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Nom Nom Nom

Technically, I have a couple stories eligible for award nominations. I had a long debate with myself about even writing this post, but decided, hey, first year I’ve got things eligible, I should at least write a subtle “zomg sold stuffz!” post pointing this out.

So here goes…subtle. Yeah.

“Some Like it Hot” (AlienSkin Feb/March 2010 issue) is eligible as a short story.
No Spaceships Go” (Daily Science Fiction, Dec. 17th, 2010) is also eligible as a short story.

So if you for some reason loved either of those and are in a position to do some nom-ing, there you go. That’s my list.  (My third story published this year doesn’t, I think anyway, fall into the speculative fiction category enough to be relevant.  However, if you feel like reading it and don’t mind dropping .99 on it, it is now available as an ebook with another short story here or for free on Contrary’s website here)

2010 Recap Addendum

I figured maybe I should post my submission/rejection stats for 2010 as well (all the cool kids are doing it… or something).

So here are the rough totals:

Current Race Score: 41
Current eRace Score: 3

Stories submitted: 34
Novels submitted: 3
Total Rejections: 151
Personal rejections: 93
Stories Sold: 3
Novels Sold: 0
Rewrite requests: 2 (one rejected, one pending)
Stories currently being held for “final” consideration: 4
Full novels out: 1
Writers of the Future results: Q1- HM, Q2- Semi-finalist, Q3- HM, Q4- unknown

So yeah. A ton of rejection, a few sales, lots of personal rejections, some interest in a couple of my novels, and mostly just me needing to get more work done, get better at writing, and get more out. If you count my 2009 totals into the rejections I’m at well over 200. W00t? But at least it is one measure that I’m submitting and writing and submitting more. Hopefully I can double or triple everything (rejections, sales, race scores etc) for 2011.

2010 Recap

This is the obligatory post where I look at my goals from last year and then see where I stand on them now, a year later.

Goal 1. Write 4 novels and submit them
Well, I have three submitted. So that’s not a total fail. I’m short one novel, but will have it ready by Feb.

Goal 2. Have at least 30 short stories in my folders and keep them out on markets until they sell or have nowhere to go
This is a win. I have over 30 short stories in my folders and have been pretty good about keeping them out until they sell (and some have even sold, crazy!).

Goal 3. Finish everything I start
This is a fail for a couple reasons. I started a Middle Grade novel back in June, got about 12k words into it, and quit. I don’t know if I’ll return to it because I just wasn’t feeling the love with the story. I mean, I like the story, but I wasn’t so keen on that whole “middle grade” thing and kept wanting to do horrible things that young people probably don’t want to read about. So it might turn into a weird novella for e-publishing.
I also decided to work on beginnings this fall and toward that end started a bunch of short stories without finishing them. I will finish them at some point (probably during the story a week challenge next year).

Goal 4. Submit everything I finish
Win. I’ve been crazy good about getting stuff into the mail.

Goal 5. Keep track of receipts and other things for taxes (I was abominable about it this last year, sigh)
Mostly a win. I know I’ve lost track of some receipts and I wasn’t sure about what counted or not for others, but I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping track of the big stuff (putting it all into a spreadsheet soon is going to be scary. I don’t want to think about how much money I’ve spent at the post office and on workshops etc…).

Goal 6. Try writing at least three things outside my genre comforts (mystery, horror, erotica, something…)
Win. I wrote an entire mystery novel, I’ve been messing around with erotica, and I’m about to start a romance novel. I’ve definitely been writing outside the comfort zone.

Goal 7. Keep going, never look back, never surrender and all that
Well, I haven’t given up yet 🙂

Basically, I did pretty well this year. I sold three short stories, got a Semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest, learned how to put stuff up on Kindle, and wrote almost 350,000 words. I missed my word count goal by about 100,000 but I ran into snags this year that I couldn’t foresee, so I don’t feel that annoyed. I got a lot done, by any measure. And next year is going to be even bigger. I’m just getting warmed up.

Clarion Redux

For all my musing and thinkings earlier this year about whether or not to apply to Clarion, I went ahead and did it.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford to go unless they give me scholarship money, but that’s a problem to deal with AFTER I get in at all.  I figure that if I want it enough (and I wouldn’t have applied if I didn’t) that I’ll find a way to beg, borrow, or steal to get there.

As for my earlier fears of Clarion slowing me down too much, well, I’ve sorted out that issue as well.  I’ve figured out that if I’m consistent in my writing, I only need about 2-3 hours a day to write.  I’m sure that even with all the distractions of being at Clarion, I should be able to find 2-3 hours to get things done (after all, my classmates will have to be doing stories and critiques and such as well).  So I think I could still keep up my production rates and get the work done while hopefully enjoying the socialization and networking and learning that Clarion provides.

So we’ll see.  I don’t know if my writing is good enough to get me in.  I picked two of my favorite stories for the application.  Hopefully that’s enough.  I imagine with the line-up of instructors this year that they’ll get tons of applications and they can only take 18.  But it’s out of my hands now.

As for non-Clarion workshops, I’m going to make it to at least three this next spring and to Reno for World Con this summer.  While writing and practicing are good, learning and expanding my network are important also.  It’s a struggle sometimes to figure out the monies for this stuff, but this is my career and I figure investing in my future is probably a wise thing.  I’ve definitely grown as a writer and a person this year because of the workshops and conventions and I want to continue that growth.

2011 Goals (The Work)

So last goal post I did the numbers.  The sheer word counts I hope to hit.  Now I’m going to break it down a little more specifically.

This year (2010) I focused on just learning and getting more work out.  Coming into this year I’d written one novel and only a few short stories that I considered possibly publishable.  2010 was the year I decided I needed to step up production and see what I could do.

2011 is the year to put the writing car in overdrive.  I want to be more consistent with my output and to finally get to some of the hundreds of ideas I’ve got bumping around. This is also the year in which I intend to explore e-publishing options while keeping things in the mail to the traditional side of things.

So here’s how that 900,000 words is going to (hopefully) break down:

I’ve been playing around with writing romance because I love to read romance and want to make sure I’m covering my genre bases.  I’ve got a Regency romance novel outlined that I’ll be writing in January for traditional publishers, which will put my novels out to publishers count at four, in four different genres.  I’m aiming for 75-85k words on that book.

For e-publishing I want to write my favorite lengths, which is shorter.  I have a few series romance ideas outlined for this.  So my goal is to write seven books in one series (or nine, depending), three books in another, and three in another.  Each of these will be about 25k words.  So thirteen novellas at 25k words should work out to about 325k total.  I’ll be writing one or two of these a month and putting them up online as soon as they are copyedited and formatted.  I’ll also being doing omnibus versions and making those available in print as well.

I’ve also got four Pyrrh books planned (am finishing the first one now, in fact) which will be about 50k words each.  Those will be available in print as well, and I’ll probably make an omnibus version (I have eight books for that series planned in total, releasing four a year).

I also want to write at least one more novel for traditional publishing (to bring my year end total up to 5 or 6 depending).  And if by the end of next year a couple of my novels that are out now don’t sell and have gotten more than 25 rejections, I think I’ll probably just write the sequels (one is a duology, one is a trilogy) and put them up for sale electronically and in print.  It’s my goal, however, to keep at least four or five novels out to traditional publishers each year so that I don’t let that side of things slide.

On the short story side of things, I’ve enlisted to write a short story a week and mail it.  So that’s 52 short stories to write next year.  But, because I don’t want to neglect the e-pub side of things, I also have ideas for four collections.  Each collection would deal with the same characters and have about ten stories in it.  I intend to write these stories solely for the collections (though I might mail them a few places first while I’m working on getting the full ten).  I’ll also put up one of the stories from each collection at .99 to be a sample for the rest.  I’m going to make print versions also for all these.  So that’s actually about 92 short stories total written next year, 52 for traditional publishing and 40 for my e-pub collections.

So, to sum up.  13 romance novellas (7 contemporary romances, 3 nerd romances, 3 paranormal romances), 4 fantasy/mystery novels, 2 novels for traditional publishing, and 92 short stories.  Which should work out to around 900,000 words next year, or 2500 words written per day if I write every day or 3500 words per day if I write only on week days.  So between 2 and 4 hours of work.  Not so bad.

As for how I’ll do money-wise, I have no idea.  I might sell nothing.  But that’s why this is a goals post, not a dreams post.  I don’t have any control over what I sell or not, only what I write and how much I work on my craft and on telling stories.  My dream is to make six figures a year at my writing.  My goal is to write stories that people can’t put down.  I can’t control the dream, but I hope that if I can someday learn enough and practice enough to get good at meeting my goal, the dream will follow.

My Idea System

In the comments on the last post (about 2011 goals), one of the comments asked about my system for keeping track of ideas.  I do, in fact, have a system, though like most systems that have organically grown over the course of time, it doesn’t necessarily make a ton of sense.  I figured I could do a post on it, but I’ll add some visual aids just for fun and try to describe how the parts I couldn’t figure out how to get visuals for work.

So let’s follow an idea from inception to finished product/submission through my recording system.  The first thing that usually happens is a character or bit of story or a line or two pops into my head.  From there I let it sit.  If, after a couple days (or when the idea is super insistent), I still have it in my head, then I write it down in a notebook.  Yes, a good old paper notebook.  I use Moleskine Cahier notebooks because I love the way they feel and how well they hold up.  This is probably a hold-over from when I used to write every story by hand (something I did up until a few years ago when I tried to write a novel by hand and pretty much said fuck that).

If the idea has a title, I use the title to list it (each idea gets a fresh page).  If it doesn’t yet I just pick out a couple key words.  This is the beginning for both short stories and novels.  If I know that the idea is probably going to be a novel idea, I make a note of that on the page.  I have multiple notebooks for ideas.  In the past I was just sort of filling them up as I had the ideas, but for next year I’ve actually gone and separated out a notebook for novellas, one for short fiction, and one for novel ideas.  I’m not sure how long that level of organization will last since sometimes I don’t know if an idea is a novel or just a short one at the start (they tend to seem like they’ll be short, but then grow and get more complex).

From there the ideas sit until I’m ready to start on them.  At that point they have different fates.  Novel ideas get their own sections of a different notebook.  I give you exhibit A:

These are a few of my novel project notebooks.  Some of these novels have been written or are in various stages of writing (There’s actually a notebook without tabs in there, but it’s dedicated to a trilogy, so I didn’t tab it yet since I know which one it is, so this picture represents 11 novels and 4 short novels).  Inside these notebooks I outline, keep track of character descriptions and place names, and do all the little nitty note taking that I feel is necessary to keep track of the world for each of my novels.  I imagine that when I start actually writing multiple series books that I’ll gravitate toward having a single notebook for each series with my handy tabs dividing by book, but for now this system allows me to easily flip to whichever project I want to work on and to see which notebooks hold which novel at a glance.  I find this simpler than trying to use electronic notes, though I appreciate that if anything ever happened to my home (fire, flood, really bored thieves), that this system could fall apart.  At least I back up all the actual writing electronically in multiple places.

So that’s what the novel notebooks look like.  For short stories I just find the title/tag line of the story I want to work on (if I’m in a short story writing mood I generally flip through until I find something I want to write), and then I just continue with story notes and character descriptions and all the things I need to keep track there.  Which, once a story is done, generally leaves me with a couple of pages that look like this:

If you can read my handwriting at the top of the right page there, you’ll see that this story was originally tagged as “Race to Pluto” but then got its actual title “The Light of the Earth, as Seen from Tartarus” once I’d started working on it more.  (This story has already been through Writers of the Future, so I’m using it since I don’t have to worry about anonymity anymore).  I generally write short stories over the course of a single day, sometimes two (this one took two, but it’s 13,300 words long).  I don’t often outline short stories, but as you can see from the left page above, I did a rough time line because the timing in this story was important (And yes, I do have the crazy handwriting of a serial killer, but *I* can read it, usually).  Sometimes though I’ll be adding notes and ideas to a page for weeks before I get working on a story.  It all depends how long the story needs to percolate in my brain.

The next step is once I’ve decided to work on a story or novel.  I go into my writing folder and then into the relevant folder (Short Stories or Novels or Novellas).  Then I make a folder with the title of the story or novel.  Then I open a word document and label it as a rough draft (usually titleRD.doc) and go to work.    Recently I’ve expanded this system a little.  I don’t normally start short stories and then not finish them, but back in October I was working on hooks and beginnings, so I picked out a bunch of short story ideas from my notebooks and went to the next step without finishing.  So in my short stories folder I have a folder called AAAbeginnings (the three a’s are so it will sit at the top of my alphabetized sorted list).  In there I keep the folders of stories that aren’t done (I have quite a few at the moment thanks to that exercise). Once I finish a story out of that folder, it gets moved to the regular section.

I also have a few pages in one of my notebooks that is all titles.  Pages and pages of titles that don’t have an idea attached.  Last year I decided I was pretty terrible with titles and wanted to practice coming up with them.  So I tried a few different methods (ranging from putting random words together to using random title generators on the internet) and wrote down all the ones I liked.  So sometimes if I have a story idea I’ll scan those pages of titles and see if any fit or can be altered to fit.

Anyway, that’s how my system, such as it is, works.  I have tons and tons of ideas, more than I will ever likely be able to complete.   And more come in each day (I think I have about 15 notebooks in various stages of full at this point).  It’s one of the main reasons I’d like to be faster and more consistent, because then I’d get a lot more of these ideas developed and out to markets.  So hopefully this post helps show how the hell I keep track of all this.  I imagine my system will keep evolving to suit my needs and career, but for now it works for me.

2011 Goals (The Numbers)

Yeah, yeah.  It’s only December, which is pretty early to be making a goals post for the new year.  But I’m a rebel or something.  And I’ve been looking back on this year and then looking ahead and figuring out what I want to accomplish.  So this post will be purely the numbers without specifics.  I’ll do another post on the specifics (things to work on, etc) at a more traditional time (like say, January 1st?).

This last year was all about building up my magic bakery and figuring out a lot of things about my writing style and working modes.  I’ll do a full summary post about how this year went sometime this month.  But the short version is that by February I’ll have four novels out to traditional publishers in four different genres.  That’s a decent start to my bakery.  I’ll also have about 25-35 short stories out to markets (depending on many factors like hopefully sales).  That’s a good start, too.

2011 is going to be all about taking it up a notch and all about dipping my feet (and legs and body) into the e-publishing world.  I’m going to be writing novels and novellas almost exclusively for e-publishing next year while I continue to shop around those four novels with trad publishers.  I’m not ruling out writing a novel or two for trad publishing next year, but it won’t be my focus (unless I get a contract and have to write a sequel or something.  But that’s the sort of hiccup in a plan you hope for, not count on).

Besides getting my feet wet with e-publishing, my main goal this year is to get more consistent with my writing.  I’m a bit of a binge writer and I’d like to stop being so all or nothing and work more on just getting *something* done most days of the week.  I’m a generally competitive person, so to further this goal I’ve undertaken a couple of challenges that will hopefully (and are so far) spur me to get just more done in general.

The first challenge is with a friend of mine and the goal is to write 100,000 words a month.  That’s about 5k words a day, 5 days a week.  So about 4-6 hours of work, 5 days a week.  I tried this in November but got derailed at the halfway mark due to wrist pain and some other health issues, but I’ve adjusted my workspace and am working on the other things, so hopefully that will no longer stand in my way.  However, I’m still not sure that, as a naturally shorter length writer, I can quite manage 100k words a month.  So I’ll probably just owe her a lot of dinners since I’m setting my goal at about 75,000 words, which works out to 2500 words a day, 30 days out of the month, or 3750 words if I only work 5 days a week.  Which is 2-4 hours of writing a day, and completely doable even with wrist issues because I can break it down with lots of rest periods.

The second challenge is the story a week challenge.  Ray Bradbury did this, writing one story and submitting it each week.  We all know how well that worked out for him.  Some other writers I know have started the challenge and are calling it the “Write 1 Sub 1” challenge.  The title there will link to the website detailing the challenge.  With short stories I’ll be sending them to all the pro-paying magazines first before putting together any collections for e-publication.  I intend to bring back my old “Short Story Monday” thing for this, so that each Monday will be dedicated to writing a short story and submitting it by Friday.

Ideally, over all, my goals break down thusly:

900,000 words total by end of December 2011.

240,000 words of full length novels for e-pub or trad pub.

200,000 words of shorter novels for e-pub.

300,000 words of novellas for e-pub.

160,000 words of short fiction for pro-paying magazines and/or e-pub.

That’s the numbers for 2011.  It looks like a lot, but it breaks down to under 3 hours of writing a day, which really isn’t that much.  Writing is my job and I damn well better be willing to put at least 2-3 hours a day of work into my job.  Fortunately, having to do only 3 hours or so of writing a day means I’ll have plenty of time to put in the hours for the things that aren’t writing, like formatting, editing, wasting time online (ahem, I mean…researching!), reading, playing videogames, etc.  What? Videogames are totally integral to my job. Really. Seriously.  It’s…uh… consumption of story!  Vital. Totally vital.

November Summary plus Extras

So first, my story “No Spaceships Go” will be out from Daily Science Fiction on December 17th it looks like.  So go sign up for their daily stories already, geez.  (Though it will also be posted on the website at some point as well if you’re somehow allergic to getting awesome fiction in your inbox each weekday morning).   Besides this being my first pro sale, it is also a story I really love.  I write a lot of stories and I’m not sure I could even list the titles of all of them off the top of my head (probably, with some serious thinking, because I do have a good memory, but I might miss one or two).  However, I play favorites like woah.  This story was one of my favorites and I’m very happy that Daily SF took a chance on it.

So in November my writing went not too poorly, but I’ve discovered that writing while in pain really, really sucks.  Or perhaps rediscovered, since I had to do it this summer when I pinched a nerve in my shoulder.  I have my new keyboard now and am so far liking it (it’s only been a day, so no idea how it will serve in the long term).  I’ve also adjusted my desk and my chair and gotten a wrist brace to try for the more sore wrist.  All these things will hopefully contribute to less pain and a more consistent writing schedule.

All that aside, I managed about 52,000 words this month.  That means a handful of new stories out to markets and some of what will be the first novel in my Pyrrh Considerable Crimes series.  I’m going to be finishing up the novel in the next week or two, then it’ll go to first readers, then to the copy editor, and finally (hopefully!) on or around Jan 31st, 2011, it’ll be available to purchase.

For December I’m going to take it somewhat easy.  While I’d like to be writing 5-6 hours a day, I know that on many days I’ll have other commitments (I have a huge family, and the holidays are always made of crazy sauce).  So I’m setting my daily goal at 10 pages each week day and 5 pages each weekend day.  I’m planning on writing the second Pyrrh novel this month, as well as starting a romance novel that will go out to traditional publishers in Feb.  I was going to write my horror/western, but it needs to percolate more I think, and I’m debating writing it for e-pub instead of trying to figure out how the hell I’d pitch something like that to trad publishers.  We’ll see.  I like that I have all sorts of options now and can pretty much write whatever I feel like (not that I wouldn’t anyway, I’m stubborn like that, but nice to know I might actually get paid for this stuff).

So November was a mixed bag.  I didn’t hit my goal, but I got over the halfway point and I still got something done, which is better than nothing.  Even if I only get 50k words each month next year, that would still be 600k words of new fiction ready for various markets and experiments, which isn’t a bad production rate.  So we’ll see.  I’m going to aim for more like 75k to 100k a month, but it’ll depend on schedules and wrists and my own laziness.

Speaking of laziness, I’ve been playing some Mass Effect 2 (well, helping my husband play by mining planets for him and such).  I mention it because the world-building is boggling and awesome.  Flying around and reading the different planet descriptions alone has been a joy and very inspiring.  After I finish up the next couple novel projects (or perhaps in between), I’m totally going to get some sf stories done.  I wrote fantasy in November pretty much, so maybe it’s time to return to space.  Hmm, I wonder if I can write ME2 off on my taxes? It’s totally helping my writing, totally. *grin*

(Speaking of taxes, I’ll be filing my first schedule C this Jan.  I’ll definitely be posting about that process around then, because I think more information needs to be available on how this works exactly.  I’m going to hire a professional to talk me through it the first time, because while I’m competent as the house accountant, I’d rather not mess up when it comes to the IRS.  They aren’t exactly forgiving of honest errors.  So look for a post about that, and some neo-pro interviews coming soon!)

Links and Interviews

So I’ve been thinking of ways to make sure I keep this blog updated and maybe actually interesting from time to time.  One idea I had was to maybe do interviews of my fellow neo-pro writers.  I know that I’m always curious about other people’s goals and paths.  So if anyone wants to get interviewed, let me know.

Likewise, I should really do some blog updating and get my links section in full working order.  So if you want to exchange links with me (either directly here or www.anniebellet.com) and I’m not linked to you, please let me know. (This is also my nefarious plan to find more blogs to read, clearly).

So… are you a writer? Want to be interviewed?  my email is izanobu  AT  gmail  DOT  com.  Put either “writer link” or “writer interview” in the subject so hopefully you won’t get spam-foldered.

So yeah, that’s it.  If anyone takes me up on the interviews I’ll probably do them with questions via email and then do a monthly or bi-monthly post or something (depending on how many peeps take me up on this).

Lorning and Practice

(Yes, ‘learning’ is misspelled in my subject.  On purpose. It’s a joke. No, it would take too long to explain. Deal)

I tend to talk very openly about my writing goals and word counts and issues that crop up and the like.  This has led to comments, both on this blog and privately, that are along the lines of “maybe you should slow down (ie, write less) and learn more”.

Sounds like a reasonable plan, right? Except, it isn’t.  This statement and statements along the same lines have  logical fallacies in them.  They imply that a) writing slow= writing better and b) learning somehow happens outside of the actual writing work.  Neither of these things are true.

Let me demonstrate my point using videogames (because I can!).

Starcraft 2 is arguably the best real-time strategy (RTS) game out there.  A few months ago I discovered SC2 replay and tutorial videos on you-tube and have been watching them since.  I also own the game and have played a bit, but writing work has gotten in the way of that and I haven’t had nearly as much time as I’d like for videogames (and what time I’ve had, I’ve spent playing Borderlands with my husband).

But I’ve watched hundreds of hours of strategy videos and games.  I basically use SC2 videos as my mental break time during the day or late at night when I can’t sleep and don’t feel like working or reading.  I can discuss build orders and micro/macro strategies and unit choices with the best of them and probably, if no one saw me play, sound pretty much like a hard-core SC2 player.  My knowledge of the strategies and ideas behind them is huge.

I suck at SC2.  I’m really, really bad at it.  I haven’t played my ladder games (the multi-player ranking is called ladder) yet, but I imagine I’d be bottom of the heap.  I can barely beat the AI on easy.  Why is this? I mean, I’ve studied hard core, right? I know how hot-keys work and which units counter which units and what my timings should be on scouting and getting which building when.  My brain is stuffed with SC2 tactics and ideas and strategies.  But I can’t play the game to save my life.

Because I haven’t practiced.  I haven’t PLAYED the game nearly enough to get the practical skills to implement my knowledge.

See where I’m going with this?  Writing is the same.  I can read every book on writing ever written.  I can attend every conference, join every critique workshop, read and talk about writing and other people’s stories until my tongue and eyes bleed, but that won’t make me a good writer.

Only writing will.  All the side things, all the reverse-outlining best-selling novels, all the reading long-time pro’s work and blogs, all the industry knowledge and the business knowledge and the craft books in the world won’t mean jack or shit unless I’m writing my own words.

If I’d spent 200 hours playing SC2 instead of watching these videos, I bet I’d be at least Gold rank on ladder by now.  If I’d spent 100 hours watching videos and 100 hours playing, I might be Gold rank also.

It’s about doing both.  I’m learning and reading about writing and studying good books, but I’m also writing.  Writing is the first and most important thing to do.  All the rest is gravy and, like gravy, if you don’t have anything to apply the skills to, it ends up being a plate full of soupy worthlessness (okay, bad imagery, but you get the point).  Without practice, knowledge means nothing.

So yeah, I’m working hard to get my word counts up, to be more consistent in setting aside three or four or six hours a day to write.  Because the fifty or so writing books on my shelf won’t do me any good if I’m not putting the practice in, if I’m not doing the work.  I need to be writing more, in other words, not less.

So if you find yourself frustrated, if you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere skill-wise, don’t slow down.  Speed up. Do more words.  Stab those voices of doubt that are telling you that you don’t know enough, you haven’t studied enough, your words aren’t good enough, and just put your ass in the chair and write more words.  Because the easy AI might kick your ass while you’re trying to figure out how the hell you tech up to hive, but eventually you’ll have your revenge with an early 7 roach cheese push.   Because you practiced it. Over and over and over.  Until you could do it right, until you found what worked for you.

Practice. Write more.  Want a career in something? Put in the hours to get good at it.  Put in the hours for study also, but don’t neglect the practicing.  Practicing is more important.   Talking and reading about writing will never equal what you can learn by just doing it.  We’re all different, we all have different strengths and weaknesses and habits.  But if you don’t practice, you’ll never learn what those are.  No book, no other writer, no seminar or class or critique can ever tell you how you work and what your exact path in this career will be.

Only writing will do that.  Only writing can do that.

Do eet!