New Goals and New Steps

So it’s been a mixed bag here lately. On the good side, I’m applying for a new internship. The whole secret thing I was talking about? I’d tried to get on as an editorial assistant at the place I was interning at. I didn’t get rejected, but they took 3 months just to tell me they wanted the large picture edits in line like copy edits rather than in comment boxes. That method is not only not the industry standard way of doing it, but quite cumbersome. Combined with something a friend who’s heavily involved in romance communities said, I’m not pursuing that place anymore. A lot of factors went into the decision, but I don’t think I’d be happy working for them. Ultimately, I need to both respect my boss and feel they’re getting their work done in an efficient manner and with clear communication skills. Many unresponded to emails, lack of follow through, and unclear expectations pretty much killed it for me. On the good side again, the intern coordinator I worked with there will write me a recommendation letter, and I have every expectation I should be interning again in fairly short order. So while I’m annoyed at the time spent waiting on them, other changes have made new, better opportunities open up.

See, here’s the thing: Any position, be it an internship or paid work, will have to be online and with a flexible schedule. I simply can’t give up the reliability of my dayjob to commute 3 hours a day to NYC to be a glorified secretary, which is what the entry level positions at a lot of houses are. This leaves certain agencies, certain publishers, and freelancing. I think after this next internship, if I can’t get a full position at an acceptable place, I may just hang out a freelance shingle. Content development and refinement is far more enjoyable to me than copy editing, and while I can do CE work, it’s not what inspires me. There’s a madness and a method in finding the Right stories, and I know I can do it.

Sooner or later, it WILL happen. It will take 5 years from whenever I start getting paid work for me to give up a day job, most likely. But this? Is a good thing. It gives me time to get to know more people.

I’ll be at ALA Midwinter under my RL name, speaking of. Are any of you going? It’s only a few blocks from my place, so I couldn’t resist. If you’re going, let me know, we’ll meet up and hang out! I’m only going the weekend days, due to my dayjob, but it should still be enjoyable!

Also, I’m planning on going to BEA in May. I’m not sure how many days, yet, but I’ll at least go for the reader day, bare minimum. If KT comes up for the whole week, I’ll join her.

Meanwhile? I’m going to keep plugging along. If it’s meant to happen, I’ll make it happen.

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Setting limits and handling “No”s

Imagine this:

Alice and Jess are neighbors. They chat about superficial things at neighborhood dinner parties, including TV shows. They might have been better friends if they tried, but neither really put in much effort, and so their discussions were always distant. Then, one day at a dinner party, Jess starts telling Alice about this TV show that she made. Alice, not wanting to be rude, but not really interested, says, “That’s nice. I’ll have to look it up later.” Every time Jess sees Alice- in the shopping mall, at the grocery store, at the park- all Jess talks about is this TV show, and how many ratings it’s getting. Since Alice knows something about how TV shows work, she decides to check it out too, just to see what’s got her acquaintance so obsessed.

The TV show is not Alice’s cup of tea (Yes, I did pick the name just to use that pun). Not only can she see the strings holding the space ship, but the whole thing was filmed in Jess’s basement with a handheld 8mm camera, and full of her off key singing. She tries fast forwarding to another episode, only to find it’s more of the same.

Alice, not wanting to hurt Jess’s feelings, says nothing. She pretends that she just hasn’t gotten around to it. After all, there’s a million TV channels and hundreds of shows on each one, and she only watches a TV show once every few days anyway.

Until Jess tosses a box full of DVDs of her show into Alice’s living room, and tells her to go stand on the side of the highway handing copies out, because she wants more views.

Now, Alice has a busy life. All those mushrooms won’t grow themselves, and someone’s gotta make the doormouse stop screaming. The Cheshire cat’s gotten out again, and the Hatter’s spilled mercury all over the floor. Plus, Alice is trying to get hired at the local TV station, and they’ll see her and think she likes that awful show. It’s a small favor, but Alice is being asked to do something for nothing, and getting nothing out of it except inconvenienced when she already has too much to do.

Alice says no. Alice sets a limit and explains her reasoning.

That should be the end. Alice owes Jess nothing. Period.

Sometimes, you have to tell people no. Publishing is an industry where you will ALWAYS hear no more than yes. The old quip about a thousand monkeys banging on a typewriter? Describes publishing perfectly. It takes a long time and a lot of work, and the odds are SO damned small that your work will be a success. What do you figure each monkey jabbing at a typewriter would think if suddenly, they’re told they’re writing Shakespeare and they get all the bananas? With self-publishing, any monkey can grab the results of their typewriter and claim it’s Shakespeare. Doesn’t make it true. Doesn’t mean the next monkey over needs to give them a ride to the fruit stand.

Sometimes, you have to respect no. Even if you disagree, even if you think they’re being selfish or mean, or that if they needed help you’d help… No still means no. It is not context dependent.

Flat out: I will sing your praises from the sky if I feel your book is wonderful. You won’t even have to ask. You’ll know exactly how I feel about your book. If I am ASKED for crit, I will give it directly, good, bad, or indifferent. But if you ask me to do anything, I reserve the right to say no. I only get 24 hours in my day, just like everyone else. I don’t mind people asking for a quick favor, be it a crit or some promotional help. I do mind people who won’t take no for an answer and have little drama queen, childish fits.

Alice looks scornfully on Jess as Jess kicks and screams on the porch, then closes, and locks, the door.

That’s quite enough of that! Alice thinks as she takes a sip of pishsalver and goes chasing down the doormouse.

Aww, I got an award!!

Very Inspiring Blogger award

Aww! Chy (AKA Cheyenne) tagged me, and I couldn’t resist. She’s such a sweetheart, saying nice things about me! It totally made my night when I saw that!
So, the rules:

Display the award on my blog.
Link back to the person who nominated me.
State 7 things about myself.
Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them.
Notify these bloggers of the nomination and award’s requirements.

1. I really don’t sneak extra hours into my day. It only seems like that because I read fast and make the most of spare moments when I find them!
2. I’ve been writing for over 10 years, but only really got serious about it after I took a year long break and stopped trying to fit myself into the mold of the groups I’d been in.
3. I come across as confident only because I’ve learned how to project that mask over the last 20 odd years.
4. I was told I should be a doctor, because my handwriting is so bad. Looking at most writer’s autographs? I think writers are worse!
5. I’ve written so many novels that I’ve lost count, but I can still tell you the plots of almost all of them. Many I might go back to once I’m skilled enough to redo them.
6. There are few genres I don’t read: Horror, mystery, religious fiction, and westerns. There are some genres I’m incredibly picky on: Romance/Paranormal/urban fantasy with romance elements, women’s fiction, epic fantasy, and hard scifi. And there are some I’ll devour almost any time: YA, fantasy that avoids getting over 500 pages per book, and softer scifi.
7. My problem is never coming up with ideas. It’s finding the right combination of ideas/characters/settings/plot to make it all work together.

I’m not nominating that many bloggers, because to be honest, I don’t think I READ that many blogs. But all of you in #Writemotivation motivate me to stick with it, to push that one extra page out. Chy, Jai, KT, Drew, Becca, Rebekah,Trisha, and so many more, you’re all AMAZING! I’m so glad you’re all in my life! ❤

Weekend reflection

I spent 4 hours today helping E’s mom in the garden. Weeded one bed, between dodging bees, wasps, and a rather large spider that snuck up on me, and partially weeded another. Gorgeous sunshine, snap peas fresh off the vines, a berry bush of unknown kind that looks like it’s about to bloom. I actually knew something she didn’t today, that coriander is the seeds of cilantro. It’s bolted, so it’s now a matter of waiting for it to dry and then harvesting the seeds.
Came in, proceeded to listen to music for a couple hours with my eyes closed, then when the music stopped, actually napping for an hour or so. Finally woke up, ate delicious scrambled eggs, and chatted with the lovely KT. Now I’m listening to SJ Tucker’s Mischief, and reading the latest Rick Riordan novel in the Kane series. Not something that really takes a lot of brain cells, by far, and that’s just the way I want it right now. Just relaxing, listening to beautiful music, reading, and drinking chai (which I really need to remember to measure next time so I can give you guys the recipe). Lovely, lovely day.

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