Saturday, January 29, 2011

What To Do When You're Not Writing.

by Louis Bertrand Shalako


All Rights Reserved

What do I do when I am not writing? Well, I might be going through my list of submissions, to make sure seven days have passed since my last rejection. Some markets have this stipulation in their submission guidelines. I might go through my list of stories, all in one or two folders, e.g. 'sci-fi stories,' or 'non-fic subs,' some simple label like that.

I have three postal submissions all ready to go. I just need postage, i.e. Monday morning, out they go.

This sci-fi/f/h/spec-fic folder has a fair number of stories in it, and sometimes I literally submit to pro markets and the 'for the luv' markets, and everything in between. I look for new markets in other writer's posts on facebook and stick them in a document file.

There is always stuff to do.

I might be going through a folder and deleting old versions, or even just different formats--while one market might require a .txt file pasted into the body of an e-mail, there is little call for it later, whether the story is accepted or rejected. 'Delete.'

I might be reading everything I can get my hands on regarding the business side of the publishing industry, and I'm not reading ancient history either. I prefer to look into the future where I have the opportunity to do a little re-writing.

'I want some input.'

I check out market lists. If you do it fairly regularly, you might be the very first guy to ever submit to a new market. Some editor, sweating it out in hopes of getting some good submissions and making a go of things in a pretty tough world, will remember your name for quite a while.

So, if I am not writing anything, I act like a businessman, an editor, a publisher, a researcher, literally anything rather than some unemployed guy just killing time. It may look all the same to an objective, outside observer, but my time is 'directed.' It can still be fun and relaxing, and we often stumble across ideas and inspiration.

As a publisher of my own works, I still have concerns of an ethical nature. On some theoretical level, I understand that some publishers might pull a few strings and make things happen--put someone's name in for an award, that sort of thing. I don't know if it's the world's second largest inferiority complex or what, but yeah...that's a toughie.

At some point I have to go and input some data into the Canadian SF Association database, so that I can be in there for all of history. I think I'll just put my very best published work...just one in there and be very, very humble. Oh, and there is a deadline. But that one will take some grab-myself-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck type of motivation.

We are privileged to be able to do this at all. (And we bleeping well know it.)

Okay, facebook is not exactly face-to-face, 'let's go have a beer, boys and girls,' but here we are rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest writers, poets, and artists of our time, and a few guys in disguise for some very good reasons.

You really can't put a price on that.

Let's just call it, 'precious,' and leave it there for the moment!

It keeps life interesting.

What else have I got going on? Twitter is kind of tough. What the hell am I going to say? But a little research goes a long way, too.

I'm always leery about signing up for new things. There is a workload, a learning curve, some chance of spam or whatever. In that sense, it is a kind of game. I like to think it through a little bit before making any hasty decisions. Nothing in life comes for free. What do I hope to gain, what is the cost, up front and hidden, and what are the dangers, obvious and otherwise?

There is a fair bit of disinformation out there, and not all posts, statements, or opinions expressed by acknowledged experts are appropriate to my own business model. It really does pay to listen. After a while, you learn who your friends are, among other things. You learn who to listen to; and who to ignore...or tolerate.

That little stint in journalism school might pay off after all.

UPDATE: I just went through all my blogs and updated the ads. Simple little things, and try to keep it tight. (And sometimes I come back later and look for typos.)


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