East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Fear of finishing, part 2

And let’s admit it, it is fitting that a post about the endless reworking / rewriting / tweaking / revising we do to our work in order to push the finish line as far as possible should have a second part.
I mean, the first was not quite finished, right?

Well, here is where I talk about academia, roleplaying games, and “the funny incidents that happen when you try and make your living as a writer” (remember? this was the topic of the comic book I was told to start posting instead of these useless words I am putting on my blog and nobody reads anyway).

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Fear of finishing

I’ve got another bunch of revisions from my current client, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the gentleman is a victim to something we (meaning, we that write regularly, to a market, for a living) should know quite well: it’s the fear of finishing.
I’ve seen people crash and burn because of that.

I do not know what the psychological mechanism actually is, but there is this increasing sense of anxiety bordering on panic that sometimes settles in when you approach the end of a story you are writing. You suddenly feel the need to re-read, revise, re-write, start it all over. What up to yesterday was quite fine, now is not that good anymore.
Because you are so close to sending it off to the editor, or to the publisher, or to the Amazon KDP oompa-loompas, and you can’t do that unless this is absolutely perfect and right now quite clearly it is not.

I believe that becoming a professional writer means also being able to overcome this fear, being able to say “his is enough, this is as good as it will ever be, let’s put it out there and see if it can cope.”

Considering my client is availing himself of the services of a ghostwriter, he should trust me enough to live through this last phase easily.
But this whole project has been based on a hard core of mistrust in my abilities, and as a consequence, right now, my client is panicking, and there is nothing I can do but let him exhaust himself.
I could try and explain it to him again, but he would not listen anyway.

On to writing my own stories to fill the vacuum while I wait.

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A forced vacation

Somebody said once that writers never take time off – you’re in the queue at the supermarket, and you’re mentally working on something… ruminating a plot point, stealing a snippet of eavesdropped conversation for recycling in your work in progress, considering what chances are for your next submission.
A vacation – that in my case might mean, sitting in the shade in my courtyard, with a bowl of ice cream and a good book – is not different – that good book I’d be reading? It’s still part of the learning process, still a source of ideas, or a sample of someone’s writing I admire, and I’d like to be able to emulate.
When you make a living writing, your brain never lets up.

And yet…

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Lunch break at the Outpost

Today was another good day – I mailed a translation and a chunk of gaming-related material, and then I did some improvisational cooking to put together some lunch. As I was eating, I checked out the first two episodes of a series I did not know, called The Outpost.

Let’s pilfer the summary from Wikipedia:

The Outpost follows Talon (Jessica Green), the lone survivor of a race called ‘Blackbloods’. Years after her entire village is destroyed by a gang of brutal mercenaries, Talon travels to a lawless fortress on the edge of the civilized world, as she tracks the killers of her family. On her journey to this outpost, Talon discovers she possesses a mysterious supernatural power that she must learn to control in order to save herself, and defend the world against a fanatical religious dictator.

Oh, my…

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Covers (that sell the books)

Today it was a good day, and it started good yesterday night, when over an excellent (and crazy expensive!) pizza with a friend and a colleague writer, we outlined a shared universe and decided we’ll have a go at it in the next few months.
Then today I did a lot of writing and translating, got a fer bills settled, and got good news for a few projects.

So I decided I deserved a small award, and went browsing on Amazon for something to read. Not that I lack books to read at the moment, but what the heck, ebooks do not have an expiration date, right?

And because I feel like reading science fiction (like a do, normally, in the summer) and because I am, after all, one of those guys that choose their reading matter because of the covers, I saw these, checked out a few reviews, and got them without any further hesitation.
Because sometimes the cover sells you the book, right?