Both And

I’m finding it challenging to perform both the business and the creative sides of writing at the same time. The two mindsets are so radically different and use diametrically opposed creative processes that I find I have only limited success at doing both at the same time. The most I’ve been able to manage is both in the same weekend. Lately, I’ve been doing the agent search during the week and hoping that I have brain cells left over to work on the next short story/novel/series (no, I’m not yet sure what it will be! Sheesh) on the weekend.

I’m hoping for early success at the agent search in large part because I want to get that over with so that I can concentrate on the creative side. I do approach my writing as a business, albeit one with a very long product development cycle. I’m seeking an agent now because that’s what happens when one has product development at a point where one needs the additional investment of an editor and publishing house.

While I’d love to be in the “I’m Getting the Next Round” sort of deal on the Scalzi scale, I can’t bank on it. I know that the “investment” won’t be more than a modest one, most likely a “Shut Up!” kind of deal, no matter how long I’ve taken developing my “product” or how much I’ve spent to finish it.

But I hate thinking of my writing as “product.” I don’t write to produce “product” but to tell a story, to create and explore worlds, and questions, and characters. In the story I’m shopping I’ve set up two radically different cultures, with ancient ties and enmities. The dominant culture thinks the sub-culture is something to ignore or exploit, depending, but what they’ll find is that the two cultures are, actually, interdependent. There’s a balance between the conflicting modes and economies and cultures.

It was a hell of a lot of work to set up, damn hard to weave the story back and forth between the two POVs and keep both moving and interesting, and creating worlds and histories and even writing plays. In verse! (and then cutting lots of it, but the plays were written).  Work? No kidding. And some of the most enjoyable work I’ve ever done. I love that stuff and I can’t see ever not doing that sort of thing. My bookshelf grew by a significant percentage to hold all of the books I used for research. How fun is that?!

And now I’m starting on the next series: seeking out books/authors to read to begin building the world, carefully considering who would be the best to tell what story, all of that. A new long product development cycle, going much more slowly than the last one because I’ve had to spend lots of time on the business side of things. Ok. That’s the way it works. But I can hope for a quick resolution so I can go back to doing what I love: creating worlds and characters and then putting to the test.

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