Piles of sand, not much castle

As I mentioned earlier, I am in the midst of writing my next book. It’s in the early stages of the first draft (not even a title yet) and each day is a bit of a slog. I’ve tried to make my peace with the first draft always being a bucket of hot garbage, but it can still be frustrating. One might say that labelling my work in progress “hot garbage” could contribute to morale problems.

So, I’m working to use an alternate metaphor for the first draft. I came across this Twitter quote from author Shannon Hale (@haleshannon), and it might fit the bill:

“When writing a first draft, I have to remind myself constantly that I’m only shoveling sand into a box so later I can build castles.”

This is a tad more flowery than I normally like, but I’ll give it a test drive. It doesn’t mean that the process of shovelling sand isn’t also frustrating. You know that the sand is just gonna pour out of the scoop into a heap, but you secretly long for it to magically coalesce into the structures floating around in your imagination. There’s no magic here, though. Just work.

It’s a lot like choosing to stumble into the woods without a compass or a plan. You push through scratching brambles and slip down muddy embankments without any sense of which direction you’re going in. Every step might be taking you far away from your destination. But once and a while, you crest a hill that rises above the tree cover and you see the landscape spilling out towards the end of your journey. The promise of finding the end of the story and being able to retell it is enough to send you back into the brush and weeds to keep plodding forward.

To all of my fellow writers near and far, plod on!

My next adventure in independent publishing

Learning to swim by jumping in the deep end

I’m happy to announce that the third novel in my “Spellbound Railway” series is now complete and almost ready to hit the shelves. It’s called “The Patchwork Boy” and I’m immensely proud of it. Now that the creative part is done, I have to switch gears and focus on the publishing side of things. And this time, I’m trying something a little different. I’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to pay for the first order of printed copies.

What’s Kickstarter, you ask? Good question! It’s a website that allows you to raise money for a specific project from a large group of people. If the crowd believes in your project enough to contribute enough to reach your goal, then the money is collected and you’re off to the races. If you don’t reach your goal, then no money is collected and you’re back where you started.

The good news is that failing to meet the goal doesn’t cost you anything, but let’s not talk about failure. I’m already nervous enough as it is. Asking all of your friends, family, casual acquaintances and internet strangers to spend their money on your wild idea is a nerve-wracking experience. You’d think that I would be used to it, after selling my first two books in much the same way, but evidently that’s not the case. So, if I seem to be a little distracted, that’s because I am.

I’m sorely tempted to spend the next 28 days perched on the edge of my seat, constantly refreshing the project page as I wait for the next backer to sign up. That’s probably not the best use of my time.