Monday, June 29, 2009

Reaching for Something

Reaching for Something


Last night, my wife asked me, “so how many followers do you have in Twitter?”

I proudly responded, “thirty.” That’s about twice as many as I had a week ago. “And I just got a new one an hour ago.”

She laughed. “I have 237 and I haven’t been on Twitter anywhere as long as you.”

The wind dropped out of my sails. I had thought 30 was a huge achievement. I mean I know a couple of those are spammers, trying to lure me to their lurid web sites. Still, thirty people sounded like a lot to me. I compared our Facebook stats. Wow, I have a total of 94 friends! Then I checked hers. 1081. I don’t know a thousand people. I don’t think I know a hundred people. I don’t even know some of my own Facebook friends.

I don’t even want to compare blog followers.

I know her secret. She’s an net-ho, following each and every person she finds. She throws herself out there like party girl, enticing all those unsuspecting victims into her web of iniquity. Me? I’m like, “Hey, what’s up. You can follow me if you want. Or not. Whatever. No big deal.” I want to earn my followers through my brilliant analysis and fascinating blog posts (too bad I don’t have any—which is why the 30 followers surprised me).

So that brings me to my next thought.

I’ve added so many feeds into my reader that it now says “1000+ unread posts” at the top. I’m following 123 different feeds, although some of those don’t actually have activity anymore and need to be pruned. I’m inundated with posts from aspiring writers, established authors, agents, and editors, not to mention just other random feeds I find interesting (running, etc). I’m getting a sense of what topics are interesting to writers, what agents are dealing with, and what the book market is like (getting published, idiots, and depressing in order).

I’m trying to find a way to share these lists. Google Reader has some kind of “sharing” feature but I want to share subscriptions, not posts per se. I can add a bunch of feeds to my blogger page, but it only shows the last X posts. I don’t know if anyone would even find that interesting. If you go to my blog you can see some of the blogs I follow. Just scroll down the side until you see a bunch of faces. There’s some way to see what I follow through that, but it only lists Blogger blogs. If there’s a good feed-sharing site out there, let me know.

On to the next topic.

I’ve made a decision that I need more beta-readers for Dawn’s Rise. I feel like self-editing is only getting me 50% of the way there. I’m improving things, but I’m also missing tons of problems, not identifying flat areas, and since my ms keeps growing, I’m not cutting things out like I should. My critique group is around page 40, and I’m dealing with issues on page 150. At this rate, I won’t be completed until next year, while my brilliant epic fantasy novel languishes. I never realized this would be so hard or take so long (or how crappy my previous drafts are).

I’m therefore beginning an active search for beta readers, including posting some chapters out on Critters. And of course I’m willing to exchange whole-novel critiques. If are interested or know anyone out there willing to exchange critiques let me know. All I ask is that once you commit, you stick through to the bitter end, no matter how cheesy and unbelievable the novel becomes.

Now for a Medical Update that has no connection with the rest of the post.

There’s nothing wrong with me. I basically wracked up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills (still waiting to see what insurance covers) because—listen to this—I had a STOMACH ACHE. What I’m left with is my original theory: I overdid it, eating and drinking too much, maybe got dehydrated, and things just got a bit clogged up. Maybe if I had drank some coffee and gone for a walk, things would have resolved themselves. I don’t have Crohn’s. I don’t have cancer. I don’t have diverticulitis. I don’t have ulcers. I don’t have Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I’m 100% disease free (AFAIK). I feel like I should be happy about that, but this knowledge comes at a great cost, and doesn’t change what I already knew. I’m not disappointed that I’m well, I just feel I sacrificed a week of my life and have nothing to show for it but bills.

So I’m trying to get back to my workout routine, but I’ve been unmotivated lately. I’ve missed a few of the big races I wanted to compete in, and I really have nothing I want to sign up for right now. I just want to get my novel out there into agents’ hands, but I can’t in its current format. I don’t where all the time goes, and I don’t know if my novel’s getting any closer to anything. My self-confidence is starting to slip away like Jell-O left out in the sun.


  1. At least you found out you are healthy - that's the most important part of the whole thing. Too many people don't get checked out and then die from something that could have been treated.

  2. I literally had just had a full physical a few weeks earlier, so I kinda knew I was in good health. That's the other frustrating thing about this. I know doctors can't be "too careful," but they have absolutely no problem being "too expensive." Also every one of those diseases I mentioned came up during my ER visit as possibilities.

    Another analogy is this car repair I need. My vents aren't blowing well, but the mechanic says it will cost $500 "just to find the problem, let alone fix it." Now unless this problem is going to cause my truck to roll over on the freeway (like the axle leak they just fixed), it's not worth the money. I wish health care had that diagnostic foresight.

  3. How long is your epic? 500 pages? That's how many words? You have been working. Keep slugging through it, you'll get to the end if you go page by page. When that will happen , I can't say :-} Maybe next month, but certainly not next week unless you are the uber reader of all time. Hang in there. Beta readers are a tough find. I'll let you know if I hear something

  4. The epic I mention is another book series I'm writing. I'm about 80K words in so far, but most of that is slush.
    This is about all I've said about it so far.
    I can't believe I wrote that in February...most of it still holds true.

  5. Glad to hear you're healthy! And that stinks about all the unexpected costs of everything. :(

    As for the writing, I understand the frustration with the book. Every time I finish a book and start editing, I lose my confidence. I suppose we have to keep our chins up and just keep swimming upriver.

  6. Haha, it's strange how bogged down we get in numbers ...

    I'm glad you're medical sitch turned out well. Did they test for pancreatitis? I have chronic pancreatitis, and it took a long time for it to be identified because the numbers may be back to normal by the time blood is tested. Just throwing that out there for you : )

  7. Healthy is good, even if bills are not. Frankly, the thought of slogging through all those edits is enough to make MY spleen hurt, so maybe that's it. Good luck with them!

  8. Well you've managed to engage me as a reader, maybe even a follower ;) I'm also in the process of writing a sci-fi novel but am nowhere finished yet. Writing is such a lonely craft isn't it. Just you, your computer and your thoughts....*sigh*

    Your experience of not finding anything wrong with you but leaving you with a mountain of medical bills reminds me of an episode of House where a patient sued the hospital for misdiagnosing him. They told him he had cancer and had x amount of months to live and he went and lived it up by ringing it up!

  9. BJ: The further along I get in the editing, the worse it gets. I think it's because I'm getting a lot of critiques and adjusting my style and fixing story issues as I go.

    KLo: No! Don't make me worry about more things!

    Carrie: Thanks!

    Rebecca: Welcome! I remember that episode. It's not so lonely if you participate in critique groups and the like. And you always have us online friends :)

  10. I know how you feel about editing - I've set my novels aside for two months (I have three weeks left!) before I'm going back to them. It's nice to clear the head and get perspective :)

    Happy health to you!


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