Holidays are here and Blog is back on!
I can't believe it has been almost a month since I last blogged. Shame on me. I blame the fact that I have disengaged for a bit from my writing endeavors. That is I believe due to several factors. Burn-out being #1, Frustration #2, and my paying occupation (#3) taking top priority right now as we try to finish off the year strong.
My burn-out is also caused by two factors. Editing fatigue and creativity are not being used to the extent I wish it to be. But this never-ending editing process is really starting to dig at me and it has been very hard for me to throw myself back into it which is what I need to do. Just putting aside an hour here or there won't work for me. I need to be sequestered away for a minimum of half a day or more to accomplish anything. I may just need to get the hell out of my home office and breathe some fresh air to help reinspire me. I am sure like many, especially those continually stuck working at home with no end in sight right now. I don't know how you do it. Thank god I get to still go to work. I would go stir crazy if I wasn't. For those of you not working right now, that has got to be even more of a brain pain between the stress of financial loss and stuck at home.
I can relate to that as someone who just a couple of years ago lost my main job and after several stop and go's that didn't work out and several part-time gigs to make ends meet, I was at a personal all-time low mentally in my mid-50's and being the main breadwinner of the family, I felt like a huge failure. It was as I stated on my home page and in previous writes that I feel blessed that I found my writing again to help keep my mind both busy and creative to help ease my stress. I had even developed constant physical manifestations of anxiety that I had previously thought people only exaggerated about when they talked about anxiety. My stress levels over my job, income, and my marriage caused me to have serious panic attacks which I had never experienced. They almost felt like heart attacks. Hard to breathe, chest tightening, shaking, forcing one to keel over in an attempt to calm down. Usually went for 15-20 minutes and were quite worrisome. This caused me to go see a therapist for the first time in my life which I have to admit helped me. But more than anything my writing achievement was what really pushed me through.
So, on this Thanksgiving day, while my wife slaves away in the kitchen preparing the feast for later, I am very thankful for her and my daughters love and support through the hard times and I am grateful that my industry has boomed during this pandemic while many businesses have had to close leaving many without a job. My wife has been working from home this entire time for Oxford University Press so we have been one of the lucky ones in all this. My oldest daughter has also been working as well the entire time after graduating UNCW, and my youngest is hard at work keeping her grades up being a first-year student at NC State and being forced to also study from home with the college being closed to students in person. So we are very lucky and we know it. Challenging times, and I am proud of them all for handling it well.
I mentioned earlier Frustration being another factor for my step-away from my writing. That is connected to what I have written about before, which is the frustration of the time it takes for a proper edit, all the rewrites and relook overs, the changes, the cuts, all add up to something that adds to that burn-down. The pros say sometimes it is good to step away from your manuscript to get a fresh perspective, so that is what I have done. Before I was waiting on my editor, now she waits on me. It is all in my court now. After that second editor did a look over on my entire manuscript finding many things I needed to address, that was the final straw for me mentally to step back and ponder a bit on how I want this to play-out. My main editor Marissa has been more than thorough and helpful with me being both a teacher and editor along the way and putting up with the usual writer frustrations when someone tells them it isn't right when they think it is. We found a good rhythm and now understand each other well, so it has been a good union. As I said, the ball is now in my court. I have my recommendations so I just need to dig in and work them out.
I have also come to a potential conclusion that I may need to change the name of my working title. After listening to several writer's pod-casts they recommend for new writers to have a better chance at commercial success that your title should convey to the reader what your story may be about or what genre it is in. They say it is ok to have a more obscure title once your an established author with a following because then the readers know what to expect from you. But as a new author, they recommend something more direct. Currently, as those who read my blog know, my working title has been since the start "The Man Who Could", so then absorbing all this advice, I thought maybe I should be more direct as just be short and sweet and name it "The Teleporter". I thought that was very direct and let the potential reader know exactly what it was about. But after passing that idea across my ladies, they disagreed, saying it was too direct and left little to the imagination.
So now I am going to put it out there on Twitter and here, what do you think? My current working title that I am quite comfortable with now after having been working with it for over 2 years conveys to the reader a story about a man doing something? Or working through something? While a more direct title like “The Teleporter”, this definitely tells the reader that this is in the realm of science fiction and probably is an action story. But now after originally saying my story is an Action/Science Fiction/Adventure story genre, I have refined it now to being more of a Thriller/Action story with a bit of science fiction in it. So less emphasis on SciFi. So I worry "The Teleporter" might potential readers think SciFi and not attract thriller readers. I have been told by almost all pro and non-pro readers who have sampled all or part of my novel that it is a fast action paced and a real page-turner. So the new title idea may not be the right fit either. But I do agree that I need something that will make the reader think more "Thriller" than my current working title does currently. Whenever I tell someone the name of my book, I always get "What's it about?". I would think "The Teleporter" would eliminate that question but does it pigeon-hole what people will think the book genre should be in? Tricky isn't it? Remember titles also are used heavily in search engines for people looking for certain storylines. If I list it as The Teleporter, many search engines will instantly categorize it as Science Fiction. Is this good or bad? Hmmm.
You see, there is always lots to think about in the process of writing a book. Even something as simple as a title. Has vast ramifications down the road. I believe if I kept my current working title that even if I got picked up by an Agent and a publishing firm wanted to buy the story, their editors would probably suggest a change as well for commercial reasons. Remember it is the hardest for new writers to get noticed in the industry with thousands upon thousands of new writers attempting to enter the marketing monthly. So I put it out there, what do you think about these title choices. Pros and cons to both. I am getting the vibe so far that I need to find something in-between. No synonym substitution for Teleporter that I can see would work. Thesaurus only shows Transmit, Beam, Broadcast, Emit or Send. Not. So a new can of worms I have opened up. Lucky me. Let me know if you have any ideas or comments. Thank you in advance!