Musings on the Unsexy Side of Writing

WordItOut-Word-cloud-223251When someone discovers the avenue of writing as a way of expressing their creativity, I can guarantee you they don’t think, “Gee, I can’t wait to get to all those technical details it will take to launch a book!”  That technical nitty-gritty is what the Swiss would call the “unsexy” side of writing.  If you’re a writer, and you’re anything like me, it’s the last thing you want to spend your time doing – I’d much rather be working on the next manuscript than tackling things like blurbs, bios, and summaries, all in various lengths.  I’d rather not have to tackle the issues of pricing, cover art decisions, marketing (most writers enjoy the isolation it takes to be a good writer and concentrate on their craft – we are not born me-salesmen!), networking and promotion.  But that’s the phase I find myself in right now.  And perhaps my situation is a bit more challenging because I am an English-language writer living in an area of a country that speaks an unwritten language:  I live in the Swiss-German speaking area of Switzerland.  There are a variety of dialects here, none of which have an official written structure or spelling (it is usually spelled phonetically, which varies according to the dialect).  High-German is the language of the newspapers and magazines and television (for the most part), but it’s not the language you hear on the streets.  And I certainly don’t have a local writer’s group from which to draw inspiration or encouragement.  I can’t just zip down to the local bookshop and see which publishers are interested in which topics.  It’s just me, myself and moi when it comes to getting it done.

And if you’re anything like me, you’ve got several irons in the fire at any given time:  At the moment I have no less than six novels at various stages of completion.  The second novel of a trilogy is on next, but will soon get put on hold as I travel to Norway for historical research this summer, for another novel in the making.  Focusing on one project at a time is the most efficient way to work; but sometimes it’s not possible.  I actually like the variety, from 18th century fiction, to 8th and 21st century fantasy fiction, contemporary fiction, science fiction… I’ve got my fingers in a lot of pies.  For me the key is self-discipline; setting goals, priorities, and daily schedules so that I can reach those goals one step at a time, all the while not letting any of that quench my creativity.  It would be great to have a support network of writers with whom I could bounce ideas around, or glean encouragment from, or be inspired by.  But life is where it is, so I’ll take the encouragement in any form it comes.  And I’ll slog my way through the unsexy side of the craft, and maybe even learn to enjoy it along the way!



Filed under Nuts & Bolts

10 responses to “Musings on the Unsexy Side of Writing

  1. Great lead in and so true.

  2. Don’t we know it! 😉 What’s the one thing you struggle with most in the unsexy side of writing?

  3. My unsexy is in the pitch. What sounds like a great idea in my head turns out to be an awkward first time strip tease. Blank stares and no tips.

  4. LOL! Have you ever heard of BIAM (Book in a Month), by Victoria Lynn Schmidt? It might help put the sexy in your wind up.

  5. connie white

    Ok, well I’m sending all the encouragement I can muster. Would love to see that first novel on Kindle – and many more afterward.

  6. It’s coming soon! 🙂

  7. High-German: So interesting. German’s one of the languages I’d wanted to study in high school. After AP Spanish, I went on to Latin and Greek as a Classics minor who majored in Linguistics at Univ of PA. Thanks for the like on my CALLING post. I freelance, and had just finished my series on the writing process before putting out that post. Most parts of the series made the Most Popular list on the margin of my blog.

    Since you say you’d like to connect with writers….here’s the finale:

    And you might take to these thoughts on a lovely Yeats:

    So glad you visited, so I could read you.


  8. Hi Diana!
    If I could re-do my choice in majors, I would have done either Linguistics or English; at the time I had no idea of ever becoming a writer, and was in the music college, as I’d been involved in music all my life (and still am). I’m a hobby linguist / etymologist, so I get a dose of Latin and Greek too. 😉
    I will check out your links! You might also be interested in a couple other blogs I write (links are on my “about” page).
    Thank you for stopping by!

  9. I admire your discipline. I like the creative part and don’t want to know about formatting etc. Used to think that was what an agent/ publisher would do.
    Aw well…

  10. Back in the good ol’ days and agent was sort of like a glorified butler perhaps, but not anymore, sister! 😉 If you want your book done right and the best it can be, it’s now all up to you. I actually prefer it that way, but as you said I’m very disciplined; I have high standards for myself, and will learn how to get something accomplished if I really set my mind and time to it! Other things (like math!) are my husband’s area of expertise… :-); the best of both worlds!

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