Return to form

Well, I didn’t get my assignment in on time, but talking to my tutor I have been assured that I am not failing the paper because of it; I can hand it in late (today) and have one mark removed. Out of 30. So it’s not the worst thing in the world.

I think it was a good idea to go to the lecture yesterday, even though I could have spent those two hours writing my essay (and it seemed that most of the other people in the class felt the same, as only about 30 people showed up); I’ve now come out of this two-week break by attending lectures and doing readings as per normal, and re-establishing the routine I built up in the first few weeks of semester, and already things are starting to feel familiar and manageable. So in the long run at least, that was a good idea, I think.

No writing of other stuff today, though, I don’t think. There’s so much work to be done; I’ve got this assignment to write, then I’ve got readings to do – if there’s time – so that I’m not totally screwed for my tutorials on Thursday, and on top of that I have another essay due tomorrow. It’s not a particularly difficult essay – 1k words split between two mini-essays and it requires no research at all, so I can do that in a couple of hours – so once that’s out of the way I’m maybe safe for the week. If I don’t do any creative writing. Which is just kind of the hand I’ve been dealt; it’s not the end of the world.

All of this university stuff is making me really think about what kind of follow-up plan I have to move onto afterwards. Whether I’m going to go for traditional publishing and sending stuff off to agents or whether I’m going to try something else. I checked Kickstarter to see if there were any novels getting funded that way – there are – and I may well do some research into that. I have an idea for using Kickstarter as a platform that I’d honestly just like to see if it worked or not. The idea of keeping all the rights to my stuff is, well, beyond appealing, but the idea of making a living out of writing is something I’ve wanted for the last 13 years. Not just novel-writing; storytelling in multiple mediums. And obviously having the two of them together seems pretty awesome, and if there is a chance that it can work, then why not? If I tried Kickstarter and there was some interest generated but the book didn’t get funded, I could still use that boost of publicity to build up more of a platform or something, and take that with me to agents and publishers (and have something to post up here, of course).

There’s also the issue of how to use Kickstarter with regards to a book. Like the article says, it’s more about testing the waters to gauge interest rather than acting as a sales-generator. Would it also be useful as a way to publicise the book and then use the money for advertising as well as paying for an editor and cover design and all the other stuff? Or would that be like double-dipping? Is it any better than just going for the self-publishing over Amazon option? Could the two work together?

This is mostly me thinking of how long it could take, if I send Tallulah off to an agent and rely on a publishing house taking interest, for anything to come of it. Not that it would necessarily be faster to do it over Kickstarter, but it might feel more immediate at least. And might help it to get noticed, if nothing else.

And if it did work, if it led to a successful funding campaign and I was able to take it and self-publish and have some kind of audience there to receive it and that was somehow enough for me to, if not make a living off, maybe make it so that I don’t have to look for full-time work and thus have more time for writing, I feel that would be worth it. And again, even if it failed, there would be something to ‘sell’ to publishers.

I just don’t know enough about it. Having student loan money, the temptation to start buying books on how to self-publish and how to create publicity for yourself is tempting. I don’t know how well it works, of course, and I don’t want to be spending my money on something that doesn’t get me what I want, or to find out that what I’m writing is wrong and doesn’t fit the model of success or whatever. I don’t want to spend money on learning formulas that don’t help me tell the stories I’m trying to tell.

I guess maybe that’s the tradeoff. I get to write whatever the hell I want, in exchange for perhaps not many people ever hearing about it, or my being able to make a living off it. But having gone back to university to give myself more time to write before I have to deal with the ‘real world’ is making me realise just how much I’m putting off dealing with, and how much better off I’d feel if I had a plan for dealing with it instead. I want to know what’s viable, what options I’ve got, how to take advantage of them. And I can’t help but feel, all the while, like I’m not asking the right questions.

Anyway. Got this essay to write, and then another one, and then the entire week’s study to catch up on, all in the time between now and tomorrow evening. The lame thing about having lecture and tutorials in the middle of the week means that you have to plan against the calendar; my seven days per week actually start on Friday, effectively, because my ‘accountability days’ are Tuesday and Thursday, and after that I’m off the hook for the rest of the week. It’s something I’m going to have to learn to deal with, just like figuring out some kind of plan for next year and my writing, if I really do want a shot at keeping control over my intellectual property and make a living off it as well. People are doing it, so obviously there is a way to get there. Maybe I need to join some writing communities or something.

Regardless of all of this speculation and creeping doubt, though, I feel really energised, and I don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t gone to my lecture yesterday instead of staying at home and working on my assignment. I can take a hit of one grade in return for the long-term benefits of starting as I intend to finish: committed. And it even feels like I’ve got back all of that time I felt like I’d lost by not keeping busy. There really is something quite magical and time-distorting about doing things with your time.

Right. Let’s get this thing written.

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