolest moment from the workshop for me also helps. The guy who read my chapter aloud turned out to be a voice actor and not only did he enjoy it, but the way he read each character sounded almost exactly like the way they sounded in my head while writing it. To think that he was able to hear what I heard does make me feel worlds better.

As far as I'm concerned, I really should just file the instructor of that workshop away with the possible internet trolls I'll probably need to deal with once my books get out on the market. An instructor should be supportive and inspire you to improve your writing, not attempt to swear you off of it. As much as I knock on my previous creative writing professor, she has always been supportive of her students' work. She doesn't always understand my work, and who could blame her without being all that versed in genre fiction. However, I am thankful for her, especially when I was lucky to have her working with me when I can't imagine what sort of headache the Timegate instructor's students in Missouri have to go through with her on a daily basis. I imagine beer helps.

In case you missed the link, click here to read my book review for Caitlin Kittredge's The Iron Thorn!

Until next time, happy writing!

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