Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday: On Running the Marathon

I've heard the metaphor "it's a marathon not a sprint" too often lately. Okay, maybe not too often--but many times. It's an appropriate one for many things in life because, after all, life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Writing a novel is a marathon. Selling short stories is a marathon (at least it takes a looooong time to develop your craft and wait for market responses). Selling a novel is even more of a marathon. Should you decide to go "indie" (or self-publish), selling books is a marathon. At least it should be--the sprints will kill you.

In a meeting yesterday, our superintendent said a school improvement process was a marathon, not a sprint. One of my colleagues freaked out: "I'm better at short distances!"

It's not the distance, dear. It's that you shouldn't blow all your energy in one, short burst. You'll need to pace yourself.

I love selling ebooks, but I'm not one to go crazy with marketing. These are the sprinters. I do a few things, here and there. The most effective being Library Thing giveaways (they'll let you give away ebooks--unlike Goodreads which requires dead-tree editions) and making books free at Smashwords. Nothing else comes close as far as impact for the amount of time involved.

And time, these days, is a very precious thing. With two very busy children and a third on the way, my life outside of school is torn in several directions. How do I find time to write? I don't know. But, like sleeping and eating, I need to write to live--at least to add quality to my life. I probably need to sleep a little more, though.

In the Memory House is almost finished. It will be a short novel at about 60K.  If I was worried about querying agents, I might as well stop and forget about it. No one will touch a 60K novel. Good thing readers aren't so picky. I've really run the marathon with this book, and I hope to push to the first of many finish lines later this week.

How's your marathon going?


Daniel Powell said...

Aaron, I'm always impressed by your work ethic and drive. Nice post here, and congratulations on the new novel and the fresh collection of flash fiction.

Time, time, time...with a young family, you know it's about the most precious commodity there is. I admire that you stick to it, that you are always creating, and that you do such a nice job with the books. Keep it up, brother, and enjoy this holiday season with your kids and wife (what are they dressing up as this year?)!

Aaron Polson said...

Thanks, Daniel. Some days I'm not sure if it is work ethic or insanity. I'll get back to you. ;)

We always to a "theme" Halloween. Last year we were "space objects". This year, we're going as a royal court. Max and Owen will be knights in armor. Aimee and I will be the king and queen. I feel more like a scullery maid most days...

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

I so agree with your sentiment about time. It is the mostr precious commodity we have and it should never be squandered lightly! Great post, Aaron and good luck with your almost completed book!

Danielle Birch said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I've been editing for the last few months and it is a marathon - I'm not rushing it or stressing about it and because of that I'm actually enjoying it. I'm not saying it's easy, because it isn't, but it's a good feeling.

K.C. Shaw said...

Ugh, no wonder I'm so tired all the time. All those marathons I'm running. :) I think Goodreads is experimenting with letting authors/publishers give away ecopies, incidentally. I can't remember where I saw that, though. I may be wrong.

Katey said...

It goes, but it's not under half as much pressure as yours. I completely agree about the marathon being the thing, though. I do write in sprints, but that's just the beginning. Then I have to even things out for the long haul, and I hope to god I'm getting better at it.