Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A New Year? Let’s Start With...

Welcome back. Glad to see you all successfully made the transition to 2021. Crap, I mean 2022. Anyway, for me, it's been new year, new computer. Which really meant two days setting up said computer after two weeks of stressing over a new word processing program.

But that's all in the past now.

Normally I’d post this start-o’-the-year ramble (or any other post) on Thursday. But that’s one of the things I want to change up this year (more on that below). Plus there’s a chance tomorrow might be a little chaotic this year (and that chaos could come in many forms and/or directions), so I figured I’d get this out a little early.

And what is this, you ask?


Well, the ranty blog’s about writing advice. It used to be a lot more ranty, but I’ve tried to mellow out over the years. I always wanted this to be a more positive place for aspiring writers and I’m always trying to bend things that way. Less “don’t do that” and more “try to do this,” if that makes sense? A lot of times I’ll revisit a topic just so I can do it from that angle.

In the past, the majority of the posts were writing advice. Not publishing, but writing as the art of stringing words together into a narrative that will connect with an audience. That was the original point of this, to make up for the lack of basic writing advice out there. But over the past two years, with everything going on, people have asked questions about the business side of things and the greater writing meta-verse, so to speak, and I’ve been trying to help out by answering those.

The ranty blog’s also about a little bit about motivation. Helping you to sit down and get those words out. Maybe suggesting some easier ways to do something. Maybe giving you a little challenge or a tip or a trick to play with when your brain’s stuck on whatever. I’ve tried to do this a few times and a few different ways. For a lot of folks, the biggest, toughest part of writing is actually sitting down and writing, so I’m here to give you the occasional firm kick in the butt. Or a gentle one. Whatever works best for you.

Finally, if I’m doing this right, I’m giving you a little reassurance. There’s so much information flying around out there. We can go looking for it or just get smacked in the face with it on social media. How fast and productive this person is. What a great deal they got. How easy this was for them. It's easy to see something like this and feel like I must be doing something wrong. I mean, if I'm not writing 3000 words a day and I struggle with dialogue and I don't understand structure at all... maybe this just isn't for me? Hell, I only wrote 15,000 words for NaNoWriMo last year, so I must be screwing this up somehow...

If any of this sounds familiar... don't worry about it. Seriously. Hopefully I can convince you you're not wrong, you haven't screwed up, and you should definitely keep at this. Again, everybody approaches this a little differently, and just because somebody's faster or finds this part easier or accomplished that quicker doesn't necessarily mean we need to change how we're doing things.

I suppose at this point it's also fair to say I use this space for self promotion. Not a lot--I don't want to be that guy shoving a book in your face every five minutes--but when the time comes, we do what we need to do. And, y'know, I do have a new book coming out in a few weeks so.... be prepared for that.

(The Broken Room, available this spring at your favorite local bookstore, chain bookstore, or monolithic online retailer)

And if you've made it this far, a couple changes in the weeks ahead. I'm probably going to be posting a bit more... well, erratically. Still at least once a week, but it won't always be on Thursday. That was just kind of an arbitrary day and more than a few times I've felt kind of stuck and that a few things stumbled because of it. So watch for posts, y'know, whenever. Still probably a lot on Thursday, but other days, too.

Also... I may finally be migrating the ranty blog over to my own webpage-- PeterClines.Com . It's just kind of been sitting there for years and I want to get better about keeping it updated and making it somewhere for people to actually visit, y'know. Plus, that way the ranty blog's a little more under my own control and not subject to the whim of some corporation. I'll make sure you all know if it happens.

And I think that's everything. Any questions? Comments? Requests?

Next time I'm probably going to talk about the people driving this thing.

Until then... go write.

4 comments:

  1. This post came at a great time. I picked up the writing bug that I dropped a few years ago with work and life taking priority. I am struggling to get back into a rhythm of sitting down and writing again. I am trying to give writing a priority and make time every day but it is a struggle. I look forward to your posts and they help motivate me and give me plenty of food for thought so please keep in keeping on. One question I have and have been struggling with is how do you take a thread of a conflict or idea and really flesh it out into something you can write about. I think of ideas and get stuck in analysis paralysis thinking its not enough to write a full story on, even a short story.

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    1. It's a huge struggle to find the time when it isn't your actual job, and there are a lot of other things that (justifiably) get priority. That you're trying to fit it in is fantastic, seriously.

      You may want to check out something I did about a year and a half ago-- the A2Q. It's basically just walking through the process of going from bare ideas to plots, characters, and eventually a full, polished manuscript.

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  2. Your blog has been enormously helpful. Some of your hard truths have made my work a lot better. I still feel compelled to use Twitter under duress during this grueling query process, but that's mostly because the manuscript submission forms seem to want it. I made a lot of the mistakes you talk about but I think I was more open to changing them because of how clearly you explained the issues. Some of my self-publishing friends might have been a bit more inflexible...

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