The Hardest Thing

What do you find hardest about writing? I’m just curious. People alternately either spout about what an easy job it is, or they over-inflate the angst and struggle.

For me, the hardest thing is keeping my brain in optimum working order. To write, the brain must be able to think. If I’m in that morning wake-up fuzz, it’s easy to focus, but if I’m too sleepy, I just want to fall asleep.

Making sure I can write necessitates that I keep my asthma under control. Lack of oxygen makes me fall asleep, not write. LOL. Which means I have to eat right, avoid dairy, not go to the bookstore too much (but go to the bookstore enough to be inspired and research), and exercise—but not too much.

I have to take one coffee pill, but not two, unless spaced out by five or six hours. I have to keep up on my fish oil, or else my ADD becomes completely unmanageable.

I can push through most physical challenges, but I haven’t yet found a way to push through the thinking challenges. Either my brain’s working or it’s not. If desperate, I can take one of those five-hour energy shot things, but I pay for it later. (Those are great for deadline pushes, though.)

So as I was sitting her being all self-pitying about this darned flu, I was contemplating what I was going to eat tonight so that I could get a lot of words done tomorrow. And then I wondered if other people find this aspect of writing as difficult as I do.

Do you? What is the hardest thing about writing for you? How far do you go in planning your life around writing?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Full-Time Writing | Tags: , ,

This Is What I’m Thinking III

I’m thinking about a lot today. I’m thinking this post is like a whole week’s worth of blogs. So if you’d rather, you can just read one part a day. Or skim fast. Or skip it altogether. I don’t know why I was so talkative.

Sunday is play day for me. I have a character I can’t find a story for. I’ve put her in three or four different worlds, but she doesn’t fit. For some odd reason, I MUST write a story about this character.

So today I searched for inspiration: I read Tales of the Golden Corpse—a book of Tibetan folk tales—the Idiot’s Guide to Astrology, the Dummies Guide to Mythology, thumbed through Jacqueline Carey’s Santa Olivia and cried because I wanted to take it home, and also through Isabel Allende’s Eva Luna for the same reason.

I also started reading Neil Gaiman’s Journal from the very first post: American Gods Blog, Post 1. At one time, I thought I’d read and finished American Gods, but it appears as if I haven’t. I’m a little confuzzled on how that happened, but am extraordinarily happy that I have a Neil Gaiman book to read. On my Kindle, of course.

the safety manager on Glenn’s boat wouldn’t let him off to go to the doctor in Seattle before they left, which meant his 2cm x 2cm spider bite (or whatever it was) grew while they were traveling at sea for two weeks, to fevers and fainting and extremely low blood pressure and nerve damage to his arm and a whopping 10cm x 7cm wound with 12cm x 17cm swelling that’s going to take two months to heal. The doctor sent him to the ER yesterday and freaked us out, telling us a week in the hospital and surgery and ambulance and don’t stop at go, but second opinion says we’re on track.

He’s got morphine and vicodin to get him through the pain. I’m a little curious as to what morphine (or vicodin) is like, but not that curious.

image So I spent my play day at Borders. The funny thing is, I can tell how old a book is by how many times I sneeze when I open it. Brand-new books are generally fine, no problems. Whole sections are better than others: I rarely sneeze in the YA section, but in the Mythology section, I had to use my inhaler. In the Literary section, I’m a goner.

Borders is better than Books A Million, and Barnes and Noble has the worst record: twelve sneezes in a row within one minute. If I walk into a library, my lungs just die upon first breath.

My love affair with the book smell, the feel of paper? So over. But I still dream of working in a book store.

So this anti-ebook/anti-reasonably-priced-ebook thing publishers seem to have going on? Freaks me out. And the only thing I have to say about this pricing brouhaha between Amazon and Macmillan is that I’ll be very sad if publishers insist upon charging more then ten dollars for an ebook. Someday, if I win the lottery, I will spend thousands and buy every book on the planet and from every single author on the planet. I’ll have a huge, wonderful, beautiful library with a state-of-the-art air system so I can breathe and read and spend all day in there.

In the meantime, I can only read on my Kindle or at Borders, and price matters to my pocketbook.

I think price matters to readers, too. If my last royalty statements are any indication, my lowest-priced stories are selling the most. Which is BIZARRE, if you take into account hook, story, subject matter, quality, quality, and quality, but… it seems price point is what sells. I mean honestly, my lowest-priced ebook is just STUPID. It’s plain. Cliché. A story told a million times. (At least as I recall it: it was written in one month, six or seven or eight years ago.) It probably ranks as my second worst story.

As an author, all my Amazon royalties should double next year, which rocks, so I’m thrilled with Amazon’s new deal with at least one of my pubs. (Haven’t asked the other if she qualifies.) One is willing to conduct a lower-price experiment, and I’m going to see if the other one is up for it, since she has my best book. I’m thinking I should actually promote it. What an idea!

It’s been doing well on the piracy sites, which sorta makes me proud, in a backwards sort of way. As long as they don’t get too far up in the Google rankings, I don’t worry too much. (At the moment, they are too far.) I’ll do what it takes to push them down so that honest people don’t “buy” them for free when they don’t know any better, but I don’t believe those that seek out the pirated book would actually PAY for my book if it were unavailable on piracy sites, so I don’t get my panties in a knot.

I do need to do more to get pseudonym higher in the Google rankings; that will also push down the pirates and torrents.

Have I rambled enough? What have you read lately? How are things for you? What do you do on a “play day?” What are you allergic to? :-)

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Musings,Writing Biz | Tags: , ,

What do you promise…

…when you’re bargaining for your life? We’ve all been there, right? Some life-threatening medical attack, an accident, a huge scare, or—god forbid—a medical disaster in your immediate family? Maybe intense pain?

Whatever the cause, out come the plea bargains with the Universe, God, or whoever you worship.

Last night, I had a killer asthma attack. Nothing much new, and it’s not a big deal except when you’re in the middle of it. Drowning is sure not the way I want to go, that’s for sure. There were a few moments when no air would go in or out, and I mentally told the universe, “I promise I will be a better writer tomorrow.”

And then, when I managed to cough up some of the mucus, I wondered what my friends would promise.

But first, there are two great things happening today. First, Susan Helene Gottfried has started a Women on Wednesday Meme in order to celebrate women authors. (I’ll be joining in after November is over!) Second, for the first time, a charity for sexual abuse survivors has made the finals of L’Oreal’s Women of Worth contest. Please consider giving Shannon Lambert your vote: the prize is $25,000 to the winner’s most charitable cause, and sexual violence is too common and too prevalent to be swept under the carpet as often as it is.

So what are your plea bargains, your promises under duress? What would your characters’ promises be?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Beautiful People,Musings | Tags: , ,

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