Random Thoughts

No sharing of blog posts today.  I figured I’d share some random thoughts I’m having instead because I’m sure all y’all just love to hear those.  Haha…

So, first, yesterday I received in the mail the paperback proof of one of my non-fiction titles.  I have to say, it was the coolest thing in the world to hold an actual, physical copy of the book in my hands.  And it actually looked pretty decent.  If I didn’t know I’d written it, I’d just think it was a normal, everyday book.

A skinny one.  My non-fiction titles are in the 15K-20K word range.  But still.

Very cool moment.

And when I was setting the files up in Createspace I realized how lucky I was to spend the last fifteen years in a professional environment writing reports on a regular basis, because a number of things I had to do to create each book used skills I’d learned in that environment.  Like realizing the draft Table of Contents they provide is a table and being able to either delete rows, insert rows, split a table, or expand the width of a specific column.

Or being able to change the view so I could see the formatting marks and be sure to keep the section breaks in place while adding a page break as needed.

So, all of you with office-type day jobs out there, remember that the skills they’re training you on, and paying you to learn, will come in handy for your writing career, too.

Second, I’m taking a couple of online writing workshops right now because I just feel like there’s something in my writing that’s missing before I can get to the next level, but I have no frickin’ clue what it is.  So I wanted to get someone who’s been around a while to look at my writing in particular and give me some input.

Now I’m torn.  Because part of me thinks the writing samples I submitted are pretty darned good and that’s what I want to hear.  But if that’s what I hear I will be so darned depressed, because it’ll mean there isn’t something obvious that I can do to hit that next level.  Or that I’m looking in the wrong areas for how to fix my writing.

I don’t want to be told I suck, but at least if I’m told I suck and why, I can do something to improve it.

Third, and a bit contradictory to the second point, someone left a five-star review on one of my freebies!!  It made my day.  So thank-you to that person.  I like that story a lot even though it’s short and goofy.  It’s one of the reasons I chose it as one of the two stories I set to free.

Fourth, I completely scrapped my writing plan for the month.  As of the 1st I was going to try to write and publish fifteen short titles and write a new novel.  Then I realized one of the short stories that I keep working on and putting aside because it doesn’t fit with what I’m publishing really wants to be a novel.  So, now I’m going to try to write two novels this month along with three short stories and one non-fiction project I’ve been working on off and on for a month or so.

Haha.  That’s about 150K new words I need to write.  So far my best month has been 70K, so the odds of hitting that goal seem pretty low.  But we’re getting to the point where if I don’t start to see some traction soon I may just have to go sell my soul to the consulting gods for a while.  And I really don’t want to do that.  Maybe desperation will motivate me to be productive.

I always have done really well under intense stress…Maybe that’s my problem.  Not enough stress.

Fifth, my one little Christmas-themed story that’s been my only breakout hit just keeps chugging along.  I think it’s a fifth of my sales for this month and was more than a third of my sales for last month.  If I had any clue why that story sells so well compared to everything else, I’d write another one like it.

Unfortunately, I think I’m learning one of those writerly lessons.  Which is that we as writers are the worst possible judges of our work and sometimes a story will resonate with readers and you will have no idea why.

But maybe that’s just a sign of where I am in my writerly path.  Maybe someone ten years further along would be able to see clearly why this one story does so much better than the others.  Not me.  But, hey, that story may be the reason I hit the 1,000 titles sold mark this month, so can’t complain too too much about it.

Well, just have to keep chugging along, trying different things, seeing what works…

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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