Friday, March 15, 2013

Peeves, Leave Me Alone!

Those spine itching, nail scratching on the chalkboard, bothersome things which grate the brick wall holding our writer's sanity in place to a fine pile of dust. Peeves we create, peeves thrown at us and in front of us from every possible direction. Peeves are irritating and can be smothering to our creativity if we allow them to. Don't allow them to.
My peeves:

There is never enough of it. The seconds roll by like a mighty river, carrying fresh, new ideas through the brain. All these great ideas rush by as the water flows downstream or as each grain of sand slips through the hourglass. Too many ideas, not enough time. Ever.
So what’s a writer to do? You do your best. You scribble the ideas down and pack them away for later. You put away time to work, you put time away to market, and you especially put time away to read.
You do what a writer does.
Find the time, make the time, and savor the time you get to work.
It’s a great gig, this writing thing.
Take advantage of every second.

Turned Dizzy
My self-induced writing pet peeve is “turned”. When I read through one of my first drafts, I always find a healthy dose of he/she/they/it turning. I do a lot of “turning and saying”, “turning and running”, “turning and opening the door”. I try to stop it (and, honestly, I am getting better), but sometimes I “turn” so much while writing, I make myself dizzy.
My poor editors...

Real Book
I like eBooks. I like print books. I like all kinds of books. I just like books. The mode of the delivery media doesn't matter to me; it’s the story that is important. All forms of books can, and should, work together in synergy. Apparently, though, that is not everyone’s opinion.
Funny story. True story. My mother is in her 70’s. If I told you her real age, she would chastise me for the next five months (she’ll probably be ticked off for a couple months just because I let her decade slip out.). But, her age is an important detail to add for full story effect.
A year ago, on March 9, 2012, my debut MuseItYoung upper middle grade historical fiction, THE YOUNGER DAYS, was released in eBook form. It was a great day for me. I was feeling pretty good about things; it is an accomplishment to publish a book. An accomplishment which became a reality through the work and support of my MuseItUp team of master editors, Lea and Penny, and cover artist Kaytalin Platt.
Here I was on release day, feeling pretty good about myself, feeling a rather top of the world feeling. Several family members and friends sent messages saying they downloaded the book and like it so far. I reached back and patted myself on the back a few times.
Then I called my mother.
“Hey, Mom. Today is my book release day.”
“Oh yes, how exciting!”
“Did you find it online yet?”
“Oh yes. It was on the website, right where you said it would be.”
I waited a few seconds, then asked, “Well, did you buy it?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“I’m going to wait until the real book comes out.”
Two hours away, on the other end of the telephone line, a debut author’s head hits the desk with an audible thump.

Punt the Peeves
Take home message on publishing peeves, don't allow them to derail your writing. Kick them in their peeve-ish backsides, defeat them, and whatever you do, never allow these peeves to deflate your writer's balloon.

Now, enough time spent reading my rants, turn and write, or read, a real book.

Mike Hays is a husband, a father of three, a lifelong Kansan and works as a molecular microbiologist.  Besides writing, he has been a high school strength and conditioning coach, a football coach and a baseball coach. He writes from a boy point of view and hopes to spread his particular style of stupid-funny inspiration through his books, blogs and social media.

His debut middle grade historical fiction novel, THE YOUNGER DAYS,  is a 2012 recipient of The Catholic Writer's Guild Seal of Approval Award.


anne stenhouse said...

Hi Mike, At least your Mum can access the internet and knows what a website is. My late mum didn't live into the electronic revolution, but she was mildly phobic about telephones. I used to travel back and forwards to the local town on the bus quite a lot to find out if the new glasses were ready (or whatever) because she would not phone the optician. Enjoyed your post. Every success vanquishing Peeves. Anne Stenhouse

Mike Hays said...

Thanks, Anne! I can relate to your mother view of phone. I would rather walk across town than call on the phone. Born to text message, I guess.


Wendy said...

Poetic, wise and humorous Peeve Post Mike. I enjoyed reading it. Time is your enemy, procrastination is mine. At least you have something to blame for 'whatever'. I don't have anything to blame but myself. If I'm honest, that's my biggest peeve. :)

Suzanne de Montigny said...

Oh Mike, how you made me laugh. I have the turn problem too. Everyone in my stories seem to all turn before they do something. And the real book thing? Can you believe the only one who bought my book in my family is my sister and only because I bullied her into it?

Pat McDermott said...

Well said, Mike. Yes, the turn thing is a nuisance, right up there with amble and smile. But you can't revise it if it isn't there, right? The story about your mother made me chuckle. Maybe you should buy her a Kindle. I know several older folks who didn't like the idea, but once they had one, they loved them. Great post!

J.Q. Rose said...

Fun post, Mike. Cute story about your mom. You will be surprised at how many "older" folk are getting Kindles..great for reading by the pool and perfect for packing in a purse or computer bag for travel. I am amazed at how e-books are becoming part of people's lives. When MIU pubbed my first e-book two years ago, I'd tell folks it's an e-book and they would just look at me like I was some alien from space. This winter, I've had many tell me they have a reading device and then ask what's my link to the e-book just released in February!!