Week Four

So this week I’ve edited three chapters, written one short story and published one lens on Squidoo. I’ve also signed up for Camp Nanowrimo, with a goal of 80, 000 words for the summer. What I thought would just be a severe edit has turned into a full rewrite, and to be honest, I don’t think I’m going to use any more chapters from the last draft of Moonshadow’s Guardian. This will allow me to reach a much higher word count.

Around the end of the school year I applied for a summer job program. I told myself that if I didn’t get in, I would spend my summer writing instead. I didn’t get in, probably because I had pretty much nothing to put on my application, but I did get a new laptop and I have been writing my butt off. In fact, I’ve been writing almost full time hours-from eleven or twelve until five or six, and yesterday from noon until eight.

Unfortunately writing doesn’t make a lot of money. This leaves me with a lot of inner conflict. I’m supposed to get money from the government and I’ve already been waiting for a month and a half. All the food I eat, the chocolate milk I drink (it’s always on sale in my area), the places I go, all of that is paid for by either my grandmother or my boyfriend. And while my grandmother agreed to be my caregiver and doesn’t fuss about it, and my boyfriend likes spending money on me when he has it, I feel very much like a parasite.

When summer started my biggest internal dilemma was telling myself that yes, I could take a break. That it’s okay to go out for a couple hours with some friends and have a bonfire, because I’ve got all summer, with all my days free, to get this work done. Now I’m in the process of convincing myself that it’s okay not to have a real job, as long as I focus on my goals and my dreams. Writing isn’t going to make me a 500 dollar or more pay check in two weeks. Someday it will be my career, and someday I might even be rich and famous-though I’m not holding my breath for that. I feel bad because right now I don’t have money to throw at the wonderful people in my life and I have no material wealth to share.

I’m seventeen years old, and as much as I always tell other people that not every kid needs a job in their high school years, sometimes I’m not so convinced of it myself. I need to remember that writing books and short stories and whatever else I might write isn’t about a pay check in two weeks, it’s about making money and enjoying life for the rest of my life. The time I spend writing is more of an investment in my future than a summer job.

For that reason, I keep writing on Squidoo for advertising royalties which will only go up from here, and I’ve started a fundraising page for Camp Nanowrimo, hoping that I’ll be able to raise $80, or $10 for every 10, 000 words I write. You can read my lenses here, and you can sponsor me for Camp Nanowrimo here.

In the meantime, I’m going to put on a brave face, tell myself that I’m awesome, and write a book.

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About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on July 15, 2011, in Editing, Editing: The Hard Part, Novels, Workshops, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Greetings:

    I remember student days of having no money. As I recall – it periodically sucked. It almost *always* tasted like macaroni and cheese. Very little about it is enjoyable. Having said that – time passes – things change. You won’t always be this age with this set of circumstances. One thing that sets you well apart from most is your work ethic. Another is your capacity to write. You log writing time like an Olympic athlete logs training hours. Your time will come. In the meantime, you work hard and that will be part of your “lucky” break when you get it. 🙂

    In a related idea, I dearly wish the arts were more highly valued in our society. It is called *humanities* for a reason. Without art, we are poor – culturally, aesthetically and morally. I wish we rewarded artists better and that there was a better distribution of the wealth … ie one is super-rich (Rowland, King) or not. No in-between.

    I have not done much editing this week. Have a couple more library books. This year is likely going to be billed as “The Summer I Discovered Science Fiction: The Good Stuff”. In my first couple of forays, I have a sudden appreciation for all of your world-building exercises. While I did not have a story in mind to do them, I did read the posts in great detail. That information has deepened my appreciation for the writer’s efforts and capacity. : )

    I have not yet turned my mind back to Elgin. Irritating but there we are. As consolation, my latest character sketch is below. Also from last year’s Nano.
    http://redparrot.wordpress.com/

    Cheers!
    RP

  2. RP,

    My grandmother was raised Catholic and has quite the guilt complex-she works harder than most 20 year olds I know and still feels bad when she doesn’t get something done. I’m pretty good about not feeling guilty in all sorts of areas-about the things I say to people, the places I go, some of the strange things I’ve done-but when it comes to money, I’ve got a huge guilt complex. I’ve spent too long watching certain people that I’m close to living off of other people’s money, whether it be a relative’s, a boyfriend’s, or the government’s. I have to remind myself pretty often that I’m 17, it’s okay to be broke. I really wish I had some form of stable income though, because I’d like to throw some money at the people who have been so generous with me.

    As to my discipline, it’s a funny story how that happened. I haven’t been the most disciplined person in my past; this summer is unique. I’ve spent a summer entirely on fanfiction before after losing a number of friends, but I’ve never spent a summer truly focused on my own work, though I’ve always planned to.

    Science fiction worldbuilding is a lot harder than fantasy worldbuilding, mainly because of the word ‘science’. I’ve never managed to write a plausible science fiction story, though I’ve got some great ideas-they might make good movies or TV shows, but I don’t have the science to get away with that in a book. I really appreciate all the hard work that goes into building any world, but the most detailed science fiction worlds leave me in awe.

    I miss Elgin, but you’ve got some fascinating characters. I love the characterization of Wesley-the kid from a family of nerds who insists on getting in trouble and injuring himself-and the idea of the bionic leg. I’ve got a pretty good picture of his doctor and his family too. It’s a great piece.

    Thanks for reading,
    ~Dianna

  3. I’m blown away by the fact you’re only 17. And that’s a compliment. Do you have any idea how most of us have to live a lifetime before we accomplish what you have? Not to mention the smarts. You’re my new inspiration. Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Dianna, you wonderful old soul. Yes! take horseback lessons and learn to sword fight. I’m come watch.

    • Joylene,

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m really lucky that I found my calling at a very young age, and that my parents-both booklovers-always supported me in my dreams of writing. I’ve also been really blessed by the wonderful people at Nanowrimo, both those in charge and those in my area. The support of that community has really helped me reach where I am today in terms of my writing skills. And I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, knowing that there is always room to grow as a writer.

      I’m really glad you’ve found and enjoyed my blog, I hope you’ll stick around.

      Thanks for reading,
      ~Dianna

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