Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Late-Summer Inventory



It’s a lovely late-August morning, a great time to live at a boarding school—the kids are just starting to arrive, and we don’t tee things up for another few days. I’m sitting on my third-floor deck, watching the sunrise over three deer in a distant field, sipping coffee, and reviewing the summer’s achievements.

The thing about being a writer is that so much of what happens with our work seems beyond our control.

I live in Connecticut. My agent is in New York. I write a novel, e-mail it to him, get his feedback (he was an editor for 25 years and worked with some all-time crime-fiction greats), make changes, email it back to him, and then cross my fingers. Unfortunately, I’m not a patient individual. My wife would probably call this a character flaw. However, dyslexia often produces driven (Lisa might argue for a different adjective, perhaps “manic”) individuals. Regardless, as the song goes, for me, the waiting is the hardest part.

My impatience makes me a goal-oriented person/writer. I set many short-term goals throughout the course of a year. My plans for this summer were 1) to learn about the eBook industry, 2) gain control of the electronic rights to my five novels, 3) make them available in that format, and 4) write another short story—all while awaiting news of the submission process for a novel I finished in March.

As the summer draws to a close, I have controlled what I could: My Jack Austin books are available electronically, and I now own all e-rights to them. I’m letting the first draft a short story “rest” for a week before revision and submission.

I have heard little from my agent over the past two months, so I am doing the only thing an impatient writer can do: write, revise, and write some more.

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