Saturday, April 23, 2011

Writing for fun, but no profit

By Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett / L.L. Bartlett

Earlier this week I read a novelette by one of my favorite authors.  Me.

Does it come as a surprise to find out that I'm my own biggest fan?  Not as a narcissist thing, it's just, I write the kinds of fiction I love to read.  And I happened across a story I wrote over 20 years ago, something I thought needed a lot of polish, and discovered that despite the relatively minor writing flaws, I still LOVED the characters.

It's been a stressful month getting ready for the upcoming Malice Domestic conference, and doing lots of things that circle around writing, but aren't actually writing.  (Mostly promotion.) That's why I took a break and read that story.

Lightbulb_idea Yesterday morning, I woke up very early with an idea for a companion story to my novelette from years ago.  I wrote down the barest of ideas and thought that would be the end of it.  But as I went through my day (dentist and bad-haircut appointments, laundry, and so forth), that idea kept nagging at me.  I should have sat at the laptop and worked on my current project.  The paying one.  But instead, I used my word quota for the day working on a story that will probably never see print--or a reader other than myself.  It's not even in my genre.

NO-PROFIT I had fun--but there'll definitely be no profit.

Don't get me wrong, I love writing cozy mysteries, and I would dearly love to jump back into my 5th Jeff Resnick novel (started more than five years ago), but novels are great big stories, and this one--not so much.

This is fun.  A lot of fun.

I'm going to work on it in between doing other stuff for the next week or so--just for fun, but after the conference, I must jump back into the paying project (which is behind schedule, although I reread the work I'd done so far, and it's coming along nicely).

What are you doing when you should be doing something else?

16 comments:

Sarita said...

Sewing. I'm sewing when I should be doing yardwork or working on my next story.

But on rainy days like this, sewing beside a roaring fire is a temptation I can't resist!

Deb said...

Inspiration is a powerful thing. Don't ignore it. Write, woman, write.

Does anyone know the diff between a novelette and a novella? Or are they the same thing?

Anonymous said...

Deb, I just looked up the word counts on Wikipedia.

Novelette: 7500-71,499 words
Novella: 17,500-40,000

Well, that novelette I spoke of is actually a novella because it just squeaks by at 18,900 words. Who knew!

Anonymous said...

Oops--typo alert. That novelette word count is 7,500 to 17,499 not 71,499.

Hey, I got the numbers right, just in the wrong order!

Deb said...

okay, that makes more sense!

Barbara said...

I'm always reading instead of doing chores or cooking or anything else I should be doing.

ev said...

I sit at the computer way too much!!

Nancy said...

I'm interested in what the genre the novella is in. I'd love to read it because I enjoy all of your writing and I'm sure that if you are enjoying this piece then I would, too.
I want to know how Jeff Resnick is doing.
What I do when I should be working is reading...or playing Farmville or Scrabble in Facebook, or reading blogs. Yesterday I colored hard boiled eggs with family. That was a lot of fun.

signlady217 said...

What I'm doing when I should be doing something else?? Hmm, anything that is not what I should be doing!! (Even just staring out the window!) Yikes!

Liz V. said...

You are stressed way too far -- as evident from this and your blog Dazed and Confused. Tempted to write last night when I read that entry.

From personal (bad) experience, time to relax with anything you enjoy unrelated to your profession.

When thought creeps in about "wasting" time, remind yourself that replenishing and rejuvenating are not wasteful. Trying to function efficiently, while stressed, is. Burning and crashing is. Reading a lecture probably is--so, sorry.

Dru said...

Reading, watching TV, and being on the computer when I should be doing household chores.

Lynda said...

Reading is my biggest weakness (can sometimes spend the whole day and not do ANYTHING else), but spending time on the computer is a close second. I've been trying to cut back on both - haven't read a book in days and I'm having withdrawals! Try to check the computer mid-mornings (after I've done a few things) and evenings only. What you're doing is not really "wasting time" tho. You're doing something you enjoy and actually producing something as well. If you enjoy it and it relaxes you, you should do it - especially since you've been going at full steam for so long - need to repleanish the ol' batteries! Go for it!

Katreader said...

I spend wayyyy too much time goofing off on the computer. I find I waste time here instead of doing things I enjoy (crafts, etc) let alone things like housework!

Vickie said...

I am sitting at my laptop, puttering on the blogs I follow and watching DVRd episodes of Supernatural....I'm not sure there's something I should be doing..It's Sunday after all. Only laundry that needs doing, everything else can wait. I have two days off and I'll think about cleaning house and sorting the winter clothes then.

Bev said...

I love to read, knit or sew would I should be doing something else. Makes it hard to get everything done, but I do enjoy myself. The fun writing you do, have you thought about releasing them yourself as e-books? I'm sure I'm not the only one that would love to read them! :)

Aurian said...

I'm sitting behind my computer reading blogs, while I should be doing my taxes! I have promised my self, they will be ready by the time I go to bed ...