i’ll do anything to write, but, I won’t do that

Dear Internet,

I’ve been on a massive pitching frenzy in the last few weeks. I “sold” (no payment) a flash piece to 101words.org and I have an interview and another review on No Flying No Tights, also upcoming. Currently, I have 12 pieces outstanding, including pitches to big name websites. Anything interesting showing up on freelancewriting.com, I snare ferociously. Everyday I find at least one job to apply for, one more pitch to write, and several fingers to cross.

(A magazine I queried, who seemed to love me, reneged when I submitted my pitches. My followup went unanswered. A small note, “Sorry, these aren’t right for our site” would have been appreciated.)

(I know this frenzy of finding freelance work is what I should have done last year when I officially left my job to write full time, but, hindsight and etc.)

Rejection, I know, is all the name of the game.

Here is what I also know: Non-fiction is my strength. Based on what I’ve done so as much as writing fake articles for the applications, I’m good at what I do. It’s not Pulitzer (yet) but it’s pretty decent.

My love, what I want to do, is write fiction. Again, my strength seems to be in short (flash sized) pieces. 1000 words or less, I’m your girl. It’s the bigger chunks of text that perplex and make me nervous. I can do stream of consciousness on Twitter to the tune of 70,000 tweets at 140 characters per tweet is, well, a lot of characters. (Last count approximated about 10 books based on what I’ve tweeted. Holy. Shit.)

So I work hard everyday writing something, no matter how minute, in the fiction world. I have a project I’m challenging myself with by writing 100 stories that are only 100 words a piece. I’ve got 10 so far. It’s a start.

Also in the writing mix, I’ve not worked on any Freyja Thomas stories in quite some time. That’s another thing in my todo pile that seems to get bigger and bigger.


The thing about being a burgeoning paid author is we’re willing to take just about any opportunity thrown at us to get our name out there. freelancewriting.com is a great resource, along with my trusty Google alert which looks for “fiction” and “call for submissions”, ProBlogger, and Writing Career have been great sites for fiction AND non-fiction. Also, I cannot forget my favorite site of all, Duotrope. There is a lot out there and it’s a matter of finding the right niches for me.

I am specifically thinking of sites like UpWork, which is where you barter work for pennies on the dollar. Literally. Lots of the employers have small budgets, want content created with no byline, and created on the super cheap. By cheap I mean $1 for a 300 word piece. Not $1 a word or $1 per sentence, but $1 for 300 words. Fuck. That. I tried it for a week and the amount of work vs the payoff was worthless. Fiverr is another example of this great American capitalism.

There are a lot of other sites out there that prey on the same ideology: Starving writers need to eat, write for pennies, do not receive bylines or able to show their clips. The more you work, obviously the more money you make, but to what cost? Why spend your time giving other people credit for your work when you can use that time to create (and sell) your own?

That, my friends, is the million dollar question. Not pennies, but million dollars.


In other news and world reports, I bought lisa.wtf sometime back and I’m using it as my portal to all of my sites. It was getting confusing on what sites to put on what signature file, hand out, and other tides and greetings. This solves the problem. (For those wondering, no, I do not use this URL for profesh stuff. Let’s be real here.)

Go check out lisarabey.com with its brand spanking new front page and some updating. I’ve been writing so many damned author bios (each site has a different word count), that it seemed easier to have them all in one place.

xoxo,
Lisa

P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa Universe: 2014, 2000

Brevis in longo

Dear Internet,

Apparently, I’m pretty prolific. In addition to upping my writing here, I’ve also been writing every day in DayOne, which I mentioned here, and also actually working on my fiction. There is one thing to be said for a humanities scholar: We know how to crank out verbiage like no one’s business. Between the three, and this is including the re-writes of public blog entires and the fiction, I’m cranking out about 5,000 words a day. And that is being conservative. Now how much of that is “good” writing? Hard to say, really. My writing in the public sphere tends to be tighter since I obsess over the editing, the writing on the private journal has better readability (because I an writing more freely and more about the minutia of my life), while the fiction writing is still uneven in a deckled edged way. Some of what I produce for the fiction side is dreck and other times, it’s pure gold.

(Also, I decided to style myself as a modern day Samuel Pepys, at least in my head.)

I think one of the reasons why this is becoming a lot easier is that I have finally figured out a system that works for me to keep all of this organized which was so problematic for me for years. I know, it’s crazy considering that I organize shit for a living, but I couldn’t organize my writing to really work for me until now. Finding the Day One app was probably the tipping point, and also being a heavy user of Evernote and Scrivener also helped.

Here’s the status of my current projects, and which will find it’s way to Readers. The main landing page for my writing will also have all posts about this topic on the page, and if a project has their own landing page, those too will have posts updated on their landing page. Thus, if you’re hot into Edwardian good times but not Viking gore, you can skip directly to the landing page for the Edwardian projet instead of slogging through all the posts about Vikings and everything else.

Books

Project Name: Cabinet Particulier
Status: Research
Details of the project on its own page, so I won’t repost them here. I started collecting the research in July and currently haven’t moved forward yet other than doing the readings. Ideally, I see this as a pretty big project (read book series) so I want to get it off to a good start and I have a vague idea of how the first book will go, I want to dig deeper into her world before I begin writing.

Project name: Unnamed Medieval project
Status: Idea formation and preliminary research
Details: At this point I know it’s going to concern a woman, possibly in Scotland, sometime before 1066. Possibly containing Vikings.

Short Fiction

Title: PETITIONS OF THE GODS
Status: 80% finished
Summary: From my notes: Anonymous protagonist gives background on the invitation, a brief history of the Althing, and beginning of the world creation.Our protagonist is losing power and she knows this. The struggle with her, and with others like her, is how to remain relevant in a world when less number of people are believing in them. What would you do to stay relevant?

The beginning and ending are strong, but I’m floundering in the middle. It’s already at 2500 words with some heavy revision in the last week, so much so that the outtakes have their own folder in Scrivener. TheHusband read one of the first drafts and liked a lot of the clever uses for explanation of things but I can’t unstick the sticky at the moment. While I think this is at 80%, I would not be surprised if I end up ripping it entirely apart and restructuring all of it.

Title: AD LIBITUM
Status: 80% finished
Summary: What happens inside the Sistine chapel when no one is looking? Answer: Sex, drugs, and disco.

Idea sparked a “what if” when reading an article tonight about Russia’s Golden Ring and the author wrote eloquently about the medieval cathedrals and churches they were visiting. The line, “Jesus jumped off the cross, stretched, and went to light a cigarette.”, which sparked the idea of what in the hell happens in a cathedral at night when no one is around? Within minutes, I found this gorgeous virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel and the story started writing itself.

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So far, I have nearly a dozen people signed up for Readers, which is awesome. I haven’t decided if I should close the request at this point or keep it open. I had planned on start pushing some of my older stuff through the list to get those cleaned up and publishable, but after reading through many of them decided not to. They are that wretched or I am not into the genre as much anymore or the story just doesn’t appeal to me. So they will stay buried in the digital trunk.

I’m so motivated to be creating again but I keep thinking what do I want to do with the stuff that I create? I definitely want it to be read by the world, but how to go about that is tap dancing in the back of my brain. Having been a bookseller for many years, I work now as a librarian, and then throw in all the writers, literary agents, artists, booksellers, and other people in the publishing world I either know personally or stalk online, I feel pretty grounded on the back end o the industry. I just want to make sure that I do the right thing by my work.

I was pretty thrilled to discover Duotrope yesterday in my quest to sort out submission organization for at least the short pieces because my librarian-fu was actually failing me looking for a comprehensive source for magazines, literary zines, and other such publications to submit my work to. At the very least, I know this is the path I want to take with my shorter fiction. I’m also thinking of some kind of crowdsourcing shenanigans might also be in place too. This is going to be amazing.

TTFN,
Lisa