To Write Like Isaac Asimov

20140409-165623.jpg When I was growing up (and well into adulthood,) I could always count on Isaac Asimov to have written a new book that was interesting and engaging. His work may not have been deathless literature, but to me it was something better: challenging and absorbing. I wanted nothing more than to be able to write stories like that which others could read and love.

Fast forward to today: I’m trying to live that dream. Right now, though, I feel totally inadequate compared to the Supermen of self-publishing over at the Self Publishing Podcast (SPP.) I’m just not putting out the product.

If I had an employee like me, I’d fire her . . . oh, wait. I do. Well, OK, maybe put that employee on a serious productivity improvement plan . . .

Oh wait, I have. It’s called GTD.

It doesn’t help that I went to a self-publishing panel two weeks ago. There were three author panelists (who shall remain nameless.) Each was self-published. When the moderator asked if any of the three had made a profit, we heard . . . dead silence, with crickets chirping. None of those authors had made a dime. Not one. All three were in the red for printing runs, $3k editors, $700 cover artists, $250 blocks of ISBN numbers, ads on ebook advertising blogs, massive launch parties, trips to sci-fi conventions, bribing bookstores for book signings… Of the three, each had another book coming out Real Soon Now, just as soon as the first started selling so they could stop promoting and get back to Writing.

I tuned out at that point. None of the panelists had what I want. I want what Johnny, Sean, and Dave have over at SPP — a bunch of happy readers who pay hard cash for my output. They didn’t achieve that with tons of promotion or advertising. They achieved that with churning out lots of work of reasonable quality, and giving their readers good value for their entertainment dollar (pound, euro, whatever.) In order to have that, though, I need to have, well, output. Lots of output. A book up on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, et. al. And after that, another, and another…

I need to write like a machine. Like a TV sitcom hacker. Like . . . like . . .

Like Isaac Asimov did. For decades.

*Sighs and shrugs.* OK. Time to forgive myself one more time, and pick up the Scrivener project. Again.


NaNoWriMo is arriving again. Crap.

20131029-145811.jpgOnce again, I have no outline, no character, no concept. My attention has been focused on a) revising my Camp NaNoWriMo novel (rough estimate, about 25% through revision) and b) life happening. Not to mention my usual angst and self-pity.

Still, I’ve managed to pull this off twice now. The result was actually better when I started with nothing than when I started with an outline. And my July novel (working title “Leticia”) is my favorite — enough so that I’m absolutely determined to get the revision done.

I’ve toyed with the idea of skipping NaNoWriMo this November, just focusing on my revision. But, dangit, I’m on a roll here. Two attempts, two 50K drafts. It’s said that one of my favorite authors, Isaac Asimov, before the days of word processors (which he refused to adopt,) had multiple typewriters, with a different work in progress on each one. If he got burned out on one, he’d just switch chairs and go to work on the next.

With that example in mind, I may well spend November both writing on the New Novel, and revising “Leticia.” It’s worth a shot.

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