Get It Down, No Matter What (Writing Tip No. 3)

“Curiouser and curiouser.”

Get It Down, No Matter What (Writing Tip No. 3)

I tweeted last night: “What to do when you want to blog but are too far from your computer and too tired to move. Tomorrow at www.literarywonderland.wordpress.com.” At the time, it seemed like a perfectly good idea. I could go to sleep and dream of peaceful things, wake up, have a day, and then write something brilliant that would rock the blogosphere! Guess how that worked out?

Man, I must have been half asleep when I sent that! What was I going for?? See this is a perfect example of why I should just curl up every night with my laptop. It doesn’t make a very comfortable pillow but I suppose I could rest it on my nightstand and bust it out when inspiration strikes.

So what should you do when you have a creative notion but are too exhausted to do something about it? If your answer is “I do anything I possibly can to preserve it” then you’re on the right track! Some writers keep a notepad by their bed, others whip out their smart phone or iPad and jot it down before it slips away. However you can do it—talk into a tape recorder, wake up your very understanding wife and ask her to remember it, write it on the inside of your eyelids with mascara—I don’t care, just save it somehow! Our brains aren’t equipped to handle brilliance during slumber! Or at least I know mine isn’t.

There have been too many times in my life that I have jolted awake in the wee small hours of the morning, fallen crazy in love for some damn good writing idea, and, confident that it was simply too good to forget, I would fall right back to sleep, safe with the knowledge that, of course I’ll remember it tomorrow. Of course I will. This is the big one! But then, lo and behold, when the crow crows, all that remains on the tip of my tongue is one great and sour DAMNIT!

Write it down, folks. Our subconscious is too precious to ignore, too slippery to contain, and too merciless to give us a break. Let’s start losing some sleep for our good ideas before we lose more of our good ideas to sleep.

Good night.

At Any Rate – A Freshman Freelancer’s Opening Numbers

I played around with a freelance calculator today. It popped out the results I suppose I expected. It’s not easy bein’ green. You gotta work in order to be.

In Lynn Wasnak‘s helpful piece, How Much Should I Charge, she states “smart full-time freelance writers and editors annually gross $35,000 and up—sometimes up into the $150,000-200,000 range.” Granted, the article and pay chart that followed were based on the cost of living in 2005-2006*. Has that much changed in six years? I don’t suppose here in 2012, many freelancer writers are making over two-hundred grand. If you are, God bless you and keep up the good work! For the rest of us though, what are we looking at? What is a number that we are comfortable with, a number that will represent for us, not just a means of paying the mortgage, electricity, hot water and food but also with the all too vital feeling of self worth and satisfaction that we, as a species, so desperately need. How could you ever put a price on that?

I’m speaking rhetorically quite a bit here, of course. We each have our individual lifestyles to maintain. To each his own (and hers). Coming from a newbie’s perspective, I can tell you that I’d be happy with no less than a cool thirty million a year.

And the crowd goes wild with laughter!

Did you like that one? Ppbbtthh.

At any rate… <interjection: I just found this entry’s title> I am sure that learning about your billable hours and hourly rates is a learning process just as everything else. One thing’s for certain though: this new gig’s got class.

LW

*I am now realizing that there is a 2011 pay rate calculator on Waznak’s site. D’oh!

I wrote today.

Are there three words in the English language that, when placed side by side by side, are more attractive, alluring, and meaningful than these three words?

I wrote today.

Can you write those words right now and mean it? If you consider yourself a writer, I wish their bliss upon you. My writing, as of late, has largely consisted of editing. The short of it is that I conceived an idea for a novel not quite two years ago (I know the exact date because Google Calendar rules my life). Two years is a long time to be stewing in something. Have you ever done that? Have you ever had a genius of an idea but just sat on it, writing bits and pieces as you go, but never really fully committing to what it could be? Well I’m here to tell you that whatever your idea is, it could be great, if only you would let it. You’re writing for some reason and I assume that reason is because you believe in your story. So why not set it free? What do you have to lose?

I’m actually nearing the end of this particular work and this is how I did it. I dilly-dallied for a long long time. Skip that step if you haven’t already. Take this that I have learned from that wasteful period to heart: write it down. I’ll say it again. Write it down. I’ll expand on that thought. Write it all down. Write it down write it down write it down. And then, when you stop, it’s ok. Take a break. Take a day or a week or a month at most but then come back, and write it down again. Just keep going. Writing is easy. It’s editing that’s hard.

So here I am and I’m editing. The way I do it is I started at the beginning. Chapter One. I went through it and I worked it. I worked the living hell out of it. I rewrote it and I studied it and I rewrote it again. And then I moved on to the flaming heap of crap that was Chapter Two and I did the same meticulous work with that. And so on and so on.

Today, I very proudly finished editing/re-writing Chapter Nine. During my day’s painstaking highs and lows, I have discovered that it is a short chapter and tomorrow, I will fuse it to Chapter Ten making one great big wonderful, polished and supercharged breaker breaker one Niner (did I hear a Niner in there?). I’m so excited I almost don’t want to sleep through the night. But I have to. If, for no other reason than the gross fact that I scratched my cornea with my contact last night and my eyeball is still healing. Eww! Did you just read that right? Why did I write that? I guess because it’s true. And it’s painful. And I wrote like a fucking madman today anyway. I wrote through the pain and I feel all the prouder for it.

I’m going to celebrate by cooking up some beef stir fry, drinking scotch, and donning a homemade eye patch made out of dryer sheets and duct tape.

Yar, matey. (I was kidding about the last part.)