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Monday, 18 March 2013

ON THE RUN.

Final blog post in this latest cycle. Now I’m on the run. Foolish in my attempt at optimism, I ended a post by stating the next event would be…
   Whatever that event was. Publication of a particular item.
   When I published to a strict schedule, I made my deadlines. Then my deadlines switched to a looser format and I managed to publish entries in my FICTION FACTORY line with minimal fuss and negligible bother.
   You publish when it is right to. WEREWOLVES was delayed by a week. All these soft deadlines were flexible. Bloody good job, too, as life got in the way. Some days, I may have pushed too hard. But you have to try, to find out what you can do.
   Pacing is important. When I started out with my fixed deadlines, I made sure I could hit those nails on the head. Even if I took a mad detour one night to talk to a fear-filled author in Michigan. I still don’t know what possessed me to do that.
   Helping other authors is an avenue of exploration marked on Google as a two-way street.
   Strict deadlines. Loose ones. Everything came together, roughly or smoothly. This hasn’t quite been the case with collected versions of REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE. I learned, the usual hard way, that I had to set up a different production-line for those. Technical considerations and publishing decisions multiplied, swamping me.
   Yes, I still generated (or reformatted) a million words of material in that first year of self-publishing. But I didn’t publish everything I wanted to. Newsflash. I never will. There’s always going to be something simmering away on every ring of that stove.
   Irons in the fire. Fish to fry. You know the drill. I looked at a list of things I planned to write, expand, edit, and format over summer. Too ambitious. Still, I compiled that list anyway. And I’ll get back to most of that stuff before the end of the century.
   This year, the list is twice as ambitious. After all, the first list still haunts me.
   What now? Or…what next? More of the same. Plans. A few of those will run a-gley. I’ll adapt. Survive. Continue. Never give up writing. That’s code for never give up reading. It’s also code for never give up writing.
   I may write fiction in my next run of blog posts. Short queasy zombie stories. Who knows. I have one Zombie Apocalypse to be getting on with as things stand. Hey. Why not add another, just for the hell of it…
   An experiment. In writing. Maybe I’ll scribble about an incident in a lab. An experiment that goes horribly right and cures heavy traffic – the hard way. For now, I’ll stick to the general format. Blog repeatedly. Bundle the blogs with fiction to create an e-book running at least 100,000 words.
   Which reminds me. I have to put those REPORTS out. Finally. The first volume went over the proposed word-count. That’s no bad thing. I feel as if I’ve been learning how to run faster than the wind. Self-publishing is an event. Even if nothing seems to happen, pots are on stoves. Fish are frying. Irons glow in the fire.
   Optimism. I’ll end this post with the news that another volume of REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE is published. And it will be. Not immediately. But it will be. In a pessimistic world, it’s good to have some optimism in that near-empty cracked glass.
   And any announcement that you’ll publish…
   Must be backed up. Each proclamation serves as a goad. I spent a night mapping out hyperlinks for files. Straightforward stuff. Until I uncovered an unintentional glitch. My REPORT series has to be the most gremlin-infested thing I’ve worked on so far.
   I feel that I learn formatting afresh every time I come to it. That’s okay. I feel the same when I write a story. Anything is possible. Much is plausible. There’s a hefty dose of the downright silly. Hell, that’s no crime. Blank space must be filled.
   Ever see a movie? Watch a play? Catch a show on TV? Listen to dramatic action on the radio? Someone wrote it.
   I write these blog posts for collection alongside fiction. Writing regularly for an unseen audience, I play the sedulous scribe. There’s no way to emulate Alistair Cooke, but I can nod in his general direction.
   So what about you?
   You want to publish. Do it. What’s holding you back? Fear. An illusory fear.
   Write a few stories. Plan a book. Rattle off poetry. Don’t forget to read. Anything. Everything. Fact. Fiction. Opinion. Outright rant. Read.
   Learn what you have to deal with, to publish. Look at the Amazon site and scroll down to that obscure line inviting you to self-publish. Check it out. Hunt for articles on formatting for Kindle. Read copyright law. Be aware of legal obligations to noted libraries, be they the British Library in London or the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. To name but two.
   Think about book covers. If you can design your own, great. And if you can’t, ask yourself if you can. Have a go anyway. Yes, there’s much to learn. That’s the fun of it. Be patient. Long-haul. Invest time. Make mistakes. Learn from them.
   Persist.
   Advance your cause every day. Learn something. Even if all you did that day was tie off a loose end or return from a dead one. Write. Read and write crap. Then read the good stuff. Write better. Make sure that what works for you actually works for you.
   Endure.
   Change plans. Shift goals. Be fluid without being wishy-washy. I feel as though I’m in a martial art movie, dishing out advice. Never turn your back on your opponent. Unless he’s really big and you can run faster than him.
   I don’t mind admitting mistakes in a writing blog. It’s important to fail. To rise again and try a second time. A third time. Countless times. It’s important to let other would-be writers know this. Even if you fail, and doubt as a result, you LEARN. And you can always RECYCLE what you attempted.
   If you chase a medal at the Olympics, you don’t just walk into the stadium and take up position. The crowd never saw all the private failure that led you to that public starting-point.
   Survive.
   I think of all the failed stories I attempted. And every failure shows you something. You learn structure. And learn, sometimes, to dispense with structure. Suddenly, it’s all at your fingertips. You remember the trudging you did to get that far. Progress isn’t always enjoyable. But when it is, progress is effing amazing.
   Research. That is to say, search and search again. Try to get it right. I’m not here to place undue emphasis on mistakes. No. The emphasis is on learning from them.
   You mean there weren’t Daleks in Hitler’s bunker? Pearl Harbour wasn’t a stripper? Ghostbusters are all fictional with the exception of Abraham Lincoln? That man behind the curtain is the Wizard of Oz? What do you mean, George Michael is gay? Not Sir Elton too. He was married. (And will be again.)
   I hated myself every time I spotted an obvious typo. At times I marvelled at how good a short piece of writing was – wondering who the eff wrote it. (Then realised that was me. Can’t have been me.) I could soar as a writer, but I don’t. Gravity claims me, every time.
   Oh, I have my moments.
   You’ll have your moments too.

*

Office routine washes over me. I think my printer is destined to have one book sitting on top. It’s a different book every time I mention this in a blog post. You knew that.
   I was learning how to run faster than the wind. At first, the wind obliged me by moving at five lowly miles per hour. Things picked up. I had to learn how to go on the run.
   There’s always the chance that I’ll pull the pin on the blog and cut dead so that I can write more stuff. I like having that pin there. It’s my unsafety-pin. We should all have one.
   Play safe. Sound advice. Here’s sounder…
   Scrape your knees. Learn the pain of flames. Bleed a little. Note the sharpness of vinegar in that cut. Go on the run. Type like a maniac. Race to the summit with a flaming brand and throw it on the bonfire. No one is there to cheer you on. Only the wind witnesses your quiet gasping triumph.
   Try writing a story. Fail writing a story. Recycle the ideas. Arrange a next time and do better. Listen to advice. Go with your gut. Educate yourself. Help others. Feel numb. Ignore the numbness. Keep moving. Try harder.
   Storm the beach. Take the castle. Invent the cure. Save the day. Blow it all up. Put it back together. Run. Then walk. Crawl. Get back up. Walk. Then run. Win by participating. Enjoy reading.
   Ever read a story?
   Someone wrote it.
   Be that someone.

NEXT EVENT: REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE (VOLUME 3) IS PUBLISHED.

*

Update. I scrapped the collected blog posts. The blogs exist on the internet, but not as collected volumes. HERE'S A BLOG POST ABOUT THAT.

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