Thursday, November 12, 2009

The hard parts of writing

Ideas are easy. Writing is easy, even though writing well may not always be. Even revisions are easy. No, the hard parts of writing are the parts no one ever tells dewy-eyed young writers about.

I just had to write another bio. I hate those things. How do I make a bio sound interesting but not amateurish, informative without being brusque? Answer: a lot of work. And I still probably failed.

Queries are hard. Synopses are hard. Sure, there are writers who like writing both, but there are some people who enjoy getting their heads run over by trucks. There's no accounting for taste. If I had to choose one or the other, queries are not quite as awful as synopses. Synopses are horrrrrrible.

Keeping track of contracts is not easy, no matter how organized a writer is. I have a big plastic file where I keep contracts, each one in its own folder, and on the front of the folder I write when I signed and sent the contract, when my copy of the contract was returned, when reprint rights become available, how much I'm being paid and when the payment was received, and whether I've received my comp copy. Thank goodness for manila folders.

Keeping track of submissions is simpler than it used to be because of Duotrope, but I never rely 100% on Duotrope. What if its server tanked tomorrow? I keep a binder with careful records of every submission I've made since 2007. I'm always having to refer to it.

Taxes. Taxes are really hard. This week I received my first, albeit tiny, royalty check for Jack of All Trades. Taxes this spring are going to be...interesting. As in "may you live in interesting times" interesting.

Networking and The Business is not as hard as writing a synopsis and can be fun, but it's complicated. This week alone I've written a guest blog about editing, posted a review on Skunk Cat Book Reviews (which I love to do and started for fun, but which is all part and parcel of writerly networking), written that bio and sent a photo for an anthology, read a short story proof and responded to that editor, and updated my blog.

Yeah, this blog. Updated!


Aaron Polson said...

Sometimes, doing any of the above befuddles me. I'm convinced Synopses were created by evil minions of the Keebler Elf Empire.

K.C. Shaw said...

That explains it! Those horrible, horrible elves.

BT said...

They say a hobby is something you do to fill in spare time. Something you have a passion for, well, we all have a passion for writing and, as you've so ably portrayed here, we also no longer have any spare time!

And just for the record, I hate synopsiseseses as well.

Danielle Birch said...

Royalty cheque: Sweet!

I hate writing bios too. I always feel like I'll sound like a real tosser.

And synopses, I agree with Aaron and BT. Evil.

K.C. Shaw said...

BT--I remember the olden days when I had hobbies instead of a passion (or maybe an obsession, I don't know). :)

Danielle--I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble with bios. I can never seem to hit the right tone.

Carrie Harris said...

Will you hate me if I say I kinda like synopses? It's so easy to spot the sucky parts of a book when you're trying to write a synopsis.

Bios, though? Hate 'em with a fricken passion.

Jamie Eyberg said...

My bio sounds so generic that it is almost embarrassing. I have never tried to write a synopsis so I know I am in a world of hurt when everyone else cringes at them.

K.C. Shaw said...

Carrie--There must be something wrong with you if you like writing synopses. Do you perhaps also like getting your head run over with a truck? No wait, don't answer that. I don't want to know.

Jamie--Everyone but Carrie, but she's been bitten by a zombie so she's not functioning correctly. Synopses are horrible.

Cate Gardner said...

I knew Carrie was going to say something along those lines. I think if she likes them so much, she should write ours. :/ with added :D

K.C. Shaw said...

I think that's a great idea! She'd undoubtedly do a better job than me.

Fox Lee said...

Oh I'm paranoid about duotrope.

K.C. Shaw said...

Natalie--Duotrope will be fine unless I stop keeping my paper records. Then they'll crash and burn. But don't worry, I won't forget to update on paper, so we're all safe!