Friday, January 12, 2018

The Productivity of the Writer

Because I spend most of my writing day working in a capacity that's geared towards marketing, productivity has become nothing more than a buzz word when it comes to my own writing life. It's a concept that is hard to grasp as a person who isn't a writer, because productivity is usually proven with tangible results: you have a story published, your book is coming out, you managed to successfully dress yourself when you finally emerged from your home office--things like that.

Productivity for my professional life has a much wider scope that includes finishing drafts of stories no one else may ever have the pleasure of reading, getting up the nerve to submit to a publication (then actually pressing the button to submit it), begging fifty book bloggers for reviews and getting one back. These are the things no one ever sees. What do people see? They see me staring at the wall, probably moving my lips silently as I figure out the word order and phrasing I want to use in a story I haven't begun to put down on paper--and this is totally a productive activity too, as weird as it may look.

My point to all this rambling talk about productivity (which in itself may be debatable that it was a productive use of my time)? The beginning of 2018 has been a super-productive time for me already. I managed to get my chapbook contest submission in on time and have convinced myself that the entry fee was, in fact, worth it. I just finished editing a short story that I'm ready to send out, although I'm still a little timid about where I want to send it to. I wrote the story months ago and knew once I saw the completed first draft exactly where I wanted to send it. Over the editing process I was constantly battling with my own ego, telling myself, "You must be joking. You can't send it there." And the next day I would tell myself that I was just being my usual anxiety-ridden self. I finally convinced myself that I should just go for it--it won't do me any harm to try. And then Cat Person happened.

For those who haven't heard about this, Cat Person is a short story in The New Yorker that created huge waves all over the internet a few weeks ago. Serious waves. Like the author already has a lucrative book deal kind of waves. I read it and thought what everyone else did--it was so simple, but such a genius piece of work that captures everything about the topic it discusses (I'm being vague because I think you should read it rather than suffer through my synopsis of it). That made me once again reconsider sending out my story because that's exactly where I wanted to send it. But in the name of writerly productivity, I'm sending it there anyway. I don't care if I'm ninety-nine percent sure it's not getting in. This isn't the year to be afraid anymore.

...with my writing. I'm still totally afraid of spiders and small talk.


K R Smith said...

You really should send it in. Even if it isn't published, it will get you over that hurdle. The next time will be easier.

Sorry I haven't been around much these past couple of weeks. Personal and work issues have raised their ugly heads again. I am working on feedback from what you've posted on Patreon (except for your latest post which I haven't read yet), and I hope to have something for you soon.

Small spiders are OK with me. Big spiders, not so much.

And small talk is why I avoid parties if at all possible. Fortunately, it's not hard for me to avoid them - I don't get many invites...

Terri Deno said...

It'll be on its way tonight once I've put the finishing touches on the cover letter. I'm excited to finally see it off somewhere. Then I can get back to all these other things that need to get sent out too.