Friday, March 16, 2007

Coffee Break 9

Word count: 57,050

Can you believe it’s now nine weeks since we started this quest? Now the bulbs are out, the birds are hanging out by my window, and I think we've all added some words. It's excellent to see so many positive comments on how we’re helping each other – and also that we might be making it into Writers’ News.

I’ve had a better week for words, and intend to try for even more in the coming week to meet my target of reaching 70,000 by the end of the month! I’m also entering the pre-publicity phase for my new book, so that’s going to reduce writing time if I get some commissions for features. I am also pondering setting up a mini blog where people fess up to their fears and phobias because that’s the subject of the book – what do you think? Waste of time, or potentially fun?

I’ve also been reading a couple of terrific pieces online – the first is about the reality of writing, and writers’ earnings, and should be compulsory reading for all would-be authors. Amongst the facts in the piece, it reveals:

The average author earns about £16,000, a third less than the national average
wage. But hidden behind that figure released by the Authors' Licensing and
Collecting Society (ALCS) is a grimmer truth: when you take away the superstars
who are earning shedloads, the actual figure for the rest is closer to £4,000

Not to say you can’t make a living from this business, but this accurately depicts the likely financial pickings.

The second one really made me laugh because this sums up how I feel sometimes about the insecurities and neuroses of being a writer, especially the feeling of sibling rivalry. Alain de Botton describes a visit to his publisher…

Then there is the neediness. Whatever the reason for the Penguin visit, the
author really wants to know one thing: do you still love me? It’s an irrational
feeling of course, but – isolated, self-doubting, self-hating, on the brink of
disaster at all times – the author needs dramatic doses of reassurance in order
to make it to the desk every morning.

Anyone else recognise those feelings? And how was your week?

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Blogger Jane Henry said...

Kate, loved the Alain de Botton piece. The Strand offices are rather cool. Much better then anywhere I ever worked! It also made me realise Oh how much I miss working in an office... Though I can't do that and this, so this is better really.

The money thing is nothing new sadly... It's a cruel tough world out there folks.

Have managed to get to 5000 words this week, and hope to have added some more by the end of the day. Every week I promise my agent something and every week I get to this point and say, um....

I do suffer from all the angst everyone does, but I think I am very lucky in that I have been on the other side, so I never set my sights too high. Anything you get in this business is a bonus in my view.

Also my life is sooo mad, by the time I have had a nervous breakdown that my editor doesn't love me one of the children has been sick/broken an arm/had a major fall out with their friends etc, and there isn't time for my existential angst.

Which is actually quite helpful...

Love and hi to all novel racers. Sorry if I don't come visiting, but am spending too much time on blogs and HAVE to get disciplined...

love Janex

9:45 am  
Blogger Portia Da Costa said...

Like Jane said... that article about money doesn't come as news to most of us less than household name scribblers. Unless you're awesome, famous or just plain lucky, you're not going to earn pots of money at this lark... :(

The other Jane, the one actually in the article... she was doing *well* by the standards of most people I know!

11:18 am  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

It's been a bit of a non-writing week for me when life got in the way. I had hoped to hit 70k but and lanquishing at 64k and I won't make up the difference today as Firday is normally the day when I take care of life:-)

I had seen the article amount money :-( but surprise surpise I'm sit at the keyboard this week.

I am finding the support of the other racers fantastic. It's good not to be alone.

Kate, interesting thing about the blog you'e thinking of.......

Well done Jane on your progress :-)

12:27 pm  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

Hi Everybody.

This week was devoted to other things in life, so the writing sat idle. I think I squeeked over 15K words, but it's slow going.

I think a blog about fears and phobias would be interesting if you have the time to do another blog.

Sorry. I'm not a scintillating wit this morning. My brain is elsewhere. I hope you all have extra-productive weeks.


12:52 pm  
Blogger Sezzie said...

Hi everyone

My blog-posting over the last 2 months has been horrendously bad.

My work on my novel, however, has been amazingly good.

I have been putting in mega-hours on the editing process and am now between 1/4 and 1/3 through the first edit.

It feels good - and isn't half as scary as I thought it would be (I thought I would read it and think what a load of rubbish....I don't).

I saw the article about writers' earnings and decided to ignore it and not let it dent my enthusiasm, which is at an all time high!

Hope everyone has a fantabulous weekend (in the snow!)


1:20 pm  
Blogger hesitant scribe said...

Hi All,

I too, loved the Botton piece. So are we really all obsessive, self-conscious, self-deprecating folk, quivering in our own fear of failure? Ah to be a writer eh. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

But for those of us who are compelled, who do not have a choice, onward we plod!

Word count hasn't shifted at all this week. I've been working on a proposal for my PhD so that has taken up every last ounce of effort and time. But it is done now, after 8 re-drafts. It stands at a meagre 500 words, but given I began with closer to 5,000 - not a bad job.

I have written some of the thesis side of things - about 2,500 words last night, so I suppose that counts for something, but it's the novel I need to get done first.

Aside from that, teaching this week has ranged from inspiring to pulling teeth. Argh! I need to find a way to inspire the uninspired - to interest the uninterested. At least phonetics was fun this morning with everyone making vowel sounds and trying to work out what their mouths were doing!

All I can do is look forward to the week when I can say I've written 5,000 words... Well done you lot - you continually put me to shame!

4:44 pm  
Blogger A. Writer said...

Hi Everyone!

Not a bad week for me writing wise. I added 3000words last weekend, which for me, is fantastic!

I plan on doing much more writing this week as I have the week off work! Bliss!

Hope everyone is fine!

A. Writer

P.S. Kate-I think the blog idea about fears and phobias is a great idea! I'd definitely post on it as I have some pretty weird fears (including monks and churches!)

7:25 pm  
Blogger Caroline said...

Managing to squeeze in a 'hello' as I seem to have slipped off the scale.

I have started the second draft of the first black box of the novel (there are to be 2). I am getting typography sorted and layout and hoping that it all pulls together. As a result, my wordcount is going up and down.

AlCS sent me a cheque for £46.16 this week. For photocopying overseas! I don't know what of though.

I feel that I am neglecting the racers at the moment. I'm sorry. I'll try and get around everyone.

Take care,

7:58 pm  
Blogger JJ said...

Sorry I’m late for coffee.

Life is definitely getting in the way of writing at the moment. I want life to include writing, but can’t really work out how to do all the things I’m committed to as well as the thing I really want to do.

I thought the neediness excerpt was brilliant. I definitely relate to that both in the writing and in my previous incarnation as a sculptor. Someone else had posted the horrifying information about how much the average author makes. I’ve always been amused by the idea that anyone would think writing a book is an easy way to make money. There sure are other, considerably easier ways of making money? (Big Brother, maybe?)

BUT (and this was always my only desire for the race) my words have gone up this week, a bit. My only concern is that I keep doing bits, so the words keep going up and I don’t give up because of demon/crap thing. I really appreciate the race because I know I couldn’t have stuck at it without the support when I get wobbly. I don’t mean it to sound as though I have rock bottom expectations, but the only thing that matters is that I keep writing.

I love the idea of a phobia and fears blog. Could we just leave them there, once confessed, and not be afraid anymore?

Hope everyone is fine, and I hope to drop in and say hello later on in the week.


8:26 am  
Blogger Lucy Diamond said...

Don't worry JJ, I am even later and haven't written a word of the novel for ages. Eek. I've told my agent I'll send him the first chunk and a synopsis "after Easter" so that might galvanise me into action, but then again "after Easter" is quite a vague deadline, isn't it?

Loved the Alain de Botton piece - really recognised some of those envious feelings - "Ooh! Office life! Exciting! I used to do this!"

Wishing everyone a productive week

6:23 pm  
Blogger Helen said...

I am days late for coffee this week - sorry about that. I have been away to Disneyland Paris and just got back. Once my heartbeat has returned to normal after the experiences of Space Mountain (actually I felt it rather tame - it was the Eurostar that made me feel wobbly!) I'll blog about it all and post more about my writing at coffee time this week.

10:43 pm  
Blogger Kate.Kingsley said...

Hello, late again (hangs head in shame!).

As a congenital worrier I love the idea of a fears & phobias blog, if only for it showing me that I’m not alone in living my life beset by entirely pointless fears. I always put it down to a writerly over-imagination: I imagine the worst that could possibly happen so convincingly that I then believe its just a matter of time until it actually manifests. It’s quite exhausting really. I’d love to get a window onto other people’s worries, so I could then judge if I maybe do need to pop off & get some professional help…

I have finished arranging my novel racers toolbar I think ~ please let me know if anyone is missing and I’ll add you asap. I plan to spend the rest of this week popping in & visiting all the lovely racers blogs, as I have been very remiss at this so far and apologize for that.

And I realized that the reams and reams of handwritten material I have piled up around the house creating a fire hazard (another worry. When did we last check the smoke alarm batteries? What if they’ve stopped working since then?) are getting out of hand and so I have invested in a sparkly new laptop so I can start typing it all up, with the happy side effect of also clarifying my word count (I say “happy”, that is yet to be seen!)

Some nice word counts from some of the other racers this week ~ well done everyone!
Best wishes

1:59 pm  
Blogger Kevin said...

I always get distracted by the group of wavy letters in the security window making sure I'm not a robot. Can't write until I figure out what they mean. Today I got "wflngs" which is easy: "wolflings." Sometimes they're darn confusing.

Forgot all about Friday this week. Or last week, since this is the next Wednesday my time and probably close to Thursday morning for you folks. Only reason I remembered at all was Zinnia dropped in on my blog and offered some good advice on a writing project.

The only people I know who earn their living writing write a tremendous amount of really good fiction. I think you need both parts of that. "tremendous amount" + "good fiction" = living wage. Otherwise...

Writing earned about a third of my income in 2005. In 2006 it brought in a fifth. My dream of earning enough through my prose to purchase a Caribbean island on which Valerie and I can retire on is still a bit distant.

Really enjoyed the article on visiting a publisher. I never have, though I have been to the offices of one of the game companies I write for. Spent the afternoon among the game designers and came away with a crushing case of job envy that plagues me to this day.

Puzzling through the conversion rate (Which I can do. Now. I decided to learn after signing a contract last year for less than half what I thought I was getting because it hadn't entered my pointy little head that there might have been some adjustment in the exchange rate since my one and only visit to your lovely land in 1968.) Where was I? Oh, yes: As nearly as I can tell, the income figures on this side are about the same as you're dealing with. Nothing for it but to try and claw our way into that top ten percent. (Revisit equation above.)

With any luck at all my synapses will fire on Friday and I'll think to drop by. I'll give my writing update (and tell Zinnia whether I followed her advice) then.

10:38 pm  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Latest of the late... I was working away from home on Friday, and life has been manic since then but is now calming down so I should be on time for coffee tomorrow! Happy to share my fears and phobias if that would be helpful. It's great to see how everyone's doing. Sezzie, I think your rate of revision is amazing, I've been working on my second draft for six months now and I doubt I'm even halfway through... but I think I've got the structure sorted out, so that's something. Kevin, glad the advice was helpful, whether you followed it or not - I find that sometimes advice is useful for helping me realise that what the person is suggesting is exactly NOT what I want to do!

7:28 am  

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